Circle of Greats Round 120 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 120th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This is the first of two rounds of balloting that will bring the Circle of Greats membership to a total of 121, matching the current members of the Hall of Fame elected by the Baseball Writers of America in regular (116) or run-off (3) elections, plus the two members (Lou Gehrig, Roberto Clemente) enshrined by special election. Rules and lists are after the jump.

The eligible holdovers from previous rounds of balloting 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 Tuesday, February 9th, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EDT Sunday, February 7th.

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 Round 120 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.

Choose your three players from the lists below of eligible players.  The sixteen 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.

Holdovers:
Rube Waddell (eligibility guaranteed for 5 rounds)
Hoyt Wilhelm (eligibility guaranteed for 5 rounds)
Kevin Brown (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Goose Goslin (eligibility guaranteed for 3 rounds)
Dick Allen (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Graig Nettles (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Richie Ashburn (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Bill Dahlen (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Andre Dawson (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Don Drysdale (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Wes Ferrell (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Rick Reuschel (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Ted Simmons (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Luis Tiant (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Bobby Wallace (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Dave Winfield (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)

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e pluribus munu
Guest

Here are my usual WAR figures for holdovers, adding Drysdale, Simmons, and Winfield from our final redemption round. Two of these players will complete the CoG.

Pitchers
P(Tot)-WAR…Peak5…Top5…WAR/9IP…WAR/Yr…ERA+…Career length
68.5 (68.3)……37.0…37.0……0.189……4.0 (17)……127……1.24……Brown
61.2 (67.1)……29.8…32.1……0.160……4.4 (14)……121……1.31……Drysdale
48.8 (61.8)……29.9…36.0……0.168……4.9 (10)……116……1.00……Ferrell
68.2 (70.1)……31.0…32.8……0.173……4.0 (17)……114……1.35……Reuschel
66.1 (66.7)……28.7…34.7……0.171……3.9 (17)……114……1.33……Tiant
61.0 (58.5)……43.9…43.9……0.185……5.9 (10)……135……1.13……Waddell
50.1 (47.3)……16.1…21.6……0.184……2.6 (19)……147……N/A…….Wilhelm

Position Players
WAR……Pk5……Top5……WAR/G…WAR/Yr……OPS+…Career length
58.7………31.5……36.7……0.034……4.2 (14)……156………1.0……Allen
63.6………31.6……32.7……0.029……4.2 (15)……111………1.3……Ashburn
75.2………22.6……29.8……0.031……4.0 (19)……110………1.4……Dahlen
64.4………32.4……33.7……0.025……3.4 (19)……119………1.5……Dawson
66.1………32.5……32.8……0.029……4.1 (16)……128………1.3……Goslin
68.0………28.7……32.2……0.025……3.4 (20)……110………1.4……Nettles
50.1………23.3……26.4……0.024……2.6 (19)……118………1.4……Simmons
70.2………28.6……31.3……0.029……4.2 (17)……105………1.3……Wallace
63.8………26.9……28.6……0.021……3.0 (21)……130………1.7……Winfield

As usual, two things to bear in mind are that Ferrell’s outsize hitting role is represented only in the total WAR figure, and Wallace’s pitching adds 6.1, for a total of 76.3.

David P
Guest
I’m going to make the hard push for Dave Winfield. In my opinion, our failure to elect Winfield is the biggest black mark on our process. And I’m part of that since I didn’t vote for him until the most recent redemption round. The biggest issue is his defensive stats. The people who saw him play thought he was great. The advanced defensive metrics hate him. So there’s an obvious discrepancy. Except that we know that the defensive metrics are flawed. They might be a bit better nowadays but for Winfield’s time they’re quite simply not very good. And to… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

You would think after 120 elections I would have made up my mind on all of these guys by now but as of this moment I am certain of only 1 of the 3 people that I’m voting for. As of this moment there are 4 people I’m considering for the final 2 spots and at least 3 others that I’m still open to considering.

Really disappointed Lyons didn’t make it thru the redemption round but I’m sure that somehow I’ll find the will to carry on.

Dr. Doom
Guest
Just to pre-cap (that’s a recap BEFORE the post), the tl;dr version is that I’m voting for Brown, Ferrell, and Tiant. Oh goodness gracious! Here it is – COG round 120. I’m going to submit my ballot with a few plugs for some of my favorites (my choices in bold): 1. Kevin Brown – Of course, you all know by now about my Kevin Brown fandom. This is my 59th vote for him. To recap, outside of Pedro, Kevin Brown was the best pitcher on planet earth from 1996-2000. Does this happen to coincide with when I first fell in… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
From the beginning of the live-ball era until then end of WW2 there are 4 pitchers in the COG who’s careers are largely centered in that era- Grove, Hubbell, Vance & Feller. Johnson and Alexander were both active and still excellent to very good, during the first 5 years in Big Train’s case and for nearly a decade in Old Pete’s (altho not as good as Walter and occasionally just average to mediocre as well). But both of those pitchers made their names and reputations in the dead ball era (with the exception of one relief appearance by and old… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
I’ve been an advocate for Waddell, and as we go into these final rounds, I want to argue Waddell’s case, expanding on figures I’ve give before. The case for Waddell seems to me to rest on how exceptional he was for his era. He was a power pitcher who stood out from contemporaries in a way that was beyond anything we’ve likely seen since that time. It is his strikeout rate that is the index of his particular type of greatness. If you look at B-Rs list of the 500 highest rates of season K/9, the only pre-War name is… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

Just one thing to add: you must not have checked out Dazzy Vance. That dude has CRAZY ratios relative to league average. 7.6/2.8 (2.71) in 1924, 7.5/2.8 (2.68) in 1925, and 7.5/2.8 in 1926.

Some more:
Dizzy Dean in 1932 – 6.0/2.9 (2.07)
Bob Feller in 1938 – 7.8/3.6 (2.17)
Lefty Grove in 1926 – 6.8/2.8 (2.42)
Dwight Gooden in 1984 – 11.4/5.6 (2.04)

e pluribus munu
Guest
Doom – You’re right: you’ve caught a number of cases that I didn’t think to check out because they were not on the Top 500 list and I didn’t think of them (though I really messed up with Gooden). Mostly, I didn’t realize how low league K/9 rates fell in the ’20s and ’30s, which is how I missed the others. Revising my list with your additions, we get: Waddell 1902: 2.74 Vance 1924: 2.71 Vance 1925: 2.68 Vance 1926: 2.68 Grove 1926: 2.42 Waddell 1900: 2.34 Score 1955: 2.20 Feller 1938: 2.17 Waddell 1903: 2.15 Martinez 1999: 2.13 Ryan… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

Only reason I caught it is because I remember Bill James writing once about how Dazzy Vance’s strikeout numbers were, adjusted for era, the greatest of all-time. So it made me look at all the SO/9 leaders ever, and I just checked some of the ones that looked like big outliers.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

In 1924, Vance had more K’s than the #2 and #3 KO pitchers combined, and it wasn’t close:
VANCE = 262
#2(135)+ #3(86) = 211

This, to me, is just as impressive as leading in normalized k/9 rate.

{A re-statement of the incredibly obvious}:

No one ever dominated a major statistical category like Babe Ruth for HR’s, though:
BABE RUTH, 1919 HRs = 29
#2 (10) + #3 (10) + #4 (10) = 30

BABE RUTH, 1920 HRs = 54
#2 (19) + #3 (17) + #4 (14) = 50

oneblankspace
Guest

Looking at homerun dominance, we of course remember 1927 in the American League.

1927 Homerun totals, AL
60 — Ruth
56 — Philadelphia
55 — St Louis
51 — Detroit
47 — Gehrig
36 — Chicago
29 — Washington
28 — Boston
26 — Cleveland
18 — Lazzeri

Paul E
Guest

EPM,
“I think Waddell belongs in the CoG, despite his short career and problematic behavior”

….so you gotta go with Allen for the same reasons 🙁

e pluribus munu
Guest
Well, not necessarily, Paul. Allen’s peak and season-average figures are not like Waddell’s in being at a different level from others on the list. Allen’s WAR/G is tops, and he’s better than other hitters on Top 5 seasons by a little, but his peak is just among the better ones, and while his seasonal average is at the top, two other position players match it with longer seasons. Where Allen excels is in OPS+, and, of course, his poor defensive stats take the edge off that when it comes to WAR. Waddell’s in a class by himself among all players… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Taking out the personality issues, Allen reminds me of a lesser Hank Greenberg. Short career (for different reasons, obviously) and standout peaks. But Greenberg collected WAR at a 20% faster rate–with more black ink, a much higher HOF monitor. Greenberg’s last full season before he left for service: led the league in doubles, HR, RBI, SG, OPS, TB.

e pluribus munu
Guest

As for the personality issues, I’ve read two articles recently, both of which softened that portrait. One collected comments from teammates who portrayed him as a good guy, not a bad clubhouse influence. The other was an interview with Jim Kaat that Graham Womack did a couple of weeks ago, which was similar in tone. I think these need to be weighted heavily on the other side of Bill James’s attack on Allen and the bad press Allen got.

Mike L
Guest

EPM, I phrased that poorly. What I meant to say was I wasn’t considering it. There are a number of COG (and HOF) members who were not exactly the nicest people–most notably Cobb of course, but plenty of these guys either had the attitudes of their era, or had the attitudes of their era plus more attitude. PEDs and throwing games excluded, I think you have to confine yourself to baseball in this.

e pluribus munu
Guest

I feel pretty much as you do, Mike, and I hadn’t read you as knocking Allen. I just wanted to mention what I’d read because I think we’ve all been influenced by James’s portrait of Allen and I was glad to read those discussions.

CursedClevelander
Guest
We’re pretty much in complete agreement about Waddell, epm. I was going to make basically the same argument in my pitch for ol’ Rube. There have been two pitchers in baseball history that for protracted periods of time accumulated strikeouts at a rate that was simply on another level from their peers – Rube Waddell and Dazzy Vance. They took vastly different paths to get there (Waddell’s various maladies and eccentricities took him out of baseball by Age 33 and off this mortal coil by Age 37, whereas Vance’s early career arm injuries kept him from really starting his MLB… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

I’ll go with three guys with high peaks as I believe it is a reflection of their superiority to their peers:
ALLEN, TIANT, WADDELL

Allen because he is by far the best hitter that hasn’t been elected.
Tiant because my 1st choice would be Brown except for the steroid issue.
Waddell because of EPM’s above power pitcher dissertation.

Gary Bateman
Guest

Goslin, Ashburn, Wilhelm

Paul E
Guest

So, I’ve been a wee bit too petulant regarding Allen’s candidacy for the COG, however, here with below please find ages 24-32, 1000+ G, 1900- 2015, OPS+
1 Babe Ruth 219
2 Lou Gehrig 191
3 Ty Cobb 191
4 Rogers Hornsby 190
5 Mickey Mantle 189
6 Barry Bonds 175
7 Jimmie Foxx 175
8 Stan Musial 172
9 Albert Pujols 169
10 Dick Allen 168

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Ted Williams, Johnny Mize and probably Joe DiMaggio would’ve made this list if not for the three years they lost to WWII in 1943-45, which kept them below the 1000G+ threshold. Hank Greenberg had a good chance if he hadn’t missed most of his age-30 and all of his age 31, age-32 years.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Good points, Lawrence. I guess if I were advocating for Allen, what I’d point out is that if we limit to players in an integrated league, the list is this:

Mantle 189
Bonds 175
Pujols 169
Allen 168

Better competition, and the Black players of the ’20s and ’30s had no chance to compete. Among players with actually similar careers, this makes Dick Allen look pretty amazing – at least as a hitter.

Paul E
Guest
Lawrence, Interestingly, if I go to the career “neutralized batting” on BR and apply the 4.25 R/G standard, I get: .302 .390 .552 129RC/162 .309 .382 .551 130RC/162 .290 .385 .559 125RC/162 .305 .389 .549 116RC/162 These four career offensive breakdowns belong to? They’re listed alphabetically and they belong to Allen, DiMaggio, Greenberg, and Mize. We’d be picking pepper out of fly shit if we tried to differentiate these four and the similarity makes sense since they all have fairly equivalent OPS+ numbers for their careers. I don’t recall if Greenberg is in the COG. I realize DiMaggio was probably… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

Greenberg, DiMaggio & Mize are all in the COG.

T-Bone
Guest
I probably won’t articulate this as well as I’d like to but… Please read Dick Allen’s SABR bio page if you haven’t already done so. http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/92ed657e See if you don’t feel as I do that he was a somewhat naive kid thrust into the worst possible situations and with the worst possible team he could have been with, and treated in such a way that he was totally unprepared for what hit him. The Phillies also decided, for some unexplained reason, to call him Rich instead of the name he was proud of and had asked to be called –… Read more »
bstar
Guest

It’s kind of strange but I count 4 separate holdovers who had “attitudinal” issues in their career:

Allen, Ferrell, Waddell, Brown

As far as impacting games I would put them in this order:

Waddell
Ferrell (he punched out his manager!)
Allen
Brown (who cares if your once-every-5-days starter is surly to the press?)

Hartvig
Guest

bstar- I can’t find anything about Ferrell punching his manager except that he once threatened to punch his manager in Washington, Joe Cronin, in the nose. He did once however punch himself in the face after being removed by a manager.

http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/81a7570e

bstar
Guest
Hartvig, I can’t find it either, which is frustrating me. I went pretty deep on Ferrell when he first got on the ballot because of the unusual nature of his case as regards to how to properly value his hitting, but I can’t find any reference to this incident in any of the old Baseball Think Factory threads about Ferrell. I thought maybe I read about this incident in an excerpt from Mark Armour’s book about Joe Cronin, but that would have meant that Ferrell punched Cronin and I’m sure we all would have known about that had it happened.… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
I wasn’t disputing your rankings and can certainly understand how when after a player blows up at a manager, refuses to give him the ball and storms off of the field and then someone gets punched in the face your brain would logically file someone getting punched in the face as the player punching the manager or maybe the manager punching the player. I mostly thought it was funny as all get out that Ferrell punched himself out. And then when that apparently didn’t work smacked his head up against a concrete wall. I’m only surprised after all that he… Read more »
JEV
Guest

Goslin, Wilhelm, Waddell

Hub Kid
Guest
The COG can be said to be a “small hall”, and I think these three belong in a 121 player Hall, just as much as they belong in the real one, which has so far missed the boat: Dick Allen – career 156 OPS+!, 1964 ROY, 1972 MVP (nearly 9 WAR in each), 58.7 bWAR (69.9 oWAR), 32.9 bWAA, held back by racism & the reserve clause Wes Ferrell – Koufaxian peak 1929-1936, a very good hitter, 61.5 bWAR/36.6 bWAA including batting Luis Tiant – interesting career arc including recovery from mid career slump, 66.1 bWAR, 34.5 bWAA, 4 Cy-worthy… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Is the COG really a “small hall,” or is it just smallish. I think it’s the latter, myself. A small hall would only have about 70 members, the fifty or so no one but an idiot or a chronic contrarian would deny entrance, and another twenty to argue over. The problem with the current voting is that the credentials of this tired list of candidates, individually and collectively, aren’t “small hall” caliber. The three leaders in the voting, as of this comment—Wilhelm, Waddell, and Winfield—are jockeying for a place not against the big names among previous inductees but the lesser… Read more »
CursedClevelander
Guest
True, it’s not quite a “small hall,” but I think with every exercise like this, the debate is going to focus around the guys at the borderline. Like you noted, if we did a Top 70, 40-50 of those would be no doubt guys, and the other 20 or so would be heavily contested. If we did a Top 10, the debates would be on, say, Musial vs. Speaker, or Schmidt vs. Berra. With our current system, we’re debating the holdovers we’ve been tossing around for months now. If it was a Top 1,000, we’d be discussing the relative merits… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
Looking at this with emphasis on the “Great” in Circle of Greats. Which of the fellas on this ballot can be assigned that adjective? Reuschel: One truly great year. Half a dozen you can call excellent. Solid for a decade, then an impressive return after three years of injuries. Tiant: Two Great seasons, way above average in 7 others. And like Rueschel, three years of garbage right in the middle due to injury. Brown: WAR says he had a great peak (behind only Pedro). Led two teams to pennants. His story gets muddy with talk of PEDs and a bad… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

Voomo, Could you add your take on Wallace, just to complete the set? I enjoyed reading this.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Ah. Missed one. Thanks.

Wallace:

Comparing him to Dahlen:
800 less PA
.050 less OPS
347 less SB
500 less Runs

Also gets a lot of his value from Defense. Though, again, I don’t understand the defensive stats. I know they barely had gloves back then, but 25 Rfield in a season with 66 errors? I need a good explanation.

Conclusion: I can’t see him getting in before Dahlen.

David P
Guest

Voomo –

Wallace’s 66 errors were about average for that season. And his fielding % was actually above average (.929 vs .912 league average). Meanwhile, he led all shortstops in Range Factor/Game, Double Plays turned, and assists.

Hartvig
Guest

Loved, loved, loved, loved this.
I think your assessments are all quite reasonable and altho undoubtedly longer comments like Dr. Doom’s or epm’s paint a more nuanced picture you’ve done a pretty remarkable job of summing up.
At a minimum this should serve as an excellent platform on which to base further discussion.
Now I have GOT to go check out Dahlen’s defensive stats…

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
A hit against Dahlen: Those early seasons where he was putting up big offensive numbers were in a league with teams scoring 6+ runs per game. In 1894, his BIG season, the NL teams averaged 7.44 runs per game. Taking that season and using the neutralizing tool, speculating as to what he would do in a 2014 NL neutral park: .359 / .445 / .566 / 1.011 becomes .268 / .345 / .422 / .767 __________________________ Here’s that same awful trick played upon the great Hugh Duffy: .440 / .502 / .694 / 1.196 .328 / .386 / .513 /… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Yes, 1894 was like 1930 or 1987: an outlier year. But Dahlen’s OPS+ is still 138, and two years later it’s 156. No matter how you slice it, Dahlen was a top hitter in ’94 and ’96: #8 and #5 in oWAR, excellent for anyone, and especially so for a strong defensive shortstop. In 1902, his line of .264/.329/.353/.682 was also #8 in oWAR, like 359/.445/.566/1.011 in 1894, so if we have to devalue 1894, we have to revalue 1902 (his WAR for 1902 was about the same). I’m not sure Dahlen will be on my list of three –… Read more »
bstar
Guest

“Free swinger” is maybe not the best way to describe Dick Allen as a hitter. That term is usually reserved for players who swing at everything and rarely walk.

Allen struck out a lot, like most power hitters, but his walk ratios were well above-average every year of his career. He finished in the top 10 in his league in free passes 7 times and even led the AL in that category in 1977.

Chris
Guest

Allen, Ashburn, Simmons

Andy
Guest
I’m going with Waddell, Dahlen, and Wilhelm. I believe Waddell is the best example of a dominant player of the remaining holdovers, and he has enough longevity to form a COG-worthy career. Dahlen was an above-average hitter and a great defensive shortstop who could also run. He had the type of career that gets overlooked by HOF voters, but his consistency over many years combined with his lack of weaknesses appeals to me. I ultimately am going with Wilhelm as my third choice because Wilhelm excelled in every circumstance thrown his way. The fact that he was a very good… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

On another subject, Martin O’Malley and Mike Huckabee will have to wait for redemption rounds.

Dave Humbert
Guest
A few more words on Bobby Wallace (sorry in advance for the length): It has been mentioned that despite his high WAR, poor support by the BBWAA in early ballots may cast some doubt on his reputation/perceived value. I did some research on BBWAA and Old Timer/Veteran’s Committee voting from 1936 to 1953 to see what the voting patterns might indicate. The results were interesting to say the least. In 1936, the BBWAA voted on a premade list of 50 players. 24 of them got at least 5% of the vote, and 5 true immortals got 75% plus: Cobb, Wagner,… Read more »
Dave Humbert
Guest
Bobby Wallace is likely one of the least known hall of famers we get to consider. Is he good enough for the COG? It has been suggested his 76.2 WAR is hard to quantify and that perhaps his defensive skills were overrated. Does he stand out playing in the time of Wagner, Dahlen and Davis? My two cents on his behalf: How good was he defensively? Faith in defensive stats for early players is a bit shaky, but the Veteran’s Committee in 1953 was not relying on advanced stats. They elected him based on his reputation as a premier defensive… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Some comments on Waddell, positive and negative. In 1901 he jumped ship on the Cubs and ended up in Sunny California. The first third or so of the 1902 season he spent pitching for the LA team on the west coast, going 11-8 with a 2.42 ERA. Connie Mack brought him back east, and in the last 2/3 of the season he was 24-7 for the A’s with a 2.05 ERA. He led the AL in strikeouts with 210. (Seems like the AL was easier competition, as an aside.) In 1903 Waddell was suspended on Aug 25 for the remainder… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
I don’t know that not being a “team player” quite captures it, nsb. I’ve posted some descriptions of Waddell by his contemporaries on earlier strings, and it’s pretty clear to me that he was what we would call today “developmentally disabled.” He seems never to have developed mature intellectual and emotional capacities, and once he realized he was a “star” he would have been almost impossible to control. He seems to have seen himself as a kind of kid’s hero – he not only chased after fire engines to be at scenes where he might display his valor, but to… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

epm:

I don’t really think we disagree. The “team player” remark was irony, and otherwise my points correspond with yours: 1) his performance level those three seasons was really far higher than it appears in the yearly stat summations; 2) there was probably no way to filter out his personality disorders without impacting negatively on his effectiveness.

I don’t have time right now to elaborate, unfortunately.

brent
Guest

Dennis Rodman comes to my mind when I think of Rube Waddell

David P
Guest
I’m not buying it EPM. We’re supposed to believe that Wadell was a) developmentally disabled, 2) emotionally disturbed, 3) irresponsible and impulsive, 4) an alcoholic. And yet, at the same time, he was disciplined enough to become one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball? In what universe does that story make any sense at all? I think the things that everyone can agree upon is that he was a great pitcher and that he had a drinking problem. Beyond that, it seems to me that he was likely a bit eccentric. And given the way “news” worked… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Well, Dave, I don’t think there’s any dispute that Waddell was irresponsible and impulsive, or that he was an alcoholic, and I didn’t say he was emotionally disturbed, I said he was emotionally immature. Unless you simply write off everything but Bowles’s “interview,” I don’t see how that’s disputable. It seems to me that what you’re saying is that in our universe someone of low intelligence and poor discipline cannot be a great athlete. I don’t see why not, and I’ve never heard any account of Waddell’s training or discipline, only of his ability. I think you may be placing… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest
There’s long been a rumor that the injury in 1905 (Sept 8th) was a cover-up story for gamblers paying Waddell not to pitch in the 1905 WS against the Giants: SOURCE: http://philadelphiaathletics.org/the-1905-athletics-american-league-champions/ “…As the trial for the eight Sox players accused of “throwing” the 1919 World Series approached, old-time ball players and officials reminisced about efforts by gamblers to “fix” games in days gone by. One person who spoke openly about such incidents was Horace Fogel, former president of the Philadelphia Phillies. Fogel claimed in a newspaper interview that a group of New York gamblers, headed by little Tim Sullivan,… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Some part of the story may be true, but if the presumed injury or lie about it occurred on September 8, and the season ended on October 8, which it did, a major part of the story has to be wrong. Either the injury was real, or it was faked to undermine the A’s chances of winning the pennant, not the Series: they were 4.5 games up on the ChiSox at the time, and though both teams played well in the last month, Chicago played better, gaining 4 games in the win column to end in a virtual tie, but… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
The reason I have never credited this rumor, Lawrence, is because, as your account specifies, the injury occurred well before the Series, with 30 games left to play. Even if gamblers had made such an offer on speculation so far in advance, it makes no sense for Waddell to have purposefully injured himself weeks ahead of time – nor would gamblers have wanted him to, since they would have lost their initial investment if the Athletics had folded and not appeared in the Series, as they almost did. Moreover, the injury was the result of physical play between Waddell and… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest
Wow, looks like I stirred up quite a hornet’s nest, so to speak. I don’t fully believe myself the story about him taking money from gamblers at the end of 1905 and faking the injury, but when the whole ‘straw hat’ etc… story came up about Waddell, I recalled that part of the controversy, so I thought I’d throw it into the mix, so to speak. Hey, when we are discussing The Life And Times Of ‘Rube’ Waddell, we are trying to interpret events that mostly happened 100 to 115 years ago. Everyone involved with these events passed on 30-50… Read more »
koma
Guest

Hoyt Wilhelm, Kevin Brown, Goose Goslin

mosc
Guest

Nettles, Ferrell, Dawson

Winfield love is fine but how can you argue he was better than Dawson? An overrated right fielder vs a super speed center fielder. There’s a reason Dawson leads WAA by a whopping 25%.

I got no room for Drysdale and Wilhelm who I wouldn’t mind getting either.

David P
Guest

Four points Mosc:

1) Daswon has a 21.5% lead in WAA, not 25% (28.8 vs 23.7).

2) Dawson’s lead in WAA is predicated on buying 100% into the WAR defensive stats. There’s plenty of reason to believe that they’re not accurate where Winfield is concerned.

3) Winfield was super speedy as well and in fact was a much better baserunner than Dawson (+38 Rbaser vs +14).

4) Although Dawson played center field in his prime, at the end of the day, the position where he logged the majority of his innings was right field, just like Winfield.

dr-remulak
Guest

Winfield, Nettles, Waddell.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Initial update, following dr-remulak’s post (11th ballot cast); in what can only be described as a STUNNING early lead for someone who’s never really been in the conversation before, look what’s going on:

4 – Luis Tiant, Hoyt Wilhelm*
3 – Dick Allen*, Wes Ferrell, Goose Goslin*, Graig Nettles*, Rube Waddell*
===========25% (3)
2 – Richie Ashburn, Kevin Brown*, Andre Dawson, Dave Winfield
===========10% (2)
1 – Bill Dahlen, Ted Simmons
0 – Don Drysdale, Rick Reuschel, Bobby Wallace

David Horwich
Guest

Through 11 ballots (prior to brent’s, below) I have Waddell with 4 votes (Paul E, JEV, Andy, dr remulak) and Dawson with 1 (mosc).

Dr. Doom
Guest

Right you are; I just audited my stuff, and I had miscounted dr-remulak’s ballot. It is now corrected. Thanks for noticing!

brent
Guest

Waddell Goslin and Wilhelm

billh
Guest

Allen, Waddell, Winfield

with apologies to Dawson and Nettles, but we only get 3 votes.

David Horwich
Guest

Nettles, Tiant, Winfield

Stephen
Guest

Ashburn, Wallace, Dahlen

T-Bone
Guest

I think I posted as a reply to a post from Hartvig on 2/1 at 7:27pm in error and my vote was in it as well as a comment about Dick Allen.

My vote was Dick Allen, Reuschel, Waddell.

Sorry for the confusion.

David Horwich
Guest

Thanks for pointing that out; I had indeed missed it.

Scary Tuna
Guest

Waddell, Wallace, Winfield.

David Horwich
Guest

Update through 17 ballots (Scary Tuna):

8 – Waddell*
5 – Allen*, Tiant, Wilhelm*, Winfield
================25% (5)
4 – Goslin*, Nettles*
3 – Ashburn, Ferrell
2 – Brown*, Dahlen, Wallace
================10% (2)
1 – Dawson, Reuschel, Simmons
0 – Drysdale

aweb
Guest

Brown
Winfield
Dawson

bstar
Guest

Allen, Wilhelm, Dawson

Hartvig
Guest
I wrote a long comment on why I wasn’t voting for certain players but about half way thru the 3 & 4th players (who I had lumped together) I went back a read what I had written from the beginning and it just seemed too harsh and overly critical. The reality is that I can see a case for all of these guys- well, maybe not Simmons and I hadn’t even gotten around to him yet- but at this level, where there are no clear standouts, there are pluses and minuses for everyone. Until I can think of a better… Read more »
brp
Guest

Vote:
Hoyt Wilhelm
Richie Ashburn
Andre Dawson

Brendan Burke
Guest

Winfield, Drysdale, Wilhelm

Hub Kid
Guest

Just a quick comment to say thanks to Doug for keeping the COG going strong through to 120 – this penultimate round sure is exciting!

Doug
Guest

Thanks Hub Kid.

Bruce Gilbert
Guest

Waddell, Wilhelm and Winfield. Waddell is a top-twenty starter all-time, and would have been top-ten with modern meds; while Wilhelm is the second greatest reliever of all-time, despite not making MLB full-time until age 29. Winfield edges out Dahlen for the third and final spot on my ballot.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Wes Ferrell’s pitching arm was done in the majors at age 33.

Didja know he then went to the lower leagues and continued to play?

At age 34, as a Second Baseman:

.361 BA
31 HR

Then he took most of SIX years off, came back to the Western Carolina League, and batted:

.425

with 30 doubles, 14 triples, and 24 goners in 104 games.
________________

Dr. Doom
Guest

Through 23 ballots in a very packed and exciting round, it’s all about the Ws at the top – I don’t mean “wins,” though. Just the initial.

9 – Rube Waddell*, Hoyt Wilhelm*
8 – Dave Winfield
6 – Dick Allen*
============25% (6)
5 – Richie Ashburn, Graig Nettles*, Luis Tiant
4 – Andre Dawson, Wes Ferrell, Goose Goslin*
3 – Kevin Brown
============10% (3)
2 – Bill Dahlen, Bobby Wallace
1 – Don Drysdale, Rick Reuschel, Ted Simmons

Jeff B
Guest

Ashburn, Dawson and Winfield

Steve
Guest

Hoyt Wilhelm, Goose Goslin, Ted Simmons – Seems to me that there will continue to be new voting rounds until ” the best pitcher on planet earth from 1996-2000″ gets elected. sorry but a few very good years does not make up for an otherwise mediocre career.

Paul E
Guest

Steve,
Yeah, for me it’s the PED thing with Brown. Check out WAR, ages 31-35
1 Bob Gibson 38.0 1967 1971
2 Gaylord Perry 37.3 1970 1974
3 Kevin Brown 36.9 1996 2000
4 Lefty Grove 36.0 1931 1935
5 Roger Clemens 35.8 1994 1998
6 Joe McGinnity 35.5 1902 1906
7 Curt Schilling 33.6 1998 2002
8 Randy Johnson 32.8 1995 1999
9 Red Faber 32.6 1920 1924
10 Jim Bunning 31.7 1963 1967

Paul E
Guest

…and then there’s this one – ERA+ , ages 31-38, 1,200+ IP:
1 Randy Johnson 177 1763.0 1995 2002
2 Cy Young 161 1798.1 1901 1905 age 34-38
3 Kevin Brown 157 1600.0 1996 2003
4 Lefty Grove 156 1917.0 1931 1938
5 Roger Clemens 143 1664.1 1994 2001
6 Greg Maddux 142 1815.2 1997 2004
7 Curt Schilling 136 1663.1 1998 2005
8 Bob Gibson 135 2046.2 1967 1974
9 Mordecai Brown 132 1951.1 1908 1915
Once again, probably the best pitcher on the ballot, but I guess I have a problem with PED’s or PED suspicion

Dr. Doom
Guest
The snarky response would be for me to say, “Which is why we kept Sandy Koufax out of the COG.” The rest of his career is significantly worse than Brown’s. And saying, “Yeah, but his five best years were WAY better” would be a good argument – if it were true. But it’s not. Koufax’s five-year peak WAR was 40.9; Brown’s was 36.9 – but that’s just pitching WAR. Koufax was worth -1.7 WAR with the bat over his top 5 years. Brown was also a bad hitter, even for a pitcher, but was worth only -0.7 in his best… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
Doom. PEDS is an issue for me. It’s been that way all the way through. Brown’s numbers would put him in the discussion, but PEDS takes him out (for me). Kevin Brown pitched the first eight years of his career in Texas. He had an ERA+ of 108 over 1279 IP with 5.2 K/9. He’s above average, but not spectacular. Then he goes to Baltimore for a year, where he has good peripherals although pedestrian rate states–his K-9 is 6.1. Then, at the age of 31, he heads to Florida and suddenly takes a huge leap forward. I just don’t… Read more »
CursedClevelander
Guest
The one inconsistency I see with the PED argument is that his 2nd best year was 1996, when his K/9 was basically the same as it was in Baltimore. Then in 1997 his K/9 shoots up, but overall he wasn’t quite as good as in 96. Of course in 1998 his K/9 rockets up even higher, all the way to 9.0, and he has his best year ever by bWAR. I just wish we had more information about those years, like pitch F/x data, to see if something changed about his repertoire. Or did his strategy/philosophy change – was he… Read more »
Joseph
Guest
Maybe we need two COG. One where we consider PEDs and one where we don’t. They do confuse the issues for me. Generally, I try to infer from what the player did without them. So Bonds would have been great for me, based only on his early years. McGwire? I’m thinking maybe 100 HRs less (maybe more) and not quite good enough for the COG. But this is all total guess work. I’ve both voted for Brown despite the PEDs issue and withheld my vote because of that issue. He’s borderline for me.
no statistician but
Guest

Doom:

Two points in reply:

1) My response on Koufax was to indicate that comparing them gets you no place, really.

1) As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this string, it isn’t that Brown’s peak stats aren’t outstanding; it’s that I don’t think they can’t be trusted. You think they can—fine.

no statistician but
Guest
Doom: At age 30, Koufax was forced to retire. All his WAR was achieved. By the end of his age 30 season, in contrast, Brown had accumulated 22.1 WAR. Brown was a truly abysmal pitcher at age 22, going 1-11 in the upper minors with an ERA of 6.49. Koufax at 22 was 11-11 with a losing team but a big league team, and and ERA of 4.48. Ages 24-26 Brown put up WAR of 3.6, 2.1, and 1.6. Koufax those three years of life had WAR tallies of 1.5, 5.7, and 4.4 in an injury shortened season. Brown mysteriously… Read more »
CursedClevelander
Guest
I don’t think even Brown’s most fervent supporters would try to put him in the “HoF’er before they ever even touched a steroid” class with Clemens and Bonds. The problem is that he might have been – if the Mitchell Report is accurate, then Brown’s peak came before his PED use. But I get why people suspect he used earlier – his attitude doesn’t exactly do him any favors when it comes to getting the benefit of the doubt, and he suddenly got much better at an age where that’s not very common (including a jump in his strikeout rate,… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
C.C., Just one thing I think is slightly off in this very good analysis. The Mitchell Report does not suggest that Brown started using only after his peak. It states that the commission received testimony that he got PEDs from certain sources during certain years later in his career; it says nothing one way or another about whether he received PEDs from other sources in earlier years. The suspicion about earlier use was not prompted by his numbers; it’s prompted by the numbers in light of testimony that at a different period he was a user. I do think you’re… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
nsb, At the end of his age 30 season, Randy Johnson had 19.9 WAR. His peak was even weirder than Brown’s. He has a VERY tight chronological similarity. But for “reasons,” no one has any problem with him in the COG. And I can’t imagine anyone actually believes that Koufax is better than Johnson. Some pitchers peak later REGARDLESS of PED use. Koufax doesn’t get bonus points for his career ending early. Brown and Johnson don’t get punished for not being so great in their 20s. Let’s just be fair and judge people on what they DID, not what they… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Also, for the record, Curt Schilling was two years younger than Kevin Brown. In his career, he pitched FIVE more innings than Brown – so basically identical. They both had a 127 ERA+. Schill had 23.3 WAR at the end of his age-30 season, while Brown had 22.1. Schilling’s best 5-year stretch started even LATER, when PEDs were running rampant in baseball. I don’t think anyone believes that Schilling used PEDs – he just had a late peak. Why are we unwilling to believe that Brown could’ve just had a late peak, regardless of his PED use? statistically, over the… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
Doom, Randy Johnson was a physical anomaly. There were a lot of baseball people who thought he was so big and lanky he would never get control of his delivery. In his age 26-28 seasons, he walked 316. His major step forward began in his age 29 year and he had 12.3 WAR combined in age 29/30–twice what Brown had. I’m not sure you can compare the two. As for Schilling (someone I strongly dislike and have no reason to defend) he had already had one exceptional year at age 25–his problem was that he couldn’t stay healthy when he… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
nsb (above) I think you’re 100% right about us disagreeing on PEDs. I’m sure that’s at the heart of the issue. And all the pleading I do will fall on deaf ears, no matter what arguments come about. Mike L, I don’t think it really matters that Johnson was a physical anomaly. So what? He put it together late – sure, 29 instead of 31, but what’s the difference, really? He became inner-circle great WAY later. And again, with Schilling, so what? You have two guys with the same number of innings & same earned run prevention. Okay, so one… Read more »
CursedClevelander
Guest

Well, two things that push Schilling ahead of Brown:

1. The stellar postseason resume.

2. He actually posted here once, which is still IMO one of the coolest things that has happened in our history. I’ll always be a fan of Curt’s after that, no matter how many video game companies he runs into bankruptcy.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
Continuing the Brown/PED conversation down here (because dammit, bring the numbered comments back, please): _____________________________ So it has been what, 15 years, wince our society literally pulled its heads out of the sand with regards to steroids? And we’ve done, what, persecuted all of our heroes for the crime (letting F.P. Santangelo get a pass) and made almost no progress into examining how to use the technology safely (as the oracle Canseco suggested would eventually happen)? So here we are now, trying to assess who was good, who was great, and whose greatness came out of a needle. And much… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

oh, i thought i was doing it at the bottom. oh well………

Joseph
Guest

All this discussion has convinced me not only that Brown doesn’t belong, but that we should be able to vote to expel Koufax. His four great years, and a few more above average ones, aren’t enough.

Can we do a referendum on Koufax?

Dr. Doom
Guest
I think most people here are pretty unanimously anti-referendum, largely because our voters have changed so significantly over time. It seems unfair to say that certain people’s votes counted at one time, but at some OTHER time, any of our votes could be tossed aside by a different group of people. There are an awful lot of controversial players in the COG – Larry Walker and Whitey Ford receiving the brunt of the venom, to the best of my recollection – but we just kind of live with what we’ve got. Just like the regular Hall of Fame. Mistakes may… Read more »
Joseph
Guest

I wasn’t really serious about the referendum, and I agree with your reasoning.

But all the discussion did convince that Koufax’s peak wasn’t really long enough for him to be in the COG, in my opinion.

Although, at his peak, I would put him on my short list of amazingly great pitchers.

David Horwich
Guest

Koufax’s election wasn’t a slam dunk; it took him 19 rounds to get in (although he had such a strong base of support it was evident he was going to get in sooner or later).

Shard
Guest

Ashburn – Drysdale – Goslin

oneblankspace
Guest

putting my vote this round for:

H.Wilhelm, who retired with the career lead in saves
T.Simmons, the career bWAR leader among switch-hitting catchers
D.Drysdale, because I need a third

bWAR, switch-hitting catchers
50.1 — T. Simmons
45.0 — W. Schang
42.7 — J. Posada
32.5 — V. Martínez
26.3 — B. Wynegar
24.3 — J. Varitek
14.6 — M. Wieters
13.7 — G. Zaun
11.1 — A. Ashby
10.8 — T. Hundley

MJ
Guest

Bill Dahlen, Bobby Wallace, Rick Reuschel

Kirk
Guest

Hoyt Wilhelm, Rick Reuschel, and Goose Goslin

Dr. Doom
Guest

I can’t imagine how or why, but people might be sick of me writing about Kevin Brown – so I’ll stop. Instead, here’s a vote update, through Kirk (the 29th ballot cast):

12 – Hoyt Wilhelm*
9 – Rube Waddell*, Dave Winfield
======25% (8)
7 – Richie Ashburn, Goose Goslin*
6 – Dick Allen*
5 – Andre Dawson, Graig Nettles*, Luis Tiant
4 – Wes Ferrell
3 – Kevin Brown*, Bill Dahlen, Don Drysdale, Rick Reuschel, Ted Simmons, Bobby Wallace
======10% (3)

All those folks at 3 votes drop below 10% once two more votes are cast, if they’re not named on those next two ballots.

bstar
Guest

Doom, you’re not posting too much in defense of Brown. When multiple people are coming at you from different angles, sometimes you have to write more than you normally do. I’ve been in that hot seat before.

This conversation probably needed to happen.

Mike L
Guest
Doom, because I have no idea where to put this. I’m not voting for Kevin Brown. I don’t think I’ve voted for any PED user–including I-Rod, who shows up at 3rd on JAWS. To Voomo’s point, Schilling himself admits he spent many a happy afternoon on the mound on Toradol. However, in deference to Brown- admirers I won’t vote if I’m the 31st and last vote (or, if the circumstance occurs, the 40th vote). This is getting like the Iowa caucuses–except for the part where one of us secretly contacts the other voters to tell them that their favorite has… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

Mike, Brown has plenty of rounds of eligibility remaining. No need to worry about his getting bumped off the ballot.

Joseph
Guest
I fear Nettles will not quite make it into the circle of greats, but I’m going to make my pitch anyways. Clearly, there are a lot of these players who are very close. Instead of the way I did it earlier (if anyone wants links, I will provide them), I will give some comparisons with the players left: Dawson: Nettles has higher WAR–64.5 to 68. People say that Nettles picked up too much of his WAR from unreliable dWAR–but look at the oWAR for these two–52.3 for Nettles and 54.6. Despite his lower BA, Nettles achieved a slightly higher OBP.… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Just a slight correction on Goslin, Joseph. He finished in the top ten in home runs in the AL 10 times 1924-36. His home field for much of that era was Griffith Stadium, where most of the outfield fence lay 440 feet or more from the plate, keeping everyone’s production down. Don’t know how old you are, but even in the 1050’s when I was growing up, 20 home runs was viewed as an exceptional total, and double digits were regarded as respectable. It’s only been in the last three decades that big HR totals all over have come to… Read more »
Joseph
Guest

My really bad–Goslin was 8th in HRs from 1920 through 1939. Okay, I’m not always right. Maybe rarely. I’ll probably vote for him.

Richard Chester
Guest

Goslin is the only player with a career of fewer than 10000 PA to accumulate the following:
2700+ H
1800+ 1B
500+ 2B
170+ 3B
200+ HR
1400+ R
1600+ RBI
.300+ BA
.400+ wOBA
125+ RC+
He has hit 64 more HR on the road than at home. Only Joe DiMaggio has more.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Goslin hit a little over 36% of his career HR at home (92 of 248), which is probably a record if you set the ‘minimum career HR’ high enough (I’m guessing 200+ career HR). Joe DiMaggio had about 41% of his HR at home. Joe Adcock also had one of the lower percentages of home Hrs, about 43% (137 of 316).

For lower career HR totals – Gil McDougald hit only 29 of 116 career HR at home, or exactly 25%. Maz had 45 career home HR out of 138 total, or just over 33%.

Hartvig
Guest

“but even in the 1050’s when I was growing up”

I know that’s just a typo- one that I have committed innumerable times myself- but just reading along and taking it in context for whatever reason it struck me as hilarious.

To think that we thought it a big deal when Curt Schilling weighed in when we already have Merlin in our midst.

no statistician but
Guest

Actually, Merlin was somewhat earlier, but I fought in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. William the Conqueror had an OPS+ of 1.566 that year.

brent
Guest

1066 was a true knock out tourney, with Harold Godwinson knocking out the other Harald then turning around and trying beat William the Conqueror a couple weeks later. His team/army just didn’t perform in Round 2.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
A retort or two to your points regarding Wilhelm: __________ “A relief pitcher who never led the league in saves or WAR” Pitchers weren’t specialists back then. Saves? So what? As for WAR, as you said, he was a reliever. How is he going to lead the league in WAR? … But, in his one full year as a Starter, he was 2nd in WAR. Not 2nd among pitchers. 2nd for all players. ________________ “He had a very short peak.” Wilhelm was effective for over 20 years and was putting up sub-2 ERAs until he was 45. ________________ “He has… Read more »
Joseph
Guest

Good points. And I think there’s only one reliever that deserves to be in. And he is. 😉

Hartvig
Guest
I apologize if this turns out to be a redundant post but I’m not seeing my original comment. “As for WAR, as you said, he was a reliever. How is he going to lead the league in WAR?” And that is my issue with “relief” pitchers. A pitcher is a pitcher is a pitcher. A run in the 1st inning counts the same as one in the 9th. I understand making an adjustment for catchers. It’s pretty clear that the physical demands of the position not only tend to shorten careers but even limit the number of games that a… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
A pitcher is a pitcher, yes. And an inning is an inning. Wilhelm did Not have a longer career than Koufax. Koufax pitched exactly 70 more innings. Sandy played in 397 games. Hoyt had the opportunity to positively influence 1070. I would make no argument for any modern-day reliever outside of Mariano. Because they are almost all coddled one-inning specialists, and only a handful of them ever touch 70 IP in a season. Omitting his 20 IP efforts in his age 48 and 49 years, he averaged 116 IP over 19 years. At age 42 he tossed 144 IP, with… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

Voomo:

A very persuasive piece of pleading.

David P
Guest
Sorry Voomo but your calculations are wrong. If you’re going to try and compare what Wilhelm did to what a starter did, you need to take out the leverage bonus. The would give Wilhelm 16.0 WAR for ages 38-47 instead of 25.8. So instead of being as effective as a 5.2 WAR starter, he was as effective as a 3.2 WAR starter during those 10 seasons. Beyond that, I can’t begin to see a persuasive case for Wilhelm over say David Cone (who I realize isn’t on the ballot). Cone pitched about 650 more innings than Wilhelm and accumulated 11.6… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Okay. I can’t claim to fully understand how WAR is calculated. Happy to admit that.

I know that threw more innings in relief than anyone else in history. And batters put up the following line against him in a career that lasted until age 49:

.216 / .288 / .308 / .596

e pluribus munu
Guest
I’d like to reinforce nsb’s point about the significance of non-WAR dimensions. Although I think WAR and associated measures should be the foundation of a player’s CoG credentials, there are players who also either established new standards for the game, or who created a unique profile of excellence, or who simply dominated the game over a period of years that became thought of as their era – players like that have an additional claim to greatness. I think Wilhelm qualifies on the basis of his unique profile of excellence. I’m basically in agreement with Hartvig’s approach to reliever WAR –… Read more »
bstar
Guest

David P, Wilhelm’s leverage boost for the years Voomo mentioned is much less than you are suggesting. It’s only 2.4 WAR (WAAadj). That’s a small amount, less than 10% of his overall value.

I think maybe you forgot about replacement runs. Reliever WAR has three components.

reliever WAR = WAA + WAAadj (leverage) + replacement value.

Wilhelm has 73 replacement runs in that time frame (RAR – RAA).

no statistician but
Guest
I think the arguments here are getting a little over-WAR-centric. David P: As I recall, you’re a booster of Dave Winfield, and dismiss the dWAR that clouds his record as an anomaly. Fine. I’m willing to throw out all defensive WAR readings if you are (and—crash!— there goes Nettles off the ballot), but where does that leave Winfield from a batting WAR position, really? Well—as a generator of offensive WAR he finished second in his league one year, fourth twice, seventh once and ninth once. And that’s it. His WAR batting record, in other words, seems to be built on… Read more »
David P
Guest

You make some great points NSB and I don’t really have a rejoinder. We’re clearly down in the weeds with no Ruths or Mays or Aarons to bail us out. We’re just making wild guesses as to which of these remaining players are better than the other options on the ballot. I advocated for Winfield but I can’t really say that he’s significantly better than many of the other players on the ballot (or even a lot of players who aren’t on the ballot).

Hartvig
Guest
I concede that was the bulk of my argument and it is worth looking at other factors. A handful of elections ago we had a similar discussion about Wilhelm and someone- and I apologize for not remembering who it was who did this excellent work- researched the impact of Wilhelm’s unearned runs (because of all the passed balls & wild pitches) and it didn’t appear to be very significant. But then we talked about the potential impact of earned runs charged to other pitchers as a result of those passed balls, etc. and that same person said they might look… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

Hartvig, I remember once making this point about Wilhelm, but I think I also concluded by noting that after 1960, GMs probably were always sure that their deal was great because Wilhelm could never last another season at his age.

Wilhelm hit the only true trough of his career in 1955-57, so the 1957 trade/waiver makes perfect sense. The Indians’ 1958 waiver just shows what a clueless GM Frank Lane was, and the Orioles’ snapping Wilhelm up at (so they thought) age 35 (he was actually 36) is a reflection of what a good baseball mind Paul Richards had.

e pluribus munu
Guest

By the way, it was Kahuna Tuna who posted that excellent analysis of Wilhelm’s unearned runs and their impact. The comment can be found on the 1875 ballot string.

Joseph
Guest

Apparently, the pro-Wilhelm sentiment is going to prevail. But I just don’t get it. Maybe because I’m dense.

Gary Bateman
Guest
My issue here is not necessarily “why not Nettles”, although I prefer both Ashburn and Goslin (whom I have voted for continually) and believe Wilhelm is more deserving in a Circle of Greats for what his career meant to relief pitching. My issue is the peer (or near peer) third basemen not being voted on in this election–Boyer, Bell and Bando, all of whom have more WAR/162 than Nettles, if I calculate correctly. Boyer beats Nettles by nearly 1 win. To me, that is significant. I wish there were a couple more third basemen in the COG, but I can’t… Read more »
Joseph
Guest

All very close, I agree–but not on the ballot.

bstar
Guest

Gary, a lot of Boyer’s WAR-rate advantage over Nettles is simply worse longevity. Boyer played his last season as a regular at age 35 while Nettles was putting up 400-500 PA seasons until age 41.

If you just compare the ages where they were both regulars (ages 25-35), Boyer’s WAR-rate advantage is negligible:

Boyer: 59 WAR in 7000 PA
Nettles: 56 WAR in 6800 PA

T-Bone
Guest
As one who has voted many times for Wilhelm, I am leaning towards the relievers aren’t as valuable as starters camp. I understand both schools of thought but for Wilhelm only, outside of Rivera, do I consider him to be the exception to that rule. Not that he’s more valuable than a starter, but that in the time that he played, he was at least as valuable. We’ve all looked at WAR and compared that to other players and in many cases that is sufficient to make a decision on whether a player is a COG player or not. It’s… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
It seems to me that James leaves out an important aspect of the starter vs. closer equation. One of the reasons for scarcity among closers is because a disproportionate number of MLB-quality potential closers are already occupied in starter roles, which provide greater total value. I believe there is little or no evidence that as a general rule, a starting pitcher who can get good results at the beginning of his career could not be converted to a closer and have excellent results – results that resemble their peak-inning records. We don’t usually see this happen, because teams are not… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
EPM, Ron Guidry once said that Rivera reminded him of himself–not a big frame, very fluid motion with unusual late movement. I’m not sure whether Rivera could have ever developed into a mid-range starter, because Buck saw what an absurd weapon he was and utilized it. But one observation I might make is that Guidry did not hold up, long term, as a power pitcher (Billy Martin hastened that) and became more reliant on location and changing speeds later in his career. We’ve never seriously considered Guidry for COG, and perhaps that would have been Mo’s arc as well.
e pluribus munu
Guest

Could be, Mike. Actually, my point wasn’t that Rivera couldn’t have developed into a starter, but rather that there are likely quite a number of starters who could have developed into a Rivera-quality closer. Perhaps Guidry could have been one of them, just as Mo might have been Guidry.

What makes Rivera unique, under this theory, is the fact that a pitcher of his quality was assigned the closer role. It worked out well. Despite being a closer, Rivera accumulated almost 20% more WAR than Guidry in just a bit over 50% of the innings.

Hartvig
Guest

Another factor in Rivera being moved and subsequently left in the closer roll is that the Yankees were perhaps the only franchise with the financial wherewithal to utilize- or more accurately possibly underutilize- a resource in that manner. During Rivera’s first 10 campaigns as the closer New York was able to pick up Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, David Cone, David Wells, Kevin Brown & Mike Mussina out of the free agent pool not to mention lesser lights such as Kenny Rogers, Denny Neagle, Hideki Irabu, Ted Lilly & others to pair with homegrown Andy Pettitte.

e pluribus munu
Guest
Yes, I think that’s a good point, Hartvig. Using Rivera as a closer was an extravagance of sorts. Of course, it’s also possible that he simply wouldn’t have had the gas to be a starter, as his short ten-start MLB career suggests. I guess the turning point was the 1995 season, where he was mostly used in the set-up slot, 2-3 innings, with great success. At that point, Torre could have sent him back to a starter role or moved him to closer. Wetteland’s free agency forced the issue for 1996, and then there was no shortage of quality starters,… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Goslin, Ferrell, Wilhelm

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
To the above posed question of how many relievers have qualified for the ERA title… ERA qualification has not always been based merely on IP (and has not always been standard at 162) – but as a general point of interest… Most IP in a season, with less than 5 Starts: 208 … Mike Marshall 181 … Andy Karl (2) 179 … Mike Marshall 168 … Bob Stanley 168 … Bill Campbell 165 … Eddie Fisher 160 … Lindy McDaniel (3) 159 … Hoyt Wilhelm 159 … Wilbur Wood (2) 157 … Dick Radatz 157 … Mark Eichhorn 155 …… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

In 1982, Bob Stanley had 30 games in relief where he pitched at least 3 innings.

e pluribus munu
Guest
Wow, Voomo, the question was only rhetorical, but I really appreciate this research! (I’d thought of Marshall, but not of any of the others). No relievers could have won an ERA title before the rule change that altered the qualification from 10 complete games to one inning per scheduled game. (Does anyone know when that happened – sometime between 1940 and 1947? The Charlton Chronology seems to have disappeared online.) Konstanty missed the title by just two innings, and Eichhorn by five (how did he miss RoY honors?). I’d never heard of Andy Karl. What a season he had in… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Eichhorn’s ridiculous season got him Zero first place votes by the egg-salad-eating ‘writers’ who decided upon the awards in 1986.

He was a distant Third behind the more interesting narratives provided by the Cuban Chemist and the ticket-taker at Wally World.
_____________

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

What is interesting is that over in the NL, the runaway winner of ROY was Todd Worrell, a reliever.

WAR
7.4 … Eichhorn
2.6 … Worrell

The difference is that Worrell had hit the scene in late ’85, made an impact in the postseason, and… and he was a Closer. Led the league in Saves!

Also there was no Canseco and Joyner in the NL. Nobody who captured the nation’s attention.
Not that year at least.
But some of them soon would…

Robby Thompson
Will Clark
Kevin Mitchell
John Kruk
Barry Larkin.
And a lean, .223 hitting outfielder named Bonds.

Hartvig
Guest
Rookie of the Year is yet another poorly defined award that MLB hands out. The first one was given to a 28 year old World War 2 vet who had already spent a year competing against the likes of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. Since that time it’s been awarded to others who had played at least 5 full seasons of professional ball in Korea or Japan. Just a year ago it was given to a 27 year old who had spent a decade playing at the highest levels in Cuba. It’s been awarded to teenagers and 30-year olds (actually… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Vote:

Wes Ferrell
Rube Waddell
Hoyt Wilhelm

David Horwich
Guest

Totals through 31 ballots (through Voomo’s):

14 – Wilhelm*
10 – Waddell*
9 – Winfield
8 – Goslin*
==============25% (8)
7 – Ashburn
6 – Allen*, Ferrell
5 – Dawson, Nettles*, Tiant
==============10% (4)
3 – Brown*, Dahlen, Drysdale, Reuschel, Simmons, Wallace

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