Circle of Greats Round 121 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 121st round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This is the second 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 Association of America (BBWAA) in regular (116) or run-off (3) elections, plus the two members (Lou Gehrig, Roberto Clemente) enshrined by special election. This will be the final round of COG balloting until the next Hall of Fame members are elected by the BBWAA. 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 EST Thursday, February 18th, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EST Tuesday, February 16th.

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 121 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 list 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.

Holdovers:
Hoyt Wilhelm (eligibility guaranteed for 6 rounds)
Kevin Brown (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Goose Goslin (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Dick Allen (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Graig Nettles (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Dave Winfield (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)
Luis Tiant (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Bobby Wallace (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)

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210 Comments on "Circle of Greats Round 121 Balloting"

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Dr. Doom
Guest

Well, we’ve arrived. Final round. Thanks for the memories, everyone. Here’s my ballot, surprising no one:

Kevin Brown
Wes Ferrell
Luis Tiant

oneblankspace
Guest

and there’s 600 career votes for Brown

Dr. Doom
Guest

And, interestingly, that was MY 60th vote for Brown. So, for a little while there, I was responsible for exactly 10% of Brown’s votes. Yeesh.

JEV
Guest

Goslin, Brown, Drysdale

CursedClevelander
Guest

Hey, a lead for Brown! Sure, it’s about as likely to hold up as Kasich’s NH lead after Dixville Notch, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Andy
Guest

Dahlen, Wilhelm, Goslin

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Hmmm. I voted for both Wilhelm and Waddell last round, wanting both of them to get in.
But I wanted Wilhelm for sure.

That run-off would have been fun.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Well, I guess that you can toss that whole “strategic voting” business out now 🙂 :
– Dave Winfield (the biggest oversight of the COG for players actually in the real HOF)

after Winfield there’s no one else as obvious, but I do need to list three names, so…
-Goose Goslin – one of the biggest oversights by the BBWAA of post-1920 players later elected by the Veteran’s Committee, along with Arky Vaughn and Johnny Mize.
-Hoyt Wilhelm – best reliever not named Mariano

e pluribus munu
Guest

As this round gets started, perhaps we could all join in:

— A toast to birtelcom, for conceiving and initiating what is clearly the most popular and enduring HHS project ever.

— A toast to Doug for ensuring, with persistent effort, that everyone could follow through with the project when birtelcom was sidelined.

— And one final toast, looking forward to birtelcom’s complete recovery, and his return as a regular contributor!

Hartvig
Guest

Here, here!

To birtelcom and Doug- well done the both of you.

Joseph
Guest

I’ll drink to all of those, plus throw in a big thank you to everyone who participate in meaningful ways.

Richard Chester
Guest

Doug, birtelcom: You both did a great job.

Hub Kid
Guest

Excellent toasts to Doug and to birtelcom, EPM; I’ll join in with a second (or a fifth, technically).

Bryan O'Connor
Editor

Cheers indeed. A frivolity for so many of us was a Bondsian task for Birtelcom and Doug. Thank you both!

Hartvig
Guest

And I have it on good authority that they did it without the assistance of any PED’s- except for perhaps some caffeine & maybe a little alcohol.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Absolutely; thank you to birtelcom and Doug! This has been a remarkable project. In many ways, it’s the best “alternate Hall of Fame” project on the internet. I’m proud to have been a part of it, and we are SO LUCKY to have had birtelcom to invent and guide us through the process, and Doug to pick up the slack when birtelcom became unavailable. I share in your hope that birtelcom could return as a regular contributor. I miss his writing and insight greatly!

oneblankspace
Guest

The only thing like strategic voting we might have now is

–Why, the best left fielder and the only one worthy of getting in among everybody left on the ballot

and two guys that really aren’t going to get any votes from anybody, so they won’t knock Why out of the Circle:
–Mañana, LHP that has just been squeaking by at 10% and has never been close to challenging for election
–I Don’t Know, because we’re not going to vote in another third baseman

e pluribus munu
Guest
Here are my usual WAR figures for CoG candidates. 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 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 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 outside hitting role is represented only in the total WAR figure, and Wallace’s pitching adds 6.1, for a total of 76.3. WAR/Yr. includes only those seasons with 10 GS or 100 IP for starters, 20G for relievers, and 50G… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

Wow. Just wow. I was thinking about commenting on each of the players when I voted but I won’t even pretend I could have done anything even remotely this wonderful. Succinct and yet still thorough and evenhanded. You’ve hit the trifecta. Well done.

Mike L
Guest

Round 121? Yikes. My daughter was still in high school when this started. Remarkable job by Birtelcom and Doug to keep us engaged. Also, very appreciative of really exceptional contributions of many posters who have far greater sophistication than I do, too numerous to name–all of whom demonstrated very high WAR totals, both aggregate and Peak Value.

Now, I have to torture myself a little to figure out where these last votes go.

Dave Humbert
Guest
Here we are at Round 121. For those who like quotas and to see where we’ve been: COG electees by position: Top #’s by WAR are only among those we considered (Considering Carew & Banks as 1B, Molitor/Thomas/E. Martinez as DH, and also adding batting WAR for pitchers) C: 10 (Top 9 by WAR plus Campanella) On backlog: none 1B: 12 (Top 10 by WAR except Palmeiro, plus Killebrew/Greenberg/Sisler) On backlog: D. Allen (big peak) 2B: 13 (Top 10 by WAR plus Biggio/J. Robinson/Gordon) On backlog: none SS: 12 (Top 10 by WAR except Dahlen/Wallace, plus Larkin/Cronin/Reese/Boudreau) On backlog: Dahlen/Wallace… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

Really helpful ways of thinking about this, Dave.

Hartvig
Guest
Some things to also keep in mind. Most of the guys born in the 1870’s played at least part of their careers in the 1890’s in an 8 or 12 team league plus seasons when MLB expanded by one-third. At the same time they also played a lot of 140 game (or fewer) seasons. The dip in the 1920’s could be explained by WW2 (and to a lesser extent, the Korean War) as might some of the 40’s & 50’s by Vietnam. Some could also just be normal variance- add the 90’s & the 00’s together & divide by 2… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Joel Peralta just signed with Seattle.
His MLB career began at age 29.
He has appeared in 589 games.

Most Games Pitched, first 11 seasons of a career, age 29+ :

677 … Kent Tekulve
602 … Rafael Betancourt
596 … Matt Thornton
589 … Steve Reed
589 … Joel Peralta
576 … Hoyt Wilhelm
____________________

Doug
Guest

Peralta is also the only pitcher with eleven straight seasons of 20+ IP and no more than 3 wins. Tony Fossas, who is a few spots down on your list with 562 games, is the only other pitcher with 10 such seasons consecutively, starting in his second year.

koma
Guest

Hoyt Wilhelm, Kevin Brown, Goose Goslin

Richard Chester
Guest

Goslin, Wilhelm, Ferrell

Gary Bateman
Guest

Goslin, Ashburn, Wilhelm

KalineCountry
Guest

Wilhelm
Goslin
Winfield

David Horwich
Guest

Goslin, Nettles, Winfield

A bit of strategic voting, here at the end: there are 4 or 5 players I’d rather see get the final slot ahead of Wilhelm, so I’ll give my votes to the more likely contenders among them. E.g. I’ve voted for Tiant many times (33, to be precise), but he appears to have no chance, so I’m voting for Goslin instead. Nettles probably has no chance, either, so that vote is available if, say, a Wes Ferrell bandwagon starts rolling.

Doug
Guest

Tiant was the early leader last round, named on the 5 of the first 6 ballots. Then, didn’t poll another vote the rest of the way.

So much for rolling bandwagons.

Brendan Burke
Guest

Goslin, Winfield, Brown

Hartvig
Guest
I stated my misgivings about Wilhelm in the last election- at length in 2 separate posts- so I see no need to repeat them here (that’s enough cheering, thank you). I would only add that for any who think of Wilhelm as somehow pioneering any new ground to check out Firpo Mayberry or Joe Heving or Johnny Murphy or any number of similar players. epm has convinced me to yet again rethink how I have ranked some players and I’m pretty convinced this will be the final reshuffling. If Nettles or maybe a couple of others gain some real traction… Read more »
Bryan O'Connor
Editor
Most Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasonal totals: K. Brown 43.3 Dahlen 41.2 Reuschel 40.6 Ferrell 40.1 Wallace 38.6 Tiant 37.5 Allen 35.8 Nettles 35.7 Dawson 35.4 Ashburn 33.9 Goslin 31.7 Winfield 31.6 Drysdale 29.6 Wilhelm 28.7 By this method, seven of the eight most worthy players on this ballot are not in the Hall of Fame. I’ll limit my final ballot to that pool in hopes that one injustice is righted- or at least addressed. I must be close to 100 votes for Kevin Brown and I’m not stopping now. Dick Allen has been the best hitter on the… Read more »
brent
Guest

Wow, I cannot believe this is over.

Never have voted strategically and won’t again. May the best man win.

Goslin, Brown, Wilhelm

e pluribus munu
Guest
I’ve done a lot of strategic voting over our recent rounds; this time I’m going to start out with a straight vote, which I may change. I’m really struck by the way the early voting in Round 121 has been different from Round 120. With my vote, the 14th, Wallace, who had 8 votes last round, will have yet to pick up a single vote, while Goslin has shot out to a substantial lead over Wilhelm. Here’s my vote: 1. My top choice is Wilhelm. 2. Ferrell stays on my list (6.1 WAR for every season as a regular!). 3.… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

Here’s my count after 14 ballots (epm):

11 – Goose Goslin*
8 – Hoyt Wilhelm*
=======50% (7)
6 – Kevin Brown*
4 – Dave Winfield*, Wes Ferrell
=======25% (4)
2 – Richie Ashburn, Bill Dahlen, Graig Nettles*
1 – Dick Allen*, Luis Tiant, Don Drysdale
0 – Andre Dawson, Rick Reuschel, Bobby Wallace

Dr. Doom
Guest

That’s what I’ve got at this point, too. Fascinating race so far!

Paul E
Guest

Allen, Tiant, Wallace.
Am I crazy or does Bobby Wallace look like the comedian Marty Feldman?

It may have been a labor of love but, thanks again to Doug and Birtlecom for all their hard work on this project. It is truly appreciated.

Dr. Doom
Guest

All I had to do was picture Wallace saying, “Walk THIS way,” and it hit me – you’re absolutely right.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

“Am I crazy or does Bobby Wallace look like the comedian Marty Feldman?…”- I also see a resemblance to Jimmy Durante:

246 × 378 – radioarchives.com

Doug
Guest

I definitely see Durante, but not Feldman.

no statistician but
Guest
In the last round I made an extended statistical comparison between Drysdale and Whitey Ford, and as it turned out, Drysdale failed by a fair measure to match up. My theory was and is that it might be worthwhile to see how the remaining candidates do when pitted against someone already in the COG who is similar in some way or many ways, as were Drysdale and Ford. I don’t have time to go into detail again, especially not for 13 additional players, but here are some observations using this approach. Feel free to disagree, but also feel free to… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Great comparisons. I agree with basically all of them. Reuschel/Tiant – their best comps being one another do NOT bode well for the COG. I’ve voted for Tiant many, many times, but I fully understand he’d be one of the worst pitchers in the COG. The Allen/Martinez comp is a really interesting one. Their career arcs are really different though, due to Martinez’s late start. The Brown comparison is kind of a good one… except that you took the two pitchers who somehow managed to have astonishingly long careers after age 30. I think Bob Gibson is actually the best… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
James talked about the Phillies staff giving up a lot of fly balls. Which is why he doesn’t match Willie Mays does in Rfield. Then again- at least until Andrew Jones came along- who does? Mays recorded a maximum of 468 put outs in a season. Ashburn was over 500 7 times with a high of 560. When you’re getting to 100 more balls in a season than Willie- whatever the fly ball tendencies of the pitching staff- that’s an accomplishment. What I question most is that he basically went from Willie Mays to Greg Luzinski in the span of… Read more »
bstar
Guest
Actually, Rfield likes Ashburn thru his age 30 season just as much as it likes Mays. Ashburn 1948-57: +108 Rfield in 1489 G, about +11 runs per 150 G W Mays 1951-61: +105 Rfield in 1372 G, about +11.5 runs per 150 G Mays was able to extend his defensive prime to his age-35 season while Ashburn hit a wall at age 32. Richie’s SABR bio provides some insight into his problems, both offensive and defensive, in 1959: “Ashburn’s 1959 season was largely forgettable. All of his offensive stats fell: hits by 65, walks by 18, stolen bases by 21,… Read more »
bstar
Guest

Ashburn’s -0.9 WAR in 1959 was the worst age-32 season by a Hall of Fame outfielder in history and the 2nd-worst amongst all HOF position players. Only Travis Jackson’s 1936 season (-1.2 WAR) was worth less.

no statistician but
Guest

To me it seems probable that Ashburn suffered some kind of off-season injury or ailment that affected his mobility or possibly his vision, one that he kept quiet about but that he never really recovered from. In those times, remember, 1) it was unwise to complain; 2) stoicism was the norm; 3) medical and training techniques hadn’t advanced much. The fact that the sharp decline wasn’t just in the field but at the plate as well suggests that something went haywire, anyway.

e pluribus munu
Guest
bstar, My recollection is that Ashburn could easily have continued with the Mets. They wanted him back – naturally: he was their BA and OBP leader by far and, had they known it, their OPS+ leader, at 121, a good year. He was only 35. There was absolutely no reason for him to retire; he wasn’t “hanging on” in any sense. (He even tied for team stolen base leader.) Except the Mets. I saw more games that season than any other – I was constantly at the Polo Grounds (round-trip subway $0.30 and bleacher seats $1.25, generally right behind Ashburn… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

nsb- I don’t dispute your reasoning but I would think that in a 30+ year broadcasting career at some point Ashburn would have talked about it.

no statistician but
Guest

Hartvig:

Never complain, never explain.

Paul E
Guest

Epm,
“….deciding there were better things in his future”
Ashburn, as a broadcaster, often boasted that, “I’ve never worked a day in my life….we’re stealing money up here.”
I believe, if this isn’t a HIPPA violation, Ashburn suffered from diabetes later in life. I believe both he and Harry Kalas both died on the road, in their hotel rooms, of heart attacks…..never having “worked a day in their lives”.

oneblankspace
Guest

I thought Kalas died at the ballpark the afternoon of a night game (but Ashburn in the hotel after the game matches wikipedia). I do remember hearing Kalas call play-by-play on NFL broadcasts for Westwood One Wadio Radio.

e pluribus munu
Guest
I was wondering about Wilhelm’s record as a starter, so I went through his game logs and did a back-of-the-envelope calculation (because it’s actually on the back on an envelope headed for recycling). Here’s what I get: Years: 1958-61, 1963 G 52 W-L 19-19 IP 375.1 H 315 R 133 ER 111 BB 115 SO 244 CG 20 ShO 5 ERA 2.66 WHIP 1.146 Runs/9 3.19 All but four of those games were pitched from 1958 through 1960, a high scoring era (over 4.3 runs per game). Hoyt had trouble starting out as a starter. After his first 9 starts… Read more »
bstar
Guest

epm, Hoyt’s splits as a starter are available on his career Splits page, under “Pitching Role”. You nailed most of his stats.

e pluribus munu
Guest

That’s all very well, bstar, but what am I to do with all these envelopes?

Kahuna Tuna
Guest
Other side of the coin: data on where Wilhelm’s teams stood (ahead, tied, or behind) at the moment he entered the game as a reliever versus where they stood at the moment he exited the game. • Relief appearances in which Wilhelm left the game with his team exactly one run worse off than when he entered, entering margin -2 to +4: 159 of 1,018 (15.6%) • Relief appearances in which Wilhelm left the game with his team in exactly the same position as when he entered (tied or same number of runs ahead or behind): 498 of 1,018 (48.9%)… Read more »
bstar
Guest

How do these numbers support your conclusion that Wilhelm wasn’t a good closer? I honestly don’t get it.

And if Wilhelm was a better “pure reliever” than a modern-day closer, in what way does that detract from his case? I can’t see how it does.

Kahuna Tuna
Guest
I quoted Dave Humbert not in order to criticize Wilhelm or argue against his being in the CoG, but to agree that Wilhelm was outstanding at all the various relief roles he was asked to fill. Wilhelm was a good closer—very good. It’s just that he was never only a closer. The knuckleball allowed him to pitch whenever he was needed, so to us, who expect reliever usage to be situationally restricted, his stats appear diluted. No one else, even in his day, could pitch so often in as wide a variety of game situations. There’s really no one else… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Kahuna, I wonder whether you’ve labeled these categories correctly. You have 213 games where Wilhelm entered games with his team either down 3 runs or more or up 5 runs or more, which is already counter-intuitive, and this number excludes any such games where his team’s position improved or stayed the same. That’s an awful lot of games that Wilhelm entered that were not very close. Your totals indicate that there were only 148 games where Wilhelm’s team improved its position while he was pitching, versus 372 where its position deteriorated – almost a 2:1 ratio of failure, which seems… Read more »
bstar
Guest

Thanks, epm, for saving me some time because I was about to look at one of Goose Gossage’s seasons game-by-game.

I think this is similar to the dynamic that Wilhelm’s teams had a worse winning percentage in games he pitched than overall. It sounds meaningful until you realize that it is true for all relievers, even more so for modern-day closers.

Kahuna Tuna
Guest
epm: “You have 213 games where Wilhelm entered games with his team either down 3 runs or more or up 5 runs or more”. That’s not quite what the 213 figure means. It refers to all Wilhelm relief appearances in which his teams either were further behind when he left the game than when he entered or had a smaller lead when he left the game than when he entered, excluding only the 159 “extra-close” games in which his teams went from -2 to -3 (18 games), -1 to -2 (23), 0 to -1 (58), +1 to 0 (16), +2… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

This is a very satisfying reply, Kahuna. Like your earlier posts on Wilhelm, it really provides the sort of information that allows us to visualize this aspect of his career – how he was used – in summary fashion and in detail simultaneously.

By the way, I’d be interested to know how you compiled these figures.

Doug
Guest

From 8-31-58 to 6-7-59, Wilhelm recorded 14 straight starts of 7+ IP allowing 3 runs or less. There have been only 12 longer such streaks since 1914.

e pluribus munu
Guest

Those 14 starts included 11 complete games (four of them shutouts, one a no-hitter), a 9-inning one-run stint that went to extras, and one game where he was pulled in the 9th after a lead-off infield single.

121 IP / 10-2 / 1.12 ERA

Chris C
Guest

Allen, Ashburn, Goslin

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Wes Ferrell played in a high-offense era.
Here’s his stats, and his stats neutralized to 2014 AL, neutral park:

193 – 128 / 4.04 / 1.481
169 – 138 / 3.37 / 1.309

And, his batting stats:

.280 / .351 / .446 / .797
.252 / .319 / .401 / .720
_________________________

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Since 1970, top OPS among Pitchers with at least 500 PA:

.650 … Mike Hampton
.636 … Carlos Zambrano
.582 … Don Robinson
.576 … Rick Rhoden
.574 … Bob Gibson
.557 … Bob Forsch

note: I went to the Yankees game where Billy Martin batted Rhoden as the DH. Rhoden had the GWRBI (official stat!) with a sac fly.

T-Bone
Guest
I have to find something else to do until the next vote. Thank you all for such an enjoyable experiment and the knowledge I’ve gained from reading your thoughts. I’m a stubborn older guy and I’ve come this far with a few of my favorites getting in, and a few not getting in. I believe I’ve voted for Rwuschel every time he’s been eligible except a few time when I didn’t vote at all due to life interfering. I now think it’s time to drop him off my ballot. Realistically he doesn’t measure up to other COG worthy players, though… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

If my memory is correct, I think it was Reuschel that Bill James was writing about when he related a story in one of his HBA’s about his reporting for camp something like 5 pounds heavier than he had been the year before and a manager or coach dismissing it by saying: “That’s like putting another suitcase on the Titanic”.

e pluribus munu
Guest
After reading T-Bone’s lovely message, it occurs to me that I’ve also been worrying about what’s going to happen after this vote ends. Apart from the CoG and Doug’s other efforts, HHS seems still to be in a problem phase. Doug needs more writing company, the format of the page has never quite recovered its former functionality, the enormous banks of research and valuable discussion stored on the site seem to me largely inaccessible, and we will be without a thematically uniting project to keep us together, or, at least, a regular feature, like John Autin’s former Game Notes, to… Read more »
Doug
Guest
Absolutely. One of the ideas that was suggested earlier was to re-vote MVP or CYA in selected seasons when there were two or more deserving candidates. I though that could be worked into a “Look Back at XXXX Season” type of post where readers could contribute their recollections of that season or it’s most prominent players. Also, instead of a nightly Game Notes, I thought about doing a weekly one focusing on a few selected series. A monthly recap of teams that have been hot or cold and/or have had the biggest movement in the standings is another idea that… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

Absolutely, Doug. It became possible to post and stay on the site a few weeks ago, and there haven’t been glitches since. It’s good to know Andy’s still working on the site, and that you have plans for new projects and a season schedule.

I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of this string now, I just thought since it’s likely all HHS regulars will be tracking it, interest would be high if it were settled that a kind of general discussion will follow.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Love the ideas, Doug. I will be here for whatever you come up with next!

Joseph
Guest

I like the idea of re-voting MVPs. Also, the years they didn’t name an MVP, we could vote on one. I know none of this matters, but it’s fun.

Hartvig
Guest

I like the idea of revoting MVP/CYA. I also think some sort of a COG recap- biggest oversights/worst picks, etc- might be interesting.

Love the weekly game notes idea as well. And speaking of another voice I miss hearing from I can’t believe that John managed to keep doing it as often as he did for a long as he did. Each of those posts must have taken hours of work.

And yes, the site does seem to be running a lot better than it was.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

No more glitches here (Firefox).

My solitary suggestion for improvement is to bring back Numbered comments.

e pluribus munu
Guest

Odd thing: I’d given up looking for a way to locate old posts (apart from the recent ones listed at top right, and going back one by one by one by one . . .), but a mistaken URL led me today to the “Sorry, no such page” page, and voilà! – from that page you can access the archive, indexed by month.

bstar
Guest

If you’re looking for Circle of Greats posts and threads, just google it.

no statistician but
Guest
Doug and others: The format of HHS currently requires a lead article of sorts to get a discussion started, and lead article writers other than Doug have all but disappeared, or their time to contribute and/or their inspiration have dwindled to the point that they seldom head a post. What I suggest is that every couple of weeks there should be a new open forum posting with a brief heading (by Doug, no doubt) after which the rest of us duffers might raise topics from the floor (grandstand, bench, whatever). Sometimes, I’m sure, not much would be accomplished, but other… Read more »
bells
Guest
One thing I suggested several rounds back, to which Doug replied that he would welcome contributions and offered an email address, was to continue to tradition of CoG wrap-up posts for every electee. Doug continued this for some time after taking over, but I think somewhere after the 1887 vote or so (I seem to remember that being a combined post about Johnson, Alexander and Cobb or something like that) I think they just dropped off. This is completely understandable given Doug’s workload, so no complaints here, but if we have about 20 ‘CoG profile’ posts backlogged, that is certainly… Read more »
aweb
Guest

I’ve missed a few rounds, and only engage in the discussions once in a while, but I’ve loved lurking here and learning so much about the past greats in these threads.

Vote:
Kevin Brown (like the others who vote for him, I’ve done it a lot)
Dave Winfield (WAR must have someone wrong…)
Dick Allen (arguments I made for McGwire in the redemption thread apply to him too. Short career, awesome hitter, huge value per PA)

shard
Guest

Ashburn – Drysdale – Goslin

Hub Kid
Guest
I think the COG is at its most compelling when it deals in neglected greats that the HOF has missed versus reshuffling the best HOFers. I think everyone who is left is something like top 150 of all time, and the tiebreaker for me is “under-rated by the HOF”. I guess I prefer the Quantum Leap approach… Allen, Tiant, and Wilhelm That said, I’m sure Wilhelm deserves to win one of these finally, and his career value is nearly identical to Rivera’s (although I would say one is the “best closer ever” and the other is “best reliever ever”). I… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Hub, I’m with you on Wilhelm.
But I hardly think that his appearances in Arizona spring training were scintillating enough for Will Ferrell to be named the 121st greatest player ever. Will Ferrell may disagree.

Hub Kid
Guest

ha- wow… and that was before i had any beer. I can’t believe I haven’t made that mistake before. A million apologies to Wes Ferrell and baseball lovers everywhere. Perhaps we can thank our lucky stars that a certain comic actor has never made a baseball film (right?).

oneblankspace
Guest

My actual vote this round:

HWilhelm
DWinfield
DDrysdale

CursedClevelander
Guest

Thanks to everybody, and especially to birtelcom and Doug, for seeing this amazing project through. Looking forward to whatever our next big project ends up being. For my last vote (until next year’s BBWAA election, of course), I’ll stick with two I’ve voted for a lot and one I haven’t voted for in a while:

Brown
Nettles
Ferrell

David Horwich
Guest

Totals through 22 ballots (CursedClevelander) –

13 – Goslin
11 – Wilhelm
==============50% (11)
8 – Brown
7 – Winfield
6 – Allen
==============25% (6)
5 – Ferrell
4 – Ashburn
3 – Drysdale, Nettles, Tiant
==============10% (3)
2 – Dahlen
1 – Wallace
0 – Dawson, Reuschel

Dr. Doom
Guest
That’s what I have, too. I’ve got to say, two guys tracking at 50%+ seems pretty unusual lately, when we’ve either had a runaway winner or guys hanging around 30-40% for the win. Interesting. I guess a lot of the strategic voters may not care about strategy now that we’re in the final round, and it could just be that this is still relatively early in the round, and the real strategic voters don’t show up until late. Still, I hope we kind of have a footrace here at the end; it’s be a great way to cap off 3… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
Following on Kahuna Tuna’s excellent posts about Wilhelm, and particularly his observation “Wilhelm excelled at the role he helped develop for his era, and his special pitch ensured that he could pitch more often than anyone else if his team needed him to do it. Certainly unique, and (to this point) almost CoG-worthy.” I wanted to pose a question to the group. Usage is reflective of conventional wisdom–managerial strategy about how players are deployed, what talents are valued, and even, by extension, what talents individual players work at enhancing because that’s they are asked to do. At various times, conventional… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
I think this is a terrific point, Mike. It seems to me that your post combines two ideas: player performance is configured to the expectations of the era, and player performances are limited or enhanced by the strategies and demands of the manager. WAR and measures like ERA+ and OPS+ pick up the first to some degree, since many of its factors are normalized. But some counting stats, like stolen bases and walk rates, probably are not adequately weighted in this regard, and the way team cultures and managerial styles have differential impacts on players is something it’s up to… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
Now that I think about it the stolen base issue you raise may have worked to some extent in Wilhelm’s favor. Stolen bases are almost always a problem for knuckleballers. When he was in the National League not only did teams not run as much as in other era but he also played on the same team as the one guy (OK, maybe you could count Richie Ashburn as another) who was a legitimate threat to steal. Then, a few years before the advent of Maury Wills, Lou Brock, et al he has the good fortune to get traded to… Read more »
Kahuna Tuna
Guest
Hoyt’s been elected, so I’ll try to leave off microanalyzing his career. First, though, Hartvig, you’re right that stolen-base levels were historically low during (especially) the first five years of Wilhelm’s career. The 1952-56 NL SB rate per inning pitched doubled by 1970. Other than 1971, when his one SB allowed in 20 innings was 98% of league average, Wilhelm allowed stolen bases at a rate higher than the league average every year of his career except 1954, when he allowed only one steal in 111.1 innings. (Opposing baserunners stole only 28 bases in 59 attempts against the Giants in… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

Kahuna, I’m impressed, as always, with the detail and analytic precision of your work.

Hartvig
Guest
Funny how strengths & weaknesses can vary by era. Someone like Jim Thome or Harmon Killebrew likely wouldn’t have been near as valuable in the deadball era whereas someone like Ford would have probably benefited significantly from playing in the 70’s & 80 when his devastating pickoff move would have been a much larger factor. Hard to say how much Wilhelm would have been affected by playing in the 70’s & 80’s- Phil Niekro & Charlie Hough seem to have managed OK- but it does seem that the 50’s were about as idea a time to be a knuckleballer as… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Ford holds the searchable era record for most IP in a season with no stolen bases against him. He pitched 283 innings in 1961 with 0 SB. A PI search shows Hal Newhouser with 313 IP in 1945 but that is not correct. His SB data is incomplete and a box score search shows some SB against him.

Kahuna Tuna
Guest
I appreciate your compliments, Hartvig. Thank you. Your posts always teach me something I didn’t know before, and I hope mine go some way toward returning the favor. “I wonder how much impact passed balls had on Wilhelm’s performance?”—as soon as I asked myself the question I realized the resources existed on line for me to answer it with precision. Copy the B-Ref game logs into a spreadsheet, do some intermediate calculations, concoct some effective formulas, review a few box scores, and the answer emerges with beautiful clarity. It amazes me that today, from our computers, we can reconstruct 60-plus-year-old… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Wow, good stuff.
His above average rate (36 percent) of CS is probably due to guys who wouldn’t ordinarily steal going for it because of the knuckler.

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

[*salutes*] Permission requested not to have to research which players’ only career stolen bases and/or stolen-base attempts were against Wilhelm, sir.

Paul E
Guest

one blankspace:
You are correct, per wikipedia:
” “Kalas died of heart disease on Monday, April 13, 2009, in Washington, D.C.[17] He had collapsed in the Nationals Park press box at approximately 12:30 pm, several hours before the Washington Nationals’ home opener against the Phillies. Kalas was rushed to George Washington University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:20 pm ” ”

Tough to reply to replies to replies in the comments section…..

oneblankspace
Guest

after so many levels, you can’t anymore. YOu just have to reply to the same one that is that deep.

I think mine might have been one of those.

bstar
Guest
A couple more points on the case of Hoyt Wilhelm that may be getting overlooked, not that’s it going to change any minds at this point. 1. The first half of Wilhelm’s career innings can be 100% directly compared to starter innings of the 1950s. Throughout the decade of the ’50s, there’s no discernible difference between reliever and starter performance in terms of ERA. That difference doesn’t truly emerge until 1960 and beyond. Here’s the MLB difference in ERA for starters/relievers from 1952-on, when Wilhelm’s career started. A positive number indicates a lower ERA for relievers, a negative means a… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Interesting post, bstar. I hadn’t thought about this statistical issue in Wilhelm’s case. I’d never call Wilhelm a failed starter – he was an excellent starter – but I do see the idea as having general application. The disparity in requirements between a starter and reliever is, to my mind, far different from the disparity between a shortstop and second baseman. A good second baseman could almost always have done an acceptable job as a shortstop; those who are moved from SS to 2B generally just encountered someone better. But there are talented pitchers who simply don’t have the combination… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

EPM, I agree with your general thrust–although I would say that size and athleticism matters a great deal for some positions, less so for others. But with regard to knuckleball pitchers, isn’t the “market” telling us something? If the pitch was so un-hittable and such a pathway to success either starting or relieving, why didn’t more players elect to learn it? RA Dickey will make close to $50M, Wakefield $56M

e pluribus munu
Guest
I suppose it’s because the knuckler is so hard to control, Mike, and the fact that there are few masters available to teach how to throw it effectively. You can’t make use of the endurance advantages of the knuckler unless you figure out how to master it, and that seems to be a lot harder than mastering mainstream pitches. I think most pitchers require some training from a good knuckler. Neither Wilbur Wood or Charlie Hough was successful with the knuckler on an MLB level until they were coached by Wilhelm, who seems to have been a great teacher. (The… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

I think your point about lack of infrastructure is a fair one, but I still find it odd. Most of these players have athletic gifts the rest of us can only dream of. Hard to believe so few could be taught. If I were a manager, and I had someone that could throw 140 IP out of the bullpen/occasional start, I would value that. I wonder if it doesn’t have more to do with the availability of catchers who can handle the pitch and the impact on rosters to have to carry one?

e pluribus munu
Guest
I think your point about catchers is very apt, and likely another contributing factor. When you mention athletics gifts, I think you may be pointing to another issue. MLB players start out as stars in little league or high school, and as kids, top athletes generally aim to excel in athleticism. Fastballs and curves are high-prestige pitches; the knuckleball isn’t, so to speak, a manly pitch. Quite apart from the scarcity of coaches who can teach it, how many high school stars would want to be taught to learn it? In general, the knuckler – as a regular pitch –… Read more »
David Horwich
Guest
I think there’s also a certain kind of sports-cultural prejudice against the knuckleball – it’s not nearly so macho as a big ol’ fastball. 100 MPH is fetishized, while a wicked dancing knuckler is a trick pitch. As I recall, Tom House had some interesting things to say about this in The Diamond Appraised. It’s exceedingly rare for a finesse pitcher of any type to be considered a top prospect – I’ve been reading Baseball America for a long time, and the first thing mentioned about any pitching prospect is his fastball. Even the prospects who have a curve or… Read more »
bells
Guest

Trust me, as someone who deliberated on Wilhelm or Waddell last round as my third choice to the point where I didn’t vote for either of them, this kind of argument can still change minds. My third vote (which I’m determined to deliver this time) is between Wilhelm and Goslin, and I’m really just not sure. Oh well, got a couple of days still, I’ll tie a string around my finger.

Kahuna Tuna
Guest
Thanks, bstar—that’s good stuff. I’m especially interested in your point #3, which I’ll address in a minute. It occurs to me that 1959 was an important year for relief pitching. Relievers on the whole didn’t rack up especially impressive ERAs, but ’59 was the year 23-year-old Lindy McDaniel emerged as an ace reliever for the Cards, the year Elroy Face went 18-1 for the Pirates, the year Ryne Duren struck out 96 batters in 76 2/3 innings with a 1.88 ERA for the Yankees, the year the White Sox’ tag team of Turk Lown and Gerry Staley each saved 15… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Kahuna, I never really thought about it before, but you’re right: 1959 was a pivotal year for relievers. At the time, though, the two who stood out were Face and Sherry. Lown and Staley were both converted starters (Lown a “failed starter”), and although their value was noted, it was starters Wynn and Shaw who dominated the White Sox story (and the Cy Young vote). And Duren’s break out year was actually ’58 (and check out Dick Hyde), though he was a bit better in ’59, with McDaniel really breaking out in ’60. But Face was a headline item throughout… Read more »
bstar
Guest
Kahuna Tuna: regarding Eckersley’s low leverage boost I just realized this the other day but WAAadj (the leverage boost) is tied to WAA, so if you are a below-average reliever and have negative WAA for that season, you will get a negative leverage adjustment. So a lot of these relievers, even really good ones like Eck, have some decline years after their prime ends. What makes Eckersley different is, because of his long-time starter status, he actually only had 5 above-average years while his decline lasted 6 years. So he had fewer good seasons than others on the list and… Read more »
MJ
Guest

Bill Dahlen, Bobby Wallace, Rick Reuschel

Stephen
Guest

Brown, Ashburn, Nettles

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
Hartvig
Guest

As hard as it is not to vote for someone named Vito you’ve just got to give your Love to Cupid.

On top of which he’s about 100 times the player either of the other 2 are.

Bruce Gilbert
Guest

Wilhelmina, the second greatest reliever ever. Winfield, the best all-around position player among the eligible candidates. Darlene, better than half the shortstops in Cooperstown (edging out Goslin and Nettles).

Bruce Gilbert
Guest

Wilhelm, Winfield and Dahlen.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Were you a victim of some wicked autocorrect, Bruce? That’s what it looks like.

Dr. Doom
Guest

I’ll post a quick update, just to remind everyone that we’re still balloting! Through Bruce Gilbert, the 24th ballot cast:

13 – Goose Goslin*
12 – Hoyt Wilhelm*
=====50% (12)
9 – Kevin Brown*
8 – Dave Winfield*
6 – Dick Allen*
=====25% (6)
5 – Richie Ashburn, Wes Ferrell
4 – Graig Nettles*
3 – Bill Dahlen, Don Drysdale, Luis Tiant
=====10% (3)
1 – Bobby Wallace
0 – Andre Dawson, Rick Reuschel

Remember, vote changes close tomorrow, and COG balloting ends until next JANUARY on Thursday!

e pluribus munu
Guest

I think you missed MJ’s vote, Doom. There have been 25 ballots and Dahlen, Wallace, and Reuschel should all be up one.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Thanks! Don’t know how I missed that, but good catch.

Joseph
Guest

Goslin, Nettles, Winfield. So long and good bye COG voting until next year.

Bruce Gilbert
Guest
I was the victim of a wacky auto correct. On a different subject, I’ ve only just discovered this site a couple of weeks ago. I viewed the list of the 120 players who are in the Circle of Greats–pretty darn solid list . . . But I’m curious how it is that Kid Nichols isn’t in the top 120. Arguably, he was better in the 1890’s than Cy Young, each pitcher having started his career in 1890. Nichols missed two seasons in the early 1900’s due to a contract dispute, but pitched well over 500 innings in the minors… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Bruce,
Doug or one of the others will explain it but, basically, the plan was to go with guys who played the greater part of their careers in the 20th century and, if not, accumulated at least a certain amount of WAR in the 20th century.
But, yeah, Nichols was the bomb. And the superior of Young in the 1890’s. I think James has him as a Top 10 in the BJHBA

e pluribus munu
Guest

Yup – James has him at #9, though he’d surely be a bit lower now.

Bruce, the idea of the CoG is to “re-vote” that portion of the Hall that the Baseball Writers Association voted on, and, since various old-timers committees handled almost all pre-1900 players, only players who accumulated 20 WAR after 1900, or who played most of their careers in the 20th/21st centuries, are eligible.

Doug
Guest

The intention of the COG was to challenge the BBWAA selections, which are limited to players whose careers were primarily in the 20th and 21st centuries. 19th century players are selected by the Oldtimers committee.

For the purposes of our exercise, the cutoff line was players who played a majority of their career games since 1901, or who compiled 20 WAR since 1901, neither of which Nichols accomplished.

Bruce Gilbert
Guest

Thanks for the info. He was just so good for so long that I was surprised not to see him listed.

Mike L
Guest
I’d like to suggest a “small” HOF, but with a hybrid COG process. Here’s my suggestion: 75 total players–all must be in the HOF. First round of voting–everyone picks two rosters of 25 each–10 pitchers, 15 position players. Position players must include two full infields. As for pitchers, no requirement to pick relievers. Highest 25 players selected–again, filling out at least one full roster. 25 rounds afterwards–two players selected per round, regardless of position. No drop-offs, no redemption rounds–we are really looking for the best next 50, and it’s not worth being distracted by strategic voting. I realize the first… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
In the top 30 players by career WAR (Ruth to Joe Morgan) you have a spread of 83.3. Even if you take out the Babe & start with Cy Young you still have a 68.1 spread. The next 30 (Warren Spahn to Tom Glavine) the spread drops to less than 20 (18.6 to be precise). In the following 30 (Rod Carew to Ted Lyons) it’s down to 9.6. The next (Johnny Mize to a tie between Carl Hubbell & Ryne Sandberg) it’s down to 3.5. The following 4.3. The next it’s 3. In essence once you’re much past the top… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Good point, but one problem is if you put WAR as your as your screen, then you bring back arguments about fielding adjustments, leverage index, etc. But, to your point, once you get past the 30-odd leaders, you have a scrum. It’s the scrum i’m interested in–picking Ruth, Cobb, Johnson, etc is easy. Sorting the next group is where the difficulties begin. Anyway, just an idea. If there’s interest, refinements are a good thing.

Hartvig
Guest
I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a duplicate post I wasn’t trying to suggest that we use WAR as the threshold, just that it works well as a visual to identify what the drop off in talent looks like at the very top of the scale. If we were to graph this the line at the top would be a very steep linear drop to a fairly brief curve to another very, very gradual linear drop- sort of a just slightly-greater-than 90 degree angle curved at the intersection and stretching off into virtual infinity at the bottom. What… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
Good post. There have been a few things that I would have changed in COG (in the reality of it, not in the planning) To use your tiers of 30, they flew in with no discussion. The next tier, also, 1st or second time up. But the tier below that–the next 30–often got less attention than the guys who hung around year after year. We’ve spent an enormous amount of time on roughly 15 players, with the debates recurring, but far less time on that third tier. Part of what I’m trying to do is to elicit the type of… Read more »
Joseph
Guest

Of course, we can’t unring a bell–but it would be interesting to me to see how the votes would go if we did not have advanced stats like WAR, WAA, and the various advanced defensive stats.

Would we make very many better choices than the BBW did over the years?

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