Circle of Greats 1973 Balloting Part 4

This post is for voting and discussion in the 128th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This is the last of four rounds adding to the list of candidates eligible to receive your votes those players born in 1973. Rules and lists are after the jump.

The new group of 1973-born players, in order to join the eligible list, must, as usual, have played at least 10 seasons in the major leagues or generated at least 20 Wins Above Replacement (“WAR”, as calculated by baseball-reference.com, and for this purpose meaning 20 total WAR for everyday players and 20 pitching WAR for pitchers). This fourth group of 1973-born candidates, including those with R-Z surnames, completes the roster of eligible 1973-born candidates and joins the eligible holdovers from previous rounds to comprise the full list of players eligible to appear on your ballots.

In addition to voting for COG election among players on the main ballot, there will be also be voting for elevation to the main ballot among players on the secondary ballot. For both ballots, which may be voted at the same time or in separate posts, voters must include three and only three eligible players. For the main ballot election, the one player who appears on the most ballots cast in the round is inducted into the Circle of Greats, while for the secondary ballot election, the one player appearing on the most ballots cast is elevated to the main ballot for the next COG election round. In the case of ties, a runoff election round will be held for COG election, while a tie-breaking process will be followed to determine the secondary ballot winner.

Players who fail to win either ballot 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. One additional round of eligibility is earned by any player who appears on at least 10% of the ballots cast or, for the main ballot only, any player finishing in the top 9 (including ties) in ballot appearances. Holdover candidates on the main ballot who exhaust their eligibility will drop to the secondary ballot for the next COG election round, as will first time main ballot candidates who attract one or more votes but do not earn additional main ballot eligibility. Secondary ballot candidates who exhaust their eligibility will drop from that ballot, but will become eligible for possible reinstatement in a future Redemption round election.

All voting for this round closes at 11:59 PM EST Sunday, March 4th, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EST Friday, March 2nd.

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 1973 Part 4 Vote Tally. I’ll be updating the spreadsheet periodically with the latest votes. Initially, there is a row in the spreadsheet for every voter who has cast a ballot in any of the past rounds, but new voters are entirely welcome — new voters will be added to the spreadsheet as their ballots are submitted. Also initially, there is a column for each of the holdover candidates; additional player columns from the new born-in-1973 group will be added to the spreadsheet as votes are cast for them.

Choose your three players from the lists below of eligible players. The ten current holdovers are listed in order of the number of future rounds (including this one) through which they are assured eligibility, and alphabetically when the future eligibility number is the same. The 1973 birth-year players are listed below in order of the number of seasons each played in the majors, and alphabetically among players with the same number of seasons played.

Holdovers:

MAIN BALLOT Eligibility Secondary BALLOT ELIGIBILITY
Kevin Brown 10 rounds Andre Dawson 7 rounds
Luis Tiant 7 rounds Ken Boyer 3 rounds
Dick Allen 5 rounds Ted Lyons 3 rounds
Bill Dahlen 4 rounds Rick Reuschel 3 rounds
Manny Ramirez 4 rounds Willie Randoph 2 rounds
Graig Nettles 3 rounds Todd Helton 2 rounds
Richie Ashburn 2 rounds Andy Pettitte this round ONLY
Ted Simmons 2 rounds
Bobby Wallace 2 rounds
Dwight Evans this round ONLY
Don Sutton this round ONLY

Everyday Players (born in 1973, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR, R-Z surname):
Ichiro Suzuki
Mike Sweeney
Dmitri Young
Todd Walker
Desi Relaford
Chris Stynes

Pitchers (born in 1973, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR, R-Z surname):
Julian Tavarez
Jason Schmidt
Brett Tomko
Scott Schoeneweis
Justin Speier
Ismael Valdez
John Thomson

Leave a Reply

153 Comments on "Circle of Greats 1973 Balloting Part 4"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
e pluribus munu
Guest
Here are the statistics I generally post for candidates, comparing WAR (total, peak, rate), ERA+/OPS+, and career length. The only 1973 birthdate player I’ve added to the holdovers is Ichiro. Primary Ballot 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……1.0………K. Brown 66.1 (66.7)……28.7…34.7……0.171……3.9 (17)……114……1.2………Tiant 68.7 (67.4)……22.5…27.3……0.117……3.0 (23)……108……1.6………Sutton 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 66.9………23.7……28.3……0.026……3.5 (19)……127………1.4………Evans 68.0………28.7……32.2……0.025……3.4 (20)……110………1.4………Nettles 69.2………28.7……29.9……0.030……4.1 (17)……154………1.3………Ramirez 50.1………23.3……26.4……0.024……2.6 (19)……118………1.4………Simmons 59.6………29.8….. 33.5…..0.023…….3.5 (17)…..107……….1.5……..Suzuki 70.2………28.6……31.3……0.029……4.2 (17)……105………1.3………Wallace* * Wallace’s total WAR (incl. pitching) is 76.3. WAR/Yr. includes only those seasons with 10 GS or 100 IP for starters, 20G for relievers, and 50G for position players. Career length:… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
In terms of the figures I just posted, Ichiro’s career has an unusual profile, as I’m sure everyone is aware. All normal careers tail off, and the tail years swell the counting numbers and diminish the rate numbers. But in Ichiro’s case, the transition from body to tail after his age 36 season was abrupt (lowest WAR prior: 3.5; highest after: 1.6), and the tail is very, very long, perhaps destined to get longer still. That has been Ichiro’s choice — his rate numbers have taken a huge hit, but he’s grossed over $50m to ease the pain — but… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Mike Sweeney had 144 RBI in 2000, and WAR was not impressed.
Lowest WAR with 140 ribbies:

0.6 … 141 … Dante Bichette
1.8 … 146 … Ryan Howard
2.6 … 144 … Walt Dropo (1950)
2.6 … 141 … Preton Wilson
3.7 … 144 … Vern Stephens (1950)
3.8 … 144 … Juan Gone
3.8 … 141 … Howard
3.9 … 144 … SWEENEY
4.1 … 142 … Matt Willams

Mike L
Guest

I’m going to expose myself as being the statistical dolt I am and asking someone to explain Vern Stephens’ numbers for me. How does one end up with a cumulative O-WAR of 45.6, a cumulative D-WAR of 9.1, but a career WAR of 45.5?

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

I think it’s because all of that 9.1 is all value from positional adjustment, shortstop being special.
His Rfield is -1, so for the Big number, his D is a wash.

e pluribus munu
Guest
I think Voomo’s right. If I understand it — I mean, IF I understand it — B-R double counts the positional adjustment: it is a component of both oWAR and dWAR, which are meant to give an idea of the player’s value independently (how got a hitter was he for a SS?; how good a fielder was he for a SS?). So when the two are combined to calculate WAR, Rpos has to be subtracted once. If Stephens’ Rfield was negative, then his Rpos was probably of greater value than his net dWAR (which is derived from Rfield), and so… Read more »
Jeff Harris
Guest

Evans, Dahlen, Brown

Dr. Doom
Guest

My ballot is an easy one this time ’round:

1. Ichiro Suzuki
2. Kevin Brown
3. Luis Tiant

My usual two at the bottom, but my top spot this time goes to a player who, if we give ANY credit for pre-MLB play, Ichiro zips right to the top. I’ve got to put him there.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Ichiro in Japan:
.353 / .421 / .522 / .943

In his last year there, the league had a slash line similar to what happens here:
.264 / .343 / .406 / .749
_________________________

Between the two leagues, he now has:
4358 H
2073 R
708 SB
14,779 PA
.323 / .374 / .435 / .809

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Add Pete Rose’s minor league numbers and he tallys to:

4683 H
2466 R
805 Doubles
17,453 PA
.304 / .378 / .414 / .793

Dr. Doom
Guest

Ichiro has yet to be hired as a manager in order to insert himself into the lineup whenever he feels like it. 🙂

e pluribus munu
Guest
I’m going to go ahead and vote for my usual two, plus the obvious: Ichiro, Wallace, Dahlen I don’t give any credit to Ichiro for his time in Japan — I don’t think that’s a can of worms I want to open, and he could have come to the US earlier — but his ten-year peak was wonderful and I don’t feel he needs more to be an easy CoG choice. He became a unique baseball institution: I tracked his hit counts every day, and I’m sure other fans did too . . . especially numbers-obsessed pre-teens, like the inner… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

My secondary ballot this time is relatively easy

Lyons, Dawson, Boyer

I’ll spare everyone my usual arguments on behalf of Lyons.

Primary is another matter entirely.

Ichiro is my sticking point. It’s clear that from when he first set foot on a major league field he was already a great player. It’s also clear that for half of his career he was at best an average major leaguer. What do we do about the years he was blocked from playing in the majors by playing in Japan?

Doug
Guest

I think, based on PA, it’s more like 2/3 as very good or great (2001-10) and 1/3 below average (2011-17).

Part of the reason Ichiro has had such a long tail to his career is that he still provides value defensively, an almost unique achievement for an outfielder at his age. These are the top 10 outfielders in WAR Fielding aged 39+, bearing in mind that these numbers are calculated differently since 2002.

no statistician but
Guest

Ruth and Musial on the list should serve to remind us all that these guys were perhaps the most complete players of their times, not just batsmen.

Ted Williams’ Rfield age 39-41: -44.

Haven’t said it for a while here, but I’ll still take Musial over Williams.

Hub Kid
Guest

I can’t let that stand without a response, aside from saying how can any baseball fan not like Stan Musial? I might need to think about it, even if it’s safe to say which I would go with.

e pluribus munu
Guest
nsb, When we were kids, and each of us had to declare for Williams or Musial, as a National League fan I always opted for Musial — and I didn’t even understand then what an SOB Williams was (nor could I know he’d only get worse as he aged). But I’m afraid I think this Rfield comparison is very unfair. If Musial’s “old-age” Rfield were calculated from age 38 instead of 39, he’d have only 2, not 9.1. And through age 38, despite their very opposite reputations (though Musial was known for his weak arm), Williams has positive Rfield and… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
epm: You’re overlooking something: Musial played more than a third of his games at first base, where his Rfield suffered greatly, as in 1959, when he made 90 starts there, only six in the OF. Arguing the fielding merits of the two is fruitless, I think, but no one ever accused Stan the Man of not going all out all the time. As a batter Williams was superior, but his statistical superiority dims somewhat in my eyes because he was so willing to take a pass, and once on base he was no speedster, not likely to go for the… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Not that I don’t feel the way you do about the relative personal merits of the two men, nsb, but I don’t think you can mix two things so unlike. On fielding, Musial was at first because his weak arm made him an indifferent outfielder. His Rfield was low at first in 1959, but was perfectly in line with his Postwar outfield Rfield in 1955-58, when he was primarily at first. So I agree with you that arguing about fielding here is fruitless: neither man was outstanding in the field: they were both, on the whole, average. As for batting,… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
n s b, I was curious about Williams and the base running comment. For the period 1901-2017, ages 31 till retirement, 3000+ plate appearances, it looks like only 19 other guys scored as frequently (Runs/PA’s) as Williams and 7 of those guys were part of the steroid era (1993 – 2006). No ax to grind either way here, no dog in the fight, but I imagine there were also a lot of times where Williams may have been lifted for a pinch hitter and never scored those runs. I’m only 60 years old, never saw either Musial or Williams play,… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Did you mean “lifted for a pinch runner” rather than a pinch hitter. As far as I know Williams was pinch hit for only once, by Carroll Hardy. Just for fun I checked to see how often Williams was pinch run for in 1960, his final year. If I have done my work correctly he was pinch run for 23 times, 16 as a starting player and 7 as a pinch hitter.

Richard Chester
Guest

In 1949 he was pinch run for once, by Al Zarilla.

Paul E
Guest

1949 would be age 30 – the last year prior to the effective age of the PI search. Maybe those Korean War battles eventually took something out of his legs?
If we took all the troubled ball players with questionable attitudes and/or crappy dispositions, we’d probably win 110 games every year:

Ted Williams
Rogers Hornsby
Ty Cobb
Dick Allen
Hal Chase
Jim Tabor
Billy Martin, mgr

I better stop before their relatives decide to file defamation suits

e pluribus munu
Guest

Actually, Williams was seated during those battles: he was a fighter pilot.

I think your team would win a lot of games, but not 110. As soon as the odds of their winning were well established, Chase would find a way to make sure marginal wins were converted into pocket cash.

Paul E
Guest

E p m,
Hey, those cockpits are wee bit tight…just ask Tom Harmon

Paul E
Guest

yes, the “pinch runner” — “famously” pinch hit for by Carroll Hardy.

Hub Kid
Guest
Can I just make the point that Ted Williams wasn’t a total jackass? At the very least he raised a bunch of money for charity, fought for his country in two wars, and spoke up for Negro Leaguers in the Hall of Fame. I’ll go with EPM’s point, they were two different kinds of men. I would say one was a gentleman, and the other a proud, stubborn son-of-a-gun. I would still take Williams despite thinking that Musial was pretty flipping amazing, too. Ted Williams is probably the best all-time-great who can be thought as a one-sided player. Who else… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Hub Kid,
Maybe Hornsby?

e pluribus munu
Guest
Kid, after Williams went to such lengths to persuade the world he was a jackass, year after year, I think you defame him by citing exceptions. (And there’s nothing inconsistent about being a jackass and performing kickass military service, which Williams certainly did in Korea.) Williams is probably the best all-time-great at many things, since he is so high up on the all-time-great list that almost anyone you compare him with is not going to be “the best,” rather than Williams. But there are, I think, plenty of players we revere who have been as “one-sided”: Gehrig will work, so… Read more »
Hub Kid
Guest
Since the comparative greatness of Williams and Musial is so close, I guess the point I was thinking about is that at the top of the list of all time greats, the position players are all pretty well rounded players, until you get to Williams (or maybe Hornsby since there are varying accounts of his defense, although DRS etc. aren’t especially down on Hornsby); then Gehrig, Ott, Foxx, Frank Robinson and more start turning up who were more one-sided. It’s hard for a player to be one of the best all time without being pretty well-rounded, except for pitchers.
Hub Kid
Guest

Is there something about Hit Kings that makes them want to hang on way too long?

I’m on the side that Ichiro’s Japanese career pushes him over the borderline – it doesn’t count for MLB stats, but it is pretty clear to me that if he had played in MLB instead of NPB he would have had at least a few more great years on top of 2001-2010.

Dr. Doom
Guest
Hartvig, I’ve always tried to follow the Bill James rule of giving people credit for seasons in which they were major-league quality, but were not in MLB for reasons beyond their control (military service, segregation, etc.). i think, given the posting system and the way japan fiercely guards its players, as well as the way the US relies on Nippon baseball to serve as a minor league (to reduce the amount of scouting US teams have to do), I would argue that we should treat his last couple seasons in Japan as something akin to ML quality. You have to… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
Hartvig, Should we judge Joe Louis based on a beating at the hands of Marciano? Willie Mays with the ’73 Mets? Right or wrong, I think peak years are more indicative of the talents we are trying to compare. I believe as baseball gets closer to total elimination of steroids, there will be fewer and fewer everyday players having impressive seasons beyond age 33, regardless of training regimens. Of course, there will be the Aaron and Mays (all-time greats) types who perform well into their late 30’s, but they will be few and far between (perhaps Trout and Harper). So… Read more »
dr. remulak
Guest

Allen, Nettles, Ichiro & Pettitte, Dawson, Randolph

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Secondary Vote:

Todd Helton
Andy Pettitte
Willie Randolph

Disclaimer: This is a purely strategic vote. I want Randolph, so I’m giving my other 2 votes to guys with no shot.

Dave Humbert
Guest
Primary ballot: Ichiro Wallace Dahlen Ichiro was a star player in Japan for 7 years prior to his first hit in the majors – at age 27! Despite such a late start, he reached 2600 hits at age 38 – 12 years averaging 216 hits/yr. The climb to 3000 hits in the majors took 4 more years, and last year at age 43 it looked obvious the batting was falling off. Even so, 4300+ hits in the 2 leagues is a lot of production. Is there anyone besides Rose that hit more at a high level? .312 career BA, 509… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Appreciate the Redeemer section, Dave. McGinnity and Clarke are players who, I think, dropped off the ballot at a time when the competition was a bit tougher. As we broaden the Circle, guys who may have justifiably fallen short when the company was more exclusive certainly deserve a second look. I don’t recall and may not have been participating when Eck dropped off the ballot, but I agree that he has serious credentials, especially since his relief role is complemented by a solid (though not in itself CoGworthy) starter’s profile. I hope we continue to have redemption rounds before the… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Fred Clarke’s 1902 Pirates. This team, hardly ever cited now, was probably the most dominant team in baseball history. In a 140 game season it finished 27.5 games in front of the second place Brooklyns, outscoring its opponents by 334 runs. It’s win % in AWAY games was .691. It scored an average of 1.0 runs per game more than its nearest competitor and allowed 0.4 runs less. In WAR by position, the Pirates nearly ran the table, finishing first in seven positions and tied for first in one. Catching was its only weak spot. It’s nominal starting outfield of… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
The period 1901-2 was one of total upheaval for most of the NL. The league had contracted from 12 teams to 8 in 1900, and part of that involved the consolidation of rosters on multiple teams that shared overlapping ownership consortia. The most successful of these was the Louisville Colonel / Pittsburgh Pirate consolidation, manipulated by Barney Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss transferred Wager, Clarke, Leach, and Phillippe, among others, to Pittsburgh, which was strong in pitching, with Leever, Tannehill, and Chesbro. Then, as a relatively generous “players’ owner,” Dreyfuss was in a strong position to weather the new AL raids on the… Read more »
Scary Tuna
Guest

Primary ballot: Suzuki, Tiant, Wallace
Secondary ballot: Dawson, Boyer, Lyons

Andy
Guest

Primary:
Ichiro Suzuki
Kevin Brown
Graig Nettles

Secondary:
Andre Dawson
Ken Boyer
Todd Helton

e pluribus munu
Guest
For the secondary ballot, my vote is: Lyons, Boyer, Reuschel I’ve never voted for Reuschel and feel his WAR is, somehow, an illusion, weighting ancillary factors to a degree that seems in conflict with the reality I remember. But I actually don’t trust that feeling: it’s basically irrational. Every time I look at Reuschel’s straight record I see less-than-CoGworthiness, but I need to go back and rethink. Seeing that Reuschel has zero support in the early voting while everyone else has at least two votes, I want to make sure he stays on the ballot while I revisit his case… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

Secondary:
Rick Reuschel
Todd Helton
Ken Boyer

JEV
Guest

Primary: Manny, Ichiro, Brown
Secondary: Boyer, Randolph, Dawson

Chris C
Guest

Main Ballot vote:
Manny
Evans
Sutton

Hub Kid
Guest

Main vote: Ichiro Suzuki, Luis Tiant, Dwight Evans
Secondary: Ted Lyons, Ken Boyer, Andy Pettitte

Richard Chester
Guest

Main vote: Allen, Ichiro, Ramirez
Secondary vote: Dawson, Lyons, Helton

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

This does little to clarify the situation, but I did the math, so….

Plate Appearances per Win Above Average (PaWaa):

222.3 … Allen
262.8 … Dahlen
274.6 … Manny
277.8 … Wallace
311.8 … Nettles
322.2 … Evans
342.8 … Ashburn
439.5 … Ichiro
515.2 … Simmons
____

PaWaa through the first 8000 PA of career:

222.3 … Allen (7315)
229.7 … Wallace
236.8 … Dahlen
239.5 … Manny
245.4 … Nettles
264.8 … Evans
280.8 … Ichiro
294.7 … Ashburn
307.8 … Simmons

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

For context, here are the all-time leaders in the stat:

84.4 … (10622) Babe Ruth
97.2 … (9480) Rogers Hornsby
97.7 … (4065) Mike Trout*
102.1 … (12606) Barry Bonds
104.0 … (9788) Ted Williams
113.5 … (12496) Willie Mays
123.1 … (9663) Lou Gehrig
125.7 … (9907) Mickey Mantle
127.7 … (11748) Honus Wagner
128.5 … (13084) Ty Cobb
….

PaWaa 8000
79.1 … Babe Ruth
93.7 … Rogers Hornsby
96.1 … Ted Wiliams
101.5 … Willie Mays
103.9 … Ty Cobb
108.6 … Mickey Mantle
109.2 … Barry Bonds
109.2 … Honus Wagner
115.4 … Lou Gehrig
121.0 … Stan Musial

e pluribus munu
Guest
We have 11 votes for both ballots so far (though the voters are a little different), so here’s an initial 128th Round update: Primary Ballot 9 – Ichiro Suzuki* =================50% (6) 4 – Kevin Brown 3 – Bill Dahlen, Dwight Evans*, Manny Ramirez, Luis Tiant, Bobby Wallace =================25% (3) 2 – Dick Allen, Graig Nettles =================10% (2) 1 – Don Sutton*, Richie Ashburn and Ted Simmons have not recorded votes yet. Voters: Jeff Harris, Doom, epm, dr. remulak, Dave Humbert, Scary Tuna, Andy, JEV, Chris C, Hub Kid, Richard Chester Secondary Ballot 7 – Andre Dawson, Ken Boyer 5 –… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

OK, I’ve been sold on Ichiro.
I’m leaving Tiant off my ballot for the moment because he looks safe but not in a position to earn induction.

Ichiro, Nettles, Ashburn.

robbs
Guest

Primary ballot:
Ichiro
Dahlen
Tiant

Secondary
Wallace
Evans
Dawson

e pluribus munu
Guest

Hi robbs — good to have you back! On your ballot, the primary ballot is fine, but there’s a problem with the secondary ballot because Wallace and Evans are only on the primary ballot, and not eligible to receive secondary ballot votes. As it stands, your secondary ballot isn’t valid for tabulating — did you want to re-cast it for three of the seven candidates listed on the secondary ballot?

(The secondary ballot is a new addition to CoG voting — the rules are a little complicated but Doug lays everything out in his cover post.)

robbs
Guest

Haven’t posted in a while. Great to be back with the High Heat Gang.

Mike L
Guest

Ichiro, Wallace, Ashburn for primary. Once again, not voting secondary.
Ichiro is the oddest candidate–at this point he has 17 years in, so you can’t say he had a short career, and that does call into question his cumulative totals. That said, I’m going to say Ichiro was “feared” and call it a day.

Doug
Guest

Primary: Ramirez, Wallace, Evans
Secondary: Randolph, Reuschel, Helton

Paul E
Guest

Allen, Dahlen, Tiant
Boyer, Lyons, Reuschel

Not a lot of ISO in that Ichiro slash line; didn’t really take a walk much, either. Some similarity to George Sisler?

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Looking purely at BA and OBP, the guys in Ichiro’s ballpark are:

Freddie Lindstrom
Bing Miller
Kirby Puckett
Lloyd Waner
Roberto Clemente
Baby Doll Jacobsen
Johnny Hodapp
Lew Fonseca
Irish Meusel

Waner, Hodapp, and Fonseca all had a similar SLG
Little Poison, with his string of 200 hit seasons, longer career, and position, is probably a closer comp than the other two. Though he did not steal bases and is not statistically credited with great D.
I can’t find any close comp to Suzuki’s skills and stats.

Paul E
Guest

Yes, it’s not George Sisler – a 155 OPS+ through age 29 when his eyes went bad due to a sinus infection (or something like that).
Ichiro is definitely a unique case. Great defender, great arm, great base stealer, certainly hit for average. That running out of the batter’s box as you’re swinging thing kind of puts the kibosh on power hitting. It’s a shame he didn’t get here as a teenager and we might have seen him as a CF from age 21 or 22 in the majors

Paul E
Guest

1st 10 years in the league, maybe most similar is Cecil Travis?
Suzuki 117 OPS+ .331/.376/.430
Travis 113 OPS+ .326/.380/.435

Beyond that, Sam Rice is very similar from age 30 – 39 or 40 to Ichiro’s age 27-36 seasons. For a career, he’s also the most similar overall, per baseball-reference

e pluribus munu
Guest
The Travis/Suzuki comparison is close for rate stats, but in terms of value: Travis: 4675 PA; Suzuki: 7339 PA. That’s 57% more PA for Suzuki, and he generates 80% more WAR. That does not seem to me very much of a similarity overall. (Travis, of course, was on track for the Hall before his extensive combat service in World War II left him with injuries that he could not overcome.) Rice, in the HoF via the Veterans Committee, has a similar slash line to Ichiro for the seasons you indicate, but Suzuki generated 50% more WAR in his ten-year peak.… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Travis is a similar hitter-very little power and didn’t walk frequently. I believe OPS+ to be an excellent measure of a hitter’s strength. Seems like there are an awful lot of RFers who “tagged” the ball with more authority than Suzuki. He is a first ballot HOFer on the basis of all those singles and the automatic free pass of 3000 hits. But, is he as good as Reggie Smith?

e pluribus munu
Guest
Paul, what do you mean by “as good as?” Smith produced slightly more WAR over a 17-year career, but did not have a ten-year stretch like Ichiro. Smith’s a different kind of hitter with a much higher OPS+, so if by “as good as” you mean OPS+, Smith’s a better player. But Smith didn’t have Ichiro’s speed to add bases on the basepaths, and his fielding numbers are less impressive. Compare Smith and Suzuki from age 27 on: Smith has an even bigger OPS+ advantage, but he’s not in Suzuki’s league when it comes to WAR (39.4 / 56.4): his… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

“What do I mean as good as”?
How about a better hitter (more power and a better batting eye) and just as much career WAR in 650 less games and 2,500 fewer plate appearances?
Years ago the Phillies had a 3-tool player, Jerry Martin, who could run, throw, and field. His teammate, Greg Luzinski,could merely hit for average and hit for power. Luzinski could not:
1) run
2) field
3) throw
That did not make Jerry Martin a better ball player than Luzinski.

e pluribus munu
Guest
Paul, “More power and a better batting eye” seems to me to be another way of saying “higher OPS+.” Compare Suzuki’s ten-year prime to Smith’s at the same ages. Not only is Suzuki far ahead in total WAR, in part because he played every day while Smith had some trouble staying in the line-up, but over that decade, Suzuki’s WAR/100G rate was 3.44 to Smith’s 3.29. (If you add in age 37, Smith’s last year and Ichiro’s first poor one, Smith will edge out Suzuki on rate, but that total WAR disparity is still huge in Suzuki’s favor.) If Jerry… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
I consider Reggie Smith a better ballplayer than Suzuki because the damage he did at the plate was greater than all of Suzuki’s contributions. Smith was a more feared opponent, cannon arm, adequate fielder. No, he didn’t steal bases like Juan Pierre, but then he ran more than adequately. In their peaks, their respective peaks, Smith was a better ballplayer. Perhaps that’s by the eye test – you know, you’re watching on television and the batter’s at the plate, the television camera isn’t focused on the RFer doing cartwheels, it’s focused on the batter. 6.46 RC/27 1,588 Gs 7,339 PAs… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
You bet: Smith was a far better MLB player at ages 22-26 than Suzuki — Suzuki might as well have been working in Starbucks (I don’t know why you invoked the Japanese leagues, since I specifically excluded them from Suzuki’s case). Suzuki also has better medical options than Smith post-age 33, and perhaps that made a difference (though if conditions were “primative” in 1979-82, I wonder what they were through most of baseball history). Your comparisons, whether OPS+ or RC/27/AIR, elevate a major part of play to the whole of play. I don’t see a ten-year WAR peak for Smith… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

?? “primative”? — how come spell check never helps me out?

Paul E
Guest
e p m They’re corner OF’ers. I think the “major part of play” is far more significant in weighing contributions. But, I understand your support of Suzuki. Probably a bad example but, Keith Hernandez could field and throw like no other 1B in my lifetime. He also ran better than Frank Thomas. I’ll take Frank Thomas. So, maybe it’s something as oversimplified in my thinking as that. FWIW, perhaps these two guys might provide some insight into what if Ichiro had been born in America and played MLB after a couple of years at Stanford or USC: .295/.351/.413 110 OPS+… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Of course I agree that the major part of play is more significant, Paul. I just don’t agree that fielding and base running are insignificant. Hernandez doesn’t match Thomas because the offensive disparity on the “major part” is too great to be overcome by disparities in the other direction in the “minor part,” just like Jerry Martin and Greg Luzinski. WAR indicates that is not the case when you consider peak-Smith and peak-Suzuki, which is why those comparisons seem to me irrelevant to this case. However, if you cash out Suzuki’s non-hitting strengths as zero value, you reduce Suzuki more… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

E p m,
Sorry for the whole back and forth on this. I have lost my faith, mea culpa, in dWAR and how it is, I believe, an overstatement of defensive skills and those skills influence on winning. We’re taking WAR as gospel, and if we were to use Win Shares on these two guys it’s a different picture:
8,050 PAs 326.7 WS Smith career
8,483 PAs 271.9 WS Ichiro Seattle
I dunno. I don’t buy Larry Walker due to Colorado effect, I question the Ichiro worship due to the calculation (and overestimation IMO) of the dWAR and defensive contribution in general.

e pluribus munu
Guest
Well, Paul, there’s a lot to be said for Win Shares. But it does have the problem of limiting players according to the actual W-L record of their teams, since players can only share in a team’s actual wins each season (or actual wins x 3). In the comparison you make, there’s a sharp disparity in the wins available for Smith and Ichiro to share, During Suzuki’s years in Seattle, the team went 916-963 (.487), while Smith’s teams, excepting his cup-of-coffee 6 games in ’66, went 1373-1154 (.543). Ichiro played in 98% of Seattle’s games and Smith in only 79%… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
“Baseball Gauge” still provides Win Shares. I also check out Baseball Prospectus for other “stats” of interest. I think if a team is “putrid”, your best player will probably takes the lions share (NPI) of the Win Shares…..but I’m not certain. A good example might be Dick Allen who played on some pretty good teams from 64-67, some bad teams from 68-70, and pretty good teams from 71-74 as probably the best player on each team. For those years he averaged +/- 33 WS/162 games. But, yeah, I have a tough time with the evaluation of defensive play, its weighting,… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Thanks for the reference, Paul. I haven’t used Baseball Gauge in a long time and it dropped off my “favorites” bar — looking it over, I think I should use it more, and now I can track down what you’re referring to. Presumably, the team’s best player always takes the lion’s share of Win Shares; it’s just that with a very bad team there are few shares for the lion. Look at Ichiro in 2001, when the M’s won 116 games, and 2004, when the M’s won 63. His ’04 season is judged to be 18% better by WAR, which… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
I guess I’d like to add one more point that I’ve kind of shelved while we had this back-and-forth, but which is on my mind. It concerns Ichiro’s role as an outfielder, and particularly as a right fielder. Ichiro has a strong arm. Good outfield arms are measured by assists, and Ichiro has a high number of those. But I think the largest component of value of a good outfield arm isn’t really baserunner kills, which are pretty rare, it’s that base runners don’t run on good arms. How many times a game this makes a difference isn’t something stats… Read more »
kds
Guest

Your estimate of 2-3 bases per game is so far off, it isn’t funny. RF’s average about 2 catches per game, and field about 2 hits per game. On most of those the fielder is not relevant to the number of bases taken. Most hits come with no one on base. And the arm potential of the RF doesn’t affect the majority of plays with a baserunner on. 2-3 bases a week maybe, but not close to that per game.

e pluribus munu
Guest

I agree with you, kds. I reflected on it afterwards and realized what an overstatement it was, but figured I’d let Paul point it out. You got there first (although I disagree with you: I thought the overestimate was kind of funny). I’m happy to go with 2 cases a week, or perhaps about 50 bases saved a season, which is more than enough to be significant.

Paul E
Guest
EPM, You wrote, “His ’04 season is judged to be 18% better by WAR, which ignores team wins, and 19% worse by Win Shares. That part of the Win Shares system seems to me to limit its usefulness ” However, the part of Suzuki’s play that is responsible for the higher WAR in 2004 (9.1 – 7.7) is his dWAR (2.4 – 0.9) since oWAR is equal at 6.1 in both years. Perhaps someone can explain how he has equal oWAR for 2001 and 2004 when he created more runs in ’04 (137 – 127) and took more PA’s in… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Paul, All I see in your analysis of Suzuki’s 2001/2004 comparison is a critique of oWAR, suggesting that Suzuki’s WAR rating should be higher in that respect. I agree that with his OPS+ bumped up four points, I’d expect at least an increment of 0.1 in oWAR. I have no idea why it didn’t. But what has that to do with the appropriateness of his sharp decline under the Win Shares system, and what does it have to do with his 1.5 rise in dWAR, which you criticize by questioning dWAR in general ways? Why have you brought fielding stats… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
epm, “But what has that to do with the appropriateness of his sharp decline under the Win Shares system, and what does it have to do with his 1.5 rise in dWAR, which you criticize by questioning dWAR in general ways?” Obviously, oWAR is flawed, dWAR is subjective, yet we quote WAR as if it’s gospel. So, why not Win Shares? Or, for that matter, per Baseball Prospectus: VORP 522.4 WARP 68.8 FRAA 103.3 Smith, Reginald career 8050 PA’s VORP 410.5 WARP 49.3 FRAA 81.6 Ichiro Suzuki 2001 – 2011 peak Seattle years So, basically, Win Shares and Baseball Prospectus… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Paul, I don’t know what constitutes “gospel” for you, but for me, citing an advanced stat does not constitute quoting it as gospel. As I’m sure you’re aware, many of the people who contribute to HHS, including me, have pointed to shortcomings in WAR, both bWAR and fWAR (for example, I’ve certainly explained at too great a length why I don’t see FanGraphs’ pitching WAR a valid approach). For offense I regularly cite OPS+ as a balance to oWAR, and have begun using your suggestion of looking at RC/27/AIR as well. There is, however, a clear reason why WAR is… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
epm, I only used Smith’s 8050 PAs because it includes his decline (in fairness to Suzuki) and those 8050 are all he has. Ichiro’s peak was his 1st ten years in Seattle and, in order to get him to 8,000 PA’s , I used his entire Seattle years. That’s it, plain and simple. As far as a “comparison” formula, in the BJHBA, James used: 1) Best 3 seasons 2) Best 5 consecutive 3) WS / 162 games The 5 consecutive seasons probably works well for players 30-100 at a given position but probably not as well as for the 1-30… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
e p m, One other source: Retrosheet. If you hover over “Games, People, Parks”, choose, “Games”. That will take you to a choice of seasons. Click any year and, once on that season’s page, scroll down to ML Leaders (should be just below standings). Click on that “ML Leaders” and you’ll see, within all the stats, a section called “BFW”. BFW is the old system of linear weights and coefficients developed by stat pioneer Peter Palmer. His ‘seminal” work, “THe Hidden Game of Baseball”, was pushed along/published/co-authored by John Thorn. It should give the top 4 or 5 for the… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

Thanks for the added tip, Paul.

Mike L
Guest

He almost looks like a Dead Ball Era player.

Dr. Doom
Guest
A couple things, some Ichiro and then some tangential thoughts. Part of the problem with ISO is that it only looks at power hitting, when that’s not all a player does. Bill James liked (years ago) to talk about Secondary Average: (TB-H+BB+SB)/AB It looks like a batting average, but it measures a lot more. Anyway, Secondary Bases, in the course of a normal ML season, end up being roughly equal to the total number of hits. Just check any season, you’ll see that they’re basically always within 3% of one another (though, yes, there are exceptions). Anyway, another thing James… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Doom,
How about runs created, 51% G @ RF, 1st thru 10th years

1 Hank Aaron……… 1249
2 Paul Waner… 1247
3 Chuck Klein… 1220
4 Ichiro Suzuki. 1154
5 Manny Ramirez 1106
6 Babe Herman 1083
7 Vladimir Guerrero 1072
8 Bobby Abreu.. 1068
9 Mel Ott……….. 1035
10 Bobby Bonds 995

There is no adjustment for era so this is about as good as Ichiro can look (IMO). Also, Ichiro had the benefit of arriving here in his prime and, for that matter, I can’t say I would take him over any of the guys on this list with the exception of Babe Herman and Klein

Dr. Doom
Guest
Well, it might be fair to say that Ichiro arrived in his prime. The classic Bill James age is 27 for a prime season. However, lots of hitters peak earlier. It’s possible that Ichiro’s best days were already behind him when he arrived. What if he was, for example, Eddie Mathews, who was still a fine hitter into his 30s, but whose best seasons had been as a younger 20-something? It’s certainly possible, and part of what makes assigning value to Ichiro a tricky proposition. To me, if you give him ANY credit for a good season or two prior… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
After Doom’s terrific post playing with all sorts of interesting numbers, I’m going to add an impressionistic one. I’m not sure why it’s necessary to give Ichiro any credit at all for his play in Japan. His experience in Japan explains how he could show up in MLB and be such a force from the outset. But what if Ichiro had never set foot on a ball field until his MLB debut, and then, at age 27, had run off a streak of ten seasons with 2244 hits — more than 200 hits beyond any other player in his first… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Doom,
Eddie Mathews is probably not the guy we want to use as a potential young superstar comp for what could have been for Suzuki as a 22-26 year old. Mathews was a power hitter and took a walk- some things Suzuki couldn’t dream about.
How about a 175 pound Pete Rose or Rod Carew?
The only thing Mathews and Ichiro had in common as 20-26 year olds is that they wore pajamas for a living

Dr. Doom
Guest

Plenty of hitters with different profiles had similar career shapes, even if their skills were different. Vada Pinson or Cesar Cedeno, if it makes you feel better. 🙂

Paul E
Guest

Too much power from both those guys….they even walked more. Somewhere in response to e p m, I threw in Rose and Carew stats for ages 21-26. Those numbers, from a hypothetical standpoint, actually might fit for a light-in-the-ass young athlete who never really hit with power from age 27 on

Josh Davis
Guest
I’m trying to get a handle on defensive stats, and will admit my ignorance. Can anyone here enlighten me as to the difference between Rtot and Rdrs on Baseball Reference? The concept appears to be the same, yet one can get wildly variant totals. For example, Sammy Sosa has 104 career Rtot (which as best I can tell is pretty good), but a -16 Rdrs. Perhaps I’m totally missing the point. This perhaps seems out of place in this thread, but I’m not sure where else to put it, and it is partly an attempt to apply defensive metrics to… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
Josh, I’m going to venture beyond what I understand, but this site is a good place to display ignorance and learn from your mistakes, as I have reason to know, so I’m going to answer as best I can and look forward to correction. I think there are two different issues here. One concerns timing: Rdrs is a figure generated by data compiled by a company called Baseball Info Solutions (BIS), founded by a guy named John Dewan. BIS’s data kicks in only in 2003. In Sosa’s case you can see that the Rdrs column is blank before that date,… Read more »
Josh Davis
Guest

Thanks, that is helpful. It still seems like there can be quite a difference between the two scores, which I suppose reflects on your point about Rdrs’s superiority. Sosa’s Rtot is nearly as high as Kenny Lofton’s which I find difficult to believe. Perhaps that is my poor recollection, or a flaw in the methodology.

Josh Davis
Guest

Just looking at Sosa again….Rtot has him at +7/yr and Rdrs at -6/yr. That is a pretty drastic difference, no? Maybe I still need to familiarize myself with the scales better…

e pluribus munu
Guest
Rtot/yr has Sosa at +7/yr for 1989-2007. Rdrs/yr has Sosa at -6/yr, but only covers 2003-7. If you consider Rtot for 2003-7 only, Sosa’s per 162-game-season average is -1/yr. The figures that represent the disparity are thus -1/yr vs. -6/yr. Over 60% of the disparity is removed by that adjustment, but the remaining 40% is still significant. I believe the disparity does not concern scales; it concerns data. Sean Smith and John Dewan are relying on fundamentally different databases, one derived from Retrosheet written descriptions of play, the other from a small army of video observers recording what they observe… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

There is a discussion on DRS in the glossary section of Fangraphs.com.

e pluribus munu
Guest

Thanks, Richard. It’s a good discussion, maybe a little wonky for some tastes, but FanGraphs is that way.

The initial screen has a link to the Fielding Bible website, but it’s actually a blind link to Bill James’s site (BIS publishes both the Fielding Bible and the annual Bill James Handbook). The actual site has interesting articles and it includes the FAQ page that FanGraphs does successfully link to, which is a really detailed but (I think) clear description of Rdrs (which BIS bases on what it calls the Plus/Minus System).

e pluribus munu
Guest
Off topic but of general interest: Two months ago, Doug posted a great piece of research on the home run upsurge of 2017. (Hopefully, Doug will be repackaging that and other research pieces he’s done so that it will be easier for us to make continuous use of them.) I just read an interesting report concerning the 2017 HR binge on the website fivethirtyeight.com. The 538 report seems to me to say that about half of the binge can be attributed to physical/chemical changes in the ball that a series of lab tests have revealed, changes that could add over… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Well, looks like Randolph isn’t gonna win.
I’ll change my vote

Helton
Pettitte
Randolph

to

Boyer
Lyons
Randolph

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Vote:

Richie Ashburn
Dwight Evans
Don Sutton

e pluribus munu
Guest
We have reached the deadline for changed votes for CoG Round 128, so I thought I’d post an update on the count, as I have it. Primary Ballot With 17 ballots in: 12 – Ichiro Suzuki* =================50% (9) 5 – Bill Dahlen, Dwight Evans*, Luis Tiant, Bobby Wallace =================25% (5) 4 – Kevin Brown, Manny Ramirez 3 – Dick Allen, Richie Ashburn, Graig Nettles 2 – Don Sutton* =================10% (2) Ted Simmons has not yet recorded a vote. Voters: Jeff Harris, Doom, epm, dr. remulak, Dave Humbert, Scary Tuna, Andy, JEV, Chris C, Hub Kid, Richard Chester, Hartvig, robs, Mike… Read more »
bells
Guest
My main ballot vote: Ichiro Dahlen Evans Ichicro belongs for me, no question. He is definitely borderline on advanced metrics, but so singular that it doesn’t matter at all for me. You can forecast some pre-27 seasons, you can make a narrative around anything to do with his career, and I’m an open ear to it. He electrified basesball and was a counterweight to the heavy burden of the steroid era. His story and value go so much farther beyond career and peak advanced stats that I’m happy to use my stats-first model as a jumping off point for him… Read more »
Dave Humbert
Guest
Would like to second epm’s suggestion that each February we have a redemption round prior to new elections. This will allow everyone to re-assess passed-over candidates to help ensure the holdover number and quality stay consistent to the COG size at that point. The secondary ballot gaining 3 new faces each year will add fresh life to the discussions, improve secondary ballot voting participation, and minimize strategic “throw away” votes. I believe the secondary ballot is getting stale with voters really interested in 1 or 2 of the 7-8 we will have (after this round we will only have 6… Read more »
bells
Guest

Secondary ballot:

Reuschel
Lyons
Randolph

I’d be happy to take another look at Boyer on the main ballot too, so if the lead stays as is, I’ll be fine with it. I do like this ‘secondary ballot’ addition in that it brings back players one at a time so we can (theoretically) consider their cases more incrementally and carefully.

Dave Humbert
Guest

Another advantage of the secondary ballot is as a “holding basket” for plausible candidates – we can keep players there for future consideration (say the “next tier” guys at each position) without clogging the primary ballot or burning redemption votes “bringing back” the most popular guys that just dropped off. It is a place where multiple comparisons can be made and momentum built prior to primary ballot efforts. Lastly, it can function as a safety valve should a new birth year flood the primary ballot with good options (such as 1975 coming up).

e pluribus munu
Guest

I fully agree. Thanks to Doug — it’s a great idea!

robbs
Guest

I goofed on my Secondary Ballot (voted for primary ballot members).

If still time to recast my secondary ballot is:

Dawson
Boyer
Randolph

e pluribus munu
Guest

Don’t feel bad, robbs: you’re not the first.

I don’t know whether your revision should be considered a ballot change, for which the deadline has expired (and so this change would not count), or an initial ballot, since your first ballot was invalid (in which case it would count). Doug is the arbiter of all such matters, and I’ll leave it up to him. But if we haven’t heard from him before the final tabulation tomorrow, the tabulation I post will indicate both possible outcomes.

robbs
Guest

I’m OK either way.

How many slots to the original COG are we adding?

e pluribus munu
Guest
Each round adds only one, as before (although this year there have been four rounds, since the BBWAA added four players to the Hall — we’re now on the fourth). The secondary ballot is designed to make sure that in years where we multiple slots to fill and not too much CoG talent in the birth year we’re considering, like this one: 1973, we cast a bit broader net than just the holdovers from last year’s rounds. Some players who dropped off the ballot in past years may now seem more eligible, since as the Circle expands, the range of… Read more »
Doug
Guest

The “corrected” ballot is the first valid vote, so it will count.

e pluribus munu
Guest

Thanks for the clarification, Doug.

opal611
Guest

For the 1973 Part 3 election, I’m voting for:

-Ichiro Suzuki
-Manny Ramirez
-Don Sutton

Other top candidates I considered highly (and/or will consider in future rounds):
-Tiant
-Evans
-Brown
-Ashburn
-Nettles
-Allen
-Wallace
-Dahlen

Thanks!

opal611
Guest

(Sorry, I meant Part 4.)

opal611
Guest

For the Secondary Ballot, I’m voting for:
-Andre Dawson
-Todd Helton
-Willie Randolph

Thanks!

CursedClevelander
Guest

Primary:

ManRam
Brown
Nettles

Secondary:
Boyer
Dawson
Randolph

I’ll admit to not being quite sure what to do with Ichiro. It’s clear he could outplay his deadball comps like Lloyd Waner in his sleep (it takes Waner’s three best seasons to eclipse just Ichiro’s 2004), but I think he’s also not quite as good as some other guys in his value range.

e pluribus munu
Guest
CoG Round 128 may not be remembered as a nail-biter: Ichiro Suzuki was a first-ballot shoo-in and the first (technically) active player to be elected to the Circle of Greats. These are the tabulations I have, pending Doug’s official record: Primary Ballot There were 20 ballots submitted, with these results: 14 – Ichiro Suzuki* =================50% (10) 6 – Bill Dahlen, Dwight Evans*, Manny Ramirez 5 – Kevin Brown, Luis Tiant, Bobby Wallace =================25% (5) 4 – Graig Nettles 3 – Dick Allen, Richie Ashburn, Don Sutton* =================10% (2) Ted Simmons did not receive any votes and will return to the… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

Could someone repost the link to the current COG member roster page please?

e pluribus munu
Guest

Hartvig, there’s a tab for it on the top of this page. It takes you to two further links: one to the roster itself, the other to a list of all past election debates.

Hartvig
Guest

Got it. Thanks.

wpDiscuz