Circle of Greats 1974 Balloting Part 3

This post is for voting and discussion in the 131st round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This is the third of four rounds of balloting adding to the list of candidates eligible to receive your votes those players born in 1974. Rules and lists are after the jump.

The new group of 1974-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 third group of 1974-born candidates, comprising those with M-O surnames, 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 the main ballot election, voters must select three and only three eligible players, with the one player appearing on the most ballots cast in the round inducted into the Circle of Greats. For the secondary ballot election, voters may select up to three eligible players, with the one player appearing on the most ballots cast 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 Thursday, February 28th, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EST Tuesday, February 26th.

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 1974 Part 3 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-1974 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 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 1974 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 BALLOTELIGIBILITYSECONDARY BALLOTELIGIBILITY
Kevin Brown12 roundsWillie Randolph9 rounds
Luis Tiant9 roundsRick Reuschel
8 rounds
Dick Allen6 roundsTodd Helton
7 rounds
Manny Ramirez6 roundsBobby Abreu
2 rounds
Bill Dahlen5 roundsAndy Pettitte
2 rounds
Graig Nettles3 rounds Stan Coveleski
this round ONLY
Bobby Wallace
3 rounds R.A. Dickey
this round ONLY
Richie Ashburn
this round ONLY
Dennis Eckersley
this round ONLY
Ken Boyer
this round ONLY Monte Irvin
this round ONLY
Andre Dawsonthis round ONLY Minnie Minoso
this round ONLY
Ted Lyonsthis round ONLY Reggie Smith
this round ONLY
Ted Simmons
this round ONLY
Don Sutton
this round ONLY

Everyday Players (born in 1974, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR, M-O surname):
John McDonald
Magglio Ordonez
Bengie Molina
Gary Matthews
Doug Mientkiewicz
Trot Nixon
Hideki Matsui

Pitchers (born in 1974, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR, M-O surname):
Kevin Millwood
Joe Nathan
Russ Ortiz
Matt Morris

As is our custom with first time candidates, here is a factoid and related quiz question on each of the new players on the ballot.

  1. Joe Nathan saved more than 64% of the games he finished, currently the 6th highest career rate among retired pitchers with 300 GF. Who was the first such pitcher to record a career rate higher than 50%? (Bruce Sutter)
  2. John McDonald logged eleven 100 PA seasons in a 16 year career. Excluding pitchers and catchers, who is the only player, like McDonald, without a 400 PA season but with more 100 PA seasons? (Jim Dwyer)
  3. Kevin Millwood’s .450 W-L% in 2005 is the lowest ever by a pitcher leading the AL in ERA in a full length season. Which four pitchers have led the NL in ERA while posting a lower W-L% than Millwood’s mark? (Dave Koslo 1949, Stu Miller 1958, Nolan Ryan 1987, Joe Magrane 1988)
  4. Magglio Ordonez split his career between the White Sox and Tigers, playing over 750 games for each franchise. Who is the only other player with such a career? (Chet Lemon)
  5. Bengie Molina led his league in sacrifice flies in consecutive seasons (2008-09). Who is the only other catcher to do the same? (Johnny Bench, 1972-73)
  6. Gary Matthews’ best season was in 2006 at age 31 when he became the oldest and most recent Ranger player to bat .300 with 300 total bases and 100 runs scored. Which player is the first and still the youngest Ranger to record such a season? (Ruben Sierra, 1989)
  7. Russ Ortiz posted career marks including a .559 W-L% and 93 ERA+. Who is the only pitcher with 200+ career decisions to post a .550 W-L% and a lower ERA+? (Ross Grimsley)
  8. Doug Mientkiewicz took home a World Series ring after his only season as a Red Sox first baseman. Which other retired player was a world champion in his only season playing first base in 50% of his Red Sox games? (Eric Hinske, 2007)
  9. Trot Nixon drilled three HR in the 2004 ALCS to oust the Yankees. Who is the only player with more HR in an ALCS win over New York? (Josh Hamilton, 2010)
  10. Matt Morris was born on the day that Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. Which player tattooed Morris at the plate and hailed from the town of Nixon’s first alma mater? (Nomar Garciaparra)
  11. Hideki Matsui‘s 519 consecutive games played (552 games, including post-season) is the longest streak ever to begin a career. What is the longest such streak by an NL player? (Glenn Wright)

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169 Comments on "Circle of Greats 1974 Balloting Part 3"

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Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Here are charts for player stats this round. (I don’t see strong candidates to add among the newly eligible group.) For this round I’ve modified the charts, eliminating the WAR/Yr. category while changing WAR/9IP to WAR/162IP, and changing WAR/G to WAR/500PA. Those new categories essentially show WAR per standard “qualifying season” for pitchers and hitters. pWAR denotes bWAR for pitching only. These stats provide: one compilation measure (WAR, including, for hitters, fWAR, and for pitchers Total bWAR, reflecting hitting and defense); two measures of peak; two career rate stats; and one metric for comparative longevity. The goal is to provide… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
As HHSers know, I’m an advocate of Bill Dahlen and Bobby Wallace for the CoG. It would be tedious for everyone if I made arguments for them evry round, but this round I’d like to make some, and this comment is more or less background, speaking to the issue of baseball in the period 1893-1900, which has been an issue in their cases. One of the main objections to Dahlen and Wallace is that although they qualify for the CoG because of their play after 1900, since they played a portion of their careers prior to 1901 (Dahlen 54%; Wallace… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Vote:

Richie Ashburn
Ted Lyons
Manny Ramirez

Stan Coveleski
Dennis Eckersley
Willie Randolph

Gary Bateman
Guest

#4 Chet Lemon

Mike L
Guest

#6 Ruben Sierra in 1989 when he was 23. Odd career. Played 20 years, got 11 of his lifetime 16.8 BWAR in two seasons. Actually had negative WAR his last 16 seasons combined.

Paul E
Guest

Mike L
I believe Rube was an “investor” in after-hours clubs – either as a too-frequent patron or venture capitalist.

Dr. Doom
Guest
Doug: 1. I’m just checking for the dividing line: is there any change it’s Bruce Sutter? If it’s not, it must be someone earlier, because he definitely did it and retired much earlier than most of the “modern” relievers (1988). 2. This is not an answer to the question, but as a point of interest, Lenny Harris has 13 seasons of 100 < PAs < 400. He does not qualify, as he does have two additional seasons of 400+ PAs. 3. Nolan Ryan is the easy one, as he famously went 8-16 with a league-leading ERA in 1987. I also… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Sutter is correct, as are the three NL pitchers you named.

Gary Bateman
Guest

Main ballot: Dahlen, Ashburn, Boyer
Secondary: Minoso, Eckersley, Helton

Richard Chester
Guest

Answer to question #2: Jim Dwyer had 15 seasons of more than 99 PA and none with more than 399. His max PA total was 292.

koma
Guest

#1 Bruce Sutter retired 1988 with 300 of his 512 GF as a save
#2 Jim Dwyer had 15 seasons with PA>100 and no 400 PA season in his 18 year career
#3 Joe Magrane in 1988, !!!Nolan Ryan 1987!!!, Stu Miller in 1958 and in Dave Koslo
in 1949 (plus early Rube Waddell in 1900, Theodore Breitenstein 1893 and Henry Boyle in 1886)
#5 Johnny Bench 1972 and 1973
#6 Ruben Sierra in 1989 at age 23
#7 Ross Grimsley with 92
#8 Eric Hinske in 2007
#9 Josh Hamilton in 2010

main ballot:
Manny Ramirez
Bengie Molina
Hideki Matsui

secondary ballot:
Andy Pettitte
R.A. Dickey
Dennis Eckersley

Doug
Guest

All correct, koma.

Bruce Gilbert
Guest

This is difficult. There are four that I think are a little above the others, but there are only three votes available. So, Don Sutton, Bill Dahlen and Ted Simmons. In the secondary ballot I’ll go with Minnie Minoso, Rick Reuschel and Andy Pettitte. I will post a specific comment on Sutton later. Can’t right now. Thanks.

Richard Chester
Guest

I’ll offer a semi-guess for question #11; Glenn Wright with 316 games.

Doug
Guest

Wright is the one.

Richard Chester
Guest

A comment I made not too long ago is what prompted me to guess Wright. With some help from you I mentioned the names of 4 players who played every inning of their team’s games in their debut season and Wright was one of them. I looked at his BR page and saw that he did it for his first 2 seasons, as did Al Simmons. And it looks like Simmons consecutive game streak at the start of his career reached 393 games.

CursedClevelander
Guest

For the Matt Morris question, the town is Whittier, CA. Home to both Mark Kotsay and Nomar Garciaparra. Of those two, Garciaparra hit over .400 against Morris and Kotsay was closer to .150, so the answer seems to be Nomar.

Dr. Doom
Guest
I want to talk about Monte Irvin. I’m not sure if I’m voting for him or not yet, so don’t read this post as advocacy for or against him; it’s just part of my thought process. As a basis for comparison, I went crude. I looked at WAR ages 30-35 among position players on either ballot who debuted in the Live Ball Era. I stopped at 35, which mildly shortchanges Irvin, because Dick Allen and Richie Ashburn didn’t play at age-36 or age-37. Here’s how they stack up (I’m putting WAR in their 20s in parentheses): Graig Nettles – 27.9… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Doom, First, I think it’s a good idea to subject Irvin’s candidacy to objective tests like this. I expect everyone is sympathetic to his case because of the effect on him of segregation, but when we give him a “bonus” we want the bonus to reflect real expectations, not empathy. I think, however, that there is a problem with your approach. Age 30 was Irvin’s rookie year: an extended cup of coffee (36 G, 93 PA) with lots of PH appearances. Like many rookies, he did not shine — the next year his talents were visible at the MLB level.… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
OK… First, Bob, thank you for making that point about the age-30 season. I really didn’t know (or bother researching) why his games-played total was so low, and chalked it up to injury. So, given the new information, I came up with an idea. The average of all the position players (Ken Boyer included, since I somehow forgot him) averaged 16.9 WAR from ages 31-35 and averaged 42.5 WAR through age-30. That’s a factor of 2.5. We know that Irvin had 18.3 WAR from ages 31-35. At a factor of 2.5 before that, we’d get 64.3 WAR. We also know… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

This seems a reasonable approach, Doom. Perhaps a little in Irvin’s favor. I did a search of all players who came up by age 21 and whose age 31-35 seasons were within one point of Irvin’s WAR total (eight players; I ruled out any with military service). Their age 21-30 WAR average was greater by a factor of 2.35.

mosc
Guest
You guys are making perfect sense to me. I support Irvin as a candidate but I agree it’s very hard to project. Irvin played just enough to convince you of the talent but there’s so much that was taken away it’s hard to really see the career that would have been. I think the negro league stats we DO have though paint a picture of one of the all-time great hitters during his prime. Negro league stats are not as good but it’s not like there were lots of others with his production. We do have SOME record of that… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
As threatened, I want to make some arguments in favor of Dahlen and Wallace. Because I’ve been doing this so long, I have enough points to put absolutely everyone to sleep, so I’m going to pick out only two for this comment, one very simplistic, the other more interesting (I hope). I’m relying on my previous post to serve as background. I’m not going to anticipate in this comment counter-arguments about whether or how to credit Dahlen and Wallace’s play prior to 1901, since I expect the other post will attract those. (1) The simplistic argument is about WAR. No… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Bob: I think you’re shortchanging Wallace a little as a hitter. I picked his 1898 season out to look at because he had 108 RBIs, and with a little more investigation I discovered that from age 23 through age 34, Wallace’s prime seasons as a position player, he led his teams in RBIs seven times and finished second five times.There’s no data on his position in the batting order available for those years, but whatever position he was in he was doing a very good job, considering the era and teams he played on, of getting runs across the plate.… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
A very interesting point about Wallace, nsb. I hadn’t noted it because I pay too little attention to RBI, it being difficult to assess how the credit should be distributed. If you compare the primes of Wallace and Dahlen, what jumps out to me is that although they seem roughly comparable in OPS+ and XBH, Wallace is racking up RBI while Dahlen is racking up runs. (Though, oddly, only Dahlen actually wins an RBI title, and that comes much later, with a low total.) My thought is it’s likely a matter of batting order. Wallace likely had Jesse Burkett ahead… Read more »
bells
Guest

That’s an intriguing angle, Bob, thanks for bringing it to light. I haven’t really thought about it in that way, but it seems to me a pretty good argument that in a decade where small ball and deadball tactics were developing, the two premier players at the key defensive position played a pivotal role in the development of baseball as a whole. I’ve already been voting for them (or at least one of them), but this is a good articulation of this point so I wanted to acknowledge that.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Thanks for the kind words, bells!

opal611
Guest

For the 1974 Part 3 election, I’m voting for:

-Manny Ramirez
-Don Sutton
-Andre Dawson

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

Thanks!

opal611
Guest

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

Thanks!

Dr. Doom
Guest

On the main ballot, I’m going with:

Kevin Brown
Dick Allen
Graig Nettles

On the secondary, I’m going to say:
Monte Irvin
Rick Reuschel
Todd Helton

This is getting tough. There are five good/amazing candidates – A-Rod, Scott Rolen, Vlad Guerrero, David Ortiz, Tim Hudson, plus even Torii Hunter. Those are all decent to fabulous candidates, and we’re probably only looking at one, maybe two rounds next year. So I don’t know how much traction any of these guys even CAN get if they don’t get in now. So good luck to all the candidates right now!

Michael Sullivan
Guest
A-Rod seems a no-doubter, assuming we maintain our prior attitude towards players who use PEDs that players who blow away the COG standards get in no matter what. Rolen looks like an excellent COG candidate, better than anybody on our current ballot statistically and a pretty easy selection by my lights, but similar to guys who are in but took a bit of convincing back in the day, like Larry Walker and Lou Whitaker, Ron Santo and Bobby Grich. All *obvious* hall guys, but not so far above the COG borderline that everyone was excited. Vlad and Tim Hudson are… Read more »
mosc
Guest

I’m not voting for Rodriguez. Steroid use was earlier in his career, clearly covered most of it, and most damning he effectively recruited players for his drug dealer. He is disqualified to me.

Paul E
Guest

Don Newcombe has passed.

no statistician but
Guest
Newcombe: Some weird things about his career: He was remarkable steady as a pitcher: his home/road and first half-second/half stats are very close; vs. lefties and righties fairly close. He pitched well every month of the season; against 6 of the opposing NL teams he won 21, 21, 23, 22, 22, and 23 games lifetime. The Braves were his only weakness, as a 12-16 record attests. Minus his Braves record he finished an excellent 45-33 lifetime against winning teams (.577), belying to a degree, his reputation for funking it in big games. As to that, it was his poor showing… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

He was a mensch.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I was a supporter of Ted Lyons while he was on the Secondary Ballot — and, years ago, when he was a CoG candidate — but I’ve been rusty on the arguments in his favor. Because I’m now using my Main Ballot vote to support both Dahlen and Wallace, it leaves me frustratingly little room to try to make sure I’m adequately considering baseball after 1910 (!), and I’ve also thought that if I were to vote for Lyons alongside my turn-of-that-century guys, I’d appear to be nothing but a nostalgist (for eras I can’t even regret passing because I… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Ted Lyons completed 356 of his 484 career starts for a .736 percentage. That’s the highest for all pitchers whose entire careers were after 1919 (minimum of 200 starts).

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

I’m ready to vote. I think I’ve written explanations of all six players in other comments, so I’ll keep this one short.

Primary Ballot: Dahlen, Lyons, Wallace
Secondary Ballot: Covaleski, Irvin, Smith

I’ll keep attending to arguments that might persuade me to change a name or two before the Tuesday deadlne for that.

Jeff B
Guest

Ted Lyons, Manny Ramirez, Don Sutton for main
Dennis Eckersley, Todd Helton, Monte Irvin for Secondary

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Eckersley has been strong in the Secondary Ballot early voting. I didn’t vote for him, but he’s clearly a very viable choice. The two things I recall most about Eck are his outstanding years with Oakland and his balanced career as a good starter and as, perhaps, the first true one-inning closer. But I was out of the country during his early peak years and have not had a really good sense of the shape of his career. I think no one has done a detailed advocacy post for Eck, so I thought I’d take a close look and pass… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Bob epm,
I seem to recall Eck’s wife leaving him for CF Rick Manning and this leading to a period of depression and alcohol consumption. Perhaps this led to the initial slump (1980-86). The second downturn might be just related to advanced years?

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Paul, The alcoholism and later arm blowout are in his SABR bio (though not the adultery, which Wikipedia notes). I didn’t mean to suggest there was anything mysterious about his ups and downs, just that his roller coaster was steeper than most and with a rare double-hump.

By the way, the “epm” in my handle is just to identify me as the guy who was “e pluribus munu” for about seven years on the site. Now that I have thrown caution to the winds and put my ancestors’ reputations at risk, I’ll answer to Bob solo.

Michael Sullivan
Guest

Any relation to Brian?

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Hmmm. Here too?

My longwindedness fades into the background like ambient music, as generations of sleeping students (and perhaps HHS readers) can attest, but, no, otherwise no relation whatever.

Michael Sullivan
Guest

Didn’t mean to touch a nerve, just something about your mention of ancestors and family name that brought to mind that you share a last name with someone famous. I’m not even a fan, except that he did a couple collaborations with people I like a lot.

Anyway, I take it you get that a lot, sorry.

“Why should I change my name? He’s the one who SUCKS!”

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

No worries, Michael, and no nerve touched. I do get it a lot, but I assume he’s tired of being asked if he’s related to me. (Not all assumptions are created equal.) I wish I liked his music more. I have only one word for a middle name; he’s got nine, so he’s clearly a very brilliant guy.

Paul E
Guest

Bob Eno,
Supposedly, he and Manning were best friends. There were another 50+ wins as a starter in there if of sound mind and sober. I guess that kind of stuff builds character……eventually

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

An interesting thought experiment, Paul. So that’s another route to 197 wins. But what are the odds that if you run history that second time Eck still winds up as the first closer?

Paul E
Guest
If he’s injury free, he’s another Sutton, 16-20 wins/year and he never closes and we’re spared the Tony LaRussa experiment – 6 inning starter, 7th inning guy, set-up man (Honeycutt), and closer (Eck). (One year in Oakland, Bob Welch won 27 games and a Cy Young with 2 CG and 6.8 IP/GS. He was 7th in WAR amongst the 7 vote getters and 2nd place Clemens had 3x as much WAR as Welch.) It’s quite possible that Eckersley might have had a Hall of Fame career as a starter. By the same token, his age 24 comps are a “who’s… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
To me the only argument for Eckersley that might make sense is his role as a pioneer, or more specifically, a guy who made an impact on HOW the game was played. Four of his first five years as a starter were quite good, but not earthshaking, and then he dropped like a rock in terms of effectiveness, recovered somewhat for a couple of seasons with the Cubs but pitching fewer innings per start, and then, after faltering again in ’86, spent a year as an old-style reliever before becoming the transformed Closer, noted in my memory for two things:… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
It’s true that “depth” is a problem for Eckersley, but peaks are a compensating strength. 197 wins plus 390 saves (useless as that stat may be) is not a marginally substantial record. It’s impressive. Just not sure whether it’s impressive enough at this stage of the CoG. As for Gibson’s HR, Gibson couldn’t run (turned out he could trot), but he was an MVP hitter that year, and that’s what beat Eckersley. No shame in it, it’s to Gibby’s credit; it must have hurt like hell for Eck. After that, the other A’s beat themselves. Eck had nothing to do… Read more »
Andy
Guest

Primary:
Kevin Brown
Don Sutton
Graig Nettles

Secondary:
Stan Coveleski
Todd Helton
Dennis Eckersley

JEV
Guest

Primary: Brown, Ramirez, Simmons
Secondary: Coveleski, Abreu, Eckersley

Hub Kid
Guest
Primary: Luis Tiant, Dick Allen, Manny Ramirez Secondary: Minnie Minoso, Reggie Smith, Rick Reuschel Somehow the CoG does not have anyone from Cuba in it, so I enjoyed topping both of my ballots with worthy Cubans. Although on our CoG borderline, Minoso has the additional impetus of being a total whiff by the BBWAA and Veterans Committees a la Ron Santo (if we’re lucky, Minoso will still get in someday, but they missed out on doing it during his lifetime, as they did with Santo). I’m starting to imagine how a CoG Old Timers Wing might look after reading Bob’s… Read more »
mosc
Guest

Ron Santo explains the purpose of the VC’s, Don Baylor explains the frustration. Gah. I think somewhere on here there was a Ron Santo memorial that was full of outrage that he wasn’t in the hall at the time.

Josh Davis
Guest
Has anyone else seen this article on Seamheads? http://seamheads.com/blog/2019/02/17/a-problem-with-war-defensive-value/ It expresses some of my concerns with WAR, although I claim no great knowledge when it comes to the formula for WAR. I wondered how the HHS crowd would respond. If it helps frame the discussion, I’m thinking about it particularly in context of Ken Boyer vs. Graig Nettles. I’ve been revisiting my position (which has been that Boyer is the preferable third base candidate). I think Boyer is clearly the better hitter, which leaves me trying to decided how much Nettles’ defense is worth. He seems to be Boyer’s superior… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Josh: The only people who aren’t suspicious of dWAR figures are the people who gather them. What the Seamheads article questions is the huge boost given to Matt Chapman for his admittedly good fielding last year that no one else seems to find. When I looked at Chapman’s fielding data what I eventually discovered was that another third baseman, Kyle Seager, had fairly similar stats, not as good, more games played but fewer chances, but also fewer errors, more DPs, and a higher fielding %. Somehow those extra chances in the field gave Chapman 3.5 dWAR and condemned Seager to… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

Let’s clean up the subject verb agreement here: “. . . its supporters go wrong . . .” Right?

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
B-R’s calculations for dWAR now rely on Baseball Info Solutions analyses of fielding performance. A while ago, I began to get hold of BIS’s more or less (I think less than more) annual publication, “The Fielding Bible,” to learn what those analyses were about. I’ve read four of their volumes, but not recently (vol. 5 doesn’t seem available yet). Here’s a summary of what I recall that may explain the non-intuitive dWAR figures. BIS, a company with which Bill James has been involved as an “associate” from the start, hires and trains a fleet of observers to watch every game… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

As so often, I regret failing to close the hyper link.

Josh Davis
Guest

Bob, thanks for the reply. I think you are probably right as to the accuracy of the numbers (your argument that the clubs use the info is a compelling one), at least to say it is the best we can do for now. It’s just that the skeptic in me would like to see how the sausage is made. They might be making assumptions or value judgments with which I would not concur. That sounds horribly arrogant (and most certainly is), but I am loathe to depend on information when I can’t figure out where it comes from.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Josh, I spotted this long after I’d seen and replied to what was really your response to Michael, below. Sorry. Bottom line: information that addresses your skepticism is out there, if the characterizations of it here are inadequate. Still, that will only tell you how the sausage is made, though in extreme detail. To see how it’s made you’d need to set aside weeks of time to observe the monitors and data crushers at work, and to be trained up to be able to assess what you’re seeing — not to mention get access, perhaps through high-placed friends or relatives.… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
Bob went into a lot of good detail about the modern fielding metrics that I won’t duplicate. Also, in this case, my point from a prior post about dWAR incorporating positional runs doesn’t affect the comparison between Seager and Chapman because they both played 3B and have almost the same rPos. But I want to talk a little about your assumption that the difference in chances couldn’t possibly amount to 3.5 WAR, and talk about why I see it very differently, and I think so do most sabermetricians. To get there, we have to go back to the whole reason… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Michael’s description is an improvement over mine (and not just because he didn’t trip over hyperlinks). His point that every good fielding play has precisely the same value magnitude as a good batted ball is precisely the obvious fact that has not been built into the intuitions of most of us, who grew up relying on batting statistics and largely ignoring fielding statistics. Michael’s discussion of errors is also very apt. In one of the “Fielding Bibles” (v.2, I got it off the shelf this morning) Bill James has an article on errors and the first sentence is, “The concept… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
“When the game was young, people were much more attuned to the value of fielding, in part because the differences in fielding quality between players tended to be more obvious (the quantity of misplays being so high), and in part because early baseball was conceived in terms of batters offering challenges to fielders….” Bob Eno, Yes, perhaps to such an extent that even Babe Ruth, (at some point early in his career?) suggested that Hal Chase was the game’s greatest first baseman ever and would be part of his “all-time team”? This, despite a modest OPS+ for the position. What’s… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
Paul, I think there’s a lot to the lack of data from before fairly recently. My guess is that the numbers we’re getting *now* are actually getting decently accurate but some guys from before were *far* better or worse than we realize, or have the data to determine now. And that doesn’t just mean that guys with high rField from totalzone were better and negative were worse. My guess is that there may be somebody that got scored as just very good by the limited data who was actually Belanger/Smith/Robinson level in the infield. And maybe some of the guys… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Michael: I just took another look at the Seamheads post and saw that you contributed your thoughts and analysis there as well, which I was hoping you might do. A further issue, not previously mentioned here but discussed from time to time in the past, is the great advance made in gloves and field maintenance over the years, though with gloves it’s really a twofold change: larger by far and better designed. The greatest of these changes occurred in the decades from the late nineteen-fifties through the mid ‘eighties, I would say, so they seem perhaps ancient history, but they… Read more »
Josh Davis
Guest
Michael, thanks for the reply. I appreciate it. But I guess I’m still not understanding. You say that chances are not entirely due to the luck of wherever the ball comes. I get that a better fielder gets to more balls and thus has more chances. But I’m still confused as to how we know every extra chance Chapman got was due to his superior range. Is it not possible that he simply had more balls hit his direction? He got closer to 60 more balls than Seager did. You say that doesn’t mean 60 more balls were hit his… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Josh, BIS monitors and records the details of every play of every game, including how far and at what speed players move to reach balls hit at what angles and speeds, all detected by software differing from StatCast basically in that the measurements are from video. Each play is also described according to their 82 classifications, descriptive data that classifies the actions of fielders on each play. They hire and train lots of people to do that and nothing else. They don’t regard their data as an approximation. This is the answer to your questions “How do we know that?”… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
We don’t know that every extra chances were the result of superior range, and I don’t think that’s the case. As I said, if I assumed that were the case, the rField and dWAR difference would be much greater! But how do we know that at least *some*, and maybe even *most* of the extra chances were likely due to more range or better positioning? By watching the games. It’s really clear that fielders don’t ever get charged errors by failing to reach the ball except in egregious cases. They don’t get scored as a “chance” unless they either make… Read more »
Josh Davis
Guest
Bob and Michael, thanks for the replies and bearing with my lack of knowledge on this front. I do think your recommendation to do some reading on the subject is a good one and might allay some of my concern. This explanation makes me feel *better* about dWAR, as I will readily admit it seems to be the best we can do at the moment. I suppose what is still a bit disappointing to me is that for all the criticism fielding percentage (rightfully) receives for being a scorekeeper’s opinion, dWAR is still relying on human opinions about what constitutes… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

I ought to do Boyer vs. Nettles. I did Boyer last round and I haven’t revisited Nettles in ages.

As for human judgment on fielding, remember balls and strikes — and they’re worse, because with technology now everyone can see how frequent the umps get it wrong.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
In comparing Boyer and Nettles, I went to fielding data first. Since Rdrs stats are not available for their periods, I decided to look at Rtot, there being no leaderboards for dWAR. Obviously, Rtot figures are not as reliable as Rdrs, but I think I found some interesting stuff. This is going to be a ramble. Rtot is available only from 1953, but Boyer comes up in ’55 so it covers both Boyer and Nettles. When Boyer arrived, annual Rtot leaders at 3B had ranged from 4 to 10 in the brief period figures are available. Then, in 1956, Boyer’s… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

My vote.

Primary

Dick Allen
Ken Boyer
Andre Dawson

Secondary

Bobby Abreu
Todd Helton
Ted Lyons

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Richard, Ted Lyons is now on the Primary Ballot.

Richard Chester
Guest

That’s the second time I fouled up.

Again, primary

Dick Allen
Ted Lyons
Andre Dawson

Secondary

Bobby Abreu
Todd Helton
Minnie Minoso

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Interim vote report (as always, * signals a player on the bubble): Primary Ballot 12 ballots submitted 6 – Manny Ramirez ———————————————–50% (6) 4 – Ted Lyons*, Don Sutton* 3 – Dick Allen, Kevin Brown, Bill Dahlen ———————————————–25% (3) 2 – Richie Ashburn*, Andre Dawson*, Graig Nettles, Ted Simmons* ———————————————– 10% (2) 1 – Ken Boyer*, Hideki Matsui, Bengie Molina, Luis Tiant, Bobby Wallace Secondary Ballot 12 ballots submitted 7 – Dennis Eckersley* 6 – Todd Helton ————————————————50% (6) 4 – Stan Coveleski*, Minnie Minoso* 3 – Monte Irvin*, Rick Reuschel ————————————————25% (3) 2 – Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte, Willie… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest

WTF? Seriously? Manny might make it but not Brown? Almost makes me willing to vote for Sutton just to give him some more competition.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
For those who believe the way to handle PED players is to try to come up with some assessment as to whether they would be CoGworthy if we could identify and discount the seasons that were tainted by PEDs, Manny represents a particularly difficult problem. Whereas Brown’s use is discussed in some detail in the Mitchell Report, allowing us to learn something about the time frames for which there is positive evidence, Manny is not mentioned there. Mitchell Report discussions often involve retrospective testimony or physical evidence (such as receipts for PED payments) that give us some insight into a… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

Bob: I appreciate your position, but I think it’s OK to draw tentative conclusions based on performance records, so that’s what I’m going to do here.

Ramirez’s OPS+ numbers 1995-98, his age 23-26 seasons: 147, 146, 144, 146.

Ramirez’s subsequent OPS+ numbers starting 1999, his age 27 season: 174, 186, 162, 184, 159, 152, 153, 165.

Prior to 1999 his highest OPS was .981. From 1999 through 2006 his lowest was .982, and every other year in the stretch was 1.009 or better, usually lots better.

You see my conclusion.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Yes, I do see. And I don’t disagree with your interpretation as a tentative conclusion, or the appropriateness of your not voting for Manny on that basis. (Of course, you generally don’t vote for anyone.) I’m just not prepared to rely on conclusions drawn from performance alone for CoG voting. I hope there are many cases where performance improvement is simply the result of disciplined effort; it happens (as with, for example, Jose Ramirez the past two seasons), and it may have happened with Manny. Some of those here who vote for PED-involved players like Manny and Brown have offered… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
I don’t really like the practice of looking at a jump in performance and then assuming PEDs because players have always had performance spikes for various reasons (maybe it was greenies or tobacco juice?) What I do think, though, is that if Manny was willing to use PEDs when they were specifically banned and tested for to the point of two positive tests, am I really supposed to believe he wasn’t *also* using when they weren’t? And he’s borderline. More borderline than Brown. If we’re going to make *any* discount for PEDs at all in his case, he doesn’t belong.… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

I don’t know, Michael. His namesake and fellow lollygagger just signed for $300m. Maybe there’s a secret sauce we’re missing.

Michael Sullivan
Guest

Machado might jog out some weak grounders too, but he’s got 11.3 dWar in 7 years. 73 rfield at challenging infield positions. If he’s slacking in the field (which Manny R. *totally* did), goddamn, imagine how good he’d be if he weren’t.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Yeah. I know. I wanted Manny to stay with Brookly — . . . I mean LA.

Hub Kid
Guest
For argument’s sake, let’s say that Manny’s and Brown’s careers are about equally great (and obviously their COG and HOF cases suffer from the same primary weakness, although their other weaknesses vary). I think some of the difference between the votes for these two is how long they have been on the ballot. This is Manny’s 7th ballot, and Brown’s umpteenth (I used to keep track, but I’m not up to date anymore). I think strategy has some role here; Brown’s case is clearly a long game, but Manny’s might still have the potential to go somewhere within 10 rounds.… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Interesting strategy, Kid. Brown has been higher up, but Manny has too, having lost a CoG runoff by only two votes last year. You’ve written positively on Manny in the past, including your preference for him over Brown, but you haven’t been one of his regular voters. So it looks like Manny’s early support this round has mobilized you to try and get his election done. I think I’ve noticed a pattern in voting over the past couple of years: Brown and/or Ramirez pull(s) in early votes, but fade when the later votes come in. I have no idea why,… Read more »
Josh Davis
Guest
As someone who has voted for Ramirez and not Allen, I would say the length of career is definitely a big factor for me. Manny dwarfs Allen on sheer stats and that matters to me. It is a frequent question — who is more worthy, the player with the lengthy and very good career, or the player with a short but excellent career. I don’t know that I’m always consistent on this, but in this case (and in the case of Ted Simmons) I tend to value the longer career a bit more. Manny also earns points for me for… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Thanks for taking up the question, Josh. You didn’t address the PED issue, but I assume the difference in career longevity is more important (I do remember your position last year against singling out PEDs for penalties and not spitballs, etc.).

Michael Sullivan
Guest
If you’re looking at raw stats when you say “sheer stats”, it’s really tough to have an informed opinion given the massive scoring difference when the two of them played. That’s probably the biggest reason some of the not quite inner-circle guys from the 60s and 70s have struggled to get into the hall. Manny was in his prime at the peak of the steroid era and played all but the very end of his career in very high scoring environments. Allen, OTOH, played his entire career in relatively low scoring environments including some years in the 60s that would… Read more »
Josh Davis
Guest

Years of 2+ WAR (starter value)
Ramirez 15
Allen 11

Years of 5+ WAR (All-Star value)
Allen 6
Ramirez 5

Dr. Doom
Guest
Well… I think I’m obligated to share this here. Guess who I shook hands with tonight? No guesses? … … Bernie Williams! Yeah, former Yankees CF Bernie Williams! He’s very active in a program called Turnaround Arts that encourages kids to get involved in arts and music. The local school district here in rural Minnesota flew him in from New York to do a presentation in our local school. He had a public Q&A/concert for about an hour at 6. Most of the kids had heard it all during the day, so they didn’t come back (and it was during… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
One more thing: I nearly forgot what I thought was the funniest anecdote. Williams explained that he’s still involved with the Yankees organization – charity work, “special instructor” status (he’s heading to spring training soon), and – of course – the Old Timers’ game. He said something I thought was really funny: that, once you’re retired, you’re immediately an Old Timer. He retired at 37. He said it was a very humbling (and awkwardly funny) experience to suddenly be playing with 80-year-old guys who had to walk hunched over, and to be considered the “same” as them, just because you… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Thanks, Doom. An exclusive report for HHSers on a really appealing player, and very warmly done, despite the freezing weather. (I too was a Yankee hater who liked Williams as a good guy — though middle aged then, and feeling very old right now!).

Stay warm. (I guess you folks know how to do that.)

Michael Sullivan
Guest
Bernie always came across as a really good guy in interviews, and he was a lot of fun to watch. He had a really fine bat for a CF, and you always knew something could happen when he came to the plate. And he really was just a couple good years short of a good HOF case. Kind of a shame that he got dumped in that dog’s breakfast of a ballot in 2013. Although Lofton (who made the COG) was the most egregious dump. 8 (probably 9 or 10) future HOFers (and 11 COG members) on that ballot and… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Michael Sullivan made the point below that Kevin Brown might not make it, but that Manny Ramirez (somehow) might. I understand that some folks will never vote for either of them. But if you’re going to vote for one… WHY would it be Manny? 1. They are both PED-associated players. But one of them continued using PEDs into the testing era… I’ll give you a guess as to which one. (And yes, this is only because Brown was retired, and Ramirez was not… but it goes to Manny’s flakiness.) 2. Black Ink and Gray Ink are almost the same for… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Doom, I’m never going to vote for either Manny or Brown, but I would note that Manny’s HOF monitor was 226, 34th among batters, with the average set at 100. Brown’s was 93, 117th among pitchers, with an average of 100
‘m not sure how I would discount their stats for PED use, but that’s a big difference.

Dr. Doom
Guest
I really don’t worry too much about HOFs and HOFm. The reason I don’t is fourfold: 1.) Those two standards were configured to be commensurate with Hall of Famers in the 1980s. The standards were never reconfigured for players of the Selig years. The argument isn’t that Kevin Brown has a better ERA than Three Finger Brown, nor than Ramirez had fewer HRs than Eddie Collins. With those numbers never being adjusted, when looking at players of the ’90s and ’00s, hitters are systematically overrated and pitchers are systematically underrated. It’s just a fact of how those things work. 2.)… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
On #4, I think the distinction is a wide one, not fine at all. James was initially very clear that his devices were meant to predict HoF electability, not HoF worthiness, and we know what James thought about HoF election standards. Still, if I found my assessments radically out of line with those measures, I’d want to be able to explain why. I think Doom’s first point does that well as a first pass — I’ve never thought about the point he makes (since I pay almost no attention to those measures, or to JAWS, for that matter — we… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
Hall monitor and standards were based on Bill James predicting how the BBWAA voters would vote based on their voting history in the 60s-80s (maybe 90s?). It wasn’t about judging players, but about predicting what hall voters were looking for. I *thought* that the collective at HHS had established that we weren’t at all happy with the BBWAA’s way of judging candidates, and that’s the whole purpose of these alternate halls. COG in particular is *expressly* trying to relitigate hall of fame voting in a certain way, because we think that the BBWAA f’d up a lot. So I don’t… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Michael, and Doom, I’m going to bow out here. I don’t vote for juicers anyway, and I probably shouldn’t have intruded.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Not an intrusion, Mike — no intrusions here — a legitimate observation. Several people have recently invoked the Hall indexes at the bottom of B-R pages and it was useful to have a chance to discuss them.

(Actually, I do recall an intrusion here once. In the midst of some long ago CoG round, some guy popped up and said, “If you don’t have Gil Hodges in your circle this whole thing is a joke.” Or words to that effect. It added color.)

Paul E
Guest

Vote:
Allen, Lyons, Sutton
Coveleski, Randolph, Reggie Smith

Doug
Guest

Main: Tiant, Wallace, Dawson
Secondary: Coveleski, Eckersley, Reuschel

no statistician but
Guest

Somebody’s has to be elected in this thing, so I’m going to make one of my usual inflammatory remarks: Ramirez is a ridiculous choice, but he’s now in the lead. Why? The troika effect? Dunno, but the only players on the ballot whose records approximate those of current members of the COG are Dahlen and Wallace, who, despite Bob Eno’s electioneering, or maybe because of it, are getting short shrift. At any rate, time still remains to change your votes and keep injustice from being done.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Ridiculous is a strong adjective.
We did vote for Harmon Killebrew.

Manny is eighth all time in ops.
With an ops+ in the ballpark of Frank Robinson, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron.

The contrary arguments are plentiful and valid, yes.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Screw it, let’s have a 5-way runoff:

Vote change:

Richie Ashburn
Ted Lyons
Manny Ramirez

to

Ashburn
Kevin Brown
Lyons

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Well, Voomo, that change does move us closer to that outcome. Ramirez drops to 5 votes out of 14 cast so far, tied with Lyons and Sutton. Allen and Brown are now just one vote behind. And there are still four full days to go till the Thursday night voting deadline. I want to add that although I sometimes wonder whether HHS voters casting ballots for Brown or Manny have engaged with discussions we’ve had about voting for players with PED profiles, I remember that in the past you made strong arguments for your willingness to do so. The fact… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
It is precisely because I want to focus on what I love about baseball that I choose to accept (most of) the numbers from that era. We failed as a society, and are still failing, to deal with the performance enhancing drug issue. Im not going to vilify individuals. That’s nothing but a distraction. The folks in charge of every industry/government tell us to argue with each other over nonsense so that we can never collectively have a useful big-picture discussion. We’re supposed to discredit individuals for doing something that wasnt even against the rules. Kafka would crumple the idea… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

I understand the argument, Voomo, though it’s not my view. (And I want nothing to do with vilification; I’m interested only in statistical comparability.) I suspect we’re in agreement on Selig.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

It may also be that I often feel obliged to be a contrarian.
Ideas that have been absorbed into popular consensus need pariahs to question them so that they remain living systems. I was born without the disability of needing to be liked.

Besides which, this issue has the problem of mass hypocrisy.
We all knew what we were looking at in 1998.
And we all chose suspension of disbelief because we were enjoying the story.

Chicks dig the longball.

Michael Sullivan
Guest

“Chicks dig the longball.”

LOL, You beat me to it. I’ve been meaning to insert that quote somewhere in this discussion, ’cause it seems like not just chicks, but some HHS voters as well.

Hub Kid
Guest

Voomo, a double hat-tip to you: 1) for turning this (rather suddenly) into a pretty exciting CoG voting round. I think I will have to watch the deadlines and think about changing my vote.

2) for clear and unapologetic reasoning in the great PED debate (apologies to HHS-ers on the other side of the debate, I recognise that your arguments are valid and made in good faith, although I don’t happen to agree with you).

mosc
Guest

Voomo, keep being you. I am not going to vote for Manny but I respect your rationale and appreciate you explaining it.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

” . . . despite Bob Eno’s electioneering, or maybe because of it . . . ”

Ouch. But, yeah.

Chris C
Guest

Main Ballot:
Ramirez, Sutton, Simmons

Secondary Ballot:
Randolph, Eck, Minoso

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Ted Lyons and Don Sutton are among the leaders in votes so far. I voted for Lyons and wrote a comment explaining why. In thinking about Lyons vs. Sutton, I want to pick up a point I made about Lyons and compare him to Sutton. Both Lyons and Sutton were pitchers with long careers (Lyons 21 seasons plus 3 War years; Sutton 23 seasons), and high win totals. Lyon’s W-L record was 260-230 (he lost three years to the War late in his career, when he was enjoying a string of very good years that would almost surely have brought… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
Bob, I just wanted to add something here….I’d put a lot greater weight on W-P percentage differentials the farther we go back in time, simply because starters pitched more games and more innings per game. I’d even make the argument (and expose myself to scorn and other forms of hysterical laughter) by saying that a pitcher who starts with the expectation that he’s going nine is a lot more likely to have to pitch strategically (and pitch to the score?) than one who is satisfied when he does six. Blake Snell had a spectacular season in 2018, and was surely… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Mike L: I’m not laughing. I’d extend your argument further to say that most starting pitchers into the late 1980s had the hope, if not always the expectation, of throwing a complete game in every outing. It’s quite clear, looking at the leader boards, that this is the case. Relievers were used with more and more frequency in the decades leading up to the sea change, true, but starters weren’t let in on the secret that they weren’t expected to go the distance, I don’t think. It’s interesting that two things happened together in 1988: Eckersley became the first modern… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I agree with some of what you’ve written, Mike and nsb, but since I was doing a comparison with Sutton, the difference is a bit blunted. Sutton didn’t pitch as many CGs as some of his contemporaries, but he was still of a generation of starters that probably entered most games expecting to go the distance. So Mike’s basic point about W-L may work a bit in Lyons’ favor (he was, after all, the all-time leader in percent of starts completed, as Richard has taught us — 74% vs. Sutton’s 24% in a very different era), but it wouldn’t be… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
“At any rate, the view now that assigning wins and losses to specific pitchers is irrelevant fails to take into account the fact that pitching by committee is a development of recent times.” I’m not sure anyone thinks that it’s “irrelevant” so much as that it’s a poor way to capture a pitcher’s performance and paying too much attention to it allows luck to bias your picture significantly. I suppose you could make an argument that pitcher W-L is *marginally* more relevant in an era of 50-70% CGs than in an era where 6-7 IP is effectively treated as a… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Michael, There’s much true in what you write. However, you are addressing pitcher W-L Pct, and noting the role of team quality. The issue here is pitcher W-L Pct. beyond or below team quality, Over the course of a long career, I think that can be a meaningful figure, though not as solid as a number of advanced stats.

Michael Sullivan
Guest
There are too many other problems with pitcher wins, for W-L differential to be a very valuable way of lookign at anything. IMO, the only reason to look at W-L differential is if you’re fixating on pitcher wins and trying hard to do something with them that’s not completely useless because you’ve got W-L on the brain. Start with WAR. If that’s not definitive, look at year by year, look at FIP, ERA+ GB/FB etc. But “pitching to the score” is a steaming pill of bullshit, and pitcher W-L is on of the most useless stats ever invented. Ok, I’ll… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Michael, I disagree with your total dismissal of W-L Pct. differential (stating your opinion and calling one aspect of the discussion bullshit aren’t really arguments), and I think you may have missed something I said. W-L Pct. differential is of value when it aligns with advanced stats, like WAR rate, because it can be intuitively grasped as an event on the diamond, where WAR is basically a figure most of us accept on authority. I think citing W-L Pct. differential is a valid argument strategy when it aligns with advanced stats. As a Lyons backer, I wondered why the large… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
What is it that you’re hoping to capture with W-L differential that WAR and ERA+ don’t already cover? The only thing I can imagine is the idea of “pitching to the score”, somehow eking out more wins with the same runs allowed as some other pitcher. I feel like the whole idea of pitching to the score has been definitively shown to be somewhere between bunk and a minuscule effect. In every athletic contest that can be measured, epople have been trying to demonstrate or falsify an ability to win games/matches that is independent of simple better offensive or defensive… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Michael, I’m troubled by your notion that the pitcher is “in control of” only 1/4 – 1/2 of the defensive game. I understand why it would make sense when the only considerations are TTO and BiP. But the game includes far more than those alternatives, especially in terms of the pitchers role in defense. I’m going to run through a very rough thought experiment of an alternative approach to assessing how much pitchers are in control total team defense. A pitcher, in his role as pitcher, is “in control of” only one thing: pitches. For a pitcher, the unit of… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
It’s an interesting thought experiment, Bob, but I think your method is far too speculative. The point of baseball is to win games. Winning games means scoring runs. While you might say that a pitcher has control of “100Q,” not all of those 100Q are created equal. Each third strike, fourth ball, or BIP has anywhere from, say five to fifty times as much impact on the final score of the game. A single ball thrown in the first inning to the second batter on a 1-1 count might, yes, be part of the larger drama of the game; it… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Well, Doom, first, I hope my own past comments don’t limit the ideas I’m allowed to have. The ideas in my post on Q’s followed on my thoughts about fWAR assigning 100% of control to pitchers on TTO outcomes, which also grew out of my belief that “chance” plays no role in BiPs. But certainly this is the first time I’ve written along these explicit lines and of course I know that this isn’t the way these issues are usually framed. That’s what a thought experiment is about, no? When you say, “Not all pitches are created equal” I think… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
So Bob, first of all, I was referring to *both* sides of the ball. So to say that the pitcher is responsible for 1/4 is to say that he is responsible for roughly half the defense. I do also agree with Doom about using pitches vs. PA results. I think you’re right in some sense to say that each pitch in a given PA is of roughly equal importance in some fashion, but the end result happens on a particular pitch, that is either a fourth ball, third strike, HR or BIP. You could break down the component pitches for… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Michael, I think the clarifications you make here actually get us close to agreement. Now that I’m re-reading your initial message, I see I did not connect the dots that would make the 1/4 figure cover both sides of the game. I’d grant pitchers a little over 1/3 on BiP (most defensive plays involve 1-2 fielder performances), and with my argument about non-PA-ending pitches I’d give them somewhat more than 2/3 of the total defense. That would yield the 1/3 of total team performance, reached by a different basis from the one you anticipated I’d argue. We still disagree, but… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
I’m not going to say it’s “invalid” to look at W-L differential. It’s a stat that gets kept, and you can look at it, and it’s certainly going to give a better picture than pure W_L. But that said, here’s where the rubber meets the road for me — What do I think if W-L differential and WAR disagree? What if, instead of roughly matching what WAR and ERA+ say, W-L differential suggested that Lyons was real inner circle material, a no-doubter COG selection like Maddux or Seaver. Or the other way — what if W-L differential made him look… Read more »
Doug
Guest
To your point about penciling in Lyons for 300 wins if he doesn’t lose three years to the war, certainly it would have been possible, but he might have come up just short, as he was only starting 20-23 games each year, so the 13 or 14 wins that he would have needed would be about the most that could be expected. Lyons certainly thrived on that reduced workload, with a 141 ERA+ starting at age 37, compared to 112 prior. Only Wilhelm (153) and Grove (142) have better ERA+ scores in 500+ IP aged 37+. Lyons’ two best ERA+… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Ugh, this is a difficult set of choices. Allen, Wallace, and, for the first time for me, Ashburn.
Once again, I won’t be voting in the Secondary ballot.

mosc
Guest
Jeter got in so I guess I’m down to playing long shots (Nettles, Dawson, Simmons, Eck, and Irvin). I have to say I really don’t think Manny is a good candidate. I also compensate for segregation (docking Lyons, for example) and military service (favoring Lyons, for example) so I don’t think Steroids are a particularly unique thing we have to deal with. I guess at this point I’m leaning towards voting AGAINST Manny with a swoop-in vote for somebody like Lyons. I’ll have to see if I can pull that off. Maybe I should stay out of it and vote… Read more »
mosc
Guest

That post really requires an edit button. For shame!

mosc
Guest

I’m also slightly willing to consider some of Hideki Matsui’s Japanese league stats:

.304/.413/.582/.996 over 5504 PA’s is pretty prolific.

His age 30+ MLB stats compare less flatteringly with guys like Sheffield, Ramirez, etc. I can sorta buy the argument but I think we saw his best in 2004 and it frankly wasn’t that historic.

Mike L
Guest

Kind of an interesting point to raise, mosc, given that we look at years lost to service time and the color barrier.

Michael Sullivan
Guest
Yeah, I definitely took a look at Matsui, he was a very nice player for a bit and didn’t get to MLB until age 29. But I agree, his age 30+ profile just doesn’t look like that of a COG candidate, except maybe a few with monster early peaks and problems/injuries leading to mediocre late careers like Junior. Most of the guys who look like him age 30+ are HoVG or borderline big hall at best. I’d be more inclined to give him serious consideration if his 30+ was about the same or better than our borderliners. I think I’m… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
During our discussion last year of Ichiro’s candidacy (which I supported), there was a lot of talk about taking his years in Japan into consideration in some way. My feeling was that that approach was not valid in a case like Ichiro’s because his long stay in Japan was by choice, not an enforced limitation. Military service and segregation-based exclusion are examples of things for which we generally allow some sort of supplementary credit. On this string, we see that thinking in the cases of Lyons and Irvin. Those cases are based on institutional limitations, either completely beyond a player’s… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
If you’re really not taking Japan into consideration at all, I don’t see how you support Ichiro for the COG, He’s 59 WAR and 23 WAA with a hall rating of 108. That’s not really a COG resume. close maybe, but he’s behind a slew of guys with limited support, and a couple who made it that many of us think were poor selections. There’s nobody even at the outside border of the COG conversation that he’s significantly better than by stats in MLB. But I think he gets in, because most of us see he got to MLB at… Read more »
mosc
Guest

Totally agree with you Mr. Sullivan

Hub Kid
Guest
mosc, if you are looking at the current contenders to win this ballot and are not interested in voting for Manny, let me push for Allen: as Doom rather eloquently puts it above, they are very similar candidates. And of course, Allen is not a recorded PED user. I think Allen also had to deal with quite a bit of racism (not to mention the reserve clause), and I think it all makes up for the shorter career. I love complete games (and career longevity, and “leaving something in the tank”), so I am sorely tempted to change my vote… Read more »
Hub Kid
Guest

Apologies to eminent HHS-ers Bob Eno and Dr. Doom – I have confused my Manny Ramirez vs. X arguments. Doom’s case is for Kevin Brown over Manny, and Bob’s question is why are there so few Manny AND Dick Allen voters (making the argument for the similarity of their hitting abilities)…

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Yeah. I saw that and I thought: I’m moving up in the world.

Michael Sullivan
Guest

BTW, I’ve got your back on dumping Manny from the top or creating a runoff if it’s possible, just not planning to vote until tomorrow evening.

Paul E
Guest
Regarding the Manny debate, his 154 OPS+ is impressive with a .312/.411/.585 39/129 w/94 BBs per 162 Games. Honestly, I believe his OPS+ might have been even higher if: 1) He had juiced his whole career (starting in 1993) and had an even longer peak. 2) The whole GD league wasn’t juicing. His raw numbers are out of sight but, relative to the league, not insane. In the ballpark of his 154 OPS+ we find Ott, Aaron, DiMaggio, Mays, Allen. I have to believe, as Caminiti (“50%” ) and Canseco (“80%”) suggested, more than half of the league was under… Read more »
Josh Davis
Guest
VOTE: Ted Simmons Ken Boyer Kevin Brown Secondary: Todd Helton Minnie Minoso Dennis Eckersley I’ve appreciated the conversation about Manny Ramirez and have chosen not to vote for him this round due to some of that, although I very well might in the future and think he would fit fine in the COG at this point. I still don’t see the fairness in docking Manny for PED’s when proven cheaters who didn’t serve penalties for their crimes (like Manny did) are already elected and others remain on the ballot apparently untarnished. I realize some of you have a more nuanced… Read more »
mosc
Guest

I just don’t see how we avoid hypotheticals. I understand and agree it’s not concrete but we have to deal with military service and strikes and segregation as well as more traditional differences in ballparks, run scoring enviornments, continuously increasing relief pitcher utilization, crappy defensive metrics, etc.

It’s unavoidable.

Josh Davis
Guest

You are right, or course, to some extent this is unavoidable. But I’d still like to put more stock in what actually happened on the field rather than resorting to “what ifs.” Which is probably why I tend to support longer career guys.

mosc
Guest
As I look at the sheet, I see Sutton has tied Ramirez. I don’t like Sutton much either, his WAA is atrocious for a candidate and perhaps more than any other player in history, his appeal is pure innings. Looking at the guys a single vote behind, I get Allen, Brown, and Lyons. I don’t think I’d pick Ramirez over Brown but I don’t think I have to pick either. Allen and Lyons had fairly different careers. To be honest I think I’m overvaluing Lyons 1946 competence over 42 innings in projecting his 42-45 missed time but he returned as… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Somewhat on topic, Kenny Lofton sounds off on the HoF and steroids:

https://sports.yahoo.com/kenny-lofton-blames-alex-rodriguez-ped-users-omission-hall-fame-020906075.html

Cliffs’ Notes: It appears he’s anti-steroids, dislikes A-Rod, and is further pissed about MLB’s stance on past known users.

no statistician but
Guest
It’s a point of view that doesn’t get much notice, but let’s say you were in a grad school class at a top flight research U, and half the other students had rumbled an easy way to bamboozle the lazy, tenured prof by buying research on line or a similar scam, while you did your own work, sweated the research and the grunt work, and, true, you got the A grade, but the cheaters got the A+. I’d guess you’d feel pretty resentful. From my own experience I know that , being a student back in the antediluvian past when… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

” Their OPS+ jacked up, didn’t it, and hey, that’s what it’s really all about ”
Yes, and getting paid. Sosa and Bonds both landed sweet extensions from the Cubs and Giants….something on the order of 4 years/$80,000,000 – which is still, to this day, a lot of money for a free agent .

Mike L
Guest

NSB, I think Lofton’s overall case might have been hurt by the number of teams he played for. After his last full season in Cleveland in 2001 at age 34, he played for an incredible 9 different teams in 6 years–always useful.

mosc
Guest
If you describe a player who’s going to get undervalued more than anybody else, you’re going to describe Kenny Lofton. He’s like perfectly built for people who look at triple slash lines to not understand. He’s not a shortstop where position alone gives you a reputation (independent of reality) yet he was incredibly valuable on the defensive side. He didn’t demolish stolen base records but he certainly added value with the legs. Even hitting from the left side with his approach and wheels helped him stay out of the double play and advance runners where others would create more outs.… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Lofton was a terrific player who gradually eased down to good, and then useful. But he was playing at a time when huge dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and is thought of as one of those B+/A- guys that help win games, but aren’t first rank stars. In a different Era (or an era where half the folks didn’t have needles in their backsides) he would certainly have done better than a one and done 3.2 % of the HOF vote.

Paul E
Guest

when you consider that it took Tim Raines 10 full years to get into Cooperstown, it’s probably not all that surprising that Lofton, though obviously inferior (by the eye test) to Raines, got so little respect from the BBWAA. Lofton was surrounded by Thome, Belle, Ramirez, Juan Gonzalez, David Justice, Travis Fryman, Alomar(s) and that might tend to obscure his contributions.

Michael Sullivan
Guest

Chicks may dig the long ball, but not as much as HOF voters. To those who understand the stats, his stood out. He’s in pretty much every hall out there except Cooperstown, including the COG which is about half the size.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Lofton’s point seems to me exactly the right one to make: “I’m not saying what Pete Rose did was right, but his numbers that he put up were real numbers. If it’s all about numbers, guys who cheated the game shouldn’t be in.”

bells
Guest

Main ballot: Wallace, Lyons, Allen

Secondary ballot: Smith, Irvin, Randolph

Dave Humbert
Guest

Vote:
Main ballot: Ramirez, K. Brown, Wallace

Secondary ballot: Eckersley, Coveleski, Petitte

Disappointed that Wallace and Dahlen could not build more momentum despite their qualifications (especially Wallace’s primary value being post 1900 in the first place), and that those who support Brown but not Ramirez or Ramirez but not Brown are ensuring neither gets in and we continue the same tired arguments about suspected use/what to discount. At least Eckersley appears to be headed to the main ballot, it’s been a long time coming…

Michael Sullivan
Guest

Decisions, Decisions. Put Lyons in for sure even though I think he’s probably my 4th pick on this ballot? Or set up a potential 4 way runoff that includes two guys I’d rank higher but also Manny.

Well, here goes nothing:

Primary: Allen, Brown, Nettles

Secondary: Randolph, Reuschel, Irvin

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Michael’s vote does create a four-way tie for frontrunner among Dick Allen, Kevin Brown, Ted Lyons, and Manny Ramirez. Don Sutton is one vote behind. Ken Boyer is poised to drop back down to the Secondary Ballot. If there is still a ballot uncast, it could determine the outcome. . . . Half an hour to go.

Doug
Guest

For any last minute voters out there, there are 30 minutes to go to break a three-way tie between Brown, Lyons and Manny.

Michael Sullivan
Guest

I thought I was getting Allen in the tie as well?

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Doug, You’ve got seven votes for Allen on your spreadsheet, which is what the other three have as well. My count is the same.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Here are the vote totals I have for the Primary Ballot (they match Doug’s sheet): Primary Ballot 21 ballots submitted ———————————————–50% (11) 7 – Dick Allen, Kevin Brown, Ted Lyons*, Manny Ramirez 6 – Don Sutton* ———————————————–25% (6) 5 – Bobby Wallace 4 – Andre Dawson*, Graig Nettles, Ted Simmons*, 3 – Richie Ashburn*, Bill Dahlen, ———————————————–10% (3) 2 – Ken Boyer*, Luis Tiant 1 – Hideki Matsui*, Bengie Molina*, What I have for the Secondary Ballot differs from Doug’s sheet. The discrepancy is because Doug has me voting for Eck, Helton, and Irvin. I actually voted for Coveleski, Irvin,… Read more »
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