1917

It doesn’t get any easier this election. We have a multitude of D Grade players to rank. This election will end Thursday night.

2 Ginger Beaumont
1 Bill Bergen
1 Kitty Bransfield
3 Jack Chesbro
11 Cupid Childs 9th
12 Jack Clements
1 Wid Conroy
5 Lave Cross
1 Bill Dahlen
1 Patsy Dougherty
2 Elmer Flick 4th
14 Dave Foutz
1 Doc Gessler
14 Mike Griffin
1 Topsy Hartsel
1 Charlie Hemphill
1 Danny Hoffman
10 Dummy Hoy
4 Fielder Jones
2 Addie Joss 6th
14 Bill Joyce
4 Joe Kelley 3rd
2 Sam Leever
8 Herman Long 9th
15 Denny Lyons
6 John McGraw 8th
14 Billy Nash
1 Freddie Parent
1 Deacon Phillippe
6 Kip Selbach
11 Elmer Smith
1 Harry Steinfeldt
1 Jesse Tannehill
1 Fred Tenney
1 Roy Thomas
13 Mike Tiernan 7th
2 Vic Willis 5th
1 Cy Young
9 Chief Zimmer

Bob’s ballot:

1. Young
2. Dahlen
3. Flick
4. Kelley
5. Tiernan
6. Willis
7. Childs
8. Joss
9. Long
10. Leever

I thought I had a long list of worthies last year. It grew even longer this year.

Terry’s ballot:

Lots of fun players to chew on this year….

1- Cy Young- Once traded for Charlie Chech and Jack Ryan. He must have been a real stiff. Shares his name with a major baseball award. Is there an old singer named Grammy? An old actor named Oscar? I’m tellin’ ya, that’s one hell of a coincidence, ain’t it? That would be like having some old blues cat named Taj Mahal. Wouldn’t happen in a million years.
2- Elmer Flick
3- Mike Tiernan
4- Vic Willis
5- Joe Kelley
6- Bill Dahlen– Somewhere between Omar and Ozzie as a defender, and maybe a better hitter than either one of them. I ranked him conservatively in his first year, but it won’t matter. He’s going in either this year or the next. The 64 dollar question: When will the real Hall of Fame wake up and give him his plaque?
7- Jack Chesbro
8- John McGraw
9- Addie Joss
10- Cupid Childs

Honorable mention
Herman Long
Chief Zimmer

Others receiving votes, and some fun stuff I found on the interweb:

Wid Conroy- Played at least 300 games at short, third and the outfield over his career, with outstanding defensive numbers everywhere. Jumped to the Yankees after the 1902 season, opening up the Pirate shortstop position for Honus Wagner.

Conroy was one of thirty seven players to receive a single vote in the 1945 BBWAA HOF election. Eight of them are in the Hall of Fame. Two of them (Joe Gordon and Joe Dimaggio) played after 1945, but technically they weren’t active, as they were both in the service at the time. I looked at the rest of the list, and I found two more: Hank Greenberg and Ted Lyons. Dizzy Dean also played after 1945, but that was a different situation. I wonder if a few of the voters figured, “what the heck, they aren’t playing, so they must be eligible”. I didn’t look at the rest of the early ballots, but I would suspect that this happened other times, sometimes without a War to make them “eligible”.

Patsy Dougherty– Did not play any center or right field among his 1181 outfield games, according to BBR. Listed at 6-2, 190; big for his era and he had no range, but he led the league in steals in one season late in his career.

Doc Gessler– 128 career ops+, horrible defensive stats. Missed 1907 for some reason, but came back to put up 120 ops+ numbers from 1908-1911, then out of the majors other than an 11 game stint as a manager in the Federal League in 1914. Medical degree from Johns Hopkins, one of three doctors who played in the 1906 World Series.

Topsy Hartsel- I wouldn’t advocate him for the GOR, but he was one heck of a leadoff man for nearly a decade. Does anyone know why it took him four years to get a regular gig once he hit the majors? He was effective from the get-go, but he didn’t get over 100 atbats until his fourth year. He is listed at 5-5, which I suppose wasn’t all that short for his time, but didn’t he sort of look like Freddie Patek? I think he did.

Danny Hoffman- Played 120 games and led the league in stolen bases for the 1905 A’s, but had just one atbat in the World Series. He must-a been hurt. Whoever picked his picture for BBR has a sick sense of humor. He looks like a serial killer.

Freddie Parent– Parent lived to the age of 96, making him the last surviving participant of the first World Series. His career WAR numbers put him in range with some reasonable GOR candidates, but I believe WAR overrates him. Shortstops (from this period, at least) seem to get way more credit than they deserve. They get free WAR defensively for playing shortstop, and they get free WAR offensively for playing shortstop. To me that’s cutting it both ways, and double crediting them.

Defensive WAR, at least as it’s used on BBR, doesn’t make any sense to me. Parent was basically a decent, above replacement but no more than average shortstop over his career, yet he is credited with 15 defensive wins. It seems to me that they are using too much of a blanket positional adjustment before separating the players at the individual position.

Deacon Phillippe- Gaudy stats but his career was short, he wasn’t a horse, and his teams won at about the same rate he did. He never finished higher than ninth in innings – in an eight team league. A 120 era+ is impressive, but all the Pirate pitchers had good era+ numbers. Who was that guy I mentioned in the last election, who played for a bunch of lousy teams and went 121-136 in his career? I doubt that the Deacon was a whole lot better than he was once you take the air out of the stats. Winners write the history books, though, and he did win the only three games the Pirates won in the 1903 World Series. On balance I think he’s below the top ten, but an interesting candidate. It ain’t easy to rise above a great team, and part of why the Pirates were great was because they had the Deacon.

Harry Steinfeldt– As a rookie (88 games) his ops was .747, and in his final season (19 games) it was .707. In between he was in the .600s 10 times, in the .800’s twice. We have fun with guys who have a fluke season sometimes, like Ken Caminitti and Norm Cash, but what about two fluke seasons? Steinfeldt had two seasons which were significantly out of line with the rest of his career. Who else would fit this category?

Jesse Tannehill– Another Pirate pitcher with gaudy records, but unlike Phillippe he pitched for other teams, and unlike Phillippe he was at his peak when the Pirates were just another team, not the dominant team they were a couple of years later. He pitched with Cy Young for a few years, going 56-31 while Cy went 57-56 between 1904 and 1906. Cy was getting old, but he was far from done. He went 61-41 with an era+ of 137 from 1907-1909. To me, Tannehill ranks just a bit higher than the Deacon.

Fred Tenney- When was the last time a full time firstbaseman led the league in sacrifice bunts? Tenney did it in 1902 with 29, and his 277 career sacrifices rank 19th all time. He played for the Braves most of his career, in the best hitters’ park in the league, as their firstbaseman – and he had 244 sacrifices against 86 extra base hits. No wonder they sucked. He was 36 when he joined the 1908 Giants, hitting .256 with a .344 oba – and he led the league in runs scored. I don’t know about you, but all of that seems really weird.

Roy Thomas
– This is Bill’s site so we all know who this guy is. One thing I thought was weird: From 1902-1907 he led the league in walks five times in six years. The only time he scored over 92 runs was the one year he didn’t lead the league in walks, and he ended up with 118 runs. He played more games, had more plate appearances, but even so the ratios were way out of whack. Small sample sizes, I guess. His defensive stats look really good to me, but he was saddled with a negative WAR defensively. If it’s me I would give him a few positive points, and with that he would be in the 40 something range in WAR. That won’t get him in the GOR, but he probably deserves to be at the bottom of a ballot or two.

————————————————————

Bob and I have been talking back and forth about the lower level candidates, and about when Bob will start raising his standards for inclusion on the ballot. We both agree that, once expansion hits, the number of marginal candidates will explode. I love the fun I get from looking these guys up, but I also understand that we don’t want to have fifty first year players to deal with every year.

Results

Results not too surprising. With 9 ballots…

126 Cy Young
70 Bill Dahlen
**************
58 Elmer Flick
56 Joe Kelley
46 Vic Willis
33 Addie Joss
27 John McGraw
27 Roy Thomas
25 Mike Tiernan
19 Herman Long
15 Cupid Childs
10 Jack Chesbro
8 Fielder Jones
6 Denny Lyons
4 Bill Joyce
4 Sam Leever
4 Elmer Smith
3 Lave Cross
3 Chief Zimmer
2 Harry Steinfeldt
2 Fred Tenney
1 Topsy Hartsel

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