I spent way too much time on this ballot, worrying where to put the 4th thru 10th guys. Because ultimately it doesn’t really matter at this point, since we know more or less who’s going in this year. And next. And next. And it ain’t going to be anybody I put 4th thru 10th.
I have come to a few conclusions about NeL stats. I’ve come to realize that they are a lot like pre-1880 stats. They are incomplete and subject to wild interpretations of what they “mean”. Hype and reputation, especially as is pertains to fielding and pitching speed, are paramount as to whether a NeL makes the Hall or not. Was Judy Johnson really the 6th best NeL player? Or does he have more in common with Tommy McCarthy? Was Bill Foster really the black Dazzy Vance? Or rather, the black Candy Cummings?
It does appear that Chino Smith was an extraordinary hitter, albeit in a very, very short career. Would Mickey Mantle have been a HOF if he had died after the 1957 season? Both Lundy and Johnson seem like ordinary hitters, but with great defensive reps and long careers. They both seem more like Dave Concepcion types, than 1st or 2nd tier guys, like their reps suggest they are. And I have come to the conclusion that Beckwith was in fact a great hitter, of dubious fielding abilities. Perhaps Chipper Jones thru 2008 might be a comp I’d use. Same general class as a hitter, tho Larry walks more; but no NeLer walked much. Ben Taylor and Fat Jenkins weren’t much as hitters either. Charleston was. Boy, was he. His peak may not have been as high as some others (like Josh Gibson or Chino Smith), but his length of career times peak….I’m not positive that Bill wasn’t right, ranking him as the 4th all-time greatest player in the BJHA. He may not have been 4th, but Top 20, possibly Top 10, could well be accurate.
The NeL pitchers are the hardest to rank. I am only ranking one in ’47. I may have him too high, but I do think the rest of you have him ranked way too low.
And about a dozen write-ins.