1897 – Bob’s comments

I’ve kept quiet about this year’s election, but a few quick comments:

1. Dunlap was not the best second baseman of the 1880s; Hardy Richardson was, and by a fairly substantial amount. I’m not sure that Dunlap was the second best, either. Bid McPhee may have been. I could be persuaded that is was Dunlap, but it’s close.

2. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out why a player is so admired/respected/beloved. Especially 130 years after the fact. I assume casual baseball fans in 2150 won’t “get” why Jeter or Ripken did so well in HOF voting. It’s the same with Williamson. Looking at his record now, it’s hard to see the reason for the hoopla. But in his time and place….

3. I try not to make fun of other people’s ballots. Goodness knows I’ve picked some lulus. And I’ll be picking more as we go along, but picking Jack Burdock is like voting for Tommy Helms, and picking Pop Smith is like picking a poor man’s Rick Dempsey. Not that I think there is anything wrong with these types of votes; they don’t really effect the outcome. After all, both Helms and Dempsey did get a real HOF vote. I have never found these types of votes to be pointless. In fact, I think just the opposite. Many players who aren’t really candidates deserve a little extra moment in the sun. Don’t be surprised if, in the 1976 election, the 10th place vote on my ballot goes to Ray Oyler. We all have places in our hearts for sentimentality.

4. I have probably under-ranked Dunlap a bit. But not substantially. Three of us have him in their Top 5; two of us (me being one) left him completely off. I obviously dun him quite a bit for his UA season, but I pencil in a season in my head of a 130ish OPS+ and 18ish Win Shares. This leaves him a bit short of my Top 10 in my estimation.

5. I too was a bit surprised by people besides me ranking Hines above Radbourn. I was prepared to be castigated for the affront to Ol’ Hoss. I had my defense all planned out, but I see now that I don’t need to address it. The only thing I’d say is that, for me, Hines’ comp is Al Kaline.

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