1931 – Bob on current crop of contenders and short-career standouts

Just giving you a little information to help you with your ’32 ballot. Three quality Negro Leaguers join the fray, Christobel Torriente, who Bill ranks as the #2 centerfielder, Louis Santop, who Bill ranks as the #2 catcher and Pete Hill, who Bill ranks as the #4 leftfielder, along with Ross Youngs. I thought I’d give some data for the 17 hitters who are the best candidates. The columns are Win Shares (with 300 being the HOF guideline), Linear Weights (somewhere around 25.0 is the guideline), WAR (50.0 seems to be the cutoff for the Hall) and Faber Points (Charles says 1600 points is where you should get serious consideration).

290 11.8 37.8 1595 George Burns
232 11.0 36.7 1591 Donie Bush
202 20.2 31.0 1063 Gavy Cravath
263 11.9 36.8 1634 Jake Daubert
238 10.0 35.5 1229 Harry Davis
174 13.2 28.6 0846 Mike Donlin
218 25.1 45.1 1046 Art Fletcher
258 13.5 43.8 1127 Larry Gardner
321 12.4 49.4 1539 Harry Hooper
294 36.3 59.6 1820 Joe Jackson
287 26.7 43.2 1587 Ed Konetchy
266 -0.6 36.2 1460 Clyde Milan
242 21.1 41.3 1364 Del Pratt
272 11.1 30.3 1308 Cy Seymour
260 18.4 38.7 2078 Roy Thomas (he drops off after this year)
265 19.2 44.1 1703 Bobby Veach
206 15.2 30.9 1147 Ross Youngs (added next year)

Only one (besides Joe Jackson) meets these 4 levels: 250 WS, 20.0 LW, 40.0 WAR and 1500 FP, numbers just shy of HOF “worthiness”. That one guy is Ed Konetchy.

I have to admit I don’t know what to do with Joe Wood. Or Gavy Cravath, for that matter.

What to do with a one-year wonder, who wasn’t really a one-year wonder? Wood would (how much wood would a Joe Wood joe if a Joe Wood could joe wood?) have won the Cy Young in 1912, tho Walter Johnson was probably better. Johnson struck out more, walked fewer and had a better ERA in more innings than Wood, but Wood went 34-5 to Johnson’s 33-12. And Ed Walsh wasn’t that far off either, tho he’d’ve finished a distant 3rd in the Cy Young voting.

1911 was a decent enough year for Wood, but nothing eye-popping. And that’s kind of it for Wood. These were the only two years he started more than 20 games. He did win an ERA title in 1915, but in only 157 IPs, when the greats were pitching twice as many. Wood’s ERA title is in the fine tradition of Dick Bosman’s or Diego Segui’s. He did, after giving up pitching, have two seasons where he had 450 plate appearances, but with OPS+s of 117 and 109.

One great season, maybe even historically great, three decent seasons and a really nice half-season. I just don’t see that as enough.

And yet, one of my criteria is “fame”. Wood was exceedingly famous prior to WWII. He was the Herb Score of his generation. Unfortunately, Score couldn’t hit a lick to extend his career. In a lot of ways, Wood’s 1911 and 1912 look a lot like Score’s 1955 and 1956. Or Gooden’s 1984 and 1985.

Cravath is a whole other ball of wax. Not really making it into the majors until he was 31, he was the Dead Ball Era’s version of Minnie Minoso (assuming that Minoso was born in ’22 and not ’25). What to do with Cravath in his twenties? Coulda, woulda, shoulda. I’m tempted to do what Bill did with the WWII players. It’s speculation to know what Dizzy Dean (or Joe Wood) MIGHT have done barring injury. But Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams WERE major leaguers in the ’40s; they just weren’t able to play. Same sort of holds true for Cravath. And yet, it’s not quite the same. One could pencil Cravath in another 150 or so Win Shares, giving him 350, which would put him way over the top. But if you want to be conservative and say 75, that would put him right in the mix with Veach and Konetchy and Burns and Hooper. And if you want to discount his minor league career entirely, then Cravath is not a HOFer.

I really don’t know where to put either of these guys, but I think I’ll still be leaving Wood off my ballot. Cravath will probably move up just below Konetchy.

 

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