Pete Palmer’s All-Time All-Star Team, 1969

(Posted by Cyril Morong)

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(Pete Palmer is the author of The Hidden Game of Baseball and Total Baseball (which became the official encyclopedia of baseball).  He submitted this article to The Sporting News in 1969 but it was not published.  It uses the type of player evaluation methods he used later in his books)

 

As professional baseball enters its second century, it would be interesting to try to rank the greatest players from the first century. Comparison between players of the dead ball and lively ball eras, or between home-run sluggers and high-average hitters is not easy with presently used yardsticks. However, if one could relate player performance to the number of wins for the team each season, a more constant measure should be available.

Analyzing the runs for and against figures for each team each year shows that for every ten runs scored more than allowed, a team will win about one more game. That is, a team that outscores its opposition by 100 runs in 162 games will win about ten games more than half or 91 games. This figure varies somewhat with total runs scored plus al1owed, as more runs are needed for each win with high-scoring teams. Wins can be verified within about three a year for each club using this relationship.

The next step is to relate individual performance to runs scored or allowed for the team. The method presented will give ratings for runs more or less than average, so that an average player will have a rating of zero. A team composed of all average players would have a zero rating (runs scored equals runs allowed) and should win exactly half its games.

The details of this method are exp1ained at the conclusion of this article. In brief, pitchers and hitters are related to average league performance for each season. For pitchers, earned runs are used, while for hitters, a combination of hits, extra base hits, walks, and outs is employed. Stolen bases are not used, as caught stealing records are incomplete.

The table presents the top forty hitters and top twenty pitchers since 1900. Pre-1900 play is included for Wagner. Lajoie. Crawford. Flick, and Young. The number listed for each player is the deduced number of wins contributed by the player above average performance. That is, Ruth was responsible for his team winning 124 ball games more than with an average player in his place. Bases on balls figures were gathered for the old-timers by John Tattersall. Incomplete records in the 1890's did not allow ratings to be established for players of that period, although approximate figures are as follows:

 

HITTERS

 

 

PITCHERS

 

Ed Delahanty

45

 

Kid Nichols

45

Billy Hamilton

45

 

Clark Griffith

33

Jesse Burkett

40

 

Amos Rusie

30

Willie Keeler

40

 

 

 

 

 

Players previous to 1890 were not rated. The rules of the game were quite different then, and statistics are lacking.

Since the top-forty list shows many outfielders and first-baseman, the top six hitters at the other positions are presented.

SECOND BASE

 

 

SHORTSTOP

 

 

Rogers Hornsby

82.7

 

Hans Wagner

70.8

Nap Lajoie

65.5

 

Arky Vaughan

36.9

Eddie Collins

64.4

 

Ernie Banks

30.7

Charley Gehringer

34.5

 

Joe Cronin

23.3

Jackie Robinson

27.2

 

Luke Appling

19.8

Larry Doyle

25.5

 

Vern Stephens

19.3

 

 

THIRD BASE

 

 

CATCHER

 

Eddie Mathews

50.0

 

Mickey Cochran

25.1

Frank Baker

28.4

 

Gabby Hartnett

23.9

Ron Santo

27.0

 

Yogi Berra

20.8

Stan Hack

25.6

 

Bill Dickey

20.4

Bob Elliott

25.4

 

Ernie Lombardi

18.4

Richie Allen

24.4

 

Roy Campanella

16.4

 

 

It is possible to estimate ratings for seasons missed due to military service. Here, the average of the two seasons before and two seasons after service is used. The rankings would be amended as follows (old rating in parentheses).

 

HITTERS

 

 

PITCHERS

 

1. Ted Williams

153.0 (2)

 

4. Pete Alexander

59.4 (4)

4. Stan Musial

104.6 (4)

 

5. Bob Feller

59.3 (9)

6. Willie Mays

84.1 (9)

 

6. Warren Spahn

53.0 (5)

15. Johnny Mize

65.4 (18)

 

7. Whitey Ford

46.2 (8)

17. Hank Greenberg

64.2 (25)

 

10. Ted Lyons

36.9 (10)

19. Joe DiMaggio

60.8 (20)

 

20. Red Ruffing

29.3 (--)

25. Ralph Kiner

44.9 (28)

 

 

 

27. Enos Slaughter

40.3 (40)

 

 

 

34. Charley Keller

34.4 (--)

 

 

 

 

 

HITTERS

 

 

PITCHERS

 

1. Babe Ruth

124.0

 

1. Walter Johnson

75.4

2. Ted Williams

115.2

 

2. Cy Young

69.5

3. Ty Cobb

107.9

 

3. Lefty Grove

62.6

4. Stan Musial

98.7

 

4. Pete Alexander

54.7

5. Tris Speaker

85.6

 

5. Warren Spahn

48.8

6. Lou Gehrig

84.1

 

6. Christy Mathewson

45.2

7. Rogers Hornsby

82.7

 

7. Carl Hubbell

43.0

8. Mickey Mantle

82.3

 

8. Whitey Ford

42.6

9.  Wil1ie Mays

77.3

 

9. Bob Feller

39.7

10. Mel Ott

76.5

 

10. Ted Lyons

33.0

 

11. Jimmie Foxx

74.6

 

11. Lefty Gomez

32.4

12. Hans Wagner

70.8

 

12. Red Faber

32.0

13. Henry Aaron

65.7

 

12. Ed Walsh

32.0

14. Nap Lajoie

65.5

 

12. Hoyt Wilhelm

32.0

15. Eddie Collins

64.4

 

15. Eddie Plank

31.5

16. Frank Robinson

61.4

 

16. Dazzy Vance

30.6

17. Sam Crawford

52.5

 

17. Stan Coveleskie

30.0

18. Johnny Mize

52.0

 

17. Hal Newhouser

30.0

19. Eddie Mathews

50.0

 

19. Don Drysdale

29.5

20. Joe DiMaggio

49.3

 

20. Sandy Koufax

29.1

 

21. Harry Heilmann

48.4

22. Paul Waner

47.3

23. Joe Jackson

45.5

24. Al Kaline

44.9

25. Hank Greenberg

44.0

26. Duke Snider

43.6

27. Harmon Killebrew

39.8

28. Ralph Kiner

39.5

29. Arky Vaughan

36.9

30. Chuck Klein

36.3

 

31. Al Simmons  

35.9

32. Bob Johnson  

35.8

33. Charley Gehringer 

34.5

34. Ducky Medwick

34.1

35. Sherry Magee  

33.1

36. Dolph Camilli 

33.0

36. Elmer Flick  

33.0

38. Zach Wheat  

32.5

39. Goose Goslin  

31.3

40. Enos Slaughter 

30.8

 

Using these ratings, the following all-time all-star teams can be developed:

 

 

MAJOR LEAGUES

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1b

Stan Musial

 

Stan Musial

 

Lou Gehrig

2b

Rogers Hornsby

 

Rogers Hornsby

 

Eddie Collins

3b

Eddie Mathews

 

Eddie Mathews

 

Frank Baker

ss

Hans Wagner

 

Hans Wagner

 

Joe Cronin

lf

Ted Williams

 

Hank Aaron

 

Ted Williams

cf

Ty Cobb

 

Willie Mays

 

Ty Cobb

rf

Babe Ruth

 

Mel Ott

 

Babe Ruth

c

Mickey Cochrane

 

Gabby Hartnett

 

Mickey Cochrane

p

Walter Johnson

 

Pete Alexander

 

Walter Johnson

 

Cy Young

 

Warren Spahn

 

Lefty Grove

 

Lefty Grove

 

Cy Young

 

Whitey Ford

 

Pete Alexander

 

Christy Mathewson

 

Bob Feller

 

 

 

 

 

 

No allowance for fielding skills is made. It should be noted that Young and Lajoie performed for both leagues, so that their particular league performance is not as high as their record for both leagues.

 

The top individual performances are as follows:

 

HITTERS

 

 

HITTERS

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

 

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

 

1923 Babe Ruth

11.1

 

1924 Rogers Hornsby

9.0

1921 Babe Ruth

10.5

 

1948 Stan Musia1

8.7

1920 Babe Ruth

10.5

 

1922 Rogers Hornsby

8.3

1941 Ted Williams  

9.8

 

1925 Rogers Hornsby

7.9

1946 Ted Williams

9.8

 

1908 Hans Wagner

7.6

1927 Babe Ruth

9.4

 

1946 Stan Musial

7.3

1926 Babe Ruth

9.3

 

1933 Chuck Klein

7.2

1942 Ted Williams

9.3

 

1928 Rogers Hornsby

7.1

1947 Ted Williams

9.3

 

1949 Stan Musial

7.1

1961 Norm Cash

9.3

 

1921 Rogers Hornsby

7.0

 

 

 

1951 Stan Musial

7.0

 

 

 

1951 Ralph Kiner

7.0

 

 

 

1935 Arky Vaughan

7.0

 

PITCHERS

 

 

PITCHERS

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

 

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

 

1931 Lefty Grove

8.0

 

1968 Bob Gibson

8.6

1913 Walter Johnson

7.9

 

1966 Sandy Koufax

8.2

1901 Cy Young

7.7

 

1915 Pete Alexander

7.7

1912 Walter Johnson

7.5

 

1933 Carl Hubbel1

7.5

1930 Lefty Grove

7.5

 

1953 Warren Spahn

7.1

 

It should be noted that twenty wins is usually enough to change a .500 club to a pennant winner, so that contributing ten wins is quite an achievement.

 

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

 

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

 

1b

1939 Johnny Mize

6.9

 

1961 Norm Cash

9.3

2b

1924 Rogers Hornsby

9.0

 

1910 Nap Lajoie

7.6

3b

1964 Ron Santo

6.3

 

1953 Al Rosen

6.4

ss

1908 Hans Wagner

7.6

 

1948 Lou Boudreau

5.9

lf

1948 Stan Musial

8.7

 

1941 Ted Williams

9.8

 

 

 

 

1946 Ted Williams

9.8

cf

1965 Willie Mays

6.9

 

1957 Mickey Mantle

9.1

rf

1933 Chuck Klein

7.2

 

1923 Babe Ruth

11.1

c

1951 Roy Campanella

4.2

 

1933 Mickey Cochrane

3.9

 

 

All-time all-star teams for each club are listed next. The ratings are based on performance for that club only and no allowance for fielding is made. If fielding were considered, the following would probably replace those listed.

 

Reds- ss- McMillan over Cardenas

Giants -3b -Thompson over Hart

Pirates -2b -Mazeroski, with Grantham switching to

first base over Fletcher

Cardinals -ss -Marion over Hemus

White Sox -3b -Kamm over Ward

Tigers -ss -Bush over Kuenn

 

Outfielders listed are the top three hitters, with the field assignments made to present the best defense. In most cases a bona fide centerfielder is shown.

 

 

 

Braves

Dodgers

Cubs

Reds

Giants

Phils

Pirates

Cards

1b

Adcock

Hodges

Cavaretta

Kluszewski

Terry

Camilli

Fletcher

Mize

2b

Hornsby

Robinson

Herman

Rose

Doyle

Lajoie

Grantham

Hornsby

3b

Long

Reese

Santo

Cardenas

Davis

Bartell

Wagner

Hemus

ss

Mathews

Lavagetto

Banks  

Groh

Hart

Allen

Traynor

Boyer

lf

Berger

Wheat

Williams

Pinson

Youngs

Delahanty

P.Waner

Medwick

cf

Aaron

Snider

Wilson

Roush

Mays

Magee

Clemente

Slaughter

rf

Holmes

Walker

Nicholson

Robinson

Ott

Klein

Kiner

Musial

c

Torre

Campanella

Hartnett

Lombardi

Bresnahan

Davis

Burgess

McCarver

 

Spahn*

Vance

Brown

Rixey*

Mathewson

Alexander

Leever

Gibson

 

Nichols

Drysdale

Griffith

Luque

Hubbell*

Roberts

Cooper*

Breechen*

 

Buhl

Koufax*

Alexander

Walters

Rusie

Bunning

Phillippe

Dean

 

Burdett

Rucker*

Warneke

Hahn*

Marichal

Simmons*

Adams

Lanier*

 

 

 

(Vaughn*)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Browns-

Senators-

 

Red Sox

White Sox

Indians

Tigers

Yankees

Athletics

Orioles

Twins

1b

Foxx

Bonura

Trosky

Greenberg

Gehrig

Foxx

Sisler

Killebrew

2b

Doerr

Collins

Lajoie

Gehringer

Lazzeri

Collins

Pratt

Myer

3b

Cronin

Appling

Boudreau

Kuenn

Peckinpaugh

Joost

Stephens

Cronin

ss

Collins

Ward

Rosen

Kell

Baker

Baker

Clift

Yost

lf

Williams

Jackson

Jackson

Cobb

Mantle

Valo

Williams

Goslin

cf

Speaker

Felsch

Speaker

Kaline

DiMaggio

Simmons

Jacobson

Allison

rf

Yastrz'ski

Minoso

Averill

Heilmann

Ruth

Johnson

Robinson

Oliva

c

Schang

Lollar

Romano

Freehan

Berra

Cochrane

Schang

Battey

 

Young

Lyons

Feller

Newhouser*

Ford*

Grove*

Shocker

Johnson

 

Grove*

Faber

Lemon

Bridges

Ruffing

Plank*

Wilhelm

Leonard

 

Parnell*

Walsh

Coveleskie

Trout

Gomez*

Rommel

Pappas

Marberry

 

Wood

Pierce*

Joss

Bunning

Hoyt

Waddell*

Garver

Mogridge*

 

 

 

(Gregg*)

 

 

 

(Weilman*)

 

 

 

*left-handed pitcher (parentheses indicate top left-hander was not among top four pitchers)

outstanding all-time player for each team is underlined

 

 

DETAILS OF RATING SYSTEM

 

For pitchers, the actual number of earned runs allowed is compared the number that would have been allowed if the pitcher had the same earned run average as the league. For example, in 1968 the National League had an earned run average of 2.99.

 

 

 

Earned

 

Earned runs

 

Pitcher

Innings

run average

Earned runs

at 2.99/game

Runs rating

Gibson

305

305

38

102

64

Carlton

232

232

77

77

0

Wise

182

182

92

61

-31

 

 

For hitters, the task is more difficult. Several systems have been developed independently that are quite similar. For each hitter, his walks, singles, doubles, triples, homers, and outs are multiplied by different factors to give a total number of runs contributed. The following values are used.

 

walk, hit-by-pitch,

 

 

 

 

or interference

0.333

 

Triple

1.036

Single

0.489

 

Homer

1.421

Double

0.749

 

Out

-0.231

 

 

Since the  number of outs made by each hitter is not available from the records at-bats minus hits is used in its place. In order for league totals to be zero each season, the out factor is varied as shown below (National League 1968)

 

walk, hit-by-pitch,

or interference              4634*.333 = 1545

Singles                          10106*.489 = 4942

Doubles                        1995*.749 = 1495

Triples                          359*1.036 = 372

Homers                        891*1.421 = 1266

                                                         9620

 

At-bats                         54913

Hits                              13351

At-bats minus hits         41562

 

41562*.231 = 9600

(Note-The original had this at 9620.  This may be due to rounding)

 

Looking at three examples of individual ratings

 

Hitter

McCovey

Javier

Lanier

.333 * (bb+hp)

26 (77)

8 (25)

4 (12)

.489 * singles

48 (97)

50 (102)

42 (85)

.749 * doubles

12 (16 )

19 (25)

10 (14 )

1.036 * triples

4 (4 )

4 (4)

1 (1)

1.421 * homers

51 (36)

6 (4)

0 (0)

.231 * ab-hits

-85 (370)

-89 (384)

-89 (386)

 

 

 

 

Runs rating

56

-2.0

-32

 

 

 

The runs rating is then divided by the runs to wins ratio to give the appropriate number of wins. This ratio is about ten, but varies with actual runs scored and allowed. For rating purposes, it is assumed that a team scores an average number of runs and that the individual adds or subtracts from that total. In 1968 the National League scored an average of 6.8 runs per game (both teams). So for Gibson, since he allowed less runs than average, the total in his games should be less. It is equal to 6.8 less 64 (rating) times 9 (innings per game) over 305 (innings pitched) or 4.9. For McCovey, two adjustments must be made. First his average runs per game is 6.8 plus 56 (rating) over 148 (games) or 7.1. The related runs-wins ratio is 8.9. However, since league totals include pitchers as hitters, a correction for this is made so that hitters are compared only with non-pitchers as hitters. Rather than add all the hitting totals for pitchers, an estimated 0.5 wins for each 154 games played is subtracted from each hitter rating. Thus McCovey is 56 (rating) over 8.9 (constant) less 0.5 or 5.8. Therefore Gibson is credited with 8.6 wins and McCovey with 5.8.

The equation to determine the value of the runs-wins ratio is ten times the square root of the ratio of runs plus opponent’s runs divided by innings. Thus if both teams combined score an average of one run per inning, the ratio will be ten. This relationship was determined from the runs-wins figures over the last fifty years.


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