Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Projecting the Hall of Famers in the 2008 World Series

While Fox Sports may be disappointed by a Tampa Bay Rays/Philadelphia Phillies World Series, a fan of old-fashioned baseball should look forward to the match-up.

Tampa is riding one of the great sports stories of all time: never having won more than 70 games in a season, the Rays dropped the "Devil" and went from a worst-in-baseball 66 wins a year ago to 97 wins (trailing only the LA Angels, and tied with the Cubs.)

Playing in a division with two super-powers, the Rays have adapted by drafting good young talent, and building a team that should be able to compete for the next 3-4 years. Evan Longoria (22 years old), BJ Upton (23), and Carl Crawford (26(!)) are the anchors to build a line-up around. And the pitching is perhaps even better, with James Shields (26), Scott Kazmir (24), Matt Garza (24), and live-armed David Price (22).

Historically, virtually every World Series champ sports at least one Hall-of-Famer (see below posts for the comprehensive (we hope) list), and many have two or three. (From 1903 to 1980, every single team had at least one player; the 1981 strike-season Dodgers have only manager Tommy Lasorda, and like the 2005 Chicago White Sox, seem unlikely to add any more players.) While the vagaries of the Hall-of-Fame selection process are the subject for another post, the relationship between the HOF and WS Champs is probably two-fold:

1. In order to win, you need great years out of your great players. Like a bad penny, 'bad' players --- Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, Johnny Evers in the old days, and Jack Morris, Rickey Henderson, and Reggie Jackson in the modern ones -- keep showing up with championship teams.

2. Hall-of-Fame voters -- like other voters in other elections -- like winners. When your team wins the title, you are more likely to be remembered, and enshrined in Cooperstown. Yes, yes... we are talking about you, Curt Schilling. And Enos Slaughter as well. And of course (and ironically, as his career ended when the Yankees cut him to make room for Slaughter in August, 1956), Phil Rizzuto. A World Series title or two is a huge bonus for a guy who otherwise would be on the HOF bubble.

So who are the HOF candidates for these two teams? For the Phillies, it's easy: 1B Ryan Howard and SS Jimmy Rollins have both taken significant steps towards Cooperstown in their first few years in the bigs (5 years for Howard, 9 for Rollins). Both have earned more than half of the mythical 100 points that Bill James has documented is necessary to be a 'likely HOFer' in his HOF Monitor. (Howard has 63.5/100, while Rollins has 58/100.) And both will take a further step if their team wins it's first title in 28 years.

Tampa's players are so young, in contrast, that no one is on track for the HOF. Crawford, the longest tenured Ray with 7 years, has accumulated just 31.5 HOF Monitor 'points'; however his list of "similar players" includes HOFers Sam Crawford and Roberto Clemente. Closer Troy Percival is a potential HOFer (86/100), but he has been hurt and has yet to pitch in the 2008 post-season.

Tampa seems deeper and better. And the Rays win, we could be looking back some day to the day when a young Ray took the first step toward baseball immortality.

Prediction: Rays in 6.

And another rebuilding year in the Bronx in 2009.

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (Summary)

2001-2007: 1.8 HOFer on each WS champ (projected).

1991-2000: 3.0 HOFer on each WS champ (projected).

1981-1990: 1.2 HOFers on each WS champ (actual).

1971-1980: 2.9 HOFers on each WS champ.

1961-1970: 3.0 HOFers on each WS champ.

1951-1960: 4.3 HOFers on each WS champ.

1941-1950: 3.1 HOFer on each WS champion

1931-1940: 5.0 HOFers on each WS champion.

1921-1930: 4.4 HOFers on each WS champion.

1911-1920: 2.8 HOFers on each WS champion.

1903-1910: 3.0 HOFers on each WS champion.

World Series Champs and Hall of Famers (2001 - 2007)

(All likely or possible HOFers.)

2007 - Boston Red Sox (OF Manny Ramirez (on Bill James' HOF Monitor, 208 out of 100), P Curt Schilling (171/100))

2006 - St. Louis Cardinals (1B Albert Pujols (189/100), Mgr. Tony LaRussa)

2005 - Chicago White Sox

2004 - Boston Red Sox (P Pedro Martinez (202/100), Ramirez, Schilling)

2003 - Florida Marlins (C Pudge Rodriguez (228/100))

2002 - Anaheim Angels (P Troy Percival (86/100))

2001 - Arizona Diamondbacks (Schilling, P Randy Johnson (322/100))

Projected HOFers = 11, out of 6 WS Championship teams = 1.8 HOF/WS

Note: DH Frank Thomas played 34G for 2005 CHW; did not play in WS.

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (1991 - 2000)

2000 - New York Yankees (No HOFers yet; possible HOFers include P Mariano Rivera (197 out of 100 on Bill James' HOF Monitor), SS Derek Jeter (235/100), P Roger Clemens (331/100), OF Bernie Williams (133/100)).

1999 - New York Yankees (none; likely Rivera, Jeter, Clemens, Williams)

1998 - New York Yankees (none; likely Rivera, Jeter, Williams)

1997 - Florida Marlins (none; possible HOFers: P Kevin Brown (93/100); SS Edgar Renteria (94/100))

1996 - New York Yankees (3B Wade Boggs; possible HOFers: Jeter, Rivera, Williams)

1995 - Atlanta Braves 3B Chipper Jones (159.5/100), P Greg Maddux (255/100), P John Smoltz (167/100), P Tom Glavine (176/100))

1994 - Not played

1993 - Toronto Blue Jays (DH Paul Molitor; other likely HOFers: 2B Roberto Alomar (193/100), OF Ricky Henderson (183/100))

1992 - Toronto Blue Jays (DH Dave Winfield; other possible HOFers: Alomar, P Jack Morris (122.5/100; 0-2, 8.44ERA in WS), P David Cone (103/100))

1991 - Minnesota Twins (OF Kirby Puckett; other possible HOFers: Morris, P Rick Aguilera (90(!)/100))

Actual HOFers = 4
Projected HOFers = 27, 9 WS Championship Teams = 3.0 HOF/WS

Note: Morris also on 1993 TOR (7-12, 6.19), but did not pitch in WS.

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (1981 - 1990)

1990 - Cincinnati Reds (None; other possible HOFers: SS Barry Larkin (118.5 on Bill James' HOF Monitor scale; 100 is "Likely HOFer"); P Randy Myers (97/100 HOF Monitor))

1989 - Oakland Athletics (P Dennis Eckersley; other possible HOFers: Rickey Henderson (183/100), Mark McGwire (163/100); Jose Canseco (101/100); Tony LaRussa (#3 all-time managerial wins))

1988 - Los Angeles Dodgers (Mgr Tommy Lasorda; other possible HOFers: P Orel Hershiser (90.5/100); Fernando Valenzuela (66.5/100))

1987 - Minnesota Twins (OF Kirby Puckett; other possible HOFers: P Bert Blyleven (120/100))

1986 - New York Mets (C Gary Carter; other possible HOFers: 1B Keith Hernandez (86/100))

1985 - Kansas City Royals (3B George Brett; other possibles HOFers: 2B Frank White (81/100))

1984 - Detroit Tigers (Mgr Sparky Anderson; other possible HOFers: P Jack Morris (122.5/100))

1983 - Baltimore Orioles (1B Eddie Murray, SS Cal Ripken, P Jim Palmer (1-0 in 2 IP in WS))

1982 - St. Louis Cardinals (SS Ozzie Smith, P Bruce Sutter)

1981 - Los Angeles Dodgers (Mgr Tommy Lasorda; other possible HOFers: 1B Steve Garvey (130.5/100))

12 HOFers, 10 WS Championship Teams = 1.2 HOFers/WS

Note: P Don Sutton was 3-6 for 1988 LAD, but pitched last game in August, 1988.

Note2: P Steve Carlton was 1-5 for 1987 MIN, did not pitch in post-season.

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (1971 - 1980)

1980 - Philadelphia Phillies (3B Mike Schmidt, P Steve Carlton)

1979 - Pittsburgh Pirates (1B Willie Stargell)

1978 - New York Yankees (OF Reggie Jackson, P Catfish Hunter)

1977 - New York Yankees (Jackson, Hunter)

1976 - Cincinnati Reds (C Johnny Bench, 1B Tony Perez, 2B Joe Morgan, Mgr Sparky Anderson)

1975 - Cincinnati Reds (Bench, Perez, Morgan, Anderson)

1974 - Oakland Athletics (Mgr Dick Williams, P Catfish Hunter, OF Reggie Jackson, P Rollie Fingers)

1973 - Oakland Athletics (Williams, Hunter, Jackson, Fingers)

1972 - Oakland Athletics (Williams, Hunter, Jackson, Fingers)

1971 - Pittsburgh Pirates (Stargell, OF Roberto Clemente)

29 HOFers, 10 WS Championship teams = 2.9 HOF/WS.

Note: 1B/3B Pete Rose was a member of 1980 PHI, 1976 CIN, 1975 CIN.

Note(2): OF Orlando Cepeda played 3G for 1972 OAK.

Note(3): Bob Lemon was manager of 1978 NYY.

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (1961 - 1970)

1970 - Baltimore Orioles (Mgr Earl Weaver, 3B Brooks Robinson, OF Frank Robinson, P Jim Palmer)

1969 - New York Mets (P Tom Seaver, P Nolan Ryan (6-3); 2.1 IP in WS)

1968 - Detroit Tigers (OF Al Kaline (102 G, 11-29, 2HR in WS), 3B Eddie Mathews (52AB; 1-3 AB in WS)

1967 - St. Louis Cardinals (OF Lou Brock, P Bob Gibson, 1B Orlando Cepeda, P Steve Carlton (14-9, 193 IP; 0-1 in WS))

1966 - Baltimore Orioles (B. Robinson, F. Robinson, SS Luis Aparicio, Palmer)

1965 - Los Angeles Dodgers (Mgr. Walter Alston, P Sandy Koufax, P Don Drysdale)

1964 - St. Louis Cardinals (Brock, Gibson)

1963 - Los Angeles Dodgers (Alston, Koufax, Drysdale)

1962 - New York Yankees (OF Mickey Mantle, P Whitey Ford, OF/C Yogi Berra (2AB in WS))

1961 - New York Yankees (Berra, Mantle, Ford)

30 HOFers, 10 WS Championship Teams = 3.0 HOF/WS

Note: 1967 STL managed by Red Schoendienst.

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (1951 - 1960)

1960 - Pittsburgh Pirates (2B Bill Mazeroski, OF Roberto Clemente)

1959 - Los Angeles Dodgers (Mgr Walter Alston, OF Duke Snider, P Sandy Koufax, P Don Drysdale)

1958 - New York Yankees (Mgr Casey Stengel, C Yogi Berra, OF Mickey Mantle, P Whitey Ford, OF Enos Slaughter (4G, 3AB in WS))

1957 - Milwaukee Braves (2B Red Schoendist, 3B Eddie Mathews, OF Hank Aaron, P Warren Spahn)

1956 - New York Yankees (Stengel, Berra, Mantle, Ford, Slaughter (7-20, 1 HR, 4 RBI in WS))

1955 - Brooklyn Dodgers (Alston, C Roy Campanella, 3B Jackie Robinson, SS Pee Wee Reese, Snider)

1954 - New York Giants (Mgr Leo Durocher, OF Willie Mays, OF Monte Irvin, P Hoyt Wilhelm)

1953 - New York Yankees (Stengel, Berra, Rizzuto, Mantle, Ford)

1952 - New York Yankees (Stengel, Berra, Rizzuto, Mantle)

1951 - New York Yankees (Stengel, Berra, Rizzuto, OF Joe DiMaggio, OF Mickey Mantle (96 G/1-5 in WS))

43 HOFers, 10 WS Championship Teams = 4.3 HOF/WS.

Note: Phil Rizzuto played 31 G for 1956 NYY, but was released August 16th.

Note (2): 1955 BRK roster included P Sandy Koufax (12 G at age 19), and P Tommy Lasorda (4 G). Neither played in the 1955 World Series.

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (1941 - 1950)

1950 - New York Yankees (Mgr Casey Stengel, C Yogi Berra, SS Phil Rizzuto, OF Joe DiMaggio)

1949 - New York Yankees (Stengel, Berra, Rizzuto, DiMaggio)

1948 - Cleveland Indians (Mgr/SS Lou Boudreau, P Bob Feller, B Bob Lemon, P Satchel Paige)

1947 - New York Yankees (Rizzuto, DiMaggio, Berra (83 G but 3-19, 1HR in WS))

1946 - St. Louis Cardinals (2B Red Schoendist, OF Stan Musial, OF Enos Slaughter)

1945 - Detroit Tigers (P Hal Newhouser, 1B Hank Greenberg (78 games/7-23, 2HR in WS))

1944 - St. Louis Cardinals (Musial)

1943 - New York Yankees (Mgr. Joe McCarthy, C Bill Dickey)

1942 - St. Louis Cardinals (Slaughter, Musial)

1941 - New York Yankees (McCarthy, Dickey,Rizzuto, DiMaggio, P Red Ruffing, P Lefty Gomez)

31 HOFs, 10 WS Championship teams = 3.1 HOF/WS

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (1931 - 1940)

1940 - Cincinnati Reds (Mgr Bill McKechnie, C Ernie Lombardi)

1939 - New York Yankees (Mgr Joe McCarthy, C Bill Dickey, OF Joe DiMaggio, P Red Ruffing, P Lefty Gomez)

1938 - New York Yankees (McCarthy, Dickey, 1B Lou Gehrig, DiMaggio, Ruffing, Gomez)

1937 - New York Yankees (McCarthy, Dickey, Gehrig, 2B Tony Lazzeri, DiMaggio, Ruffing, Gomez)

1936 - New York Yankees (McCarthy, Dickey, Gehrig, Lazzeri, DiMaggio, Ruffing, Gomez)

1935 - Detroit Tigers (Mgr/C Mickey Cochrane, 1B Hank Greenberg, 2B Charlie Gehringer, OF Goose Goslin)

1934 - St. Louis Cardinals (2B Frankie Frisch, OF Joe Medwick, P Dizzy Dean)

1933 - New York Giants (Mgr/1B Bill Terry, OF Mel Ott, P Carl Hubbell)

1932 - New York Yankees (McCarthy, Dickey, 3B Joe Sewell, OF Babe Ruth, Lazzeri, Gehrig, Gomez, Ruffing, P Herb Pennock)

1931 - St. Louis Cardinals (1B Jim Bottomley, 2B Frankie Frisch, OF Chick Hafey, P Burleigh Grimes)

50 HOF, 10 WS Championship Team = 5.0 HOF/WS

Note: SS Leo Durocher played 146 games for 1934 STL, including 7-27, 4 R in WS.

Note(2): C Ernie Lombardi played just 109 G for 1940 CIN, and 2G, 1-3, 1 2B in WS.

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (1921 - 1930)

1930 - Philadelphia Athletics (Mgr Connie Mack, C Mickey Cochrane, 1B Jimmie Foxx, OF Al Simmons, P Lefty Grove)

1929 - Philadelphia Athletics (Mack, Cochrane, Foxx, Simmons, Grove)

1928 - New York Yankees (OF Babe Ruth, 1B Lou Gehrig, 2B Tony Lazzeri, OF Earle Combs, P Waite Hoyt, P Herb Pennock, Mgr Miller Huggins)

1927 - New York Yankees (Ruth, Gehrig, Lazzeri, Combs, Hoyt, Pennock, Huggins)

1926 - St. Louis Cardinals(Mgr/2B Rogers Hornsby, 1B Jim Bottomley, P Pete Alexander)

1925 - Pittsburgh Pirates (2B Pie Traynor, OF Kiki Cuyler)

1924 - Washington Senators (OF Goose Goslin, P Walter Johnson, OF Sam Rice)

1923 - New York Yankees (Ruth, Pennock, Hoyt, Huggins)

1922 - New York Giants (1B George Kelly, 3B Frankie Frisch, SS Dave Bancroft, Mgr John McGraw)

1921 - New York Giants (Kelly, Frisch, Bancroft, McGraw)

44 HOFs, 10 WS Championship Team = 4.4 HOF/WS

Note: OF Casey Stengel was a member of the 1922 NYG, although was not a HOF player.

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (1911 - 1920)

1920 - Cleveland Indians (OF Tris Speaker, P Stan Coveleski)

1919 - Cincinnati Reds (OF Edd Roush)

1918 - Boston Red Sox (OF Harry Hooper, OF/P Babe Ruth)

1917 - Chicago White Sox (C Ray Schalk, 2B Eddie Collins, P Red Faber)

1916 - Boston Red Sox (Hooper, Ruth)

1915 - Boston Red Sox (Hooper, OF Tris Speaker, Ruth)

1914 - Boston Braves (SS Rabbit Maranville, 2B Johnny Evers)

1913 - Philadelphia Athletics (Mgr Connie Mack, 2B Eddie Collins, 3B Frank (Home Run) Baker, P Eddie Plank, P Chief Bender, P Herb Pennock)

1912 - Boston Red Sox (OF Harry Hooper, OF Tris Speaker)

1911 - Philadelphia Athletics (Mack, Collins, Baker, Plank, Bender)

28 Hall-of-Famers, 10 WS Championship teams = 2.8 HOF/WS

Note: 1917 CWS Shoeless Joe Jackson also probably a Hall of Famer, but for 1919 Black Sox scandal.

World Series Champs & Hall of Famers (1903 - 1910)

1910 - Philadelphia Athletics (Mgr Connie Mack, 2B Eddie Collins, 3B Frank (Home Run) Baker, P Eddie Plank)

1909 - Pittsburgh Pirates (SS Honus Wagner, P Vic Willis)

1908 - Chicago Cubs (SS Joe Tinker, 2B Johnny Evers, 1B Frank Chance, P Mordecai Brown)

1907 - Chicago Cubs (Tinker,Evers, Chance, Brown)

1906 - Chicago White Sox (SS George Davis, P Ed Walsh)

1905 - New York Giants (P Christy Mathewson, C Roger Bresnahan, P Joe McGinnity)

1904 - not played

1903 - Boston Pilgrims (P Cy Young, Mgr/3B Jimmy Collins)

21 Hall of Famers, 7 WS Championship Teams = 3 HOF/WS champ

Friday, October 17, 2008


Most architects must have a fulfilling life. You design, you build, and you and others admire for years to come. With respect to the financial system, loud calls are being made for a new architecture. How did we get here and where do we go?

Alan Greenspan has been referred to as the "intellectual architect" of current policy and financial structure. That makes him "similar in profession" to his mentor Ayn Rand's most famous character, Howard Roark. Maybe not in the completely uncompromising, unconventional way, but no doubt Rand/Roark's influence made its way into Greenspan's laissez-faire, free market philosophy.

The other name to invoke here is Adam Smith. Greenspan is again a long-time admirer of the 18th century economist/philosopher. Trust the invisible hand, and society will maximize its potential.

A key distinction must be made, however, between free market commerce and free market finance. When Greenspan was mastering his craft, pouring over thousands and thousands of pieces of data, figuring out mathematical relationships and dissecting economic indicators, he was engrossed in the real economy. When he became Fed Chairman though, he inherited power and persuasion over financial markets. Quotes from the late 90's show that he was clearly in favor of extending the invisible hand throughout the financial system and limiting the reach of regulation.

By now it is clear that the financial architecture is going to undergo change. Speculation and leverage have different systemic implications in the financial markets than they do in commerce, and steps are being taken to prevent the current crisis from reoccurring once we have all conveniently forgotten the missteps of the recent past. I sincerely hope though that the current architects keep the spirit of Greenspan's philosophy alive, albeit with a humble acknowledgment that trust and transparency are key characteristics of a sustainable financial system.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

'Peace with Honor'

With the unraveling of the McCain campaign almost complete (Intrade currently gives Obama a 77% likelihood of becoming the next President), it may be time for the final act of McCain's political life: peace with honor.

McCain's bounce over the summer was attributed to the addition of Steve Schmidt and other veterans of the Bush White House. But last week, after focusing much of their time and energy targeting Obama's associations with former 1960s terrorist William Ayers, McCain did not bring up Ayers' name at the town-hall debate in St. Louis, causing many to question its relevance.(*)

Schmidt's rise came at the apparent expense of long-time McCain advisor Rick Davis; others cast aside who had been with the Arizona during the dark days of the summer of 2007, when he was broke and left for dead by the GOP, include Mark Salter.

Salter has been McCain chief writer (of speeches) and ghost-writer (of books) for a number of years. He helped McCain develop the effective narrative of his life -- that he learned to love his country while a prisoner overseas -- and has been said to "'channel John McCain's voice.'"

Salter, more than anyone except perhaps Cindy McCain, has helped create John McCain's maverick -- and bi-partisan -- brand, which has been lost in the fall campaign. And it may fall to Salter to discuss quietly with McCain that the last few weeks of the campaign may be best spent trying to rehabilitate an image that the national press, at least, has spent much of the last few weeks criticizing at length.

A positive 'close' may allow McCain to claw back a few of the swing states -- all of which appear to be tipping Democratic -- and help the bottom of the Republican ticket that now fears an overwhelming, and filibuster-proof majority in both Houses.

Mark Salter, tell John McCain: it's time.

(*-Note that McCain claimed today that it is "probably ensured" that McCain will raise the name in this week's debate. But with the nation focusing on economic issues, it is still not clear what relevance -- or resonance -- Ayers will have with undecided voters.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ideas Lost to History III

Julio Lugo as the Red Sox starting shortstop.

Oh wait.

It seems that they can win without him.

Ideas Lost to History II

Here's another idea you don't hear too much about any more: privatizing Social Security.

Back in the halcyon days of 2004-5, a then-newly re-elected President Bush claimed that he would spend his political capital to expand the "ownership society" to allow people to invest some, or perhaps all, of their Social Security accounts into the stock market.

As we know, Social Security is currently underfunded, but even with no reforms it would remain solvent through 2041 (with recipients receiving 78% of scheduled benefits that year.)

Today's stock market would have much more damaging effects for a hypothetical private Social Security account.

Of course, with the US Government's ownership of stakes in AIG and now, perhaps investing equity into a number of US banks, one might argue that the privatization of 'Social Security' (which after all is a US Government obligation like any other one, notwithstanding the theoretical Social Security 'Trust Fund,') has been effected with lightning speed.

Ideas Lost to History

In light of almost daily financial news that borders on the cataclysmic, one can't help but notice that you don't hear too many people talking about the dangers of "moral hazard" anymore.

If you think back to the fall of Bear Stearns, many observers noted that by saving Bear (it ended up being purchased -- with US Government backstops -- by JP Morgan Chase), we risked allowing those who took enormous risks to walk away from the consequences of their actions.

At the time, the mortgage market was already frozen, but it was not until this fall -- with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Freddie-and-Fannie -- that the true extent of the financial damage has been seen. And the worries about 'moral hazard' have been superseded; because of the interlocking counterparty risk of countless derivatives, the fall-out from the failure of many financial institutions is not limited to those who were at that entity, taking the risk. We are all part of the "moral hazard."