Darowski: My ballot for SABR’s Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend

From SABR member Adam Darowski at Hall of Stats on February 5, 2013:

I very recently joined SABR (the Society of American Baseball Research) and one of the main reasons was to join the 19th Century Committee. I joined at just the right time as the Committee just released the preliminary ballot for the 19th Century Overlooked Legend award, an annual honor bestowed upon a 19th century player or pioneer not currently recognized by the Hall of Fame.

Past winners include Pete Browning, Deacon White, Harry Stovey, and Bill Dahlen—all solid choices, statistically. The current preliminary ballot contains 25 names and committee members must vote for ten. The top ten will then be on the final ballot, which will be distributed to all SABR members for the election.

As my interest in baseball history has always had a strong statistical focus, this type of vote is actually pretty difficult for me. We can assess modern players (almost exclusively) on their on-field performance. There haven’t been too many “pioneers” in baseball since the game was integrated.

But this 19th century ballot is littered with pioneers and they coexist with other players who have rich statistical records. Additionally, there are players who were important for both their performance and their importance. It’s not the easiest thing for me to wrap my head around, but I’m going to try.

I’m including the bios that were provided on the preliminary ballot. They’re so good that I had to share them. I’m doing so with permission from Joe Williams, Chair of the Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend Project, Nineteenth Century Committee, SABR. The bios were compiled by Joe while fellow committee members Charles Faber and Bob Gregory were instrumental in getting the process going.

Read the full article here: http://www.hallofstats.com/articles/19th-century-overlooked-legend-preliminary-ballot

Related link: To learn more about the Nineteenth Century Committee’s Overlooked Legend election, click here

Originally published: February 6, 2013. Last Updated: February 6, 2013.