Tavish wrote:......Bill James absolutely adds a subjective factor into his views on players. There isn't anything wrong with that as long as people realize he doesn't make his rankings based 100% on statistics. There are players he loves that get moved up in rankings despite the lesser stats (Morgan and Biggio) and players he dislikes are constantly pushed further down (Hornsby, Cobb, Joe Jackson).
Very well said, and true.
But, in the latest edition of the "Historical Abstract," he doesn't really push HORNSBY down at all.
He has Hornsby #3 for second base. If you look at the various "Win Share" figures for the guys above and below him, it looks to me like he's right where the numbers dictate. It COULD be argued that he MIGHT deserve to be higher, but it's not at all clear from the numbers.
I think James was GENEROUS in the ranking, and I think it came about mainly because "Win Shares" OVERRATES Hornsby's fielding. Probably the main weakness of the Win Shares system is in evaluating defense. About Hornsby, although James doesn't say it flat-out, there's an essay (I think in the same book, but maybe it's in "Win Shares") where he implies that the stats overrate his defense.