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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Friday, January 17, 2003

All Time Negro Leagues All-Stars

I’ll list the top players as listed from two solid sources, the The Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro Leagues; and the New Historical Baseball Abstract.

I’ll also give career dates, courtesy of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues so we can begin to get a grasp on eligibility, etc..

The links are there because they are excellent books to buy if you have a few extra dollars.

You’ll have to scroll back up after you click the link.


A lot to munch on here guys.

What we need are ‘experts’ to chime in where Holway and James may have gone astray, give players they missed, etc.. If you know of a Negro League expert, drop him an email and ask him to comment. Eric Enders, who knows a lot about the Negro Leagues says that he thinks the James rankings are ‘generally pretty good’. Eric, if I’m misquoting you, please let us know.

Without any further adieu . . .

The Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro Leagues

(He also slotted them based on where they’d be on The All-Century Team, I’ll note those below each position.

Catcher
1. Josh Gibson (1929-46)
2. Biz Mackey (1920-47, 1950)
3. Frank Duncan (1920-48)

He listed Gibson and Mackey as the two greatest catchers of all time, ahead of Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra.

First Base
1. Mule Suttles (1918-44)
2. Buck Leonard (1933-50)
3. Ben Taylor (1910-40)

Suttles was listed between Gehrig and McGwire, Jimmie Foxx was 4th.

Second Base
1. Sammy T. Hughes (1931-46)
2. Home Run Johnson (1895-1916)
3. Bingo DeMoss (1910-30)

None were listed as being better than Hornsby, Morgan, Collins and Lajoie.

Shortstop
1. Willie Wells (1924-49)
2. John Henry Lloyd (1906-32)
3. Monte Irvin (1937-48)

Lloyd and Wells were listed 3rd and 4th behind Ripken and Wagner.

Third Base
1. Jud Wilson (1922-45)
2. Ray Dandridge (1933-49)
3. Oliver Marcelle (1918-34)

Dandridge was second to Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson was third, so I think Wilson ahead of Dandridge was a typo.

Outfield
1. Oscar Charleston (1915-41)
2. Turkey Stearns (1923-42)
3. Cristobal Torriente (1913-28)
4. Cool Papa Bell (1922-46)
5. Pete Hill (1899-26)
6. Wild Bill Wright (1932-45)
7. Williard Brown (1935-50)

Charleston was slotted 5th, after Ruth, Cobb, Williams and Aaron; Stearnes was 6th.

DH
1. John Beckwith (1916-38)

He was at the top of the revised All-Century DH list, ahead of Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks and Harmon Killebrew.

RH Pitcher

1. Satchel Paige (1926-50)
2. Smokey Joe Williams (1905-32)
3. Bullet Joe Rogan (1917-38)
4. Ray Brown (1930-48)
5. Bill Byrd (1932-50)

It’s hard to tell if he’s going left to right or up-down on his list (buy the book and you’ll know what I mean), so I’ll just say that he has Paige, Rogan and Brown among the top 12 RHP of all-time.

LH Pitcher

1. Big Bill Foster (1923-38)
2. Andy Cooper
3. Nip Winters

He has Foster 2nd to Spahn and Cooper 4th among LHP (Grove is 3rd).

The New Historical Baseball Abstract

Here I’ll note if players ranked in James all-time top 100.

Catcher
1. Josh Gibson (1929-46) #9
2. Louis Santop (1909-26)
3. Biz Mackey (1920-47, 1950)
4. Double Duty Radcliffe (1928-50)
5. Bruce Petway (1906-25)

James says he has little doubt that Gibson is the greatest catcher of all time. He also says catcher was probably the strongest position, and the Negro Leaguers were probably better than their white counterparts, top to bottom.

First Base
1. Buck Leonard (1933-50) #65
2. Luke Easter (1946-48)
3. Ben Taylor (1910-40)
4. Buck O’Neil (1937-55)
5. Tank Carr (1917-34)

Easter needs an explanation. He says, “I know he didn’t “do” all that much either in the Negro Leagues or the white majors - but if you could clone him and bring him back, you’d have the greatest power hitter in baseball today, if not ever”. He goes on to say how Easter crushed the ball everywhere he ever went, even at age of 45 in AAA. Not a HoMer, but a hell of a player nonetheless.

Second Base
1. Bingo DeMoss (1910-30)
2. Newt Allen (1922-44)
3. George Scales (1921-48)
4. Sammy T. Hughes (1931-46)
5. Bill Monroe (1896-1914)

Shortstop
1. John Henry Lloyd (1906-32) #27
2. Willie Wells (1924-49) #86
3. Dick Lundy (1916-39)
4. Dobie Moore (1920-26)
5. Bill Riggins (1920-36)

Third Base
1. Ray Dandridge (1933-49)
2. Judy Johnson (1918-37)
3. Oliver Marcelle (1918-34)
4. Jud Wilson (1922-45)
5. Dave Malarcher (1916-34)

Left Field
1. Turkey Stearns (1923-42) #25
2. Mule Suttles (1918-44) #43
3. Monte Irvin (1937-48)
4. Pete Hill (1899-1926)
5. Gene Benson (1933-49)

James says the guys in LF probably played as much CF or RF, everyone played all over the place.

Center Field
1. Oscar Charleston (1915-41) #4
2. Christobel Torriente (1913-28) #67
3. Cool Papa Bell (1922-46) #76
4. Spotswood Poles (1909-23)
5. Jimmy Lyons (1910-25)

James says Charleston rates right with Cobb, DiMaggio, Mays, Mantle and Speaker.

Right Field
1. Martin Dihigo (1923-45) #95
2. Willard Brown (1935-50)
3. Ted Strong (1937-48)
4. Wild Bill Wright (1932-45)
5. Alejandro Oms (1917-35)

Pitchers

James does not rate the pitchers, but he does say that Satchel Paige (#17) was the best pitcher of the Negro Leagues and could rate as the greatest pitcher of all time, and he should be in the discussion with Johnson, Grove, Young, etc..

The pitchers he said were compared to Paige were:

Smokey Joe Williams (1905-32) #52
Bullet Joe Rogan (1917-38)
Hilton Smith (1932-48)
Chet Brewer (1925-48)
Bill Foster (1923-38)

Two 19th Century stars that these guys missed were Bud Fowler (1877-99), kind of the Negro Leagues version of Monte Ward (started his career as a pitcher and moved to 2B); and George Stovey (1886-96) a star pitcher.

James also ranks Minnie Minoso (1945-48) at #85.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 17, 2003 at 03:37 AM | 312 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Page 1 of 4 pages  1 2 3 4 > 
   1. KJOK Posted: January 17, 2003 at 08:23 PM (#511256)
For position players, I think you've pretty much got everybody unless you want to include guys like:

Fransisco Coimbre, RF
   2. Rob Wood Posted: January 18, 2003 at 12:43 AM (#511259)
John Holway is a great researcher and writer on the Negro Leagues. However, I believe that he probably has an inflated opinion of how great those players really were. He has interviewed hundreds of Negro Leaguers and has heard thousands of stories of the accomplishments of the stars.

This may be a trifle unfair, but many years from now contemporaries will be telling stories to future historians of how great were Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, Dave Parker, Don Mattingly, Keith Hernandez, Rich Gossage, and Dale Murphy, among others. No disrespect intended, but there can be a collection of stories (anecdotes) starring every good player who played for many years. In the absence of statistical evidence, anecdotal evidence needs to be discounted to some extent.

Holway is far from a sabermetrician, again I mean no disrespect. I bring this up merely to point out that I too place more faith in Bill James' rankings of the Negro Leaguers (in general) since James has spent a great deal of time evaluating the historical greatness of players, and has developed a sense of the distribution of greatness over time among any set of players.
   3. jimd Posted: January 20, 2003 at 08:37 PM (#511262)
Frank Grant. He hasn't been discussed on this thread, but he did receive some mention on the Our Constitution thread:
   4. KJOK Posted: January 21, 2003 at 05:52 AM (#511263)
Of course, it would be great if we had some STATS on these guys, even if they are somewhat incomplete?! I know at least one of the Total Baseball's had them (one of the ones I didn't get) plus there was, I think, supposed to be a new Negro League stat encyclopedia in 2002?
   5. KJOK Posted: January 21, 2003 at 06:21 AM (#511264)
The book I was thinking of is The Statistical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by Riley. Unfortunately, it's not available yet....
   6. Brian H Posted: January 23, 2003 at 05:30 AM (#511266)
I did check up on Leon Day -- he apparently made several Negro League All-Star teams and was considered the ace on the best team in the Negro Leagues for a number of years. Additionally Day was a superb hitter. His career was relatively short and he played during the last days of the Negro Leagues*. He sounds vaguely like a Bob Carruthers type player.
   7. KJOK Posted: January 25, 2003 at 07:06 AM (#511267)
Just to add some more info, The Sporting News selected a Top 100 players near the end of the last century, and on that list they had:

#18 Josh Gibson
   8. Paul Wendt Posted: January 27, 2003 at 08:23 AM (#511268)
The Negro Leagues members of the Hall of Fame are quite young, but many pundits also lean toward the stars of the 1930s-1940s; some of them are cited here.

It seems that Bill James ranks the older players (see J.Williams, J.H.Lloyd, O.Charleston) a bit higher than the pundits have generally ranked them. Does he assess the black players in the spirit of his timeline adjustment for MLBplayers?
   9. MattB Posted: May 09, 2003 at 07:34 PM (#511271)
Thanks, Joe.

These are the Top "19th Century Negro League" players, as discussed in another thread, and their last years:

Fleet Walker: 1889
   10. Marc Posted: May 09, 2003 at 09:11 PM (#511272)
Quick question, Matt. Are you indeed voting for George Stovey? If so, I read it as Harry Stovey and I think the vote-counters did too...???
   11. Carl Goetz Posted: May 09, 2003 at 09:24 PM (#511273)
If I'm reading right, George Stovey is not eligible until 1902.
   12. Marc Posted: May 09, 2003 at 09:56 PM (#511274)
Oops. I didn't read carefully enough. I thought those were their eligibility years. Thanks for the clarification. I look forward to the discussion.

Then there's Bill Monroe 1914 and Home Run Johnson 1916. Can't wait to learn more about a 2B called "Home Run."

Does anybody now of a good Web site where decent profiles and stats are available? Especially for pre-1920??? I did a Google today and was disappointed by what I found.
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 10, 2003 at 05:39 AM (#511276)
I have no clue where Frank Grant or George Stovey belong. Until I get that settled, I'm leaving them off my ballot (as I originally did with Pearce).
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 10, 2003 at 03:39 PM (#511278)
Stovey, Grant, et. al deserve full consideration once they come on, let's not wait until the last minute for them . . .

I should make it clear that if I do come to a decision that they belong prior to the end of their first election, I will gladly place them on my ballot. I have no doubts they belong somewhere. The 20th century players will be much easier to rank.

Joe, I'm going to finally purchase those two books you mentioned. That should help with my analysis.
   15. Marc Posted: May 11, 2003 at 05:46 PM (#511279)
Joe (and John when you have them), if somebody was going to buy ONE of them, which would you recommend?
   16. Randal Posted: May 18, 2003 at 04:15 PM (#511284)
Are you the biggest idiot ever?
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 24, 2003 at 06:29 AM (#511285)
I just received my copies of The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues and The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues.

Wow!

Maybe now I can make some intelligent choices when the Negro League players become eligible.

Joe:

I never realized that Bob Feller was a Negro League star (check the back of the Holway book if you have the paperback). :-)
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 25, 2003 at 03:06 AM (#511286)
James says he has little doubt that Gibson is the greatest catcher of all time. He also says catcher was probably the strongest position, and the Negro Leaguers were probably better than their white counterparts, top to bottom.

Boy, it's going to be tough going with the catchers of the twenties and thirties. Besides the Negro Leaguers (Gibson, Mackey, Gordon and Radcliffe), you also have to deal with Cochrane, Hartnett and Dickey. I know I'm not placing all of them on my ballot.

As I see it right now, Gibson is easily numero uno. Piazza is the greatest white hitting catcher, but I don't think he's close to Josh with the bat (and let's forget comparing the gloves :-).

I like Mackey and Cochrane after that. Beyond that, I'm on the fence.
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 26, 2003 at 11:10 PM (#511288)
I don't know John, sometimes there's just a glut of talent at a position in an era (see SS, 1996-present). If all of those players are available at the same time, it's likely they'll all be on my ballot.

I'm not saying I definitely won't have the rest on my ballot either, but I think we need to be a little more careful.
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2003 at 06:32 PM (#511290)
I think we will need to take a good look at Clarence Williams. We have a few years before he's eligible.
   21. guanxi Posted: May 29, 2003 at 10:00 PM (#511291)
A crazy idea:

It's difficult to compare Negro Leaguers with their white contemporaries, because, among other things, they performed in different environments -- different stadiums, equipment, etc.

To elminate the 'environment' variable, what if we made a radical assumption: That talent of the Negro Leagues over long periods of time and large groups of players was, in sum, the same as the white leagues.

We then might take a stab at eliminating those variables, and adjust for park effects, etc.

The 'radical assumption' is almost certainly wrong -- and I don't know which league had more talent at which positions -- but it may be good enough that we can take a step forward.
   22. Marc Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:43 AM (#511292)
guanxi, that is a crazy idea! But a challenging one that is worth thinking about. To carry it a bit further, let's posit that the Negro Leagues are to the major leagues as the AA was to the NL of the 1880s. i.e. the AA was a major league but subject to a ?10 percent discount. By analogy, the Negro Leagues were major leagues but subject to a discount of X percent.

I dunno. Crazy enough to have a certain appeal.

Another question. I'd like to know if it is time to panic yet. What year exactly is Frank Grant eligible, and then Clarence Williams, Sol White, Monroe, Fowler? Are the Walkers already eligible, or when?
   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 07:10 AM (#511293)
What year exactly is Frank Grant eligible, and then Clarence Williams, Sol White, Monroe, Fowler? Are the Walkers already eligible, or when?

Grant: 1909
   24. Marc Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:08 PM (#511294)
BTW, I am continuing to consider G. Stovey. It's a good thing (for his chances) that we have started electing pitchers but I still have the following in my active consideration set:

Spalding, Radbourn, Caruthers, Mullane, McCormick, Welch, Galvin, Bond, Cummings, Foutz, Corcoran, Whitney, Devlin, Hecker

Where would Stovey go in that lineup? I see him somewhere in Mullane-McCormick-Welch-Galvin land (15th to 20th on a ballot?) if I give him the benefit of the doubt (subjective, unknowns, etc.). If I give the benefit of the doubt to the other guy, then he is more in Cummings-Foutz-Corcoran-Whitney (25th to 35th?) land. Can anybody provide a rationale to move him up in this pecking order?
   25. guanxi Posted: May 30, 2003 at 02:54 PM (#511295)
Marc - I'm not 100% sure the Negro Leagues should be 'discounted'.

Why would we believe the talent level was any less? I'm hardly an expert, so maybe I'm missing something obvious, but in considering this question we might learn a few things.
   26. Marc Posted: May 30, 2003 at 04:21 PM (#511296)
In the immortal words of Dr. Evil, somebody help me out here. But I will take a shot.

There is evidence on one side that Negro teams competed very effectively (in a very small sample) with white teams. However, the evidence is entirely anecdotal as far as I'm aware. Has anybody ever compiled a fairly complete list of such competitions? And the games in question generally were all-star type games. That makes it all the more impressive if Satchel Paige or Joe Williams threw a 1-hitter, but, hey, that's Satch and Joe.

The evidence on the other side is basically demographics. (And if you like this argument the credit goes to Bill James and others, if you don't like this argument then blame me as I am probably doing a poor job of paraphrasing.) But the black population was, what?, 2-3-5-10% of the white population? And so the inference is that the total pool of black players was much poorer than that of white players. The rank and file white player was probably better than the rank and file black player. As to the very top star, the demographic argument does not necessarily suggest that the top blacks were not just as good as the top whites (Charleston-Cobb, Gibson-Ruth, Satch-Grove, whatever) though on the other hand the Negro League stars could really shine brightly against a weaker overall pool.

I don't know what the net of that is. But those are the arguments I am trying to weigh. What other evidence is there and what does everybody conclude from it?
   27. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2003 at 06:02 PM (#511298)
On a slightly different note, do people have thoughts on how many Negro League players should be ultimately elected?

As many as you feel belong on your ballot. I have no idea how many that will be at this time. I don't think there should be a predetermined number (if that's what you're getting at).
   28. Marc Posted: May 30, 2003 at 06:22 PM (#511299)
I agree with John, it well depend on the head-to-head matchups as they occur.

However, daring to tread where angels fear to go...the purely demographic answer, or, well, a combination of demographics and opportunity...would suggest something like this. The number would start at near zero (low population and very low opportunity) and then a line would rise from the turn of the century where we are now up to the percent that have been elected since Jackie Robinson, and I don't know what that number is. 33%, 40%, 50%? I could just look it up, I guess. But whether it would be a flat line or a parabolic line or a hyperbola who the hell knows. That's one way to think about it, not one I am prepared to defend, just one that comes to mind.

But in the end, any formula of that sort will get solidly trumped by a series of head-to-head matchups.
   29. Carl Goetz Posted: May 30, 2003 at 07:51 PM (#511303)
I agree that John is right in a perfect world, but Mark is right that most of us don't have a great deal of the perspective that would be required to rank Biz Mackey with the white players of his era. That said, I like Joe's target of low to mid 20s for negro league players. I am opposed to any other committees, but would be in favor of a special Negro League committee if we fall short of 18-20. I don't think this will be necessary for this group, but I'm looking forward to some interesting debates as more Negro leaguers(not named Gibson, Paige, or Charleston) become eligible.
   30. RobC Posted: May 30, 2003 at 08:17 PM (#511304)
It isnt the most scientific approach, but I was planning on voting for the guys in James' top 100, plus 1 other from each postion, with 1-2 more pitchers. Use the James' rankings to figure out where they belong relative to the white guys, and adjust based on any actual knowledge that anyone can present. That would put me at about 22-23 NLers in the HOM.
   31. karlmagnus Posted: May 30, 2003 at 08:21 PM (#511305)
I think doubling the 10% proportion of the population is wrong. Major leaguers only came from the poorer population to the extent that they tended not to come from the top 5%, but there are plenty of middle class major leaguers such as Cobb, Gehrig and Mathewson. Also I suspect the very poorest would be under-represented because of poor nutrition (and many of them would be first generation immigrants.) While taking 10% of 94 might be double counting against the Negro Leagues, I think 10% of 114 seems perfectly fair, i.e. 11-12, not 20.
   32. Marc Posted: May 30, 2003 at 09:08 PM (#511306)
Interesting discussion.

I used demographics just as a "wild guesstimate" and I don't think it is worth any more than that. You could take 10% (but first, is 10% the right number) and you could double it or you could cut it in half. James or somebody argued the opposite of Joe's comment--i.e. great athletes come from the poorER segments of society, maybe, but not the poorEST, where there's not enough food to eat to grow up big and strong, and through about WWII blacks in the rural south, which is where most were, were the poorEST or the poor. So you could argue that either way, anywhere from 5 to 20%, or about 5 to 20 players.

The other point from the above comments that sticks out for me is the simple fact that there are 18 Negro Leaguers in the HoF today. I hadn't thought of that as a perfectly good yardstick. Not that we therefore should have 18, but as a yardstick we can argue about whether there should be more or less than 18. My gut is that there should be more. The guys in James' top 100 are in there, sure, but some observers feel that the HoF didn't necessarily get the top 18. And I am absolutely dead certain that there are Negro Leaguers NOT in the HoF who were better than Lloyd Waner and Freddie Lindstrom.

So all things considered, I think 20-25 or 22-26 is a good number. But you're still going to have to choose between Cristobal Torriente, who I believe to be an inny BTW, and (oh sh*t) Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins in his first year of eligibility! (Well, fortunately the cohort for '29 is not quite so imposing!)
   33. KJOK Posted: June 01, 2003 at 05:15 AM (#511307)
As far as on-line info goes, this site is about the best I've found for actual statistical info:

http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Arena/6925/black.html
   34. guanxi Posted: June 01, 2003 at 11:54 PM (#511309)
re: demographics of the population from which negro leaguers emerged:

Weren't latino players, both from the U.S. and elsewhere, also in the negro leagues? That greatly increases the population.
   35. Marc Posted: June 02, 2003 at 03:13 AM (#511310)
Good question. Certainly some Latin players played in the Negro Leagues, but how many and where were they from? What population(s) of people played significant amounts of baseball? I have no idea. But Cuba had a league or tournament or something (a national champion, anyway) as far back as 1878. Was it just Cuba or other places?

I'm not sure, however, that it was all Latin players or just the darker-skinned ones. There were definitely Latin players, presumably light-skinned, in the major leagues before 1947. Bill James' article on Bobby Estalella is fascinating...a light-skinned (but not white) Cuban, he slugged .500 with a .481 OBA in 28 games with the Washington Senators in 1935 and 1936 but didn't stick. Then in '39, in 280 AB, he was .275/.368/.468 with 32 XBH and 40 BB. Didn't stick. Then he played through the war, but in '46 it was hasta la vista. His final career totals were (2200 AB) .282/.383/.421 (OPS+ 127) with 85% of those AB after age 30. The guy could play but, of course, his skin light enough to get in but a little too dark to be allowed to be too successful. But, again, lighter-skinned Latins did play in the ML.

If your theory is correct, what countries with what populations are we talking about? Maybe it's just Cuba.
   36. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 02, 2003 at 04:15 AM (#511312)
I think a larger population might be more important when it comes to great stars, but probably not as relevant when it comes to good or rank-and-file players. Just a theory.
   37. guanxi Posted: June 02, 2003 at 03:16 PM (#511313)
Perhaps these are the factors: What is the population that has both the motivation to pursue a career in the sport, and the access to adequate training?

Motivation might depend, and this is pure conjecture, on cultural and economic factors. Soccer lacks prestige and income in the USA, for example; even a top athlete might choose another sport. For a poor kid in the DR, baseball might seem like the only chance.

Adequate training in baseball might be much easier to come by in the DR than most other places in the world. Top notch soccer training and competition in the USA would be tough to find.

That's all pure conjecture. Perhaps someone, somewhere, actually studied this question.
   38. Jeff M Posted: June 02, 2003 at 04:44 PM (#511314)
Demographic arguments: although the black players grew up very poor, I'm not sure they were any poorer than the Irish immigrant families that produced a very large proportion of the 19th century players.

Quotas: I don't think it is fair to peg a number at this point. We aren't educated enough. Some may tend to over-elect for reasons of "justice," i.e., give the benefit of the doubt to the Negro Leaguers because we all know now what whites then were too ignorant to see. This would tend to elect all of the really good Negro League players, which is too low a standard. Some may tend to under-elect because there is no direct basis for comparison to the NL and AL (though more context than with pre-NA players). Probably more danger of under-electing, so we have to do a good job of educating (more than persuading).

Example: In reviewing George Stovey in the Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues, it is apparent he is a very good pitcher, but also apparent that he is not a HoMer. He had a fairly short career as Negro Leaguers go and was released a couple of times. Although he was probably the best pitcher in black baseball during that era and you might to elect him on that basis (and for reasons of justice), you just don't get the "sense" that he is a HoMer.

On the other hand, Frank Grant's entry in the BENL reads like a HoMer's entry. He was known as the "Dunlap of the Negro Leagues," so those who de-value Dunlap need to take that into consideration, but he seemed to be a 5-tool player and the best all-around player of his era.

Overall, I think the BENL is pretty fair, though I detect a very slight tendency to boost player reputations. It does, however, often criticize players for weaknesses.

O'Neill and Irvin: I agree that these guys suffer from Frankie Frisch disease. In the rush to document these things before the players die off, and in a glut of nostalgia, there's some puffing going on.

I've been compiling a list of players named on All-Time All-Star teams by various players (including O'Neill and Irvin, but also including good-but-not-great guys like Red Moore). There also is a great book about the East-West All Star game that shows voting totals for the all-star games, statistical records and lots more (including a list of about 60 all-time all-star teams from various players, managers and writers -- many of the lists are from that era, not hindsight). This, of course, only covers from 1933 through 1950 or so, but it is a decent indicator of who the players and the fans thought were the best.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have a list of all players who got approx. 1.5+ columns of biography in the BENL (just as a rough measure of who to consider), unless they had very short careers (i.e., they got 1.5 columns because they did something strange, not because of their playing). The list includes about 175 players. I'll mention them here (or in another discussion thread) when they become eligible for consideration.
   39. Howie Menckel Posted: June 04, 2003 at 12:29 AM (#511317)
JeffM and bludevil: both great posts.

I agree, don't put GStovey in out of pity or something - but so far Grant looks fairly promising. I AM inclined to take someone from black 19th century baseball, but whether one or five would depend on skill, not political correctness. I think the further we get toward the 1940s, the more Negro Leaguers we'll consider. So far I have a good feeling that we'll balance 'justice' with 'accuracy.' All in all, the balloting is pretty darn good....
   40. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 07, 2003 at 05:54 AM (#511318)
Here's an updated list of players will be eligible during the next ten "years." The players with the asterisks are the cream of the crop, IMO:

NAME YEAR RETIRED
   41. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 07, 2003 at 03:07 PM (#511319)
In reviewing George Stovey in the Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues, it is apparent he is a very good pitcher, but also apparent that he is not a HoMer. He had a fairly short career as Negro Leaguers go and was released a couple of times. Although he was probably the best pitcher in black baseball during that era and you might to elect him on that basis (and for reasons of justice), you just don't get the "sense" that he is a HoMer.

On the other hand, Frank Grant's entry in the BENL reads like a HoMer's entry. He was known as the "Dunlap of the Negro Leagues," so those who de-value Dunlap need to take that into consideration, but he seemed to be a 5-tool player and the best all-around player of his era.


I think this is correct. Grant is frequently recognized in contemporary accounts as one of the finest ballplayers in America, and he was frequently so addressed because he jumped around a lot. Stovey is viewed as a really, really good minor league pitcher... which is a very different thing.

Grant's numbers are quite good, and though they certainly don't constitute an argument *for* him as a HoMer, you can't to my mind construct a good argument against him as an HoMer from the numbers.

Like Howie, and apparently Mark, I think the idea that one should vote for *someone* from blackball in this era is a pretty defensible idea, even though the cross-group comparisons are not necessarily on their side.

I will be listing Grant when the time comes, I'm fairly sure; I see him as pretty comparable as a player to Hardy Richardson, and Richardson's pretty high up on my ballot. Since Grant was excluded from white ball, the arguments I usually rehearse about careers against lessened competition don't apply... I demand less "certitude" from Grant because he was a victim of circumstances beyond his control.
   42. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 07, 2003 at 03:27 PM (#511320)
I should add that Grant and Richardson are, in some ways, directly comparable, because Grant succeeded Richardson as the Buffalo second baseman, when Richardson and the rest of the Big Four were sold to Detroit after the 1885 season and the Buffalo NL club folded. Grant appears in Buffalo the following year, for the new IL team.

As such, the contemporary accounts are much more believable than they otherwise would be. When a local writer says that Grant is the best all-around player that Buffalo has ever seen, it's only been a year or two since Brouthers, Richardson, and Deacon White left town, all at the height of their careers. I don't think he was clearly better, that looks like puffery... but to say he was their equal may not be far from the mark.

What's more, all the raves about Grant's defense are interesting, particularly those coming from Buffalo, considering Richardson's very good defensive numbers.
   43. Marc Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:39 PM (#511321)
No disrespect to Frank Grant, but I've done quite a bit of research in the era 1890-1920, and newspapers then were fundamentally in the business of promoting the hometown and everything associated with it. Not all of them, to be sure, but very very many. Athletic teams were one of the obvious opportunities to boost the hometown. A successful athletic team was taken (then as now) as a sign of the prosperity and progressivism of the town. So the idea that the hometown paper would promote an IL team by suggesting it somehow approached the level of play of a previous ML team must be taken with a grain of salt. I don't know the history of this particular newspaper, however, and I don't know that the comments mentioned above were all from the Buffalo paper.
   44. Carl Goetz Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:11 PM (#511322)
Are there any Negro League experts who can give me some information about Bud Fowler? I don't know alot about him, but I want to give him fair consideration.
   45. Carl Goetz Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:13 PM (#511323)
Are there any Negro League experts who can give me some information about Bud Fowler? I don't know alot about him, but I want to give him fair consideration.
   46. Carl Goetz Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:13 PM (#511324)
Are there any Negro League experts who can give me some information about Bud Fowler? I don't know alot about him, but I want to give him fair consideration.
   47. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:39 PM (#511325)
Carl, check the 1905 ballot thread for post #10.
   48. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 08, 2003 at 04:24 PM (#511326)
Tom H.:

Could you ask Ted Knorr if Bud Fowler is comparable to any white major leaguer peak and career-wise? That would help us out greatly.

Thanks!
   49. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 10, 2003 at 06:38 PM (#511330)
Thanks, Tom!
   50. Jeff M Posted: July 10, 2003 at 09:20 PM (#511331)
Doesn't bode well for Fowler's election that the Negro Leagues Baseball Players Association has nothing to say about his playing ability. See the link above.

Compare Frank Grant's description at the site. Not exactly chock full of info, but more than Fowler.

Not sure about the quality of the descriptions at nlbpa.com, since there seems to be no entry for George Stovey.

Note that on blackbaseball.com, they don't consider Bud Fowler to be in the "should be in the hall of fame" category. Nor Frank Grant. I think I mentioned before that Frank Grant was the "Fred Dunlap of the Negro Leagues," so whatever you think of Fred, you might think of Frank.
   51. Jeff M Posted: July 10, 2003 at 09:23 PM (#511332)
Doesn't bode well for Fowler's election that the Negro Leagues Baseball Players Association has nothing to say about his playing ability. See the link above.

Compare Frank Grant's description at the site. Not exactly chock full of info, but more than Fowler.

Not sure about the quality of the descriptions at nlbpa.com, since there seems to be no entry for George Stovey.

Note that on blackbaseball.com, they don't consider Bud Fowler to be in the "should be in the hall of fame" category. Nor Frank Grant. I think I mentioned before that Frank Grant was the "Fred Dunlap of the Negro Leagues," so whatever you think of Fred, you might think of Frank.
   52. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 11, 2003 at 03:59 PM (#511333)
So the idea that the hometown paper would promote an IL team by suggesting it somehow approached the level of play of a previous ML team must be taken with a grain of salt.

But Marc, one must remember two things here : first, that there wasn't the vast gulf between the IL and the NL that would exist today. The NL clubs paid more, but not by a vast amount, and the IL was a very strong league. Second, Grant wasn't just as good in the IL as Richardson was in the NL; he dominated the league, and probably would have been the MVP if such an award existed; Richardson was "just" a very good player.

As I said above, Frank Grant received paeans of ecstatic praise for his defense and overall play from sportswriters in towns all across the country. I don't think that's dispositive - like you, I'm sceptical of anything in a newspaper, 19th century just as much as now. But it's good evidence that we're dealing with a very special player.
   53. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 12, 2003 at 03:47 PM (#511335)
I still haven't run in to Ted Knorr yet . . .

Good. Knocking him down won't help us at all. :-)

He's going to send me a spreadsheet with the numbers they've generated and that the site should be pretty well updated in a week or two. However, they start with 1901, so it's going to do us much good for guys like Grant and Fowler.

Sounds good!
   54. KJOK Posted: July 20, 2003 at 06:44 PM (#511337)
"Holland, Billy 1906*"

Just curious - Is Billy Holland the father of Bill Holland, who was born in 1901 and was a pretty good player himself, pitching for Chicago in the 1920's?
   55. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 20, 2003 at 06:56 PM (#511338)
Just curious - Is Billy Holland the father of Bill Holland, who was born in 1901 and was a pretty good player himself, pitching for Chicago in the 1920's?

There's no mention of that in the The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues.
   56. Paul Wendt Posted: August 02, 2003 at 06:07 PM (#511339)
JoeDimino (#0):
   57. Paul Wendt Posted: August 02, 2003 at 06:25 PM (#511340)
JoeDimino:
   58. KJOK Posted: August 12, 2003 at 10:36 PM (#511341)
"I talked with Dan Levine about the i9s site (see post 29) and he said that they basically developed those numbers with a lot of research and made a best guess from there, but he seems pretty confident in the them. He's going to send me a spreadsheet with the numbers they've generated and that the site should be pretty well updated in a week or two. However, they start with 1901, so it's going to do us much good for guys like Grant and Fowler."

The site has now been updated - any word on the spreadsheet? Or better yet, does the spreadsheet explain the methodology?
   59. Marc Posted: September 12, 2003 at 03:14 PM (#511342)
favre wrote:

1. Sol White suggested that Grant was perhaps the best African-American player of the era and would
   60. Marc Posted: September 12, 2003 at 04:02 PM (#511343)
MattB posted this:

(I thought this data would be easier to find here than buried in the 1909 discussion. And if further info re. Frank Grant comes along, maybe it could also go here?)

Some meat on the bones for Frank Grant. Of course, we will not have the complete picture, but we
   61. jimd Posted: September 12, 2003 at 09:38 PM (#511344)
I'm going to lay out the demographic argument. The source for these population numbers can be found here.

During the period from 1870-1900, the South contained about 1/3rd of the national population, and about 90% of the black population. For whatever the reasons, there were no Southern white players of any note playing in the "majors" during this period. ML baseball players came from the Northeast and Midwest. The northern black population is about 2% of the total northern population.

If MLB was not discriminating against anybody (except Southerners), and black ballplayers were equally likely as white ballplayers from their northern populations, then one would expect that the leagues of the 1870's would have 2-3 black players per season. This would rise to 5-7 per season during the AA years, fall to 5-6 per season in the 1890s, and rise to 8-9 during the "oughts". Just like for the white ballplayers, only about half of these would be regulars in any given season; the other half would be getting tryouts, serving as quick fixes for short-term injuries, or riding the bench. The total number of black ballplayers that would have played in the majors during the 19th-century would be about 50; about 15-20 would have been a regular for at least one season; about 3 would have been a regular for 10 or more seasons, and one of them would not yet be eligible (just recently retired or still playing in 1909). If there was no "Southern omission", then these numbers would go up by a factor of 5 or 6.

These expectations are based on simple percentages. However, the population of star players is too small for these demographic/statistical arguments. It's a crap-shoot because the sample is so small. Iowa in 1850 had a population about half of the northern black population, yet it would produce the most widely known player of the 19th-century, Cap Anson, another strong candidate Cal McVey, and later Fred Clarke (his time comes soon). Michigan had a population consistently double that of the northern black population and yet it produced no players of any note during this time. I feel no need to look for one.

None of this has anything to do with Frank Grant and his personal qualifications. All that the statistical arguments can show is that it wouldn't be too surprising to have no qualified 19th century black candidates at all, or, OTOH, to have half-a-dozen well qualified candidates to contemplate.
   62. jimd Posted: September 13, 2003 at 02:19 AM (#511345)
Basically, I looked for young players (born 1865-68, the range for Grant) that played infield in the AA and demonstrated Grant's blend of high average and power at an early age. Both Childs and Lyons fit those requirements if you have Grant in the IL in his early 20's (they both also had high OBP, something which the IL data for Grant did not touch upon). As such they serve as starting points for speculation; there may be other matches, but these two caught my eye.
   63. jimd Posted: September 13, 2003 at 02:24 AM (#511346)
Oops. That comes out as a non sequitur.

Marc wrote:
   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 13, 2003 at 05:08 AM (#511349)
Until then I offer some input into the numbers of blacks living in the US and Canada around the time of Grant's birth in 1868.

In all the reference books I have seen about Grant, his birthdate is always 1865. There appears to be no dispute about this. Unless someone has different data, can we all agree that he was 21 for his first season? I don't mean to be picky, but there is a huge difference between the two ages.
   65. KJOK Posted: September 13, 2003 at 05:14 AM (#511350)
redsox1912:

First, I'm glad you took my Thorpe reference in the way it was intended, and I think you did correctly summarize the point I was trying to make.

Second, I think I conceded that Frank Grant was the best 19th century African-American player. That still doesn't answer the question of whether or not he was one of the best players of his generation.

But, I'd like to get away from the "demographics" argument for a minute and look instead of how he's ranked by various "experts" vs. other Negro League players:

1. Blackbaseball.com - calls for the induction of many additional Negro Leagues players, including 4 2nd basemen:

Bingo DeMoss
   66. Jeff M Posted: September 13, 2003 at 02:53 PM (#511351)
I agree with all of KJOK's recent posts on Frank Grant. I also am not an EOFG. I have him at #13.

Relevant to KJOK's #98 lists, I posted something about a week ago to the following effect:

Over the past couple of years, I've tallied how many times Negro League players have been named on "all-time" or "all-star" teams. My tallies cover about 75 different lists, which have been compiled by newspaper writers, players and historians, from various eras. Grant only has one tally as the best 2b. I suspect that this is partially because the historical interest in the Negro Leagues didn't pick up for at least another 20 years after he was done, so there is undoubtedly some contemporary bias in there, but only one?
   67. MattB Posted: September 13, 2003 at 04:19 PM (#511352)
Nonetheless, I am not comparing Frank Grant to Bingo DeMoss or Larry Doby.

I am comparing him to Ed Delahanty (below), Hardy Richardson (even), and Bid McPhee (above).

I am doing my best to not look ahead. I am honestly not an expert on the Negro Leagues, but I'm trying to give everyone a fair shot, and not penalize for missing numbers. George Stovey and Bud Fowler and Fleet Walker were not good enough to stay on my ballot. Frank Grant simply is. If, when I look at all the evidence, I end up with 5 or 7 or howevermany of the 15 slots on my ballot going to Negro Leaguers, I won't necessarily think that is wrong.

I don't think Jack Glassock was a Top 25 shortstop in the history of baseball, but he was the best among his contemporaries and made it near the top of my ballot. Frank Grant is the same way.
   68. Chris Cobb Posted: September 13, 2003 at 05:42 PM (#511353)
From the Bill James Historical Abstract all-time positional rankings, here are the standings of some folks we've elected or who have strong ballot support:

Charlie Bennett -- 49 among catchers
   69. Marc Posted: September 18, 2003 at 04:00 AM (#511355)
It's too late to worry about this--I mean, we've elected Cap Anson to the HoM. But--does anybody get the National Pastime? There's an article titled "August 10, 1883." That was the day of the Chicago White Stockings' exhibition game against the Toledo Blue Stockings in Toledo. Anson had arranged previously that Fleet Walker would NOT play. But when the team arrived in town, Anson couldn't resist haranguing the press to the effect that they would not step foot on the field "with no damn N." (They of course used the entire word that I am using an N to stand in for.) Angered by this, Toledo manager Charles Morton decided he would play Walker after all.

When Walker came out to warm up, Anson "shriked," "Get that N off the field." Morton refused and threatened to withold gate receipts if the White Stockings refused to play. They played and Chicago won 7-6 in 10 innings. (Toledo was a good club, winning the Northwest League title that year.)

"The exhibition played in Toledo turned out to be one of the most important games in baseball history. From this game came the impetus for the systematic expulsion of blacks fromthe game.... During the 1880s there was no official color line.... Walker had already played for Toledo in exhibitions against teams from New York, St. Louis and Columbus without incident or complaint."

"It appears that even in the 1880s (Anson) was considered an extremist.... Sol White wrote in 1907, "Anson's repugnant feeling,shown at every opportunity, toward colored ball players, was a source of comment throughout every league in the country."

"The game attracted national attention and crystallized the segregation forces already at work in professional baseball." White again: "Anson's opposition, with his great popularity and power in baseball circles, hastened the exclusion of the black man from white leagues."

"Walker also had trouble with teammate Tony Mullane.... Mullane...freely expressed his low regard for players of African descent.... "Walker was the best catcher I ever worked with," said Mullane in 1909, "but I disliked a Negro and whenever I pitch to him I used anything I wanted without looking at his signals.... And all the rest of the season he caught everything I pitched without knowing what was coming."

It has been argued that Cap Anson was just typical of his times and we should not judge him for being the same as everybody else. This article clearly shows that he was not like everybody else. He was a leader in both positive and negative pursuits, he took a very visible leadership role in driving blacks out of the game of baseball. He more than any man alive at the time was the architect of the color line.

The only good news in this story is that Cap Anson with his arrogant attitude turned everyone in baseball against him over the years. Eventually he went bankrupt and when he died, the National League paid his funeral expenses.

BTW, the article is by David Fleitz, author of Shoeless Joe and the Seymour Medal Winner Louis Sockalexis.
   70. Marc Posted: September 19, 2003 at 02:35 AM (#511356)
I was struck by Tony Mullane's comment in 1909 (above) that Fleet Walker was the best catcher he ever worked with. Now, of course, this may have been insincerely stated, or maybe Count Tony just didn't really remember, or made the comment off the cuff without giving it any thought. Keeping that thought in the back of my mind, it is nevertheless interesting to ask, well, who else caught th Apollo of the Box? Well:

1881-Charlie Bennett, Detroit (NL) 15 WS that year, 157 for career, OPS+ 118 (career), .942 FA, led league at .962 that year, 1 career defensive WS per 18.3 games (all positions) and an A catcher per WS. (Mullane pitched only 5 games.)

1882-Dan Sullivan, Louisville (AA) 10 WS that year, 197 career G (175 at C), .909.

1883-Pat Deasley and Tom Dolan, St. Louis (AA) 6 WS each that year. Deasley played 402 (caught 354) career games, .927, led all C in FA at .930 in '83. 39 career WS. Dolan played 225 (caught 179) games, .916 FA.

1884-Fleet Walker, Toledo (AA) 4 WS that year, his only in the bigs. Played 42 games, caught 41. FA .881, OPS+ 106.

1886-1891-Kid Baldwin, Jerry Harrington, Jim Keenan, Cincy AA ('86-'89) NL ('90-'91) Baldwin played 441 games career (caught 396), FA .893. Harrington played and caught 189, FA .932. Keenan played 523 (caught 403 games) with OPS+ 99 and FA .935. Total 60 WS.

1892-93-Farmer Vaughn, Cincy (NL) Vaughn played 915 (caught 553 games) over 13 seasons with an OPS+ of just 80 but an FA of .926 (led the league with an FA of .969 in '93. Earned 75 career WS.

1893-94-Wilbert Robinson and Boileryard Clarke, Baltimore (NL) Clarke played 950 (caught 739) big league games with OPS+ 75 and FA .947, and earned 63 WS. Robinson played 1371 (caught 1316) ML games with OPS+ 83 and FA .941, and earned 116 WS (and a defensive WS every 27 games) for a letter grade of C. Does anybody know, BTW, if Brickyard Kennedy ever threw to Boileryard Clarke? That woulda been one to see.

1894-Chief Zimmer, Cleveland (NL) Chief who? Zimmer of course played 1280 (caught 1239) ML games OPS+ 76 FA .941 WS 153 (67 defensive or 1 every 19 games).

So these, then--Charlie Bennett, Chief Zimmer, Wilbert Robinson, Boileryard Clark--these are the catchers that Fleet Walker was better than. I just had to know. Whaddya think, is Tony Mullane full of sh*t or what?
   71. Marc Posted: September 19, 2003 at 02:47 AM (#511357)
On second thought: First, Charlie Bennett only caught Mullane 5 times in Apollo's rookie year, so he probably forgot about Charlie. Second, consider OPS+--Fleet 106 Keenan 99 then everybody else down to Clarke's embarrassing 75. Even with a hefty AA discount (Keenan's was basically an AA career, too), Fleet was perhaps the best hitting catcher (again excepting Bennett) that Mullane ever saw.

Somehow that doesn't sound like what a pitcher would mean by "best catcher I ever worked with," but on the other hand Fleet doesn't look too bad next to this whole crew after all. But his defense apparently was not good.
   72. RobC Posted: September 19, 2003 at 02:03 PM (#511358)
Marc,

Maybe Walker's defense wasnt good because the pitchers wouldnt look at his signals.
   73. Marc Posted: September 19, 2003 at 07:40 PM (#511359)
RobC, I thought about that but the only thing I know about his defense was the low FA and that doesn't reflect PB or the kind of stuff that Mullane's signals thing might cause. But who knows.
   74. jimd Posted: September 25, 2003 at 09:21 PM (#511360)
Following up further on Frank Grant by relaxing the positional qualifications on the filter.

What I've looked for are young (22 or less) hitters for both average and power having great seasons between 1885 and 1890. These are Grant's peers by age, depending on whether you believe the 1865 or the 1868 birthdate. Looking at their careers may give some clues about the arc that Grant's career might have taken had he been allowed to play in the NL.

Also, it has been plausibly put forth that the IL of the late 1880's was comparable in quality to the AA of 1890. That implies to me that it is weaker than the AA of other years in the late 1880's, and weaker still than the NL. How much weaker, ie how much discounting to apply when comparing these numbers, depends on the viewer's opinions of these leagues in specific years. And, if one adheres to the 1868 birthdate, how much progress can be reasonably expected in the two/three years from age 19 to 21/22.

1887 .353/.523 (BA,Slg) Frank Grant, 2B, age 22 or 19 in the IL

Potential Comps:
   75. MattB Posted: September 25, 2003 at 10:00 PM (#511361)
"It's an interesting list; make of it what you will. There's nobody on here screaming to be elected, but a number of names that will be serious candidates for awhile."

Burkett is pretty well screaming here, I'd say. Childs and Lyons and Caruthers would be too if they had had 18 year long careers.

Note also that the IL WITHOUT THE BLACK PLAYERS was about even with the AA in 1890.

"The other question I have about Grant and the 1868 birthdate is: why did he retire so young?"

The question here is, did he play from 18 to 35 or from 21 to 38. Here are the players who older than 35 in the NL in 1903: Tom Daly (37); Kid Gleason (36); Bill Hallman (36); George van Haltren (37); and Chief Zimmer (42). VERY FEW players played past age 35, so it wouldn't be surprising to retire at that age.

Also, Frank Grant, from what I read, was playing on what was expected to be the best all-Negro team in the league in 1903. In 1904, he did not exactly "retire". Sol White, not wanting to finish in second place, cut the aging Frank Grant and added younger star Charlie Grant ("Chief Tokohama" to John McGraw and other American Leaguers). It would be understandable to retire after being cut from the best team, rather than going to play for another team.
   76. jimd Posted: September 25, 2003 at 11:00 PM (#511362)
Burkett is pretty well screaming here, I'd say.

He may be elected on the first ballot when he's eligible, I don't know. He won't be #1 on mine (unless Galvin is elected this year), but he's probably top half, though I haven't looked at him closely.

Childs and Lyons and Caruthers would be too if they had had 18 year long careers.

I don't know how long their careers were when including minor-league service before and after the majors. I think part of the point is that excellence at a young age doesn't always translate into a long career at the top level. If Grant was 19 in 1887 then these comps may become less relevant.

VERY FEW players played past age 35, so it wouldn't be surprising to retire at that age.

I count 103 players who played as major-league regulars for 10 years or more whose last regular season was in 1905 or earlier. 41 of them played as regulars at age 36 or older. It's not the majority, but it's not "VERY FEW". (Pitchers are a completely different story.)

It would be understandable to retire after being cut from the best team, rather than going to play for another team.

That depends on one's personality. Dan Brouthers was cut from the NL Champion Orioles in 1895 at the age of 36 and was still playing a decade later for Poughkeepsie in the Hudson River League.
   77. jimd Posted: September 25, 2003 at 11:19 PM (#511363)
Oops. Forgot about this.

Note also that the IL WITHOUT THE BLACK PLAYERS was about even with the AA in 1890.

Note also that the AA in 1890 had lost 4 teams from 1889 (1st place Brooklyn, 4th place Cincinnati, 5th place Baltimore, 7th place Kansas City), and had quite a few of its remaining veteran players jump to the Player's League. It's MUCH weaker than it was in the preceding years.
   78. MattB Posted: September 25, 2003 at 11:54 PM (#511364)
"I count 103 players who played as major-league regulars for 10 years or more whose last regular season was in 1905 or earlier. 41 of them played as regulars at age 36 or older. It's not the majority, but it's not "VERY FEW". (Pitchers are a completely different story.)"

A guess "VERY FEW" is a qualitative judgment. 36 players over the 25 year period between 1881 and 1905 (1.5 per year) strikes me as very few.

The options appear to either be (1) he retired at age 35 (which I don't consider a demerit), and was among the best in the IL at age 18; or (2) he didn't start until age 21 and retired at the more venerable age of 38. Either one impresses me, but the early-retirement option is actually the more impressive of the two.
   79. jimd Posted: September 26, 2003 at 03:40 AM (#511365)
"VERY FEW" is very accurate if we're talking about the population of players that played at least one game in the majors. "VERY FEW" is not accurate, IMO, if we're talking about the population of players that have a good chance of being discussed in this forum.

40% of the players that played 10 years or more as a regular played at least one season as a regular at age 36 or older. 10 of the 22 HOM'ers are in this group, and 6 more were still regulars at age 35. The remainder are Ward(34), Gore(34), Clarkson(32), Barnes(31), Rusie(27), and Spalding(27). So 35 and rising is the median age at which HOM'ers lose their job as a regular, and it's already at 36 if we exclude the pitchers.

ALL of the players who were a regular at age 40 have received HOM votes (Hoy and Zimmer are the weakest of those candidates); half of the age 39 players. Younger than that is not necessarily a plus; ask Bob Ferguson or Tom Brown about that.

I don't consider age 35 a demerit, though I am curious about the reasons, particularly when there are no statistics to judge the quality of play near the end.

Anybody find any source for the 1868 birthdate? (Repeating John Murphy's question from above.)
   80. Adam Schafer Posted: September 26, 2003 at 04:23 AM (#511366)
almost identical to my prelim ballot

1. Charlie Bennett (2) - best catcher available, best catcher this side of ewing so far period
   81. Adam Schafer Posted: September 26, 2003 at 04:29 AM (#511367)
didn't mean to post my ballot here, had several browser windows open reading different posts and posted on the wrong one. feel free to delete this. my apologies again.

Adam
   82. Jeff M Posted: September 26, 2003 at 02:50 PM (#511368)
There's mention in "Slide, Kelly, Slide" (biography of King Kelly) about the quality of the International League in 1877:

"A number of Buckeyes' games were played against National League competition, giving Kelly, McCormick and their mates an opportunity to showcase their talents. [Jeff M: The 1877 Columbus Buckeyes were a member of the International League -- they finished last, with a record of 4-8] These were not merely exhibitions; the so-called 'minor' teams managed to defeat the NL clubs 72 times during the summer of '77, putting to question whether the talent was as properly distributed as it might have been."

Take from that what you will. It shows that in 1877, all the great talent had not yet latched on to the National League. However, guys like Kelly and McCormick eventually moved over, and I suspect most of the other star players did the same.

This may indicate that by the time Frank Grant came along in the International League nine years later, it had been watered down from its glory years.
   83. jimd Posted: September 26, 2003 at 04:46 PM (#511369)
Let's not confuse the International League of the late 1880's with the International Association of the late 1870's.

The IA is often billed as the first "minor league" and was organized on a player-run model similar to the dead National Association, with Candy Cummings as its first head. This is before the NL instituted its reserve rules, so they competed head-to-head for free-agent talent, but since the IA was mostly in small cities in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, it's teams couldn't afford payrolls like the NL teams. Many gaps in NL player careers from 1877-1880 are probably explained by playing in the IA. Teams in Providence, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Worcester would move into the NL from the IA. IIRC, the IA folded during the 1880 season.

I don't know much about the IL; it might be descended from the IA for all I know. Anybody have information on any relationship between the two?
   84. Jeff M Posted: September 27, 2003 at 03:46 PM (#511370)
Let's not confuse the International League of the late 1880's with the International Association of the late 1870's.

Oh, I didn't know that. I got my info from the "Slide, Kelly, Slide" book, so if the "International League" I referred to in my post should have been the International Association, then I apologize for any confusion.

Baseballlibrary.com has some info on the International League, but I couldn't find any info on the International Association. Here's the link to its discussion of the International League. It doesn't tie it to the IA in any way.

http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/I/International_League.stm

By the way, baseballlibrary.com shows Grant's year of birth as '68.
   85. MattB Posted: October 08, 2003 at 01:48 PM (#511373)
Ted Knorr's list is an okay one, and nearly all of the candidates he listed will likely be at least debatable for a ballot spot (although Dobie Moore, for example, only had a seven year career), but you should recognize the very deep timeline adjustment that is clearly built in.

Just looking at the first list of 32 alphabetized names you provided as a "Top 32", 15 out of the 32 (47%) played at least into the 1940s. Another 12 (38%) had careers that lasted until at least 1930. The other 5 (Ben Taylor, Rube Foster, Pete Hill, Bruce Petway, and Louis Santop) all had careers that lasted until at least 1925.

Now, it's entirely possible that the 32 best players all played until at least 1925, but I doubt it. And even if it's true, that's a great reason to focus on the purpose of the HoM -- comparing players against other eligible players, not those who will come decades into the future. The fact that they mostly retire within a relatively short window, and the fact that there will likely be at least one or two Caucasians fighting for a ballot spot (!) makes me think that many of these players will be bumped out. It would be a shame to say now, "I won't vote for Frank Grant or Sol White because they are not as good as later black players," and then say later, "I won't vote for John Beckwith and Dick Redding because I have to compare them against these white players from the baseball's golden age."

Sol White was 35th in the SABR poll, and has a very strong case, but didn't even make Ted's second list. I would put his list aside until the 1931 ballot, at least. Following his list, no black player will be worthy for the next 20 years!
   86. MattB Posted: November 13, 2003 at 04:14 AM (#511374)
Copying my posts from 1914 to the Negro League thread, where I guess it really belongs. Can we please add this thread to the "Important Links" section on top? I found it difficult to find.

Posted 10:01 p.m., November 12, 2003 (#81) - MattB
   87. MattB Posted: November 13, 2003 at 05:15 AM (#511375)
"Sporting Life" contemporary account on black players in the International League

"About half the pitchers try their best to hit these colored players when at the bat. I know of a great many pitchers that tried to soak Grant. One of the International League pitcher pitched for Grant's head all the time. He never put a ball over the plate but sent them straight and true right at Grant. Do what he could he could not hit the Buffalo man, and he trotted down to first on called balls all the time."

So, when considering Frank Grant's batting average, consider what his OBP must have been!
   88. MattB Posted: November 13, 2003 at 05:22 AM (#511376)
Also from the "Sporting Life".

"They [Toronto] were at Buffalo one day, and the latter team had an African named Grant playing second base. Early in the game Gus Alberts started out by hitting safely for first, and then shot down to second with the pitcher's arm. Grant squared away as the ball came down to him, and swinging about caught Gus in the pit of the stomach with his arm. Alberts was badly doubled up, but came in and said nothing. Ed Crane was looking at the play and said:

"'Well, boys, what'll we do to him?'

"'Put him out of the game,' in a chorus.

"This was agreed and when Crane went down to steal second, Grant got squarely in front of him. Crane was going like the wind. He ducked his head after measuring the distance and caught Grant squarely in the pit of the stomach with his shoulder. The son of Ham went up in the air as if he had been in a thrashing maching. They took him home on a stretcher, and he didn't recover for three weeks."

Consider an appropriate playing time discount to account for injuries. At minimum, playing second while black caused more wear and tear and just being a catcher!
   89. MattB Posted: November 13, 2003 at 05:30 AM (#511377)
And lastly for tonight, in the same vein, an interview with "the Jimmy Collins of the 19th Century", Ned Williamson:

"Ballplayers do not burn with a desire to have colored men on the team. It is in fact the deep-seated objection to Afro-Americans that gve rise to the feet-first slide. Some go feet-first, others go head-first. Those who adopt the latter are principally those who served in the dark days before 1880. They learn the trick in the East. The Buffalos had a negro for second base. He was a few shades blacker than a raven, but was one of the best players in the Eastern League. The haughty Caucasians of the Association were willing to permit darkies to carry water to them or guard the bat bag, but it made them sore to have one of them in the line-up. They made a cabal and introduced new features to the game. The players of the opposing team made it a point to spike this brunett Buffalo. They would tarry at second when they might easily make third just to toy with the sensitive shins of this second baseman. the poor man played only two games out of five, the rest of the time he was on crutches. To give the frequent spiking an appearance he put wooden armor on his legs for protection, but the opposition proceeded to file their spike to a sharper point and split the cylinder. The colored man seldom lasted. The practice survived long after the second baseman had made his last trip to the baseplate, and this is how Kelly learned to slide."
   90. DanG Posted: November 14, 2003 at 09:16 PM (#511378)
Thanks, Matt, for the colorful stories. No doubt the conditions faced by Negro players in Grant's time were horrendous. Unfortunately, there's very little here in the way of new contributions to his HoM case.

As a "dedicated" EOFG, I thought I'd preview my latest "Diatribe":

Funny things sometimes happen as players near the top of the ballot. I try to approach my entire ballot with this idea in mind: For every spot I think, ?If it came down to just these two for the HOM, whom would I pull the trigger for?? Who gets the ?money? spot? This is why I can?t vote for Frank Grant. Every time I think maybe I?ll slot him in somewhere, I compare him to the guy getting bumped off and Grant's guns are shooting blanks.
   91. MattB Posted: November 14, 2003 at 09:57 PM (#511381)
Personally, my view of uncertainty is almost exactly the opposite of DanG's.

DanG asks:

?If it came down to just these two for the HOM, whom would I pull the trigger for??

That's exactly what I ask, too, but the answer is very different.

Among White Major Leaguers, I have a mental In/Out Line, just as it appears the majority of voters do.

Currently, the "In" class consists of Harry Stovey and Charlie Bennett only. Everyone else would be "Out" of my Platonic ideal of a HoM (although I will continue to support many of them once Stovey and Bennett, per the rules of the actual HoM).

Frank Grant is an "I don't know for sure". Call him a "Maybe". Why would I vote for a Definitely Out before I vote for a Maybe?

Frank Grant, Bob Caruthers, and Cal McVey are all people who might actually be the best player on the ballot, or might actually only be the 50th best. In my mind, it makes more sense to support a Maybe before supporting a No.
   92. DanG Posted: November 14, 2003 at 10:01 PM (#511382)
Trying to pick up on what seems like two of the more important assertions made.

Andrew wrote:
   93. DanG Posted: November 14, 2003 at 10:16 PM (#511383)
Matt, you sound like a gambler. Give 'em one more throw, you might win this time.

Seriously, to be in the HoM you have to be justified. To say that a guy hasn't proven to be worthless so I'll induct him over someone who is, doesn't cut it.

I asked this question in 1898 about Ezra Sutton: If you were explaining to someone on a radio talk show or an on-line chat why Frank Grant is in the Hall of Merit, what would you tell them. It's gotta be something short and persuasive. Joe answered the Sutton question pretty convincingly.
   94. Marc Posted: November 14, 2003 at 10:20 PM (#511384)
I have been surprised that nobody has commented on my follow-up to Jason's comments on Frank Grant. We had already received Grant's IA numbers for '86-'87 at age 22-23, and Jason pointed out how much better they were than Bid McPhee's at the same age. But of course Bid's were in the AA and Grant's the IA.

Well, the AA sucked in '82-'83 and his WS numbers for those years were 8 and 11. The AA discounts for those years that I have seen and used are 35% and 24% (the AA was 65% and then 76% as good as the NL).

So let's assume the IA was half as good as the AA at its very worst, meaning 32% and 38% as good as the NL. At that rate I calculated that Grant's WS would be 8 and 14--2 year total 22 vs. McPhee's 19 at the same age.

There are obvious problems with this.

1) How good/bad was the IA really? Well, how much worse could it be than the AA of '82? Make it one-third as good instead of half (22% and 25%) and Grant is still worth 15 WS to Bid's 19. I cannot believe you could possible say the IA was worse than that. Remember, we're talking the AA at its most putrid. That was the year Ed Swartwood led in R, 2B and TB. 21-year old Pete Browning led in BA, OB, SA, OPS and OPS+ in his first year of documented play. Will White of Cincy won 40 games with an ERA+ of 172. The previous two years he was 18-42, 116 and 0-2, 58 in the NL. Could Grant's IA have been only one-third as good as this?

2) Would Grant have matured as McPhee did, improve on his level of play at age 22-23, and then sustain a high level of play for another 15-16 years as McPhee did? Well, we now have 4 more years worth of data for a total of 6 years (at .337) and we know he sustained a high level of play for 15-18 years as it is. At McPhee's level? Well, we don't know that, but there are some pretty suggestive markers.

In short, we now know a lot more about Grant than we do about Dickey Pearce. We know that Pearce was among the best players of his time (1860s) though we zero statistical data from that peak. We know that Grant was among the best players of his time AND PLACE (constraint that doesn't apply to Pearce) AND we have statistical data to support it (advantage Grant).

So I have flip-flopped from my initial position on Grant. I now believe that he was near McPhee's level, and comparable to Childs and Pearce, probably not as good as Herman Long at his peak but a lot better over the course of his career, and vastly better than Fred Dunlap on every dimension.

There's a closer. What would Grant have done in the UA in '84? He would have been the black Dunlap!

Was he also the best black player of the 19th century? Doesn't matter. There are no black players worth comparing him to. But we now have enough info to compare him to the best players of the 19th century regardless of color.
   95. Marc Posted: November 14, 2003 at 10:24 PM (#511385)
I have been surprised that nobody has commented on my follow-up to Jason's comments on Frank Grant. We had already received Grant's IA numbers for '86-'87 at age 22-23, and Jason pointed out how much better they were than Bid McPhee's at the same age. But of course Bid's were in the AA and Grant's the IA.

Well, the AA sucked in '82-'83 and his WS numbers for those years were 8 and 11. The AA discounts for those years that I have seen and used are 35% and 24% (the AA was 65% and then 76% as good as the NL).

So let's assume the IA was half as good as the AA at its very worst, meaning 32% and 38% as good as the NL. At that rate I calculated that Grant's WS would be 8 and 14--2 year total 22 vs. McPhee's 19 at the same age.

There are obvious problems with this.

1) How good/bad was the IA really? Well, how much worse could it be than the AA of '82? Make it one-third as good instead of half (22% and 25%) and Grant is still worth 15 WS to Bid's 19. I cannot believe you could possible say the IA was worse than that. Remember, we're talking the AA at its most putrid. That was the year Ed Swartwood led in R, 2B and TB. 21-year old Pete Browning led in BA, OB, SA, OPS and OPS+ in his first year of documented play. Will White of Cincy won 40 games with an ERA+ of 172. The previous two years he was 18-42, 116 and 0-2, 58 in the NL. Could Grant's IA have been only one-third as good as this?

2) Would Grant have matured as McPhee did, improve on his level of play at age 22-23, and then sustain a high level of play for another 15-16 years as McPhee did? Well, we now have 4 more years worth of data for a total of 6 years (at .337) and we know he sustained a high level of play for 15-18 years as it is. At McPhee's level? Well, we don't know that, but there are some pretty suggestive markers.

In short, we now know a lot more about Grant than we do about Dickey Pearce. We know that Pearce was among the best players of his time (1860s) though we zero statistical data from that peak. We know that Grant was among the best players of his time AND PLACE (constraint that doesn't apply to Pearce) AND we have statistical data to support it (advantage Grant).

So I have flip-flopped from my initial position on Grant. I now believe that he was near McPhee's level, and comparable to Childs and Pearce, probably not as good as Herman Long at his peak but a lot better over the course of his career, and vastly better than Fred Dunlap on every dimension.

There's a closer. What would Grant have done in the UA in '84? He would have been the black Dunlap!

Was he also the best black player of the 19th century? Doesn't matter. There are no black players worth comparing him to. But we now have enough info to compare him to the best players of the 19th century regardless of color.
   96. DanG Posted: November 15, 2003 at 01:41 AM (#511386)
Marc has the right approach; take what we KNOW and project the MOST reasonable career value from that. Still, there's a lot to know before we start to attain a good answer.

We start with Grant's minor league performance and translate this as best we can to major league value. Bill James began showing reliable MLEs back in the mid 1980's, but I don't know of anyone ever tackling the 1880's in a detailed manner.

When you have good translations of his minor league records, these can be used to project his entire career with a Brock2 type formula. This can be made more accurate by applying what is known about Grant's career ups and downs.

Until there are realistic projections compiled in a systematic manner it will be hard to bring the case for Grant out of the realm of speculation into something justifiable.
   97. KJOK Posted: December 23, 2003 at 12:27 AM (#511391)
Gary - about time you chimed in with your expertise!

I'm going to post something you posted elsewhere, as I think it will be interesting to those involved in this project:

"Sometime next year, the "Out of the Shadows" project should publish its statistical encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues, the first of its kind. We're basically done--.....

This will be to Negro League research sort of the equivalent of the Macmillan Encyclopedia, .... It will be way, way, way better than anything out there now, with stats for every player in every season from 1920-48, and information that simply didn't exist before now, like batters' walks and in some cases RBIs.

That said, it's not going to be perfect. Aside from being incomplete (there's still a lot of research left to do), it will be missing two major statistical categories ..... fielding statistics (except for raw error totals), and pitchers' HRs allowed. Plus it will not include any stats before 1920--though there weren't leagues, top teams did play each other on a regular basis, at least in the 1910s.

Future editions might fill these and other gaps. "
   98. Marc Posted: December 23, 2003 at 02:27 AM (#511392)
A rather belated addition to TomH's post arguing that the faint praise Frank Grant received from Negro League "experts" represents a simple generational difference, a lack of personal observation on the part of those "experts." This is a convincing argument. All you have to do is think about a great analogy of recent vintage--the work of the new Cooperstown Veteran's Committee with their nomination of Bob Meusel as the best position player pre-1930s not already in the HoF. How many of us are going to be quoting the conclusions of last year's VC in support of our HoM ballots?
   99. MattB Posted: December 23, 2003 at 05:16 AM (#511393)
Since I provided a lot of the meat for the bones of George Stovey and Frank Grant, I thought I?d continue for the next main pre-Negro League Star, Sol White, who will be eligible in 1917. No matter what the electorate decides, it?s a pretty interesting story, and worth reading (if I do say so myself). I will also post this in the 1917 ballot discussion thread. Information is culled primarily from John Holway's two tomes: The Complete Book of Baseball Negro Leagues and Blackball Stars. The second of these books is especially relevant to the Hall of Merit, since it is arranged in 25 chapters, chronologically, with one star player per chapter (actually some chapters focus on two players who are closely connected). Chapter 1 is Sol White.

Sol White was lived from June,1868-1948, so pretty much saw Negro League baseball from beginning to end.

He was born in Belleaire, Ohio, across the Ohio River from Wheeling, WV.

1883 ? age 15

Sol White?s first organized baseball was for the amateur Belleaire Globes in 1883, an all-white team. When the second baseman smashed his finger just before a home game, the team captain called on Sol White ? a 15 year old kid who liked to hang around the team ? to fill in. The early integrationist Globes captain that year was, in fact, Bancroft ?Ban? Johnson, future President of the segregated American League.

1884-85 ? age 16-17

At 16, Sol White remained a regular with the Belleaire Globes, barnstorming all over the Ohio Valley. These games were widely reported, and little was made of White?s race.

1886 ? age 18

At age 18, Sol White joins the profession Wheeling Green Stockings.

1887 ? age 19

The Wheeling Green Stockings join the Ohio League, and White is left off of the roster. But they were struggling to stay out of last place. In mid-season, the team changed managers, and the new manager re-signed Sol White to play third base. The addition pulled the Green Stockings up to fourth place (I don?t know out of how many teams), and when the season ended, White had hit .381, second in the league only to teammate and future major leaguer Jake Stenzel (who hit .390). Stenzel was 20, exactly one year older than White, and he went on to have an excellent major league career (135 career OPS+) ? HoM worthy, I would say, if he had played past his 32nd birthday. The only other future major leaguers who were White?s teammates in Wheeling were Sammy Nichol and Sam Kimber, which may explain why they stalled at fourth.

At the end of the season, the Ohio league banned black players.

1888 ? age 20

White joined the Pittsburgh Keystones in a 7-team all-Negro League. When his team played an exhibition at Wheeling, the fans turned out and gave him flowers. The league folded mid-way through the season, and White joined the Gorhams playing catcher, first, and second base.

1889 ? age 21

Still playing for the New York Gorhams, barnstorming against white and black clubs. At the end of the season, the Gorhams beat the Cuban Giants two games to none to claim the title of ?black championship of the world.?

1890 ? age 22

White joins the Eastern Interstate League, one of the few that accepted blacks. Sol White played second base for York, and Frank Grant played second base for Harrisburg. They were clearly the two best players, and a friendly rivalry was formed between the two black second baseman. White won both the pennant and the rivalry, hitting .356. Grant?s team finished second, and he hit .349.

1891 ? age 23

White begins the season with the Cuban Giants, but when they fall behind on paychecks, the whole team ? plus Stovey and Grant, jump to the Gorhams, which barnstorms to a 100-4 record. Since both White and Grant play the same position, Grant moves to shortstop, and become the first great black double-play combo.

1892-1894 ? age 24-26

As with Frank Grant, very little is known of these years. White played, alternately, with the Cuban Giants, the Keystones, the Hotel Champlain team, and the Black Boston Monarchs.

1895 ? age 27

White played for Fort Wayne in the Western Tri-State League. He hit .452. When the league disbanded, he went to Adrian, Mich. to play for Bud Fowler?s Page Fence Giants. The team?s other star was Grant ?Home Run? Johnson. In the off-season, White attended Wilburforce University.

Quoting John Holway:

?From then on, White had an odd career. Almost every team he played on claimed the black world championship, and each time they won the title, the loser promptly stole White and won the flag back itself the following year. When, in 1896, Page Fence beat the Cuban X-Giants, the X-Giants grabbed White and bear the ?original? Cuban Giants in 1897.?

I have no numbers for White in these years. He played shortstop for the Cuban X-Giants in 1898 and again in 1899 (beating the Chicago Columbia Giants for the black championship 7-4 that year) and, of course, played for the Chicago Columbia Giants in 1900.

1902 ? age 34

White and white sports editor Walter Schichter organize the Philadelphia Giants. White is player manager (he plays shortstop), and the team puts together an 81-43 record, and claim the black championship of the East.

After the season, White challenges the American League champion Philadelphia A?s to a series. The A?s win both games, 8-3 and 13-9. The record shows that White appeared in the second game, getting three hits off of A?s pitcher Highball Wilson (in Wilson?s one good major league season.)

1903 ? Age 35

White brings the Philadelphia Giants into the white Independent League, and again claim the black championship of the east, but the X-Giants protest loudly, claiming their team is better. A series of games are held beginning September 12, 1903 to settle the matter. Behind Rube Foster, the X-Giants beat White and the Philadelphia Giants five games to two. Sol White, at age 35, is still the star of his team, though, going 9 for 25 in the series (.320). Frank Grant has the second most hits for Philadelphia (6 in 27 ABs), but the X-Giants simply devoured Philadelphia?s pitching.

1904 ? Age 36

If you can?t beat ?em . . . Sol White hires future Hall of Famer Rube Foster to play for the Philadelphia Giants. He also replaced an aging Frank Grant with Charlie ?Chief Tokohama in the American League? Grant. Moving right on the defensive spectrum, Sol White moves to first base in 1904, and extant records show him hitting .258 in the regular season, and 4 for 12 (.333), in the playoffs, beating the Philadelphia X-Giants 2 games to 1 in Atlantic City for the Championship (The star of the series was Rube Foster, who went 4 for 9 in the two games he played, garnering both wins, but White was the second best on the team). The play of the series in the decisive game three when Home Run Johnson ran into White at first base, causing White to drop the ball. White ran down to second as if he was going to start a fight, and when Johnson put up his fists, White tagged him out.

1905 ? Age 37

White plays first base/MGR again for the Philadelphia Giants, and brings in Home Run Johnson. Limited stats are available (in three games, White had a .125 record), but the Giants won the championship again, this time over the Brooklyn Royal Giants, 3 games to none, behind Foster and Pete Hill. Stats only exist for 2 games, and White benched himself for one of them, and went 0 for 4 in the other.

1906 ? Age 38

White continues to player-manage, but doesn?t consider himself a starter anymore. Instead, he takes most of the year writing ?The History of Colored Baseball? when not managing. The Giants lose Home Run Johnson, but still claim the black championship with a 134-21 record. After the season, Home Run Johnson?s Brooklyn Royal Giants challenge the Philadelphia A?s, and lose a best-of-five series 3 games to 2, with Rube Waddell pitching a 2-hitter for the series clinching win.

1907-1908 ? Age 39-40
   100. Howie Menckel Posted: December 23, 2003 at 02:31 PM (#511394)
Wow.
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