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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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   101. Marc Posted: December 23, 2003 at 08:20 PM (#511395)
I just picked up Total Basketball. That combined with Matt's post reminded me of another way to gauge the quality of the Negro Leagues. Specifically the Brooklyn Giants-Philadelphia A's series brought this analogy to mind.

Everybody's heard of the Harlem Globetrotters, who began barnstorming in 1926. Before them there were the New York Renaissance, or Rens, who started in 1922. The Rens were the better of the two until about 1940 or so. Their star, Charles (Tarzan) Cooper, was probably the greatest pro player in America throughout the '30s (John Wooden, who played pro ball with an Indianapolis team, said so). Fats Jenkins and Bill Yancey, their guards, also played in the Negro Baseball Leagues. Over a period of 26 years, they won more than 2300 games against 381 losses. Their greatest was the 1933 team that went 120-8. Six of the 8 losses were to the Original Celtics, generally regarded as the greatest pro team of the barnstorming era. But the Rens also beat the Celtics 8 times. (In fairness, the Celtic's peak had come the previous decade.) In 1939, the Rens beat the Globetrotters and then the Oshkosh All-Stars, champions of the whites-only NBL, 34-25, to win the first world's professional championship tournament in Chicago.

The Globies had been around for 13 years but were only really taken seriously beginning in 1939, when they went 148-13 (needless to say, they did not travel with the Washington Generals in those days) and lost that close game to the Rens. In 1940 they won the tournament, beating George Halas' Chicago Bruins 31-29 in overtime for the title. By the 1950s they had become a comedy troup, but played a serious exhibition or two against George Mikan and the NBA champion Minneapolis Lakers every year, winning about as many games in the series as they lost.

So like HR Johnson's Brooklyn Giants of 1906, the best black teams were as good as the best white teams in America. In basketball the very very best players almost all played for the Rens and the Globes, and I would guess that there was more concentration of the better players on the better teams in the Negro Baseball Leagues too. I assume there was no reserve clause or it was much weaker and so players gravitated to the best teams if they were good enough to do so.

So it is possible that the best black players were not as good as the best white players even though their teams were just as good. But I doubt it. In basketball (and I've written two [unpublished] books on the much overlooked and forgotten history of basketball) there is little doubt that "Tarzan" Cooper and Reese "Goose" Tatum, along with the white Leroy "Cowboy" Edwards of the U. of Kentucky and the Oshkosh All-Stars were America's three greatest centers between Ed Wachter of Troy, NY, in the '10s and Mikan and Bob Kurland in the immediate post-WWII years. And they had lots better nicknames besides.

Here's my all-star team from 1891-1945:

C- Charles "Tarzan" Cooper, New York Renaissance, 1929-1943
   102. favre Posted: December 27, 2003 at 12:13 AM (#511396)
On the last ballot I said I had given up on Frank Grant. I have reconsidered this position. I want to re-state the arguments for Grant's induction into the Hall of Merit. I say ?re-state? because I didn?t originate them. I just want to present them in what is perhaps a new way, including objections (which also did not originate with me). I don?t necessarily agree with the objections, but I want to list them fairly. If you feel I have not done so, please write your own.

1. The statistics we have for Frank Grant are terrific. You can find them on MattB?s excellent post (#122 on the Negro League stars thread). We have info for 458 games. In 150 games, he averaged .337 BA, 130 runs, 210 hits, 40 doubles, 10 triples, 10 home runs, 50 stolen bases, all while playing second or third base.

Objection: We have no real context for these statistics, so it?s hard to compare them with the achievements of other players. Was he really better than Cupid Childs? Hard to say without some kind of statistical context.

2. He played for 18 years, which is longer than many other players on the ballot. Longevity is one indicator of greatness, though not a sole or even necessary one.

Objection: While he may have played 18 years of professional ball, this does not mean he would have played for the same length of time in the NL had he been allowed to do so. We can?t just assume he?s Bid McPhee. Longevity arguments are not as important to voters who value peak.

3. The statistics we do have are from the beginning of Grant?s career, possibly at age 18, more likely at age 21. They do suggest a trajectory for a star player; the fact he played for eighteen years seems to confirm that.

Objection: There were a number of very young players putting up outstanding numbers in professional ball during this period. Too much of Grant?s career is shrouded in mystery to be certain that he was a comparable player to McPhee, Childs, etc.

4. Subjective evidence. One Buffalo writer said that Grant was the best player the city had ever seen, surpassing Pud Galvin, Dan Brouthers, Jim O'Rourke, and Hoss Radbourn.. Sol White suggests that Grant was not only one of the best African-American players, but one of the best players of the nineteenth century.

Objection: Subjective evidence is, by its own definition, subjective. White should be lauded for his history, but he certainly wanted to present African-American players in the best possible light.

5. There seems to be a consensus that Grant was the best African-American player before at least 1900. Fans of Sol White have recently challenged that, but White himself gave Grant that title. Given that there were a number of African-Americans were playing ball, it seems probable that the best one would be one of the top thirty or so players of the 19th Century and, therefore, a worthy HoM candidate.

Objection: The population of northern blacks, while growing in the 1890s, was still not a high percentage of the population. While everyone in this group wants to give African-american players their due, this argument smacks of tokenism. White may have been the best player anyway.

6. The 1880s-90s did not produce a large number of outstanding second basemen. Stay with me in this argument for a second. While Bid McPhee and Hardy Richardson are worthy HoM?rs, and while Cupid Childs deserves consideration, they weren?t so good that it seems unlikely that Grant was their peer. If Grant had been a first baseman, we?d be comparing him to Cap Anson and Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor?those are HIGH standards of comparison. I don?t know about you, but I would be shaking my head and going, ?No, no, it?s unlikely that he was as good as ABC. That means he was, at best, the fourth-best first baseman of the era.? The best second baseman of the period is McPhee; great player, but not so great that he likely leaves Grant in the dust.

Objection: I doubt many of you like this argument much. So what if Grant didn?t play against Nap Lajoie (well, actually he did, at the end of his career) or Rogers Hornsby. That doesn?t make Grant a great player.

Maybe you can think of other arguments, but as far as I can tell, that sums it up. None of the arguments produce a smoking gun that says ?Grant was a great player?; all of the arguments are circumstantial.

However, notice that there are SIX of them. There are six circumstantial arguments that suggest Grant was a great player. All of them have reasonable objections?but you have to object to six arguments.

Now let?s show the evidence that Grant was NOT a great player:

None.

Think about it. There is NO evidence we have that suggests Grant was not a great player. We have statistical evidence, for example, that shows Tommy McCarthy was not a great player, despite the opinion of some HoF Veteran?s Committee. We DON?T have the same evidence for Grant (if there is some out there, please show me). We know: 1. The statistics we have for Grant are terrific 2. He played for a very long time 3. His peers suggested he was a great player 4. He played at a position where there was not a significant number of outstanding players from 1885-1895. The evidence we do have does not raise a red flag against Grant.

Now, there is still a good argument for the case against Frank Grant: we don?t have enough statistical evidence. The prime of his career is simply unknown to us. Like the evidence in favor Frank Grant, it?s circumstantial. The argument doesn?t prove that Grant WASN?T a great player. It just says we can?t really prove that he was, and that ultimately the burden of proof is on Grant to show that he is worthy of indcution to the HoM.

Well, we certainly don?t have a lot of statistical evidence proving Grant?s greatness, though we do have some. Still, to dismiss Grant as a great player, you have to say: 1. the statistics we have mean nothing 2. the fact that he played for eighteen years means nothing 3. the fact that he tore up the IL at age 21 means nothing 4. the opinions of people who saw him play mean nothing 5. the fact that he was likely the best African-American player of the 19th Century means nothing 6. the fact that he played at a position where there was not a lot of outstanding players in the era means nothing.

You might be able to do that. I can?t, particularly since the reason we don't have much statistical evidence on Grant is that he was excluded from play on the basis of his skin color. Grant is going back on my ballot in 1917, and at a pretty high position.
   103. favre Posted: December 27, 2003 at 12:16 AM (#511397)
On the last ballot I said I had given up on Frank Grant. I have reconsidered this position. I want to re-state the arguments for Grant's induction into the Hall of Merit. I say ?re-state? because I didn?t originate them. I just want to present them in what is perhaps a new way, including objections (which also did not originate with me). I don?t necessarily agree with the objections, but I want to list them fairly. If you feel I have not done so, please write your own.

1. The statistics we have for Frank Grant are terrific. You can find them on MattB?s excellent post (#122 on the Negro League stars thread). We have info for 458 games. In 150 games, he averaged .337 BA, 130 runs, 210 hits, 40 doubles, 10 triples, 10 home runs, 50 stolen bases, all while playing second or third base.

Objection: We have no real context for these statistics, so it?s hard to compare them with the achievements of other players. Was he really better than Cupid Childs? Hard to say without some kind of statistical context.

2. He played for 18 years, which is longer than many other players on the ballot. Longevity is one indicator of greatness, though not a sole or even necessary one.

Objection: While he may have played 18 years of professional ball, this does not mean he would have played for the same length of time in the NL had he been allowed to do so. We can?t just assume he?s Bid McPhee. Longevity arguments are not as important to voters who value peak.

3. The statistics we do have are from the beginning of Grant?s career, possibly at age 18, more likely at age 21. They do suggest a trajectory for a star player; the fact he played for eighteen years seems to confirm that.

Objection: There were a number of very young players putting up outstanding numbers in professional ball during this period. Too much of Grant?s career is shrouded in mystery to be certain that he was a comparable player to McPhee, Childs, etc.

4. Subjective evidence. One Buffalo writer said that Grant was the best player the city had ever seen, surpassing Pud Galvin, Dan Brouthers, Jim O'Rourke, and Hoss Radbourn.. Sol White suggests that Grant was not only one of the best African-American players, but one of the best players of the nineteenth century.

Objection: Subjective evidence is, by its own definition, subjective. White should be lauded for his history, but he certainly wanted to present African-American players in the best possible light.

5. There seems to be a consensus that Grant was the best African-American player before at least 1900. Fans of Sol White have recently challenged that, but White himself gave Grant that title. Given that there were a number of African-Americans were playing ball, it seems probable that the best one would be one of the top thirty or so players of the 19th Century and, therefore, a worthy HoM candidate.

Objection: The population of northern blacks, while growing in the 1890s, was still not a high percentage of the population. While everyone in this group wants to give African-american players their due, this argument smacks of tokenism. White may have been the best player anyway.

6. The 1880s-90s did not produce a large number of outstanding second basemen. Stay with me in this argument for a second. While Bid McPhee and Hardy Richardson are worthy HoM?rs, and while Cupid Childs deserves consideration, they weren?t so good that it seems unlikely that Grant was their peer. If Grant had been a first baseman, we?d be comparing him to Cap Anson and Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor?those are HIGH standards of comparison. I don?t know about you, but I would be shaking my head and going, ?No, no, it?s unlikely that he was as good as ABC. That means he was, at best, the fourth-best first baseman of the era.? The best second baseman of the period is McPhee; great player, but not so great that he likely leaves Grant in the dust.

Objection: I doubt many of you like this argument much. So what if Grant didn?t play against Nap Lajoie (well, actually he did, at the end of his career) or Rogers Hornsby. That doesn?t make Grant a great player.

Maybe you can think of other arguments, but as far as I can tell, that sums it up. None of the arguments produce a smoking gun that says ?Grant was a great player?; all of the arguments are circumstantial.

However, notice that there are SIX of them. There are six circumstantial arguments that suggest Grant was a great player. All of them have reasonable objections?but you have to object to six arguments.

Now let?s show the evidence that Grant was NOT a great player:

None.

Think about it. There is NO evidence we have that suggests Grant was not a great player. We have statistical evidence, for example, that shows Tommy McCarthy was not a great player, despite the opinion of some HoF Veteran?s Committee. We DON?T have the same evidence for Grant (if there is some out there, please show me). We know: 1. The statistics we have for Grant are terrific 2. He played for a very long time 3. His peers suggested he was a great player 4. He played at a position where there was not a significant number of outstanding players from 1885-1895. The evidence we do have does not raise a red flag against Grant.

Now, there is still a good argument for the case against Frank Grant: we don?t have enough statistical evidence. The prime of his career is simply unknown to us. Like the evidence in favor Frank Grant, it?s circumstantial. The argument doesn?t prove that Grant WASN?T a great player. It just says we can?t really prove that he was, and that ultimately the burden of proof is on Grant to show that he is worthy of indcution to the HoM.

Well, we certainly don?t have a lot of statistical evidence proving Grant?s greatness, though we do have some. Still, to dismiss Grant as a great player, you have to say: 1. the statistics we have mean nothing 2. the fact that he played for eighteen years means nothing 3. the fact that he tore up the IL at age 21 means nothing 4. the opinions of people who saw him play mean nothing 5. the fact that he was likely the best African-American player of the 19th Century means nothing 6. the fact that he played at a position where there was not a lot of outstanding players in the era means nothing.

You might be able to do that. I can?t, particularly since the reason we don't have much statistical evidence on Grant is that he was excluded from play on the basis of his skin color. Grant is going back on my ballot in 1917, and at a pretty high position.
   104. Marc Posted: December 27, 2003 at 03:28 AM (#511399)
I've said it before, I'll say it again. It seems obvious to me that Grant's problem is that nobody who saw him wrote a book. He is like Dickey Pearce and Harry Wright only worse (worse in the sense of having even fewer testimonials, descriptions, but similar in that he is lacking statistical evidence for what should have been his peak). I am not willing to ignore players like Pearce and Wright and Charlie Bennett because the guys who were taken to be experts on the "old timers" by the time anybody cared were too young to have seen them.

Couple that with the fact that Sol White's reputation was built in a large part by the testimony of Sol White.
   105. MattB Posted: December 29, 2003 at 03:42 PM (#511400)
The problem I see with Grant's candidacy is that no one seems to think that Grant was one of the (say) 20 greatest Negro League players. It's pretty difficult to directly compare him to his white contemporaries, but since he loses out to later Negro League players I find it difficult to advocate him.

I don't think anyone is claiming that Hardy Richardson or Jack Glasscock was one of the (say) 200 best Caucasian League players. I am voting for Grant on the belief that they are comparable.
   106. MattB Posted: December 29, 2003 at 08:49 PM (#511402)
I am strongly of the "pennant is a pennant" view, and don't timeline at all. For people who do timeline, it may look like a "reverse timeline" to force people to vote, but theoretically at least, there is a "no timeline" bias built in.

Since I don't look ahead, and am not a Negro League expert, I don't know about Bill Monroe.

My concern now is that those who are argued against a "Negro League quota" when we were lobbying for the best black player on the ballot (Grant) will instead impose a "maximum quota" of one and not vote for either Grant or White now that they are in competition with each other and it is not "obvious" who the best is.

To me, at least, they both look very worthy.
   107. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: January 02, 2004 at 04:06 AM (#511403)
I'm researching some of the Negro League players who will soon be ballot eligible, and I came across one intriguing player: Home Run Johnson. He doesn't really show up in the discussion on this thread, but I looked at his player card over on the Integrated Nines site (click homepage), and he looks like a heck of a hitter.

The projections have Johnson posting a .308/.382/.448/.830 batting line from 1901 to 1915 while playing second base, first base and shortstop. It should be noted that 1901 was Johnson's age-27 season.

I get the feeling that the rate statistics are adjusted to the major league averages for each year (look at Cristobal Torriente's or Oscar Charleston's card, for instance). If that is the case, then Johnson was one hell of a hitter.

Year----OPS+
   108. Chris Cobb Posted: January 02, 2004 at 07:11 AM (#511404)
Thanks, James, for pointing us to the site! It's interesting, even if we can't yet tell if its numbers mean anything.

Home Run Johnson is certainly a candidate deserving of serious consideration. The accounts I've read of black baseball in the late 1890s present him as the great young player of the era, challenging or surpassing Grant and White. I hadn't followed out his career after 1900, though.

There's been some discussion of Bill Monroe (eligible 1920, I believe) as a strong candidate, possibly better than Grant or White. I notice that integrated nines doesn't think Monroe was nearly the hitter that Home Run Johnson was.

I was curious what they thought about Frank Grant . . .

I9s only gives three years of projections for Frank Grant and five for Sol White, but I note that its projections see Grant as the superior hitter in the latter years of their careers (728 OPS over the three seasons to 658 for White over his five). It also sees Grant as a bit better than Patsy Donovan, 1901-1903.
   109. Carl Goetz Posted: January 23, 2004 at 09:58 PM (#511405)
Does anyone have any information on Sol White that might help me determine whether our not he is ballot-worthy? I know next to nothing about him right now.
   110. Carl Goetz Posted: January 23, 2004 at 10:03 PM (#511406)
Does anyone have any information on Sol White that might help me determine whether our not he is ballot-worthy? I know next to nothing about him right now.
   111. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: January 30, 2004 at 05:02 PM (#511408)
By request, here's the results of a survey (well, actually two different surveys) on what Negro Leaguers not in Cooperstown belonged there. This comes from the book: "Cool Papas & Double Duties: The All-Time Greats of the Negro Leagues" by Wiliam F. McNeil. The starting point was that McNeil reckoned that there should be an extra 27 Negro Leaguers in Cooperstown (this was prior to the election of Turkey Stearnes & Hilton Smith). Two surveys were done - one with 28 ex-Negro Leaguers (who of course focused on the players that they went up against) & one with 25 historical experts on the Negro Leagues). The latter group was more likely to fill out their entire ballot while many Negro League vets only voted for a few & in some cases misunderstood & voted for players already in the Hall.

Here's everyone that got 10 or more votes from the 28 Negro Leaguers (keep in mind this election will be slanted towards players who played in the 1930s & 1940s - in fact their top 14 picks all played in the 1940s as far as I can tell). An asterick indicates this player was supported by at least 50% of both electoral groups:

C - Biz Mackey 23 votes*
   112. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: January 31, 2004 at 08:00 AM (#511412)
Mark,

I just spent damn near an hour typing a response to your post. And then the internet craps out on me. #### #### god damn ############ ########## #### shit #### shit #### shit #### ####

Short answer: I haven't gotten all the way through the book. What you remember is (I'm pretty sure) from the 2nd half of the book (first half on best blackballers not in, 2nd half is on an all-time all-star Negro League team. Even the experts seem to be making their picks on Grant based largely on guesswork. There's reason to think he was great enough to merit induction, but as a black ballplayer in the 19th century, the evidence isn't fully complete.

Better ####### work this time.
   113. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: January 31, 2004 at 05:21 PM (#511414)
A little bit more summary from the lost post. . . . Grant didn't make the HoF picks in the first half of the book. After the main experts election, author William McNeil set up a special committee of 10 of the experts (not clear if he just looked at their old ballots or had them re-submit, I think it's the former) to look at pioneers of blackball. The 10 experts, seem to be among the best & brightest of the committee of 25 as far as I can tell (Todd Bolton, Dick Clark, Larry Hogan, John Holway, Brent Kelley, Merl Kleinnkecht, Larry Lester, Jerry Malloy, Bob Peterson, & Jim Riley). The thing is, though 60% of the experts committee & 70% of the SABR Negro Leagues Committee members voted for Grant, only 5 of these 10 did. Grant finished below Ben Taylor, Sammy T. Hughes, Oliver Marcelle, Pete Hill, Spot Poles, & Cristobal Torriente.

In the 2nd half of the book, the all-time team, Grant only received 3 votes from the experts. Newt Allen & Bingo DeMoss tied for the lead at 2B with 8 votes each. Not sure what to make of it, as pioneer Sammy T. Hughes was ultimately chosen as the 2Ber for the team. Apparently even the experts focused mainly on the latter players, which would've seriously undermined Grant's chances of making it.

Here's the All-Star team ultimately chosen:

C - Josh Gibson
   114. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: February 02, 2004 at 07:32 PM (#511415)
Tom Brown on Frank Grant (Source: New York Times, Feb 6, 1900)

"One of the best second basemen the game has ever seen was the colored diamond athlete, Hughey [??] Grant, who was at his best when he played on the Buffalo team," says Tom Brown. "Grant's great forte as a fielder was his sure-thing hands. He was as near perfection in gauging swift grounders as Heine Reitz, than whom no finer hand-worker ever lived. Grant, however, had Reitz distinctly beaten as an all-around fielder, as he was faster of foot, covered larger area of ground, and was surer and quicker on double plays. He was a natural batsman, as many a twirler found to his sorrow. Grant played no favourites at the bat. High incurves, low outshoots, or slow teasers served at a shot-putting gait all looked the same to Grant. The pitchers seemed to take a fiendish delight in deliberately firing the ball at his head with the intention of driving him from the plate, but they never succeeded in taking his nerve. In the annals of the game and in the achievements of such second basemen as Burdock, Ross Barnes, Fred Pfeffer, and Yankee Robinson the name of Hugh Grant has been overlooked, though if he were a white man he would stand abreast of the others in the red-letter chapters of baseball."
   115. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 06, 2004 at 05:50 AM (#511417)
Apologies in advance for the length.

FWIW, here's the resutls to the two elections held by the experts committee in the above-mentioned book: "Cool Papas & Double Duties." The first election was for the best Negro Leaguers not then in the HoF (prior to election of Stearnes & Smith). The second election is for an all-time Negro Leagues team. The make up of the committee (for the first election anyway) is discussed in post #156 on this thread. There were some minor changes made of the committee between the two votes, but it's basically the same bunch.

Here's the first vote. I'll go position-by-position. The leaderboard is given up in post #156.

C - Biz Mackie 25
   116. Brad G. Posted: February 06, 2004 at 11:56 PM (#511418)
A concern I'm faced with now is: How does Bill Monroe (who is eligible in 1920) stack up against Frank Grant?

Bill James NHBA (the only primary source I have on hand) lists Monroe as the "Best Negro League Player" (regardless of position) from 1904-1906. Unfortunately, he starts this list in the year 1900; otherwise, F. Grant would surely have received similar honors for at least a few years in his career.

The voting Chris J. refers to in the previous post (from "Cool Papas...") gives a slight favor to Grant, while James has Monroe ranked as the #5 Negro League 2B ("could rank higher"), and Grant at #6. Very close any way you look at it.

We seem to have a general idea where to rank Grant by now (though, admittedly, his popularity continues to ebb and flow), and I'm curious to see how voters will place Monroe in relation to Grant, and what criteria will ultimately be used. Any thoughts?
   117. Marc Posted: February 07, 2004 at 12:08 AM (#511419)
This is really great stuff, thanks Chris. But what happened to Sol White? You have to wonder how the voters were thinking. Did Grant get some votes because he was "the first"? I thought White was very comparable to Grant, but he wasn't "the first"...? What about Home Run Johnson? What about Poles and Mendez? The fact is that other than Grant, these votes still do not seem to say much about the real old-timers, i.e. before the "real" Negro Leagues beginning in 1920. Still, I feel a little more qualified now than before.

Ultimately I think (who said this long, long ago??? [and far far away]) my voting will not be based so much on head-to-head evaluations but a sense of "how many" Negro Leaguers and other black ballplayers we ought to recognize. 10 players got into double figures in the above voting. That's not enough. Another 11 got 5-9. That's better. But how many is the right number?
   118. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 07, 2004 at 01:03 AM (#511420)
The voting Chris J. refers to in the previous post (from "Cool Papas...") gives a slight favor to Grant, while James has Monroe ranked as the #5 Negro League 2B ("could rank higher"), and Grant at #6. Very close any way you look at it.

Page 192 of the NBJHA: "There are many people who know vastly more than I do about the Negro Leagues. If any o fthose people choose to critize or differ with my ratings, I would ask you to assume that they are right and I am wrong."

In one vote, Grant has a sizable lead, in another, Grant has a slim lead. Part of the problem in dealing with the real early Negro Leaguers is that it seems like even the experts are half-guessing. No one's old enough to have any memories of them, the stats are shaky at best.

FWIW, One think I briefly mentioned in post #162 - the book also contains a brief special election of 10 of the best experts on the old-timers, to see which are the most HoF deserving (this means he looked at their ballots a 2nd time - I don't think there was a special vote). Here are their leading vote getters (note - players like Torriente & Santrop who did great on the original ballot (see post 156) weren't looked at here):

Oliver Marcelle 9/10
   119. Marc Posted: February 07, 2004 at 02:04 AM (#511421)
Chris,

>Maybe some reverse backlash to the fact that he wrote the big book on the
   120. Chris Cobb Posted: February 07, 2004 at 02:28 AM (#511422)
Apologies in advance for going on at great length . . .

I've been thinking about Bill Monroe and Grant "Home Run" Johnson also, gathering together information from this thread and from elsewhere on the web. Here's a long post that basically lays out what I've gathered and what I've been thinking. Maybe others can add to it or better my reasoning. I've looked at the following sources for rankings:

Rankings/Lists
   121. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 08, 2004 at 05:46 AM (#511423)
Again, apologize in advance for the length.

Here's the other half of the "Cool Papas" book's voting: the players. About 25-30 voted in the two election (best Negro Leaguers not in the HoF & the all-time Negro League team). This won't do much good for current voting as they rarely touched on the older players, but it should give some insight later on.

With the first vote, many voted for current HoFers (I guess there was some miscommunication). Those votes didn't count. 28 voters altogether - only 17 got as many as half, with Biz Mackie leading the way with 23 votes. Here are the results, position by position:

C: Biz Mackey 23
   122. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 08, 2004 at 08:41 PM (#511424)
Does anyone know of a major league comp for Bill Monroe? He looks to be a sure fire top-ten ballot choice, but I'm struggling where to place him within that range.

FWIW, John McGraw marked him down as an all-time great.
   123. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 08, 2004 at 08:50 PM (#511425)
Oops! I missed Chris Cobb's (post #170) above. Never mind. :-)
   124. Chris Cobb Posted: February 08, 2004 at 11:04 PM (#511426)
Does anyone know of a major league comp for Bill Monroe? He looks to be a sure fire top-ten ballot choice, but I'm struggling where to place him within that range.

FWIW, John McGraw marked him down as an all-time great.


I used the i9s projections, as John found, to get a general sense for comparisons. These projections obviously need to be taken with a grain of salt, esp. since we don't know the methodology, but they do appear to have worked carefully with the available data. As I mentioned above, data from exhibition games would be a great help. I've seen only one bit so far (I'm sure there's much more around). A bio of Pop Lloyd online (I think it's at pitchblackbaseball.com) indicated that he hit .321 in 29 exhibition games against ML competition. i9s projects him as a .324 career hitter.
   125. Jeff M Posted: February 09, 2004 at 04:25 AM (#511427)
I might have missed it somewhere above, but when does Johnson become officially eligible for the HoM? I have his last playing year as 1916.

I plan to have Bill Monroe very high..perhaps Top 5. His biography in Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia is very impressive. "When playing at the hot corner, he excelled at fielding bunts and was considered to be a better fielder and hitter than his white contemporary at third base, Jimmy Collins." I currently have Collins at #2 on my ballot. Monroe hit cleanup, behind Pete Hill. He was known as "king of second baseman" and "the most sensational player on the American Giants' team." And for what it was worth, he was the "idol of all the ladies." Can't say that about Wee Willie. :)

When Johnson becomes available, I think he'll be ranked pretty high as well. He hit cleanup behind Pop Lloyd. "A line drive hitter, Johnson placed an emphasis on making contact rather than swinging for the fences and, playing in the deadball era, his power was comparable to that of the Athletics' Frank Baker. And like Baker, his home runs, while not numerous, came at opportune times and reinforced the sobrique 'Home Run' for the duration of his playing career." Since I'll have Home Run Baker as a no doubt HoMer, Home Run Johnson will get serious consideration.

Chris Cobb's post above is interesting. I logged how many times each Negro League player was named on one of 63 different All-Time Negro League teams (see post #62 for an early mention of this) and a disclaimer about a likely era bias. The lists included a number of scholars, authors, writers, players, etc. The usual mix.

Monroe was named on one team. Johnson on none. Nobody who retired before 1928 was named on more than three, however. I think this compilation will be more useful to us from 1928 on.
   126. Jeff M Posted: February 09, 2004 at 04:33 AM (#511428)
For the sake of player recognition, I want to mention one other Negro League player who is eligible this "year" (1913). Though he is not quite a contender for the HoM, he was a fine outfielder and deserves to be noticed.

Accordingly, for those of you who have the Biographical Encyclopedia or a source of similar nature, look at Harry W. ("Mike") Moore just to give a very good player the honor of having been noticed by us.
   127. DanG Posted: February 09, 2004 at 03:11 PM (#511430)
Jeff M wrote:
   128. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 19, 2004 at 06:36 PM (#511433)
Joe - Most of the info I know on Monroe is in this thread. Best info I've found on him is Chris Cobb's post in #170. In the best experts poll I've found on Monroe (posted above in #165), he did worse than Grant.

Glancing around the net, looks like strat-o-matic likes him.

Here's something interesting. Not too sure how informative it is, but click on the photo & read a brief bio of the Negro Leaguer in question. Nothing on Monroe or Grant, but it does have Johnson.
   129. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 20, 2004 at 06:39 PM (#511436)
I believe Grant Johnson was a shortstop.
   130. Marc Posted: February 20, 2004 at 07:15 PM (#511437)
HR Johnson was a SS until moving over to make way for Pop Lloyd. It appears he may have played somewhat more at SS than 2B, but I often see him described as a 2B, it's true.
   131. KJOK Posted: February 20, 2004 at 07:53 PM (#511438)
P.S. I can?t find Johnson in the NBJHA. Did I miss him?

No, you didn't miss him. James did not list Johnson in his top 10 Negro League 2nd basemen. However, Holway rates him as #2 2nd baseman all-time.

? I see support for no less than 6 different guys (the above four plus Newt Allen and Sammy Hughes).

I believe Martin Dihigo also played quite a bit of 2nd base, in addition to RF, P and various other positions...
   132. Chris Cobb Posted: February 20, 2004 at 09:51 PM (#511439)
TomH, where did you get your info on the Pittsburgh Courier poll? The version that I have seen on the web does not list Grant Johnson, nor does this list posted near the top of this thread.
   133. MattB Posted: February 20, 2004 at 10:47 PM (#511441)
I would add Jose Mendez to your list, too. He was the greatest of the early black Cuban pitchers.
   134. MattB Posted: February 20, 2004 at 11:05 PM (#511442)
Oops, sorry. I forgot you were excluding pitchers, Tom.

Nonetheless, I'm not sure about this:

<i>Now, of the 60 non-pitchers, how many will come from pre-Jackie black players? I would suggest that 8 is too few, and 20 is too many, based on the ratio of success of dark-skinned players over the past 50 years. Let me start with a guess of ?between 13 and 15?.
   135. Chris Cobb Posted: February 20, 2004 at 11:39 PM (#511443)
MattB, well-said!

I would also note that if we look at the current roster of the Hall of Fame, there are 99 players inducted who retired between 1914 and 1954. That number suggests that we'll have our work cut out for us getting down to 80, let alone making room for more Negro-Leaguers, but if you look at who's in that group of 99, you'll be reminded that we're entering the era of really bad HoF selections. It looks to me like getting from 99 down to 80 will be simple: there are probably around 18 players now in the HoF who will hardly make our ballots. Then there are another 20 or so major-league players who are going to be borderline cases, some now in the HoF, some not. I think we'll find at least 5, and probaby 10 in that group who don't match up favorably to the Negro-League players against whom they'll be ranked. So in addition to the 16 Negro-League players now in the HoF (one of whom, Judy Johnson, we probably won't want to elect), there will be room for 5-10 more in the elections through 1960. Tom H's estimate of 3-5 position players is fair based on numbers alone, but I think it's a tad on the conservative side if we look at the actual pool of players.
   136. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 20, 2004 at 11:53 PM (#511444)
(one of whom, Judy Johnson, we probably won't want to elect),

Probably the greatest third baseman of any color for that era, he looks damn good to me. What am I missing?
   137. Chris Cobb Posted: February 21, 2004 at 03:45 AM (#511445)
On Judy Johnson:

Probably the greatest third baseman of any color for that era, he looks damn good to me. What am I missing?

John, you could be right about Judy Johnson and I could be wrong; I'm not going on a lot of information yet -- that's the problem with trying to make a snapshot estimate in 30 minutes on how we'll vote on about 120 players over 40 years :-).

The information that I have seen does not suggest that Johnson was an especially good hitter: high-average, but with little power. William McNeil in _Cool Papas_ argues that in converting a Negro-League batting average to major-league standards, one needs to decrease it by about 50 points. He sees Johnson as a .237 hitter, and he raises the questions whether Johnson, as well as some middle infield candidates like Bingo DeMoss and Sammy T. Hughes, hit enough to merit places in the Hall of Fame. This is what I was working off of when I made my estimates. Since you asked the question, I looked around a little on line for some more information. The bio of Judy Johnson on blackbaseball.com lists him as a career .349 hitter, but with little power. That would make him a .300 hitter during the 20s & 30s (maybe MacNeil is making some sort of period adjustment as well? More research needed!), which is nice, but nothing special. Pie Traynor was a .320 hitter with good doubles-and-triples power, and defense as good as Johnson's (at least by reputation they were often compared). Traynor's a pretty solid candidate at third base, but I don't think he's going to win election quickly (see Jimmy Collins). The evidence I see right now does not suggest to me that Johnson was as good as Traynor, which would make Judy Johnson a borderline candidate for the HoM.

That's what I have on Judy Johnson now. He won't be eligible for nearly a year, real time, so we should have a chance to assess him based on somewhat more thorough research :-).
   138. Paul Wendt Posted: February 21, 2004 at 08:12 PM (#511446)
Chris Cobb #70
   139. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 21, 2004 at 08:22 PM (#511447)
Good points about Judy Johnson, Chris! I'll keep them in mind next year.
   140. DanG Posted: February 23, 2004 at 04:59 PM (#511448)
The Negro Leagues and MLB are on separate paths. There are two main points of intersection: 1) Head-to-head exhibition games; 2) Opinions of those who observed both leagues. The former is of lesser value due to small sample sizes and unreliable records.

Questions for the Negro League advocates:

Exactly when did exhibition games between MLB teams and Black teams become common (more than about ten games per year)? Ever?

How common were these exhibition games in the 1890's? 1900's? 1910's? 1920's? 1930's? 1940's?

What MLB teams did HR Johnson and Bill Monroe ever face? Did they do well?

Are there any known anecdotes, quotes or analyses from MLB personnel concerning Monroe and Johnson from before 1920?
   141. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 23, 2004 at 05:27 PM (#511449)
One thing I heard about Johnson was that his hitting philosophy is one that would be much accepted by mainstream sabermetric thought: wait for a good pitch & try to drill it. He apparently believed that some degree of patience was an important element of being a good hitter.

A brief re-cap of him is at this link.
   142. MattB Posted: February 23, 2004 at 05:27 PM (#511450)
Someone with the book can probably confirm the facts and details, but I recall reading in the Negro League Biographical Encyclopedia an anecdote of Bill Monroe facing Joe McGinnity in the late innings of an exhibition game, with the score tied at zero. McGinnity was being paid $500 to pitch the game, and Monroe bet him all of it that he would hit a home run in that at bat. After two brushback pitches from McGinnity, Monroe won the bet (and the game)!
   143. DanG Posted: February 23, 2004 at 06:46 PM (#511451)
Good story, Matt. Is there any reason to think it actually happened? It sounds apocryphal.
   144. Chris Cobb Posted: February 29, 2004 at 06:23 AM (#511453)
Negro-League Batting Averages, 1910-1913

One piece of data about Home Run Johnson that seemed impressive to me were his batting averages for 1910-1913 (the only seasons aside from 1895 in his career for which such data is available) in comparison to those of Pop Lloyd for those same seasons. In all four of these seasons, according to Riley, Lloyd and Johnson were teammates, so they faced the same competition and played under the same conditions. I decided to find out how much more batting average data for these years was available, to better contextualize those numbers, so I looked up each of the starting position players listed by Holway on each of the major black teams 1910-1913 in Riley. 27 of those players have batting average information. Here is a compilation of that data. I think it's useful for seeing Home Run Johnson in context, and it may also be useful for evaluating Pete Hill, Spotswood Poles, and Louis Santop.

About the data

1) Sources. Riley's _Biographical Encyclopedia_. He does not provide specific sources for each entry, so more information is not available. If anyone knows where these averages were first reported, I'd love to know.

2) Context. Riley is not always specific as to the context for the batting average, but most of the averages for this period say something like "compiled against all competition," and I've assumed that averages listed without comment are "against all competition." In a couple of cases I've included averages compiled against specific competition or outside the 1910-1913 timeframe. When I've done so, I've indicated that.

3) Calculation. In the absence of at-bat and hit numbers, I have calculated the player's batting average over the four-year period in question by finding the mean of the listed averages. Only a few of the top players have averages for all four seasons, but I have listed every player according to his mean average. For players with fewer than four seasons of data, I have given the years for which data was available.

3) "League." These teams were barnstorming and playing whomever they could make some money to play, so league designation is not very meaningful. However, I have marked averages to indicate whether the player was on an Eastern or Western team. Averages compiled, in whole or in part, on Eastern teams are printed in bold. It may be that the Eastern game favored hitters more than the Western game, since averages in the East appear to be higher. However, most of the hitters of renown in this period played primarily for Eastern teams, especially the 1911-1913 New York Lincoln Giants, so I'm not certain. Almost all of the Eastern averages are for play on the Lincoln Giants, with a few seasons fro the Brooklyn Royal Giants or Philadelphia Giants scattered about. Western averages are for play on the 1910 Leland Giants, the 1911-1913 Chicago American Giants, the 1910 -13 Chicago Giants.

4) Age of players. If Riley provided a birth year, I have indicated the player's age in the seasons for which batting average data is available.

5) Position. Listed according to Riley and Holway.

6) Career. Years played on major teams, according to Riley



.444 Louis Santop, age 21-24 (1911-1914). .470, .422, .429, .455. Great Power. c. 1909-26.
   145. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 29, 2004 at 07:48 PM (#511454)
Just found out the other day that my local library has a copy of the 9th edition of the McMillan encyclopedia in its reference section, which contains stats for many Negro Leaguers (though not Grant or Johnson). I'm at the public access computers in the library now, so - want 1910-3 stas for context? Well . . .

Pelayo Chaco, SS - Stars of Cuba & Cubans
   146. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 01, 2004 at 06:12 AM (#511456)
Joe,

What's your e-mail address?
   147. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 01, 2004 at 05:11 PM (#511458)
I just dumped the Negro Leagues hitting & pitching files on the yahoo group site. You only got one e-mail because I forgot to click that box the first time, but they're both there.

Joe Rogan could freakin' hit!
   148. KJOK Posted: March 31, 2004 at 01:02 AM (#511460)
In the SABR Negro League Top 40, Foster was #5, but that's almost certainly due mostly to his non-playing contributions.

Baseball's Other All-stars has him around #8 for pitchers.
   149. Yardape Posted: March 31, 2004 at 06:26 PM (#511461)
Does anyone here know if the "Out of the Shadows" project will be publishing their books anytime soon? I think they could be of great use in this project, if they're available in the next couple of months.
   150. KJOK Posted: April 01, 2004 at 07:14 PM (#511462)
I asked my friend who is on the project, and he doesn't have the answer yet, but it sounded like there may be a delay....
   151. Marc Posted: April 02, 2004 at 04:08 PM (#511464)
Joe, that's what I thought until I read the commentary on Howie's 1923 ballot. It was just posted this morning, April 3, so it's down toward the end of the thread. I didn't make note of the post number, however. Sounds to me like there is reason to think he was roughly in the class of Waddell-Plank-Bender (though I realize that's a wide spread, but all HoM candidates).
   152. Chris Cobb Posted: April 02, 2004 at 05:33 PM (#511465)
Joe wrote:Is it at least reasonable to consider Rube Foster as just a pretty good pitcher whose major contributions are as a pioneer? I see him about the same as I see John McGraw, or Deacon Philippe, if he were a poineer. Am I off base?

Joe, I think saying Foster was "just a pretty good pitcher" is underrating him. He was clearly the best pitcher in black baseball 1903-1906, at his best in big games: he won eight straight "championship" games in three series between the Cuban X-Giants and the Philadelphia Giants to determine the best black team during these years. His big, brash personality and dramatic flair undoubtedly contributed to his stardom, but he was also undoubtedly the biggest star in black baseball during this time, and he was a great drawing card when he pitched. When he went west to Chicago in 1907, there was a great deal of praise for his pitching, comments in the press that compared him very favorably to top white major-league pitchers. The anecdotal evidence indicates that he was outstanding for at least these five years. The question is, was he as good or better than pitchers like Walsh, Brown, Waddell, and Joss, and that's hard to say with any certainty. I have him better than Waddell and Joss, not as good as Walsh and Brown, but Walsh is the only one of that group that would make my ballot in 1923. Given the way you are rating pitchers, I'd say Foster has a pretty good case to make your ballot.

Howie's brief bio of Foster from baseballlibrary is accurate in general, but in context some of the details look a bit different. I draw the info I'm using to supplement Howie's info from _The Best Pitcher in Baseball_, a recent biography of Foster.

"Foster, who overcame childhood illness, was a 6'4" 200-lb teenager when he joined the Yellow Jackets, a traveling black team in Texas.

Foster's height is uncertain -- he's listed anywhere from 5'10" to 6'4" . The pictures in the bio don't suggest he was in the high end of this range. His weight was variable. Later in his career he probably weighed 250 or more.

He reportedly gained his nickname by defeating the Athletics' Rube Waddell in 1902, and is reputed to have fared well in duels with major league pitchers Chief Bender, Mordecai Brown, and Cy Young.

There's no box score for the duel with Waddell, though there are references to the event in newspaper articles, so it's probable that it did occur. It was in 1904 or 1905, not 1902, however. The bio doesn't provide any info on Foster pitching against Brown or Bender. Foster pitched against Ed Reulbach in the 1909 game against the Cubs. He did pitch against Cy Young, but the recorded matchup with Young occurred in 1914, when Young was pitching for a semipro team in Detroit, so that removes a bit of the luster from the matchup.

Frank Chance called him "the most finished product I've ever seen in the pitcher's box."

True. This is part of the acclamation that surrounded Foster when he joined the Leland Giants of Chicago in 1907 after three stellar years with the Philadelphia Giants.

In 1909 Foster challenged the Chicago Cubs to a series, which the Cubs won over his Leland Giants in three close games. Foster pitched the second game and took a 5-2 lead into the ninth inning, but lost 6-5. Mordecai Brown won the first and third contests.

True. It should also be noted that Foster broke his leg in the middle of the 1909 season and had not pitched in nearly four months when he took the mound for the series against the Cubs, which took place in October, after the end of the regular season. Thus, the fact that Foster tired in the ninth is quite understandable. What's amazing is that he is as sharp as he was. He walked only one hitter, but is was costly: a bases-loaded walk to (you guessed it) Jimmy Sheckard as part of the Cubs' rally in the ninth. Incidentally, the umpiring decisions in this final inning were questionable, and the Cubs' victory was surrounded by controversy. They won the other two games in the series cleanly, however, as the Leland Giants hitters could do nothing with Mordecai Brown, managing one run in two games.
   153. Marc Posted: April 02, 2004 at 06:28 PM (#511466)
One would have to wonder where Cap Anson was when these 1909 games took place. Apparently he had no influence over the Cubbies by this time. But he must have been madder than hell.
   154. Chris Cobb Posted: April 02, 2004 at 06:46 PM (#511467)
One would have to wonder where Cap Anson was when these 1909 games took place. Apparently he had no influence over the Cubbies by this time. But he must have been madder than hell.

It's a funny thing about Anson; in the aughts, he owned and played for a semi-pro team in the Chicago City League, in which the Leland Giants also competed. So Anson was playing regularly and without protest against black players at this time. There are references to this in the Foster biography and also, I think, in Holway.
   155. Marc Posted: April 02, 2004 at 06:51 PM (#511468)
Chris, maybe by then he at least knew that he could go get a beer afterwards and not have to share the room. Maybe that gave him some comfort.

(But that is bizzare!)
   156. Howie Menckel Posted: April 02, 2004 at 11:29 PM (#511469)
No wonder my ears were burning!

Those Foster comments indeed were truncated, although not for positive or negative purpose, but for space reasons. I tend to think that so many of you guys know all this stuff already, so it's good to see discussion on it. I encourage all to check out their stuff on any player, including the "this day in history" ones near the bottom that occasionally have some amazing stuff.

I also make no claim to 100 pct accuracy of their info, but it is interesting. Seeing it reviewed here is another step up the info ladder, in my mind..
   157. Marc Posted: April 08, 2004 at 02:07 AM (#511470)
1927 Pete Hill-LF
   158. KJOK Posted: April 09, 2004 at 08:56 PM (#511471)
Does anyone here know if the "Out of the Shadows" project will be publishing their books anytime soon? I think they could be of great use in this project, if they're available in the next couple of months. Unfortunately, latest word seems to be the Encyclopedia will be published next April.
   159. jimd Posted: April 10, 2004 at 01:20 AM (#511472)
(Caution: long post)

Adventures in Demographics, Part II.

HOMers by birth Census:
   160. Marc Posted: April 18, 2004 at 01:19 AM (#511473)
Everybody has been missing Jimmie Lyons, who I believe should be eligible 1931. DanG, who keeps a more or less official list, said he didn't include Lyons because he's not as highly regarded as Hill or Poles. Granted. But James rates him higher than Home Run Johnson and he turns up in some of the ratings/polls cited on the Negro League threads. He ought to at least be called to everyone's attention and get considered.
   161. Paul Wendt Posted: April 18, 2004 at 04:09 PM (#511474)
Re jimd #220 (Demographics II):

Why not define "census decade" so that each one includes ballplayers less than 10 years old in some appropriate month of the census year?
   162. jimd Posted: April 19, 2004 at 05:39 PM (#511475)
Why not define "census decade" so that each one includes ballplayers less than 10 years old in some appropriate month of the census year?

The summary data that I've used as a source (see link) does not include an "under-10" count.

I moved the birthyear to the nearest census date, but I didn't attempt to split the '5' year in the middle. That would have increased the complexity of the database queries, hence the likelihood of a significant error.

I could have attempted an interpolated census for each year, but that would have turned this into a much larger project. Probably without significantly increasing the accuracy of the results, either.

Does demographic analysis presume that census coverage was equally good in Alabama and Massachusetts? Or do we have useful estimates of the completeness of coverage?

I'm not a demographer (hence the title, "Adventures in Demographics"), never mind an expert in the deficiencies of the historical census data. I would imagine there would be significant undercount problems everywhere in the 19th century. Whether the larger undercounts occurred in the (predominantly white) poor/immigrant populations of the cities (which is the significant problem today), or in the remote rural populations, I have no clue.

So the mid-decade definition provides a better match between census decade and black opportunity to play sig'ly in the majors.

Not by design. The analysis of the MLB player population was completed before I even examined the birthdates/birthstates of the Negro League HOFers.
   163. Marc Posted: April 19, 2004 at 06:52 PM (#511476)
Having done a lot of family history research, I have found that the census data is generally pretty good and generally the "same" everywhere. That means that problems are random, though where they occur (as likely Mass. as Ala.) they are severe, usually due to deficiencies of the local census taker.

I would say that the problems would more or less balance out--i.e. even in 1920 you could have those problems. So the percent of error was probably not much more in 1840 (perhaps less for reasons I won't go into) than 1920. So for longitundinal purposes (change over time) jimd's numbers are fine. And if they are used to assign a rough quota, they are good enough because they real limiter, IMO, is not population but opportunity and the census isn't a lot of help there.

I am speaking basically of my experience with Caucasians, however, not black communities.
   164. Chris Cobb Posted: April 20, 2004 at 03:55 PM (#511477)
Here's an attempt at a comprehensive list of all Negro-League players who _might possibly_ bear consideration for the HoM, drawn from _Cool Papas and Double Duties_, NBJHBA, and my reading on black players 1905-1920 in Holway (see my post on the New-Eligibles-by-Year thread for full explanation). It currently contains 169 players.

If you have any additions to make to this comprehensive list, please post!

Abe Harrison
   165. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 04:16 PM (#511478)
Having done a lot of family history research,

I'm the family historian, too.

Have you been to an LDS Family History Center? Pure gold!
   166. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 04:32 PM (#511479)
John, no, I have not, but I have accessed their records at the local LDS church. It is pretty amazing that anybody collected all that stuff. God bless 'em.
   167. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 20, 2004 at 05:15 PM (#511480)
John, no, I have not, but I have accessed their records at the local LDS church. It is pretty amazing that anybody collected all that stuff.

I meant the local LDS church (though someday I would like to take a trip to Utah for the big center).

Without a doubt, they have been the biggest help for my research (and they never proselytize about their religion).
   168. Marc Posted: April 20, 2004 at 06:02 PM (#511481)
Chris, great work!!!

There is a philosophical issue that should be out in the open. DanG has said that he thought we should try to focus on a fairly small/manageable (pick your word) number of Negro Leaguers rather than trying to digest 169. He has a valid point. It's one thing to get a list each year that includes Lefty Liefield and Bill Doak, where all we really have to do is look at two numbers to the left of the name and we can all (each) decide with a high degree of confidence whether we want to study that person any more, or not. With the Negro Leaguers, if we get a list of 169/34 (guesstimating that their eligibility will range from 1927 through about 1960 or so) or 5 per year, we're not going to know which of the 5 deserve more scrutiny other than by virtue of what we have previously heard about that player.

The other model is that the Negro League committee (Chris, DanG, whomever) makes a prior decision about which ones deserve scrutiny and maybe gets the list down to 2 per year or 1 per year. My rant on this subject was, however, stimulated to some degree by the notion that maybe the "committee," which at that time did not actually exist, would choose about 11 players for the period from 1925-1940, which is approx. the number of Negro Leaguers we should be electing or maybe even fewer. That would clearly not be good. So, what would be the right number under this model, I don't know. The bigger question is whether the model is right, or...

Whether Chris' model of considering ~169 players is right. I lean toward Chris' model myself. But if we cannot put a couple of numbers next to the name, is there something else we could put next to the name? Maybe it is the number of votes the player got in McNeil's expert panel voting for the best player at his position of all Negro League history. And also, maybe the rank in Bill James top 10 at each position. I don't know that those are the right two numbers or whether we have a career batting average or whatever. But it seems that we might want some shorthand info a l? the WS and WARP numbers on DanG's famous format for major leaguers.
   169. Chris Cobb Posted: April 20, 2004 at 06:30 PM (#511482)
But it seems that we might want some shorthand info a l? the WS and WARP numbers on DanG's famous format for major leaguers.

Marc, I agree completely. What I propose doing with the list of 169 players is to make as sure as we can that we're not overlooking anybody and that we establish firm eligibility dates so we know when to bring players under discussion. Once that is done, it will be easier to, a few years in advance, gather the shorthand information. In addition to your list, the other pieces of shorthand I'd want to see are career dates; the all-star, MVP, and best-pitcher awards that John Holway gives for each negro-league season; and the best-player, best-pitcher designations for each year from Bill James. Oh, and noting whether the HoF has elected the guy wouldn't be a bad idea either.

This set of awards would highlight the legit candidates nearly as well as WARP or WS numbers do, if not quite so succinctly.
   170. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 21, 2004 at 04:17 PM (#511483)
As promised in this posts, here's Pete Hill's year-by-year stats in the 9th edition of the Macmillan 'cyclopedia.

1904..1 hit/8 AB..125AVG..
   171. Marc Posted: April 22, 2004 at 01:19 PM (#511491)
Chris, you certainly raise a good question. I just wonder if anybody knows the answer or even how or where to get an answer.

BTW, you any relation to Tyrus? I see you're located down sout' dere.
   172. Marc Posted: April 22, 2004 at 01:22 PM (#511487)
Joe, that was my language you picked up on. TomH got it right, I was talking strictly the "pre-modern" period you might say. I too would hope we would elect 20+. Getting the right guys in the '40s will be fairly easy, getting the right guys pre-'40 from what I have seen will not be easy at all.

yest's and Chris' post helps to indicate just how difficult it will be. I mean Pete Hill was compared to Ty Cobb! Elect him, quick! But he hit .234 over 4 years against (I'm sorry but) minor league competition with a few superstars sprinkled in. How many of those ABs were against Rube Foster? A four year stretch of .234 at what should be one's prime would be the kiss of death for any major leaguer, I think. I mean Dickey Pearce once had an OPS+ of 36, end of story.

But seriously...add to this that the two posts on Hill (above) contain a lot of really great info, but they not only don't tell us how Hill compares to Sheckard and Magee, they also don't tell us how he compares to Poles or Torriente.
   173. karlmagnus Posted: April 22, 2004 at 01:27 PM (#511488)
I have to say a .308 batting average in the Negro Leaues doesn't scream HOM'er to me. That has to translate into about .270 in the ML. And the "4000 hits" figure looks VERY spurious; there weren't anywhere near enough games against decent competition to make such a figure possible.

20 black ballplayers looks more and more to me like political correctness (which the HOF's 17 certainly is, combined with a "Frankie Frisch effect" -- they have grossly over-represented the 1930-45 NL.) My target stays at 12, proportionate to era population, not taking account of the tiny number of southern ML ballplayers before 1905, possibly therefore even rounded down a bit, and Hill isn't one of the 12 (nor's Johnson, but he's a near miss.)

Grant however makes my PHOM in 1925, and Poles probably will in '27, if that's determined to be his year.
   174. karlmagnus Posted: April 22, 2004 at 01:30 PM (#511489)
I meant of course 20 black pre-1947 ballplayers; plenty after that date.
   175. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 22, 2004 at 01:41 PM (#511492)
I have to say a .308 batting average in the Negro Leaues doesn't scream HOM'er to me.

Agree, except that fails to note how unevenly his known at bats are divided. About 40% of his known at bats come from that 4 year deadspot in his early 30s. Less than 20% come from his 1920s. Based on that, how well he did in the known at bats in his good years, & his general reputation we can fairly safely assume he was a better hitter than the .308 mark indicates. He was a great hitter in his 20s, stunk for four years & rebounded with a few years at the end.

I can look up the Macmillan 'cyclopedia & see how his teammates did in those years. Not sure when I'll get the chance - expect tommorrow at the earliest.
   176. Chris Cobb Posted: April 22, 2004 at 01:41 PM (#511490)
Re Pete Hill and Ty Cobb: I don't think we can make much of those comparisons. The same things were said about Spotswood Poles: if one read through Riley carefully, I bet one could find the same language about four other negro-league outfielders. As Bill James says about all the folks saying, "such and such a pitcher was faster than Satchel Paige," Cobb was the standard, so if you wanted to praise an outfielder, you said he measured up to that standard.

For Pete Hill's low-average years, we ought to do a study of his teammates. It's known that the Chicago American Giants played in an extreme pitchers' park; how well did anybody hit there, that's the question.

The inference I draw from Hill's stats is that he had a career shaped mostly like Kelley's or Keeler's: very strong early peak, and then a long stretch of average-to-good years, with a Sheckard-like revival in 1919 when he got away from the Chicago ballpark and Rube Foster's brand of small ball.
   177. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 02:05 PM (#511493)
would choose about 11 players for the period from 1925-1940,

Er, I was thinking more like 18-25, not 11.

Referring back to my earlier demographics post #220, so far we've elected about 12-15 players per birth decade. The period 1925-40 corresponds roughly to the Census 1900 group (birthyear 1896-1905). If we elect 18-25 Negro League players from this timespan, or even 11, plus a healthy selection from the following MLB players - Averill, Bottomley, Cochrane, Combs, Cuyler, Ferrell, Frisch, Gehrig, Gehringer, Goslin, Grove, Hafey, Hartnett, Hornsby, Hoyt, Hubbell, T.Jackson, Klein, Lazzeri, Lindstrom, Lyons, Manush, Ruffing, Sewell, Simmons, Terry, Traynor, Waner(2) - we're definitely starting to subscribe to Frisch's theory that the most meritorious ballplayers of all time played during this short period. I know we're going to thin out the MLB players; I think an expectations reality check is also in order in terms of thinning out the Negro League players, who may also be overrepresented in the HOF from during this same time period.
   178. Chris Cobb Posted: April 22, 2004 at 02:27 PM (#511494)
Since we're talking quota-type numbers again, I'll also reference a previous post of mine on this list, #191, which looks at the quota issue by comparing the number of election spots available in the HoM between 1920 and 1960 (the period in which we'll be electing the vast majority of negro-league players) and the number of HoFers who retired between 1914 and 1954.

Based on a cursory survey of those players and the top ML-players on the outside looking in, I think we'll find room over that 40-year span for 20-25 negro-league players, to go with 53-58 major-league players.
   179. Paul Wendt Posted: April 22, 2004 at 02:29 PM (#511495)
Here is hint re what data may become available during this 21st century decade.

1923 Negro National League is now available from "Replay Games", proprietor Peter Ventura.
   180. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 02:31 PM (#511496)
BTW, you any relation to Tyrus? I see you're located down sout' dere.

If he is, I'm confident he doesn't have any of the Peach's racial baggage. :-)
   181. Chris Cobb Posted: April 22, 2004 at 02:38 PM (#511497)
BTW, you any relation to Tyrus? I see you're located down sout' dere.

Not to my knowledge. My roots are in the Midwest.
   182. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 07:54 PM (#511498)
Chris, you're projecting about 80 players for a 40-year span, or roughly 20 players per census decade. The project covers about 12 decades 1870-1990, so that's 240 players (slightly high). If each player has about a 15 year career, then there would be about 30 HOMers playing at any given time.

Some may contest this distribution, arguing that there should be more players from the modern/expansion era because there were more players playing, drawn from a deeper pool. Is there any desire to debate on this topic, or will we deal with that when we get there (and start electing 3-to-4 players per year)?
   183. Chris Cobb Posted: April 22, 2004 at 08:08 PM (#511499)
Chris, you're projecting about 80 players for a 40-year span, or roughly 20 players per census decade.

Yes; in fact, the period in question is scheduled to have two electees per season almost every year throughout. There are three one-electee seasons early in this stretch, and one three-electee year (the first) near the end, so the actual number of players we will elect, in 41 elections 1920-1960, unless we change the number of electees per year again, will be 79.
   184. Chris Cobb Posted: April 22, 2004 at 08:21 PM (#511500)
Sorry, my basic math is off -- it will be 80, of course: 82-3+1 . . .
   185. karlmagnus Posted: April 22, 2004 at 08:26 PM (#511501)
If we're electing 80 from this period, and African Americans were no more than 12 percent of the population (it varied a bit), that suggests 9.6 Negro League stars. I would favor slightly more than that, because we shouldn't be lily-white before 1920 and Grant has a good claim, but 12 would be an upper bound, I think, which allows for the odd Cuban. Certainly 20 seems too many, other than through affirmative action, which I wouldn't support.

Of course we don't want a rigid quota, but a guide, similar to that of do we have too many shrtstops, or enough pitchers, would seem reasonable.
   186. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 08:42 PM (#511502)
Karl:

What was the percentage of players of Irish ancestry in the majors during the 19th century? I would think it was much greater than the actual number of Irish people in the country (okay, I know it was much greater :-).

We have to be careful using an ethnic group's percentage of the population as the basis for a quota.
   187. karlmagnus Posted: April 22, 2004 at 08:58 PM (#511503)
Yes, I agree, the percentage of Irish players in the 19th century majors was much higher than their share in the population, because they tended to be urban, and a number of socioeconomic factors drove them towards baseball.

Before WWII, neither of those factors drove African-Americans towards baseball, indeed the ruralness of the African American population, and the lack of opportunities for African Americans in the rural South would have tended to limit their baseball participation (if baseball participation in Negro leagues was easy and attractive for rural southern blacks, why weren't there lots of top quality teams in places like Jackson, Miss., which hd a heavily populated African-American hinterland?)

Thus it is not reasonable to expect the number of great African American ballplayers to be significatly in excess of their share of the population (though the smallness of the sample sizes means there could certainly be some variation, up or down, from the exact proportion.)

Pretending that say 25 pre-1947 African American ballplayers were HOM-worthy, without VERY solid evidence, is venturing into gesture politics, a place I'm not prepared to follow.
   188. Chris Cobb Posted: April 22, 2004 at 09:12 PM (#511504)
Karl, probably you're not going to change your mind, but nevertheless, I'll say again: your population-based rough quota is nonsense.

If you look at the members of the Hall of Fame who retired between 1965 and the present, which is the era in which we begin to find black players who played virtually their entire careers in the integrated game, we find the following ethnic distribution (if my quick hand-count is correct):

34 white players
   189. jimd Posted: April 22, 2004 at 09:19 PM (#511505)
We have to be careful using an ethnic group's percentage of the population as the basis for a quota.

Yes, we do. That's why I spent the time on the demographic studies above. They help explain the paucity of strong black candidates during the 19th century and early 20th century, and show how the southern invasion of the white majors should be paralleled by a dramatic rise in the quality of northern "blackball". As both groups tapped the South for players, the talent pool got much, much deeper.
   190. karlmagnus Posted: April 22, 2004 at 09:21 PM (#511506)
Chris, the socioeconomic factors that operated for birth cohorts before about 1920 reversed themselves during the New Deal and particularly WWII and therafter (partly from the invention of cotton picking machinery, which hit the South in the decade after 1945.) The percentage of urban African Americans shot up, and their economic status went from hopeless, and therefore immobile, to disadvantaged but mobile, at which point sports looked like a good way out of the slums. It would have been a good way off the plantation in 1880, too, but the facilities weren't there.

Also the ability of African Americans to become HOM-worthy ballplayers enormously increased when baseball was integrated, because they were able to develop in the minors, whch was not nearly so possible for earlier players seeking to compete in the Negro Leagues.
   191. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 22, 2004 at 09:21 PM (#511507)
Pretending that say 25 pre-1947 African American ballplayers were HOM-worthy, without VERY solid evidence, is venturing into gesture politics, a place I'm not prepared to follow.

Karl, I'm not "pretending." I have no quota telling me how many can (or how many can't, for that matter) enter the Hall. As of right now, I don't know if there are fifteen who belong or fifty.

I'm trying to analyze all the evidence available. It's not easy, but it's the fair and proper thing to do.
   192. karlmagnus Posted: April 22, 2004 at 09:30 PM (#511508)
John, I absolutely agree. So far, I'm convinced on Grant, marginal on Johnson, lean against on Hill, Monroe and Foster, and expect to be convinced on Poles. Others will of course disagree, but that's why we have voting. I do however expect to lean against the wind when we're looking at the 1935-45 candidates, who have benefited hugely from publicity.
   193. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 22, 2004 at 10:19 PM (#511509)
Before WWII, neither of those factors drove African-Americans towards baseball, indeed the ruralness of the African American population, and the lack of opportunities for African Americans in the rural South would have tended to limit their baseball participation (if baseball participation in Negro leagues was easy and attractive for rural southern blacks, why weren't there lots of top quality teams in places like Jackson, Miss., which hd a heavily populated African-American hinterland?)

Few things: first, the migration of blacks to the urban cities in the North really began with WWI, not WWII. It reached a new high with WWII, but it was going on before then (& is a primary cause the in the string of race riots the nation experienced around 1919, but that's another story).

Second, just because there were no teams in Jackson, MS doesn't mean there weren't black ballplayers coming out of there. I don't see much difference in your argument & saying if there are so many great Dominican players, why ain't there a team out there? If teams from the larger cities have effective scounting/recruitment tools & techniques at their disposal they can get the best players from that region. While blackball didn't have the minor league system of whiteball, they did have frequent barnstorming tours throughout the nation (& Cuba) including the South. In reading things like Blackball Stars by John Holway, I was struck by just how many of the players were southern born.

And since they were getting blacks from the South to play in Kansas City & Pittsburg, socioeconomic factors come in to aid the Negro Leagues. It was a way to get out of the black belt & earn actual money, rather than stay in debt on a sharecropper's farm in Jim Crow South.
   194. Marc Posted: April 22, 2004 at 11:22 PM (#511510)
When we're done with this project, let's elect an NBA Hall of Merit.

I think about 12 percent of the honorees should be black!

Discuss.
   195. Chris Cobb Posted: April 23, 2004 at 02:01 AM (#511513)
To Chris J.'s and yest's pertinent posts, I'll add a few more responses to Karlmagnus's historical analysis.

Chris J. wrote:

If teams from the larger cities have effective scounting/recruitment tools & techniques at their disposal they can get the best players from that region. While blackball didn't have the minor league system of whiteball, they did have frequent barnstorming tours throughout the nation (& Cuba) including the South. In reading things like Blackball Stars by John Holway, I was struck by just how many of the players were southern born.

In addition, there were Negro major league teams _in_ the South from the 1920s on. The Memphis Red Sox and Birmingham Black Barons joined the Negro National League in 1924 and were both major teams in Negro baseball from that time to the demise of the Negro majors in 1950. The Negro Southern League, which had the status of a high minor league, was also active in the 1920s. In 1922, according to Holway, there were teams in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Montgomery, Birmingham, New Orleans, Chattanooga, and Louisville. When all the North-centered leagues collapsed in the Depression, it became the major circuit for black baseball for the 1932 season.

Black baseball appears to have been at least as organized in the South as white baseball was. Baseball didn't wait for black Americans to come north, it went to them.

Karlmagnus wrote:

Also the ability of African Americans to become HOM-worthy ballplayers enormously increased when baseball was integrated, because they were able to develop in the minors, whch was not nearly so possible for earlier players seeking to compete in the Negro Leagues.

This is surely wrong. It's not as if the major teams were the only black ballclubs in existence. By the mid 1920s, there were lower black leagues, and the records show that there were lots of lesser black teams in existence. Many, if not most players from 1900 on have a history of play for lesser teams before they caught on with a major club. This arrangement is no different structurally from that in white baseball prior to the development of farm systems. _That_ didn't begin until the 1930s, and wasn't complete until the 1950s, so it has little bearing on differences between white and black baseball.

So far, I'm convinced on Grant, marginal on Johnson, lean against on Hill, Monroe and Foster, and expect to be convinced on Poles. Others will of course disagree, but that's why we have voting. I do however expect to lean against the wind when we're looking at the 1935-45 candidates, who have benefited hugely from publicity.

Unlike those poor unknowns who toiled away in the white leagues . . . Benefited hugely? Fifteen players from the Negro Leagues, 1920-1948, in the Hall of Fame, many of whom were inducted posthumously? The benefits have clearly been enormous!

Karlmagnus, can you _name_ off the top of your head, without consulting sources, thirty players who will be eligible candidates from the Negro Leagues during this eleven year stretch? If I recall correctly, you've professed not to have a great deal of knowledge about the Negro Leagues at a number of points. If _you_ don't know much, how are you in a position to claim that these players have benefited from publicity when you don't know anything about them?? _I_ knew next to nothing about them before this project began, except for a bit about the players in the Hall of Fame and the players who feature in some of Buck O'Neill's stories. So it's not my impression that there's been tons of publicity surrounding these players. Maybe I'm wrong, but I sure haven't seen all this publicity, and I don't get the sense that this electorate, which is composed of people who are pretty serious about their baseball history, feel generally that they've been exposed to too much promotion of the Negro League stars.
   196. Marc Posted: April 23, 2004 at 02:23 AM (#511514)
>So far, I'm convinced on Grant, marginal on Johnson, lean against
   197. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 23, 2004 at 02:45 PM (#511515)
OK, got the Macmillan right in front of me as I type away at the library's public access computer. In his dead yearw with the Chicago American Giants, Pete Hill did:

1914..25/108..231...5-0-1
   198. Marc Posted: April 23, 2004 at 03:31 PM (#511516)
> Pretending that say 25 pre-1947 African American ballplayers were HOM-worthy, without
   199. karlmagnus Posted: April 23, 2004 at 03:38 PM (#511517)
Marc, I was talking about players eligible or almost eligible. Off the top of my head, I also expect to be positive about Lloyd, Torriente, Charleston, Gibson, Leonard, Paige and Bell, and I'm sure there's at least 3-4 more that the process will bring to my attention. But not 12-15 more. A number of the NL players currently in the HOF appear to have benefited from a "Frankie Frisch effect" so I intend to lean somewhat against Negro League players from the most popular era, while in no way slighting the obvious ones.

The statistical evidence, even from the 1930s, is partial and un-benchmarked; rather than giving every 30s player the "benefit of the doubt" I prefer to reserve that for the earlier players who are even more obscure.

As I said, Frank Grant makes my PHOM this year; if this group really wanted 25 Negro league HOM members, it would have elected him in 1909, since he's pretty clearly among the top 25.
   200. Marc Posted: April 23, 2004 at 04:05 PM (#511518)
>The statistical evidence, even from the 1930s, is partial and un-benchmarked; rather than giving
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