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— 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 4 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4
   301. DL from MN Posted: March 20, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2314734)
I'd like to see new MLEs for Dick Lundy and in recognition of the support for Keith Hernandez, Ben Taylor. Alejandro Oms and Ray Dandridge could also benefit.
   302. sunnyday2 Posted: March 20, 2007 at 06:31 PM (#2314802)
My question re. Bus Clarkson is this. If a guy is really really really really deeply immersed in the NeLs, is he necessarily the best judge of--or is he possibly negatively biased toward--players whose case was made outside of that arena?
   303. Chris Cobb Posted: March 20, 2007 at 07:52 PM (#2314850)
I'd like to see new MLEs for Dick Lundy and in recognition of the support for Keith Hernandez, Ben Taylor. Alejandro Oms and Ray Dandridge could also benefit.

I'm definitely going to do new MLEs for Lundy. For Taylor, only the second half of his career is covered by the HoF data, but I can run the numbers on him for that period. Oms I can also do, although as the new data doesn't cover his Cuban play, any significant changes in his line will have less effect on his MLEs.

Dandridge was elected to the HoF some time ago, however, so his stats aren't among those provided on the Hof site. If they would ever get around to releasing the complete data in the Encyclopedia they are supposed to be publishing, we'd have better data on him, but at present we don't.

My question re. Bus Clarkson is this. If a guy is really really really really deeply immersed in the NeLs, is he necessarily the best judge of--or is he possibly negatively biased toward--players whose case was made outside of that arena?

It certainly seems to me that John Holway is much less likely to be a good judge of Bus Clarkson than he is of Dick Lundy. I'd be interested, however, in hearing what he had to say about a set of 1940s players who spent a lot of time in Mexico or in the minors -- Trouppe, Clarkson, Wright, Easter, Marvin Williams, Artie Wilson -- to find out more how he has dealt with the records of those players. If he has clearly considered their records outside the NeL, then his judgments would carry more weight. Everything I have seen suggests that, in general, NeL historians have really focused on the NeL, and not on the Latin American leagues where North American Blacks also played.
   304. DL from MN Posted: March 20, 2007 at 08:03 PM (#2314858)
I agree, his statement that Clarkson is a "minor player" is true in the context of the Negro Leagues but doesn't seem to apply in our context. I do respect is opinion on Dick Lundy though since that is his area of expertise.
   305. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 21, 2007 at 06:19 PM (#2315389)
Now that I'm back from my trip, I'm planning to tackle Clarkson next. Marv Williams is also in my sights. I'll hit Ray Dandridge too in the near future per the request. I've got to finish a study of MxL quality before any one else gets done with. I hope to complete that within a week's time, and I'll try to push out the MxL guys as quickly as I can thereafter. I've had a seperate request for Bill Wright as well, so I'll go ahead and do him too.

Chris, it looks like you'll have your hands full with Lundy, Taylor, and Oms, so I'm going to leave them to you!!! ; )

And yes, I think Holway, with all due respect, is right and wrong. In the NgLs, Clarkson is, essentially, a minor player with only a few seasons in the leagues. In the grander scheme, he's an important, overlooked player in the integration period.
   306. Chris Cobb Posted: March 22, 2007 at 03:37 PM (#2315847)
I've done a first pass through MLEs for Lundy using his HoF numbers, and what I have found is that, while the new numbers show him with a better on-base percentage, due to a much higher walk rate, the new numbers also cut his slugging percentage by what turns out to be a corresponding amount, so his career OPS+ stays just about the same, although he now appears to be a league average hitter in terms of OBP and a bit below average in terms of SLG. If he was a historically great defensive shortstop, his overall profile would be pretty similar to Phil Rizzuto, a player with (given war credit for Rizzuto) around 2000 games, great defense, and an OPS+ of around 94.

A considerable part of the slugging drop comes from the loss of what appeared in the old data to be Lundy's best offensive season. It looks, in retrospect, like a case in which Holway accidentally added two seasons together, thus double-counting one season's worth of extra base hits for Lundy. The rest of the drop comes from just a bit lower power numbers, season by season, than the old data suggested.

I still have a little fine-tuning to do to see if I can make the BB projections any more precise, to re-check my playing time projections, and make sure that there aren't any systemic errors in the calculations, and then I have to format the data for posting. I should have a full writeup of Lundy posted, along with some observations about the implications of the HoF data for the existing MLEs.

I'll add one note on those implications: one thing that I was very pleased to discover is that my old estimates about batting average and slugging levels for the NeLs relative to the majors were quite accurate: except for 1930, the batting average estimate never varied by more than 3% from the actual league average from the HoF data. The slugging levels, which were derived by squaring the ba levels with a few eyeball adjustments to that, were a bit more erratic, but, again, except for 1930, they were mostly accurate to within 3%, with inaccuracies of 5-6% in a few seasons. Considering that I had arrived at those estimates primarily by comparing the median averages among the starting position players listed by Holway (with no counting stats at all) to major-league median averages and correcting for the usual variance between median and mean, I had worried that my original estimates would be subject to much greater inaccuracies than they were. That the estimates were pretty good also suggests that Holway's data, in the aggregate, is also pretty good. It may have quite a few individual errors of the sort that inflates one of Lundy's seasons greatly, so that any individual stat has to be viewed with some skepticism, but as a broad statistical picture of the Negro Leagues, it turns out to be pretty good. That's nice to know, since it's still the only broad statistical source we have, until the HoF Encyclopedia is printed, if it ever is . . .
   307. Paul Wendt Posted: December 20, 2008 at 04:23 PM (#3034640)
See what I have highlighted bold in the quotation below.
Does anyone have this list of major biographies in the Riley encyclopedia? (At the moment I have read & skimmed page one only.)
During what timespan(s) did JeffM participate here?

The remainder of the quotation is FYI. By the way I suppose that the numbering changed at least once when many posts were lost in a website hiccup. So "KJOK's #98 lists" may refer to #98 in this thread.

quote from this thread with my emphases
>>
38. Jeff M Posted: June 02, 2003 at 12:44 PM (#511314)
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.

. . .
66. Jeff M Posted: September 13, 2003 at 10:53 AM (#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?</i>
   308. Paul Wendt Posted: November 25, 2009 at 10:04 PM (#3396958)
"Negro Leagues" threads listed in Hall of Merit "Important Links"


Discussion of Negro League candidates
: That's the listing for this thread and it describes what this has become. This is the most general thread for concerned with consideration of "Negro Leagues" players for the Hall of Merit. It's title "All Time Negro League All-Stars" is now a misnomer.


Links to discussions of Negro League Candidates
Links to discussions of Latino Stars/Candidates

: just what they say. linked lists of the player threads without substantial discussion


Hall of Fame’s 2006 Negro League Election
: just what it says
488 items, July 2005 to August 2007. strictly limited to the 2005/2006 special election. The first half mainly concern the HOM response to the Screening Committee call for nominations (by letter delivered at SABR35 in August) and a second letter to the Screening Committee before its meeting that fall. The second half features the run-up to February 2006 meeting of the entire committee, news and opinion coverage of the outcome.


Negro League Win Share Estimates
: never became the home for what it says (see the player threads, primarily)
15 items, April to June 2005.


Reevaluating Negro League Pitchers
: what it says
140 items, May to August 2005. a big deal led by Marc sunnyday2 and Eric Chalek (Dr Chaleeko)
   309. Paul Wendt Posted: November 25, 2009 at 10:11 PM (#3396975)
At Hall of Merit "Important Links" this thread is called "Discussion of Negro League candidates", which fits. This is the most general thread about electing "Negro Leagues" players for the Hall of Merit. It's title "All Time Negro League All-Stars" is now a misnomer.


At "2010 Ballot Discussion" #471ff (#471-481 as I write) there is a discussion of the rise and fall of formal Negro Leagues in terms of major league expansion around 1920 and contraction around 1950; the 1930s as a time of expanded and perhaps relatively low quality major leagues; the 1950s as a time of contracted and relatively high quality major leagues. So far it is concerned not so much with NeL players as candidates but with major league players of the 1920s to 1950s, such as Earl Averill, Al Rosen, and Don Newcombe.
   310. DL from MN Posted: March 22, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4086745)
Where should this new info on Negro League stats go? please transfer it to there

http://www.sports-reference.com/blog/2012/03/negro-league-stats-1903-1948/
----------------
Thanks Howie. I plan on sponsoring a Negro League player page to commemorate this news. Most of them are available for $10. Anyone else want to join me? It would be great to sponsor all the HoM not HoF Negro Leaguers on behalf of the Hall of Merit.

Something like:

"Inducted to the Hall of Merit in the XXXX election." along with a link to the Hall of Merit main page.

I'll move this discussion to the Negro Leaguers thread.
   311. DL from MN Posted: March 22, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4086785)
Unsponsored Hall of Merit Negro League players and their pages:

Quincy Trouppe $10
Larry Doby $70

Unsponsored candidates:

Bus Clarkson $10

There are a bunch of unsponsored "tribute pages" for $10 but I would want to make sure they aren't headed for elimination.
   312. KJOK Posted: May 04, 2012 at 01:05 AM (#4123189)
1910 and 1911 have been added to the Seamheads.com Negro Leagues database. Check out the year Pete Hill had in 1910:

Pete Hill Career Stats

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