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Monday, April 04, 2005

Biz Mackey

Biz Mackey

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 04, 2005 at 01:19 AM | 240 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Gary A Posted: April 11, 2005 at 08:44 PM (#1248975)
Another couple of Mackey tidbits. I don't have time right now to dig up the actual quotations, but in 1924/25 the Pittsburgh Courier (mostly Rollo Wilson, I guess) was quite derisive of Mackey's infield play, saying he should stay behind the plate where he belonged. In a 1924 issue of the Philadelphia Tribune, almost as a reply to the Courier, a caption to a photo of Mackey says something like, "And they said a big man couldn't be a shortstop!"

What I take away from this is that, even before the infamous '24 WS incident, there was considerable questioning about whether he should be playing short or third. His error in the WS (and Santop's muff) appears to have pretty much decided the question, though he still played in the infield occasionally for years after that.
   102. Chris Cobb Posted: April 13, 2005 at 03:12 AM (#1252133)
Biz Mackey Win Shares

(finally)


Year BWS    FWS  Total
1920 14.0   4.1   18.1
1921 12.4   5.1   17.5
1922 19.6   3.8   23.4
1923 18.9   6.8   25.7
1924 12.9   6.5   19.4
1925 10.6   6.1   16.7
1926 11.6   8.1   19.7
1927  9.8   8.2   18.0
1928 11.7   7.5   19.2
1929  6.1   8.8   14.9
1930 11.0   7.7   18.7
1931 10.6   6.5   17.1
1932   
1933  4.6   5.6   10.2
1934  2.5   2.4    4.9
1935  0.0   4.6    4.6
1936  0.4   5.0    5.4
1937  1.8   4.0    5.8
1938  1.2   3.1    4.3
1939  2.9   3.7    6.6
1940  1.5   2.3    3.8
1941  1.4   2.4    3.8
tot 165.5 112.3  277.8



Notes

Mackey estimated as 6.5 ws/1000 innings as a catcher (A)
Mackey estimated as a C shortstop, third baseman, and outfielder for seasons in which he played those positions.
   103. OCF Posted: April 13, 2005 at 04:05 AM (#1252202)
Question: how does that compare to Rick Ferrell?
   104. yest Posted: April 13, 2005 at 04:18 AM (#1252219)
if Mackey makes the HoM what cap should he where.
   105. David C. Jones Posted: April 13, 2005 at 05:22 AM (#1252303)
Without crunching the data for the peak years, here's where Mackey's estimated career Win Shares would rank among fellow catchers. I'm not going to count active players, as I don't have the up-to-date totals.

1. Yogi Berra 375
2. Carlton Fisk 368
3. Johnny Bench 356
4. Gary Carter 337
5. Gabby Hartnett 325
6. Ted Simmons 315
Joe Torre 315
8. Bill Dickey 314
9. King Kelly 278
10. Biz Mackey 278
11. Mickey Cochrane 275
12. Bill Freehan 267
13. Lance Parrish 248
14. Wally Schang 245
15. Buck Ewing 241
16. Roger Bresnahan 231
Gene Tenace 231
18. Darrell Porter 222
19. Ernie Lombardi 218
20. Bob Boone 210

Rick Ferrell has 206 WS.
   106. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 13, 2005 at 09:09 AM (#1252480)
I can't believe how his stock has dropped. I see a guy that fits pretty nicely in the list David Jones posted (#105). BTW - where is Campanella David? Did he really have less than 210 WS?

Are you guys forgetting that he was a CATCHER??? Catcher is off the charts defensively, in terms of importance, and career length obviously suffers. I can't believe I saw someone comparing him to Beckwith, who probably wouldn't have even played SS in the majors, he most likely would've been a 3B.

The guy is 95% of the player Mickey Cochrane was at his peak, then he tacks on another decade as a good D no-hit catcher and that isn't worthy of being near the top of the ballot? I'm floored here.

I realize he isn't as good as what we were expecting, but he's still probably the 6th best eligible catcher at this point (not counting McVey who is a catcher by default) behind White, Hartnett, Ewing, Cochrane and Santop. He's clearly ahead of Schang in my opinion (just as good of a hitter with many more games caught and better defense).

I can't see placing him lower than #4 on my ballot behind the 3 pitchers (Hubbell, Rixey, Lyons). I'll probably have him #2, though I'm still debating.
   107. TomH Posted: April 13, 2005 at 11:23 AM (#1252495)
hey Chris - one more request :)

I often use WS/162 as well as career WS. Can you post Mackey's estimated games played so I can convert them? I am very interetse din seeing how Mackey lines up to compare with Schang and Bresnahan for example:
catcher careerWS WS/162
Bresnhn ..231 ...25.9
Schang ...245 ...21.6
Mackey ...278 ...??.?
   108. Gary A Posted: April 13, 2005 at 01:11 PM (#1252531)
if Mackey makes the HoM what cap should he where.

I'd say Hilldale, since that's where he spent his prime (1923-31).
   109. Chris Cobb Posted: April 13, 2005 at 01:23 PM (#1252537)
Tom,

see post 29 on page one for a season-by-season breakdown of games used for estimating win shares, though you should move 70 games from 1934 to 1927.

My estimate of Mackey's career MLE games is 2255, so

Mackey ...278 ... 20.0

Joe,

Campanella has 207 ws, so he really is under 210. Of course, with credit for NeL years and minor-league years when he was being held back, he'd be up a good deal higher.

Mackey's career ws total is impressive, but keep in mind that he has three seasons primarily not as a catcher at the beginning of his career, which gives him something of an advantage over the full career catchers on this list: it's not _quite_ as good as it looks.

He's better than Schang, for sure, but I don't see his totals as clearly breaking him out above the backlog.
   110. karlmagnus Posted: April 13, 2005 at 01:35 PM (#1252553)
Chris, when you pro-rate to 154 games, do you pro-rate exactly? In other words, if Biz played 70 of 77 games, do you assume 140 of 154? If so, I think that's an overestimate for a catcher, who wears down game by game and can't play more than a certain number per season however long the schedule, but can generally manage a 70-80 game NL schedule.

This doesn't affect his OPS+ and averages, but does inflate his WS. I think it unlikely he was in reality better than Schang, who had a higher OPS+, more adjusted hits in the early part of his career, and didn't carry on artificially picking up a few WS per annum at the end of his career. Either way it's close, but I would put him significantly but not hugely below Schang rather than above him.
   111. Gary A Posted: April 13, 2005 at 01:54 PM (#1252581)
This is from my post on the ballot thread:

Here are the percentages of a team's games caught by their top (or regular) catchers, for the 1921 and 1928 Negro Leagues, compared to the major league figures for the same years:

1921 NeL regular catchers caught in 401 of their teams' 649 games, or 62 percent (ranging for individual teams from 54 to 84 percent)
1921 NL 773/1226, 63% (range 60-72%)
1921 AL 968/1232, 79% (range 71-91%)

1928 NeL west 423/593, 71% (range 44-94%)
1928 NeL east 174/280, 62% (range 42-79%)

1928 NL 810/1228, 66% (range 49-81%)
1928 AL 741/1234, 60% (range 46-85%)

All NeL teams, 1921 & 28 (24 teams) 998/1522, 66%
ALL ML teams, 21 & 28 3292/4920, 67%

In other words, major league regular catchers started 67% of their teams' games in these two years; NeL regular catchers started 66% of theirs. There's no difference.

(Note: NeL total games come out to an odd number occasionally because I didn't include a few teams that played only a handful of games against top competition.)
   112. Chris Cobb Posted: April 13, 2005 at 02:02 PM (#1252591)
Karl,

No, I don't pro-rate. I created the games estimates for Mackey by looking at the typical percentages of team games caught by major-league contemporaries like Hartnett and Ferrell over the course of their careers and in their prime seasons (data compiled by Dr. Chaleeko and posted above) and assigned playing time to Mackey on a seasonal basis in a way that would conform to the typical catcher career path for his era.

If you look back to the games played estimates in post 29 on page 1, you'll see that I only estimated Mackey at above 130 games a few times after he became a full-time catcher, and I never estimated him at 140 games or above, once he became a full-time catcher. When he was playing mostly infield in 1921 and 1922, I estimated him at 150 games.

I couldn't do playing time by a strict pro-rating, even if I thought it woudl be a good idea, actually. Aside from Gary A.'s excellent numbers for 1921 and 1928, I don't have access to what I view as reliable data for player-games or team-games, so I have to estimate games played based on comparisons to major-leaguers and whatever we have of injury history.
   113. karlmagnus Posted: April 13, 2005 at 02:05 PM (#1252596)
Small sample size; the variation within the leagues is far greater than the difference between them. You can't draw a meaningful conclusion from the stats as to whether there was a difference or not, you have only 2 data points.

Anyway, on the Mackey/Schang comparison: if you take Mackey's whole career, making it longer than Schang, he had an OPS+ of 100 compared with Schang's 118. If you take just the first half of his career, with an OPS+ of 115, Schang had more adjusted (to 130 game basis) hits and a higher OPS+. Either way, Schang wins, albeit by a modest margin.
   114. karlmagnus Posted: April 13, 2005 at 02:07 PM (#1252599)
Chris, thank you. In that case your PT estimates for Mackey are unbiased, and as accurate as the data allows. But for reasons in my post 113 above, I think Schang was still a little better.
   115. TomH Posted: April 13, 2005 at 02:24 PM (#1252627)
Thanks, Chris. Mackey deserves to be in my top 25. Figuring out where is a bear. Seems very Schang-like with a great reputation.
   116. Gary A Posted: April 13, 2005 at 02:26 PM (#1252631)
I should say "played in 67% of their teams' games," not "started."
   117. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 13, 2005 at 03:36 PM (#1252733)
Wow, even worse than I had expected. I thought that his peak would be pretty nice with the High OPS+ and SLG numbers early in his career, guess not. I do have an adjustment up for catcher, but right now he looks to be in Schang/Schalk territory. Bresnahan, my top catcher, is at #19.

Karl,

The one thing your post doesn't take into consideration is Mackey's great defense. With that factored in I beleive the difference bewteen them is smaller than you make it out to be.

Joe,

From 1934 on, Mackey gave very little to his teams. He gets next to no credit for those years in my system. They add about 40 Win shares to his total over 8 seasons. His peak seems to be 25,23,20, which is even less than I had figured after looking at the MLE's.

In other words, we are talking about a mediocre peak with a career WS total inflated by sticking around as a sub-par player. We may disagree on the value of those eight seasons, but he won't make my ballot because I don't think those seasons edge him any closer to the HOM.
   118. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2005 at 04:13 PM (#1252799)
Great stuff, Chris!

One question: you have Biz with 18 WS and 55 games for '27, but his stats don't look like they warrant that many WS. Am I missing something?
   119. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 13, 2005 at 04:15 PM (#1252804)
Right now, I rank the eligible catchers as

Bresnahan
Mackey
Schang
Schalk

The first two seem to be definitively above the other two per my system. Mackey's estimated peak/prime/extended prime don't compare well to the Duke's, and Mackey's long, slow end-of-career phase doesn't lend his case much credence.

Of course est WS are not the end of the story, just a starting point. The concerns I have are that Mackey's story may not be complete, his post 1934-slide may look worse than it is if xBH were underreported by his local newspapers. On the other hand, I'm not sure that if he really was posting OPSes that bad that he wouldn't have washed out of MLB much more quickly than he did the NgLs, making his career total more comparable to that of Bresnahan or Schang.

For another look at him, I used the SBE to sort his MLE AVG and OPS season by season against big leaguers with similar playing time in his prime years (1920-1933). Here's the entire list with his comps' WS for that season in parentheses.

1920 d robertson(20); I meusel (17); h myers(27); r chapman(20); fournier(19)

1921 sheeley(15); shanks(21); konetchy(13)

1922 cu walker(16); tierney(15); wheat(27)

1923 e collins (24)

1924 critz(14); g robertson(14); dykes(16); tioga burns(12); wrightstone(11)

1925 j sewell(24); barnhart(19); traynor (26); bancroft(22); bing Miller(13); sheely(20)

1926 bancroft(20); gl wright(17); mokan(12); g kelly(17); ruel(18); e combs(19); kamm(22)

1927 tobin(9); grimm(15); boley(12)

1928 koenig(20); j welsh(15); h rice(15); s west(10); doug taitt(13)

1929 e allen(13); c jamieson(7)

1930 s west(18); f leach(15); p whitney(16); bartell(18)

1931 stripp(15); roettger(11); h hendrick(16)

1932?

1933 johnny burnett (6)

I'm not certain what to make of this list. In Mackey's best seasons, there are appearances by HOMers or near HOMers, but in none of those seasons is the comparable player having a peak season. So as a hitter, not taking position into account, I think we're talking about what amounts to an occasional All-Star (say, once, twice, or thrice) who would fit into the glut near Sewell, Bancroft, Traynor, Lazzeri, and the raft of players of their caliber but who wouldn't be quite as good as them with the stick.
   120. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 13, 2005 at 04:19 PM (#1252810)
John,

Not to answer for Chris, but I think there was a post earlier where Gary or Gadfly suggested the total G for 1927 should be for full-time play, and Chris followed that suggestion.
   121. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2005 at 04:23 PM (#1252818)
Right now, I rank the eligible catchers as

Bresnahan
Mackey
Schang
Schalk


I have it now as:

Bresnahan
Schang
Mackey
McGuire
   122. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2005 at 04:24 PM (#1252822)
Not to answer for Chris, but I think there was a post earlier where Gary or Gadfly suggested the total G for 1927 should be for full-time play, and Chris followed that suggestion.

Thanks, Eric. I must have missed that. I appreciate it.
   123. Chris Cobb Posted: April 13, 2005 at 04:42 PM (#1252862)
Dr. Chaleeko's answer is right, but I would add that, given information that Mackey was injured in 1934, there was a transfer of 70 games from 1934 to 1927. So the career g total remains the same, but those two seasons should be adjusted.
   124. Carl G Posted: April 13, 2005 at 04:59 PM (#1252905)
I feel as though, if Mackey played in the 'major leagues', we'd be arguing Mackey's career vs Bresnahan's peak. I try to include a mix of peak and career in my thoughts and am having trouble deciding between them as the best catcher on the ballot.
   125. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2005 at 06:15 PM (#1253151)
I feel as though, if Mackey played in the 'major leagues', we'd be arguing Mackey's career vs Bresnahan's peak. I try to include a mix of peak and career in my thoughts and am having trouble deciding between them as the best catcher on the ballot.

The problem that I see, Carl, is while Mackey beats Bresnahan by 46 projected WS (a 20% advantage for the Biz), the Duke of Tralee kills him here:

Bresnahan: 25.88 WS/162 Games
Mackey: 19.90 " "


...which is a 30% advantage for Bresnahan. Combined with his peak advantage over Mackey, I really don't think it's a contest.

Now, Bresnahan did play some games at other positions, so that has to be factored in. But Mackey also played quite a few games other than catcher early on, so I don't think that hurts Bresnahan too much.
   126. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2005 at 06:15 PM (#1253154)
Dr. Chaleeko's answer is right, but I would add that, given information that Mackey was injured in 1934, there was a transfer of 70 games from 1934 to 1927. So the career g total remains the same, but those two seasons should be adjusted.

Thanks, Chris.
   127. Gary A Posted: April 13, 2005 at 06:32 PM (#1253200)
Small sample size; the variation within the leagues is far greater than the difference between them. You can't draw a meaningful conclusion from the stats as to whether there was a difference or not, you have only 2 data points.

Well, there aren't 2 data points; there are 24 NeL teams and 32 ML teams. But I could also say: that's exactly the point. The best information we can put together now finds no difference between the majors and NeL in terms of percentage of games caught by regular catchers, despite the smaller NeL rosters. There's certainly no evidence that NeL catchers routinely caught higher percentages of league games than their ML counterparts.

I think you could question whether some of these catchers (Abreu, for example) could stay in a ML or integrated league lineup to the same extent, due to their hitting. I don't think there's any reason to believe that NeLers were, as a group, less durable as catchers.

Of course, as Chris points out, it's all academic anyway, since we only have good positional information for two seasons at the moment.

If anybody's interested, here are the top 15 regular catchers included in this little study, in terms of percentage of team games caught:

1. .938 Larry Brown, Mem 28 *NEL
2. .910 Cy Perkins, PhiA 21
3. .878 Bill Perkins, Bir 28 *NEL
4. .863 Wally Schang, NYA 21
5. .850 Mickey Cochrane, PhiA 28
6. .841 Eufemio Abreu, CSW 21 *NEL
7. .818 Hank Severeid, SLA 21
8. .818 Ray Schalk, ChiA 21
9. .813 Ted Radcliffe, Det 28 *NEL
10. .810 Z. Taylor, BosN 28
11. .800 Shanty Hogan, NYN 28
12. .793 Jose Fernandez, CSE 28 *NEL
13. .779 Jimmie Wilson, SLN 28
14. .774 Biz Mackey, Hil 28 *NEL
15. .766 Gabby Hartnett, ChiN 28

And the bottom fifteen:
42. .571 Hargrave, Det 28
43. .558 F. Bruggy, PhiN 21
44. .556 Otto Ray, ChiG 21 *NEL
45. .543 Robert Clarke, Bal 28 *NEL
46. .537 Frank Duncan, KC 21 *NEL
47. .532 Wally Shang, SLA 28
48. .516 Hank DeBerry, Bkn 28
49. .508 John Cason, Bach 28 *NEL
50. .507 Hargreaves, Pit 28
51. .506 Russ Powell, Ind 21 *NEL
52. .490 Crouse, ChiA 21
53. .487 Grabowski, NYA 28
54. .461 F. Hofman, BosA 28
55. .438 Eppie Hampton, Cle 28 *NEL
56. .421 Benito Calderon, Hom 28 *NEL

NeL ave: .656 (998/1522)
Mean ave: .648
Std dev: .133

ML ave: .669 (3292/4920)
Mean ave: .669
Std dev: .126

There's slightly more variation, up and down, among the NeL players, due to the smaller samples.
   128. karlmagnus Posted: April 13, 2005 at 06:40 PM (#1253240)
That's my point. An ML player playing 90% of the ML schedule isn't AS durable as an NEL player playing 90% of the NEL schedule of roughly half the length, he's TWICE as durable. Both within a season and over a career, it makes a hell of a difference -- even ignoring his hitting failings, there is now way in the world Mackey could have continued catching till 48-49 in the majors. James had a thoery in the first Historical Abstract (I think) that catchers hit a wall at about 1500 games caught (thus Torre, Benchhad to swicth positions.) It's been less true in the 90s because of better sports medecine but it certainly makes sense pre-1950.
   129. karlmagnus Posted: April 13, 2005 at 06:42 PM (#1253249)
Try that again without some of the typos.

That's my point. An ML player playing 90% of the ML schedule isn't AS durable as an NEL player playing 90% of the NEL schedule of roughly half the length, he's TWICE as durable. Both within a season and over a career, it makes a hell of a difference -- even ignoring his hitting failings, there is no way in the world Mackey could have continued catching till 48-49 in the majors. James had a theory in the first Historical Abstract (I think) that catchers hit a wall at about 1500 games caught (thus Torre, Bench had to switch positions.) It's been less true in the 90s because of better sports medicine but it certainly makes sense pre-1950.
   130. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2005 at 07:49 PM (#1253464)
An ML player playing 90% of the ML schedule isn't AS durable as an NEL player playing 90% of the NEL schedule of roughly half the length, he's TWICE as durable.

I see where you're going, karlmagnus. IOW, just because a catcher played every scheduled game in 1880 doesn't mean that he's comparable to to a catcher playing 162 games today. I definitely agree with that, though that doesn't necessarily mean that the 19th Century player couldn't play as many games as the contemporary player. I think the Mackey projected games are in the right ballpark - playing a great many games for his era as a backstop, but not winding up looking like an outlier, either.
   131. Gary A Posted: April 13, 2005 at 08:20 PM (#1253556)
I don't think anybody's arguing that Mackey would have continued catching until he was 48 years old in the majors or an integrated league.

You're saying that it was easier for NeL players to catch more of their schedule because the schedule was shorter, thus giving them more of a rest. I'm saying that the usage patterns are basically the same, but that statistical fluctuations are slightly larger in smaller samples (and it could go either way, up or down). In either case, there's not much of an effect; if you put the above lists of percentages for ML and NeL side by side, you couldn't tell them apart.

An ML player playing 90% of the ML schedule isn't AS durable as an NEL player playing 90% of the NEL schedule of roughly half the length, he's TWICE as durable.

What do you mean by "twice as durable"? I'm assuming you don't mean it literally--the implications would be kind of ridiculous.

I'll have to quote from the other part of my post on the ballot thread:

Negro League teams played more than just league games; they also played white semipro opponents, playing games almost every day during the season (sometimes amounting to as many as 200 games in a season). Because rosters were small (no more than 15-16, if that), and because some of the white semipro games were big draws and considered important games, the teams often couldn't rest their top players in non-league games.

Basically, you have to consider league games to be a sample of the whole schedule, without much difference in usage patterns between league and non-league games (since there really wasn't much room for resting regulars and so on). In other words, you can't assume that NeL catchers were saved to play the important league games and slacked off the rest of the time. (You CAN argue this for pitchers, to a limited extent, since teams carried 4-5 pitchers.) So unless you think that NeL catchers were inherently less durable or their games somehow produced less wear and tear, there's no evidence--none so far--that they should be penalized in some fashion.

This is actually an important point, because though it doesn't matter for Chris's MLEs at the moment, in the future we will have more comprehensive data on league games. And if the patterns of usage continue to be comparable to major league patterns, it would be silly to penalize NeL catchers according to an a priori assumption that they had it easy and got to loaf around when they weren't catching league games.
   132. Carl G Posted: April 13, 2005 at 08:35 PM (#1253618)
The problem that I see, Carl, is while Mackey 'beats Bresnahan by 46 projected WS (a 20% advantage for the Biz), the Duke of Tralee kills him here:

Bresnahan: 25.88 WS/162 Games
Mackey: 19.90 " "


...which is a 30% advantage for Bresnahan. Combined with his peak advantage over Mackey, I really don't think it's a contest.'

I generally agree with you, but I don't put alot of stock into WS/162 because it heavily punishes a player like Mackey who hung on for a long time with less than All-Star numbers. I would probably have Bresnahan ahead of Mackey at this point(which surprises me) because his peak advantage is greater(in my mind) than Mackey's career advantage. I do believe its a close fight though and both will be on my ballot and probably in the top 10.
   133. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2005 at 08:39 PM (#1253628)
I generally agree with you, but I don't put alot of stock into WS/162 because it heavily punishes a player like Mackey who hung on for a long time with less than All-Star numbers.

I definitely agree we shouldn't rely solely on that number, Carl. I do like the combination of WS/162 Games with the total amount of WS, though.
   134. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 13, 2005 at 09:16 PM (#1253746)
"a player like Mackey who hung on for a long time with less than All-Star numbers."

In Mackey's case, he was FAR below All-Star numbers. It really looks like he was Mike Matheny for the final eight years of his career (or Brad Ausmus or Bengie Molina to a degree) and that isn't pushing him any closer to the HOM. It is not taking anything away from his prime, but it doesnt' add anything either.
   135. ronw Posted: April 13, 2005 at 11:07 PM (#1254086)
It seems that the electorate thinks that Mackey should have retired in '32, rather than hang on.

If he had done so, he'd be somewhat closer to Bresnahan. Mackey's total WS would be 228, in 1580 games (per post #29 above, plus 70 games in 1927) which would give him a 23.38 WS/162 average.

I think for a catcher from 1920-1931, he had very good totals. Of course, Hartnett and Cochrane beat him, and Dickey would later, but Mackey's totals compared to contemporaries are superior. Surprisingly, his WS totals during those years are superior to the primes of not only Schang and Rick Ferrell, but also Ernie Lombardi. (Of course Schnozz's WS were accumulated more through hitting than fielding.)
   136. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2005 at 11:35 PM (#1254221)
It seems that the electorate thinks that Mackey should have retired in '32, rather than hang on.

If he had done that with my system, he would have done slightly worse.
   137. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 14, 2005 at 12:15 AM (#1254399)
It is not so much that I think that Mackey should have retired after 1932, whatever he wants to do with his life was his choice. If people wanted to pay him to play I think he made the right choice in playing baseball. I also don't think that it hurts his HOM candidacy as I don't really use metrics such as WS/162.

But I also don't think that he should be rated highly because he added about 40 WS while playing roughly replacement level ball for his final few years. I am really only grading him on that first period of his career and I am not sure it is enough. Again, he is the George Sisler of catchers.

That is my stance.
   138. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 14, 2005 at 12:27 AM (#1254459)
If he had done so, he'd be somewhat closer to Bresnahan. Mackey's total WS would be 228, in 1580 games (per post #29 above, plus 70 games in 1927) which would give him a 23.38 WS/162 average.

So Bresnahan would slightly beat Mackey by about a percentage point with WS, while besting him 11% using WS/162 Games. Overall, Bresnahan would be 12% better.

In my example from post #25, the Duke had a combined 10% adavantage. This indicates those crappy seasons Mackey piled on after 1931 helped him, but only by a small amount.
   139. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 14, 2005 at 02:28 AM (#1255187)
Biz Mackey, international man of mystery....

John,

I have to agree with your logic. Mackey's prime doesn't compare all that well with Bresnahan's prime. If a voter believes that he should have called it quits in 1933 or so, that doesn't change the fact that Mackey still wouldn't measure up to Duke Tralee.

I forgot to add a further wildcard to the Mackey mess. 1932: if he's touring Japan, as some sources claim he was, then he should probably be given MLE credit for that season. If, as some have supposed, he was injured, then he should not receive any credit. Given the nature of his MLE WS, you could gather that he might receive something like 12-15 MLE WS in a steady decline from 17 (in 1931) to 10 (in 1933), if you were inclined to credit him for that season.

With this type of credit, Mackey's 10 and 15-year prime/extended prime would start to edge a little beyond Raj's and make the comparison closer, though I don't think he would make up the big 3/5 year peak gaps.

Personally, I don't feel comfortable doing much of anything on that front as every source on his career seems to conflict on dates, events, injuries, everything. Unless one of our stellar researchers (and a big shout out to them right here!) uncovers some really reliable information on this front, I don't feel comfy taking a definitive stance on it.
   140. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 14, 2005 at 02:35 AM (#1255212)
I don't feel comfy taking a definitive stance on it.

Same here, Eric. I think we need to leave that to our intrepid band of researchers here.

Biz Mackey, international man of mystery....

Looks like Biz lost his mojo in '32 :-)
   141. David C. Jones Posted: April 14, 2005 at 10:00 PM (#1256929)
Personally, I don't feel comfortable doing much of anything on that front as every source on his career seems to conflict on dates, events, injuries, everything. Unless one of our stellar researchers (and a big shout out to them right here!) uncovers some really reliable information on this front, I don't feel comfy taking a definitive stance on it.

This question has been consuming me for much of this week. I still haven't heard back from my source who has a file on Mackey's tours of Japan. He said he'd give me some information but I don't have anything yet. I've tried searching every online source and newspaper database I can find. Of this I am fairly certain: whatever happened to Biz Mackey in 1932, be it a Japan tour, injury, or other, it was not reported on by the Baltimore Afro-American, or about 100 other white newspapers, who of course gave little coverage to the black leagues to begin with.
   142. David C. Jones Posted: April 14, 2005 at 10:11 PM (#1256960)
In case my source doesn't come through for me, I've gone ahead and ordered ILL copies of both black newspapers in Philadelphia for 1932. Hopefully one or the other will give us an answer.
   143. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2005 at 02:33 AM (#1258068)
Thanks, David. Mackey deserves to have his career analyzed as accurately as possible.
   144. Gadfly Posted: April 15, 2005 at 08:30 PM (#1259901)
I've been caught up with work (tax time, shudder) for the last two weeks so I haven't had time to pay any attention to Biz Mackey's thread; but it is quite interesting to come read it now.

The David Jones information on the 1932 lawsuit is new to me and very interesting. Neal Pullen was a very good hitting Negro League catcher, also from Texas just like Mackey, who permanently relocated to Los Angeles. Fascinating. It would also give Mackey good reason to get out of the country for a while.

A bunch of points:

1) Biz Mackey's birth year is sometimes given as 1897 and sometimes as 1899; but, to the best of my knowledge, the 1897 date is correct.

2) Mackey got his start in baseball playing on the Luling (Texas) town team in 1915 and 1916. One of his Luling teammates was Negro League power hitter Robert (Highpockets) Hudspeth, who was Mackey's cousin. Must have been a hell of a town team.

3) He played professionally in Texas from 1917 to 1920 with various teams, being sold to the Indy ABCs in mid-season 1920. One of the untold stories of the Negro Leagues is the immense amount of talent that came out of Texas, especially from 1915 to 1925.

4) Mackey was originally described as a right-handed hitter, but; by the mid-1920s, Mackey was being usually being described as a switch-hitter. Unfortunately, there is no smoking gun for this change as there is for Cool Papa Bell; but it appears that Mackey changed to switch-hitting in the mid-1920s, most probably after the 1923 season.

5) Throughout the 1920s, Mackey played in the California Winter League and, apparently loving the climate, made California his home. He became good friends with Lonnie Goodwin, a Texas-born LA-based baseball promoter who became a persona-non-grata with the Negro Leagues by promoting the 1927 in-season tour of Hawaii, the Phillipines, and Japan (which included Mackey).

6) In 1932, Goodwin once again organized a tour of the orient for his team, the Philadelphia Royal Giants. Mackey was on this team, which apparently left in mid-1932 and did not return until early 1933. The team reportedly went 23-1 in Japan. I also have notes that the team had an overall 49-2 record with evidently a lot of time spent at sea.

[There is a book, 'Gentle Giants', written by a Japanese member of SABR's Negro League Committee about this trip (and other Negro League trips) to Japan; but I can't find my copy at the moment.]

7) Goodwin also organized two other briefer trips to the Orient for both the 1933-34 and 1934-35 winter seasons and I believe that Mackey was on these Philadelphia Royal Giants' teams also.

8) In 1942 Mackey stayed in Los Angeles and played for the Los Angeles Colored Giants. At this time, LA had a very strong war-time industrial-based baseball League, lead in particular by the Northrop Bombers and the North American Aviation Mustangs.

9) The NAA Mustangs actually employed Chet Brewer, the great black pitcher, in 1943. I do not know whether Mackey played on an inter-racial team during this time or continued playing for the Colored Giants; but it's clear he was in LA for 1943 and 1944 playing baseball, most probably for an inter-racial team.

[Someday someone should do some research into the LA Sentinel (the black LA paper of the time) and resurrect that industrial league and its teams. Those teams spent quite a bit of time playing Military teams stocked with Major Leaguers, the most prominent being Joe D.]

10) Mackey died in LA in 1965, not 1959 as is sometimes listed.

Finally, I would like to once again point out that Chris Cobb's WS estimates and the OPS conversions that are deduced from them come from conversion factors that would make all of the greatest pre-integration players white.

In one of the other Negro League threads, someone chided me that these estimates were just for guidelines, and not to be taken so seriously. It is interesting that the thread conversations seem to take them as simple truth.

My own personal opinion is that the WS estimates are about 33 percent to low, though noting that it is mostly in the offensive, not defensive category (i.e. hitting is being downgraded much more than defense).

Since the conversions credit Mackey with 278 WS for his career which should be about 292 with credit for 1932 (since he was playing baseball in 1932 and would have obviously been playing in the Negro Leagues if he wanted to, this seems appropriate).

And I agree with Chris Cobb's contention that Mackey would not have seen much Major League playing time after 1937 with his career petering out by 1940 or 1941 with maybe some wartime appearances.

Thus:

292 x 1.33 = 388 WS

However, Mackey's value is primarily defensive so that is probably too high and his true value is probably between 292 and 388 (about 340 WS). This would make Mackey, with Gabby Hartnett (who is his comp - less average, more power), the greatest pre-integration catcher by Win Shares; excepting, of course, Josh Gibson.

Mackey was a great player, much better than is being arrived at here.
   145. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 15, 2005 at 08:42 PM (#1259937)
) In 1932, Goodwin once again organized a tour of the orient for his team, the Philadelphia Royal Giants. Mackey was on this team, which apparently left in mid-1932 and did not return until early 1933. The team reportedly went 23-1 in Japan. I also have notes that the team had an overall 49-2 record with evidently a lot of time spent at sea.


Speaking of smoking guns... This would appear to give us the missing 1932 information.

Gadfly, when you say he returned in early 1933, do you mean early in the year or early in the baseball season? If the latter, then, depending on what month he returned, perhaps we should consider upping his 1933 games total from 95 to something in the low hundreds.
   146. Gadfly Posted: April 15, 2005 at 09:39 PM (#1260077)
Doc:

My notes say that Goodwin's team returned to the Pacific Coast and started playing baseball in LA in March of 1933. My notes also indicate that Mackey signed with Bolden's new 1933 Philadelphia Star team in March of 1933, sending a notarized contract to Bolden.

I would assume that the Philadelphia Royal Giants returned to LA in February of 1933 or early March. It is interesting that Mackey felt the need to send a notarized contract.

So I wouldn't consider upping his playing time in 1933 unless it is being brought down by the fact that Mackey did not play in the Negro Leagues in 1932.
   147. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 16, 2005 at 01:39 PM (#1261317)
Gadfly,

Why should we boost Mackey's WS 33%? I still dont' really follow this, the only reason I can conjure up is that you believe that 55-60% of the top players during this era were black because of the economic situation. Do you have any other info pertaining to the conversions?
   148. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2005 at 02:45 PM (#1261344)
Why should we boost Mackey's WS 33%? I still dont' really follow this, the only reason I can conjure up is that you believe that 55-60% of the top players during this era were black because of the economic situation. Do you have any other info pertaining to the conversions?

How many Negro Leaguers from the twenties are or will be HoMers?

So far, we have Charleston, W. Foster, Rogan and Stearnes (I have Williams and Torriente as from the teens).

Suttles and Beckwith will eventually go in so that makes six players who had most of their value from that decade.

That makes six from that decade alone.

Of the white HoMers so far, we have Vance, Ruth, Hornsby, Heilmann, Goslin, Frisch, Faber and Coveleski. (I have Simmons as a thirties player - that's arguable due to Aloysius' peak)

Eppa Rixey may eventually go in, but it doesn't have the certainty of Suttles and Beckwith, so I won't include him for now.

That leaves us with 8 white major leaguers to six Negro Leaguers from that decade. Is that unreasonable? What would a 33% increase in Chris' projections give us?
   149. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 16, 2005 at 04:47 PM (#1261429)
8 to 6 doesn't sound that outrageous. Even ten to six (counting Simmons and Gehrig) isn't that outrageous though maybe a little high.

I guess I should rephrase my question to Gadfly. Why 33% Why not 10% or 15% or even 20%? I have read over the methodology of Chris' WS estimates and MLE's and they make sense to me. Could they be low? Yes, I for one think we are missing something on Mackey. His numbers put him around 35-40 for me (around Schang) but I have him a #22. But 33% seems extreme and I would really like to know why you think 33%. 10-15% seems resaonable and may not really take a detailed explanation, but 33%? For Mackey you went from 278 to 292 (adding 1932 for which we dont' know how he played, though 14 seems reasonable) to 388. That is a HUGE jump.
   150. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2005 at 04:52 PM (#1261437)
Even ten to six (counting Simmons and Gehrig)

Gehrig is a thirties guy, IMO. I don't think it's close.
   151. Gadfly Posted: April 16, 2005 at 05:34 PM (#1261532)
Schmeagol & John Murphy:

As I have already stated elsewhere, I do believe that the potential African-American Major League baseball population peaked from 1920 to 1950. Before 1920, it was restricted simply by opportuntity to play; and, since 1950, it has been steadily fading because of alternative economic opportunities brought on by the civil rights movement.

The reasons for this domination are the exact same economic ones that caused the Irish to dominate baseball from 1880 to 1900.

After 1950, while the African-American demographic has been fading, six of the ten best players, by Win Shares, are American Blacks. Half of the guys elected to the Hall of Fame are non-white. I truly believe that this was also true from 1920 to 1950, almost surely even more so.

However, I will point out, once again, that this does not mean that the Major Leagues would have been half or more African-American from 1920 to 1950 in a more perfect world. The superstars would have a one to one ratio, but the Majors would have probably been from 30 to 40 percent non-white.

Mackey is a perfect example of why this is so. The greatest Negro League players would have played until their uniforms were ripped off them because there was nowhere else for them to earn the kind of money they were getting for playing baseball.

(By the way, the bizarrely slanted calculation above is kind of funny. Putting Simmons and Torriente back in and including Gehrig would make it ten white HOM guys to 5 black HOM guys who played in the 1920s and 1930s. And something tells me it's way worse than just 2 to 1. Where's Gehringer and Hartnett, for instance? Truly weird.)

As for boosting Mackey's offensive WS by 33 percent, I have already stated elsewhere why I think Chris Cobb's conversions are flawed. Chris Cobb, who is trying to be conservative, reduces Negro League offense by .90 BA and .82 SA.

The conversion rates for the equivalent Triple-A and Double-A Leagues from 1920 to 1950 are about:

.95 BA, .90 SA Triple-A
.90 BA, .81 SA Double-A

In other words, Chris Cobb postulates that the Negro Leagues were of about Double-A Caliber.

However, any reasonable study of the Integration Interface from 1946 to 1950 shows that the Negro Leagues were actually slightly superior to the Triple-A Leagues. And the Negro Leagues from 1946 to 1950, because of Latin American Countries hiring their stars players away, were at their weakest point from 1920 to 1950.

And before someone says, once again, that the quality of the Negro Leagues in 1946 to 1950 have nothing to do with the quality of the Negro League(s) in 1920. I will once again say: bullshitoola. The Negro Leagues, from 1920 to 1950, can be compared with itself, and the conclusions are plain.

The reductions Chris Cobb makes are geometric (in other words, by taking away hits and adding outs, the impact is even greater than arithmatic) to the Negro League players' offensive WS totals and OPS+ calculations. I calculate that his conversions are reducing Negro League offensive Win Shares by about 33 percent.

Thus Cool Papa Bell becomes Doc Cramer with a really long career and John Beckwith, the greatest Negro League slugger from the 1920s, the Dick Allen or Albert Belle of his time, becomes just a middling 150 OPS hitter rather than a 200 OPS monster.

I would point out that there were many qualified observers, white and black, who saw these players play and stated how good they are. But Chris Cobb's conversion factors completely disagree with the contemporary analysis of how good these Negro Leaguers players were.

So, either the guys who actually saw these men play are wrong or Chris Cobb's conversion factors are way off.

I know what I think to be correct.

Biz Mackey WS:
165.5 Offensive
112.3 Defensive

Adjusted
220.1 Offensive
112.3 Defensive

332.4 Total

He's Gabby Hartnett with less power and a better average.
   152. Gadfly Posted: April 16, 2005 at 05:41 PM (#1261553)
Whoops, forgot to add in Mackey's 1932 season.

Make that:
173.1
118.4
adjusted to
230.2
112.3

342.5 Total

He's Gabby Hartnett with slightly more career WS because Hartnett missed the entire 1929 season.
   153. Gadfly Posted: April 16, 2005 at 05:45 PM (#1261559)
Schmeagol:

To clarify an unclarified point (which I freely admit to be my fault):

I am advocating increasing the offensive WS by 33 percent not the total WS. In Mackey's case (i.e. a great defensive player) this leads to an 17 percent increase.

Of course, a player who's value was primarily offensive (Suttles) would have a much greater percentage increase.
   154. karlmagnus Posted: April 16, 2005 at 06:32 PM (#1261671)
Actually I think Chris's WS estimates are about 10% too HIGH; from demographic considerations, we should have 10% or at most 15% of the pre-1947 HOM be NEL'ers, and have already elected too many. Bell and Mackey are typical examples of nostalgically exaggerated and overblown reputations, particularly Bell.

There can be no RATIONALE for making 50% of the 1920s HOMers from the NEL. It's delusional.
   155. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2005 at 07:27 PM (#1261886)
(By the way, the bizarrely slanted calculation above is kind of funny. Putting Simmons and Torriente back in and including Gehrig would make it ten white HOM guys to 5 black HOM guys who played in the 1920s and 1930s. And something tells me it's way worse than just 2 to 1. Where's Gehringer and Hartnett, for instance? Truly weird.)

No, it's not weird. I placed them in the decade where they had the most value. If you can explain how the players in question had more value in the twenties (except for Simmons, who I mentioned there is a case for), I'd like to know it (unless you're going to add all of them to multiple decades to obfuscate the picture more).
   156. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2005 at 07:29 PM (#1261899)
John Beckwith, the greatest Negro League slugger from the 1920s, the Dick Allen or Albert Belle of his time, becomes just a middling 150 OPS hitter rather than a 200 OPS monster.

That's probably the first time that I have seen the words middling and 150 OPS+ used in the same sentence.
   157. DavidFoss Posted: April 16, 2005 at 07:33 PM (#1261927)
John Beckwith, the greatest Negro League slugger from the 1920s, the Dick Allen or Albert Belle of his time, becomes just a middling 150 OPS hitter rather than a 200 OPS monster.

We do have one translated data point above 200 so far. (Suttles-1926 at 219). How high can we push that number? Jud Wilson induction was helped by his MLE's. As for Beckwith, I must say that 150 is not exactly 'middling', Beckwith's numbers translate to be better than Arky Vaughn's. If Beckwith is still uninducted in a few years, it will be an interesting debate between those two.

The new translations have not yet been done for the 'inner circle' NeL greats. It will be interesting to see how Gibson does on those. It would be interesting to see how Charleston & Stearnes translated, but I don't know if Chris has time for that.
   158. Michael Bass Posted: April 16, 2005 at 09:14 PM (#1262342)

There can be no RATIONALE for making 50% of the 1920s HOMers from the NEL. It's delusional.


You mean aside from:

After 1950, while the African-American demographic has been fading, six of the ten best players, by Win Shares, are American Blacks. Half of the guys elected to the Hall of Fame are non-white.

I'm in no way claiming that's a lock down argument for 50% of 20s/30s era banned players getting half the HOM slots, but there obviously is a rational case to be made that 50% is the right number given that 50% is about the number that the banned players got once they got unbanned.

----------------------------------

Jumping to the other side of the argument, I'm not convinced that gadly's argument here is a quality case for increasing the number of *all* translations:

Finally, I would like to once again point out that Chris Cobb's WS estimates and the OPS conversions that are deduced from them come from conversion factors that would make all of the greatest pre-integration players white.

It's my understanding that quality of play conversions knock down the elite players more than other players. That is to say, if you put Barry Bonds in single A last year, he would not have hit well enough to get a major league translation to what he actually got (in fact, I'm reasonably sure that's impossible).

So if Gadfly is correct that the super-elite players (Charleston, Lloyd, etc.) are getting hit too hard by Chris's conversions, it does not necessarily follow that every player needs their conversions boosted.
   159. Gadfly Posted: April 17, 2005 at 12:22 AM (#1263194)
58. Michael Bass:

Thank you for stating the obvious so that I would not have to again.

I am not sure that I agree with your argument that quality of play conversions knock down elite players more than average players. However, it is obvious that there is an upper limit to actual baseball performance (i.e. a home run every at bat) and that conversions would at some point become warped.

However, I think the Negro Leagues and Major Leagues were close enough in quality that this would not be a factor.

57.David Foss-

I would submit that the 1926 Mule Suttles conversion is an absolute fluke that, with better park factors, would totally disappear. It stands out in Suttles' conversions like Brady Anderson's 57 HR season and I give it no credit.

John Beckwith was not Arky Vaughn, he was the league leading Negro League HOME RUN hitter of the 1920s who also hit for Negro League leading BATTING AVERAGES. That's not Vaughn. That's Hornsby.

55. John Murphy

You are cherry picking facts to make your point, which is incorrect. The 91 players in the Hall of Merit listed by birth year goes like this:

DEACADE WHITE-BLACK

1830s 01-00
1840s 04-00
1850s 20-00
1860s 09-01
1870s 15-02
1880s 15-04
1890s 07-04
1900s 07-02

At no point do the black players elected to the Hall of Merit come close to equaling the numbers of their white contemporaries.

However, this does reveal a weakness in the Hall of Merit itself. As I understand it, the Hall of Merit will eventually elect 3 rather than 2 players a year to make up for expansion.

I think that it should have gone from 2 to 3 when the Negro Leagues came into existence. Both the Negro Leaguers and Major Leaguers from 1900 to 1950 are being squeezed by this restriction. Those elected from this time period will have to be better than players before and after that period.

But I didn't build this voting structure.

54. Karl Magnus-

I am going to ignore your continued repitition of your idiotic demographic argument until you answer this question:

How come Irish baseball players, a National demographic that, at that time, made up less than 10 percent of the National population, dominated baseball to such an extent that, from 1880 to 1900, more than half the superstar baseball players were of Irish heritige?

Your continued argument that it would be impossible for half of the superstar baseball players to be black from 1920 to 1950 because only 10 percent (15 percent after, egad, special allowances) of the national population was black is stupidity of the dumbest sort.

If it was impossible from 1920 to 1950, why would it not also be impossible from 1950 to 1980, when it is obviously not only possible, but true?

Your contention that Chris Cobb's MLEs should be even further devalued is truly delusional.
   160. karlmagnus Posted: April 17, 2005 at 12:55 AM (#1263306)
Baseball started as primarily an Irish-American game; thus the Irish were heavily represented in the early years. Anglo-Americans mostly had the sense to stick to cricket.

Your post-1950 statistic is cherry-picked from an extremely small sample size and is hence wholly invalid. Nothing like 50% of post-1950 HOFers are African-American, and you know it. Since 1980, the majors have spread to Latin America, which has resulted in a trebling of the avialable population base; hence the potential ML of African or Hispanic ancestry is today about 50%. However that doesn't apply before 1980, and ceratinly not to the 1920s and 1930s.
   161. Michael Bass Posted: April 17, 2005 at 01:46 AM (#1263458)
HOFers who debuted in the 1950s-1960s:

White - 23 (Bench, Carlton, Fingers, Fisk, Hunter, Niekro, Palmer, Perry, Ryan, Seaver, Sutton, Yaz, Bunning, Drysdale, Ford, Kaline, Killebrew, Koufax, Mantle, Matthews, Maz, Robinson, Wilhelm)

African-American - 12 (Brock, Jackson, Jenkins, Morgan, Stargell, Aaron, Banks, Gibson, Mays, Mccovey, Robinson, Williams)

Latin-American - 6 (Carew, Marichal, Perez, Aparicio, Cepeda, Clemente)

That is 18/41 (44%) of debuting HOFers from 1950-1969 who would have been banned in the prior two decades. Even if you want to follow karl's bizarre logic and toss out the Latin Americans, despite the fact that they were as banned as the African-Americans, minorities made up 12/35 (34%) of the HOF classes from these two decades.

I think 50% is high, and I really think juicing everyone's offensive stats 33% is excessive. But at least it has some connection to baseball reality, unlike, and I can't believe this is still being brought up, population samples. Is there a HOF in any major sport that actually fits population demographics? This is the single dumbest argument that is put forth on any issue we've run, and every time it is repeated, the author makes himself into a buffoon.

-----------------------------------

At any rate, what irritates me most about both sides of this discussion is trying to determine the percentage of players that should come from the NLs. We should be judging players as inidividuals, not deciding beforehand how many are going in, then ######## when the actual total diverges from that. karl's more blatant about it, but Gadfly is doing about the same thing when he apparently pulls 33% out of midair to get the NL inductee quantity up.

Chris has a pretty reasonable formula for his translations. It certainly is not perfect, and cirticisms of the formula based on the formula itself are valid and appreciated (and Gadfly has done this in the past, something he should be commended for). Criticisms of the formula based on number of electees, in either direction, is silly.

----------------------------

One final note of agreement with Gadfly: We're kidding ourselves if we don't admit that Chris's translations almost by themselves make or break a candidacy. Bell and, most likely, Mackey are for all intents and purposes done as viable candidates for election, and that is not very likely to change unless there are major changes in the calculation.

This is in no way a criticism of Chris...I depend on the translations as much if not moreso than anyone else. But his translations are...well...now I'm going to be the one pulling numbers out of thin air, but I'd say something along the lines of 80% of the determination of induction for Negro League players. As such, his methodology (especially for the conversion rate) is something that should be picked at closely. I think Chris would be the first one to tell us that, too.
   162. karlmagnus Posted: April 17, 2005 at 02:13 AM (#1263531)
Chris's work is EXTRAORDINARILY valuable in enabling us to sort through the Negro League players and decide, for example, that Jud Wilson was much better than the more famous Bell. To the extent that Chris' work enables us to order the NEL players, it appears to be breaking new ground and giving us knowledge that nobody else has had.

Having ordered the NEL players, where that ordering matches against the ML ordering is an almost impossible question to answer, since there were no transitions until 1947, and few then. You can either make large sample arguments from demographics or very small ones from "top 10" HOFers. As a mathematician by training, I prefer large samples.
   163. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 17, 2005 at 02:28 AM (#1263546)
Wow, did someone(s) wake up on the wrong side of the bed? I believe that karl is wrong, but doesn't mean I get mean spiritied about it. We all know that calling others ideas stupid will change the minds of voters and make our ideas all the more palatable.

Gad,

With Suttles and Beckwith on the verge of election, the born in the 1890's column will soon go from 7-4 to 7-6 (at least I believe that both were born in the 1890's). Though I will admit to beign too lazy to figure out if Hubbell, Lyons, Ferrell, Waner, Cronin, et al were born in the 1890's.

John's lists weren't based on when a player was born but in which decade he had the most value (WS per decade, AS appearance, maybe WARP?). So if A guy was born in the 1890's and happened to be a better player in the 1930's (or 1910's for that matter) then he wouldn't have counted in John's lists. I dont' think that is any more of a cherrypick then using birth date.

The amount of HOMers elected per year is supposed to roughly add up to the number of HOFers elected over the same time period. Therefore, if we started to elect three in 1920 (or whenever the NeL became prominent) then we would have far too many players elected. If the players that you mention (Bell, Mackey) really are HOM worthy, they will be elected in due time. Hoewver, if we had spread some of the future slots out among the 20's and 30's we may have a number of mistakes. Saving slots for later merely the really the safe route.

Sorry to pick on you there...
   164. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2005 at 04:51 AM (#1263773)
John's lists weren't based on when a player was born but in which decade he had the most value (WS per decade, AS appearance, maybe WARP?). So if A guy was born in the 1890's and happened to be a better player in the 1930's (or 1910's for that matter) then he wouldn't have counted in John's lists. I dont' think that is any more of a cherrypick then using birth date.

Thank you, Mark. It saved me from blowing off my top off in a reply to post #59 (which was coming pell mell before I saw your post).
   165. Gary A Posted: April 17, 2005 at 06:32 AM (#1263975)
Michael Bass wrote:
That is 18/41 (44%) of debuting HOFers from 1950-1969 who would have been banned in the prior two decades. Even if you want to follow karl's bizarre logic and toss out the Latin Americans, despite the fact that they were as banned as the African-Americans, minorities made up 12/35 (34%) of the HOF classes from these two decades.

I think 50% is high, and I really think juicing everyone's offensive stats 33% is excessive. But at least it has some connection to baseball reality, unlike, and I can't believe this is still being brought up, population samples. Is there a HOF in any major sport that actually fits population demographics? This is the single dumbest argument that is put forth on any issue we've run, and every time it is repeated, the author makes himself into a buffoon.


I agree with this wholeheartedly. I'll just further point out that there were plenty of black Latin Americans playing baseball in North America before 1980--or before 1920, for that matter. We've elected one (Torriente) and considered a few others (Mendez, Oms, Chacon). Why we're supposed to pretend they didn't exist is unclear at best.
   166. Gadfly Posted: April 17, 2005 at 06:49 PM (#1264578)
60. Karl Magnus-

You are apparently ignorant of history too. Baseball did not start as a 'primarily' Irish-American game. Baseball started primarily as a leisure-time sport for the emerging American middle class, which was made up 'primarily' of English-Americans with some German-Americans, i.e. the Anglo-American middle class.

Simply look at the early baseball rosters for the truth of this. Heavy Irish-American emigration to the United States began after the agricultural (potato famine) and economic distress in Ireland from 1848 to 1860. The sons of these immigrants ruled baseball from 1880 to 1900, a sport that was already well-entrenched when they arrived.

The heavy Irish immigration of that time led to discrimination against the Irish almost as bad as the discrimination against blacks. These Irish were not from the emerging 'middle class.' They were economically impoverished. Of course, a little research and you would know this. But I forgot, you simply spout opinions with nothing but your own convictions to back them up.

The Irish baseball demographic from 1880 to 1900 is an almost perfect corollary to the African-American baseball demographic from 1920 to 1950.

61. Michael Bass-

In one of these threads, I posted a breakdown of the top 100 players post-integration by Win Shares and it was even more slanted to minorities than this. Not that I am accusing the Hall of Fame of Bias or anything.

More importantly, I did not pick the 33% number out of thin air. I have run a bunch of studies on this and am convinced that the proper conversion numbers are in the range of .95 BA and .90 ISA (actually slightly higher). Chris Cobb uses .90 BA and .82 ISA for his conversions.

The effect on WS or OPS by this is geometric and, when you do the math, the result is a 33 percent increase (actually 1.32968). [BA increase is 5.5555 percent, ISA increase is 9.7561, square of 15.3111 percent is 32.968 percent.] And, I would like to point out, this is, in my opinion, an estimate on the conservative side.

On one of these threads, I broke down Monte Irvin's career as completely as possible, while prejudicing every possible thing against the Negro Leagues, and came up with conversion factors of .93/.87.

One of the major things that was prejudiced against Irvin's Negro League stats was age (Irvin's Negro League seasons were in his prime and his Major League seasons were past-prime). KJOK, I think, posted a formula to correct for this and the conversions jump to .96/.90.

Once again, I will repeat that there were still many other variables prejudiced against the Monte Irvin Negro Leagues stats conversion besides just age and the conversion rate was still .96-.90. with the age factor removed.

I've run these studies now on several other players; but, more importantly, also on League analysis (Triple-A, Double-A, Negro Leagues against each other and the Majors) and keep getting back the same data. Triple-A conversion rates of that era are about .95-.90 and the Negro Leagues were of slighlty better quality than Triple-A.

Chris Cobb's conversion rates have a lot of factors that make the Negro League players look far lesser than they actually are, but the largest one is simply adjustment factor (i.e. a player going to a new league has a dip in his performance related to adjustment, not talent).

It is my opinion that this factor, more than anything else is causing Chris Cobb's conversion rates to be way off. However, I do understand that Chris Cobb wants to be conservative and have always found him to be quite reasonable (Although, like all of us, he is somewhat married to his past data and arguments).

However, as you state quite well, his conversion rates are getting Negro Leaguers elected or not elected to the HOM. I just want to make those, with a open mind, aware that they might be very incorrect conversions.
   167. Gadfly Posted: April 17, 2005 at 07:06 PM (#1264629)
63. Schmeagol-

LOL. I didn't wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I just don't like being called 'delusional' by someone with as closed a mind as Karl Magnus.

Karl Magnus continually makes arguments that are inherently invalid, makes statements that are not factually true, and supports his conclusions with no other evidence than that it is his opinion.

I like a good argument, not a trip to some Monty Python-like clinic of contradiction, and was expressing my frustration with the stupidity of Karl Magnus' oft-spouted demographic nonsense.

By the way, both Beckwith and Suttles were born in the year 1900, which, if they are elected, would make the 1900-09 demographic 7 white and 4 black. But, of course, this ignores the obvious fact that Hubbell will be elected.

Of course, that is the problem with John Murphy's cherry-picking of what black players WILL be elected. It ignores the fact that some other white players MIGHT be going in too.

I am surprised that no one mentioned what I think is most interesting, i.e. that the Negro League and Major League players of the current era (1900 to 1950) are being unfairly squeezed by the two man requirement.
   168. Gadfly Posted: April 17, 2005 at 07:16 PM (#1264658)
65. Gary A-

Alejandro Oms is probably the greatest omission; you can make the same case for Pelayo Chacon that you can for Davey Concepcion; and Jose Mendez was something else who I would advocate if he had lasted longer at his peak.

There are a whole slew of other Cubans: Ramon Bragana, Manuel Garcia, Lazaro Salazar (off the top of my head) coming too (with, of course, the one and only Dihigo); and maybe even some Puerto Ricans, Orlando's daddy and Francisco Coimbre.

But the two guys that I'd really like to see get some consideration, who will almost surely get none, are the Dominican, Tetelo Vargas, and the Panamanian, Oscar Levis.
   169. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2005 at 07:23 PM (#1264683)
Of course, that is the problem with John Murphy's cherry-picking of what black players WILL be elected. It ignores the fact that some other white players MIGHT be going in too.

Damn it Gadfly, I am not cherry-picking!

Using your system, you would have Dazzy Vance as a pitcher from the teens. Does that make sense to anyone here? It sure as hell doesn't to me.

I posted to everyone exactly what I was doing with my comparisons. As jschmeagol pointed out, if I'm cherry-picking, you're doing the same damn thing with your comparisons.

If anyone else besides Gadfly has a problem with what I was doing, please let me know. I take it very serious when someone accuses me of playing it fast and loose with the facts.
   170. David C. Jones Posted: April 17, 2005 at 07:39 PM (#1264749)
Glad to hear that the '32 trip to the Orient was confirmed. That answers that nagging question, and will save me the time of having to go through the microfilm.
   171. Gadfly Posted: April 17, 2005 at 08:47 PM (#1264904)
69. John Murphy-

As Lee Marvin said to the Colonel (in the 'Dirty Dozen'): "I didn't know you were so sensitive." I apologize if the term 'cherry-picking' offends you, but it appeared to me that you were picking players off the top of your head rather than looking at the issue systematically.

In your above post, you state that: 'using your sustem, you would have Dazzy Vance as a pitcher from the teens. Does that make sense to anyone here? It sure as hell doesn't to me.'

Please let the cool breeze of logic flow over you.

Where did I ever state that Dazzy Vance was or was not a pitcher from the teens? All my system, which lists players by birth year, does for Dazzy Vance is list him as being born in 1891, thus in the 1890-99 demographic. This is an irrefutable fact (assuming his birth year, which is also sometimes given as 1893, is correct).

The breakdown I gave is, to the best of my knowledge, completely factual. Do you contend that it is not accurate?

BREAKDOWN
Hall of Merit Inductees (by year of birth)
DEACADE WHITE-BLACK=TOTAL

1830s 01-00=01
1840s 04-00=04
1850s 20-00=20
1860s 09-01=10
1870s 15-02=17
1880s 15-04=19
1890s 07-04=11
1900s 07-02=09
TOTAL 78-13=91

You contended that the Hall of Merit inductees from the 1920s were 8 to 6 white to black. I think that is an exaggeration brought about by, excuse my french, 'cherry-picking' the players and not looking at the overall picture.

Of Hall of Merit players born from 1890 to 1909, the ratio is right now 14 to 6, not 8 to 6. Your 8 to 6 ratio is a gross under or over exagerration, depending on how you view it.

By the way, Dazzy Vance played organized baseball from 1912 to 1935 and was pitching in the Majors in 1915. His career was then delayed six years, 1916 to 1921, because of injury. This, of course, points out the uselessness of going player by player. I think going by year of birth is more logical.

However, the thing that really gets me is why no one talks about the really interesting things revealed by the above chart:

1) What happened in the 1860s? I assume it's the Civil War or something, but it's still odd. Babies didn't fight.

2) Why are the 1900s already almost caught up to the 1890s? Did God put it all into making Ruth?

3) Most importantly, are white and black players, after the rise of the Negro Leagues, being discriminated against but still only having just two slots in the Hall of Merit, just like the guys from the nineteenth century?

Ah well, what the hell, off to supper I go.
   172. favre Posted: April 17, 2005 at 09:02 PM (#1264918)
First, let’s remember something very important: this is supposed to be *fun*. Obviously there will be a lot of debate in a project like this, and sometimes the debates can be heated. For the most part, however, we have done a good job of maintaining a respectful decorum. I think that’s an important reason why the HoM is so successful. Words like “stupid”, “idiotic”, and “delusional” do not raise the level of debate, and frankly they make the project a lot less enjoyable. I, for one, would not want to participate if we simply devolve into name calling.

I don’t agree with karlmagnus’ demographic argument about Negro Leaguers. I don’t agree that Sam Leever should get ML credit for being a schoolteacher, that Bob Caruthers as a hitter had 2/3 the career of Nap Lajoie, or that Eddie Ciccotte was railroaded by his boss and should receive credit for years he didn’t pitch. Yet while I don’t agree with him, when I read his posts, I find them to be very intelligent and articulate. I don’t often agree with his arguments, but he does know how to make them. Again, simply dismissing them as “stupid” does nothing for the debate. I also believe that everyone deserves respect, and that my judgments about what is “stupid” are often more a reflection of my own insecurity or arrogance or need to be right. Obviously, not everyone agrees with that philosophy, but I think it’s worth saying.

Furthermore, tell me I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen anyone defend or agree with karlmagnus’ demographic argument. He voices it pretty regularly, but I don’t see how it has made any serious impact on the voting. As others have mentioned, Chris Cobb’s outstanding work has *much* more influence.

Gadfly, you say that karlmagnus is just spouting off the same opinions without facts, and is not really interested in debate. I don’t know if I agree with that, but if that’s how you feel, fine. Ignore him. Again, his arguments on this matter don’t seem to have much influence. Moreover, as jschmeagol said, it negatively impacts your own arguments. You are trying to convince us that the NeL was better than we give it credit for, almost the equal of the major leagues. Outbursts like your previous posts make it seem like you are too emotionally attached to the Negro Leagues, or do not feel entirely secure in your findings but refuse to admit it; either way, it seems you are not being very rational or objective. That's unfortunate, because obviously you have done a great deal of research about the NeL, and it is extremely valuable for the project. But like it or not, using words like “idiotic” reduces the impact of your evidence. I believe you would be better off arguing with a little more calm.
   173. DavidFoss Posted: April 17, 2005 at 09:16 PM (#1264935)
Gadfly: Please let the cool breeze of logic flow over you.

The same one that gave Brady Anderson an extra 7 home runs in his fluke season? You don't gain credibility by playing fast and loose with the facts yourself. It doesn't mesh well with the high level of hubris you exhibit in your posts.

Michael Bass: It's my understanding that quality of play conversions knock down the elite players more than other players. That is to say, if you put Barry Bonds in single A last year, he would not have hit well enough to get a major league translation to what he actually got (in fact, I'm reasonably sure that's impossible).

Thanks, Michael. We've touched on this type of issue somewhat back in the discussions some high-peak AA seasons (Dunlap, Caruthers), but this is time I've seen this applied to the recent NeL MLE's. We do have some NeL seasons that have translated highly (in addition to Suttles, JWilson has a couple of 170+ seasons). I'm not sure if there is a mechanism for adjusting for this effect. In today's application of MLE's, such high translations simply beg for promotion.
   174. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2005 at 09:26 PM (#1264950)
As Lee Marvin said to the Colonel (in the 'Dirty Dozen'): "I didn't know you were so sensitive." I apologize if the term 'cherry-picking' offends you, but it appeared to me that you were picking players off the top of your head rather than looking at the issue systematically.

Why you would keep thinking that after I and jschmeagol supplied evidence to the contrary frustrates me to no end.

Again, I picked any player who had his best years during the twenties. IOW, Vance is included with the twenties generation of players (where he had almost all of his value), instead of the players from the teens where your system would slot him (since he was born in the early 1890's).

It may not be the way that you would handle it, but that's the way I've been doing it since the beginning of this project. Since I have been 100% consistent in this regard, the term "cherry-picking" irks me greatly.
   175. Chris Cobb Posted: April 17, 2005 at 09:36 PM (#1264964)
Well, an eventful weekend here on the Mackey thread.

I've only skimmed to try to pick out the significant points, but it's worthwhile responding to a few of those:

1) gadfly's evidence on the 1932 Japan tour strongly suggests that he should be given credit for that season. The curve of his career suggests that he was at least a major-league average catcher at that point, so I hope voters will credit him, in this election or the next, with 13-14 win shares for that season. Given Mackey's closeness to the in-out line, one more good season makes a significant difference, I think.

2) The conversion factors represent the _average_ conversion factor. It appears likely from the data I used to create the average factor that they may underrate or overrate a player by 5% in the conversions, which (as gadfly rightly points out) would have a larger effect on win shares. Boosting (or dropping) the conversions by up to 5% in an individual case is _entirely consistent_ with the data on which the standard conversions are based.

Monte Irvin's record, in fact, shows the higher conversion factor that gadfly describes. However, other players who went from the NeL to the majors show lower rates.

3) gadfly wrote:

Chris Cobb's conversion rates have a lot of factors that make the Negro League players look far lesser than they actually are, but the largest one is simply adjustment factor (i.e. a player going to a new league has a dip in his performance related to adjustment, not talent).

It is my opinion that this factor, more than anything else is causing Chris Cobb's conversion rates to be way off.


This is not correct. When I undertook a second, more careful study of batting average in light of gadfly's earlier criticisms, I eliminated all major-league rookie seasons from consideration, and I also did the best I could at eliminating age biases as well.

There is nothing, as far as I can judge, about the derivation of the .90 conversion factor for batting average that is conservative except for my decision to use an average value.

The .82 slugging average factor is not based on as strong an evidentiary footing. I chose it because it is consistent with the .90 batting conversion factor according to the quare-root ratio that usually obtains between the two factors, and because that was the conversion factor my initial study found.

I hope at some point to do a new study of slugging.
   176. David C. Jones Posted: April 17, 2005 at 10:28 PM (#1265066)
From what I've seen, karlmagnus's arguments regarding "demographics" are pure hokum. It is garbage to say that because 10 percent of the U.S. population was black, therefore 10 percent of the HOMers from this time should be black. If we were to apply the same standard to other ethnic groups, we would find that we have vastly overrepresented Irish-Americans, while vastly underrepresenting Italian-Americans.

I see that he keeps putting forth the same arguments, but I fail to see how they are convincing or even logical. He loves to cite a player's career hits total, to take only the most obvious example, but then quickly discards it once we get a player he doesn't like--such as Cool Papa Bell--who had a lot of hits.

But I would be happy to debate real demographics as it relates to this project any time; particularly the effect of the Great Migration. I think there is some evidence to suggest that the Negro Leagues were better at recruiting players from the South than the majors were for 1900-1920. I've also seen vague references to "economic factors" but if anything, these play in favor of the Negro Leaguers. NeLers were paid less, to be sure, but they also faced job prospects far more daunting than whites if they decided to forsake ballplaying for an education. Education usually did not translate into high-paying jobs for African-Americans during this time; so if anything, I believe Negro Leaguers had a greater economic incentive to play than their white counterparts.
   177. karlmagnus Posted: April 18, 2005 at 12:22 AM (#1265263)
Yes, but the Negro Leagues were less well paid than the majors, and had much less of a minor league support network, so that reduces the economic incentives -- I would think at least proportionately, but would be interested in reasoned argument otherwise.
   178. karlmagnus Posted: April 18, 2005 at 12:26 AM (#1265270)
Come to think of it, since the majors integrated about 20 years before most other economic activity, the economic incentives for African Americans to pay baseball were especially sharp compared to their white compatriots in 1947-65, which would explain the anomalously high number of black stars in 1950-80. This factor would not apply before the leagues were integrated.
   179. David C. Jones Posted: April 18, 2005 at 12:52 AM (#1265292)
Yes, but the Negro Leagues were less well paid than the majors, and had much less of a minor league support network, so that reduces the economic incentives -- I would think at least proportionately, but would be interested in reasoned argument otherwise.

I don't see how the minor leagues increase economic incentive, when compared to the black semipro teams and opportunities to play in Latin America or Mexico.

So my question is, if a black player is approached by the Negro Leagues to come play for them, what economic incentive would he have had to say no? What opportunities awaited him in other fields?
   180. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 18, 2005 at 03:08 AM (#1265736)
To me the 'pure hokum' is having a % of black or white or 20's or 30's or SS's or C's in the Hall of Merit. We should look at players individually and decide how they rank. It is instructive to looks at demographics, position, age, in order ot make sure we aren't drastically over or underrating anyone, but in the end I am going to rank guys by how good I think they were and not by anything else.

Gad,

I am not really convinced that the 1920-1950 period was the peak for black players in pro ball. In fact, Karl even makes a decent argument about the first years of integration being the best economic opportunity for blacks in baseball.

I see your arguemnt but I just think that you are taking an extreme position. That because the 1950's to 1970's were such a rich time for black players in MLB, then the 1920's to 1950's was even better because blacks were genereally worse off during those decades. Is it possible? Maybe, but I jsut dont' see it as the most likely situation. I woudl prefer to go by what we can really prove and the numbers we are seeing tell me that the first decade or two after integration was the peak of black players in pro ball.

On other topic, I think we can both agree that Suttles and Beckwith are on the verge of election. In fact both are now in my PHOM. They were both born in 1900. Is there a magic difference between 1899 or 1900? Is your chart were 1891 to 1900, 1901 to 1910, etc., how would it look including Suttles and Beckwith?

It is also my belief that we will elect the right players in time, if not right now so there is no need to expand the number or electees.

I was a history major in school and one of the first things we learned in methodology was that everyone who writes anything has a bias (and yes I see the connection between this and me refferring to karl's argument above). Is John's placing of players into decades a stat that supports his decisions when other methods to not? They probably are, whether intentional or not. But then so are yours. Anytime you break anything into decades it will be that way. Why not use 1895 to 1904 and so on?

And you are right about the 1860's. This is why we need to elect Hughie Jennings, Cupid Childs, and Hugh Duffy RIGHT NOW ;-)!!!
   181. Gary A Posted: April 18, 2005 at 05:41 AM (#1266140)
David C. Jones wrote:
So my question is, if a black player is approached by the Negro Leagues to come play for them, what economic incentive would he have had to say no? What opportunities awaited him in other fields?

This is precisely the question that matters, not merely NeL wages vs. ML wages. Some data that might be relevant:

1939 mean per capita income, black males: $537.45
1939 mean per capita income, white males: $1234.41

It's hard to say precisely, but the best estimate I can come up with for average NeL pay in the late 30s is about $170 a month. For six months you'd get $1020, damn good pay for a black man during the Depression. For better players, the ones we might think of as major-league quality, the salaries might be $200 or $300 a month (Gibson and Paige were probably getting around $500), plus they'd have a chance of playing in winter leagues. They could make something like $2000 on up to $5000 for the superstars. No, it doesn't match major league pay (as far as I can tell, the major leagues averaged around $7000 at this time), but that's not what you need to look at; you need to look at the alternatives for African-American men, which weren't many, and paid far less than the alternatives for white men.

One of the more coveted jobs for African-American men during this time was working as a railroad porter for the Pullman Co. In 1934, average wages for that job were estimated at about $880 (for year-round work--and this includes tips, which made up the bulk of the pay).

I've also been doing some research in the 1920 census in St. Louis, Detroit, and Chicago. It was enumerated in January, which would be the winter before the founding of the NNL. What's interesting are the occupations listed by those who don't list "ball player" as their main occupation--in other words, these are their fallback occupations:

Dick Wallace (longtime player-manager, 37 years old): shoe shine.

Tully McAdoo (veteran first baseman, 35): porter in a clothing store.

Lorenz S.N. Cobb (officer with St. Louis Giants, 28): laborer at a "transit co."

Dan Kennard (catcher, 24): porter in a barber shop (an odd profession).

Sam Bennett (veteran OF/C, 35): laborer.

Charles Blackwell (24; not sure if this is the right guy): bell-hop.

John Donaldson (if this is the right guy; he's the only black man in Detroit with this name, he's the right age, 28, and he's from the right state, Missouri): laborer.

Joseph Hewitt (veteran ss, 35): porter.

Edgar Wesley (26): unemployed.

Thurman Jennings (30): manager of a billiard room.

When a player was married, in every case but one I found his wife worked, too, usually as a seamstress or domestic help of some kind (cook or maid). The only case I found where a wife didn't work was Rube Foster's wife Sarah.
   182. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 18, 2005 at 10:19 AM (#1266318)
"I am surprised that no one mentioned what I think is most interesting, i.e. that the Negro League and Major League players of the current era (1900 to 1950) are being unfairly squeezed by the two man requirement."

We were conservative because if these guys are worthy, they can be elected in the future. No one is being squeezed. We did add spots to account for the Negro Leagues. We either upped the 'teams' (the basis for electees) from 16 to 18 or 20 to account for Negro Leaguers - I'll have to check my sheet later to see which it was.

We're still going to have 213 when we hit 2002. If a few people have to wait, that's better than rushing in too many from this era early.

I also think when doing any analysis, using a 'center-year' on their career (either based on the year they crossed 50% of their career Plate Appearances or Win Shares) as opposed birth year makes much more sense. Birth year is absolutely meaningless, it's the years they played baseball that we care about.

Other than that, I think the arguments about the appropriate number of Negro Leaguers are quite interesting. I can definitely see some of Gadfly's points there . . .
   183. Gadfly Posted: April 18, 2005 at 10:57 AM (#1266324)
72. Favre-

Of course, I agree that these HOM threads should be kept civil. However, I would like to point out that I did not call anyone stupid, dumb or idiotic. I called Karl Magnus' demographic ARGUMENT stupid, dumb, and idiotic; and ONLY that after he called my argument 'delusional.'

As for the ARGUMENT that the baseball demographic should conform to the overall population demographic of the country, IT IS STUPID, dumb, idiotic and directly contradicted by reality (i.e. the Irish-American domination of baseball in the 1890s, the African-American domination of baseball after integration).

I find it somewhat interesting that you seem to be oddly saying that I have disrespected and called ALL of Karl Magnus' arguments stupid. Of course, this is completely untrue and totally out of context and seems to indicate that you have an ax to grind against my opinions.

Maybe all of Karl Magnus' other posts are articulate and intelligent, and I am quite willing to listen to arguments made on the behalf of Bob Caruthers, Sam Leever, Jake Beckley, et al, with interest and an open mind; but the demographic argument is patently ridiculous.

If I ever DIRECTLY condemned Karl Magnus, I would deserve your comments; but I did not. Also, my past exchanges with Karl Magnus indicate that he is a big boy and can take a little flak. I must admit that I somewhat admire his obstinancy, though fortunately I am not required to put up with it in my real life.

As for your contention that I am trying to 'convince' you that the Negro Leagues were better than they are being given credit for because I do not feel entirely SECURE in my findings BUT refuse to admit it AND that it seems that I am not being very rational or objective, I find this more insulting than anything Karl Magnus has ever said to me.

If you do not agree with me, just say so, rather than using insulting armchair pyschology to try to denigrate my opinions. I would never be rude enough to do that to you.

In fact, I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I am simply stating my belief that Chris Cobb's conversions are incorrect, why they are incorrect, and that everyone should keep an open mind; while also hopefully starting an interesting and intelligent discussion about said subject.

I freely admit that I have extensively studied the Negro Leagues and, like all people, am almost surely biased about the subjects that I am interested in. However, I always try to be completely rational and objective about it to the best of my ability.

I am much more interested in getting it right than being right.

But, if someone continually makes an argument that is dumb, stupid, and directly contradicted by reality, I am still going to say so. And, if you think my calling something dumb and stupid, that is dumb and stupid, devalues my own arguments than so be it. I can certainly live with that.

73. David Foss-

Of course, Brady Anderson hit just 50; I was evidently thinking of Luis Gonzalez while typing. It was a simple and honest mistake, does nothing to disprove my point, and hardly qualifies as 'hubris.' Obviously you are perfect and hardly need any tolerance for being human.

By all means, use my honest mistake to dismiss every argument that I make.

74. John Murphy-

Once again, I'll go over the basic argument. You stated that their were 8 white players versus 6 black players from the 1920s being honored by the Hall of Merit. Of course, two of those black players HAVE (had?) NOT actually been elected yet, and you did other things like include Turkey Stearnes (1923-1941) but not the quite comparable Al Simmons (1923-1944).

The basic implication of your argument is that the HOM is honoring 43 percent Negro Leaguers in the 1920s. I stated that your argument was flawed and put up a simple birth year chart which I thought easily showed that. I must admit that your inability to 1) consider that you might have exaggerated and 2) consider the overall facts, as shown by birth year, to be somewhat disturbing.

It also 'irks' me greatly that you continue to accuse me of doing something that I have not done at all, which is 'group' Dazzy Vance in the teens. Where in God's name have I done that? All I have done is group Vance by birth year.

I have no idea about whether 'you have been 100 percent consistent in this regard' with how you group players by decade, all I am saying is that your implication is false.

75. Chris Cobb-

Some fun, eh?

Hopefully, when I get some time, I will be able to go through the players that are determining your conversion rates one at a time and show you why the rates are coming out low.

My argument that the 'adjustment' factor is skewing the conversion factor is based on this: I believe that a player truly adjusts in more than just one season (i.e. 500 ABs). I believe that it takes longer, something more on the order of 1000 to 1500 ABs, and sometimes more.

In other words, allowing just one season for the adjustment factor to wash out is inadequate.

The reason I believe this is peak performance. In other words, to truly gauge the conversion factors, you should also look at peak performance in a player's prime in different leagues with the player having the same adjustment or experience level.

As I am sure you will agree, the Monte Irvin breakdown was much more thorough than the other conversions that make up your conversion factor. I believe that the other Negro League players' careers, when given the same thoroughness, will come out with much higher factors than you are crediting them with.

There are multiple factors here (adjustment, injury, park, timeline, etc.) that are influencing the conversion factors and this is further complicated by the small sample size of the Negro Leaguers who went directly, or almost directly, to the Majors.

As I stated somewhere else, there is much more information in the Triple-A, Negro, Major League nexus. This information directly contradicts the current conversion rates.

Also directly contradicting the conversion rates are, as I have stated, contemporary observations.

I would liken this to the Richie Ashburn-Willie Mays 'who is the better centerfielder debate' that Sabermetrics once had. Contemporary observors thought it was obvious that Mays was much greater. Earlier Sabermetric measurements indicated that that was a crock, and Ashburn had been sadly underrated and discriminated against by the fame of Mays.

Well now even better info is available and it turns out that the contemporary observers were right all along. Mays was much better, and it's not even close.

Posts 76 to 80-

Cool, finally got a discussion going. Guess it would have happened sooner if I wasn't such an a-hole.

Schmeagol-

Exactly. I don't agree with quotas either. This is why the conversion rate is important. To properly evaluate the Negro Leaguers, you have to have a proper conversion rate.

I am advocating that the Negro Leaguers from 1920 to 1950 would have dominated baseball not because of some demographic argument, but because that is what my own conversion rate leads me to believe.

Including Suttles and Beckwith in the 1890 to 1909 demographic (can we agree that this is a wide enough time span to reduce some of the inevitable arbitrariness?) would make the count 14 white players to 8 black players during this time span.

However, of course, Hubbell is also sure to be elected (15-8) and, since it is unlikely that both Suttles and Beckwith will go in the same year, someone else without a tan will probably be in there too.

This is the problem with including players that have not been actually inducted yet. Somewhat like trying to nail a snake to the floor.

I have been doing some work on my ballot and have to admit that Hugh Duffy is going on it. But, in my opinion, Hughie Jennings (quite amazing peak) and Cupid Childs have the peak but not the career, being stopped by injury and lard.

81. Gary A-

I couldn't have put it any better. Until you do some research, it is almost inconcievable how impoverished the African-American population was before World War 2. Everything that comes after WW2, which immensely improved the African-American economic situation and really kick-started the civil rights movement, cannot compare.

From 1920 to 1950, the structure (the Negro Leagues) and the economic incentive (complete poverty) were present in the African-American community like at no other time.

Integration of baseball destroyed the structure and the civil rights movement destroyed all that beautiful, in a baseball sense, economic incentive.

As I have stated many times, I believe that African-American players would have dominated baseball from 1920 to 1950 like the Irish did from 1880 to 1900, only more so, if they had only gotten the chance.

The African-American demographic in baseball has been in decline since the moment integration began and is still declining to this day. The 'peak' of the 1970s is a totally false peak, simply indicating the saturation point of integration.

Now to go have a little napalm with my cereal.
   184. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 18, 2005 at 11:55 AM (#1266333)
"Including Suttles and Beckwith in the 1890 to 1909 demographic (can we agree that this is a wide enough time span to reduce some of the inevitable arbitrariness?)"

No we can't. Birth year demographics don't work for deciding which eras are over/underrepresented. Everything in this area should be based on the years guys played. Their birth year is irrelevant.
   185. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 18, 2005 at 11:56 AM (#1266334)
"All I have done is group Vance by birth year."

John is right - that basically compares him to players that played in the teens.
   186. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2005 at 01:58 PM (#1266389)
John is right - that basically compares him to players that played in the teens.

Exactly, Joe. Using birth year places Vance with most of the stars of the teens, which is silly since he wasn't doing squat during that time.

I wish my critic would let the "cool breeze of logic" flow over him so he would see this, but ...
   187. DavidFoss Posted: April 18, 2005 at 02:49 PM (#1266468)
73. David Foss-

Of course, Brady Anderson hit just 50; I was evidently thinking of Luis Gonzalez while typing. It was a simple and honest mistake, does nothing to disprove my point, and hardly qualifies as 'hubris.' Obviously you are perfect and hardly need any tolerance for being human.


What kind of a statement is that?! The hubris referred to the 'cool breeze of logic' and stuff like that that gives the impression that you're the perfect one and are just waiting for us to come around to your kind of thinking. You've used hyperbole in the past, I just though I was just calling you on it, here. Hyperbole can be used to persuade but not when you are nitpicking in other places. You do bring up some good points, but often I have to wait until others (58 & 61) chime in with reasonable posts before I can allow myself to be swayed. Now I do think MLE's can underrate NeL-MVP-like seasons.

By all means, use my honest mistake to dismiss every argument that I make.

I didn't say this! Geez! Its like you're trying to use guilt trips to win an argument on the HOM boards.

One of the things I like about this group is the high level of anti-B.S. quotient around here. If you agressively campaign too much -- and especially if you stretch the facts to do so -- there will be a bit of a backlash. (Don't worry, this certainly also applies to karlmagnus -- though in a lot of ways he's not representative of the group and is helping you by supplying strawmen)

That not to say that the electorate cannot change its minds on things -- it certainly has -- but not without the checks and balances of counter-debate to make sure that we are moving as a group in the right direction. We have two weeks between elections so hopefully quite a bit of ebb & flow of debate can occur between votes.

The HOM seems to be having the opposite problem that we were having ten years ago in that the backlog is constantly growing. Its tough to narrow down my ballot to just fifteen guys.
   188. Daryn Posted: April 18, 2005 at 03:05 PM (#1266507)
I didn't say this! Geez!

Gosh!! Idiot!!

[/Napoleon Dynamite]
   189. DavidFoss Posted: April 18, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1266582)
Gosh!! Idiot!!

:-) Yeah, toning the rhetoric down for the censors makes for some amusing quotes. Hmm... maybe I should go out and get a perm, now. :-)
   190. DavidFoss Posted: April 18, 2005 at 04:10 PM (#1266721)
It seems that the electorate thinks that Mackey should have retired in '32, rather than hang on.

The 'no data' gap in the MLE's does beg for a split here, but he was still fairly solid in 33 & 34 (though in decline). Catchers can still provide value with OPS+'s in the mid-to-upper 80s. My guess at his career endpoint is 1935... about the same time that Philly let him go at age 38.
   191. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 18, 2005 at 04:52 PM (#1266887)
Gad,

How exactly did you come up with those conversion that you speak of. I am sure that you posted them somewhere but at this point, retracing my steps through teh Beckwith, Wilsona nd mAckey threads (and god knows where else) is probably worthless. Could you please repost them so we can take a look at them?
   192. Gadfly Posted: April 18, 2005 at 05:06 PM (#1266943)
85. Joe Dimino-

Do you really think that a baseball player's birth year is irrelevant? You have got to be kidding, right. I can't even begin to explain all the things wrong with that statement. Somebody help me here, I can no longer cope.

87. David Foss-

You really have to work on your sense of humor. My 'cool breeze of logic' quip, my Lee Marvin quote, and my 'honest mistake' statement are all simply humor, not 'hubris.' Of course, classifying someone's statement as hyperbole, accusing them of nit-picking and guilt-tripping, trotting out the word hubris are all trappings of an under humor-nourished soul.

The 'cool breeze of logic' quip that seems to have upset you so was simply my way of saying to John Murphy: 'Jesus Christ, don't take this so seriously.'

He stated that there were 8 white players from the 1920s in the HOM versus 6 black players. I disagreed with his analysis and he reacted like an infuriated diner demanding the death penalty for a waiter who spilled soup on his tie (By the way, that's a joke).

I'll go over this one more time and then I will ignore all other comments on this subject BEACAUSE it's stupid and a waste of time.

There are six guys from the Negro Leagues born from 1890 to 1909 in the Hall of Merit and each guy has a white comtemporary who can be comped with him (though Wilson and Terry are a bit of a stretch):

Rogan: Vance
Torriente: Heilmann
Charleston: Ruth
Jud Wilson: Terry
Stearnes: Simmons
Bill Foster: Grove

Of course, then there are eight other white guys floating around from the same time period (Carey, Frisch, Hornsby, Cochrane, Gehrig, Gehringer, Goslin, Hartnett).

That's not 8 to 6, that's 14 to 6.

Put in Suttles (Gehrig), Beckwith (Hornsby) and Hubbell (Takes Grove's place as a better match for Foster, Grove's true comp is Satchel) if you want and make it 15 to 8.

That's still not 8 to 6.

All the 'I am so offended' bull is just silly and doesn't change the fact that John Murphy made an exaggeration. Inability to admit that you are wrong is another sign of a humor deficit.

I think it's hilarious that you accuse me with nit-picking (Anderson hit 50 now, not 57, I said 50 now!!!) and say nothing about John Murphy's posts (that makes Vance a teen, a teen I tell you!!!). Give me an example of my own actual nit-picking and I'll apologize.

I must admit that all this makes me appreciate Karl Magnus all the more. He evidently never takes it personal, just like me; and gets the joke. For christ sakes, we're arguing about baseball, not world peace.
   193. DavidFoss Posted: April 18, 2005 at 05:13 PM (#1266963)
Do you really think that a baseball player's birth year is irrelevant? You have got to be kidding, right. I can't even begin to explain all the things wrong with that statement. Somebody help me here, I can no longer cope.

This topic has come up in the past. The particular example often cited is that McGinnity is actually older than Rusie.
   194. karlmagnus Posted: April 18, 2005 at 05:14 PM (#1266969)
I think "just like me" is the only time I have felt really insulted by Gadfly :-))
   195. Gadfly Posted: April 18, 2005 at 05:20 PM (#1266995)
91. Schmeagol-

I think the Monte Irvin study is on the Beckwith thread. There is also stuff on the MLE thread.

94. Karl Magnus-

Good to know that I finally offended you, I really have been trying hard.
   196. DavidFoss Posted: April 18, 2005 at 05:25 PM (#1267009)
87. David Foss-

You really have to work on your sense of humor. My 'cool breeze of logic' quip, my Lee Marvin quote, and my 'honest mistake' statement are all simply humor, not 'hubris.' Of course, classifying someone's statement as hyperbole, accusing them of nit-picking and guilt-tripping, trotting out the word hubris are all trappings of an under humor-nourished soul.

The 'cool breeze of logic' quip that seems to have upset you so was simply my way of saying to John Murphy: 'Jesus Christ, don't take this so seriously.'


You know in many settings, I'm actually considered a funny guy. I assure you that I would never let an HOM discussions ruin my day. :-)

Its clear to me from your enthusiastic discussion here that you do take our HOM discussions seriously. Certainly not life-or-death seriously, but you definitely have taken a vested interest in who we induct and do not induct.

This whole 'sense of humor' argument doesn't wash with me, sorry. Looks like a debate tactic to me. :-) You get to make your points and claim they were "jokes" when people call you on it. I heard this referred to as the conversational equivalent of a "Get Out of Jail Free Card".

No big whoop, I suppose. Just letting you know that it doesn't gain you credibility in my book.
   197. TomH Posted: April 18, 2005 at 05:32 PM (#1267021)
there is usually more than one useful way to look at something

"birth year" and "years played" are both legitimate means to analyze HoM make-up, depending on what your goal is.

naturally, we need to be aware of the danger of selected endpoints and other probs regardles of which method is used

I prefer "years played", because that's when ball games were actually won, but that is kind of like prefering "value" over "ability" - there are times when the other viewpoint is legit.

But 15 ballots from now, it ain't gonna make a difference - one system will show we elected more NeLers from early on, the other from later - it's merely a temporary bump in the data that is causing more stuf to fly than it's worth.
   198. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2005 at 05:35 PM (#1267026)
All the 'I am so offended' bull is just silly and doesn't change the fact that John Murphy made an exaggeration. Inability to admit that you are wrong is another sign of a humor deficit.

Gadfly, I have had it with you. Except for you, nobody else has stated a problem with what I was doing. Unless you feel that you sit on baseball's Mt. Olympus looking down on the rest of us feeble minded at this site, I would suggest you go over what you're doing before you start running down my "deficits."

As for your claim of using humor in one of your replies to me, I find that amusing since you may be the most humorless person here. Anybody who deigns to disagree with you gets a shitload of grief directed at them.
   199. Gadfly Posted: April 18, 2005 at 05:41 PM (#1267046)
Wow, I love how you accuse me of 'getting to make my points' and then using the 'debate card' to avoid all responsibility. Do you realize that you have never actually addressed any point that I was making, but simply picked nits and got all in a huff over my throwaway statements?

I don't know what hell is like, but I bet it's a lot like being in a room with people who think that you are a funny guy. The fact that I have gained 'no credibility in (your) book' actually makes me quite proud of myself.

You're also way off base with your assumption that I have a large vested interest in who is inducted into the HOM or not. You know what they say when you assume. Hell, I just like a good argument and I have actually learned some things and clarified my opinions by arguing on these threads.

In the grand scheme of things, who goes or does not go into the HOM doesn't mean diddlysquat. If you had a sense of humor, you would know that.
   200. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2005 at 05:43 PM (#1267057)
Tom:

I don't disagree with any of your points. In fact, if Gadfly had shown "the other side of the coin" by using birth date (without stating his other BS), I wouldn't have had a problem with that at all. Others have used birth date here and we have had no major arguments before.

But when it's insinuated that I'm massaging the numbers to fit my agenda, that's when I start seeing red.
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