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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bobby Estalella

Bobby Estalella

Eligible in 1951.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 03, 2005 at 10:43 PM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 03, 2005 at 10:50 PM (#1308282)
Sunnyday2 requested this thread, so here you are!
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: May 03, 2005 at 11:15 PM (#1308332)
I'll be happy to post what I know in the next 24 hours, but I don't have his minor league record which Bill James calls "eye-popping" or his Cuban record. Friends of Buzz Arlett and Gavy Cravath and Mendez and Dihigo ought to be curious about this guy! Thanks for any help.

I mean, seriously, I don't expect him to be ballot-worthy. Right now I see him as maybe a Bob Johnson, though on second thought I see Indian Bob as a guy who could become ballot-worthy when we get into the deep backlog in another decade or 3. Maybe Estalella, too...?
   3. Cblau Posted: May 04, 2005 at 02:02 AM (#1309213)
Here are his International League stats:

1934 and 1935- very few games
1936- G 108; AB 410; H 135; 2B 21; 3B 16; HR 9
BB 31
Teammate Smead Jolley led league with .373 BA and 52 doubles.
   4. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: May 04, 2005 at 07:16 AM (#1309664)
As I suspect many here already know, Estalella was (and, I guess, still is) commonly suspected of being the first 20th century major leaguer of African descent.
   5. Kelly in SD Posted: May 04, 2005 at 09:46 AM (#1309739)
I have found bits and pieces in books and on the internet. It's late. I'll check later today and post what I have found if it has not become redundant.
   6. Brent Posted: May 06, 2005 at 04:32 AM (#1315977)
Roberto Estalella Cuban League record:
Season  Team       Pos  AB  R  H 2B 3B HR RBI SB  AVG
1931-32 Habana      OF  37  7 13  1  1  0   4  0 .351
1932-33 Habana      3B  82 10 26  1  2  3  10  4 .317
1936-37 Habana      OF 237 40 68 12  4  5  34  2 .287
1937-38 Almendares* OF 189 28 48  5  2  4  31  1 .254
1938-39 Almendares  OF 150 12 34  3  0  1  18  3 .227
1939-40 Habana*     OF 175 18 48  7  1  1  21  4 .274
1940-41 Habana      OF 193 35 53 13  4  1  29  8 .275
1941-42 Habana      OF 168 13 42  5  4  2  27  4 .250
1943-44 Habana      OF 143 33 48  7  5  1  19  2 .336
1944-45 Habana      OF 128 16 26  4  2  2  22  2 .203
1945-46 Marianao*   OF 223 23 57 11  0  1  29  1 .256
1946-47 Marianao    OF 230 30 56 12  3  1  30  1 .243
1947-48 Leones+     OF 241 44 71 12  1  8  34  2 .295
1949-50 Marianao    OF 203 31 61 10  1 12  47  0 .300
1950    Havana*     OF 291 51 88 18  1  9  44  4 .302
1950-51 Marianao    OF  71 12 12  2  0  4  16  0 .169
1952-53 Almendares  OF   3  0  1  0  0  0   0  0 .333

1932-33 – led league in HR (3); no Americans played.
1936-37 – tied (with Herman Andrews) for lead in HR (5).
1937-38 – tied (with Ray Brown, Willie Wells) for lead in HR (4); also played with Habana.
1939-40 – also played with Almendares.
1940-41 – Led league in 2B (13); selected to All-Star team (selection was done by writers at the end of the season).
1941-42 – Led league in 3B (4), RBI (27); selected to All-Star team.
1943-44 – Selected to All-Star team.
1945-46 – Also played with Habana.
1947-48 – Played with “Players Federation,” a break-away league; also played with Alacranes and Santiago in the same league.
1950 – Havana Cubans in Florida International League, a minor league.

All-time leader lists:
# 9 for at-bats 2,473
# 10 for runs 352
# 10 for hits 664
# 7 for doubles 105
# 7 for home runs 46
# 7 for RBIs 371
   7. sunnyday2 Posted: May 06, 2005 at 11:33 PM (#1318183)
Brent, thanks for the info. From the above:


Cuba (ages 20-42) .269 in 2,473 AB
IL (1936/age 25) .329 in 441 AB + BB
ML (age 24-38) .282 in 2,546 AB + BB

Total (available) .278


IL .376
ML .383
Cuba (assuming BB rate = to IL + ML) .352

Total .366


Cuba .389
IL .524
ML .421

Total .413

Obviously his Cuban numbers drag down his totals, and I don't have any knowledge of the Cuban park effects, which I would presume to depress offense considering that he was "better" in the MLs, or of a ballpark for a competitive or league quality adjustment. We do know of course who some of the league leaders were during his active years in Cuba, however:

1931-2 Oms
1932-3 Estalella with 3 HR
1936-7 Estalella with 7 HR, R. Brown
1937-8 Estalella with 4 HR, R. Brown, W. Wells
1938-9 J. Gibson, M. Dihigo
1939-40 M. Suttles
1940-1 L. Salazar
1941-2 S. Garcia
1943-4 M. Dihigo
1945-6 Dick Sisler
1946-7 Lou Klein
1950-1 S. Garcia
1951-2 Joe Black

Here are his BA compared to the league leaders:

1931-2 .351 .400
1932-3 .317 .432
1936-7 .287 .349
1937-8 .254 .366
1938-9 .227 .371
1939-40 .274 .340
1940-1 .275 .316
1941-2 .250 .351
1942-3 .336 .337
1943-4 .203 .337
1944-5 .256 .340
1945-6 .243 .333
1946-7 .295 .330
1947-8 .300 .346
1950 .302 .336
1950-1 .169 .347
1951-2 .333 .323

Some of these league leading numbers suggest a fairly low level of offense, but this is hardly meant to be conclusive proof of anything.

Unfortunately, we do not seem to have BB numbers from Cuba, and getting on base via the BB appears to have been one of Estalella's prime skills. In the MLs he took a fairly remarkable 350 BB in 2,546 AB + BB for a BB rate of .137, which is almost double his walk rate in the IL. Of course his only 100 G ML seasons came during WWII (thus complicating his case even further) and at ages 31-34, while his primary IL season was at age 25.

So did he BB in Cuba at the IL (young man) rate of about .070 or the ML (mature man) rate of almost .140?

Finally I cannot begin to guess what his OPS+ is other than in the ML where it is 127. Note however that in his younger years (age 24-25-28) he was at 153-186-121. Of course this is in a small sample of PAs. During his primary (as opposed to prime) years in the ML he was at 130-123-125-142. This is subject to a WWII discount, but if he had had the opportunity to play 100G or more in the bigs at ages 25-30, who can say that these are not likely OPS+ numbers for him (if he had a normal career curve).

Just to complete the picture, however, here are some additional minor league numbers that James provides.

1935 Harrisburg (what league?) .316/.563 SA
1935-36 Albany (IL) .331/.545 (not inconsistent with Cliff's numbers above)
1937 (Piedmont Lg) .349/.706
1938 (Piedmont Lg) .378 (won Triple Crown at 38-123-.378 with 117 BB, 28-32 SB, 19 OF A)
1940 Mpls. .341, 36 2B, 32 HR, 121 RBI, 132 BB, 147 R

These numbers suggest a much better player than the IL and Cuban numbers do, which is all the more reason to wonder about extreme parks in Cuba (?). His Mpls. numbers (age 29) in particular, where we have a fair idea about conversions, suggest that his ML numbers 1941-44 may represent a past-prime player. Or perhaps in the MLs he was discouraged from taking a walk or otherwise got messed with.

Or, as Gadfly has posited, his more or less constant process of re-adjustment might have been a major issue in his actual vs. potential performance.

So, all things considered, I would be fairly confident about two things about Bobby Estalella:

1. He clearly could have played in the MLs from age 24-25 (when 81 PAs resulted in an OPS+ of approximately 160) through age 37 (considering his 142 OPS+ at age 34 whereupon he was cut with the return of the WWI vets).

2. In 14 years he probably could have had about the 8,000 PAs that Indian Bob Johnson did from 1933 to 1945).

Moving a little more into the realm of guesswork:

3. Taking mainly his actual ML record (.280/.380/.420 most as a past-prime player and a player making fairly constant adjustments) and "informing" it just a bit with his Cuban and minor league numbers, he probably would have been about a .290/.390/.440 hitter. Here he is compared to two guys who happen to come to mind to compare him to.

Estalella 8000 PA .290/.390/.440
Johnson 7800 PA .296/.393/.506
Minoso 7400 PA .298/.389/.459

Both Johnson and Minoso appear to have been better fielders.

But if you buy Chris Cobb's philosophy that you don't deduct from a player's record because of uncertainty, you make your best possible guess and go with it, then he looks to me a lot like Minnie Minoso.

That is my best guess.

So, if you'd like to slot him into your top 100, minimally, one last bit of info, his positions in the MLs.

CF 224
LF 211
3B 93
RF 55
1B 6
PH approx. 99

The only times he ever played 100 games at a given position in a given year in the MLs was 1944 and 1945 when he was the Phil A's CF, now ages 33-34. In a more normal career he would clearly have been a LF, so I'm going to put him there.

Of course, picture him as a guy who came up as a 3B and players other than Johnson and Minoso come to mind as possibly comparable in terms of style, but I'm not going to go there. Again, I prefer just to think of him as a guy who coulda been Minnie Minoso (or more likely, coulda been 80 percent of Minnie Minoso). Somebody at a minimum who deserved a better shake than what he got. He might in fact be better known if he had spent his whole career in the NeLs. In terms of posterity, being just "white enough" to get a ML trial but not white enough to stick might have been the worst that could happen.
   8. Chris Cobb Posted: May 06, 2005 at 11:51 PM (#1318242)

Thanks! This is great stuff.

Those are eye-popping MiL stats. If someone knows the level of those leagues, that'd help a lot in evaluating him.
   9. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 11, 2005 at 07:01 PM (#1612278)
In my journeys through the MxL and CWL encyclopedias, I've noticed two players that seemed to command more attention. One was Roberto Ortiz, the other Bobby Estallela. Both being light-skinned Cubans got a chance with the Senators just before integration. Estallela has the more well-documented career. Anyway, I hope to post MLEs for Ortiz, but in the meantime, I've done up MLEs for Estallela based on the information on this thread. I've had to fill in some gaps here and there by using surrounding seasons or career averages, and as always the playing time might come in a bit high. In particular, I have no info for 1933 and 1948, so I used the surrounding four-year averages. Also, I assumed him to be an average LF.

YEAR LG AGE POS AVG  OBP  SLG    G   PA   AB    H   TB   BB ops+  sfws
1931 NL  20 OF .304 .391 .355   51  208  182   55   65   26 102    6.0
1932 NL  21 OF .295 .372 .469  142  566  505  149  237   62 124   22.4
1933 NL  22 OF .289 .386 .445  138  564  487  141  217   77 137   21.2
1934 NL  23 OF .277 .354 .428  130  517  462  128  198   55 108   16.7
1935 AL  24 OF .300 .414 .461  145  611  512  154  236   99 126   25.7
1936 AL  25 OF .293 .401 .459  133  537  454  133  209   83 112   21.7
1937 NL  26 OF .282 .371 .478  128  518  454  128  217   64 129   20.4
1938 NL  27 OF .275 .366 .421  123  501  438  120  184   63 116   16.2
1939 AL  28 OF .276 .376 .422  112  457  394  108  166   64 104   15.3
1940 NL  29 OF .291 .386 .473  154  632  547  159  259   85 136   25.7
1941 AL  30 OF .272 .385 .447  100  373  315   86  141   58 134   13.8
1942 AL  31 OF .277 .397 .413  133  514  429  119  177   85 137   20.0
1943 AL  32 OF .259 .351 .409  117  419  367   95  150   52 119   13.0
1944 AL  33 OF .298 .372 .409  140  565  506  151  207   59 120   20.0
1945 AL  34 OF .299 .398 .435  126  525  451  135  196   74 131   18.0
1946 NL  35 OF .250 .355 .389  149  614  528  132  205   86 111   16.4
1947 NL  36 OF .247 .351 .354  150  615  531  131  188   85  88   14.0
1948 NL  37 OF .259 .380 .421   92  391  327   85  138   64 117   12.6
1949 AL  38 OF .269 .400 .434  117  507  417  112  181   91 121   18.1
1950 NL  39 OF .241 .344 .398   67  274  237   57   94   37  94    7.2
total          .278 .378 .429 2447 9909 8541 2378 3663 1368 119  344.4

This is probably a bit optimistic overall, but I don't believe it's wildly so.

He's an occasional All-Star, good never great. He's roughly similar in value to Sam Rice's peak and prime and, depending on whether the PT is in the ballpark, a little more career value.

Not ballot material for me, but I thought someone might find it interesting.
   10. sunnyday2 Posted: September 12, 2005 at 02:16 PM (#1613372)
Thanks a ton, Doc. I think Estalella is the real discovery of this whole process. I mean, here's a guy who got about 2500 ML PAs, so it's easy to say, well, he had his shot, if he was for real, he woulda put up a normal career.

But no. He was a fairly light-skinned Cuban, but clearly with African blood, as Eric points out. So he got a shot, but his opportunity to stick in the MLs was probably guided more by the feedback that his employers got from the Commissioner and other owners than his performance.

I mean, at age 24-25 he got 2 trials--granted only 81 PAs--with OPS+ 153-186, and fully one-third of his PAs resulted in BBs. This was a moneyball player. Yet he got sent down.

Then he played half a season at age 28 at OPS+ 121, and got sent down. Another 1/4 of a season at age 30, then 4 years as a regular at age 31-32-33-34 and 130-123-125-142. The latter two were 1944 and 1945. I figure a WWII discount OT(one)H and factor his age OT(other)H and these are completely plausible numbers for his prime years.

And the age 31-34 seasons that Doc "projects" above are in fact his real seasons, give or take a point of this or a point of that. And he played CF those 4 years though an MLE career for Estalella would more likely see him as a LFer.

And he kept active in the Latin leagues and the American MiLs throughout, putting up what Chris Cobb called "eye-popping numbers."

So, I had figured on a ML career from age 24-38, when he had his first and last ML PAs. Doc has added age 20-23 and 39 seasons to his MLEs.

Take those away and you've still got 288 career WS with 20 WS seasons all the way from age 24 to 33 (or, age 21 if you please). Here are two sets of comps.

Estalella 344/26-26-22/108
Willie Davis 322/26-26-25/119 (total differential 36)
Max Carey 351/29-29-26/133 (42)
Sheckard 339/33-33-30/127 (46)
Brock 348/31-30-30/134 (47)

There are not many close comps here, because few players put together 344 WS without a higher peak. This suggests that my somewhat truncated MLE is a little more realistic.

Estalella 288/26-26-22/99
Brian Downing 298/35-23-23/102 (26)
Bob Johnson 287/31-29-26/118 (32)
Gary Matthews (157/25-24-23/101 (37)
Chet Lemon 265/26-24-24/109 (37)
Brett Butler 295/27-27-26/124 (38)
Amos Otis 286/29-29-27/125 (39)
Rick Monday 258/26-23-22/105 (39)
Manush 285/35-28-27/128 (48)

Still, the comps aren't that close, as even your 288 WS guys typically had higher peaks that what Doc attributes to Estalella. Like most players in MLE evaluations, he probably would have had a higher peak than that. So I would suggest that he would probably go right at the top of this second list, with the possible exception of Bob Johnson.

Months ago I said he looked like Bob Johnson and that has been borne out. I also said he looked like Minnie Minoso. In terms of style of play and skill set, I would still say that. The numbers disagree, (Minoso 283/32-29-29/133) but this is largely on the basis of his 5 year peak, and if I am right--and Estalella would have had a higher peak than Doc gives him--then Minoso might still be a fair comp.

Estalella .278 .378 .429 2447 9909 8541 2378 3663 1368 119
Minoso .298 .389 .459 1835 7163 6579 1963 3023 814 130

There may be an MLE for Minoso, too, that would bring his career length and his career WS into Estalella's projected 2447 G and 344 WS. (The above line is based on Doc's full MLE, though again I zero in for my own ratings on 24-38).

Anyway, I don't think Estalella is a HoMer or even ballot-worthy, but taking him in comparison to Luke Easter, Estalella's projections are pretty credible because they are based on 2550 ML PAs. But before you say that that is Estalella's good luck, again, consider whether the fact that he had 2550 ML PAs hasn't suggested to you that, well, he got his shot, and I don't need to consider any more than the real record?

This guy is clearly a top 100 in the Johnson value and Minoso skills mode. Right now Johnson and Estalella are sitting around #50 on my ballot.
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 12, 2005 at 03:20 PM (#1613467)
Just so that everyone is aware, my MLEs have no park factors, no regression, are based on a 154-game schedule.

The conversion rates I used for MiL to MLB performance in Estallela's MLE go like this:
              AVG   SLG
              CONV  CONV
MXL     1946 .90   .82 (same as NgL in 1946,AAA)
        1947 .90   .82 (same as NgL in 1947,AAA)

EL      1934 .875  .76 (AA)

IL      1935 .90   .82 (same as NgL in 1935, AAA)
        1936 .90   .82 (same as NgL in 1935, AAA)

PDMT    1937 .875  .76 (AA)
        1938 .875  .76 (AA)

AA      1940 .875  .76 (AA)

FLA INT 1950 .875  .76 (same as NgL in 1950, AA)

CWL     1931 .88   .77 (per Oms thread)
        1932 .88   .77 (per Oms thread)
        1936 .94   .88 (per Oms thread)
        1937 .96   .94 (per Oms thread)
   1938-1948 .94   .88 (as implied by Oms thread)
   1949-1954 .875  .76 (AA level)

Some quick notes about these conversion rates. Using Mike McCann's Minor League homepage (which is very helpful for this kind of thing!), I found that the Piedmont League as classified B at some point in its existence, which I assumed equated it to AA ball (figuring A was probably the highest, not lowest in the old classification system). If it's the other way around, it'll knock about 2.5% off the totals for those years.

I assumed EL was AA (as it is today) in absence of any firm information.

McCann's site also said that the American Association was an AA-level league in 1940, thus the AA-level conversion rates.

Finally, for the CWL, I'm using Chris Cobb's calculated rates for the years he has completed study on (roughly 1920s-1937). Thereafter I'm using .94/.88 which he suggested was the mean conversion rate and his own intuitive sense of the league's quality...until 1949. Gadfly said on the Willard Brown thread the PRWL, a similar league, essentially became a AA-level league after 1948. I figured the same was probably likely for the CWL. Here's my reasoning: with integration, more Black and Latino players were in the minors getting stable paychecks and playing full seasons at top levels of competition. Those already in the big leagues didn't usually play winter ball, and it seemed like those who continued to play winter ball were just getting older...relatively less new blood was entering them. So I declined them to double-A level.

If anyone's got any sense that my conversion rates are off, please let me know. Especially if I'm underrating AAA play. I thought it was .90/.82, but I'm not sure if that's exactly right. If it's too low or high, let me know. Ditto AA play.

The other big IF here is that I don't have any more information than what's on this page or in the usual books. If anyone's got info on what, if anything, Estallela did in the minors in 1931-1933, 1939, 1941, 1948-1954 (especially 1948), please share in this space so we can figure it into the MLEs.
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: September 12, 2005 at 03:54 PM (#1613510)
Doc, don't take my word for it but I *think* that Piedmont as a B league might be down the pecking order a bit further than that, as in: AAA, AA, A, then B. Anybody else know for sure?

One interesting sidelight, here, it seems as if everytime Estalella played a short season (his ealy ML trials, his early Cuban seasons--presumably these were also trials rather than the seasons themselves being that short)...anyway, seems that he always hit very very well in those short seasons. Presumably that is a coincidence because he had no way of knowing he wasn't going to stick in the MLs, for example. Or did he?
   13. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 12, 2005 at 04:48 PM (#1613601)
The whole classification thing is a bit peculiar because at some point there was an A-D scale, then they started in with the AAA, AA, A, R at some point. I don't know exactly when, nor what the correlation between the two matrices is.
   14. Gary A Posted: September 12, 2005 at 05:44 PM (#1613721)
According to the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, these were the minor league classifications in 1937:

AA--American Assoc., International Lg., PCL
A1--Southern Assoc., Texas Lg.
A--New York-Pennsylvania Lg., Western Lg.
B--Piedmont Lg., South Atlantic Lg., Southeastern Lg, Three-I Lg., Western International Lg.
C--5 leagues
D--20 leagues

For 1938 it's the same, except that the NY-Penn Lg. becomes the Eastern League and the Western League disappears.
   15. sunnyday2 Posted: September 12, 2005 at 09:49 PM (#1613907)
So Estalella's 1937-1938 basically show what an above average MLer (age 26-27) will do when playing four steps below his ability. Kick ass. Then he played half a season in the MLs the very next year (age 28). Over the 3 years in question he has this MLE line.

1937 NL 26 OF .282 .371 .478 129 20.4
1938 NL 27 OF .275 .366 .421 116 16.2
1939 AL 28 OF .276 .376 .422 104 15.3

Note that in real life he had OPS+ 121 in that half season in the MLs in 1939. His total must come down due to Cuban results? Still this suggests that the conversion for the Piedmont League is in the ballpark.

One problem I see (that I missed before) is his lack of games played within season. From age 26 to 30 there is only one year over 128 games, including 2 ML half-seasons. Was he on the ML roster full year? I don't see any summer leagues with any other playing time among the conversion rates. I wonder if this is representative of his durability? He played 516 games in the MLs at ages 31-34 but is credited with just 496 from ages 26-29. Could this be an artifact of his moving around quite a bit?

Just nits, though.

In summary: This is a guy who 1) demonstrated in 2550 ML PAs that he was an above average MLer (OPS+ 127 while missing his prime and played CF ages 33-34 though not otherwise looking like a great fielder) and 2) that he played a lot of ball continuously from age 20 to 39.

So 3) cut out 3-4 years from the top and/or bottom of Doc's MLE but you might want to add in a few games in his prime as his low game totals seem to be an artifact of something other than durablity issues.

Like I say, this man is Minnie Minoso, or Bob Johnson with a little less power but better fielding and base running, or maybe Willie Davis with a little less leather.
   16. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 13, 2005 at 01:27 AM (#1614364)
AA--American Assoc., International Lg., PCL
A1--Southern Assoc., Texas Lg.
A--New York-Pennsylvania Lg., Western Lg.
B--Piedmont Lg., South Atlantic Lg., Southeastern Lg, Three-I Lg., Western International Lg.
C--5 leagues
D--20 leagues

Thanks Gary. This means that I'll need to recalculate Estallela's Piedmont numbers since I've currently pegged it to AA rather than, say, Hi-A. I figure on .85/.72 as the likely conversion rate. Sound good to everyone?
   17. sunnyday2 Posted: September 13, 2005 at 01:49 AM (#1614428)
Doc, if the theory is right, then it's right. OTOH the results also need to feel right. The first two years below are those Piedmont years, followed by a ML season in 1939--or, actually, 82 games which you've extrapolated to 112. But 320 PAs, so a fair sample.

1937 NL 26 OF .282 .371 .478 129 20.4
1938 NL 27 OF .275 .366 .421 116 16.2
1939 AL 28 OF .276 .376 .422 104 15.3

The real 1939 .275 .368 .468 121

As I mentioned above, I assume he had an off year in Cuba, which pulled his 121 down to a 104. That's a long drop.

But anyway the point is the trend at age 26-27-28 from 129-116-104. Doesn't feel right. But is it the 129--i.e. the Piedmont conversion is too high?--or is it the 104--itoo far below a 121?

Then he has his career seasons at age 29-30-31, 34 in the 130s. Feels to me like the 104 is too low. I'd want to see what his Piedmont seasons turn into at .85/.72 before I'd know if they feel right.

The other thing that doesn't feel right is his other career years at age 21-22. Those are awfully short seasons, just 119 AB between them. I have posited that those are not MLE seasons at all, along with age 20 and 39.

But in between that 104 is an anamoly, and I think you've got him missing too many games sometimes.

So think 288 WS is more credible than 344, but adding back something I think he could be a 300 WS player.
   18. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 13, 2005 at 02:20 AM (#1614491)

A couple things I think are going on in 1939.

1) The 104 OPS+ season was located in an American League that went .286/.361/.424 which is above the norm for the Estallela era.

2) Estallela played in Griffith Stadium which suppressed power considerably, and to be consistent within and among the translations I have not adjusted for any park contexts in any of the translations. This may, therefore, have an effect on several of his seasons and should be taken into account when looking at the MLEs.

3) Estallela had a good year in Cuba and his translated Cuban numbers are similar to his AL numbers except in one respect:

Cuba .276/.382/.397
AL .275/.366/.468
MLE .276/.376/.422

The SLG is somewhat lower. I do have concerns about how well SLG translates from Cuba due to its power-suppresive environment. Estallela slugged .343 down there in 1939, but the league slugged .322. I think it's possible that the low-octane environment of the late 30s and early 40s on the island may cause unforseen distortions in translation. I'm working with Chris C. to see if there's a way to work out a solution.

Incidentally, when the Piedmont seasons are converted at .85/.72 instead of .875/.76 they yield these translated figures:
year ops+ sfws
1937 124  19.2
1938 110  15.0
   19. sunnyday2 Posted: May 23, 2006 at 10:23 AM (#2033055)
   20. Brent Posted: May 24, 2006 at 02:41 AM (#2034463)
On the Gavy Cravath thread, # 229, Chris Cobb mentioned the possibility of re-doing Estalella's MLEs to apply the lower slugging translation only to isolated power, and not to slugging as a whole.

Another concern regarding Estalella's translations is the shifts in quality of the Cuban League during his career. For the Alejandro Oms translations we found it necessary to account for the number of Americans playing in Cuba during the 1920s. A similar phenomenon takes place during the 1930s and 40s. In the early to mid 30s, few Americans play. Starting about 1935-36, however, many Negro League stars including Josh Gibson, Willie Wells, Ray Brown, Sam Bankhead, and (of course) Martin Dihigo played winter ball in Cuba. During that period the league quality surely rose above the Triple-A level. From 1940-45, however, few Americans played in the Cuban League, presumably reflecting travel restrictions in effect during the war.

Since Estalella's prime years coincided with the peak quality of the league, it seems likely that the flatness of his MLEs may be an artifact of the use of a fixed league quality factor. If it were allowed to vary with the number of Americans in the league, as was done with the Oms MLEs, I think we'd see a more plausible career shape.
   21. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 24, 2006 at 12:54 PM (#2035151)
Brent is probably right about teh CWL conversation rates. I use the following rates:

1931-1932: .88
1936: .94
1937: .96
1938-1947: .94
1949-1952: .875

If memory serves, the ones through 1937 are based on the rates posted by CC onthe Oms thread, but the remainder are guesstimates based on a combination of anecdotal intformation from folks here on the boards.
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 13, 2007 at 02:08 AM (#2333826)
I've been working on revised MLEs for Estalella as you all know by now. Same method as recently with the following important notes:

1) I used 4.06 PA/G, which is how many PAs I estimate he had per game based on the combination of his MLB stats and his minor league stats with certain portions filled in by extrapolation from career totals (some seasons I don't have BB and other peripheral data).

2) I made him an average fielding outfielder.

3) I used the same seasons as the old MLE: ages 20-39.

4) I used the following discount schedule:
IL and AA: .86
MxL: .80
CWL 1931-1932 and 1949: .77
NY-Penn (precursor to today's EL, but then a class A league): .75
Piedmont and Florida Int'l leagues (both B leagues): .70

5) For MLB seasons where he had no other summer baseball, I took them as-is for his final stat lines: regular stats and WS. You'll see that my OPS+ is shy by one point those years, there's some tiny glitch somewhere that's causing it, but I haven't located it yet.

6) For MLB seasons where he had other summer baseball, I translated the mlb in order to combine them with the other information I had. As the Big Ragu would say, "It's in there!"---but it's melded with other play.

7) For the neutralized career totals that fill in the gaps, I used all seasons, including big leagues, neutralized.

8) 1933 and 1948 are undocumented years.
-1933 there was no CWL and he hadn't come stateside. I used the average of surrounding seasons' PAs to determine PT and then used the career norms for filling in.
-1948 I can find no record of him, so I used the same technique to fill him in.

9) 1931, 1932, 1949 required I use CWL stats, since that's all he's got for those years. I did some rough estimates of the CWL league norms which I think are working fine. i figured the conversion factor as Chris's CWL average factor squared in accordance with that relationship between AVG and Runs. In 1949, the CWL data is combined with a spec of MLB data.

10) Which brings up a point: Estalella was 20 when he began play in Cuba. He played well from the get-go posting OPS+s near 120 in MLE terms. There's no guarantee that a 20 or 21 year old OF would be in the big leagues, especially as these are among his first seasons (or actually his first?). Given all that and the absence of any 1933 data, it's conceivable that we might instead wish to treat the entire 1931-1933 period as his woodshedding period and pick the MLE up at 1934, age 23, a very typical age for any player to debut. On the other end, despite the uncertainty around 1948 and 1949, his showing in the FIL is decent and doesn't scream out for the MLE to end earlier. I actually left his translation only (no filling in playing time) to give him a bit of a last-year drop-off, but his batting was very good that year. It's a pretty normal looking decline, PT wise, but the OPS+ uptick at the end is a little unsettling for me.

11) On the whole, this MLE comes in very, very close to the MLE in post #9 above. Actually a little lower believe it or not. SFWS, however, disagrees vehemently. It calls for 380 WS, not 335. I think that SFWS is fooled by the extremely high scoring of the 1930s AL. That's why I chose to not use it anymore, but also why I like to double-check with it. The value of runs viz outs doesn't change at all in SFWS, which makes it ill suited for higher-run seasons. Speaking of which, remember the big MiL years that James raves about in his NHBA? 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, and 1938? Yeah, they are good years, but they took place in leagues with R/G over 5.0: 5.12, 5.19, 5.04, 5.19, and 5.27. And four of them took place in leagues that were Class A or Class B, meaning that they weren't top-competition and get dinged pretty good (30% off the top).


    AGE  pa   ab    h   tb   bb sh hpb sb cs gdp   rc  avg  obp  slg ops
1931 20 220  188   52   82   30  1   1  2  1   5   32 .277 .376 .435 112
1932 21 594  502  145  235   86  4   2  7  5  16   95 .289 .391 .469 122
1933 22 486  413  116  190   69  3   1  5  3  13   75 .281 .382 .461 122
1934 23 573  490  130  228   78  4   1  5  4  13   86 .265 .363 .466 113
1935 24 597  506  139  231   87  3   1  6  3  13   92 .275 .379 .455 115
1936 25 520  476  146  236   39  4   1  4  3  14   83 .307 .356 .497 108
1937 26 483  415  119  235   64  3   1  4  3  11   89 .287 .380 .566 135
1938 27 611  502  133  264  104  4   1 15  4  13  108 .265 .389 .526 127
1939 28 345  298   82  139   43  3   1  1  3   9   52 .275 .363 .467 111
1940 29 644  526  155  276  113  4   1 12  5  14  119 .295 .417 .526 143
1941 30 313  264   70  107   47  1   1  3  1   8   43 .265 .376 .406 107
1942 31 514  429  119  177   85  0   3  5  2  19   73 .277 .397 .413 129
1943 32 423  367   95  150   52  4   1  1  3  16   50 .259 .348 .409 121
1944 33 572  506  151  207   59  7   2  3  3  13   77 .298 .367 .409 123
1945 34 526  451  135  196   74  1   1  1  6  15   76 .299 .397 .435 141
1946 35 607  502  128  223   99  5   1  6  3   7   93 .255 .374 .445 128
1947 36 615  522  123  185   86  5   1  6  3  20   67 .236 .341 .354  93
1948 37 449  382  104  170   62  3   1  4  3  11   66 .272 .371 .446 116
1949 38 474  406  110  184   64  3   1  2  1  18   68 .271 .367 .452 116
1950 39 342  290   79  121   48  2   1  4  2   8   49 .272 .373 .417 124
9908 8435 2331 3837 1389 67  25 96 60 254 1494 .276 .376 .455 121

      bws  fws   ws
1931  5.4  1.1   6.5
1932 16.6  2.9  19.5
1933 13.8  2.4  16.2
1934 14.5  2.8  17.3
1935 16.2  3.0  19.1
1936 12.0  2.6  14.6
1937 16.6  2.4  19.0
1938 19.0  3.0  22.0
1939  8.3  1.7  10.0
1940 24.9  3.2  28.1
1941  7.9  1.6   9.4
1942 17.7  2.3  20.0
1943 11.2  1.3  13.0
1944 14.9  4.7  20.0
1945 14.6  2.8  18.0
1946 23.2  3.0  26.2
1947 12.5  3.0  15.5
1948 12.8  2.2  15.0
1949 13.2  2.4  15.6
1950  8.3  1.7  10.0
283.5 50.2 335.1 

I think the consensus has Estalella well-pegged: good career, not enough peak for a corner guy in the low 300 WS (or at 350 162- and war-adjusted WS).

As always any feedback is appreciated!
   23. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:12 PM (#2608270)
Cross posted from Bus Clarkson (~post 200-205). For context, please go there and read about the blackballing of MxL jumpers that Gary's research has documented, which includes the known MLB guys (that's Estalella) and NgLs who fell into this sink hole too.

Oh golly, I just realized what this meant.

I've been wondering what the heck Bobby Estalella did in 1948 and with the rest of 1949. I have never found any information about his ballplaying whereabouts. I'd long wondered what happened to him.

And the answer is in my post above and in Gary's explanation of it. Estalella was blacklisted due to MxL participation and therefore couldn't find any work in OB. In addition, he couldn't even play in the CWL in his home country, which Gary noted was in OB at that time, until the lifting of the suspension in 1949.

To back this up a little bit, his final MLB game was September 16, 1949, but played in only 8 all year. I would hardly be surprised if they were all in September...which was after the ban was lifted. I can't locate any documentation of his other games, so I can't confirm it, nor of his transactions for 1949 to know precisely when he reupped with MLB.
   24. Brent Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:53 PM (#2608350)
In 1948 Estalella was Clarkson's teammate in Quebec:
   25. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 07, 2007 at 08:41 PM (#2608444)
Wow, Brent! Thanks! I'd wondered if Cristian had put his work anywhere, but I didn't realized he'd published all these seasons. That's awesome.

Thanks to Cristian if he's lurking!!!

And the fact that Estalella was in Quebec (with Clarkson and other jumpers), but not in OB, is still another piece of evidence that he was blacklisted for a couple years.
   26. Gary A Posted: November 09, 2007 at 07:13 PM (#2610575)
Estalella was definitely blacklisted. The New York Times article (June 6, 1949) about Chandler rescinding the ban mentioned that 18 players had been blacklisted in 1946, and named thirteen of them:

Mickey Owen
Fred Martin
Max Lanier
Danny Gardella
Lou Klein
Napoleon Reyes
Adrian Zabala
Roberto Ortiz
Chile Gomez
Luis Olmo
Bobby Estalella
Chico Hernandez
Rene Monteagudo

In addition, I’ve been able to find six more (bringing the total to 19, rather than the 18 the Times mentioned):

Harry Feldman
Sal Maglie
Ace Adams
Roy Zimmerman
George Hausmann
Myron Hayworth
   27. Brent Posted: November 09, 2007 at 10:30 PM (#2610815)
This list at adds 3 more names: Alex Carrasquel, Moe Franklin, and Roland Gladu. Carrasquel and Gladu played in the Ligue Provinciale.
   28. Brent Posted: November 10, 2007 at 12:13 AM (#2610879)
I found a few more names. The table of contents of a McFarland book, Mexican Raiders in the Major Leagues by Richard McKelvey, adds the names of Charlie Mead and James (Red) Steiner. A post by "Mischa" on adds the names of Tommy de la Cruz, Tony Ordenana, and Jorge Comellas, who all played in MLB pre-1946. In addition, he names several players who debuted in MLB after playing in the Mexican League in 1946: Bobby Avila, Sandy Consuegra, Chico Garcia, Bobby Herrera, Hector Rodriguez, and Bus Clarkson. It's interesting to note that Avila, Consuegra, and Herrera all played in U.S. organized baseball before the ban was lifted in June 1949, suggesting that Mexican League players who had not jumped contracts with organized baseball were not covered by the ban. This observation, however, leaves open the question whether players who jumped Negro League contracts to play in Mexico were effectively banned from organized baseball.
   29. Gary A Posted: November 10, 2007 at 09:57 PM (#2611408)
Probably not every one of those guys was actually on the ineligible list, which would have been limited to players who actually "broke" contracts (in most cases this would simply mean they violated the reserve clause). I'm pretty sure Avila wasn't, for example, and it would appear that Consuegra and Herrera weren't either.

An informal blacklist of Negro League players by OB, if it happened, might have been tied up with the anti-trust lawsuits brought by several of the white players, most notably Danny Gardella (but also Lanier and Martin, and Maglie talked about it, too, though I'm not sure he went through with it). The commissioner, some Congressmen, and other baseball people engaged in a great effort to convince the players to drop the lawsuits, as a U.S. Appeals Court in (I think) February 1949 had actually ruled, in Gardella's case, that the reserve clause was illegal. OB's point man among the MxL jumpers was Mickey Owen, who publicly recanted his own jump, campaigned to make himself the representative of the banned players, and criticized the players who were suing.

The interesting thing about Owen is that, while in Mexico, he was involved in at least one very public incident (an on-field fight with Claro Duany) that was interpreted as racial. In general, Owen's attitude toward black players in the MxL was well-known enough that there was a movement among black fans to boycott any team he played on in the U.S.

Owen aside, the threat of antitrust lawsuits (which is what led Chandler to rescind the ban well ahead of schedule) probably made the signing of black players who had played alongside the banned whites politically inadvisable. (The white players all eventually dropped their suits in return for reinstatement and other inducements; Gardella, for example, was allowed to move from the Giants to the Cardinals, at his request.)

Btw, the earliest of the Negro League Mexican Leaguers who signed with OB clubs was, as far as I can tell, Ray Dandridge. I haven't found a specific date for his signing yet, but it was reported in the June 11, 1949, Chicago Defender (a weekly paper); Chandler lifted the ban on major leaguers on June 5.
   30. Paul Wendt Posted: November 10, 2007 at 11:15 PM (#2611446)
It's interesting to note that Avila, Consuegra, and Herrera all played in U.S. organized baseball before the ban was lifted in June 1949, suggesting that Mexican League players who had not jumped contracts with organized baseball were not covered by the ban.

Gary A
Probably not every one of those guys was actually on the ineligible list, which would have been limited to players who actually "broke" contracts (in most cases this would simply mean they violated the reserve clause).

I agree. No one should doubt this.
   31. Brent Posted: November 15, 2007 at 05:24 AM (#2615418)
For a while there seems to have been a threat to disqualify anyone who played in the same league as the banned players. At least that seems to be the story behind the Cuban "Liga de la Federación," an alternative league that was set up in the winter of 1946-47 to allow Cubans who were under contract with organized baseball to avoid playing with banned players such as Lanier and Klein in the regular Cuban League. However, the threat must have dissipated before the end of winter, since Marrero moved to the Cuban League in January as soon as the Federación season ended.
   32. Gary A Posted: November 15, 2007 at 04:14 PM (#2615759)
That's very interesting, as by 47/48 the Federación (I believe it was the same organization, correct? -- I'm not where I can check my books) was packed with Mexican Leaguers, including Lanier and Klein, while the regular Cuban League had mostly expelled them (with the exception of local heroes Duany and Formenthal) due to its deal with Organized Baseball.

Another random thought I don't think anybody's mentioned: one factor in OB's failure to sign Mexican League Negro Leaguers before 1949 was the fact that it was mostly older Negro Leaguers who went to Mexico in the first place. In this respect the 1946-47 period was quite different from 1940-41, when many younger players (including Irvin, Clarkson, Dandridge, etc.) went.
   33. Brent Posted: November 18, 2007 at 06:12 AM (#2618928)
The 46/47 Liga de la Federación was a different organization from the 47/48 Players Federation (its designation by Figueredo) or Liga Nacional (as it's called by González Echevarría). The 46/47 league was organized by Don Julio Blanco Herrera, brewery magnate and owner of La Tropical stadium, which had just been abandoned by the Cuban League in favor of newly constructed Gran Stadium, and the impetus was to provide a league for players who were under contract with Organized Baseball. The 47/48 league was organized by the players union (Asociación de Peloteros) and the impetus was to provide a league for players who were banned by OB. Nevertheless, there was some continuity between the two leagues--both played in La Tropical, and the team names were quite similar.

Another interesting fact is that one person apparently did lose his MLB job for merely associating with the banned players in the regular Cuban League during 1946/47. According to González Echevarría (p. 49), Miguel (Mike) Angel González was fired as coach with the St. Louis Cardinals because the 46/47 winter Habana team that he'd managed included several banned players.

According to Figueredo (p. 292), the pact that the Cuban League signed with the Minor Leagues on July 11, 1947 "lifted the suspensions of many Cuban players." Since it's pretty clear that the suspensions of Cuban major leaguers, like Estalella, were not lifted in 1947, I have to assume that it was Cuban minor leaguers who had jumped to Mexico that had their suspensions lifted.

I also note that the Minor Leagues assigned the Cuban League the "Open Classification," which I interpret as higher than Class AAA. My understanding is that the PCL was also assigned the Open Classification from 1952-57. Have any other leagues received this classification?
   34. Gary A Posted: November 18, 2007 at 06:09 PM (#2619109)
The 46/47 Liga de la Federación was a different organization from the 47/48 Players Federation (its designation by Figueredo) or Liga Nacional (as it's called by González Echevarría).

Ah. Thanks for the explanation, Brent.
   35. Paul Wendt Posted: November 18, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2619320)
What was the gist of Open Classification?

To wit, was it a qualitatively different relationship --different in meaning from what AAAA would have been? Or was the term merely alternative to AAAA, perhaps because one side expected or hoped that it would be temporary, or one side considered it more honorable? If not a qualitatively different relationship then we should equate it with the original designation AA, which newly set some leagues above the A leagues; and equate it with the original designation AAA, which newly set some leagues above the AA leagues.

Almost every year around 1910 the stronger A leagues talked about demanding a better deal, and either getting higher status (maybe major status) or leaving the agreement. One year a new AA class was instituted for the EL, AA, and PCL, while the Southern and Western remained A leagues.
   36. Gary A Posted: November 19, 2007 at 04:37 PM (#2619988)
Here's a 1946 article on the Mexican League from Collier's, posted at Baseball Fever.
   37. burniswright Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:10 AM (#2637816)
For an extended and thoughtful discussion of the racial questions surrounding Estalella and other Cubans, I would suggest:
   38. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:21 PM (#2637950)
burniswright, I was turned off that article by an obvious mistake in the 5th paragraph:

"In 1868 Bellan began to play for the Unions of Morrisania, an upstate New York team"

Given that Morrisania is around 60 blocks "upstate" from my apartment in Manhattan, I have a feeling the author doesn't have a damn clue where Morrisania is.
   39. Mark Donelson Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:33 PM (#2637957)
Given that Morrisania is around 60 blocks "upstate" from my apartment in Manhattan, I have a feeling the author doesn't have a damn clue where Morrisania is.

You're probably right, though I think in 1868, at least, Morrisania was not yet part of New York City. So you could twist yourself over backward and say that calling it "upstate" in that time period isn't incorrect, if you mean "upstate of the city" as one generally does. (I grew up--in Manhattan--thinking of anything in Westchester as "upstate," for instance.)

But that is quite a stretch, I admit. (Not to mention misleading--even if that is what's meant, it kinda requires explanation...) It's far more likely the author just doesn't realize Morrisania is in the Bronx.
   40. sunnyday2 Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:33 PM (#2638175)
My ancestors are from upstate NY, and its not far-fetched at all that the residents of Morrisania thought of themselves as upstate. It woulda been a farming town at that time, no?
   41. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:43 PM (#2638193)
</i>My ancestors are from upstate NY, and its not far-fetched at all that the residents of Morrisania thought of themselves as upstate. It woulda been a farming town at that time, no?</i>

No. Morrisania was annexed to NYC really early (1870s?), and we're talking about the SouthBronx. Even in the myopic eyes of New Yorkers of any era, Morrisania was not upstate.
   42. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:08 PM (#2638220)
Maybe he meant uptown :)

-- MWE
   43. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2638222)
I thought the rest of the article was really good, actually.

-- MWE
   44. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:14 PM (#2638233)
As I suspect many here already know, Estalella was (and, I guess, still is) commonly suspected of being the first 20th century major leaguer of African descent.
Actually, I'm pretty sure they're all of African descent. It's just a matter of how recent.
   45. Paul Wendt Posted: December 08, 2007 at 07:00 PM (#2638969)
But that is quite a stretch, I admit. (Not to mention misleading--even if that is what's meant, it kinda requires explanation...) It's far more likely the author just doesn't realize Morrisania is in the Bronx.

Marshall Wright lists a team in Washington Heights (today near the uptown GW bridge?).

You might be right but it seems plausible to me that the Unions and the Fordham College boys as well the Mount Vernons may have been considered upstate. And it seems plausible that the "New York" teams were those who played in Hoboken or Brooklyn because there was no space at home. When a team from Morrisania NY or Irvington NJ traveled to Hoboken, I suppose it was to play a New York team there.

Given that Morrisania is around 60 blocks "upstate" from my apartment in Manhattan

itself in the 1860s perhaps unsettled, or estate country, or farm country, or isolated village more than 60 blocks north of the city?
I have imagined that Washington Heights and Harlem were coastal communities in the 1860s, whose teams traveled by water or rail. And that Hoboken was more than a routine trip from up there.

(On the other hand, Morrisania or Fordham College may have been closer to the city, Washington Heights or Harlem farther from the city, depending on the routes of the frequent rail service.)
   46. Gary A Posted: December 17, 2007 at 07:05 PM (#2648090)
I don’t have anything new to add to the debate about Morrisania’s upstateness, but do have a few notes about the article’s discussion of pre-1911 attempts to bring Cuban players to the majors:

1) McGraw did come to Cuba on a tour organized by Alfred Lawson in 1891 (not 1889). I rather doubt he attempted to sign Antonio María García (“El Inglés”) then, as McGraw was only 17 at the time, and of course not managing a team. It’s possible that he made such an attempt later, when he was actually a manager. Or maybe Lawson tried to sign García in 1891, and the event was later assimilated to the genre of “McGraw wanted to sign him” stories (of which there are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of examples).

2) Luis Padrón definitely tried out for the Chicago White Sox in 1909; I have never, aside from here, heard of a 1900 tryout for him. If he had tried out for the 1900 White Sox, it would be especially noteworthy, as the White Sox were not yet a major league team, and Padrón would not have even played in the Cuban League yet. He debuted in the 1900 season, which ran from August to December. He was a regular (leading the league in both wins and hits, as the article notes), and probably wouldn’t have had time to go to the U.S. to try out with the White Sox in the latter part of the season. So it would have been before the Cuban League season started.

3) I don’t think I have otherwise heard of a major league tryout for Bustamante (or if I did I've forgotten about it), and would like to know more about this.

4) Luis Padrón played for the New Britain Perfectos in 1908, not 1910. In 1910 he worked for four different teams in the U.S.: Molina’s Cuban Stars, the Kankakee Kays of the Class D Northern Association, Eddie Hahn’s Red Sox of the Chicago City League, and the Peoria Distillers of the Class B Three-I League.
   47. Paul Wendt Posted: December 18, 2007 at 06:58 AM (#2648544)
Do we know the meaning of "tryout" in those days? More to the point, how consistently was it used? Most of a major league team with some fillers plays a Cuban team that includes Bustamante and it's a tryout for Bustamante --or is that only if McGraw is the ml team manager?

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