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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bus Clarkson

James Buster “Bus” Clarkson (1915-1989)
AKA: Buzz
Played: 1937-1950
SS/3B/2B/OF;  5’11, 195;  BR, TR; Mexican League (‘41, ‘46-47), Canadian League (1948), Minor League (1950-56), Major League (1952)

- information gathered from The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues.

Eligible in 1962.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 21, 2005 at 09:56 PM | 232 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 21, 2005 at 11:21 PM (#1633428)
There are no pages online specifically about Clarkson, so that explains the summary above.
   2. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 22, 2005 at 01:51 AM (#1634080)
I've got background info, then I'll post MLEs. First the real stats


NEGRO LEAGUES                 
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K AVG  SLG
---------------------------------------------------------------------
1937 NNL CRW  19 SS     28           
1938 NNL CRW  20 SS     42            
1939 NAL TOL  21 SS     19   5  19   8   8  0  0  0         .421 .421 
1940 NAL IND  22 SS      8      16   3   6  0  0  1         .188 .375 
1940 NNL NWK  22 SS     46      89  39  68  3  1  8         .438 .764 
1942 NNL NWK  24               
1942 NNL PHI  24 SS         31 114  41  58 11  0  2  2      .360 .509 
1946 NNL PHI  28 3B/SS  46  38 146  45  62  7  2  2  8      .308 .425 
1949 NNL PHI  31 3B/SS      56 192  60                      .313 .313 
1950 NNL PHI  32 SS/3b  44  33 108  32  56 10  1  4  8      .296 .519 
                  
MILITARY SERVICE                 
1943                  
1944                  
1945                  
                  
MEXICAN LEAGUE 
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG  SLG
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1940 MEX NUE  22 3b/SS  91  19  80  27  40  4  3  1  1  5 19 .338 .500
1941 MEX TAM  23 3b/SS 103  82 326 109 195 23  3 19  7 43 53 .334 .598 
1946 MEX VER  28 3b/SS  84  37 131  39  76  8  1  9  7 24 25 .298 .580 
1947 MEX VER  29 3b/SS 119 112 390 118 202 19  7 17 20 79 65 .303 .518 
                  
CANADIAN PROVINCIAL LEAGUE              
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG  SLG
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1948 CPL STJ  30 3b/LF 100  84 318 110 219 14  1 31 17       .346 .689 
                 1b 

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG  SLG
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1950 AA  MIL  32 3b    154  59 205  62  96 11  1  7  0 26 30 .302 .468
1951 AA  MIL  33 SS/3b 154  97 283  97 132 12  4  5  6 43 29 .343 .466 
1952 AA  MIL  34 SS/3b 154  74 242  77 131 14  2 12 10 56 27 .318 .541 
                  
NATIONAL LEAGUE                
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG  SLG
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1952 NL  BOS  34 ss/3b 154 14   25   5   5  0  0  0  0  3  3 .200 .200 
                  
TEXAS LEAGUE                 
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG  SLG
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1953 TL  DAL  35 3b    154 137 445 147 235 32  1 18 11 100 51 .330 .528 
1954 TL DL/BU 36 SS/3b 162 157 543 176 327 21  2 42  7 104 48 .324 .602 
1956 TXL TUL  38 3B    154  48 137  35  54  4  0  5  1  38 14 .255 .394 
                  
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE                
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG  SLG
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1955 PCL LA  37  3B    172 100 316  93 140  8  0 13  1 34 28 .294 .443
1956 PCL LA  38  3B    168  8  11    3   4  1  0  0  0  4  4 .273 .364
                  
WESTERN LEAGUE                
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG  SLG
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1956 WES DES  38 3B    140 60  205 57  107 11  0 13  3       .278 .522 
                  
CUBAN WINTER LEAGUE 
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG  SLG
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1947 PFL ALC  29 IF     95     106  21  29  5  0  1  1       .198 .274 


CARRIBEAN SERIES
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG  SLG
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1951     PR   33  3B            20   4   7  0  0  1  0       .200 .350 
1952     PR   34  3B            21   4   4  0  0  0  0       .190 .190 
1953     PR   35  SS            15   7   9  0  1  0  2       .467 .600 
                  
PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE              
YEAR LG   TM  AGE POS   TMG  G   AB  H   TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG  SLG
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1940 PRWL MAY  22  UT    42                          18
1941 PRWL MAY  23  UT    44       
1946 PRWL C/G  28  UT    55     172  60           13          .349 .576 
1948 PRWL PON  30  UT    80     149  46  79  7  1  8  8       .309 .530 
1949 PRWL PON  31  UT    80     269  77 144 16  6 13          .286 .535
1950 PRWL SAT  32  UT    78       
1951 PRWL SAT  32  UT    72                        4    
1952 PRWL SAT  34  3B    72                       18    
1953 PRWL SAT  35  UT    80     175  49  58        3          .280 .331 
1954 PRWL SAT  36  UT    72     240  76 121       15          .317 .504 

Have bat, will travel.
   3. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 22, 2005 at 02:15 AM (#1634242)
For Clarkson's MLEs I did four things that should be noted:
1) I decided that he was a SS/3B (75%/25%) until age 30, then exclusively a 3B thereafter. This seemed to fit his usage since he seems to have never really settled at one position, suggesting that he was athletic enough to handle anyplace, but perhaps not good enough to stick.
2) I used surrounding seasons to determine his wartime credit.
3) I shaved off the first two years of his NNL career (ages 19-20), mostly because there's no data available for them, suggesting he was a greenhorn who was on the roster but getting seasoning and so not playing.
4) 1948 in the Canadian Provincial League was converted at a rate slightly higher than I would normally use. Typically I would convert this league as a Hi-A league at .85/.72. However, on Christien's counsel, I went with a AA rating due to the presence of numerous NgL stars.
Bus Clarkson MLEs
YEAR LG AGE POS   AVG  OBP  SLG    G   PA   AB    H   TB   BB ops+ sfws
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
1939 NL 21 3B/SS .400 .455 .400    5   22   20    8    8    2 131   1.0
1940 NL 22 3B/SS .341 .416 .529  133  571  506  173  268   65 159  32.0
1941 NL 23 3B/SS .278 .341 .464  123  511  466  129  216   45 125  19.1
1942 NL 24 3B/SS .324 .421 .417  114  504  432  140  180   72 145  20.7
1943 NL 25 3B/SS .297 .380 .447  127  549  484  144  216   65 138  21.9
1944 NL 26 3B/SS .290 .376 .442  121  523  459  133  203   63 130  20.1
1945 NL 27 3B/SS .291 .383 .435  119  519  452  131  196   68 127  19.9
1946 NL 28 3B/SS .293 .379 .455  146  631  554  162  252   77 136  25.4
1947 NL 29 3B/SS .249 .345 .426   97  423  369   92  157   54 104  13.4
1948 NL 30 3B/SS .284 .377 .483  106  461  401  114  194   60 131  19.7
1949 NL 31 3B    .262 .350 .402  139  601  529  139  213   72 101  18.0
1950 NL 32 3B    .266 .350 .399  154  659  584  155  233   75  96  19.6
1951 NL 33 3B    .302 .375 .380   97  412  369  111  140   43 104  13.1
1952 NL 34 3B    .270 .368 .455  105  447  386  104  176   60 127  16.8
1953 NL 35 3B    .274 .367 .363  117  508  443  121  161   65  91  14.1
1954 NL 36 3B    .287 .373 .469  148  639  562  162  263   77 122  25.9
1955 NL 37 3B    .261 .332 .396   90  376  340   89  135   36  94  10.5
1956 NL 38 3B    .231 .337 .347   40  178  154   36   53   25  85   3.9
=======================================================================
TOTAL            .285 .371 .435 1980 8533 7510 2143 3265 1023 120 314.9


The games played would put him around #20 all time among shorstops, between Guillen and Speier.

Among 3b it would put him roughly #15 all time between Aurelio Rodriguez and Pie "Potty" Traynor. (I'm saying roughly because I'm using the 2001 version of the SBE, and so players climbing up those career leaderboards might not be on these lists).
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 22, 2005 at 05:31 PM (#1635209)
I'm glad that I was asked to post this thread for Clarkson. I didn't realize he was that good.
   5. sunnyday2 Posted: September 22, 2005 at 05:34 PM (#1635215)
1. I would discount his 1940/age 22 season, it is too much apart from the rest of his curve.

2. Why did he play partials in '50-'51-'52? I see you have him playing 200 games over the latter 2 years, but 154 games in '50. Was he injured or something? Should it reflect in his MLE?

3. And a 26 WS year in 1954 seems generous in context of his career MLEs. He had a decent year in PRWL that year, but .324 in the TxL is not a really big deal.

Still, he looks bona fide, though I'd be inclined to knock off about 25 WS = about 290.
   6. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 22, 2005 at 06:00 PM (#1635270)
Before I answer SDY2's question, let me give a big shout-out to Gary A. and KJOK for a lot help in assembling this data.

1. Sounds good, could be a park thing here.

2. The Partials:
-1952 has to do with his getting a call-up to the Braves, where it appears he did a lot of bench warming and didn't get much of a shot. I chose not to manipulate his playing time that year until discussion took place, but I think a reasonable case can be made that he should have his season prorated toward his usual levels of durability. Is that a reasonable approach, or better to leave it alone?

-1951: I don't have an answer about this one. He was with the Braves affiliate in Milwaukee all year as far as I can tell. Could be an injury, could be racism at the local team level. I dunno.

-1950: I've credited him for playing the entire season due to a combination of his playing 3/4s of PHI's games (NNL) as well as 1/3 of Milwaukee's games in the AA. Caveats apply, as noted elsewhere by Chris Cobb concerning actual decisions versus reported results.

3. My understanding of the TXL of this time was that it's what we would call a AA-level league today, so I converted it at .875/.76. in 1954, Clarkson absolutely mashed, going .325/.602 with 42 dingers and 104 walks. Combine that with the same conversion rate for an estimated .317/.569 year in the PRWL, and that's how it comes out that way.

The interesting thing, however, is that 1954 appears to be a genuine last-hurrah kind of season for Buster. His surrounding years in the PCL, TxL, PRWL, and the Western League aren't anywhere close to EITHER his TXL or PRWL totals for the year. For whatever reason he just had one more good year in him before sputtering out in his late 30s. To this end, here's a note about his TxL parks that Gary A. has shared with me.

Btw, Clarkson and Willard Brown played on the same team in the 1953 Texas League (and for part of 1954). It's interesting to look at their stats side by side--at the time, Clarkson was clearly a much superior offensive player (and, given that he was an infielder, even better as an all-around player). If they were both born in 1915, then this would be an awfully good indication that Clarkson was a much better player over his career.

As for park effects: Dallas and Beaumont in the Texas League and Milwaukee in the American Association seem fairly neutral, as far as I can tell. Milwaukee *possibly* cut down on home runs a bit, but not very noticeably; and overall offense seems normal, considering that the team won the pennant in 1951-52.
   7. Mike Webber Posted: September 22, 2005 at 06:30 PM (#1635325)
How often does a hitter have his best season at age 22?

Among all hitters born before 1980 who earned at least one win share 345 of 6610 had their best season at age 22, or 5.2%

Of those with at least 10 win shares for their career 119 of 3810 had their best season at age 22, or 3.1%

The percentage is basically the same, 3.0%, for those with at least 100 career win shares.


The best players that had their max win shares at age 22 (includes ties for Max Season).
Max   Name     Career

25   Speier
Chris       206
32   Williams
Jimmy     207
19   Corcoran
Tommy     214
26   McInnis
Stuffy     227
28   Tiernan
Mike       251
26   Monday
Rick        258
32   Pinson
Vada        321
26   Davis
Willie       322
33   Sheckard
Jimmy     339
41   Allen
Dick         342
38   Magee
Sherry       354
32   Dahlen
Bill        394
43   Collins
Eddie      574 
   8. Mike Webber Posted: September 22, 2005 at 06:40 PM (#1635334)
As long as I have teh spreadsheet out, how many hitters have had a 30+ win share season at age 22?

22 of them.
Age 22 Player
44     Cobb
Ty
43     Collins
Eddie
42     Williams
Ted
41     Allen
Dick
39     Musial
Stan
39     DiMaggio
Joe
38     Magee
Sherry
36     Ruth
Babe
36     Mantle
Mickey
36     Vaughan
Arky
35     Ripken Jr
., Cal
34     Speaker
Tris
34     Foxx
Jimmie
34     Bench
Johnny
33     Mathews
Eddie
33     Sheckard
Jimmy
32     Dahlen
Bill
32     Pinson
Vada
31     Frisch
Frankie
30     Aaron
Hank
30     Clark
Jack
30     Kelley
Joe 


That age 22 season for Ruth is really pitching season.

Please do not take this as me endorsing The Bus, I just was curious, so I looked it up.

What I think this really shows is the 32 win share season is likely a sample size or park effects or bookkeeping Sasquatch.
   9. Gary A Posted: September 22, 2005 at 08:46 PM (#1635556)
It's also worth noting that Clarkson lost a good chunk of his peak/prime (ages 25-27) to the war. Doc's MLEs have him pretty flat, win-share-wise, during those years, leveling out at 20 WS a season. His first year back, 1946, he gets 25; it could be he lost another couple of 25 win share seasons, or better.

There's no way to know, of course, but this bears keeping in mind, particularly if you're considering discounting the value of his 1940 and 1954 seasons.
   10. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 22, 2005 at 08:47 PM (#1635557)
Mike,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to take a look back over my computations, I have a feeling any sasquatching is mine. He was with three teams that season in two different leagues, and I think it's possible my own calculus is doing something funky as I try to balance out his playing time.

More later....
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 22, 2005 at 09:10 PM (#1635604)
OK,

I don't think the sasquatching is mine. I think it's the record keepers. I've tried a bunch of different ways of figuring it, and it always comes out within a few points of what you see above. Of course, hitting .438/.744 will do that, I guess!

Thinking empirically about his 1940 season, if you knocked his BWS down by 10% because you thought the numbers were park-induced, then he would be at 29.2 for the year, still his best single season. Of course, he only played a single year in that NgL park, so it's impossible to say whether or not his numbers would have been consistently inflated by it.

I wish I had a better answer, but I think it's also entirely possible that this is just a random fluctuation over a small sample (only 89 ABs). If so, regressoin would smooth it out.
   12. KJOK Posted: September 22, 2005 at 10:03 PM (#1635674)
I think the ages are incorrect on the MLEs. Clarkson was born in 1915 (although he was called a '29 year old SS' when called up to the Braves in 1952') which would make him 24 in 1939, not 21...
   13. KJOK Posted: September 22, 2005 at 10:06 PM (#1635679)
Also, Clarkson was definitely a SS at Milwaukee in 1951, although looks like he moved to 3B in '52...
   14. Gary A Posted: September 22, 2005 at 10:42 PM (#1635761)
BB-REF gives the 1915 birthdate for Clarkson; Riley lists 1918; and The Negro Leagues Book has 1913 (all have March 13 as the day). I don't know which is now accepted--I'd think 1915 is most likely. (This would make his war years ages 28-30.) Maybe Gadfly knows?

In 1951, Clarkson played 97 games at Milwaukee; the source I have lists him with 73 games at shortstop, but doesn't give game totals for his other two positions (3b and of).
   15. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 23, 2005 at 01:23 AM (#1636215)
If either 1915 or 1913 is correct, that would radically change how I am viewing him. First off it would make the big 1940 season all the more likely, second, it would make the end of his career much more impressive since he'd be a 40 or 43 year old racking up 15+ WS a year as an IF.
   16. sunnyday2 Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:41 AM (#1660896)
bump
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: October 04, 2005 at 04:50 AM (#1660967)
Clarkson spent 8 weeks with the Braves in 1952 (April 30-June 22), if that helps any.
6 SS, 2 3B
   18. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 05, 2005 at 02:05 PM (#1663849)
Hey everyone, quick update on Clarkson. When applying the more appropriate 93% conversion rate to Clarkson's AAA-level numbers, his career line changes from
 AVG  OBP  SLG OPS+ SFWS
.284 .369 .433 119  311.2

to
.286 .371 .437 120  316.1


Not vastly different, but enough so that I thought it might be worth mentioning.
   19. Mike Webber Posted: October 05, 2005 at 02:25 PM (#1663880)
Doc,

Is he better than Vern Stephens?
   20. sunnyday2 Posted: October 05, 2005 at 02:44 PM (#1663917)
I've been meaning to make this comparison:

Clarkson* 315 32-26-25/115
Sewell 277 29-29-26/125

(* per post #3)

And then:

Stephens 265 34-32-27/129

Clarkson .285-.371-.435/120 in 8500 PAs
Sewell .312-.391-.413/109 in 8000 AB+BB
Stephens .286-.355-.460/118 in 7200 AB+BB

Clarkson had a longer career than Stephens but then everything hinges on whether he would have had a longer career in the MLs or not. At a glance they seem similar otherwise.

But note that while Stephens is the one whose defense is often questioned, he is the only one of the three who played his entire prime at SS, and even moved Johnny Pesky off the spot at one time. My bullshit dump says that Clarkson's ML career wouldn't have been 8500 PAs and that Stephens' defense was better than reputed. So I would rank the three Stephens, Clarkson, Sewell.
   21. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 05, 2005 at 03:38 PM (#1664046)
I have Clarkson ranked identically to Sunnyday2.
   22. Mark Donelson Posted: October 05, 2005 at 03:41 PM (#1664053)
and even moved Johnny Pesky off the spot at one time.

I suspect someone's brought this up before, but is there evidence that this was because the Red Sox thought Stephens was a better SS defensively? As the A-Rod/Jeter situation in New York now proves, there can be other reasons...
   23. TomH Posted: October 05, 2005 at 03:47 PM (#1664074)
I confess great ignorance of Clarkson. Do we have ANY info that knowledgable people who watched him play considered him a great player; I mean, other than one-line throwaway quotes that you could find today on the 'worthiness' of Neifi Perez? Can I justify ranking him near Dobie Moore or Bill Monroe?
   24. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 05, 2005 at 03:59 PM (#1664120)
Sunny,

While I haven't ranked Clarkson yet, I would rank Sewell above Stephens because some of Stephens best years came in the watered down wartime AL. This shaves a few WS off of his top five seasons, enough so that Sewell probably moves ahead of him.

Clearkson does seem to fit this mold, however. Right now I have Lundy, Rizzuto, Sewell, Stephens. None are in my top 30.
   25. sunnyday2 Posted: October 05, 2005 at 04:04 PM (#1664133)
j,

It's true I didn't give Stephens the WWII discount in the numbers above, and in making my ballot I do give a 10 percent discount. And yes, "some" of his best seasons came during the war. But like Newhouser, his years outside WWII give pretty powerful evidence of what kind of player he really was. He was not Snuffy Stirnweiss.

What is a killer for Sewell IMO is that only 8 of his 13 seasons were at SS. That is more of an issue to me than Stephens play in '43-'44-'45.

But if you seriously have Lundy and Rizzuto ahead of Sewell and Stephens, I can't believe Dave Beauty Bancroft doesn't factor in there somewhere.
   26. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 05, 2005 at 04:15 PM (#1664163)
TomH,

I think one of the reasons there's not much awareness of Clarkson is the fragmentary nature of his career. He moved around a lot, from one team to another, from one league to another, from one country to another, from one level of the minors to another, from the ballplaying to the war and back. He didn't get a real shot in MLB, and by then he was already 32 and past his salad days. I just don't think he was ever in one place long enough for anyone to fix his image in their mind.

I believe this is one of the subtler effects of the color barrier and of the slow pace of integration.

Another player we'll experience this with is Marvin Williams, a second baseman whose numbers will look a lot like Clarkson's. Alonzo Perry will for this (and other reasons) be yet another.
   27. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 05, 2005 at 04:25 PM (#1664195)
my rankings right now are

35. Lundy
36. Rizzuto
41. Sewell
47. Stephens
58. Bancroft


Beauty is definitely better than Tinker, Long, and Maranville. I just don't like his offense or his peak/prime enough to place him with the others. He is jsut behidn Sewell in WS, but in WARP Sewell kills him.and I guess 35 to 58 isn't as far as it used to be. I should have included him.
   28. KJOK Posted: October 05, 2005 at 04:41 PM (#1664225)
What is a killer for Sewell IMO is that only 8 of his 13 seasons were at SS. That is more of an issue to me than Stephens play in '43-'44-'45

Not sure this is a "good" reason. 3rd base in Sewell's time was not much different than SS. It was a primarily defensive oriented position, and the reason Sewell was so outstanding is that he could ALSO HIT.
   29. sunnyday2 Posted: October 05, 2005 at 04:44 PM (#1664230)
True but.

I don't think there's any question that Sewell's demise in these elections came about the time that most voters realized that he hadn't played SS for 13 years.

Still "killer" was too strong. Joe is in the mix. He is #12 on my list (not my ballot, but my list) of post-1920 lively ball candidates. Along with several SSs.
   30. sunnyday2 Posted: July 10, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2094405)
bump
   31. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 12, 2006 at 07:35 PM (#2096980)
An update. Based on the league averages reported in the Hall's .pdf for the last 37 NgL candidates earlier this year, here's I've updated Bus's translations. Like for Trouppe, the news is that it slightly improves his SLG and OPS+.

Old translation (see post #18): .286/.371/.437/120/316.1

New translation: .285/.370/.439/121/318.3

It's not too big a change, but I figured I'd better let everyone know anyway.
   32. rawagman Posted: July 13, 2006 at 08:41 AM (#2097367)
any word at all about Clarkson as a gloveman?
   33. sunnyday2 Posted: September 03, 2006 at 04:07 AM (#2166177)
Once again, are the MLEs in #3 not credible? Or is a 315 WS SS not ballot-worthy?
   34. sunnyday2 Posted: September 03, 2006 at 04:08 AM (#2166178)
Once again, are the MLEs in #3 not credible? Or is a 315 WS SS not ballot-worthy?
   35. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 03, 2006 at 02:04 PM (#2166279)
He's a better player without imagination, than Aparicio was with reality, now if he'd only had a stable league envrionrment....

My main knock on Clarkson is that his peak is a bit soft.
   36. DL from MN Posted: September 05, 2006 at 02:38 PM (#2168034)
.285/.370/.440 looks a lot like Barry Larkin with the bat. Right now I've got Clarkson about even with Vern Stephens although I have more career offensive value for Clarkson and less defensive value (I have Clarkson at exactly average). That gets him into the top 100 but not the top 50.
   37. Chris Cobb Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:11 PM (#2168067)
I agree that Larkin looks like a pretty good offensive comp for Clarkson, both in level of production and (if our guesses on Clarkson's playing time are accurate) in-season durability.

Because Larkin was an excellent defensive player, his offense/defense combination will make him a clear HoMer. Clarkson's case is hard because we have so little information about his defensive performance. If he was average (and Dr. Chaleeko has built the assumption of average fielding value into his estimates, I think?), then Clarkson is a borderline candidate. If his fielding value is overestimated by a projection of average, then he's on the outside looking in. If his fielding value has been underestimated, then he ought to be elected pretty much immediately, as my system sees it.

This is a point at which non-statistical documentary evidence would be really valuable!

His cup of coffee in Boston in 1952 suggests that he was no longer capable of playing shortstop at major-league quality at age 37 (the sample size is only 6 games, but his performance is _really_ poor, both in terms of range and error-rate) but that he was fine at third base.

It looks like he was competing with Sibby Sisti for the utility infielder spot on the Braves' roster. Sisti couldn't hit at all, and his defense was shaky at 2B and SS, but Clarkson didn't get enough playing time to come around with the bat, and he didn't show sufficient leather at shortstop, so that, it appears, was it for him in the majors.

Without some more definite evidence on Clarkson's fielding, I think he's going to remain a borderline candidate, but as we are about to _elect_ a bunch of borderline candidates, we ought to look at him head-to-head with Sewell, Childs, Boyer, Fox, Elliott, Stephens, Rizzuto, et al. He's surely good enough to place somewhere in this group.
   38. sunnyday2 Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:38 PM (#2168094)
>It looks like he was competing with Sibby Sisti for the utility infielder spot on the Braves' roster. Sisti couldn't hit at all, and his defense was shaky at 2B and SS, but Clarkson didn't get enough playing time to come around with the bat, and he didn't show sufficient leather at shortstop, so that, it appears, was it for him in the majors.

And this process was repeated through the MLs during this period--the black player getting a look, but not much of one--and possibly some legitimately past their prime anyway. But of course he got a look in 1952, not 1947. So, ergo you get your lost generation.

That is not to say he is a HoMer. I'm still sittin' and thinkin' on that one (and Williams and Artie Wilson and Scales). Moving to 3B fairly early in life suggests he might not have been the average fielder that he is in Doc's MLEs, and his offense while excellent for a SS is merely above average for a 3B. I'm slightly more enamored of Scales and Williams right now, though Clarkson is arguably top 50 as well.
   39. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:47 PM (#2168108)
Pursuant to Chris's comments viz Larkin/Clarkson, Larkin's ability to stay at SS for so long and play good defense there the majority of that time is a big point of differentiation with Clarkson. It's not at all clear to me how long Clarkson would have been a SS. In no full season after returning from the war did he play in any league where was he a SS-only type player. He always has the slash after 1946. I strongly suspect that means he would have moved to 3B or OF at some around age 30. Combined with his lack of clippings about defense, I have to imagine that's a strong indication of his defensive skills. It's not perfect, of course, because there's a lot of leagues where reports on his defense would have been hard to come by, and also he'd only been a regular a few years before the war, so any public defense reputation may have gone by the boards in that time.

I gotta think he's a SS til about age 30, then a 3B, and probably around average in each instance.

Strangely, as a modern comp, I usually think not of Barry Larkin, but rather of a less discontinuous version of Julio Franco. And while we don't necessarily see Franco as a HOM kind of guy right now, using MLE technology, Franco's career totals for his exiles bring him friggin close to the kinds of career totals that we associate with very strong candidates. Throw in better defense for Clarkson, I think, and you're talking about a very compelling guy.

One overlooked thing that is really in Clarkson's favor is the leagues he was actually in.

Unlike Williams who played in several lower-classification leagues, Clarkson played pretty much his entire post-NgL prime in really good leagues: MxL (during the Pasquel raids of MLB and before integration), AA for three years, PCL for a couple, and then declining in the TxL. He played a lot of games in very high minor leagues during his post-peak period and did uniformly well in them. That speaks well to him in a similar way to how Easter's minor league record reflects well on him. What's different is that Clarkson played tougher positions and doesn't have the slow-minor-league-slugger-on-chronically-bad-legs thing that Easter does.
   40. DL from MN Posted: March 13, 2007 at 07:02 PM (#2311423)
> as a modern comp

I've been looking around at playing time for various infielders at different positions and I think Jay Bell is probably a good comp for Clarkson defensively.
   41. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 02, 2007 at 06:31 PM (#2322792)
As I've been mentioning lately, I've been doing a lot of work with the MLEs for NgL players. A few weeks ago, I posted Artie Wilson's new MLEs. My WS estimate came out about 15-20% higher than my previous estimates had. Now Clarkson has come out 20-25% higher than the previous estimation. I've been through it a bunch of times to see if there's something wrong. I don't think there is, though I reserve the right to be wrong. I'm certain a few of you will raise an eyebrow over the result that has come through for Clarkson, and so I do invite feedback, and I'll happily explain, as ever, since it's always possible I've just scrooed up.

As for the how and whys....

1) Same method as elaborated in Charleston and Johnson (with many of the modifcations suggested by the group).

2) For the war years I took a simple average of the MLE PAs Clarkson had in the four surrounding years and used the same basline that I regress partial seasons from. This is 1943-1945.

3) Yes, I do notice that the late TxL seasons stick out somewhat. I've translated them at .825 on runs. Those leagues were normal for R/G at 4.42 and 4.66 (the NL, which the projection is based on, was 4.75 and 4.56), and I've estimated his pfs and accounted for them (.97 and 1.00). I just think he had two big, healthy years left in him---it happens. The OPS+ both years is well within the range based on his career norms. Which is bringing me to a point. How did I discount his leagues?
-NgL before 1946 and the Open PCL: .90
-NgL 1947-1948 and the AA: .88
-NgL 1949-1950, MxL, and TxL: .825
-Western League: .75
-Canadian Provincial League: .70

I think this discount schedule is working well since it comes up with values for his seasons that are within normal for him. No crazy high years that would indicate an under-discounting nor the opposite.

4) I had some MxL information on HPB and SH, so I used them to create estimates which are included below. I had to estiamte his walks a few years, but there was ample data to work from. In the couple places I was missing vitals (xBH in 1950 for instance), I used career norms. All CS are as if the player were a 70% stealer.

5) I've got good information on the r/g of most of his leagues. Not the Western League. However, the league leader in HR that year was none other than Dick Stuart and his famous 66. So I gave that league a very high R/G at 5.50 during my translation routine. Usually in doubt i just go with 4.5, but I did a little wiki bullpen search and the article revealed that this league was at altitude, so I just gave it a really high r/g. Since I also didn't have a pf, I figured this made things conservative.

6) For defense, I made Clarkson a SS through age 30, then a 3B thereafter. I made him average at both positions.

7) I ran a total SFWS analysis too, using the same defensive scheme as mentioned just above. It comes in 7 total WS lower. So I don't think that the increase in WS over my previous MLE is due to my way of calculating WS.

Here goes....

Bus Clarkson Revised MLEs
Version 1

    AGE  pa   ab    h   tb   bb sh hpb  sb cs   rc  avg  obp  slg ops
+
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
1939 21 166  143   44   67   21  1   1   3  1   29 .307 .395 .470 131
1940 22 495  438  130  215   54  2   1   7  2   86 .297 .373 .491 137
1941 23 495  441  118  205   52  1   1   6  2   77 .268 .344 .466 127
1942 24 494  432  123  194   58  2   1   7  2   79 .285 .368 .449 138
1943 25 517  450  120  198   63  2   2   9  3   78 .266 .355 .439 129
1944 26 526  456  126  207   66  2   2   9  3   84 .276 .366 .455 130
1945 27 532  460  130  214   68  2   2  10  3   88 .283 .374 .465 132
1946 28 508  444  118  192   61  1   2  12  3   76 .266 .353 .433 122
1947 29 595  505  135  229   85  4   2  19  6   96 .268 .371 .453 118
1948 30 552  487  140  249   62  2   2  15  5   98 .288 .367 .511 135
1949 31 528  458  130  203   66  2   2  10  3   84 .284 .373 .444 118
1950 32 598  523  146  238   70  2   2  11  3   95 .279 .363 .454 113
1951 33 396  345  104  148   48  2   1   7  2   63 .301 .385 .428 118
1952 34 382  322   85  140   57  1   1   9  3   60 .264 .374 .435 124
1953 35 570  469  145  232   97  2   2  11  3  109 .309 .426 .495 140
1954 36 613  521  150  278   88  2   2   6  2  116 .288 .390 .534 139
1955 37 367  328   97  146   36  2   1   1  0   58 .296 .363 .446 114
1956 38 470  401   91  155   66  2   1   4  1   60 .227 .335 .387  94
========================================================================
       
8803 7623 2132 3511 1119 34  27 157 47 1434 .280 .371 .461 126



    AGE  bws  fws    ws
------------------------
1939 21  7.1  1.6   8.7
1940 22 20.7  4.8  25.5
1941 23 18.2  4.8  23.1
1942 24 19.9  4.8  24.8
1943 25 20.1  5.0  25.1
1944 26 19.9  5.1  25.0
1945 27 19.8  5.2  25.0
1946 28 17.5  5.0  22.5
1947 29 20.3  5.8  26.1
1948 30 21.7  5.4  27.1
1949 31 18.1  3.4  21.5
1950 32 20.6  3.8  24.5
1951 33 13.9  2.5  16.4
1952 34 14.1  2.4  16.5
1953 35 25.3  3.7  28.9
1954 36 27.4  3.9  31.3
1955 37 12.8  2.4  15.2
1956 38 12.2  3.0  15.2
========================
       
329.5 72.8 402.3 
   42. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 02, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2322855)
402 WS?!!

Yes, I have raised an eyebrow, Eric :-), but because of the huge difference between the before and after MLEs, not because the new one is necessarily unreasonable.

It would be nice if Chris or Brent went over your new numbers, though, just to make sure everything is okay before I add him to my ballot.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 02, 2007 at 07:18 PM (#2322859)
BTW, if these numbers are deemed creditable, he would be #1 on my next ballot.
   44. Chris Cobb Posted: April 02, 2007 at 07:50 PM (#2322898)
I'll post a fuller response to these MLEs when I am at home and can compare them to what I have, but here are a few quick thoughts:

1) I am skeptical about the playing time, if not necessarily the quality, of Clarkson's last four years. I think it is accepted now that Clarkson was born in 1915 (that's the date BP uses), so he is three years older than these projections indicate, though if he was really playing every day in the PCL in 1953 and 1954, then maybe these numbers are right. In any case, I'd like to know a bit more about how playing time was estimated, and whether a different age would affect the estimates.

If I am remembering rightly that he was in the PCL in those years, it would also be helful, if possible, to see Clarkson's ranking relative to league leaders in those seasons. He really ought to have been among the leagues big stars.

2) The WW2 win shares estimates look a little high, in that they are higher than the average of the 4 surrounding seasons (which is 24 -- so they're not _way_ out of line). I'd like to know a little bit more about how they are being estimated.

3) I have long contended that Clarkson's numbers are very strong, so I'm not shocked that Dr. Chaleeko's new MLEs for him look very good. Even if these are 10% too high, he would still be a clear HoMer.
   45. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 02, 2007 at 08:43 PM (#2322957)
I'll go point by point here.

Age: I'll definitely look back over for age then. I should have corrected it, my bad. That puts his last year at age 41, not 38.

In the TxL in 1953 and 1954, he played 137 of 154 and 157 of 162, respectively. I don't have the Wright book here, but I can look up what his performance was like relative to league. I'm certain it was of league's-biggest-star quality:

lg R/G BC RC/G* MLB equiv comps
-----------------------------------------
1953 4.42 10.44 11.21 Musial (11.01) Snider (10.50) Mathews (10.17)
1954 4.66 9.90 9.48 Klu (9.87) Mathews (9.68) Musial (9.36)
*park adjusted

So in the TxL, his level of dominance was comparable to that of the biggest stars of the NL in both of these seasons. He translates to a the tier below those big names, with rc/g in the 8.25 area.

In any case, I'd like to know a bit more about how playing time was estimated, and whether a different age would affect the estimates.

I haven't accounted for age at this time. I estimate the number of PAs Clarkson would have in a season based on this formula:

Games / Team Games * 154 * 4.1 PA/G

The 4.1 PA/G was figured based on the fact that MLB had about 4.3 BFP/inning over his career span. This means I have him hitting seventh in general. But actually I wanted to come in a little conservative because in general he wasn't consistently durable. I could easily scale up or down, whatever anyone thinks is wise. I'd love any ideas anyone has for working with his PAs. That's admittedly the part of the process with which I have the least facility. That said, Clarkson's possibile brittleness results in PA totals that are Barry Larkin esque in some ways. He's got three years over 590 PA and a decent amount below 500.

2) The WW2 win shares estimates look a little high, in that they are higher than the average of the 4 surrounding seasons (which is 24 -- so they're not _way_ out of line). I'd like to know a little bit more about how they are being estimated.

It's initially dependent on the PAs. I project them from the neutralized 4.50 r/g numbers. I used the surrounding four seasons. In the 4.5 environment, the PAs for 1941-1942 and 1946-1947 are 503, 515, 525, 594 = average of 534 (i used 535). Then I used the neutralized career norms to figure the actual performance. Each of those three seasons looks like this in the un-projected 4.5 r/g ether:

535 PA 89 RC 463 AB 131 H 216 TB 69 BB .283 .374 .466

Once I project into the actual MLB level, they all look different. The NL of 1943-1945 has R/G of 3.94, 4.25, 4.46 (average 4.22), which is how he ends up instead creating 78, 84, 88 runs instead of 89 89 89. So something similar happens with the PAs. Once you project the surrounding PAs into the actual MLB r/g environments you get 495, 494, 508, 595 = average of 523. The NL r/g for those years is 4.23, 3.90, 3.96, and 4.57, which averages to 4.17, a bit lower than the 1943-1945 seasons, and possibly just enough to send the BWS up. The illusions created by the r/g changes might be causing the distortion.


Chris, or anyone, I'm totally open on the age 40 and 41 years. He does decline in the MLE, but if you think further shaping is necessary, I'm fine with doing so.

Just an FYI to everyone, I've virtually completed re-evals on:
Marv Williams
Bobby Estalella
Ray Dandridge
Bobby Avila

I'll likely post these for group inspection over the next week. Avila, in particular will require some attention due to the strange circumstances surrounding his 1949 season. Estalella's case is just plain weird, the two-three sources I have just don't line up.

And I do take requests! In the hopper I've got:
Jackie Robinson (for Dan R, and, yes, Dan, this one will be more reasonable with the new method)
Bill Wright (for KJOK I think)
Jim Gilliam (for me, hey i count too!)

I'm very happy to look into any hitter that's still out there who Chris doesn't already have queued up. Please let me know.
   46. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 02, 2007 at 09:14 PM (#2323000)
Also, about the war credit. That's just my solution via the MLE process. Everyone has their own vision of how to do it, and they should feel free to accept or reject my technique in favor of their own as they see fit. I'm more interested in getting the rest of the seasons "correct" because they are the ones whose interpretations will ultimately carry the most weight.

Also, also, this reprsents an increase of 27%, not 20-25% as I wrote previously.
   47. sunnyday2 Posted: April 02, 2007 at 10:00 PM (#2323049)
The problem I have is this (and of course I could be completely missing something):

These MLEs answer the question, if he had been in the MLs, what would his value have been?

Meanwhile, for white ML players (contemporaries of Clarkson) and for ML players generally, the actual record answers the question: What was his value when he was in the MLs? Occasionally we add an MLE year for this or that ML player if we believe that player to have been "held back unreasonably." But generally, no, what you see is what you get. NeL MLEs, then, are more like taking the entire record--ML and MiL--of a ML player as if he had been in the MLs the entire time. And what would happen here? You'd have lots of players jumping from 300 to 400 WSs, as Clarkson has done.

Or taking it the other way around, what if Clarkson had been white or if he had come along in the 1960s. Well, then, his 21-23 year seasons would probably be in the MiLs, not the MLs. He would have needed those 2 years to prove that he was ready for the big time. And given his age, it would be hard to say it was unreasonable. And then, at the tail end of his career, who is to say he would have had the chance to post those 60 WS in 1953-54. More likely he would already have been judged to be over the hill and out of the MLs.

Just because a player woulda/coulda got 20-25-even 30 WS in the MLs doesn't mean he would or should be there. There are probably more 20 WS players in any given year of NeL play than there are WS available to be won.

So anyway, the MLEs are terrific, great info, I love them. But to compare Clarkson with, say, Vern Stephens on the basis of these numbers is apples and oranges.
   48. Chris Cobb Posted: April 02, 2007 at 11:15 PM (#2323108)
Or taking it the other way around, what if Clarkson had been white or if he had come along in the 1960s. Well, then, his 21-23 year seasons would probably be in the MiLs, not the MLs. He would have needed those 2 years to prove that he was ready for the big time.

Please note that Dr. C's ages are incorrect. Clarkson was _24_ in 1939. I think we can safely assume that a player of his calibre would have had a chance to establish himself as a big-league regular by this age. We know of a few cases where players had to wait longer for their chance (e.g. Al Rosen, Hank Sauer), but those are the exceptional cases, not the norms.

This means, of course, that he might lose more of the tail end of his career. But how many cases are there of players who were still good players who were pushed out because of age? Veteran players almost always stick around until they can't compete effectively any more. A few walk away, and a few are pushed out, but again, those are the exceptions.
   49. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 03, 2007 at 01:15 AM (#2323238)
My bad on the age stuff, I should have rechecked the thread more carefully. I'm very sorry for any confusion.

NeL MLEs, then, are more like taking the entire record--ML and MiL--of a ML player as if he had been in the MLs the entire time. And what would happen here? You'd have lots of players jumping from 300 to 400 WSs, as Clarkson has done.

I've actually used the exact same source data as in the previous round of MLEs, there's nothing been added to Clarkson's record to expand it on either end. The jump results from differences in my current translation method (see Charleston/Johnson threads) and my previous one. The new one yields "higher" numbers because it's based in a different comparison than the previous MLEs were. I believe it's an improvement over my previous efforts, but it could not be too. I'm very much open to feedback.

So anyway, the MLEs are terrific, great info, I love them. But to compare Clarkson with, say, Vern Stephens on the basis of these numbers is apples and oranges.

This has always been true, and for reasons like this, anyone who says MLEs are 100% correct is deluding themselves. But that said, every MLE is conceived in this same way: what does this career look like in an MLB setting? I'd hope the MLEs are the best we can do in the moment, which is why I'm saying that if the group thinks that more shaping needs to be done, I'm happy to do so in whatever direction it identifies.

In Clarkson's case, he is listed by Lester and Clark on the Philadelphia NNL roster for 1937-1938 but appears to have no record of league play. This may have been his woodshedding period or something like that, maybe seeing a lot of time in non-league contests after the regulars had played a few innings. I don't know. Someone like Gary A could probably tell us what that means.
   50. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 03, 2007 at 09:58 PM (#2323822)
Chris, since you asked, I looked up what Clarkson ranked in several categories in the TxL in his two big years:

AVG HR R RBI  H BB
-----------------------
1953  2  18 8  11 23  6
1954  5   1 8   2 11  3 


The league played a 154 sked, and 1953 is in 137 games, which is interesting---missing 15 games he's still placing very highly. A down-ballot MVP candidate at best, but probably an All-Star level player.

1954 is gold. Nearly a triple crown, played 150+ games, clearly one of the big stars in the league, and an obvious MVP candidate.
   51. Chris Cobb Posted: April 03, 2007 at 10:10 PM (#2323826)
Eric,

Thanks for that data on Clarkson's position among league leaders. It's a lot easier for me to accept a translation that a player in the Texas League would have been a major league all star when I can see that he was possibly the best hitter in the Texas League, and undoubtedly in the top 3.
   52. Brent Posted: April 04, 2007 at 03:39 AM (#2324201)
Eric,

Comparing the MLEs you did a year and a half ago with these latest ones, the results are quite different and many of us would like to better understand the reasons for the difference. Since you're doing a lot of things differently, it's hard for us to sort out which new data or assumptions made a difference and which ones haven't. For example, I'd expect regression to flatten out a career, but not change (much) the career totals or rates. New data on league environment or park effects could affect some seasons and not others. Changes in assumptions about quality of competition could have a more pervasive impact. Can you shed some light on which of these factors contributed the most to Clarkson's revised MLE career level and patterns?

Comparing # 3 with # 41, I notice that Clarkson's MLE average actually drops slightly (from .285 to .280), OBP is unchanged, and SLG increases quite a bit (from .435 to .461). OPS+ goes up from 120 to 126. He's also assumed to have about 270 more plate appearances.

The increases in OPS+ and in plate appearances don't seem sufficiently large to explain the addition of 87 win shares. Did your assumptions about his fielding also change?

Your work is appreciated, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around this.
   53. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 04, 2007 at 04:22 PM (#2324511)
The increases in OPS+ and in plate appearances don't seem sufficiently large to explain the addition of 87 win shares. Did your assumptions about his fielding also change?

Well, actually, it's a systemic thing, a sea change.

Here's a Bill James tax-return schematic of the old system. It's components based, and hinges on batting average (BTW, projecting from, say, NgL into the NL):

1) AVG / lgAVG (if known)
2) Take 1 and multiply by NL avg
3) Take 2 and multiply by .90 (average factor I used based on Chris's research)
4) Repeat for slugging using square of avg factor (also per Chris’ research).
5) Estimate walk rates if there's any idea about them.
6) Prorate playing time as g/tm g * 3.5 AB/g.
7) Figure out average, slg, and walk rates in the playing time from 6.
8) Season to taste with OPS+ and/or SFWS.

Here's the current routine for a NgL to NL translation.
1) RC/g / lg R/G (known or estimated)
2) Multiply 2 by pf (known or estimated)
3) Divide league r/g by 4.50, then multiply by player's rc/g to get neutral RC/G
4) Multiply 4 by .90, the NgL runs conversion factor.
5) Use the Willie Davis Comment Method (aka just Willie Davis) to figure out how the player's original stats translate into the new environment.
6) Sum all seasons to get neutral career averages.
7) Figure playing time as g/tm g * 154 * ~4.2 PA/G (variable based on the era, league, player's likely slot in the order, etc....)
8) Subtract the PAs figured in step 5 from step 7: this is how many PAs you will apply his career average to in building his full season.
9) Figure how many runs he needs to create in the PAs from step 8 based on his career RC rates (and his nearest three, if it's possible).
10) Use Willie Davis to figure his batting line based on the RC in step 9 and the PAs in step 8.
11) Add the batting lines from steps 5 and 10 (the neutral and "remaining" batting lines) to get the total neutral season line.
12) Divide 4.50 to NL season's R/G.
13) Multiply 12 by the player's neutral rc/g to get his projected NL RC/G.
14) Use Willie Davis to figure his component line.
15) Figure his WS as though he were on a .500 team scoring at the league average and figure OPS+ the usual way.

It's a little more complicated, and I've truncated my explanations a bit. If you can make sense of my hyeroglyphs, you'll see that the crux of the difference comes down to assessing runs versus components, something only made possible for the NgLs within the last year.

What I discovered was that I was likely misapplying Chris's conversion factors. As a result, I undercut player's skills/performance. For example, take a player in AAA (.88 on runs), Joe Minors:

664 PA, 600 AB, 175 H, 64 BB, 279 TB
.292/.360/.465 100 runs created (basic version)

My current method uses the Willie Davis comment. To get to 88 RC, it says Joe Minors will have this line in the majors:

646 PA, 587 AB, 162 H, 59 BB, 258 TB
.276/.342/.439 88 runs created (basic version)

The MLE batting average is 94.5% of the original. The MLE slugging is 94.4% of the original.

If we use my old system with the NgL converters I was using, it would yield averages of .262/.377. When I reverse engineer a .262/.377 player in Willie Davis:

631 PA, 576 AB, 151 H, 55 BB, 217 TB
.262/.327/.377 71 runs created (basic version)

So a .71 discount on runs via the old method. Which Clay Davenport, for example, claims is something like A Ball. So the discount structure I had been using was severly underrating players' performance. Which is part of why there's the big difference.

I can only apologize and say that I didn't know it at the time, but I think the assumptions that go into this new system are more robust than the ones that informed the old one. The Willie Davis technique does a better job of maintaining the relationship of players’ component skills, and by using runs created I’m assessing the player’s entire contribution rather than patching it together from one component to the next. Better yet, it’s more sensitive to fluctuations in runs scored between leagues, which is a huge issue for these purposes.

I’m not saying this new system is bullet proof, nor that I haven’t made errors in either input, formulae, assumptions, whatever. And I do have to make some estimates that aren’t ideal, but this system is at least grounded in something that I feel confident is giving me better answers. I don’t have time this afternoon, but hopefully tonight I’ll run Clarkson’s 1954 season through each version of my MLEs to show you where the differences crop up.
   54. DavidFoss Posted: April 04, 2007 at 05:00 PM (#2324554)
1954 is gold. Nearly a triple crown, played 150+ games, clearly one of the big stars in the league, and an obvious MVP candidate.

I'm a bit skeptic on the 60 WS these two years. 1954 was a longer season (162G) no? The Texas League was AA and he regressed a bit when he went up to AAA in 1955. I know he was getting older and I know he shouldn't have been in the minors at all, but an "MVP candidate" deserves a second look.
   55. Chris Cobb Posted: April 04, 2007 at 06:10 PM (#2324656)
Within the Texas League, Clarkson was certainly an MVP candidate, and I believe that's what Eric was describing when he used the phrase.

I'm not certain that the 31.3 win shares the new MLEs assign to Clarkson is a correct estimate of the MLE equivalent for that season, and I'm not certain that it's incorrect, either. The key point is that Clarkson was playing third base and was the best hitter in the Texas League, so he was very likely the most valuable player in that league.

That is a key point because it is obviously counterintuitive that the Texas League would have had a bunch of players who were capable of putting up all-star seasons in the majors at that time. It is not counterintuitive that the best player in the league would have been an all-star in the majors.

Put another way, this result passes the sniff test. Doesn't mean it's right, but it's not necessarily incorrect.
   56. jimd Posted: April 04, 2007 at 07:00 PM (#2324731)
1951 33 13.9 2.5 16.4
1952 34 14.1 2.4 16.5
1953 35 25.3 3.7 28.9
1954 36 27.4 3.9 31.3
1955 37 12.8 2.4 15.2
1956 38 12.2 3.0 15.2


The 1953 and 1954 MLE seasons look out of place in that career summary.

I think it's fair to ask who the other best 3-4 hitters were in those leagues, and if possible, what were their MLE projections for those seasons. (Assuming that data is available. Or is the source only data for Bus Clarkson?)
   57. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 04, 2007 at 07:57 PM (#2324784)
Brent, you are correct that TxL in 1954 was a 162 season, not 154 as I had said. I had that right in my original data sourcing, so that was an error strictly in post #50, not in the MLE itself.

His 1953-1954 seasons do bring us back to the question of What about Barry Bonds in AA? That is do great players look that much better in lower leagues, and if so, what to do about it? No answer is forthcoming from these quarters, because I just don't know. I agree the seasons look out of place, but look at the PAs and OPS+

396 118
382 124
570 140
613 139
367 114
470 97

While those do stick out, they look more like part of what could be a single individual's career. If said this

396 118
382 124
570 175
613 150
367 114
470 97

Then I would be much more concerned. Particularly because earlier in his career he is in that neighborhood a few times. Granted these are his top two OPS+ seasons. One thing I'd like to suggest is that everyone take a look at post #41, point three. That's where I go through my discount structure. I'm very anxious to get feedback about whether that feels OK to people. I've gone with .88 for AAA, and I feel pretty solid on that (see the estimating league quality thread for more about that), and I cascaded downward from there.

That said, I'll take a look at who the other big guys were that year and see what I can tell you. But not til later tonight.
   58. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 05, 2007 at 02:00 AM (#2325381)
Bus Clarkson, 1954, step by step.

As I’ve written this, I realized that my description of my previous system was not very easy to read. Worse, I completely misdescribed the first two steps. I’ve rectified this and tried to flesh it out a little more here to make it easier to see what I’m doing.

Old system
1) AVG / lgAVG (if known)
.324 / .261 = 1.24

2) Take 1 and multiply by NL avg

1.24 * .274 = .340

3) Take 2 and multiply by .88 (average factor for AA level that I guesstimated based on discussions surrounding Chris's research)

.340 * .88 = .299

4) Repeat for slugging using square of avg factor (also per Chris’ research).

.602 / .388 = 1.55

1.55 * .427 = .662

.662 * (.88^2) = .513

5) Estimate walk rates if there's any idea about them. [I estimated these by bb/h in the old system because there situations in which it was more helpful, though I don’t now remember why. But I kept on doing so even when it was obvious I could have used better information. Shirk pointed this out at least once.]

Clarkson walked 104 times with 176 hits, or .59 per H.

TxL walked .47 times for every hit.

NL walked .377 times per hit.

.59 / .47 * .377 = .473 BB/H

6) Prorate playing time as g/tm g * 3.8 AB/g. [I early wrote 3.5, should be 3.8, sorry for any confusion.]

157 / 162 * 154 * 3.8 = 567 AB

7) Figure out average, slg, and walk rates in the playing time from 6.

.306 * 567 = 174 H

.536 * 567 = 304 TB

.473 * 174 = 82 BB

8) Season to taste with OPS+ and/or SFWS.

117 and 24.2


This is how that season looks in the current setup. [I explained the first two steps incorrectly when I previously posted. Should be correct below. I’m sorry, this stuff doesn’t trip off the tongue.]

1) Find his RC.

Clarkson created about 141 runs in Texas.

2) Find his offensive context by multiplying his games played times the league’s R/G times his pf.

157 * 4.66 * 1.00 = 732 runs

3) Find neutral context by multiplying his games times 4.50

157 * 4.50 = 707 runs

4) Figure his neutralized runs created by dividing 4.5 by his league’s r/g times his pf and multiplying all that times his RC

4.5 / (1.00 * 4.66) * 141 = 136 runs created

5) Convert his RC to a neutral MLB environment by multiplying step 4 by .825, the runs conversion factor I’ve used for double-A, as the Texas League was classified.

.825 * 136 = 112 runs created

6) Use the Willie Davis Comment Method (aka just Willie Davis) to figure out how the player's original stats translate into the new environment.

Without going into gory detail .324/.433/.602 becomes .285/.387/.530.

His PAs drop from 652 to 603.

7) Sum all converted seasons to get neutral career averages.

These turn out to be .284/.375/.467.

8) Figure playing time as g/tm g * 154 * ~4.2 PA/G (variable based on the era, league, player's likely slot in the order, etc....)

I actually used 4.1 for Clarkson because I had questions about his durability and didn’t want to over shoot. The NL of his era was at 4.3 PA per batter per game.

157 / 162 * 154 * 4.1 = 612 PA

9) Subtract the PAs figured in step 6 from step 8: this is how many PAs you will apply his career average to in building his full season.

612 – 603 = 9 PA

10) Figure how many runs he needs to create in the PAs from step 9 based on his career neutralized RC/PA rate (and his nearest three, if it's possible).

Since there’s no interruptions in Clarkson’s stats in this era, I use the average of his nearest three neutralized seasons, plus his career neutralized rates. 45% for previous seasons, 55% for career. This turns out to be about 1.6 RC for these 9 PAs. I know it’s pretty picayune.

11) Use Willie Davis to figure his batting line based on the RC in step 10 and the PAs in step 9.

Because it’s a small number of PAs, there’s more potential for wacky results: .388/.489/.640 in those 9 PAs. All of his other remainder projections are very, very close to the neutralized career totals with the exception of 1955 which is well below his norms and is only 14 PAs.

12) Add the batting lines from steps 6 and 11 (the neutral and "remaining" batting lines) to get the total neutral season line.

.287/.388/.531, 115 RC

13) Divide 4.50 into NL season's R/G.

4.56 / 4.50 = 1.01

14) Multiply 12 by the player's neutral rc/g to get his projected NL RC/G.

1.01 * 114.58 = 116.1

(rounding and partials end up a little above the 112 + 2 expectation for our final neutral total)

15) Use Willie Davis to figure his projected NL component line.

His projected line is .288/.390/.534.

16) Figure his WS as though he were on a .500 team scoring at the league average and figure OPS+ the usual way.

Starting with OPS+, he’s a 139, NL is at .345/.424.

For WS, I based it on pages 17-20 of the WS book. The idea is to create an average team and figure what the player’s contribution to such a theoretical team would be.
a) Figure the league’s runs/outs. Retain.

For the NL of 1954, it’s about .166. Might depend on whether you figure it from the pitching side or batting side.

b) Figure an average team’s expected RS as lg R/G times scheduled games.

4.56 * 154 = 702

c) Figure the average team’s marginal runs as .48 times step b.

.48 * 702 = 337

d) Figure available WS for batters as wins times three times .48.

77 wins * 3 * .48 = 111 WS

e) Figure the player’s expected background runs as step a times player’s outs times .52.

.166 * 377 * .52 = 32

f) Figure player’s marginal runs as RC minus step e.

116 – 32 = 83 marginal runs

g) Divide step f into step c.

83 / 337 = .246

h) Multiply step g times step d for the batting WS.

.246 * 111 = 27.3 BWS

i) For his fielding WS, I gave Clarkson average SS FWS through 1948, then average 3B FWS thereafter using the norms from SFWS, and figuring his games as PA / 4.1.

612 / 4.1 / 38 = 3.9

Total of 27.3 + 3.9 = 31.2 WS

I did do a double-check with SFWS (which I used in the previous system), and it reported 32 even WS with 28.1 through batting. I abandoned SFWS because I don't think it holds together well for comparing widely varying environments. Clarkson is within ten WS of his SFWS projection, but when we get to Marv Williams, I think we'll see bigger differences.

Here then are the final lines which the old and current system return:

Ver   pa  ab   h  tb bb  avg  obp  slg ops+  ws
------------------------------------------------
Old  635 562 159 257 73 .283 .365 .457 117  24.2
New  613 521 150 278 88 .288 .390 .534 139  31.3 


The problem with the old system was threefold:
-Didn’t have enough info on the NgLs (since ameliorated by the HOF study)
-Didn’t treat walks correctly, underselling them badly.
-Discounts on AVG and SLG didn’t match up with reality since they made the comparison between higher-level players look like a comparison with lower-level players (see my previous long post about Joe Minors for an example of how this happens). This is mostly the result of my slugging discount cutting too deeply, but is also somewhat true of the average discount.

That said, there’s a couple possibilities about this particular season.
1) Maybe the TxL was not a strong league despite its AA status? If so I need to ratchet down its discount. OK, but I’ll need to ask whether or not that means each AA league of this period should be marked down the same way. And also, I think Marv Williams will show a lot of TxL time, and he’s the next guy I’m going to post up, so perhaps a comparison with him would be helpful before jumping the gun.
2) Maybe my system is completely wrong. That’s always possible, and now you have enough information to tell me so!
3) Maybe this is the Bonds in AA problem.
4) Maybe Bus Clarkson is a severe outlier.

Either way, I do believe this system is closer to baseball reality as we understand it than the previous one and I’m looking for ways to make it better. And i suspect that oddities like Bus's 1954 are matters of tweaking rather than breakdowns.... But I've been wrong in these threads many times before. ; )
   59. Brent Posted: April 05, 2007 at 05:53 AM (#2325671)
Eric,

What's your source for the .825 discount factor for runs for Class AA? It seems much too high. James used .82 for runs for Class AAA (see Buzz Arlett thread). If you're looking at the discounts used by Davenport, keep in mind that they are being applied to EQA, not to runs; equivalent runs in the BP system is proportional to EQA raised to the 2.5 power.
   60. Al Peterson Posted: April 05, 2007 at 12:35 PM (#2325720)
Something doesn't make sense when trying to make OPS+ and BWS correspond. Let me take 3 of Bus Clarkson's better years (1948,1953,1954) and compare him to actual NL player performances.

1948

Bus Clarkson MLE .288/.367/.511 135 OPS+ 552 PA
Bob Elliott actual .283/.423/.474 145 OPS+ 675 PA

Bob Elliott wins BWS but just 22.7 to 21.7. That's with a 10 point higher OPS+ and 123 more plate appearances.

1953

Bus Clarkson MLE .309/.426/.495 140 OPS+ 570 PA
Jackie Robinson actual .329/.425/.502 139 OPS+ 574 PA

Bus Clarkson wins BWS easily, 25.3 to 21.1. The years look nearly identical.

1954

Bus Clarkson MLE .288/.390/.534 139 OPS+ 613 PA
Stan Musial actual .330/.428/.607 166 OPS+ 705 PA

Stan Musial wins BWS by about 1, 28.5 to 27.4. Stan the Man outpaces Bus by 27 on OPS+ and has 93 more plate appearances.

I know OPS+ and BWS don't have to line up perfectly. Yet it shows how you can get from a career translation 126 OPS+ player in 8800 PAs yet have 402 Win Shares. Eric seems to be working the numbers properly but why are Win Shares coming out high? Or is it OPS+ is coming out low?
   61. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 05, 2007 at 01:22 PM (#2325741)
Brent,

I'm glad we're talking about the discount structure because it's an area that I think needs the most feedback. You are right that James pegged AAA at .82. In the Estimating League Quality thread (around posts 145-155), I noted that Davenport sees .86 as the number. In the same thread, KJOK suggested that Clay's and Bill's AAA ratings were too low. He said that he had found .88 to be more likely based on an informal survey of research and his own observations. In the thread, I canvassed a few of Clay's articles to see what he said about various leagues. And then I created a discount table based on this that goes like this:
.
           
Clay   Bill
           eqa    runs
-----------------------
mlb        1.00   1.00
jpn        0.95   0.90
aaa        0.86   0.82
aa         0.80   0.76
hi a       0.75   0.71
lo a       0.70   0.67
short a    0.65   0.62
rookie     0.60   0.57 


I decided to follow KJOK's .88 because the high minors were more independent from 1920-1955 than they are in the last fifteen years (Clay's study period) or the late 1970s and early 1980s (Bill's study period). Now, what's complicated is that the minors weren't stratified quite the same. Then it was

Open
AAA
AA
A
B
C
D
(And in a couple years there was 1A as well, which i think went between AA and A.)

I don't think that the lower leagues were specifically rookie or instructional leagues as they are now, and they were full-season leagues (or nearly so). And after integration, every stratification had some NgLers. Even so, IIUC, ex-major leaguers were moving up and down the MiL ranks and so were career minor leaguers.

Anyway, so my thought was to raise AA up a bit to .825 to match the .88 for AAA. I haven't made a similar adjustment for the lower leagues, feeling like the Barry Bonds in double-A question is a strong enough argument to keep them at roughly the same as Davenport's findings. So my current discount schedule:

Open/NgL: .90
AAA/1947-1948 NgL: .88
AA/1949-1950 NgL/MxL: .825
A: .75
B/CPL: .7
C: .65
D: .60

If the group thinks that I should go back down to .86 for AAA and .80 for AA, I'd be happy to do that. I'm not wedded to .88 and .825. And in general, I'd love to know if anyone's got any other thoughts on the subject.
   62. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 05, 2007 at 01:36 PM (#2325750)
Al,

I think the answer to your question could be something to do with:
a) number of team wins
b) RC vs. OPS+
c) a player's teammates.

I'd assume the variation is located somewhere within that area. And there may be partials here and there to tip things toward better hitters in non-theoretical MLE seasons.

For old Buster,
a) the team wins in all his seasons is locked at 77
c) all of his teammates are theoretical robots who march along at the league average and who among the other seven-plus lineup slots will accrue marginal 254 runs, or about 35 per lineup slot. That means the other lineup slots are worth about 12 batting WS, en route to a likely 15-18 total WS per lineup slot. As your examples above point out, this is sometimes an advantage, sometimes not. An advantage, probably, in comparison to a player playing in a loaded lineup. A disadvantage to a player in Wally Berger-like circumstances.

I could be wrong, though. I'm just guessing.
   63. Gary A Posted: April 06, 2007 at 04:48 PM (#2327112)
A few notes on Clarkson:

1) Riley, FWIW, seems to think considerably more of Clarkson than Holway does, devoting more than a full page to him. He gives him the 1918 birthdate, but says Clarkson played football and baseball at Wilberforce University (which is near Dayton, Ohio), and signed with the Pittsburgh Crawfords after he graduated—which actually matches better with the 1915 birthdate.

2) How certain are we that there’s no league record for Clarkson in 1937-38? Holway doesn’t list him as a regular for those years, but that book not always absolutely reliable. Clarkson isn’t included in the Macmillan encyclopedia (at least the edition I have), and he wasn’t nominated for the Hall of Fame, so I’m not sure where else stats for those years would have been published.

3) On the Texas League in 1953-54: I haven’t done a complete study, but just looking at the stats for those seasons, it seems rather obvious that Clarkson was the most valuable player in the league for both years.

Here are the best hitters (by OPS) I could find in the 1953 Texas League (asterisk marks someone who never appeared in the majors):

Joe Frazier, of, .332/.440/.560/1.000 – 30 years old
Les Fleming, 1b, 37 .317/.460/.538/.998 -- 37
Bus Clarkson, 3b, 38 .330/.453/.528/.981 -- 38
*Harry Heslet, of, .269/.350/.551/.901 -- ??
Frank Kellert, 1b, .289/.388/.501/.889 -- 28
Willard Brown, of, .310/.354/.519 -- 38

And in the 1954 Texas League:

Les Fleming, 1b, .358/.473/.562/1.035 -- 38
Bus Clarkson, ss/3b, .324/.433/.602/1.035 – 39
Frank Kellert, 1b, .316/.394/.585/.979 – 29
*Howard Boles, of, .306/.368/.607/.976 -- ??
Ed Mickelson, 1b, .335/.396/.538/.934 – 27
Willard Brown, of, .314/.353/.573/.926 – 39

There was also:
Ken Boyer, 3b, .319/.380/.506/.887 – 23

Clarkson and Fleming were easily the best two hitters in the Texas League in 1953-54, with Fleming just a shade ahead (they played for the same two teams in 1954, btw, and were evidently dealt together from Beaumont to Dallas).

Going through the other hitters:

Joe Frazier had a cup of coffee with the Indians in ’47 (1 for 14), but got another chance with the Cardinals in ’54, at the age of 31, and showed he could still hit (.295/.388/.500 in 103 plate appearances), but tailed off after that, finishing his major league career with a 97 OPS+ in 324 plate appearances.

Frank Kellert, a right-handed first baseman, got a chance with Brooklyn in ’55 (.325/.385/.575 in 91 plate appearances), even appearing in the World Series (1 for 3). He was shipped to the Cubs in ’56 (at the age of 31), and stopped hitting. He finished with an 85 OPS+ in 277 plate appearances.

Ed Mickelson had three cups of coffee, in 1950, 1953, and 1957, going an aggregate 3 for 37.

Ken Boyer, who in ’54 had probably the best offensive season by an infielder other than Clarkson during the two years covered (though he was still nowhere near Clarkson as a hitter at this point), went up to the Cardinals in ’55 and posted OPS+’s of 95, 123, 94, and 121 in his first four seasons.

Les Fleming is the most intriguing player, and makes an interesting comparison with Clarkson. They’re almost the same age—Fleming was born on August 7, 1915, just short of five months after Clarkson. He didn’t get established in the major leagues until 1942, when he hit .292/.412/.432 (OPS+ 144) with 106 walks as a 26-year-old rookie first baseman with Cleveland. He even garnered a few votes for MVP (finishing 25th). Then WWII intervened. When Fleming returned from the war, he was pushing thirty and had to fight to regain his job. He put up pretty good numbers (.329/.382/.493 in ’45), but got squeezed out anyway, and ended up in the minors. His overall record in the majors: .277/.386/.417, OPS+ 130 in 1572 plate appearances. Compare Eric’s MLEs for Clarkson above: .280/.371/.461, OPS+ 126.

In the 1953/54 Texas League, Clarkson and Fleming, almost the same age, seem like mirror images as offensive players (Clarkson batting righthanded, Fleming lefthanded): both high average power hitters with considerable control of the strike zone. Then consider that Fleming was (and had always been) a first baseman, while Clarkson was still spending a considerable amount of time at shortstop at the age of 39.
   64. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 06, 2007 at 05:26 PM (#2327161)
Thanks, Gary!

I've been making out some lists of these two seasons.

NgLers who appeared in the TxL in 1953-1954 (no minimum)

Bob Boyd (28)
Willard Brown (38-39)
Clarkson
Bill Greason (28)
Chuck Harmon (29)
Benny Lott (26)
Terrance McDuffie (44)
Jose Santiago (24)
Pat Scantlebury (36)
Jim Tugerson (31)
Charlie White (24)
Jesse Williams (40)
Sam Williams (31)
Lonnie Summers

Also, I made a list of guys who I recognized as possibly being MLB players. In other words, I haven't gone name-by-name yet, but I'm hoping to get to that this weekend (we lost power during a snowstorm last night, so these two lists are by candlelight...but that's the kind of HOM dedication I've got, I'm the Eckstein of HOM).

up = ascending to MLB
down = descending from MLB
between = between MLB stops

1953
--------------
Ed Bailey (up)
Larry Jackson (up)
Ryne Duren (up)
Joe Koppe (up)
Chico Garcia (up)

Les Fleming (down)
Max Lanier (down)
Frank Mancuso (down)
Fred Martin (down)
Cliff Ross (down)
Willard Brown (down)
Clarkson (down)

Cloyd Boyer (between)
Cal Hogue (between)


1954
------------------
Ken Boyer (up)
Don Blasingame (up)
Hal Smith (up) [don't know which one, both were Cs]
Jim Brosnan (up)
Luis Arroyo (up)
Billy Muffet (up)
Karl Spooner (up)
Norm Sherry (up)
Frank Robinson (up---token app)
Paul Schramka (up)
Jackson
Koppe

Clyde King (down)
Roy Hartsfield (down)
Fleming
Clarkson
Brown
Lanier
Martin
Ross

Bob Boyd (between)

There are probably more guys whose names I simply didn't recognize because I'm less familiar with the second-tier players of the 1950s and 1960s than I am of the second-tier players from many other decades. I'll find more info this weekeend.
   65. Paul Wendt Posted: April 07, 2007 at 11:18 PM (#2328789)
Doctor South Central PA
In Clarkson's case, he is listed by Lester and Clark on the Philadelphia NNL roster for 1937-1938 but appears to have no record of league play. This may have been his woodshedding period or something like that, maybe seeing a lot of time in non-league contests after the regulars had played a few innings. I don't know. Someone like Gary A could probably tell us what that means.

Gary A
1) Riley, FWIW, seems to think considerably more of Clarkson than Holway does, devoting more than a full page to him. He gives him the 1918 birthdate, but says Clarkson played football and baseball at Wilberforce University (which is near Dayton, Ohio), and signed with the Pittsburgh Crawfords after he graduated—which actually matches better with the 1915 birthdate.

2) How certain are we that there’s no league record for Clarkson in 1937-38? Holway doesn’t list him as a regular for those years, but that book not always absolutely reliable. Clarkson isn’t included in the Macmillan encyclopedia (at least the edition I have), and he wasn’t nominated for the Hall of Fame, so I’m not sure where else stats for those years would have been published.


IIUC the emerging picture, Clarkson was age 24.1-24.6 during the 1939 baseball season in N America, age 22+ and 23+ during the 1937-38 seasons. Previously he played football and baseball at Wilberforce U in Ohio. Maybe until the spring of 1937 at age 22? That would be no surprise today.

Philadelphia was a big city, still is. Was there a major "black newspaper" or competing papers? If so, it is probably available on microfilm at numerous university libraries. The Doctor is really located in South Coastal ME rather than South Central PA, so I wonder whether he might make a research visit to the Harvard U microfilm collection, if availability of the right newspaper(s) is confirmed.
   66. Gary A Posted: April 08, 2007 at 04:04 PM (#2329008)
Actually, Clarkson played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords 1937-38, then went with the club to Toledo for 1939 and Indianapolis in 1940 before moving (or being dealt) to the Newark Eagles. Riley makes a point of mentioning that Clarkson chose the Crawfords because he "liked Charleston as a player and a manager."

Holway doesn't list Clarkson in 1937/38, but Clark/Lester's Negro Leagues Book lists him as "inf" for 1937 (with no regular second baseman for the team, if I understand their system correctly), then as the regular second baseman (also playing ss and 3b) in 1938. Holway and Clark/Lester both list him as the Toledo Crawfords' regular second baseman in 1939.

If I have time this week, I'll go to the library and see what the Pittsburgh Courier had to say about him during those years. (Also, if he were a well-known college athlete, he might have been mentioned earlier than '37...).
   67. Paul Wendt Posted: April 08, 2007 at 06:59 PM (#2329182)
In a quick web search I find little on Wilberforce University and baseball.

Wilberforce is the oldest African-American university in the USA. The SABR Collegiate Cmte has Buzz Clarkson in attendance at WU 1934-1937 and the only mlbplayer from WU. WU no longer plays intercollegiate baseball; the library solicits information and memorabilia from alumni.

Tomorrow(?) Lee Lowenfish presents his new biography of Branch Rickey at a Harlem bookstore. Relying on the LATimes review by Dan Ulin, Rickey spoke notably at WU in 1946:
Here too, Lowenfish's take is detailed and nuanced, balancing the issue of integration with the economic and competitive imperatives of running a professional baseball team. Without question, Rickey was looking for an advantage, and he knew that in the conservative world of big league baseball he would have minority players to himself, at least for a while.

Still, as Lowenfish writes, Rickey's motivations were complicated, a mix of ambition and fair play. In August 1946, with Robinson already starring for the Dodgers' triple-A team in Montreal, a committee including the Yankees' Larry MacPhail and the Cubs' Phil Wrigley presented a secret report to baseball owners suggesting that integration "could conceivably threaten the value of the Major League franchises" by bringing too many black fans to the park.

<u>Rickey was appalled, and eventually went public about the report in February 1948, telling an audience at Ohio's historically black Wilberforce University</u>: "I believe that racial extractions and color hues and forms of worship become secondary to what men can do.... The denial of equality of opportunity to qualify for work to any one, anywhere, any time, is ununderstandable to me."


To all of you hitting the baseball books, websites, and microfilm, have a producive Easter.
   68. Paul Wendt Posted: April 08, 2007 at 07:04 PM (#2329188)
oops, Rickey spoke notably at WU in 1948
   69. sunnyday2 Posted: April 09, 2007 at 12:46 AM (#2329446)
Doc, here's a thought. Why not pick a couple of MLers--not stars, but maybe guys like Koppe, Cloyd Boyer, Bob Boyd--and do up some MLEs for them. At least there we would have some basis for a smell test of some sort. Knowing nothing about Clarkson (and Marvin Wms) it is hard to know whether these appear credible or not. A Joe Koppe MLE and combined career totals would be an interesting comparison.
   70. Gary A Posted: April 09, 2007 at 03:02 AM (#2329619)
Les Fleming would probably be the most interesting comparison to Clarkson (offensively speaking), as they were nearly the same age and were very close to the same quality as hitters in the 1953-54 Texas League.
   71. DL from MN Posted: April 09, 2007 at 04:50 PM (#2329926)
I use BRAR/BRAA in my spreadsheet. I'm estimating 580 and 285 based on the revised MLEs, someone please correct it if I'm wrong. That jumps Clarkson up to the top of the ballot.
   72. KJOK Posted: April 09, 2007 at 06:40 PM (#2330152)
Holway doesn't list Clarkson in 1937/38, but Clark/Lester's Negro Leagues Book lists him as "inf" for 1937 (with no regular second baseman for the team, if I understand their system correctly), then as the regular second baseman (also playing ss and 3b) in 1938. Holway and Clark/Lester both list him as the Toledo Crawfords' regular second baseman in 1939.

If I have time this week, I'll go to the library and see what the Pittsburgh Courier had to say about him during those years. (Also, if he were a well-known college athlete, he might have been mentioned earlier than '37...).


I checked the Baltimore Afro-American, and I did find one mention of Clarkson on July 9, 1938:

"Dick Fields...played infield at Wilberforce beside Bus Clarkson who is now doing a swell third base job for the Pittsburgh Crawfords."
   73. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 09, 2007 at 07:22 PM (#2330261)
DL, who are other players with 250-300 BRAA in your system? If it's easy to list them.
   74. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 09, 2007 at 07:59 PM (#2330338)
I just went over to BP and typed a lot of names in and pulled off their WARP1 BRAA:

Oliva 307
Doyle 302
Veach 297
J Rice 289
R White 288
Manush 287
CLARKSON (285 BY DL'S MEASURE)
Hodges 274
Boudreau 274
Childs 264
Bando 263
Garvey 253
Duffy 252
Rosen 250
Stephens 201

People in the upper 300s and higher included Roush, Wynn, both Evanses, Howard, Cuyler, Perez, Beckley, Kent.

People beneath 200 included Bancroft, Rizzuto, Fox (no surprises there) as well as Leach, Nettles, and Sewell.

I didn't look at everybody, just people I could think up off the top of my head.

So I think, assuming DL's talking about the same kind of BRAA I'm quoting above, that this makes some sense. As I noted previously, Clarkson's bat is better than his glove, and his bat compares well against 2nd-line and 3rd-line corner guys, and is better than lower-rung good-glove, so-so bats at SS. I believe the kinds of players around him in the BRAA ranks suggest the MLE is supporting the general view of Clarkson as a good hitter for his position, but not in the class of top-tier SS or 3B. He's not Cal Ripken but he hits better than Boudreau. That strikes me as reasonable...though I may be biased.
   75. DL from MN Posted: April 09, 2007 at 08:00 PM (#2330341)
I get my BRAA straight from WARP1. Ron Cey, Sal Bando and Tony Lazzeri are in my spreadsheet. Clarkson is at least those guys' bat plus SS.
   76. DL from MN Posted: April 09, 2007 at 08:07 PM (#2330360)
It should be fairly easy to calculate RCAA, RCAR, RCAP using positional averages for the number of PAs Clarkson put up. I just don't know where to get the numbers for each year.
   77. TomH Posted: April 10, 2007 at 03:05 PM (#2331060)
so, who might be Clarkson's best MLB comp. Vern Stephens or Jim Fregosi, if they had played better post-age 29? Maybe Sewell? Bando or Doyle?
   78. KJOK Posted: April 10, 2007 at 07:29 PM (#2331321)
I originally had his comps as Toby Harrah and Fregosi, but with the new MLE's it appears he may have been a better player than those two.
   79. TomH Posted: April 10, 2007 at 07:47 PM (#2331335)
What anecdotal evidence do we have on the Bus? Yes, I understand it might be more limited because of his lack of team/league stability, but I'd like something. What do Holway, Riley, Ted Knorr, other NgLg historians whose names I can't remember have to say? Any tales from Buck O'Neil? It's reeeally tough to imagine a player of this caliber was unearthed this year.
   80. Dizzypaco Posted: April 10, 2007 at 09:27 PM (#2331465)
A couple of things.

First, I went through a lot of the Sporting News from 1951 and 1952. He appears a lot, because of the coverage of the minors in those days. The first thing that pops out is that they could never agree on exactly what his nickname was. He was described at various times as Bus Clarkson, Buzz Clarkson, Buster Clarkson, Buzzy Clarkson, and finally Jim Clarkson when they gave up.

Second, his defense is described as good in several places, although sometimes they were referring to his play at third. In one place it mentioned that Rogers Hornsby was very impressed with him, and it implied that his defense was one of the things that impressed Hornsby so much. Not that Hornsby was the greatest judge of talent.

Finally, I have always been of the opinion that HOM voters have too much confidence in the MLE's, that the margin of error is vastly underestimated, and I think this is very true of Clarkson - I think it is nearly impossible to say how good he would have been if he played a full career in the major leagues. It does not appear that there was a consensus that he was among the best African-American players in the 30's, 40's, and 50's, and I think it would be a mistake to vote him in the HOM based on the notion that he might have been good. Besides, its not as if there is a shortage of his contemporaries already voted in.
   81. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 10, 2007 at 09:28 PM (#2331466)
It's reeeally tough to imagine a player of this caliber was unearthed this year.

Let me say this, I didn't unearth him this year, he was unearthed a couple years ago. I just ran him through a different system, one that I think is accounting for certain issues better than my previous one. The only difference between my re-eval of Clarkson and re-evals of Charleston, Johnson, Wilson, Howard, and Williams, is that Clarkson came out a lot higher than expected, while the others came out a little higher or no higher than expected.

This new method has been previously vetted by the electorate in the Charleston and Johnson threads. I made changes based on its recommendations. I've also been in contact with a few members of the electorate since then, asking innumerable questions (thanks, guys!) about various aspects of this system. And I've got piles of new data to work with, some of which is probably having a real impact on these figures.

Please look closely at post #58 (which compares old and new MLE routines) to see what's going on inside the MLE routine and see if I'm making a conceptual error or not seeing traps that might be inflating value. Your all's comments on the method itself are the most instructive tool I have for revising it. If I'm not seeing something tell me. If the method looks sound, then the thing to look at would be my discount structure, also discussed above. If those aren't it, well, maybe the MLE is pointing toward a new way of considering Clarkson.

I hope that didn't sound combative, sorry if it does. Not trying to be, of course.
   82. DL from MN Posted: April 10, 2007 at 10:45 PM (#2331525)
He was a 2 time Negro League All-Star so he wasn't completely unnoticed.

He missed time due to the war and got caught by the very uneven integration practices at the time mainly due to his age. Other groups of experts usually don't consider time played in the minor leagues despite the quality of play. Look at Gavy Cravath for another example.
   83. Chris Cobb Posted: April 11, 2007 at 12:02 AM (#2331604)
I think it is nearly impossible to say how good he would have been if he played a full career in the major leagues. It does not appear that there was a consensus that he was among the best African-American players in the 30's, 40's, and 50's, and I think it would be a mistake to vote him in the HOM based on the notion that he might have been good.

Clarkson is not a player who "might have been good." He _was_ good. He was consistently a very fine player against the best competition that was available to him. Just as with all other Negro League players, we should evaluate him on the basis of what he did, not what he "might have done" if he had played in the majors.

I have been voting for Clarkson since 1988, and he has been on my radar since the 1980 election, so it's not like information that he was a potential HoMer hasn't been available. It's just that with this reevaluation, and with the electorate giving renewed scrutiny to the backlog, Clarkson is getting more attention, and deservedly so.
   84. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 11, 2007 at 01:00 AM (#2331699)
It's reeeally tough to imagine a player of this caliber was unearthed this year.


Actually, going over his old MLEs, he should have been on my ballot a long timr ago. Pure sloppiness on my part.
   85. sunnyday2 Posted: April 11, 2007 at 01:35 AM (#2331746)
I dunno...

Look at Ellie Howard for another case. Howard has been on my ballot, he is #16 right now, and he is in my PHoM. Yet Doc's numbers for Ellie Howard are too generous. He's got him playing in the MLs at age 19 and I just don't buy that.

Why? What's the problem? The problem is that there are many many players in AAA in any given year at .88 who could step into the MLs and earn 10-12-15 WS, and there simply aren't enough slots on ML rosters--much less, in starting lineups--to support that.

That's not to say that he couldn't have done it--caught in the MLs at age 19. But he wouldn't have. If he were coming up today, with no war, no NeLs, no integration issues, no quotas, no problems other than the normal issues of talent evaluation and veteran's preferences that every generation of ballplayers have to deal with, he wouldn't be catching in the MLs at 19. Nobody would.

But because his case is hypothetical, the system allows him an opportunity that would never happen in the real world. And if you're going to let him sneak through, then we really ought to evaluate every AAA player throughout history and see how many MLE WS, and then rank every player in history (every MLer, plus those who didn't make the MLs like Bus Clarkson) on that level playing field. Rank everybody based on their ML record plus their MLEs. Then you could determine if Clarkson's MLE career is one of the 225 best. But as it is, he's an orange and everybody else is an apple.

I mean, with selected players, we're concerned that in th real world they were held back unreasonably--e.g. Charley Keller, Gavy Cravath, Lefty Grove, etc. etc. With Clarkson and Howard, I wonder if we aren't pushing them forward unreasonably in the hypothetical one.

Does that make sense?
   86. Anthony Giacalone Posted: April 11, 2007 at 02:15 AM (#2331791)
1953 NL 35 3B .274 .367 .363 117 508 443 121 161 65 91 14.1
1954 NL 36 3B .287 .373 .469 148 639 562 162 263 77 122 25.9
1955 NL 37 3B .261 .332 .396 90 376 340 89 135 36 94 10.5
1956 NL 38 3B .231 .337 .347 40 178 154 36 53 25 85 3.9


I have MLEs for Clarkson from the 1953 season forward based on a)his Texas, PCL and Western league totals b) TXL being a AA-league and c) actual team totals (using the original Bill James method of MLEs since I don't have park factors), but placed in a neutral setting (no home park, no specific major league). Not surprisingly my totals of Clarkson are similar to Chaleeko's but slightly higher

1953 .302/.417/.473 OPS+ 135
1954 .277/.370/.479 OPS+ 134
1955 .281/.352/.404 OPS+ 109
1956 .215/.328/.381 OPS+ 85

He was still playing a lot of SS in the minors as late as 1953 and some in 1954. He's wasn't a very good fielder by then (based on chances per game) but they did put him out there quite a bit through 1953.

Of all the MLEs that I've done (1953-1973) Clarkson's totals surprise me as much or more than anyone's. Other than Rocky Nelson and Luke Easter, he may have been the most dangerous post-war hitter than never saw much time in the big leagues.
   87. Chris Cobb Posted: April 11, 2007 at 02:53 AM (#2331829)
But because his case is hypothetical, the system allows him an opportunity that would never happen in the real world. And if you're going to let him sneak through, then we really ought to evaluate every AAA player throughout history and see how many MLE WS, and then rank every player in history (every MLer, plus those who didn't make the MLs like Bus Clarkson) on that level playing field. Rank everybody based on their ML record plus their MLEs. Then you could determine if Clarkson's MLE career is one of the 225 best. But as it is, he's an orange and everybody else is an apple.

This is obviously an issue in Howard's case, as Eric acknowledged when he prepared the MLEs. With Clarkson, however, I can't see an argument for trimming more than a few seasons from the ends of his careers, and, even without those seasons, he still looks like a solid HoMer.

Let me review the cases at the ends of his career.

His MLEs start in 1939, when he was 24 years old, a veteran of college baseball and two years of Negro-League play for which we have no stats. The MLEs show a part season with an OPS+ of 131. Is it unlikely that an infielder, at that age, with that batting profile, would not have gotten a shot as a major-league regular? In exceptional cases, as, for example, Al Rosen, a player with obvious talent might have been kept in the minors longer, but Rosen's case is obviously exceptional. Boudreau, Reese, Stephens, Elliott, Doerr, Pesky, all those guys were regulars by the age of 23, as were Rizzuto and Gordon, who had to break in through the incredibly deep Yankee organization. I can't see how Clarkson is getting an exceptional early-career opportunity with these MLEs.

His MLEs end in 1956, when he was 41 years old. Prior to his final season, when he slips to an OPS+ of 94, he has no seasons with an OPS+ of 113 after the age of 30. A 115-130 OPS+ is certainly enough hitting to hold down a major-league third base job in the early 1950s, and he was playing third base in the minors at this point, so it seems likely that he could have taken the physical wear-and-tear, and his playing time was down a bit in many of these seasons. Maybe his decline is masked by his play in a less than top minor league when he was in the Texas League in his age 38 and 39 seasons, but he also hit well enough in the AA and the PCL before and after. Maybe everything from 1953 on should be prorated or even discarded (though that last would seem hard to justify, given how good he was in 1953 and 1954, and that he didn't have any bad seasons before those two outstanding ones). His hitting style seems a lot like that of Darrell Evans, and Evans put up a couple of excellent seasons at around that same age.

The argument for discarding those seasons is that almost nobody who was his contemporary lasted at third base in the majors past age 36, except, of course, Luke Appling, who was a regular at third base and shortstop into his early 40s. Clarkson would have been an outlier in the majors if he had been playing third base after age 36. Could it have happened? Yes, because Luke Appling did it. Is it likely? No, but, as we have observed many times, HoM talents _are_ the outliers. So we are left having to use our judgment about how to interpret Clarkson's post-1952 record. With it, if Eric's MLEs are correct, he is an obvious, easy HoMer. Without it, his case is less strong, but he still looks to me like one of the best infielders available. With his late offensive peak prorated, I'd still say he looks like an obvious HoMer.
   88. Brent Posted: April 11, 2007 at 03:31 AM (#2331868)
In # 61 Eric Chalek wrote:

You are right that James pegged AAA at .82. In the Estimating League Quality thread (around posts 145-155), I noted that Davenport sees .86 as the number. In the same thread, KJOK suggested that Clay's and Bill's AAA ratings were too low. He said that he had found .88 to be more likely based on an informal survey of research and his own observations. In the thread, I canvassed a few of Clay's articles to see what he said about various leagues. And then I created a discount table based on this that goes like this:

.
Clay Bill
eqa runs
-----------------------
mlb 1.00 1.00
jpn 0.95 0.90
aaa 0.86 0.82
aa 0.80 0.76
hi a 0.75 0.71
lo a 0.70 0.67
short a 0.65 0.62
rookie 0.60 0.57


I decided to follow KJOK's .88 because the high minors were more independent from 1920-1955 than they are in the last fifteen years (Clay's study period) or the late 1970s and early 1980s (Bill's study period).


Eric,

I'm having some trouble with your interpretation of these numbers. Davenport's .860 factor for Class AAA EQA is equivalent to a factor of .86^2.5 = .686 for runs. (See Davenport's article on Japanese baseball.) Davenport's translations tend to come in lower than the Bill James translations, not higher. Furthermore, the study that KJOK was citing appears to imply even lower translation factors: about 0.82 for batting average and about 0.7 for isolated power. (See David Luciani's What Minor League Stats Really Mean.) Bottom line -- your new Negro league translations look reasonable to me, but I think your translations of minor league performance are coming in too high. This problem is most apparent for the translations of minor league play at levels below Class AAA.
   89. sunnyday2 Posted: April 11, 2007 at 03:37 AM (#2331883)
PS. Clarkson moved from #44 to #24 on (off) my ballot based on the new numbers but, yes, I'm having a hard time getting the rest of the way toward, say, #1 or, splitting the difference, #12. I really do believe that 295 WS is more likely than 403, though what is most likely that he is somewhere between and I don't claim to know whether that means 375 or something more or less.

On Ellie Howard, BTW, I've decided that the total of 305 looks about right, it's just that there I would delay his entry into the MLs (MLE) a couple-three years, and then in a hypothetical world there's no way he has two 6 WS years after 2-3 more productive years. So it washes out.

Here (Clarkson) I suppose halfway (350) is as good a guess as any though that doesn't correlate to Doc's numbers in any way. At #24 he trails Ed Williamson, Tommy Leach and Al Rosen, and he's just ahead of Pesky, Bando, Sewell, Boyer and Elliott.
   90. Gary A Posted: April 11, 2007 at 03:45 AM (#2331896)
What anecdotal evidence do we have on the Bus? Yes, I understand it might be more limited because of his lack of team/league stability, but I'd like something. What do Holway, Riley, Ted Knorr, other NgLg historians whose names I can't remember have to say? Any tales from Buck O'Neil? It's reeeally tough to imagine a player of this caliber was unearthed this year.

Riley doesn't have much in the way of anecdotes, though he does have a full, detailed entry that mostly recounts Clarkson's statistical accomplishments (which I guess Riley thinks speak for themselves) and movements from team to team and league to league. The entry begins: "A powerfully built right-handed power hitter who hit consistently and could pull the ball, he was a fine all-around fielder and could play any infield position. In his younger days he showed better than average speed on the bases." When talking about his college career, Riley describes him as "an all-around athlete." He also says that in Milwaukee in 1950-51, Clarkson "became the fans' favorite player."

Here's Holway, quoted by DL from MN from an email exchange (in post #2312921): "I don't have any numbers on Clarkson and don't consider him an important player."

Clarkson doesn't appear in the index to Buck O'Neil's autobiography. I'm guessing Buck would not have had much of a chance to see Clarkson play; they would have been in the same league only for half of 1939 (the Crawfords competed in the NAL's second half), a small part of 1940 (NAL), 1949 (NAL, after the leagues merged), and part of 1950 (NAL). The latter two years the league consisted of two divisions, essentially the former NNL in the east and former NAL in the west; I don't know for sure that there was actually interdivisional play. The one time I can clearly document Clarkson and O'Neil on the field at the same time (for opposing teams) is in the 1949 East-West Game.
   91. KJOK Posted: April 11, 2007 at 05:14 AM (#2332005)
I'm having some trouble with your interpretation of these numbers. Davenport's .860 factor for Class AAA EQA is equivalent to a factor of .86^2.5 = .686 for runs. (See Davenport's article on Japanese baseball.) Davenport's translations tend to come in lower than the Bill James translations, not higher. Furthermore, the study that KJOK was citing appears to imply even lower translation factors: about 0.82 for batting average and about 0.7 for isolated power.


First, I'll talk about Japanese translation, because those are the ones I've done the most work myself on, but many of the principles apply to ALL MLE's. There are two primary enviromental factors at work when moving from one league to another (ignoring team specific things like TEAM parks) - they are strength of league (obviously) and RELATIVE park environment (not TEAM, but the relative scoring environment of ALL parks in one league vs. the relative scoring environment of ALL parks in the other league). Because there are two factors, and only ONE of the two factors work IN THE SAME DIRECTION (strength) for both hitters and pitchers, you absolutely CANNOT look at JUST hitters (or just pitchers) moving from one league to another and draw good conclusions.

For example if you look at just hitters moving from JPL to MLB and vice versa, you find that hitters Japanese hitters only retain about 86% of their run value, and MLB hitters hit about 16% better in Japan. But, 86% is NOT the correct 'discount' factor. If you look at PITCHERS, Japanese pitchers pitch almost exactly as well in MLB as they did in Japan! Conversely, MLB pitchers going to Japan, facing 'easier' batters, have not had much success historically at all - they're just as bad as they were in the U.S. The difference, I'm concinved, is that JPL parks are much more offense friendly than U.S. parks ON AVERAGE (for HR alone, about 54% more friendly!)

So, after doing some math for players going both ways, you get the following approximations:

To MLB DIFF = PARK + STRENTGH
Batters -15%= -7% + -8%
Pitchers -1% = +7% + -8%

with the correct Japanese U.S. 'discount' on playing strength being 1.00 - .08 = .92, and the correct adjustment on parks (assuming the players moves from an average Japanese park to an average U.S. Park) is .93 for hitters and 1.07 for pitchers.
   92. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 11, 2007 at 01:07 PM (#2332083)
Just as with all other Negro League players, we should evaluate him on the basis of what he did, not what he "might have done" if he had played in the majors.

Agreed. And it's worth noting that MLEs are an attempt to characterize what Clarkson actually did in a different (MLB) context. They are not a what-if but a restatement of actual performance in terms that we understand as normal.

He's got him playing in the MLs at age 19 and I just don't buy that.

I translated the seasons, but I don't advocate their usage in examining Howard's case. See a couple posts down from that translation where I present MLB documentation about why I think that no one should use the early years. They are there for context, not as an argument for inclusion in his MLB record.

meanwhile...

Brent, thanks, that's helpful. I'll recheck my initial figuring on this and get back to you. If there's something potentially stupid out there that I could've done (like mix up EQA and runs), then it's likely I did it. If so, the eggs are on my face....
   93. DL from MN Posted: April 11, 2007 at 02:10 PM (#2332118)
> in Milwaukee in 1950-51, Clarkson "became the fans' favorite player

Paging Harvey...
   94. TomH Posted: April 11, 2007 at 03:40 PM (#2332210)
Thanks, Gary, for the anecdotes, and for all who have cranked out MLEs.

I didn't mean to come off as critical; merely inquisitive. And I shouldn't have stated "unearthed this year", as it has been longer than that, but the general point remains, as does my wariness. Okay, 2-time Negro League All-Star is something, but is it much? Which years (NgLg quality varied a lot from 1940 to 1948)? Is 2 times an endorsement, compared to other NgLgers, or not?
   95. KJOK Posted: April 11, 2007 at 04:26 PM (#2332250)
Furthermore, the study that KJOK was citing appears to imply even lower translation factors: about 0.82 for batting average and about 0.7 for isolated power.


If I cited such as study, I didn't mean to!

I'm more confident with the Japanese League translation than with the AAA and below ones, but what I've based my AAA MLE's on in the past is the Japanese factor being .92 (perhaps higher now), McNeil's "Baseball's Other Stars calculations" (adjusting for age and PT, which McNeil didn't do), and Davenport using .86. Upon reflection, the .88 may be too high, and perhaps Davenport's .86 is correct, which would put JPL right in the middle between AAA and MLB.
   96. DL from MN Posted: April 11, 2007 at 05:18 PM (#2332313)
He was an all-star in 1940 at age 22 and 1949 at age 31. There's 3 years in the military and 4 seasons of Mexican play in between. He was an all-star 2 of his 5 Negro League seasons and the selections were almost 10 years apart. That and the Mexican MLEs are a pretty strong indicator he was all-star caliber in between. His contemporary Artie Wilson was a perennial selection - 4 times. Artie's still around if someone in the Portland area wants to contact him about the integration era stars.
   97. Al Peterson Posted: April 11, 2007 at 07:39 PM (#2332467)
Still looking for others insight about the 402 Win Share count:

Career totals

Clarkson (SS/3B) 8803 PA with 126 OPS+ yields 402 WS

Thru 2006

Alex Rodriguez (SS/3B) 7774 PA with 145 OPS+ yields 343 WS

So for the next 1030 PA, or about 1.5 years, ARod needs 60 Win Shares to catch Bus Clarkson. Make that a 40 and 20 Win Share breakdown, with that 40 being better than any single year Alex has had.

To me this is a lot to swallow...Bus Clarkson is Arod plus one and a half more years of peak performance.
   98. Chris Cobb Posted: April 11, 2007 at 08:18 PM (#2332547)
Not saying that Clarkson's win shares are accurate, but this comparison to ARod is not valid for two reasons. First, his batting win share totals are depressed by the DH. Sans DH, he would have maybe 17 more win shares than he does already. Second, when using win shares, you need to compare by games, not PA, because win shares are a per-game opportunity. Players gain more batting win shares/PA in low offense eras than in high-offense ones, and ARod has starred in a very high offense era.
   99. Chris Cobb Posted: April 11, 2007 at 08:23 PM (#2332555)
Since Clarkson's MLEs construct him as having 4.1 PA/g for all but his last two seasons, the MLEs project him at appx. 2150 games, which is about 400 games more than ARod had prior to the 2007 season. So he will need 2.5 seasons of full time play to come up to Clarkson in career length.
   100. Al Peterson Posted: April 11, 2007 at 08:42 PM (#2332574)
OK, some of that makes sense Chris. We'll see if I can figure how to use all the new Clarkson material for the ballot this year.
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