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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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   101. Sean Gilman Posted: April 11, 2007 at 09:09 PM (#2332617)
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.

So you're saying that if Alex Rodriguez has about two more 20 win share seasons, then he'll be a match for Bus Clarkson?
   102. DL from MN Posted: April 11, 2007 at 09:54 PM (#2332679)
I understand the hesitation in accepting the numbers but even the head-to-head comparisons in the same leagues show a bat darn near as good as Willard Brown and a glove good enough to split time between SS and 3B. If Willard Brown is in the HoM I'm not sure how you can keep Clarkson out. I have Brown just out of my pHoM even with a better bat credited than Clarkson. Has Willard Brown been re-run with these MLEs? Can you give a head-to-head in batting win-shares between these two?
   103. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 11, 2007 at 10:09 PM (#2332704)
OK, so given the tilt of the discussion and some of the points that have been made, here's what I've done.

1) Where previously I'd projected Clarkson at 4.1 PA/G based on NL leaguewide norms, over his career, I re-estimated his PA/game at 3.98. This is based on his actual PA/G. I don't know that this is a good idea or not due to variances in run scoring and stuff like that. Maybe an average between them would be better. It has the effect of reducing his PAs by a little more than 3% across the board, or from 8803 to 8478.

2) I used a slightly different discount rate:
NgL (pre-1947) and Open: .90
AAA and Ngl (1947-1948): .86
AA, MxL and NgL (1949-onward): .80

All others remaining the same as prior MLE round.

3) Also, I corrected the age discrepancy.

4) I also corrected a glitch in my CS routine. Should be running at .70 now.

No other changes.

I'm going to run the career lines and seasonal OPS+ and WS lines. It's a pain to format stuff for the pre tags, and relative to one another, the seasons are similar.

pa   ab    h   tb   bb sh hpb     sb cs   rc  avg  obp  slg
-----------------------------------------------------------
8478 7356 2031 3346 1064 32  26 149 64 1347 .276 .366 .455


year AGE  pa ops
+   ws
-----------------------
1939  24 161 127   8.0
1940  25 481 135  24.4
1941  26 482 125  21.9
1942  27 482 138  23.9
1943  28 515 125  24.1
1944  29 526 128  24.3
1945  30 532 130  24.4
1946  31 495 118  20.7
1947  32 578 114  24.0
1948  33 536 134  25.5
1949  34 511 114  19.8
1950  35 462 106  17.3
1951  36 384 116  15.4
1952  37 373 121  15.5
1953  38 553 138  27.6
1954  39 596 135  29.2
1955  40 356 115  14.9
1956  41 455  90  13.7
=======================
        
8478 123 374.6 


So the TxL years still stand out. And his WS go down about 8% or so. OPS is down about 3 points or 2%. Total increase over the old MLEs: 19%.

If this is more like what everyone's thinking, I'll return to the other MLEs I've recently posted to make the same changes to the PT routine and the discount structure and, of course, incorporate those changes into the next few guys who come along (Dandridge and Estalella are currently the hot tickets in my queue.) Let me know what you all think.
   104. Gary A Posted: April 12, 2007 at 12:07 AM (#2332886)
I understand the hesitation in accepting the numbers but even the head-to-head comparisons in the same leagues show a bat darn near as good as Willard Brown and a glove good enough to split time between SS and 3B. If Willard Brown is in the HoM I'm not sure how you can keep Clarkson out. I have Brown just out of my pHoM even with a better bat credited than Clarkson. Has Willard Brown been re-run with these MLEs? Can you give a head-to-head in batting win-shares between these two?

Actually, Clarkson was a much *better* hitter than Brown when they played side by side in the Texas League. They were almost the same age (Clarkson born on March 13, 1915; Brown on June 26, 1915). They also spent most of 1953 & 54 for the same club, the Dallas Eagles, so park effects aren't really an issue.

In 1953, both were 38 years old and both spent the whole season with the league champion Dallas Eagles:
Bus Clarkson, 3b, 137 games, .330/.453/.528/.981, 100 walks
Willard Brown, of, 138 games, .310/.354/.519/.873, 35 walks

That's an advantage of 99 points in OBP for Clarkson.

1954, Clarkson played 79 games with Beaumont, 78 with Dallas, while Brown played 108 games with Dallas, 36 with Houston:
Bus Clarkson, ss/3b, 157 games, .324/.433/.602/1.035, 104 walks
Willard Brown, of, 144 games, .314/.353/.573/.926, 35 walks

Another gap of 80 points in OBP.

I first noticed Clarkson, in fact, while looking for Brown's Texas League stats--and stumbled on this guy, whom I'd barely heard of, outshining Brown on offense *and* playing third base and shortstop.

That said, the offensive gap between the two would probably not have been quite this wide throughout their careers, as much of it comes from walks, and Clarkson's walk rate was not always *this* high (though it was always higher than Brown's).
   105. TomH Posted: April 12, 2007 at 11:51 AM (#2333204)
I'm waiting for someone to begin the 'impeach Willard Brown' campaign....
   106. sunnyday2 Posted: April 12, 2007 at 12:10 PM (#2333206)
As a power hitting IF how would he compare with John Beckwith or Jud Wilson?
   107. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 12, 2007 at 01:02 PM (#2333224)
I'm waiting for someone to begin the 'impeach Willard Brown' campaign....

I haven't run Brown yet, but I think that would be premature. My new MLE process more fairly evaluates SLG than my previous one (and to a lesser extent AVG). Brown's calling cards are SLG and AVG. I think when I do get around to him, he'll be fine because of his AVG and SLG. Overall, most players are coming out 10-20% ahead of their previous MLE, and I think Brown is likely to do the same.
   108. Al Peterson Posted: April 12, 2007 at 02:06 PM (#2333261)
Thanks Eric for going over your calculations. It helps to see the methodology and make sure questions are addressed, even if they are simplistic in my case.

So who is Clarkson now looking like? My thought is George Davis - both good hitters, played 3B and SS. Though wasn't Davis thought to be a pretty good fielder? So that might be optimistic. Others said Barry Larkin but that appears to be a high end projection. Maybe he's his own stratum...
   109. sunnyday2 Posted: April 12, 2007 at 02:18 PM (#2333267)
Beckwith?
   110. DL from MN Posted: April 12, 2007 at 02:25 PM (#2333275)
There may be a "protection" factor in those Texas League walks that would have disappeared in the majors. I'd suggest removing the intentional passes if possible. Can't deny the AVG and SLG though. He was in the same lineup as Willard Brown and getting on base a lot more often. Who batted 3rd and 4th?
   111. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 12, 2007 at 02:34 PM (#2333282)
DL,

I don't have any IBB data for Clarkson that I'm aware of. If anyone does, however, I'd be happy to pull it out.
   112. Mark Donelson Posted: April 12, 2007 at 03:49 PM (#2333337)
Eric--

Can you remind me--are your MLEs for 154-game seasons or 162-game seasons?
   113. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 12, 2007 at 04:37 PM (#2333372)
154
   114. Gary A Posted: April 12, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2333395)
Though wasn't Davis thought to be a pretty good fielder? So that might be optimistic.
Just wanted to point that I don't think anybody's said Clarkson was supposed to be a *bad* fielder (see dizzypaco's comment above, also Riley)--plus they were using him at shortstop as late as age 39. Doesn't mean he was Ozzie Smith or anything. No idea if he was as good as Davis at shortstop--my impulse would be to say not quite.

My impression is that both Jud Wilson and John Beckwith were better hitters than Clarkson, while Clarkson was the superior fielder.
   115. Daryn Posted: April 12, 2007 at 05:34 PM (#2333432)
Clarkson was the 7th oldest player in the Major Leagues in 1952. Even if you grant he would have earned 17, 15 and 15 WS in the 1950-1952 seasons, I find it hard to accept he would have earned anywhere close to 85 WS in his age 38-41 seasons.

If you ran a study of players who earned between 40 and 50 WS in their age 35 to 37 seasons and between 10 and 20 WS in their age 37 season, wouldn't it show an average earnings of 30 or so WS for the rest of their careers? Can anyone do that?
   116. sunnyday2 Posted: April 12, 2007 at 05:40 PM (#2333438)
Latest iterations that I could find. Granted Beckwith and Wilson are early iterations of the method.

Beckwith 263 batting WS + 52 fielding WS = 315

Wilson 320 + 58 = 378

Clarkson 330 + 73 + 402 (rounding error)

or 307 + 68 = 375 (have not seen actual breakout of offense and defense at 375 but this is the same % as at 402)

Comps?

Wagner 655
Yount 423
Ripken 419
Monte Ward 409
(at 402 Clarkson is the #4 SS of all time, not counting Monte Ward and not counting NeL MLEs)
Davis 398
Dahlen 393
Appling 378
(at 375 he is #7, though I'm guessing there are another couple NeLers who would score higher)
Vaughan 356
Wallace 345

Schmidt 468
Mathews 447
Brett 432
Molitor 412
(at 402 Clarkson is #5 all time)
Boggs 394
Jud Wilson 378
(at 375 he is #7 among those for whom we have WS or MLEs, in this case I think I've accounted for all NeL MLEs)
Da. Evans 364
Brooksie 355
Leach 329
   117. Daryn Posted: April 12, 2007 at 05:42 PM (#2333441)
Recent comps that fall within the general parameters I have set out above are Steve Garvey, Bernie Williams, Al Oliver and Bill Buckner. None of them aged well, and/but (depending on how you look at it) none of them played a challenging defensive position (except, I guess, Williams). They also all had better age 20 to 37 offensive careers than Clarkson's MLEs.
   118. karlmagnus Posted: April 12, 2007 at 06:00 PM (#2333460)
I think the problem is a miscalculation of park effect. Texas League in the 50s rang a faint bell, so I looked in my BJHBA (1985 ed) page 200 and found a piece on the late 40s early 50s Texas leagues, all of which were hitters' leagues and in one of which a completely unknown player called Bob Crues had 254RBI in 1948. I think in the enthusiasm to elect yet another NgL player the major league equivalent calculations have gone seriously awry. Voters should be aware: 400 or even 371 WS appears to be a hugely inflated figure.
   119. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 12, 2007 at 06:29 PM (#2333493)
In 1948 the TxL was led in RBI by Johnny Lane, a second baseman. He had 115. Bob Crues' name does not appear in the index to Marshall Wright's TxL book, so I'm assuming that you are referring another league with a similar name. If I had to guess, probably the AzTx league which Marv Williams played in 1952---7.08 R/G. Nice. Or maybe the Bighorn or something like that. Don't know except that it's not the TxL.

Just for posteriors' sake: in 1953, 1954, 1956, here's what the TxL's R/G were

4.42
4.66
4.83

The big leagues?

4.75
4.56
4.25

It is indeed a higher offensive league. 4.64 vs 4.52, about 3% higher.

I've got rough estimates for pfs that I use, here's what they are for Clarkson:

0.97
1.00 (split season, averages to about 1.00)
1.00

So while true that it was a hitter's league by comparison to MLB, nothing like 254 RBI was happening in those years (league leaders were a normal 124 y 146). Anyway, I make an account for the league's R/G, so I don't believe run environment is the culprit (see post 58 for complete information).

After that, what can I say? I'm using the routine and getting a result in 1953-1954 that's unusual and that I don't really have a strong sense about, except that possibly the TxL was weak for a AA league. That's possible, but I won't know more until I get to Bob Boyd or do some other guys. In the meantime, I think I would recommend that everyone:
a) decide how comfortable they are with the new MLE system. If not stick with the old ones. I don't think they're as likely to be reliable as the new ones, but that's just me, and I'm biased. If OK with them, then proceed to step b.
b) decide whether you think the TxL years need further discount and apply it appropriately.

Then at that point, you'll have a sense of where you think the answer lies for Clarkson and you can re-evaluate him. I concur with Diz that everyone should take them as a guide, as information not as Biblical.
   120. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 12, 2007 at 06:36 PM (#2333500)
Voters should be aware: 400 or even 371 WS appears to be a hugely inflated figure.


You can shave off 100 WS and he's still a HoMer, IMO.
   121. TomH Posted: April 12, 2007 at 08:18 PM (#2333571)
do we have any info from the recent (forgot the official name) special committee to elect negro league players; whether or not they came close to honoring Clarkson, considered him or not, etc.?
   122. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 12, 2007 at 08:54 PM (#2333592)
do we have any info from the recent (forgot the official name) special committee to elect negro league players; whether or not they came close to honoring Clarkson, considered him or not, etc.?

He was not among the 30something players whose NgL numbers were collected in the .pdf document of stats the Hall put on its website based on the study. It should be remembered that Minnie Minoso's place among the special committee's final candidates was controversial in that Minoso's career clearly fell mostly outside the NgLs, and that its mission was more specifically aimed at identifying players in the leagues themselves. Like Trouppe or Wilson, Clarkson's career falls mostly outside the NgLs, and so it's difficult to say whether he was a serious candidate per that mission.
   123. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 12, 2007 at 10:39 PM (#2333657)
It should be remembered that Minnie Minoso's place among the special committee's final candidates was controversial in that Minoso's career clearly fell mostly outside the NgLs, and that its mission was more specifically aimed at identifying players in the leagues themselves. Like Trouppe or Wilson, Clarkson's career falls mostly outside the NgLs, and so it's difficult to say whether he was a serious candidate per that mission.


Except (and I think you would agree, Eric) Clarkson is the type of guy the committee should have been looking at, not Minoso (who spent the vast majority of his career in the majors).
   124. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 12, 2007 at 10:48 PM (#2333664)
Agreed, John, but I'm only suggesting that major portions of his career may not have been within the scope of their deliberations. I don't really remember for sure that that's the case, but if the committee was charged with looking only at the NgLs, he'd be chaff. This is the same reason why Holway said Clarkson was a minor figure.
   125. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 12, 2007 at 11:03 PM (#2333674)
Agreed, John, but I'm only suggesting that major portions of his career may not have been within the scope of their deliberations. I don't really remember for sure that that's the case, but if the committee was charged with looking only at the NgLs, he'd be chaff. This is the same reason why Holway said Clarkson was a minor figure.


I agree, Eric. My only point was that any player denied the right to have played major league ball should have been in their scope in the first place.
   126. sunnyday2 Posted: April 13, 2007 at 01:07 AM (#2333761)
My understanding was that the recent HoF committee was looking at Negro LEAGUE players, not negroes, so Clarkson would be a guy they would not even have thought of, just as Mr. Holway considers him to be a person of no interest, probably for the same reason.
   127. Howie Menckel Posted: April 13, 2007 at 12:46 PM (#2333925)
Incredibly, Clarkson was once traded for Ben Taylor and Knoblauch!

Well, it would be incredible if it was the Hall of Fame Ben Taylor and the right Knoblauch, anyway.
:)

bb-ref

June 24, 1954: Traded by the Chicago Cubs with Les Fleming to the Dallas (Texas) for Ben Taylor, Ed Knoblauch (minors), Howard Anderson (minors), and $20,000. (Date given is approximate. Exact date is uncertain.)
   128. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2007 at 02:31 PM (#2333977)
My understanding was that the recent HoF committee was looking at Negro LEAGUE players, not negroes, so Clarkson would be a guy they would not even have thought of, just as Mr. Holway considers him to be a person of no interest, probably for the same reason.


But again, that position is just silly on their part.
   129. DL from MN Posted: April 13, 2007 at 03:06 PM (#2334007)
Crossposting from Dandridge thread:

I refigured Clarkson this way (with a couple of other small modifications as well that were made along the way since the last draft, and I get this:


ops+ bws fws ws
--------------------------
1939 127 6.0 1.5 7.5
1940 135 18.1 4.5 22.5
1941 125 16.0 4.5 20.4
1942 138 17.5 4.5 22.0
1943 127 17.8 4.8 22.7
1944 128 17.7 4.9 22.6
1945 130 17.7 4.9 22.7
1946 120 15.0 3.0 18.1
1947 114 17.1 3.5 20.7
1948 136 19.0 3.3 22.2
1949 114 15.4 3.1 18.5
1950 106 13.4 2.8 16.3
1951 116 12.0 2.4 14.4
1952 121 12.1 2.3 14.4
1953 138 21.9 3.4 25.3
1954 135 23.1 3.6 26.7
1955 115 11.8 2.2 14.0
1956 90 10.2 2.8 13.0
==========================
123 281.9 62.0 343.9


Wow, that's a big difference! If you choose to further discount his TxL seasons, you'd probably be down close to the area of 330 WS, which is just 15 more than the original MLE projection.

----

I still think that's enough to get to the top of my ballot. I think we run the comp list based on this MLE.
   130. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 13, 2007 at 03:14 PM (#2334016)
Thanks, DL,

What's not said there is that the WS are the only thing that changed. I re-ran the WS with a little different routine which boils down to this: the player is placed onto a team where each lineup slot is filled with an average player (and one slot with a pitcher), and the player occupies the other slot (as needed in combination with an average player for partial years). Then I do the WS calculation. Previously I had simply calculated based on the total WS an average offensive team would create, but this forced the other players to be less than average and increased the value of the player in question (assuming he was over average).

If that's not clear, let me know and I'll explain it in greater detail.

Also I did a little different thing on defense, dividing the player's PAs by the period's average PA/G to figure FWS instead of by the player's own PA/G.
   131. DL from MN Posted: April 13, 2007 at 03:49 PM (#2334050)
For Clarkson do you break down fielding WS by position? I'd think he'd have to rate as a below average SS and an above average 3B, at least until his aging caught up to him at 3B.
   132. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 13, 2007 at 04:13 PM (#2334065)
I just made him average at SS and 3B each. I put him at SS through age 30 (1945), then 3B thereafter.
   133. Gary A Posted: April 13, 2007 at 07:27 PM (#2334234)
I think the problem is a miscalculation of park effect. Texas League in the 50s rang a faint bell, so I looked in my BJHBA (1985 ed) page 200 and found a piece on the late 40s early 50s Texas leagues, all of which were hitters' leagues and in one of which a completely unknown player called Bob Crues had 254RBI in 1948. I think in the enthusiasm to elect yet another NgL player the major league equivalent calculations have gone seriously awry. Voters should be aware: 400 or even 371 WS appears to be a hugely inflated figure.

Just to expand on Eric's reply above--the league James was talking about was the West Texas-New Mexico League, which was a Class C league, or the fifth rung down of the minors then. Bob Crues did indeed drive in 254 runs, and somebody else named Herschel Martin hit .425. James also mentions four other low-level leagues operating in the Southwest with very high offensive environments around this time.

Clarkson, however, played in the AA Texas League (second rung of the minors). Batting and pitching stats, including league totals, were published by Marshall Wright in his book on the league, so we know exactly what the offensive environment was. It wasn't anywhere near the hitters' league those other leagues were.
   134. KJOK Posted: April 14, 2007 at 01:46 AM (#2334514)
OK, offered as some proof that I didn't go off the deep end (and lead Eric there too), in Baseball Prospectus' unfiltered blog:

Nerdfight: League Quality Adjustments

Silver references the same Davenport article that Brent does, and specificall says of it

"A 10% difference in league quality is less than the difference between the major leagues in Triple-A, which generally works out to about 15%."

So, 15% would be a .85 discount factor, just slightly below the .88 factor that Eric was originally using for AAA (and I believe per the above he's now using .85).
   135. Brent Posted: April 14, 2007 at 02:28 AM (#2334554)
KJOK,

15% is (approximately) the discount that Davenport applies to Class AAA EQA, not the discount that he applies to runs. Eric is applying his discount to runs.

If you choose to further discount his TxL seasons, you'd probably be down close to the area of 330 WS

Eric,

If you used a .70 discount (for runs) for Class AA I think you'd be in the reasonable range.
   136. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 14, 2007 at 02:37 AM (#2334560)
Brent,

If .70 for AA, how do you think the lower level leagues play out?
   137. KJOK Posted: April 14, 2007 at 03:11 AM (#2334584)
Brent:

But difference in QUALITY would not be 'difference in EQA', correct? Because EQA would not be calibrated in 'quality'. It would have to be runs/wins? If it is EQA, then Silver must be confused?
   138. Brent Posted: April 14, 2007 at 04:11 AM (#2334607)
Eric,

I haven't worked much with data below Class AA, so I honestly don't know. To some extent, translations start breaking down at the extremes. For example, in the Florida International League (Class B I think), Connie Marrero looked like a power pitcher, with 6 to 8 strikeouts per inning, but in the majors his strikeout rates were 3 to 4 per inning. Taking a guess, I might take each level as .85 times the next higher level.

KJOK,

I'm pretty sure they're talking about EQA, because Silver's statement about 15% is linked to Davenport's Japanese baseball article, which clearly states that his factor for Class AAA EQA is .860.
   139. KJOK Posted: April 14, 2007 at 04:17 AM (#2334611)
Brent:

The article Silver is responding to is David Gassko's on Hardball Times. Gassko is using wOBA as his basis, which I THINK is in the same scale as runs? It would certainly be a weird coincidence if it were in the same scale as EQA?

So, Silver is saying (paraphrasing) "Gassko's 5% quality difference (based on wOBA) is wrong, the quality difference should be 15% (citing Davenport). Now, if he's talking EQA, wouldn't he:

A. Be 'mixing apples and oranges?'

B. Be totally off base, because he's really arguing not 5% vs. 15% but more like 5% vs. 30%?

Or maybe I'm just all mixed up?
   140. Brent Posted: April 14, 2007 at 04:48 AM (#2334627)
Going back to look at Tango's article on wOBA, it seems to be measured in units of runs * 1.15. I believe Silver's mixing apples and oranges.
   141. Brent Posted: April 14, 2007 at 05:01 AM (#2334633)
I should add that he may just be mixing apples and oranges in his reference to AAA and not necessarily in the rest of his article.
   142. Paul Wendt Posted: April 14, 2007 at 02:41 PM (#2334781)
126. sunnyday2 Posted: April 12, 2007 at 09:07 PM (#2333761)
My understanding was that the recent HoF committee was looking at Negro LEAGUE players, not negroes, so Clarkson would be a guy they would not even have thought of, just as Mr. Holway considers him to be a person of no interest, probably for the same reason.


They finally nominated 10 pre-Negro Leagues and 29 Negro Leagues people (9 and 30 in the original press release, John Donaldson reclassified before the Jan/Feb 2006 HOF website series of "biographies", which he led off). I doubt the scope for 1920s-40s players was explicitly limited to the major Leagues.

The list of 94(?) semifinalists was announced probably in 2005. IIRC someone, Ted Knorr or KJ?, wrote about it here and rated Quincy Trouppe the best or most deserving unlisted player. Previously the elite committee called for nominees from the public.
   143. sunnyday2 Posted: April 14, 2007 at 03:14 PM (#2334793)
Yes, Negro League and pre-NeL players, but NOT post-NeL/pre-full integration players. That is how it turned out, anyway.
   144. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 14, 2007 at 04:55 PM (#2334837)
I've spent this morning looking into Bob Boyd a bit. Sunnyday asked me if I would work him in the interest of seeing how his seasons in Texas compared to Clarkson's. So I did a full MLE for him (with what I think are appropriate guesstimations for three pieces of info I don't have) and I'll share it below. For now let's focus on the Texas League.

Bob Boyd played two seasons in Texas, 1954 and 1955 when he was age 34 and 35. Though I think he shaved some years off at the time. He played both years for the Buffalos of Houston. Houston's ballpark seems to be slightly offense-suppressive, and his pfs for the two years were .98 and .97 respectively. In 1954 he actually played a portion of the year for the White Sox seeing 60 odd PAs. He was purchased by STL in May, and they farmed him; in fact, he was teammates with HOMer Ken Boyer in 1954. Here's his lines for both years:

YEAR   G  AB  R   H RBI 2B 3B HR BB  K SB  AVG  OBP  SLG lgOBP lgSLG estOPSestRC estRC/g
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1954  88 358 59 115  63 22  2  7 28 22  3 .321 .370 .453 .341  .388   127     60    6.38
1955 163 635 96 197  94 39  6 15 81 28 13 .310 .388 .461 .336  .378   139    116    6.79 


[I estimated the OPS+ by figuring the square root of the park factor and applying it to the OBP and SLG of the league before I divided Boyd into the league. Not sure if that's right. If I just do it without the pf, then it's 126 and 137, so it seems like the right ballpark to me.]

Boyd's 1954 season was too short to get him on the rate stat leader boards, but his AVG was fifth among regular players, trailing Les Fleming (.358), Ed Mickelson (.335), Erv Joyner (.328), and Bus Clarkson (.324).

In 1955 he had an excellent full season, leading the league in games played, at bats, and hits. He was fourth in runs scored, third in doubles, fourth in RBI, 12th in walks, and fifth in steals. I don't have slugging figured for all players in the league or I'd report on it.

[Note: I'm figuring these leaders by hand, paging through, so it's possible I missed someone.]

So what do these years look like in translation? If I translate them into a neutral 4.5 run context, with Brent's suggest .70 multiplier, here's what we get:

YEAR  AB   H  TB BB  AVG  OBP  SLG RC
--------------------------------------
1954 343  92 130 22 .268 .313 .378 41
1955 619 166 247 68 .268 .341 .399 87 


Both seasons are pretty similar in their native context and their translated context. In both seasons, he would very likely be a below average player, average at best. Indeed when I run the full MLE, adjusting for playing time, filling in as needed, combining partial seasons, and projecting into the AL for 1954 and 1955, his OPS+s end up at 77 and 97.

This is a good juncture to ask Was Bob Boyd a good hitter Major League hitter? Then answer is that he was a little above average. His career begins with a cuppajoe in 1951 (21 PA), he gets 182 PAs in 1953, then 61 in 1954. His OPS+s are 54, 103, 27. Beginning in 1956, however, he joins the Orioles to stay, spending five years there, ages 36-40. In those years his OPS+s are 118, 124, 121, 82, 115 in PAs of 262, 552, 432, 461, 88. His last year is split between the AL and NL with 93 lousy PAs (37 OPS+) before he drifts back into the minors. His complete MLB line is

293/349/388 in 2152 PA with a 104 OPS+.

Stringing together his MLE OPS+ for the Texas years (which includes a smidge of MLB play, remember) and his post-Texas MLB lines:

77
97
118
124
121
82
115
37

Before I ask whether this seems reasonable, let's ask what he did in the years before this that he was also bouncing in and out of MLB (ages 31-33). Boyd spent 1951 in The PCL and the AL. I haven't figured the pf for Sacramento, but in previous work, I've found it's pretty similar to Houston's, maybe closer to average. Since I haven't worked it up yet, I figured I'd just go with 1.00. Boyd hit .342/.467 with 43 walks in about 600 PA. And as mentioned he had a few PAs in Chicago. In 1952 he moved over to Seattle in the PCL, hitting .320/435 in almost 675 PA, but with just 29 walks. Seattle played about the same as Houston .98 by my rough figuring. In 1953 he played for three clubs in three leagues. In the AA in Charlotte he hit .323/.455 (anyone else see a pattern!) in 216 PA with 17 walks. I don't have information about Charlotte that year, so I'm using a 1.00 pf. He also played for Toronto in the IL, hitting .308/.483 in 128 PA with 7 walks; Toronto was a neutral park. Finally the 120 productive PA in Chicago. As I have been, I converted the Open-classified PCL at .90, and I knocked another point off of my AAA conversion, taking it down to .85.

When you combine the playing time and all that jazz, here's how those three years MLE:

YEAR AGE   PA  AB   H  TB BB RC  AVG  OBP  SLG OPS+
---------------------------------------------------
1951  31  581 539 172 235 40 86 .319 .366 .436 116
1952  32  537 517 164 222 18 74 .317 .340 .429 113
1953  33  537 496 143 206 35 68 .288 .333 .414 101 


So now let's add these to our list:

116
113
101
77
97
118
124
121
82
115
37

The 77 really sticks out. On the other hand, the 97 is not unbelievable, particuarly for a batting-average-dependent hitter whose fortunes can swing a bit with balls in play.

In terms of Win Shars, here's how this whole period shakes out (this is with the new, less puffy method):
YEAR  BWS FWS  WS
------------------
1951 15.6 2.2 17.8
1952 14.8 2.0 16.8
1953 11.5 2.0 13.5
1954  6.4 1.8  8.1
1955 12.7 2.3 15.0
1956  6.9 0.7  7.6
1957 17.3 1.8 19.1
1958 13.0 2.1 15.1
1959  5.2 1.0  6.2
1960  2.4 0.1  2.5
1961  0.0 0.1  0.1 


They are the actual WS for 1956-1961.

So this is not the loaded gun for the quality of play in the mid-fifties txl. But it's a piece of evidence. What we've got is
a) He was clearly an All-Star in the TxL, and though he probably wasn't its best player, he ranked in its elite.
b) He had very good to excellent seasons (especially for a player of his type) in his two years there.
c) His subsequent MLB seasons show much better than his TxL MLE years do and a little better than his prior MLE years do.
d) His previous MLE-MLB hybrid years show better too.
e) But there is a pronounced downward trend to the MLEs in 1951-1953.

It would be simple for me to just say that we're lowballing the TxL, but I don't think a single example is determinent. That said, just for devil's advocacy, I restored the .80 AA multiplier I've most recently used for AA level teams to see if it would produce results that appear too high:

1951 116
1952 113
1953 102
1954 84
1955 111
1956 118
1957 124
1958 121
1959 82
1960 115
1961 37

It's smoother and fits the context quite well. Though that clearly doesn't mean it's right.
   145. Chris Cobb Posted: April 14, 2007 at 05:12 PM (#2334854)
Here is a study for Bus Clarkson similar to the one I did for Ray Dandridge, comparing his projected batting win shares in his MLEs to the batting win shares of players within 500 PA and 10 points of OPS+. There are a lot of players in this group, so I dropped a couple of players from the lower end. For the closest set of players in PA, who all happened to be within 6 points of OPS+ also, I did a further breakout of obp+ and slg+.
Here’s the list: commentary follows.

Player – PA – OPS+ (bws/fws/cws) [obp+, slg+]
George Sisler – 9013 – 124 (260.2/24.6/8.3/292)
George Van Haltren – 8979 – 121 (256.4/47.8/40.5/344)
Jose Cruz – 8931 – 120 (261.7/48.8/313)
Andres Galarraga – 89116 – 118 (209.8/25.7/237)
Joe Cronin – 8838 – 119 (235.3/97.8/333)
Joe Torre – 8801 – 129 (258.3/55.1/315)
Toby Harrah – 8766 – 114 (226.5/58.2/287)
Jake Daubert – 8742 – 117 (228.4/34.0/263)
Orlando Cepeda – 8695 – 133 (283.2/27.2/310)
Johnny Bench – 8669 – 126 (255.3/99.6/356) [103, 123]
Ed Konetchy – 8664 – 122 (247.1/39.1/287) [106, 116]
Keith Hernandez – 8553 – 129 (277.3/35.0/311) [117, 113]
Jeff Kent – 8537 – 126 *active after 2001
Stan Hack – 8506 – 119 (250.5/65.7/316) [117, 103]
Bus Clarkson – 8478 – 123 (281.9/62.0/344) [106, 117 appx.]
Ron Fairly – 8437 – 117 (232.7/36.4/269) [111, 106]
Heinie Manush – 8416 – 121 (245.0/38.9/285) [105, 116]
Yogi Berra – 8364 – 125 (267.5/104.7/375) [102, 123]
Jim Bottomley – 8355 – 125 (232.7/26.1/258) [105, 120]
Ron Cey – 8344 – 121 (220.3/60.2/280) [107, 114]
Paul O’Neill – 8329 – 120 (213.7/41.6/259)
Sal Bando – 8288 – 119 (230.1/52.4/283)
Bobby Bonilla – 8255 – 124 (228.7/37.1/267)
Bobby Grich – 8220 – 125 (236.4/94.1/329)
Bob Elliott – 8190 – 124 (237.5/51.4/287)
Ellis Burks – 8176 – 126 *active after 2001
Edd Roush – 8156 – 126 (255.7/58.3/314)
Cesar Cedeno – 8133 – 123 (242.9/52.2/296)
Gil Hodges – 8104 – 120
Kiki Cuyler – 8098 – 125

As you can see, although the batting win shares estimate for Clarkson is more reasonable than the one produced by the unrevised method, it still appears to be about 10% too high. It’s obviously an outlier in that it is the second highest total overall, even though in terms of PA and OPS+, Clarkson is near the middle of the group. I don’t have exact obp+ and slg+ numbers for Clarkson, because Eric doesn’t provide the league averages, but I’m sure I’ve got them within 1 or 2 percentage points. These numbers suggest that Clarkson’s closest batting matches in terms of both playing time and production are Ed Konetchy and Heinie Manush, who earned 247.1 and 245.0 bws respectively. Clarkson was a little bit better than both, and he was probably a better baserunner than Konetchy, so it looks to me like 250-252 bws would be a more likely estimate for Clarkson. This would bring his career totals overall very closely in line with Stan Hack, who was a different kind of hitter, but similarly productive to Konetchy and Manush, and whose defensive value was probably similar to Clarkson’s.

Being most comparable to Stan Hack in career value among all major-league position players would still not leave Clarkson with a bad HoM case by any means, since Hack is a HoMer, and other players with high defensive value in this group have been easily elected, e.g. Cronin, Grich, Hernandez, and the catchers.

Clarkson is not much above a couple of players who have not garnered much support: Ron Cey, Sal Bando, and Bob Elliott. Looking at this list, I wonder why win shares is so sour on Cey: he is a near match for Manush and Konetchy also, but he trails them by 25 win shares! His baserunning record looks poor, but was it 8 wins poorer? Bando is weaker defensively, but not much weaker. Elliott loses a little ground on defense also, and on playing time.

Overall, it looks to me like the MLEs we now have for Clarkson, if the win shares are adjusted to correspond more closely to those earned by major-leaguers with the most similar offensive statistics, Clarkson merits a place in the high backlog, but he is not obviously the most worthy candidate available this year.
   146. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 14, 2007 at 05:30 PM (#2334874)
Chris,

108 and 115 on the latest round for obp+ and slg+ respectivley.
   147. Paul Wendt Posted: April 14, 2007 at 05:46 PM (#2334886)
quoting myself:
They finally nominated 10 pre-Negro Leagues and 29 Negro Leagues people (9 and 30 in the original press release, John Donaldson reclassified before the Jan/Feb 2006 HOF website series of "biographies", which he led off). I doubt the scope for 1920s-40s players was explicitly limited to the major Leagues.

The list of 94(?) semifinalists was announced probably in 2005. IIRC someone, Ted Knorr or KJ?, wrote about it here and rated Quincy Trouppe the best or most deserving unlisted player. Previously the elite committee called for nominees from the public.

143. sunnyday2 Posted: April 14, 2007 at 11:14 AM (#2334793)
Yes, Negro League and pre-NeL players, but NOT post-NeL/pre-full integration players. That is how it turned out, anyway.


Maybe. I meant to suggest that this should be judged by reference to the list of 94, not the list of 39. Or ask one of the gang of five both-stage committee members.
   148. DL from MN Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:15 PM (#2336001)
Konetchy is 78th in the spreadsheet. He looks better than Ron Cey and Bob Elliott due to the defensive value. I'm still keeping him near the top but the improved batting comparisions move him down below Tiant (should have voted #3 rather than #1). I have him at 570 BRAR and 295 BRAA now.
   149. rawagman Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:33 PM (#2336013)
DL- you can still resubmit an adjusted ballot, if you want.
   150. DL from MN Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:49 PM (#2336027)
I don't think it will impact anything in the long run, so I'll keep it. I gave "elect" bonuses to the right 3 players.
   151. Gary A Posted: July 10, 2007 at 01:31 AM (#2435237)
Here's some Clarkson background from the Chicago Defender that might be interesting (though it probably won't affect anybody's assessment of him for voting purposes).

First, he was, as Riley notes, a three-sport star at Wilberforce, 1934-1938.

---From the Defender, 3/16/1935, on the Wilberforce baseball team:
“It is hoped that Clarkson will return this season. He was one of the main guns in last year’s work. For an inexperienced player he made remarkable progress and became one of the most dangerous hitters on the team. With his return the shortstop problem will be about settled unless there is someone who can beat him out.”

It's not clear whether by "inexperienced" they just mean he was a freshman, or if he had little experience in baseball prior to college.

(Btw, I think the baseball coach, named "Lane," might have been Isaac Sapp Lane, a pitcher/third basemen in the NNL in the early 1920s who played at Wilberforce in the 1910s.)

---In the Defender, 10/24/1936, appears a photo of Clarkson running for a 12-yard gain vs. Tuskegee, looking as if he's about to bowl over the referee--who, as it happens, is Virgil Blueitt, who played for the Chicago Union Giants in the 1910s.

---In the Defender, 11/11/1937, there's a reference to "Jimmy Clarkson, candidate for all-American honors for [the] fullback position in 1937..." Then this:

“Clarkson, although not a flashy type of player, is the best passer, best punter and the best runner on this year’s team. Last year he reached the peak of his career when he led the green wave grid men to a tie for the Mid-west championship to gather all-American honors for himself. He is the middle of every play whether the team is on the offense or defense, and is perhaps one of the finest defensive fullbacks Wilberforce has ever produced.”

---Defender 5/14/1938
“Bus Clarkson, a student at Wilberforce, will join the club [Pittsburgh Crawfords] in June and serve as utility.”

---Defender 6/25/1938
“Clarkson, recent graduate of Wilberforce and new addition to the Crawfords is rapidly gaining a place in the heart of ball fans. He has garnered an extra base hit in every game and great things are expected of him.”

---Defender 3/30/1940
“Bus Clarkson, flashy shortstop from Rankin, Pa., has not arrived in camp. He has worked all winter in the Homestead steel mills and wants to hang onto his job as long as possible.”

---It turns out that Clarkson moved from the Toledo Crawfords to the Newark Eagles as compensation for Satchel Paige's refusal to report to Newark.

From the Defender 6/29/1940:
“Both Clarkson and [Spoon] Carter were obtained in a deal at a joint meeting of the Negro National and American leagues in which the Manley[s] agreed to waive their rights to Satchell [sic] Paige, who had been the property of the local moguls for the past three years.”

A lengthier article in the same issue describes the complicated dispute, in which Abe Manley, angry about Paige’s refusal to report to Newark, took it upon himself to purchase (or borrow) Clarkson and Carter from Toledo without the NAL’s permission, then played them in a doubleheader after being warned not to. The dispute was settled by awarding Clarkson and Carter to Newark.

--Despite being in the league for less than six weeks, Clarkson finished third in the voting at shortstop for the East-West Game. This was the latest vote tally I could find (Defender 8/10/1940):
Martínez, NY Cubans—60,002
Jackson, Homestead Grays—57,345
Clarkson, Newark—56,723
Jordan, Philadelphia Stars—45,429
Butts, Baltimore—42,301

From the Defender 8/17/1940:
“But this time the West may not be so fortunate in stopping the bats of Buck Leonard of the Homestead Grays, Clarkson of the Newark team, those heavy hitters like Kimbro of the Baltimore club, [and] Suttles, Newark, who wrecked the East twice as a member of the West’s squad. Now Suttles plays for the East.”

In the game itself (played on August 23), Clarkson pinch-hit for Martínez in the sixth and replaced him at shortstop, getting a putout, three assists, and a double play in four innings. At bat he was intentionally walked to load the bases (eventually scoring), and struck out twice.
   152. Paul Wendt Posted: July 10, 2007 at 04:16 AM (#2435394)
What was the ballot distribution? printed in the Defender? and other cities' dailies?
and collection? mail to the Defender?
   153. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 10, 2007 at 01:21 PM (#2435495)
So Gary,

If I understand correctly, your primary sources are saying that:

1) Clarkson played about a half year in 1938 for the Crawfords as an UT
2) Clarkson played about 3/4 of a year in 1940 with Nwk/Tol due to his "real" job.

Can we then draw the conclusion that he played a full year in 1939?

Potentially this means that Clarkson could be given a full year of 1939, rather than the half or so year he's got now. I'd be open to giving him credit for 1938, but that might well be a period where anyone might have a minor league seasoning year after playing in college.
   154. DL from MN Posted: July 10, 2007 at 01:51 PM (#2435520)
If I give Clarkson more playing time he's going to move ahead of Trammell. Clarkson v. Alan Trammell is actually a pretty interesting comparison. I think Trammell probably had a better glove but Clarkson was the better hitter. Overall they are very close in value.
   155. Mike Green Posted: July 10, 2007 at 02:17 PM (#2435551)
Reading this thread put me in mind of Ray Perry, the minor league star who is profiled in the original Historical Abstract. I have forgotten which years he was in the PCL, but I believe that it was quite a few years earlier than Clarkson was. I wonder what Perry's MLEs would have been.

The 'have bat, will travel' aspect of Clarkson's career portends the case of Julio Franco, which you guys will have to consider in roughly 2025. ;)
   156. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:24 PM (#2435617)
The 'have bat, will travel' aspect of Clarkson's career portends the case of Julio Franco

Mike,

In the literal sense, I agree, though I think the circumstances of integration (external to Buster) are the reason for Clarkson's migrations, whereas Franco's seem rooted in something else that's probably more personal, though I don't know what (injury? ineffectiveness? inability to get along with people?).
   157. Gary A Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2435643)
If I understand correctly, your primary sources are saying that:

1) Clarkson played about a half year in 1938 for the Crawfords as an UT
2) Clarkson played about 3/4 of a year in 1940 with Nwk/Tol due to his "real" job.

Can we then draw the conclusion that he played a full year in 1939?


The Negro League regular season usually started at the beginning of May. So an arrival in June (I don't know when, though he must have been playing by mid-June) could mean he played most of the season (3/4 or so), or it could be as little as 60 percent or so.

Same for 1940. There's no indication he missed any part of the regular season, just that he was late to camp. Unfortunately, it looks as though the Defender was a little spotty about publishing box scores in those years, so it's hard to say.

As for 1939--there's little or no mention of Clarkson or the Crawfords in the Defender, though I'll have to check again to make sure.
   158. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:51 PM (#2435651)
Gary,

Would that mean that Clarkson didn't play for the Crawords? That he played for an affiliate of them? Or that he was in his good job for 1939?
   159. Gary A Posted: July 10, 2007 at 04:12 PM (#2435677)
No--I just meant that Clarkson himself only came up once in a search I did for 1939. I haven't done any kind of thorough search of Crawfords' box scores or anything like that. A search for the Toledo Crawfords in 1939 brings up 31 hits, I think, but I don't know whether those are box scores, brief items, line scores, or just mentions of the team. I'll check later today. Also, the Proquest search engine is hardly infallible.

What was the ballot distribution? printed in the Defender? and other cities' dailies? and collection? mail to the Defender?

I think they were printed in the Defender and Courier, and probably collected and counted jointly by them (or by the league). But I don't know if there were other ways to vote (e.g., other newspapers, or at games, etc.).

The Chicago Defender and Pittsburgh Courier, btw, were nationally distributed newspapers. Since the Courier focused on eastern baseball and the Defender on the midwest and south, that may roughly reflect their distribution, though I'm pretty sure both were easily available in most larger towns. And the Defender historically had a strong reporting and distributing presence in New York.
   160. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 10, 2007 at 04:15 PM (#2435681)
But I don't know if there were other ways to vote (e.g., other newspapers, or at games, etc.).

There was, of course, the online fan vote for the last member of the squad, right?
   161. Gary A Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2435819)
OK, as I'd thought, of the 31 hits for "Toledo Crawfords" in the 1939 Chicago Defender, only four yielded box scores. Clarkson appeared in all four of those games:

May 21 vs. Spencer Coal; Clarkson ss, batted 6th, 1 for 4
June 11 vs. Palmer House Stars (black); Clarkson ss, batted 5th, 0 for 5
June 18 vs. NY Cubans; Clarkson lf, batted 5th, 1 for 4
July 9 vs. Chicago American Giants (benefit); Clarkson lf, batted 5th, 2 for 4 with triple.

There might be more box scores (though probably not more than one or two)--this is just what shows up under "Toledo Crawfords."

I did discover something I didn't know, which was that the Toledo Crawfords actually switched leagues in mid-season, 1939. The NNL didn't start until June 4, due evidently to confusion caused by the Crawfords moving to Toledo. Then on June 19 they resigned from the NNL, and joined the NAL the next day, replacing Indianapolis (which was actually represented by the Atlanta Black Crackers, confusingly enough).
   162. Paul Wendt Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:12 PM (#2435831)
>>
59. Gary A Posted: July 10, 2007 at 12:12 PM (#2435677)
> What was the ballot distribution? printed in the Defender?
> and other cities' dailies? and collection? mail to the Defender?

I think they were printed in the Defender and Courier, and probably collected and counted jointly by them (or by the league). But I don't know if there were other ways to vote (e.g., other newspapers, or at games, etc.).

The Chicago Defender and Pittsburgh Courier, btw, were nationally distributed newspapers. Since the Courier focused on eastern baseball and the Defender on the midwest and south, that may roughly reflect their distribution, though I'm pretty sure both were easily available in most larger towns. And the Defender historically had a strong reporting and distributing presence in New York.
<<

Have you consulted the Pittsburgh Courier for tallies? I have walk-in stacks access to a microfilm edition and I can skim for tables, given rough dates (or look carefully given nearly exact dates).
   163. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:22 PM (#2435848)
So this suggests to me that Clarkson could be a member of the team for the whole season.
   164. Gary A Posted: July 11, 2007 at 02:26 AM (#2436670)
The 1940 East-West Game was held on August 18 (not August 23, like I said above); the latest vote tally I've seen was in the August 10 Defender. The article suggests that voting wasn't quite finished, so I'm not sure those are actually supposed to be final. I haven't looked at the Courier for anything on Clarkson in the 30s; just haven't had time.

The vote totals Larry Lester gives in his book, *Black Baseball's National Showcase*, are identical to what I posted above, except that he leaves out Philadelphia's Lonnie (Larnie) Jordan.

Eric, I haven't yet seen any reason to think Clarkson *wasn't* with the Crawfords for all of 1939...but I've hardly done an exhaustive study of the season.
   165. Paul Wendt Posted: July 12, 2007 at 06:10 AM (#2438087)
OK, the Chicago and Pittsburgh newspapers were distributed nationally. (The Pittsburgh in Harvard U stacks is labeled "National Edition".)
For now I suppose Larry Lester checked both newspapers for All-Star election tallies, whatver seasons they sponsored elections.
   166. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 29, 2007 at 02:56 PM (#2549736)
I've been tinkering with my WS routine this week, trying to improve it. I realized when I did so that I had some conceptual problems when I came up with 344 WS for Clarkson. Here's why:

-I would create a hypothetical team of 7 league average regulars, a league average pitcher, Clarkson, and a league average guy to fill in for whatever time he missed.
-Add up the RC for each
-Figure the marginal runs
-Divide Clarkson's into it
-Multiply that quotient into 111 (which is how many BWS are available to a 77-win team)
-Voila, BWS for Clarkson!

But I realized there's a problem.

Adding a player whose offense takes the team above the league average of R/Team will lead the team to win more games. Duh, right? But I hadn't accounted for it. This led me to realize also that swapping out a SS isn't the same as swapping out a CF in terms of its impact on a team's wins. So here's my proposed solution, using Clarkson as an example...

A: FIGURE THE NEW TEAM RC TOTAL
1) Figure out the league average RC and outs for each position, add them to create a hypothetical league average team.
2) For Clarkson's position, multiply his position's RC/Outs times Clarkson's outs, and subtract the product from the hypothetical team total in step 1.
3) Now add Clarkson's actual RC to the partial team total in step 2. This is the new team total of RC.

B: FIGURE WHAT THE NEW TEAM RC TOTAL IMPACTS WINS
4) Subtract step 1 from step 3 to see how many RC Clarkson added to the team above average.
5) Divide step 4 by the league's R/W to figure out how many wins those RC were worth.
6) Add 77 to step 5 to figure the new team wins total.

C: FIGURE THE TEAM BWS
7) Add step 3 and step 1 together to get the total team RS + RA.
8) Divide step 3 into setp 7 to figure the offensive fraction of total team WS.
9) Multiply step 6 times 3 to get total team WS availble.
10) Multiply step 9 by step 8 to find the total BWS.

D: ASSIGNING THE PLAYER HIS BWS
11) Figure the team's marginal RC
12) Figure the Clarkson's marginal RC
13) Divide step 12 into step 13, then multiply by step 10 to get the Clarkson's BWS.

So let me take you through his 1948 season.

Clarkson MLEs to .282/.368/.503/134 OPS+/93 RC in the 1948 NL. 345 outs.

A: FIGURE THE NEW TEAM RC TOTAL
1) Figure out the league average RC and outs for each position, add them to create a hypothetical league average team.
I used the SBE to figure these out, so I'll just report them out to you for transparancy.
pos rc __ outs
--------------
P _ 21 391
C _ 65 
450 
1B_ 89 
477
2B_ 80 
508
3B_ 92 
475
SS_ 61 
421
LF 102 
469
CF_ 91 
458
RF 116 
446
==============
TO 717 4095 


2) For Clarkson's position, multiply his position's RC/Outs times Clarkson's outs, and subtract the product from the hypothetical team total in step 1.
.145 SS RC/outs * Clarkson's 345 outs = 50 RC
717 - 50 = 667 RC

3) Now add Clarkson's actual RC to the partial team total in step 2. This is the new team total of RC.
Clarkson's 93 RC + 667 = 760 team RC

B: FIGURE HOW THE NEW TEAM RC TOTAL IMPACTS WINS
4) Subtract step 1 from step 3 to see how many RC Clarkson added to the team above average.
760 - 717 = 43 RC

5) Divide step 4 by the league's R/W to figure out how many wins those RC were worth.
I figured R/W this way:
-Find league R/G. It's 4.43
-Find pythagpat exponent: (682.2 + 682.2)/154 ^ .287 ~ 1.87
-Using pythagorean formula with pythagpat exponent, figure how many team runs scored are required to go from .500 (77 Wins) to .5065 (78 wins) with same team runs allowed. This is something like (or is?) a quadratic, right? Anyway, looks like this:
[ ( desired win% * ( runs allowed ^ pythagpat ) ) / ( 1 - desired win%) ] ^ pythagpat

[ (.5065 * (682.2^1.87) ) / .4935 ] ^ 1.87

691.7 Runs scored

Subtract the league average 682.2 RS from this figure, and we get 9.55 RS/Win.

Divide 43 by 9.55 = 4.50 wins

6) Add 77 to step 5 to figure the new team wins total.

77 + 4.5 = 81.5 new wins

C: FIGURE THE TEAM BWS
7) Add step 3 and step 1 together to get the total team RS + RA.

760 + 717 = 1477 total runs

8) Divide step 3 into setp 7 to figure the offensive fraction of total team WS.

760 / 1477 = .515

9) Multiply step 6 times 3 to get total team WS availble.

81.5 * 3 = 244.5 total team WS

10) Multiply step 9 by step 8 to find the total BWS.

244.5 * .515 = 125.9 BWS

D: ASSIGNING THE PLAYER HIS BWS
11) Figure the team's marginal RC

760 * .48 = 365 RC

12) Figure the Clarkson's marginal RC

717 / 4095 * 345 outs * .52 = 31

93 RC - 31 = 61 (yes, there's rounding errors here)

13) Divide step 12 into step 13, then multiply by step 10 to get the Clarkson's BWS.

61 / 365 * 125.9 = 21 BWS

In prior expressions of WS, I would have assigned him 15 or so BWS, which would have failed to account for his impact in creating extra wins for his team above what any league average player (but especially a typical player at his position) would have created.

Now that you have seen this explanation, please feel free to let me know if it makes sense to you. Also you can all howl when I tell you that this step, in addition to general systemic fixes and also increased PAs for 1939 (300ish from about 165) and 1940 (575ish from 500ish) per Gary A's information above raises his career WS for 1939-1956 about 11% from 344 to 383. About 12-14 of those WS are purely from the increased PAs in 1939-1940, so the real effect of this redo of my WS routines is somewhere between 5-8%. I don't know precisely where between them because I have made other systemic changes since first posting the numbers above that could have had some effect as well and I haven't iterated the WS estimates for every single revision.
   167. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:15 PM (#2549795)
For runs per win I use 3.32 times (runs per game raised to the .7103 power). It gets the same R/W value you do for 4.43 R/G, but is a bit less cumbersome.
   168. KJOK Posted: September 30, 2007 at 07:03 AM (#2550882)
.7103 POWER? I use .72 power, and that seems to match better with actual Runs to Wins for each run environment.

RPG RPW Formula .72 Difference
1 2.0 2.0 0.00
2 3.3 3.3 
-0.01
3 4.4 4.4 0.01
4 5.4 5.4 0.03
5 6.4 6.4 
-0.03
6 7.3 7.3 
-0.03
7 8.1 8.1 0.02
8 8.9 8.9 0.04
9 9.7 9.7 0.03
10 10.5 10.5 0.00
11 11.2 11.2 0.04
12 12.0 12.0 
-0.03
13 12.7 12.7 
-0.02
14 13.4 13.4 
-0.03
15 14.1 14.1 
-0.05 
   169. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 30, 2007 at 12:35 PM (#2550914)
i got it in a spreasheet and it's just copy and paste, and i've alredy done it for 1901-1970, so i'm all set if we're getting the same figures.
   170. Mike Green Posted: October 24, 2007 at 10:14 PM (#2592040)
Looking back at the Texas League of 1954, it is very odd that the two best hitters were 38 and 39 years old. Les Fleming is interesting. In 1942, he had a pretty good season in the somewhat depleted major leagues. When he returned from the war at age 29, he was a so-so hitter from 1947-49. If you look at his 1942 season, his closest comparable as a middle infielder in the league would have been Bobby Doerr, but Doerr was much better by 47-49. I believe that it is very unlikely that Fleming (as well as Clarkson) would have been the offensive forces in the big-leagues in 1954 that the projection methods suggest.

I guess that I have some difficulty with a straight line projection for a player in their late 30s in double A or triple A. Normally, the purpose for which we use MLEs is prospect projection of young players. This is a very different thing. It may very well be that an older player is better able to handle pitching that is undeveloped and erratic.

All that said, the issue with him really is about how much you are prepared to infer from a very incomplete record.
   171. Gary A Posted: October 26, 2007 at 09:13 PM (#2595343)
You might be a little harsh on Fleming.

First, 1942 was not really a particularly weak year, as the draft was just getting started up. Fleming’s 144 OPS+ was just outside the top five in the AL, who were:

217 Ted Williams
163 Charlie Keller
155 Wally Judnich
155 Joe Gordon
147 Joe DiMaggio (an off year for him)

Add in a few comparisons with infielders:
144 Les Fleming
128 Bobby Doerr
117 Lou Boudreau
100 Ken Keltner

After more than two years presumably spent in the military, Fleming returned to a genuinely weak league in 1945, at the age of 29, and hit well, .329/.382/.493 in 140 at bats, a 157 OPS+. Just looking at Cleveland:

167 Jeff Heath (370 at bats), age 30
157 Les Fleming (140 at bats), age 29
131 Lou Boudreau (345 at bats), age 27
Bobby Doerr, Joe Gordon, and Ken Keltner didn’t play

In 1946
137 Les Fleming (306 at bats), age 30 (second best OPS+ for Cleveland, to Hank Edwards’s 147)
116 Lou Boudreau, age 28
116 Bobby Doerr, age 28
94 Ken Keltner, age 29
79 Joe Gordon, age 31 (having a horrible year, obviously)

Finally, in 1947, at age 31, Fleming had a bad year, and lost his job:
135 Joe Gordon, age 32
128 Lou Boudreau, age 29
103, Bobby Doerr, age 29
101 Les Fleming, age 31
101 Ken Keltner, age 30

I don’t know this until I looked it up, but Fleming was probably one of the top minor league hitters of the era, or at least one of the most remarkable. A late bloomer, he first really made a name for himself by hitting .414/.494/.781 for Nashville in the Southern Association in 1941, driving in 103 runs in 106 games (league .282/.351/.403); that’s the campaign that propelled him to the big-league job with Cleveland.

In 1948 he was the American Association MVP with the Indianapolis Indians (playing for Al Lopez, btw), nearly winning the triple crown; he hit .323/.433/.546 with 103 walks and drove in 143 runs (league .278/.360/.409). At this point he was roughly even with the 24-year-old Al Rosen (.327/.419/.587) as a hitter, and probably better than 25-year-old Hank Bauer (.305/.366/.532), both also in the AA that year.

Fleming continued to hit in 1949 (.340/.449/.556 through 95 games), which earned him another shot at the majors at age 33, though not much of one: only 38 plate appearances, mostly as a pinch hitter.

Kind of a tangent from Clarkson, but Fleming was a legitimate hitter. Now: what kind of career would he have had if he’d been able to play shortstop or third base?
   172. Mike Green Posted: October 26, 2007 at 09:50 PM (#2595381)
Cecil Travis, Hank Greenberg and (perhaps most importantly for this) Bob Feller were in the service in 1942.

Here's another way to look at the veteran MLE. Sam Horn had years at age 29 and 31 in triple A that were pretty impressive, batting .300, slugging .600 and drawing plenty of walks. Sort of like Kevin Mitchell at his best. His career ended right there, and he did not get a real opportunity after that. Horn had done more or less the same thing in triple A at age 23 (although with fewer walks), and did get the opportunity. I would be a lot more inclined to give credit to Horn's age 23 MLE than to his age 31 MLE.

I am not saying that Fleming was a poor hitter, in the same way that I felt that Horn was a good one in his prime. I am merely saying that the odds that Fleming or Clarkson or Horn would have been among the very best hitters in the major leagues at age 38 is very, very small and the odds that both Fleming and Clarkson would be there from the Texas League in 1954 does not pass my smell test.
   173. sunnyday2 Posted: October 26, 2007 at 10:08 PM (#2595399)
>In 1948,,,the 24-year-old Al Rosen (hit) .327/.419/.587... in the AA that year.
   174. Gary A Posted: October 31, 2007 at 10:33 PM (#2601911)
Cecil Travis, Hank Greenberg and (perhaps most importantly for this) Bob Feller were in the service in 1942.

Yes, but this doesn’t affect my main point, which is that, over the relevant seasons (1942, 1945-47) Fleming ouhit every infielder in the major leagues (even Vern Stephens), with the exception of Joe Gordon, and that he bookended those years with a .414 season in the 1941 Southern Association (same level as the Texas League) and an American American MVP season in 1948. There’s no reason to think he wasn’t at least as good a hitter as Bobby Doerr, if not better. And that’s no insult to Bobby Doerr, really.

These are their OPS+ figures for those years (and remember that Doerr was two years younger), Fleming-Doerr:

1942 144-128
1944 DNP-165
1945 157-DNP
1946 137-116
1947 101-103

Just because I happen to have it, here’s Fleming compared to his teammate Lou Boudreau, also two years younger:

1942 144-117
1943 DNP-133
1944 DNP-145
1945 157-131
1946 137-116
1947 101-128

We might be arguing at cross-purposes, since I’m not trying to pump up Fleming in order to make Clarkson’s 1953-54 MLEs more acceptable. Instead, I think Fleming tracks Clarkson as a hitter in 1950-54 (and they were only five months apart in age); thus, looking at Fleming’s career as a hitter might give you some idea of the overall value of Clarkson as a hitter. This doesn’t prove anything, and you can’t assume that their careers would match all the way back to 1941 or whatever; it’s just something to keep in mind.
   175. Dizzypaco Posted: November 01, 2007 at 02:20 PM (#2602413)
Moving away from an advocacy role to just providing information, I looked for every mention in the Sporting News of Bus Clarkson, or Buster Clarkson, or Buzz Clarkson, or Jim Clarkson, or whatever they decided to call him that week, from 1946 to 1954. There are many. A few points I found interesting:

First, there is an article from the spring of 1947 that said the Dodgers were looking at signing three more Negro League players: Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, and Bus Clarkson. This indicates that he was thought of very highly at this point by at least one executive. I couldn't find any follow up articles, so I assume the Dodgers decided to hold off for the time being.

Second, there were references made in 1952 when Clarkson was on the Braves that he was not considered a real solution, even short-term, and no one thought he was going to last long, even before the change in managers. In fact, the shortstop situation was still considered a real problem by outside observers, according to the article, while Clarkson was playing the position.

Finally, there are lots of examples where Clarkson hitting or hitting prowess was mentioned as an asset to whatever team he was on. I couldn't find any mentions of his defense, which was not true of other infielders. My own guess is that he was considered lacking defensively, but a good enough bat to help the minor league, cuban league, and negro league teams he was on. Obviously, I could be wrong.
   176. Mike Green Posted: November 01, 2007 at 03:02 PM (#2602490)
I agree, Gary A. You can certainly make a case for Clarkson (as appears from post 129 with the 1953-4 years discounted), and imagine a career something like Alan Trammell- long and with a gentle decline. It's the suggestion that Clarkson (and Fleming) had a Cruz Sr.-like peak at age 38 that I have some difficulty with.

It is probably easier to make inferences from minor league performances when a player performs well later on (as Minnie Minoso did), but it is reasonable in Clarkson's case.
   177. Chris Fluit Posted: November 01, 2007 at 03:35 PM (#2602535)
Finally, there are lots of examples where Clarkson hitting or hitting prowess was mentioned as an asset to whatever team he was on. I couldn't find any mentions of his defense, which was not true of other infielders. My own guess is that he was considered lacking defensively, but a good enough bat to help the minor league, cuban league, and negro league teams he was on. Obviously, I could be wrong.


That's been my sense as well which is why I treat Clarkson as a 3B rather than as a SS. He's still pretty good as a 3B (I have him third at that position now that Nettles has been elected) but not quite as outstanding as if he was fully a SS.
   178. Chris Cobb Posted: November 01, 2007 at 04:32 PM (#2602654)
It's the suggestion that Clarkson (and Fleming) had a Cruz Sr.-like peak at age 38 that I have some difficulty with.

I prefer to think of it as a Darrell Evans-like peak, based mostly on well-honed old-player skills. I think it would be reasonable to project Clarkson as a first baseman in the majors at this point in his career, though the (very) limited ML fielding data we have suggest that he was competent at third base (though NOT at shortstop) during his brief stint with the Braves.
   179. DL from MN Posted: November 01, 2007 at 04:41 PM (#2602665)
The last few posts suggest my assessment of his defense as similar to Jay Bell have been fairly accurate but perhaps a bit generous. Bell wasn't thought of as a great SS (though he did win one gold glove) and moved off the position around age 31-32. Bell ended up about 0 FWAA over the course of his career.
   180. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 01, 2007 at 10:29 PM (#2602843)
Given normal aging, a guy who is league average for his career has to have been above average in his youth. Bell was great with the '93 Pirates if I recall.
   181. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 02, 2007 at 02:32 AM (#2603034)
Second, there were references made in 1952 when Clarkson was on the Braves that he was not considered a real solution, even short-term, and no one thought he was going to last long, even before the change in managers. In fact, the
shortstop situation was still considered a real problem by outside observers, according to the article, while Clarkson was playing the position.


Indeed, Dizzypaco. I just went back to see what you're talking about, and the Sporting News sure didn't think much of Buzz/Bus/Jim Clarkson. There's an article from May 21st, 1952, that's particularly revealing. It praises the Braves for using Sibby Sisti, "the most underrated player in the game right now", to step in and save the Braves infield because, "the rookie infield bubble [broke]". They mention Buzz Clarkson, too, who "is around for temporary shortstop duty, but he doesn't solve the problem, either."

My first point is that the Sporting News sure as hell didn't think of Clarkson as an MLB regular, let alone a HoM-caliber player.

My second point derives from another line in the article (which is quite fulsome about Sisti):
"In 1946, they sent [Sisti] to Indianapolis. He lead the American Association in practically everything and was named the league's most valuable player."

Sisti, who has been discussed before in the HoM, hit .343 that year (at age 26) in AAA, led the league in triples, was second in doubles, and second in total bases. But his big league hitting record is wholly undistinguished; career OPS+ of 79. Granting that Sisti's career was completely messed up by WWII, but, how can we be sure that Clarkson isn't another Sibby Sisti? The Braves (even before Grimm) and the Sporting News appear to have thought Sisti (who to be fair was much younger than Clarkson) was the better of the two in 1952.
   182. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2007 at 12:40 PM (#2603216)
how can we be sure that Clarkson isn't another Sibby Sisti?

We can't. That's the legacy of racism in baseball: Clarkson never got a chance to show how good he was in the major leagues during his prime. It's our obligation to make the best estimate we can of how good he actually was.

How can we be sure Cool Papa Bell wasn't another Doc Cramer? How can we be sure he wasn't another Max Carey?

One might note, if one were interested in a careful assessment rather than in attempting to score cheap rhetorical points, that Clarkson was a hitter for whom there is evidence of good plate discipline and good power, both of which help a player to succeed as a major-league hitter, and neither of which Sisti had. Note that he was leading the AA in BA, triples and doubles but there's no mention of homers -- his was clearly a speed game, and that didn't cut it in the majors. There are concerns about some NeL stars not transferring well to the majors because they were this kind of hitter, but that's not the kind of hitter Clarkson was.

My first point is that the Sporting News sure as hell didn't think of Clarkson as an MLB regular, let alone a HoM-caliber player.

It's obvious from the statistics that he played poorly while he was in the majors for that brief appearance, so this adds nothing to the case. Would Phil Rizzuto have "solved the problem" for the Yankees infield (if they had had one) in 1954, when he put up a 52 OPS+ at age 36? I'm not saying that Clarkson = Rizzuto, but I am saying that if Clarkson had been able to play a good major-league shortstop at age 37, that would be highly compelling evidence that he was a HoMer, since only a minority of even the great shortstops in baseball history were able to succeed at that position at that advanced age. The fact that he wasn't does not providing compelling evidence against him.

Finally, the very evidence you are citing from the Sporting News to run down Clarkson is actually reveals pretty clearly why contemporary commentary on talent can't be trusted too much, especially where the performance of black players are concerned.

You clearly don't see Sibby Sisti as much of a player, yet you give credence to the judgment of a reporter who praised the Braves for using him and who called him "the most underrated player in the game right now." How did Sisti perform in 1952?

He hit .212/.255/.310 for a 58 OPS+. BP has him as -11 FRAA, for a rate of 82 (100 being average), and overall sees him as below even its own anemic replacement level.

If Sisti was being underrated, he would have been sent down to the minors, because there's no way you give 269 PA to a player like that who is terrible in the field if you are _underrating_ him.

With a player _this_ bad as one alternative infield alternative, Clarkson got to show his stuff in 5.6 games in the field. He was an average defender at third base, according to BP, but clearly wasn't cutting it at shortstop (rate 71). The one kind of player the Braves needed in their infield was a third baseman, since they had this rookie named Eddie Mathews they were pretty high on for some reason, so Clarkson really wasn't useful to them unless he could play shortstop or second base. As they didn't try him at second and we have no record of him at the position in the Negro Leagues or Mexico, he probably had no experience at second base, so he wasn't a solution there, and he couldn't play shortstop in the majors. He didn't hit much in his 28 PA (.200/.286/.200, OPS+ 39), but he actually was showing better plate discipline than Sisti . . .

So, the reporter looks at these two players. Both are past their primes, both are no longer good enough to play SS/2B well. One is praised as "the most underrated player in the game," and the other "is around for temporary shortstop duty." Is this reporter someone who can be trusted as a reliable judge of talent? Is it unreasonable to suspect that racism may be coloring his judgments? Now, one could go to Retrosheet (as I cannot) and see if Sisti got off to a great start in 1952 and then tanked. If he did, the reporter's judgment might appear to be more reliable, but the evidence as presented so far doesn't give me confidence. And I have a really hard time with the idea that Sisti could possibly have been the most underrated player in the game.

I would suggest that you need to consider a bit more carefully of what this Sporting News article is "particularly revealing."

Note that I am not saying "Elect Clarkson!"

But I am saying that these arguments against him are ill-judged.
   183. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2007 at 12:44 PM (#2603218)
The one kind of player the Braves needed in their infield

This should say, "the one kind of player the Braves didn't need."

Should have proofread better. There are a couple of other grammatical errors in the post, but I don't think they confuse the meaning. The problem of trying to write a considered analysis in haste before going to work . . .
   184. baseball fanatic Posted: November 02, 2007 at 01:00 PM (#2603223)
One might note, if one were interested in a careful assessment rather than in attempting to score cheap rhetorical points,


You're directing this to the wrong person then.
   185. rawagman Posted: November 02, 2007 at 02:40 PM (#2603363)
Chris,
That was a very compelling argument which I found rather obvious based on the inherent contradictions of what the other half of this particular coin was saying. In fact, it was due to the obviousness of the position that I did not bother to reply. Thanks for stating the case.
   186. Chris Cobb Posted: November 02, 2007 at 03:22 PM (#2603415)
You're directing this to the wrong person then.

I am schooled for giving indirect endorsement to ad hominem criticism. Clearly, I should have deleted the reference to cheap rhetorical points. I think that the claims made were frivolous, but I shouldn't have attempted to interpret 'zop's motives.
   187. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 02, 2007 at 05:46 PM (#2603657)

I am schooled for giving indirect endorsement to ad hominem criticism. Clearly, I should have deleted the reference to cheap rhetorical points. I think that the claims made were frivolous, but I shouldn't have attempted to interpret 'zop's motives.


I'm not trying to score "cheap points". My point is that people outside the Braves organization also thought that Clarkson wasn't a big league regular shortstop in 1952--note that the Sporting News carried extensive minor league information, and the writer of that article was certainly aware of Clarkson's exploits at Milwaukee. I don't think its possible to rationalize away the entirety of the contemporary assessment by saying its racially motivated, particuarly when you have no evidence that the Sporting News was dismissive for racial reasons.

I think that there is ample evidence from contemporary opinion both in and out of the Braves organization, that Clarkson was not a MLB-caliber player in his post-prime MiLB years.

Obviously, to say that Bus Clarkson wasn't a big-league regular SS at age 37 doesn't preclude him from being a HoM player in the past. But I think that Clarkson's case has to be built upon his 1940's career.

Also, I don't think Sibby Sisti is worth a load of crap. That "underrated utility guy" meme is one of the oldest of old saws. But the fact that they wrote that article about Sisti, dismissing Clarkson as not even worth of discussion, suggests that people outside the Braves organization also thought Clarkson wasn't very good in 1952.
   188. rawagman Posted: November 02, 2007 at 06:05 PM (#2603682)
Not being a plausible regular at the age of 37 is something that could have been said about the vast majority of ballplayers, many HOMers included. Even if the writer showed no inherent bias, it is still a largely, if not entirely irrelevant point as far as Clarkson's candidacy is concerned.
   189. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 02, 2007 at 06:32 PM (#2603725)
it is still a largely, if not entirely irrelevant point as far as Clarkson's candidacy is concerned.

As a peak voter I would agree with you, but Clarkson's support among career WS-based voters is almost certainly contingent upon his post-1952 career. This is one of the MLE WS charts from earlier in this thread ( I don't know if its the most up-to-date). If Clarkson should get no credit for his late-career exploits, then that knocks down his career WS totals by 50-75 or so. Indeed, his two highest WS seasons in this MLE set occur after 1952.

year AGE  pa ops+   ws
-----------------------
1939  24 161 127   8.0
1940  25 481 135  24.4
1941  26 482 125  21.9
1942  27 482 138  23.9
1943  28 515 125  24.1
1944  29 526 128  24.3
1945  30 532 130  24.4
1946  31 495 118  20.7
1947  32 578 114  24.0
1948  33 536 134  25.5
1949  34 511 114  19.8
1950  35 462 106  17.3
1951  36 384 116  15.4
'1952  37 373 121  15.5
1953  38 553 138  27.6
1954  39 596 135  29.2
1955  40 356 115  14.9
1956  41 455  90  13.7'
=======================
  
8478 123 374.6 
   190. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2007 at 07:04 PM (#2603765)
> his two highest WS seasons in this MLE set occur after 1952

But his actual prime playing years are war credit guesses. How many players not named Bob Johnson come into the league, put together a 24 win share season, hold _exactly_ that level until age 33 and then decline?
   191. sunnyday2 Posted: November 02, 2007 at 07:15 PM (#2603786)
Well, this is a function of the MLEs which flatten peaks. And so the answer is, nobody does that. Even Bob Johnson doesn't do it except against weak WWII competition. It is vastly more likely that Clarkson had a 30 somewhere in the 1940s and a couple of <20s.
   192. sunnyday2 Posted: November 02, 2007 at 07:17 PM (#2603791)
P.S. Last chance to talk about somebody with a snowball's chance of getting elected. Clarkson is still 15th in the backlog, 2 slots behind where Nettles was, and Nettles' supporters aren't supporting Clarkson.
   193. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 04, 2007 at 04:15 PM (#2604896)
Well, this is a function of the MLEs which flatten peaks. And so the answer is, nobody does that. Even Bob Johnson doesn't do it except against weak WWII competition. It is vastly more likely that Clarkson had a 30 somewhere in the 1940s and a couple of <20s.

Yes, of course. My point wasn't that Clarkson peaked at age 38; rather, it was that if you could determine that Clarkson wasn't MLB caliber from age 37 on, then that would have a material impact upon his candidacy. Rawagman described his post-37 career has "largely irrelevant"; for career voters, that's clearly wrong.
   194. Gary A Posted: November 05, 2007 at 09:51 PM (#2605804)
First, there is an article from the spring of 1947 that said the Dodgers were looking at signing three more Negro League players: Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, and Bus Clarkson. This indicates that he was thought of very highly at this point by at least one executive. I couldn't find any follow up articles, so I assume the Dodgers decided to hold off for the time being.

Yes, I had just found mentions of this in the black press (where it was falsely reported that the three had actually signed in February). I think we know the reason the Dodgers didn't go for Irvin and Doby: Effa (or Abe) Manley wanted payment for their contracts, and Rickey had no interest in actually dealing with Negro League owners. Clarkson, on the other hand, had jumped to Mexico in 1946; and I think this (along with his age--he was four years older than Irvin, and eight years older than Doby) is why the Dodgers lost interest in him.

This has been completely overlooked in Clarkson’s career, in fact in the whole history of the integration of baseball. It appears that Clarkson was in effect (though probably not formally) banned by organized baseball because of his participation in the Mexican League in 1946-47. During those years the Pasquel brothers were throwing wads of cash at major leaguers or prospective major leaguers to lure them south of the border; in response the major leagues instituted five-year bans for anyone who didn’t report to their teams by the beginning of the season in 1947. What’s often forgotten is that the Negro Leagues were hit rather harder than Organized Baseball by Mexican League raids; and the Negro Leagues slapped its deserters with the same five-year ban.

While I haven’t seen any evidence that the major and Negro Leagues collaborated on this, the majors did make a deal with the Cuban League in 1947, granting it recognition and “Open Classification” status, in return for the Cuban League banning anyone who was playing in the Mexican League that year. This ban apparently extended to Latin and even black players, as a rival Cuban League, the Players Federation, operated in 1947/48, and Mexican Leaguers--Sal Maglie, Max Lanier, Lou Klein, Claro Duany, Pedro Formental, Booker McDaniels, Bus Clarkson, Roland Gladú, Roberto Estalella, etc.—only appeared in the rival league, not in the regular Cuban League.

Since 1947/48 was the only winter between 1946 and 1955 that Clarkson did *not* play in Puerto Rico, it seems likely that the majors may have cut a similar deal with the Puerto Rican league.

In 1948 the Mexican League evidently ran out of money, as there was a mass exodus, with a large number of the players (including Clarkson) ending up in La Ligue Provinciale in Québec.

In November of 1948, the Negro Leagues (now a single league, the Negro American League) lifted the ban on Mexican League jumpers; Happy Chandler lifted the ban for organized baseball in June 1949. Shortly thereafter, some of the Mexican League Negro Leaguers began to sign with major and minor league clubs: Ray Dandridge, Art Pennington, and Booker McDaniels were among the first in 1949; Clarkson and others signed with clubs in 1950, with others still dribbling into OB for a few years after that (Theolic Smith joined the PCL at age 38 in 1952, and pitched for four years).

Oddly, I haven’t been able to find any explicit reference in the contemporary press to this additional obstacle for former Negro Leaguers, though I haven’t yet looked beyond the Defender. As far as I can tell, though, no Negro Leaguers who played in the Mexican League in 1946-47 appeared in OB before the ban was lifted; and none of the Negro Leaguers who signed with OB before then had played in the Mexican League in 1946-47.
   195. KJOK Posted: November 06, 2007 at 01:42 AM (#2606001)
Gary - Interesting about the Mexican League ban impacting Negro League players.

The March 23, 1946 Afro-American reported that Jackie Robinson was offered $8,000 plus expenses to jump his Montreal contract for the Mexican League.

May 11, 1946 - Reported Ed Stone left Phil Stars for Mexican League.

May 18, 1946 - 8 Players receive 5 years bans from the Negro Leagues for jumping to Mexico.

The 8 were:

William Wright
Ray Dandrige
Edward Hunter
Johnny Taylor
Edward Stone
Terris McDuffie
Raymond Brown
Tom Glove

Some big names in there...

July 16, 1946 - Additional Negro League players named who played in Mexican League all-star game:

Theolie Smith
Booker McDaniels
Avelino Canazares
Hector Rodgriguez
Ducky Davenport
Martin Dihigo
Claro Duany
Art Pennington

July 31, 1948 - Mentions that John Wright and Groundhog Thompson was 'banished' from Negro Leagues for jumping to Mexican league.
   196. Gary A Posted: November 06, 2007 at 04:59 AM (#2606159)
A couple of notes:

1) Roberto Avila is one Mexican Leaguer (1943-47) I’ve found who signed with an OB club before the ban on the jumpers was rescinded—though of course Avila was Mexican, had not jumped, and had never played in the Negro Leagues (had never played in the U.S. at all, I think, before 1948).

2) Duany and Formental in fact played in the regular Cuban League in 1947/48, though virtually every other Mexican Leaguer in Cuba that winter joined the Players Federation instead (Paul Calvert played in both).
   197. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 06, 2007 at 02:01 PM (#2606321)
This is very interesting, Gary, and may explain why Clarkson didn't join OB earlier than he actually did.
   198. Gary A Posted: November 07, 2007 at 01:11 AM (#2607310)
With the great help of a MxL database compiled by Dr. Chaleeko, I was able to find 68 Negro Leaguers who played in the Mexican League from 1945 through 1948; exactly half of these, 34, would eventually play in an OB-sanctioned league, every single one only after the majors rescinded the ban on their own Mexican League jumpers.

Of these 34, twelve went straight to the highest level of the minors, all in 1949 or later, and generally at a pretty advanced age (eight were 34 or older):

Ray Dandridge – 1949 (36; Minneapolis, AA)
Art Pennington – 1949 (26; Portland, PCL)
Booker McDaniels – 1949 (37; Los Angeles, PCL)
Bus Clarkson – 1950 (35 years old; Milwaukee, AA)
Marvin Williams – 1950 (27; Sacramento, PCL)
Leon Day – 1951 (34; Toronto, IL)
Héctor Rodríguez – 1951 (31; Montreal, IL)
Bonnie Serrell – 1951 (29; San Francisco, PCL)
Pedro Formenthal – 1952 (39; Havana, IL)
Theolic Smith – 1952 (38; San Diego, PCL)
Lonnie Summers – 1952 (36; San Diego, PCL)
Jesse Williams – 1952 (39; Vancouver, PCL)

And of these twelve, exactly two would ever appear in the major leagues:

Héctor Rodríguez – 1952 (32; Chicago AL)
Bus Clarkson – 1952 (37; Boston NL)

I certainly might have missed somebody (this research involved collating a number of different sources, some quite sketchy), but so far, of all the Negro Leaguers who went to Mexico in 1945-48 (which includes, as Kevin points out, a number of big names, and two Hall of Famers), only two made it to the major leagues.
   199. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 07, 2007 at 03:48 PM (#2607779)
Gary,

This is absolutely fascinating information. Thanks.
   200. sunnyday2 Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2607859)
Given the one case study that I know something about--that being Don Newcombe--it is absolutely plausible to me that some of these gentlemen were ML caliber players. (As stated elsewhere, of course, that does not make them HoM-caliber players, just ML caliber players.) Now I admit that's a bit of an assumption. Logically, just because black players were held back doesn't mean they were MLers. But we know that even if they were ML caliber players, they still would have ended up in AAA, which they did. The question, of course, is which of these were ML caliber players.

From everything else we know, the obvious candidates are Dandridge, Clarkson, M. Williams and Day, though it is conceivable that some or all of them were NO LONGER ML caliber in 1949. Though I should say, that would not appear to be the case for Marvin Williams, who was just 27 years old (actually 26 in 1949). And what I mean is that unlike Clarkson maybe, or Day maybe, or Dandridge maybe, it is unlikely that Williams was ML caliber prior to 1949 but no longer so in 1949. For the others, this is plausible.

So the case study that, along with Clarkson, is most interesting here is Marvin. Was Marvin just not good enough? Or was he held back by the quota system?

The other question is what is the significance of Hector Rodriguez? The argument has been made that since Clarkson didn't get much of a shot, we should infer therefore that he wasn't that good. Well, then, was Rodriguez better? Better than Clarkson? Better than Dandridge? Or just younger, or luckier, or something else. If he was in fact the best of the bunch, then we probably oughta have a thread and see his complete record. Easy for me to say.

For the record, Hector played 124 games --113 at 3B, the rest presumably as a PH--for the ChiSox in 1952. His lines were 1-40-.265 or .265/.346/.307 (ouch) for an OPS+ of 82. He appears from just a tiny bit of info to have been a pretty good defender--at least average and probably better. No power, but 47 BB and 22 K. 15 XBH (all 2B except 1 HR) in > 450 PA.

The White Sox as you know were just emerging from a funk going all the way back to the Black Sox, and 3B had been a black hole for a long time. In 1948 they had finished last with Luke Appling and Floyd Baker sharing the hot corner (Baker hit .215 and "slugged" .297; in '47 he played 101 games at 3B at .284/.313 SA). In '49, it was Baker again (122 G) at .260/.327. Over those 3 years Don Kolloway, Dave Philley, Cass Michaels, Jack Wallaesa, John Ostrowski, Fred Hancock, Bobby Rhawn and Andy Anderson all filled in as well. They traded for Rhawn in late '49. He was 30 years old and had gone 6-for-32 that year with the Giants and Pirates. He hit .205 in 24 games, and his ML career was over. In '47 and '48 he had shown some promise, however, going 26 for 89 (.929) with 2 HR and 11 RBI in 49 games with the Giants, playing all over the IF. He appears to have been any outstanding defender but the Giants had Bill Rigney and Buddy Kerr and then Hank Thompson and moved Sid Gordon to 3B in '48. In '49. But Rigney and Kerr flushed out in '49 and in '50 the Giants had Eddie Stanky and Al Dark,with Hank Thompson moving to 3B. No shame in Rhawn not breaking into that IF.

But anyway, he didn't impress the White Sox either. So in 1950 it was Hank Majeski and Baker, still hanging on to a platooning role and in fact hitting .317. Majeski hit .309 and yet halfway through 1951 he was moved to Siberia--er, St.Louis--and replaced with 32 year old Bob Dillinger who hit .301 with no power whatsoever. Fox and Carrasquel had settled into the middle IF by this time.

But anyway, in 1952, Hector came in to play 3B beside Carrasquel on a team that had Minnie Minoso and Willie Miranda and Luis Aloma. Not much of a quota system there. And the Sox jumped up to 3rd place, their best finish in a generation pretty much. He played 124 games at 3B, while Minoso played 9, Miranda 5, Sam Dente 18, Rocky Krsnich 37 and Leo Thomas 9. Kinda looks like they were still fishing, but other than Minoso, not a one of them hit better than .231 and Krsnich hit the only HR. Yet in 1953 they started the year with Vern Stephens at 3B (.167, then traded for Bob Elliott), Freddie Marsh (.200), Krsnich (.202), Connie Ryan (.222)...then Elliott went 4-32-.260 in 67 games.

Now I guess you could see where they might think Vern Stephens would be an upgrade over Hector Rodriguez, though it didn't turn out that way. And Elliott was let go and in '54 it was Cass Michaels and then George Kell, and well, never mind the rest, other than it would be Pete Ward in 1963 before another 3B would play more than the 124 games that Hector played in 1952.

That doesn't make Hector a great player. I don't even know if he was a proper 3B or if he was more of a SS type. But the question is whether Rodriguez was held back by a quota system. I mean, for a decade on either side of his "shot," the White Sox 3B hole was filled by a veritable definition of FAT. But of course, Hector was FAT, too, he was not a star or a HoMer, he was barely a journeyman. But the question is, if he was held back, then doesn't that support the idea that some of these other guys were held back by the quota system, too.

Or, if Hector is just the wrong case study, it was still interesting to recall this motley parade of White Sox 3B. You thought the Dodgers had a hole.
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