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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Carlos Moran

Eligible in 1922.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 17, 2007 at 08:20 PM | 69 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 17, 2007 at 08:35 PM (#2313537)
Brent from the Home Run Johnson thread:

Morán was a third baseman of Chinese ancestry who played in Cuba from 1900-16.
   2. Brent Posted: March 18, 2007 at 04:03 AM (#2313666)
I'll try to post his Cuban League statistics, though I may not get to it until next weekend.

Gary A has some information on him at his site, http://agatetype.typepad.com/.
   3. Brent Posted: May 08, 2007 at 03:13 AM (#2357949)
One of the projects I’ve had on my “to-do list” for a long time is to go back and look at the best Cuban players prior to Cristóbal Torriente. (Shortly after Torriente’s election on the 1937 ballot, I purchased Figueredo’s Cuban League Statistics and have used it to comment on subsequent Cuban candidates, but I never went back to systematically examine the earlier players.) There are several reasons for focusing on this era: (1) With the exception of José Méndez, we didn’t spend much time looking at Cuban players of this era. Because opportunities for Cuban players in the United States were just starting to open up in the early years of the 20th century, coverage from standard sources such as Holway and Riley tends to be sketchy. (2) After the Cuban League became racially integrated in 1900, the quality of play improved rapidly and had reached a fairly high level by end of the decade. For example, from 1908 to 1913 major league teams played nine exhibition series in Cuba and had a win-loss record of 57-42 against Cuban League teams. Also, after 1911 several “white” Cubans were playing in the majors, providing another avenue to assess Cuban League quality. (3) During the same era, most of the major Negro League stars played in Cuba, including HoMers Rube Foster, Grant Johnson, Pete Hill, Joe Williams, John H. Lloyd. The inclusion of these players raised the level of competition in Cuba and allows us to directly compare American and Cuban players. (4) Prior to 1920, the statistical database for the Cuban League is much stronger than that for the Negro leagues. The Cuban League was a relatively stable organization with recorded statistics. Furthermore, Gary Ashwill (on his site, http://agatetype.typepad.com/ ,) has recently compiled comprehensive data for several seasons and Cuban-American series. His compilations include difficult-to-find data such as walks, supplementing the traditional statistics published by Figueredo.

I plan to look at the top Cuban players of the deadball era to see if there are any strong HoM candidates that we may have missed. I’ll start with Carlos Morán. Later this week I'll move on to discuss Julián Castillo, the Cuban League’s top slugger during the decade of the “aughts,” and then several other early Cuban stars.
   4. Brent Posted: May 08, 2007 at 03:20 AM (#2357962)
Carlos Morán was a third baseman and leadoff hitter who played in Cuba from 1900-1916. He also played in the American Negro Leagues for at least six summers with the Cuban Stars. His traditional statistics show a good batting average but no power, suggesting that he was a minor star but not a serious HoM candidate. Although he was named to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945, he doesn’t receive much text in either Figueredo’s Cuban Statistics or in González Echevarría’s The Pride of Havana. (For example, González Echevarría on p. 123 provides brief descriptions of about a dozen leading players of the aughts, but doesn’t include Morán.) In McNeil’s Baseball’s Other All-Stars, Morán isn’t named to the author’s “Cuban Winter League All-Star Team (Rafael Almeida and Ray Dandridge are the third basemen on the team), though he is named to a “second team.” Holway and Riley actually conflate part of Morán’s record with that of Eugenio Morín (a 1920s Cuban catcher). However, data compiled during the last year or two by Gary Ashwill, which provide information on walks and on-base percentage for the first time, indicate a very high on-base percentage, suggesting that Morán was an overlooked star.

I know of little biographical information other than the short biography in Riley, which appears to be incorrect on several points. Not knowing Morán’s date of birth, I followed a suggestion that has been discussed recently on Gary’s blog and looked him up on the passenger lists that are available on ancestry.com. It was easy to find his name; he appears to have been born in 1878 or early 1879, implying that he was 21 years old when he first played in the Cuban League in the winter of 1900. Riley lists him as an outfielder, but that is incorrect; Morán was primarily a third baseman throughout his career, though Gary’s game-by-game data show occasional games in the outfield. Riley also lists him as batting and throwing left handed. I’m quite skeptical that he actually threw left handed; although left-handed third basemen were not unheard of in the 19th century major leagues or the early 20th century minor leagues, Gary notes that the available fielding information suggests that Morán was a pretty good fielder. (Records of left-handed third basemen in organized baseball show that they were mostly poor fielders.) Gary has looked for photos showing him wearing a glove, but so far has not come up with anything.

Perhaps the most interesting observation about Morán is indicated by his nickname (“Chino”), a nickname he shared with a half-dozen other Cuban players of Chinese descent. Chinese workers were brought to Cuba in the 1850s to work on the sugar plantations. A photo showing Morán and other players (including HoMers Pete Hill and Grant Johnson) is available here. (I believe that the player identified in the picture as “Sam Lloyd” is actually HoMer John H. Lloyd—please correct me if I’m wrong.) Another photo on p. 83 of Figueredo shows him with his Habana teammates—he’s a slender man, a little below average in height, and somewhat dwarfed by larger American teammates such as Lloyd, Hill, and Petway.

Morán was part of the team that integrated the Cuban League. In contrast to American baseball and Jackie Robinson, the Cuban League was integrated in 1900 when an entirely non-white team, San Francisco, joined the league. San Francisco easily won the pennant, and the next year the other teams integrated to remain competitive. Carlos Morán and his two brothers, Francisco and Angel, were part of that team. Although Cuban baseball integrated 46 years before American baseball, in both cases integration came immediately following a war that brought the racial groups together in a common cause (in the Cuban case it was the War of Cuban Independence, fought from 1895-98, which culminated in what we know as the Spanish-American War).

An interesting question is how Chinese and other East Asians fit into the Jim Crow policies then in effect in American baseball. In America Morán played in the Negro Leagues, though “white” Cuban players were playing in the minor and major leagues. Were the Chinese excluded under the Jim Crow rules? I don’t know. Or did his heritage perhaps include mixed African-Cuban ancestry, which would have excluded him under the “one drop” rule? Some of the photos show a dark complexion, and I note that the passenger lists on ancestry.com describe him as "African" or "black."

Morán’s statistics. (Note – these are actual Cuban League statistics, not MLEs.) [Minor note: Cuban League seasons in this period usually began in December or January. Figueredo follows the convention of referring to the season by both years when it began in December (for example, 1908-09), and by just one year when it began in January (for example, 1908). A couple of readers have noted that they found this confusing, so I’ll use a two-year reference for all winter seasons.]

Year    Tm                       G    AB R   H  2B 3B HR BB HBP SB Avg  OBP  Slg
1899
-00 San Francisco-p          24   78 --  21  0  0  0 -- --  -- .269  --  .269
1900
-01 San Francisco/Almendares 14   44 --  14  2  1  0 -- --  -- .318  --  .409
1901
-02 Didn’t play
1902
-03 Fe                       27   93 22  28  3  0  0 -- --  -- .301  --  .333
1903
-04 Habana-p                  8   32  8   9  0  0  0 -- --  -- .281  --  .281
1904
-05 Fe                        8   30  1   5  1  0  0  2  0   1 .167 .219 .200
1905
-06 Fe-p                     23   88 18  26  3  0  0 13  2   9 .295 .398 .330
1906
-07 Fe                       30  112 24  28  1  1  0 28  1  16 .250 .404 .277
1907
-08 Fe                        7   26  2   5  1  0  0 -- --  -- .192  --  .231
1908
-09 Fe                       31  112 18  20  1  0  0 -- --  -- .179  --  .188
1909
-10 Habana                   14   46 15  14  1  1  0 -- --  -- .304  --  .370
1910
-11 Habana                   28   98 26  30  4  0  0 -- --  -- .306  --  .347
1911
-12 Habana-p                 31  110 32  37  6  1  0 -- --  19 .336  --  .409
1912
-13 Habana                   --  117 32  46  3  0  0 -- --  21 .393  --  .419
1913
-14 Fe                       31  115 14  30  1  1  0 -- --   0 .261  --  .287
1914
-15 Didn’t play
1915
-16 San Francisco             5   11  1   2  1  0  0 -- --   0 .182  --  .273
Total                               1112 
-- 315 28  5  0 -- --  -- .283  --  .317 

p = pennant
Sources: 1904-05, 1905-06, and 1906-07 from data compiled by Gary Ashwill posted on agatetype.typepad.com. Other seasons from Jorge S. Figueredo, Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878-1961.
   5. Brent Posted: May 08, 2007 at 03:22 AM (#2357965)
Black ink (note that leaders not available for all categories for all years):
Average – led league in 1905-06
OBP – led league in 1905-06, 1906-07
OPS – led league in 1905-06
Runs – led league in 1905-06, 1906-07, 1910-11, 1911-12
Doubles – led league in 1902-03

For context, here are the Cuban League averages (excluding pitchers) over that period. As Gary has observed, the Cuban offensive context was extremely low during the deadball era—batting averages were considerably lower than in the majors, and isolated power was especially reduced. A consequence is that the downward adjustments for quality of play are sometimes more than offset by an upward adjustment for context. I’ll also note that Figueredo’s data are incomplete before 1904; I’ve used what he published, but they represent less than half the players.

Year    LgAvg LgOBP LgSlg
1899
-00 .217    --  .235
1900
-01 .249    --  .291
1901
-02 .238    --  .292
1902
-03 .193    --  .227
1903
-04 .232    --  .282
1904
-05 .212  .277  .246
1905
-06 .198  .270  .237
1906
-07 .219  .294  .261
1907
-08 .247    --  .306
1908
-09 .219    --  .266
1909
-10 .197    --  .249
1910
-11 .225    --  .272
1911
-12 .258    --  .317
1912
-13 .278    --  .339
1913
-14 .254    --  .294
1914
-15 .261    --  .306
1915
-16 .280    --  .334 

Sources: For 1904-05, 1905-06, and 1906-07 from Gary Ashwill; for other years, calculated from data in Figueredo, Cuban Baseball.


Gary’s also posted statistics from exhibition series played between Cuban teams and leading Negro League teams:

Year Tm                      G AB  R  H 2B 3B HR BB HBP SB  Avg  OBP  Slg
1905 Fe
/Cuban X-Giants       3 13  1  6  0  0  0  1   0  3 .462 .500 .462
1907 Habana
/Phil Giants      7 24  8  9  0  0  0  8   0  2 .375 .531 .375
1910 Habana
/Leland Giants    4 10  1  2  0  0  0  4   0  2 .200 .429 .200
1912 Habana
/Lincoln Giants   7 22  5  4  0  1  0  6   1  2 .182 .379 .273
1905
-12 vsNe League teams 21 69 15 21  0  1  0 19   1  9 .304 .461 .333 


The context for these series was:
Year SerAvg SerOBP SerSlg
1905  .218   .280   .230
1907  .229   .304   .256
1910  .219   .290   .247
1912  .252   .344   .296 


And here are statistics from Gary for exhibition series against major league teams:

Year Tm                     G  AB  R  H 2B 3B HR BB HBP SB  Avg  OBP  Slg
1909 Habana
/Detroit Tigers  6  23  7  7  1  1  0  2   0  0 .304 .360 .435
1909 Habana
/All Stars       3  11  0  2  0  0  0  0   0  0 .182 .182 .182
1910 Habana
/Detroit Tigers  6  24  4  8  0  0  0  3   0  0 .333 .407 .333
1910 Habana
/Phil Athletics  4  15  2  5  2  0  0  0   0  0 .333 .333 .467
1911 Habana
/Phil Phillies   5  13  3  4  0  0  0  8   1  2 .308 .591 .308
1911 Habana
/NY Giants       5  12  1  1  0  0  0  1   2  0 .083 .267 .083
1912 Habana
/Phil Athletics  6  21  2  5  1  1  0  2   0  1 .238 .304 .381
1908
-13 vsML teams       35 119 19 32  4  2  0 16   3  3 .269 .370 .336 


Here is the context:

Year Tm                    SerAvg SerOBP SerSlg
1909 Habana
/Detroit Tigers  .233   .301   .286
1909 Habana
/All Stars       .227   .278   .291
1910 Habana
/Detroit Tigers  .241   .302   .272
1910 Habana
/Phil Athletics  .220   .295   .276
1911 Habana
/Phil Phillies   .221   .306   .283
1911 Habana
/NY Giants       .232   .291   .312
1912 Habana
/Phil Athletics  .281   .359   .350 


I didn’t use Morán’s statistics for summer play in America that are shown in Holway (due to not knowing the context) or for three seasons in the Cuban summer league that Gary has posted (due to uncertainty about the quality level).
   6. Brent Posted: May 08, 2007 at 03:24 AM (#2357972)
Morán MLEs

Because the Cuban League seasons of this era were very short, compiling season-by-season MLEs will require use of regression methods that I haven’t had to use when I was calculating MLEs (for several minor league players). I’ve decided instead to keep things simple by just calculating MLEs for his career totals line – Eric or Chris are welcome to do seasonal estimates if they’d like to.

The critical assumption that has to be made is the quality adjustment factor. The good news is that there we have a couple of points of data that can help us with the decision; the bad news is that these data point in somewhat different directions.

Step 1: Estimate playing time.

I’ll base this entirely on his playing time in the only regularly scheduled league available to him throughout his career, the Cuban Winter League. Morán did miss a fair amount of playing time, especially early in his career, including the entire 1901-02 season. Riley says that he was suspended, but doesn’t give any more information, so I emailed Gary. Gary responded, “I believe he was suspended for fighting with an umpire, though I don't have any direct documentation of it.” Gary added that fights with umpires were common in the Cuban League during that era and that Morán was involved in at least a couple of other prominent confrontations with umpires. I’ll treat the missing 1901-02 season the same as if he missed the season due to injury. I also asked Gary about Morán’s other gaps in playing time and he said that he saw some comments regarding his health in newspapers from 1903 and 1908, to the effect that "Moran is finally looking like his old self." From 1910-14 he stayed in the lineup pretty regularly.

I calculate the percentage of team games played each season (showing just the last year), add them up, and then pro-rate to a 154-game schedule. If I were doing season-by-season statistics, I would want to regress playing time also. For the MLEs, I will ignore his missing 1914-15 season and his brief encore during 1915-16.

1900-01 .89; ’01-02 - .78; ’01-02 - .00; ’02-03 - .79; ’03-04 - .40; ’04-05 - .90*; ’05-06 - .96; ’06-07 – 1.00; ’07-08 - .17; ’08-09 - .72; ’09-10 - .88; ’10-11 – 1.00; ’11-12 - .97; ’12-13 – 1.00**; ’13-14 - .97; Total = 11.4 seasons or 1,754 games.

* A guess – Morán played part of the winter season in Mexico.
** A guess based on AB; data on games played are not available.

I based his plate appearances (actually, AB+BB+OBP – I ignore SH) on plate appearances per game for several “similar” ML hitters of the period: Johnny Evers (3.90 PA/G), Miller Huggins (4.17 PA/G), and Roy Thomas (4.36 PA/G). I decided to allocate 4.14 PA/G to Morán, giving him a total of 7,258 PA.

Step 2: Estimate “walk rate” (actually rate of BB + HBP)

I used data from all three sources shown above, major league series, 3 seasons of Cuban League data compiled by Gary, and series against Negro League opponents. For each source I calculate (a) Morán’s rate, (BB+HBP)/(AB+BB+HBP) and (b) the “league” rate, weighting each season (or series) by Morán’s (AB+BB+HBP or “plate appearances”). Against major league opponents, Morán’s walk rate was .138 versus a league rate of .091; in 3 Cuban League seasons it was .167 versus .093; and against Negro League teams it was .225 versus .102. Summing the three sources, his overall walk rate is .169 versus a league rate (again weighting by Morán’s plate appearances) of .094. To adjust for league quality, I multiply his Cuban League and Negro League rates by .81 (but don’t adjust his rates against ML pitching): that is, [138*.138 (ML) + 276*.81*.167 (CL) + 89*.81*.225 (NeL)] / 503 = which results in a major league equivalent walk rate of .144 relative to a context of .094. Taking the ratio and multiplying by 100 gives Morán’s MLE relative walk rate (BB+), which is 154.

Step 3: Estimate batting average

Here I use data for all Cuban League seasons plus the data for major league and NeL series. Morán’s batting averages are shown above; summing the H and AB from the three sources yields a career average of .284. League contexts are calculated by summing the League averages for each season (or series), weighting by Morán’s at bats. I obtain League contexts of .239 for ML series, .230 for the CL, and .233 for NeL series. I next adjust Morán’s average for quality of play (using a factor of .90), weighting by AB: [119*.269 (ML) + 1101*.90*.284 + 69*.90*.304] / 1289 = .258 versus a context (weighted by AB) of .231. His MLE relative batting average is BA+ = 111.

Step 4: Estimate isolated power

Same procedure as for batting average, except substitute isolated power and use a quality factor of .81. Morán’s isolated power was .036 (.067 versus ML, .034 in CL, and .029 versus NeL), while the context was .045 (.056 versus ML, .045 in CL, .030 versus NeL). Applying the quality factor, we get (119*.067+1101*.81*.034+69*.81*.029) / 1289 = .031 versus a context of .045, or an MLE relative isolated power, ISO+ = 68.

Step 5: Apply to major league context

I pulled the pitcher-excluded statistics for the NL for 1900-14. (I didn’t bother trying to weight the seasons). The NL context was Avg = .265, OBP = .330, and SLG = .347. I applied Morán’s MLE relative rates to this context: the major league walk rate was .088, multiplying by BB+ (1.52) and 7258 PA gives him 985 MLE BB+HBP. Subtracting, he has 6,273 AB. Multiply the contextual NL average (.265) by Morán’s BA+ (1.11) gives him a MLE average of .295; multiplying by AB gives him 1852 MLE hits. Multiply the NL contextual ISO of .056 by Morán’s MLE relative ISO of .68 gives an MLE ISO of .039, or 2205 TB. Here are Morán’s MLE career statistics:

G      PA   AB    H   TB BB+HBP  Avg  OBP  SLG  OPS
1754 7258 6273 1852 2205    985 .295 .391 .352 .742

Avg   OBP  SLG  OPS 
LgAvg LgOBP LgSLG LgOPS BAOBPSLGOPS
.295 .391 .352 .742 .265  .330  .347  .677  111  119  101  120 


I didn’t attempt to translate his stolen bases, but simply note that SB were also part of his offensive arsenal as a leadoff hitter.

What does this translation suggest about the ranking of Morán? I accept the argument that pre-1930 third basemen were roughly equivalent to post-1950 second basemen. There aren’t many players within either of those groups with statistics that are similar to Morán’s MLEs. Stan Hack comes pretty close—119 OPS+ in a slightly longer career (1938 G). Leading candidates within those groups are generally not equivalent hitters, though they may offer more defense or longer careers. An exception is John McGraw, with an OPS+ of 135, albeit in a much shorter career. Another comparison is with other leadoff men who played less demanding positions. For example, Morán’s MLE OPS+ of 120 is comparable to Van Haltren’s 121, though Van Haltren’s career lasted longer.
   7. Brent Posted: May 08, 2007 at 03:54 AM (#2358010)
I notice that Gary's just posted a Fe team photo from 1914 including Morán. He looks larger in this photo than in the photo shown in Figueredo. The photo referenced in # 4 at learning.loc.gov is the clearest one -- I'm sorry that the link didn't come through -- I'll try again, but if it doesn't work, you should be able to get to it with cut and paste.

learning.loc.gov
   8. Brent Posted: May 08, 2007 at 03:57 AM (#2358015)
Let me try again: learning.loc.gov.
   9. Brent Posted: May 08, 2007 at 04:03 AM (#2358022)
Still not working. Maybe this Google search will work?

Carlos Moran.
   10. Brent Posted: May 08, 2007 at 04:22 AM (#2358036)
Reading over # 6, Step 5, my calculation appears to have been correct but my description of it needs to be corrected. I need to change this sentence-- "Multiply the NL contextual ISO of .056 by Morán’s MLE relative ISO of .68 gives an MLE ISO of .039, or 2205 TB" to "Multiply the NL contextual ISO of .082 by Morán’s MLE relative ISO of .68 gives an MLE ISO of .056, or 2205 TB."
   11. Brent Posted: May 08, 2007 at 04:54 AM (#2358059)
I realize in my cutting and pasting I inadvertently left out a paragraph after this one: The critical assumption that has to be made is the quality adjustment factor. The good news is that there we have a couple of points of data that can help us with the decision; the bad news is that these data point in somewhat different directions.

As discussed on the Spotswood Poles thread, two players of the 1910s had sufficient playing time in the Cuban League and the majors to estimate quality factors. Based on Armando Marsans record, quality factors of .87 for batting and .76 for slugging appear to be appropriate (see Chris Cobb in post # 57). Based on Rafael Almeida's record, conversion rates of .88 and .95 would appear to be appropriate (see Gary A in post # 65). The other evidence is the record of Cuban League teams in exhibition series against major league opponents. Based on their record of 42 wins to 57 losses, quality adjustment factors of .95 to .98 might seem appropriate. I've decided to take a quality adjustment factor of .90 for batting average and .81 for walks and for isolated power. These factors as similar to those that Chris used for the Negro leagues and somewhat lower than Eric's recent MLEs. I think my conversion factors are conservative but realistic, based on the available evidence, but obviously the results will be sensitive to the conversion factor.
   12. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 08, 2007 at 05:08 AM (#2358068)
Get a brain, Moran!
   13. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 08, 2007 at 01:48 PM (#2358212)
Brent,

Would it be fair to say that Moran is somewhat analogous to Burns (high OBP, not much SLG, but a 3B) or to Leach minus 1898-1900 and 1915-1918?
   14. sunnyday2 Posted: May 08, 2007 at 02:17 PM (#2358255)
Or Heinie Groh with a lower peak?
   15. Brent Posted: May 08, 2007 at 10:57 PM (#2358793)
Here are some comparisons (Games, Relative Avg / Rel OBP / Rel SLG, and OPS+)

Morán MLE - 1754 G, 111/119/101, 120
GJ Burns - 1853 G, 105/110/104, 114
Leach (1901-14) - 1859 G, 103/103/109, 112
Groh - 1676 G, 108/113/105, 118
Hack - 1938 G, 110/117/103, 119

Burns, Leach, and Hack were all leadoff hitters at least part of their careers. (I assume Groh also spent some time in the leadoff position, but don't know it for a fact.) Hack was the most similar to my MLE for Morán, in that he had about the same OPS+ and the same mix of average, OBP, and SLG. The other three were a little weaker on the OBP, but had more isolated power.

Groh's peak and his excellent reputation as a fielder certainly propelled his candidacy. I really don't know how to compare the peak of a player like Morán with major league players. It's certainly possible that he had a good peak--for example, for the three Cuban League seasons for which we have OBP and OPS data, Morán led the league in OBP twice and in OPS once. But it was a smaller, weaker league and we're talking about seasons of maybe 30 games. I just really don't think it makes a lot of sense to talk about peak performance in that context.

Compared to Burns and Leach (both of whom are in my top 35), Morán was a somewhat better hitter and played a more important defensive position (though Leach spent half his career at 3B). Both Burns and Leach had very good reputations as fielders; while I believe Morán was a good third baseman, I don't have any basis to argue that he was a great one. And of course Leach's career length appeals to career voters.

Hack seems like the closest comp. I rate Morán ahead, since Hack's numbers for 1942-45 were inflated a bit by WWII competition. But they were close.
   16. Brent Posted: May 15, 2007 at 11:22 PM (#2365118)
There was some discussion of Morán on the 1999 Ballot Discussion Thread that I thought I'd respond to over here. In # 106, DL from MN wrote:

I'm not comfortable with MLEs on players who have their primary skill as walking. I think walking a batter is partly the responsibility of the pitcher. Kudos to a player who can work a pitcher for a walk but that gets harder as you go up levels of competition. Players who hit for power are going to have their walks translate but a player who has a mediocre average and mediocre power is probably going to see a big drop in walks at a higher level or they're going to strike out a lot more often and see a decline in batting average that will have an equally detrimental effect on their OBP. I am excited to see the research but I doubt we've found someone better than Pie Traynor.

First, there should be general agreement that the probability of a walk is greatly influenced by both the pitcher and the batter. Drawing walks--like other elements of batting--does get harder at higher levels of competition, which is why I reduced Morán's Cuban League and Negro league walk rates, multiplying by a factor of .81. One thing that's interesting in Morán's case is that we have 138 recorded plate appearances against major league pitching. It turns out that my estimate of his MLE walk rate based on all 503 plate appearances for which we have data on walks--a walk rate of 154, or 54 percent above the major league average--is almost identical to his actual walk rate in his games against major leaguers--a relative walk rate of 152. In other words, to infer that Morán would have had a very good walk rate in the majors, we don't need to rely on assumptions and MLEs; we can just look at his actual walk rate against major league pitchers. (By the way, in series against the Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Athletics, and New York Giants he was facing some of the best pitchers of the era.)

Pie Traynor--well if Traynor had just been able to draw walks at a major league average rate, my guess is that he would have been elected long ago. However, he drew walks at a rate 24% below the league average. Consequently, even though his relative batting average was 8% above his park-adjusted league, his relative OBP was only 3% above league. Walks are the main reason that we elected Hack rather than Traynor.
   17. DL from MN Posted: May 16, 2007 at 01:40 PM (#2365608)
Good response, I see the reasoning there.

If I go with the MLEs he ends up in the 40s. That put him near Lave Cross and prompted me to doublecheck his numbers. I hadn't been giving Cross any credit as a catcher. If I give Cross that credit he jumps up above Dunlap, Leach, Ben Taylor and the CF glut to show up as the 2nd most deserving pre-1930s player (behind Cravath). Anyone want to talk me down off that ledge?
   18. Juan V Posted: May 16, 2007 at 02:03 PM (#2365627)
My first opinion: He is between George Scales (21th on my ballot last year) and Nellie Fox (35th on my ballot when elected)
   19. Brent Posted: May 17, 2007 at 01:58 AM (#2366173)
Lave Cross and George Scales -- there are a couple of infielders who haven't been getting much attention lately.

DL - Should Cross get credit as a catcher? Sure, but just don't go overboard. He spent his first seven seasons as a backup catcher, but was never the first-string catcher for any team. The difference between Cross's career OPS+ of 100 and Morán's MLE OPS+ of 120 is huge, but if you're a career voter who gives a lot of weight to fielding, I suppose I could understand a vote for Cross. Cross is somewhat similar as a candidate to Nettles and Bell, whom I see you also support. Several shortstops who also fit the same profile of long career and good fielding are Maranville, Lundy, Rizzuto (with war/minor league credit), Aparicio, and Concepción.

Juan V - George Scales -- it's been quite a while since I looked at him, so I took another look at his thread. Because Holway and Macmillan had significantly different statistics for him, we had two sets of MLEs -- OPS+ of 118 based on Holway, and 109 based on Macmillan (both assumed 1986 G). Not knowing which one to trust, I've split the difference and assumed an OPS+ of about 113.5. Since Scales played more second base than any other position, and at that time second base was still less important defensively than third, it isn't clear to me why you see Scales ranking ahead of Morán. Maybe I'm missing something--would you care to explain?
   20. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 17, 2007 at 09:23 PM (#2367243)
Brent,

I'm seeing in Moran a player who greatly resembles Maxie Bishop or Eddie Yost, only without the power-disabling effects of Griffith in the latter isntance. Is this reasonable in your opinion?
   21. Brent Posted: May 18, 2007 at 02:35 AM (#2367832)
Eric,

I'm not quite sure how to interpret your question. If you mean that Morán was a player who drew a lot of walks and didn't have a lot of power, then sure, he was like Bishop or Yost or any of a number of other players--Evers, Pesky, Donie Bush, Miller Huggins, Eddie Stanky, and (if we extend it beyond infielders) Roy Thomas, Ferris Fain, Johnny Bassler, Richie Ashburn, ... the list goes on and on.

If you're asking whether his value was comparable to Bishop or Yost, well, Bishop's OPS+ was 102 and Yost's was 109. That's quite a dropoff from the 120 derived from my MLEs. Your question seems to suggest that I've set my estimate of Cuban League quality too high.

Certainly, I don't know for certain what the "true" quality factor should be. When I chose .90 for average and .81 for walks and isolated power, I really meant that I think a plausible range is between .87/.76 and .93/.86, which produces a range for his OPS+ from 113 to 127. We face this degree of uncertainty for all of our MLEs. But to get an OPS+ of 109 (comparable to Yost) would mean quality factors of .85/.72, and to get an OPS+ of 102 (comparable to Bishop) means .82/.67. That's Class AA level or lower. If you really think Cuban baseball quality was that low, I'd be interested in hearing an explanation of how they won 42 games versus 57 losses in series played against good major league teams. And I suppose Morán's relative Avg/OBP/Slg against major league pitching of 112/120/114 was also just a fluke.

I acknowledge I might have Morán placed too high, but he also might be too low. I've tried to be conservative, but if there are flaws in my methods or assumptions, please point them out.
   22. Howie Menckel Posted: May 18, 2007 at 02:41 AM (#2367837)
I voted for Cross a few times, ultimately bailed out, but at this juncture, maybe I take another look.

While different positions, how do Moran backers feel about Oms - another enigma - and vice versa?
   23. Brent Posted: May 18, 2007 at 03:07 AM (#2367864)
As the only acknowledged Morán backer to date, I guess I'll respond. :)

I have them ranked about the same--last election I had Morán ranked fifth and Oms seventh. The recorded data for Oms start relatively late (age 26, 1921) since he was mostly playing in unrecorded provincial leagues prior to that time. From 1921-29 (ages 26-34) his MLE OPS+ was 138. He had a couple of seasons where he was the best hitter in the Cuban League, which was at its pinnacle of quality during that decade. He had a reputation as a good center fielder--excellent range but a weak arm. I see him as comparable to (actually better than) recent electee Roush.
   24. Juan V Posted: May 18, 2007 at 04:48 PM (#2368262)
One thing about Moran vs Scales, is that we have the latter's peak more clearly defined.
   25. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 19, 2007 at 12:54 AM (#2368875)
I acknowledge I might have Morán placed too high, but he also might be too low. I've tried to be conservative, but if there are flaws in my methods or assumptions, please point them out.

Brent, I wasn't saying anything at all about the method, I was just curious what you thought of him in relation to those players since they are all of a type. Sorry if it came off otherwise!
   26. Brent Posted: May 19, 2007 at 04:28 AM (#2369131)
Eric - no problem. I just wasn't sure which you meant.
   27. Chris Cobb Posted: May 27, 2007 at 07:08 PM (#2380610)
Brent,

I'm starting to work on seasonal, regressed MLEs for Moran. To proceed, I need to be clear about the league and series averages. Do those include pitchers, or do they exclude pitchers?
   28. Brent Posted: May 27, 2007 at 09:05 PM (#2380759)
Chris, Thanks! The league and series averages exclude pitchers
   29. Chris Cobb Posted: May 27, 2007 at 09:26 PM (#2380776)
Thanks, Brent!

I should be able to post seasonal MLEs through OPS+ in the next day or two.
   30. Brent Posted: May 28, 2007 at 06:09 PM (#2381325)
I thought I’d fill in some other statistics on Morán that haven’t been posted yet. First, for play in the United States, we have statistics from Holway’s Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro Leagues for 1910-14:

Teams:

1910 Stars of Cuba (Havana Reds); 11-14 Cuban Stars

(Note – from this site we know that he was also on the roster of the 1902 All Cubans, which is not covered by Holway. Gary A reports that Morán also appears on a passenger manifest entering the U.S. with the 1904 All Cubans, though he isn’t listed on the roster shown in Holway.)

1910 .212; 3b
1911 8-23, .348 (4th); 3b, all-star
1912 .277; 3b, all-star
1913 .174 (incorrectly shown as “Eugenio” Moran); 3b
1914 .337 (3rd – team roster shows .333 for “Eugenio”); 3b, all-star

Cuban summer league

Year Tm        G AB  R  H 2B 3B HR BB HBP SB  Avg  OBP  Slg
1904 Punzó    15 51 11 12  0  0  0  8   3  1 .235 .371 .235
1905 Alerta
-p 20 88 20 25  1  2  0 10   3 11 .284 .376 .341
1906 Alerta    9 31  5  7  1  0  0 10   1  3 .226 .429 .258 

p = pennant
Source: Data compiled by Gary Ashwill posted on agatetype.typepad.com

Black ink – In 1905, Morán led league in AB, PA, R, H, 3B, HBP, SB, and TB.

(Note – In all three summers, Julián Castillo led the league in OBP and Slg; in 2 of the 3 summers, he also led in Avg.)


Summer league context – averages excluding pitchers:
Year LgAvg LgOBP LgSlg
1904  .195  .291  .234
1905  .216  .295  .249
1906  .186  .285  .209 


These additional statistics seem generally consistent with the winter league and special series data used earlier for the MLEs and don’t appear to change the overall picture.
   31. Paul Wendt Posted: May 28, 2007 at 06:32 PM (#2381348)
Overall league slugging .209 to .249 ?
Did any of the Negro Leagues register overall averages like these?
   32. Brent Posted: May 29, 2007 at 01:56 AM (#2381947)
Holway doesn't provide enough info to calculate overall averages for the deadball era. Gary tabulated the games for the 1916 Negro Leagues; the slugging percentages (excluding pitchers) were .335 in the west and .337 in the east. That's the only deadball era season I know of.
   33. Chris Cobb Posted: June 04, 2007 at 11:40 PM (#2392446)
Carlos Moran Seasonal MLEs

Following up on Brent’s excellent work on Moran’s career, I have completed seasonal major-league equivalents for Moran, using the conversion and regression method that I developed for Negro League candidates. If you have joined the project subsequent to the time when these MLEs were being regularly posted, I would be happy to answer any questions you have about the methodology.

Here is a quick summary on where I have followed Brent’s methods and where I have departed from them.

1) Playing Time. I have followed exactly Brent’s method. I have used his calculation of the percentage of team games in which Moran appeared to establish a games played total for each season.

2) Plate Appearances. For the sake of simplicity, I have used Brent’s 4.1 PA/g estimate throughout Moran’s career. In actuality, I believe it would have risen and fallen from about 3.8 to 4.5 PA/g as offensive levels changed during this period. I have tried to avoid misrepresentations in WS projections by converting WS/PA totals for players into a WS/game, and using games, rather than plate appearances as the basis for batting win share projections. A more exacting set of MLEs would vary the plate appearance rates and use WS/PA, but I think the end result in the comprehensive metric will be about the same by either method.

3) League Quality. I have followed Brent’s use of .90/.81 as the conversion factors for batting average and slugging, which seems reasonable, given the range of conversion factors suggested by the major-league careers of Almeida and Marsans. Like Brent, I have applied the slugging conversion factor only to isolated power. In very low offensive environments, this is a necessary change from my usual method, because frequently players would otherwise end up with a slugging average lower than their batting average. Because Moran played in the anomalous 1900 season, in which league quality in the majors suddenly spiked due to contraction, I have reduced his OPS+ for that season only by 5%, after making all other calculations.

4) Bases on Balls. Here I have departed from Brent’s method in two ways. First, having no data set aside from Moran’s own career for establishing a conversion factor, I have elected simply to use Moran’s own base-on-balls rates versus major league competition as the basis for all of my projections. I have therefore not relied upon the BB data from his play against Negro-League competition or in the CWL, except to shape the curve of Moran’s career. By this method, Moran’s walk rates are high but not an outlier in comparison to his major-league contemporaries. They are lower, however, than those Brent projected, because Moran’s walk rates, esp. vs. NeL competition, were _very_ high, so even though Brent reduced them by a factor of .81, they were still higher than the rates he achieved against ML competition. I have elected to be more conservative in my projections. I have also been more conservative by applying age modifiers to my projections. Moran’s play against major league teams came late in his career, at a point when his plate discipline would be at or near its peak. Brent applied his single BB rate to Moran’s whole career. This decision also lowers Moran’s walks in my projection versus those in Brent’s career projections. Differences in our handling of walk rates account for almost all the differences between my MLEs and Brent’s. For the sake of simplicity, I have folded HBP into BB, rather than treating them as separate categories.

5) Fielding. Brent did not attempt fielding projections. I have included fielding win share estimates for Moran. Such evidence as we have indicates that he was probably a good fielder. I have estimated him, therefore, at a low B+ career rate, modeling his peak and decline on the careers of Bill Bradley (a B+ 3Bman) and Frank Baker (a B 3Bman). My projections are all into a National League context. In this context, Moran would have led NL 3rdbasemen in fielding win shares in one season, and he would have finished in the top 3 another five or six times. During his fielding peak, he generally trailed Art Devlin (an A+ by win shares), and he is not projected as being comparable to the top defensive third basemen of his era, e.g. Jimmy Collins and Lave Cross.

6) League Context. As mentioned above, I have projected Moran into a National League context. I find it easier to make comparisons between non-ML and ML players when I know I can directly compare the two groups. I have also projected each winter league season as being a part of the major-league season that preceded it, so Moran’s first season, the 1899-1900 Cuban Winter League, is projected as part of the 1899 NL. I think Brent has done it the other way, but this is the system I used for winter league play for other projections, so I have stayed with it for the sake of consistency in my own methods.
   34. Chris Cobb Posted: June 04, 2007 at 11:41 PM (#2392447)
Carlos Moran Seasonal MLEs

Yr    Team  Eq G  PA    BB  Hits   TB   BA    OBP   SLG
1899  SF    137   562   51  173   185  .338  .398  .361
1900 SF
/Al  109   448   43  137   158  .338  .401  .390
1901  Didn
't play   
1902  Fe    111   453   41  144   161  .348  .407  .390
1903  Hab    56   230   26   67    71  .328  .403  .348
1904  Fe    139   568   49  149   165  .287  .348  .319
1905  Fe    148   606   68  175   192  .326  .401  .356
1906  Fe    154   631   81  143   157  .260  .355  .285
1907  Fe     46   189   23   45    49  .272  .360  .294
1908  Fe     92   377   43   74    80  .225  .313  .246
1909  Hab   136   556   76  140   166  .291  .388  .345
1910  Hab   154   631   95  162   186  .302  .407  .346
1911  Hab   149   612   97  154   181  .298  .409  .350
1912  Hab   154   631   92  164   189  .305  .406  .351
1913  Fe    149   612   84  143   163  .271  .371  .308
           1734  7108  866  1867 2099  .299  .385  .337

Carlos Moran Advanced Metrics

Year Team    OBP+   SLG+   OPS+    BWS   FWS   Tot   WS season-adj.*
1899  SF    1.130   .958   109    14.3   4.7   19.0   20.0
1900 SF/Alm 1.150  1.028   112    12.0   4.4   16.4   18.9
1901  Didn'
t play  
1902  Fe    1.267  1.189   146    19.5   5.0   24.5   28.3
1903  Hab   1.180   .960   114     6.1   1.6    7.7    8.9
1904  Fe    1.101   .957   106    13.6   7.2   20.8   21.9
1905  Fe    1.231  1.032   126    20.0   8.5   28.5   30.0
1906  Fe    1.110   .886   100    14.3   8.1   22.4   23.6
1907  Fe    1.133   .914   105     4.4   2.2    6.6    6.9
1908  Fe    1.017   .775    79     4.3   2.9    7.2    7.6
1909  Hab   1.211   .062   127    18.7   6.4   25.1   26.4
1910  Hab   1.209   .995   120    20.4   6.6   27.0   28.4
1911  Hab   1.186   .947   113    19.1   6.0   25.1   26.4
1912  Hab   1.161   .918   108    17.2   5.8   23.0   24.2
1913  Fe    1.109   .839    95    13.4   5.6   19.0   20.0
                           112   197.3  74.9  272.2  291.5

*prorated to 162 game seasonsfrom 140 or 154. 
   35. Brent Posted: June 05, 2007 at 04:02 AM (#2392924)
Thanks for doing these MLEs, Chris. They came out about how I expected, so I don't have much in the way of comments. My estimate of his career line was .295 .391 .352; yours is .299 .385 .337. The difference in average is small and may be explained by the fact that your projection went from 1899-1913, whereas mine went from 1900-1914. (The NL league avg in 1899 was .282 compared to .251 in 1914.) The small drop in OBP and walks comes, I'm sure, because you based his walk rate on his rate vs. ML pitching. I'm a little more surprised by the drop in ISO from my estimate of .057 to your .038, since you said that you (like me) applied the lower slugging conversion only to isolated power. That's getting awfully low--even Roy Thomas managed a .043 ISO.

I used the major league and Negro league series in my conversions; it wasn't clear (except for walks) whether you used them. Maybe that explains some of the difference in ISO.

My projection apparently showed Morán slightly ahead of Hack (taking account of wartime competition issues), whereas your projection appears to place him slightly behind. Bottom line -- will he make, or be close to making, your ballot?
   36. Chris Cobb Posted: June 05, 2007 at 05:00 AM (#2393152)
I used the major league and Negro league series in my conversions; it wasn't clear (except for walks) whether you used them. Maybe that explains some of the difference in ISO.

I did use these series in the conversions. As you did, I converted all of the CWL seasons, NeL series, and ML series into the National League context for that season, applying conversion factors to the CWL and NeL data, and adjusting the offense levels for all play.

So I don't know what accounts for the ISO difference. I'll look over my calculations again to see if there are any errors, or to see if I can discern a reason for the difference.

--Having looked, I've found a major error. I accidentally applied the competition level conversion factors to the games against major-league competition! I am not accustomed to using data that don't need competition-level adjustments, so apparently I forgot to modify the formula for that part of the spreadsheet. So my projections for the second half of Moran's career, 1907 to 1913, will need to be redone, and the extant ones are certainly somewhat too low, especially for slugging. Crud. The changes through to OPS+ will be quick enough because they are mostly automated, but doing new batting win share estimates is going to take several hours of work, so it will be a few days more before I can get those done. Double crud. Both embarrassing and demoralizing.

Bottom line -- will he make, or be close to making, your ballot?

Well, I wasn't sure before I found that my data were in error, so now I'm _really_ not sure, but I think he deserves serious consideration. He's in the borderline 1900s group with Leach and Bresnahan, for sure, but I don't know yet where I will place him exactly. Higher than I would have if I hadn't found this error . . .

His placement depends not only on his revised MLEs, but on how I decide to handle his 1901 season. He did miss the whole CWL season, so perhaps there is no credit, but he may also have been playing at other times of the year in undocumented leagues, and it strikes me as unlikely that he would have been suspended for an entire major-league season for fighting with an umpire.

Does anyone know what kind of suspensions for that sort of behavior were being handed down around 1900-02? Is the loss of a full season likely? What is your view on that season, Brent?
   37. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 05, 2007 at 01:41 PM (#2393500)
Both embarrassing and demoralizing.

Chris, given your high, high standards and reputation/track record for outstanding work, you needn't be embarrassed or demoralized by the odd mistake. Take a look at the Clarkson thread's last 75 or so posts and you'll feel a lot better about things.... ; )
   38. Paul Wendt Posted: June 05, 2007 at 05:30 PM (#2393745)
Does anyone know what kind of suspensions for that sort of behavior were being handed down around 1900-02? Is the loss of a full season likely? What is your view on that season, Brent?

Do you project suspensions to the contemporary, complacent National League or to Ban Johnson's American League on the make? Suspension practice cannot be described as the rule of law. As with projection of peak and trough seasons, there is the problem of high-variance events. Maybe Kid Elberfeld has enough fights to generate good estimates of variance and of interleague differnces in means. (kidding)

Full season, no way.
I believe Elberfeld's career shows that. I have some thing(s) in handwritten notes but not at hand.

Even if unwelcome in one league, 1900-1902 is good timing, a time when it was possible to parlay suspension in one league into contract in another.
In Williams, Leach, and Bradley there were at least three very good young 3Bs. Leach lost a fulltime job with the Louisville-Pittsburgh merger, but that is simply wrong place wrong time, I think. In 1900 news I have read that Dreyfuss will not trade Leach.
   39. Paul Wendt Posted: June 05, 2007 at 05:32 PM (#2393747)
1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 17, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2313537)
> Brent from the Home Run Johnson thread:

Morán was a third baseman of Chinese ancestry who played in Cuba from 1900-16.


How much Chinese ancestry?
   40. TomH Posted: June 05, 2007 at 05:54 PM (#2393769)
Great info, Chris et al.

Do we have evidence (anecdotal or ###s) for Moran's baserunning and speed? I assume this was at least as important, if not more so, than MLB in that day, especially if in his leagues runs were scarce. His est Win Shares could change a lot depending on if he were a leadfoot or a real rabbit. I did see the note that he led the league in runs scored, which hints as good speed, but could also mean batting order and good sticks behind him (any info on where he hit in the lineup most often?).
   41. Chris Cobb Posted: June 05, 2007 at 06:24 PM (#2393798)
Do we have evidence (anecdotal or ###s) for Moran's baserunning and speed?

The base-stealing data shows at least decent speed. Gary A's CWL data from the 1904 through 1906 seasons and his data from Moran's play against NeL opponents in various years from 1905 through 1912 shows Moran stealing bases at a rate of 65/154 games. This is mid to late career data, so Moran can't have been slow. On the other hand, Gary A's 1909-1912 data on Moran's play vs. major-league opponents shows him stealing at a rate of only 13/154 games. This data is by and large later, so we might expect to see some decline, but in the 1911-12 CWL season, Moran stole at a rate of 94 sb/154 games. So it seems clear to me that Moran was a speedy and active baserunner in the CWL but that he was much less active, at least, in his play versus major-league teams. There might be a number of explanations for this difference, since we are dealing with such small sample sizes here, but my guess is that Moran would have had a stolen base profile comparable to that of Johnny Evers (324 in 1784 games) or Miller Huggins (324 in 1586 games), not one comparable to that of, say, Honus Wagner (722 in 2792 games, and better during his prime). On the low end, his SB rates could have been closer to those of Claude Ritchey (155 in 1671 games).

As a side note, I have corrected the error in my MLEs. It raises Moran's career OPS+ from 112 to 114 and gives him a stronger late peak after his two injury seasons, but it does not change my estimate of his ISO as .038 rather than Brent's estimate of .057. I will look further into the methodologies with which we handled slugging-related matters to see if I can identify the source of our divergent findings.
   42. TomH Posted: June 05, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2393839)
Thanks Chris.

Now I see from Gary A's site linked at the top that in the 05 and 06 Cuban leagues, teams averaged just over 1.9 sb per game among non-pitchers, which comes out to .24/g per fulltime position player. So Moran's 65sb/154g is well above average (75% more steals), IF the Cuban avg of 05-06 was typical of 1900-1913. Showing how different the game is today, that would translate to 18 or 19 sb per 154g in the AL of 2006.
   43. Brent Posted: June 06, 2007 at 12:29 AM (#2394216)
Does anyone know what kind of suspensions for that sort of behavior were being handed down around 1900-02? Is the loss of a full season likely? What is your view on that season, Brent?

A full season suspension for fighting the does seem extreme; however, without knowing more about the incident that precipitated the suspension, it's really hard to judge. I see two possible scenarios: (1) It's possible that Morán's offense really was extreme enough to merit a severe penalty--(for example, severely beating the umpire, or pulling a gun on him). In such a case, I'd have no sympathy and might even dock him more. (2) It's possible that the offense wasn't especially severe, but management arbitrarily decided to make an example of Morán in order to make a point with the other players. That would make it a case similar to that of Charley Jones, and might merit extra credit. Not knowing which scenario comes closer to the truth, I'm treating it the same as if he'd missed a season due to injury. There were plenty of other professional and semiprofessional playing opportunities in Cuba (as described in a chapter of The Pride of Havana), so it's quite likely he was able to play elsewhere during the suspension.

Chris, given your high, high standards and reputation/track record for outstanding work, you needn't be embarrassed or demoralized by the odd mistake.

I strongly second Eric's comment.

How much Chinese ancestry?

I don't know. All I know is that (a) his nickname was "Chino," indicating Chinese ancestry, and (b) on passenger lists coming into the U.S., his race is listed as African. As I mentioned earlier on this thread, these facts might indicate biracial Asian-African ancestry. IMO, photos of him (such as here and here) are not conclusive evidence of his ancestry. Chinese ancestry was not unusual in Cuba--at least a half dozen other Cuban players also carried the nickname "Chino"; some of these players, based on the photos, were obviously of multiracial ancestry.

Do we have evidence (anecdotal or ###s) for Moran's baserunning and speed?

I agree with Chris's comparisons to players like Johnny Evers and Miller Huggins. Morán only led the league in stolen bases once (the 1905 summer league), but he was often one of the league leaders (5th in 1905-06, 2nd in 1906-07, 2nd in 1911-12, tied for 2nd in 1912-13). The next season (1913-14) shows 0 SB, which looks suspicious to me--sometimes I have the feeling that Figueredo is putting in zeroes when data are actually missing. Most other seasons we don't have data.

I'll also mention that Gary sent me caught stealing data for Morán's series against major league teams, and they're pretty awful--3 SB versus 7 CS. My take on that is that he wasn't accustomed to running against first-tier major league arms. I imagine that if he'd actually played in the majors, he'd have adjusted--stolen fewer bases, but with a better success rate. Unfortunately, I don't have CS data for any other seasons.

As a side note, I have corrected the error in my MLEs. It raises Moran's career OPS+ from 112 to 114 and gives him a stronger late peak after his two injury seasons, but it does not change my estimate of his ISO as .038 rather than Brent's estimate of .057. I will look further into the methodologies with which we handled slugging-related matters to see if I can identify the source of our divergent findings.

I'll note that in adjusting for context, I separately adjusted for the difference in league ISO, rather than doing it as part of an overall adjustment for SLG. I did it that way because the differences between Cuban League and major league isolated power were so extreme that it seemed to me that it was better to do the adjustment separately for AVG and ISO. That could be the reason for the difference.

Thanks, everyone.
   44. Chris Cobb Posted: June 06, 2007 at 12:47 AM (#2394230)
I'll note that in adjusting for context, I separately adjusted for the difference in league ISO, rather than doing it as part of an overall adjustment for SLG. I did it that way because the differences between Cuban League and major league isolated power were so extreme that it seemed to me that it was better to do the adjustment separately for AVG and ISO. That could be the reason for the difference.

Thanks for pulling this detail out of your account of your methodology. This is a reasonable step to take, given the extreme conditions, and Moran's MLEs as I have calculated them would appear to be a major outlier vis a vis major-league examples of low ISO, which suggests that the contextual adjustment I have made is insufficient. I'll see about putting the "iso only" contextual adjustment into my system and see if my results then match yours.

I'll also mention that Gary sent me caught stealing data for Morán's series against major league teams, and they're pretty awful--3 SB versus 7 CS. My take on that is that he wasn't accustomed to running against first-tier major league arms. I imagine that if he'd actually played in the majors, he'd have adjusted--stolen fewer bases, but with a better success rate. Unfortunately, I don't have CS data for any other seasons.

This seems reasonable. Did Gary break those CS out by series? I note that Moran's 3 SB are from two series in 1911 and 1912. In his 1909 and 1910 series, he was on first base 23 times, with 0 SB. In his 1911 and 1912 series, he was on first base 22 times, with 3 SB. It would be interesting to see when he made his other attempts, to see if the pattern suggests learning, or luck in his successes. If we posit that the latter two years show him as "adjusted" to major league SB conditions, he shows a rate of 29 SB/154 games in those two seasons.
   45. Brent Posted: June 06, 2007 at 01:44 AM (#2394375)
Did Gary break those CS out by series?

Year Tm                           SB CS
1909 Habana
/Detroit Tigers         0  1
1909 Habana
/All Stars              0  0
1910 Habana
/Detroit Tigers         0  1
1910 Habana
/Philadelphia Athletics 0  2
1911 Habana
/Philadelphia Phillies  2  3
1911 Habana
/New York Giants        0  0
1912 Habana
/Philadelphia Athletics 1  
   46. Chris Cobb Posted: June 06, 2007 at 03:37 AM (#2394654)
Thanks, Brent!
   47. Paul Wendt Posted: June 06, 2007 at 10:04 PM (#2395269)
The Detroit backstops, or Boss Schmidt only, took some heat from contemporary pundits. The Cubs relative success in stealing bases was considered one dimension of clear superiority over the Tigers.

I just looked up the 1910 Athletics and I didn't recognize the names Jack Lapp and Ira Thomas, the two catchers, so I have nothing else to say.
   48. Chris Cobb Posted: June 07, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2395643)
It's been a busy day today, but I find that when I base the slugging adjustment on ISO, as Brent has done, I get a preliminary finding, using the CWL seasons only (not including the series vs. Negro League teams or Major League teams), of an ISO for Moran of .051, which is more in line with Brent's estimates, though still somewhat lower. A rough estimate of Moran's career line from me would be .302/.387/.351, with an OPS+ of 117-118. Adjusting Moran's series play this way might eliminate the discrepancies between my numbers and Brent's, or it might not, but in any case I am satisfied that the source of the major differences has been identified.

Discussion of the validity of this approach -- adjusting slugging by prorating ISO for context, rather than adjusting SA as a whole -- would be welcome. It seems reasonable to me, but I'd like to see what folks think.

My plan at this point is to produce complete sets of seasonal MLEs, sans win shares, for a projection of Moran adjusting slugging in the way I have previously done -- the win shares should be a bit higher, but not _much_ higher, than the ones in my first projection. I will also produce a complete set of seasonal MLEs _with_ win shares, for a projection of Moran adjusting slugging according to the method Brent has developed. Those will be higher by what I expect will be a significant amount.

If discussion makes it clear that one or the other method is by far the more sound, I will only produce the preferred MLE set, but my intention at this point is to show both before balloting begins.
   49. Paul Wendt Posted: June 07, 2007 at 03:53 AM (#2395785)
Brent #35
I'm a little more surprised by the drop in ISO from my estimate of .057 to your .038, since you said that you (like me) applied the lower slugging conversion only to isolated power. That's getting awfully low--even Roy Thomas managed a .043 ISO.

This is a glaring, troubling consequence of your established method, Chris. Roy Thomas .290//.333 is the all-time major league trailer, right? Is it plausible to project anyone to less than 90% of his career rate, .043 extra bases per atbat?

The extra-base hitting in the CWL is mind-boggling (#32-34). In winter 1904 that rate is .039 (ISO for non-pitchers), less than Thomas's historically low career rate in the majors. In the next two winters, that rate drops to .033, then to .023!

Has anyone worked directly with extra bases per hit? Does that more plausibly measure something real? (Offhand I think so.) With batting average about .200 compared to Roy Thomas .300, the CWL 1904 tallied one extra base per five hits compared to one per seven hits for Thomas. In the next two winters that rate drops to one:6.5 and then to one:8, which roughly matches rather than roughly halves Thomas.

--
Brent #34
Gary tabulated the games for the 1916 Negro Leagues; the slugging percentages (excluding pitchers) were .335 in the west and .337 in the east. That's the only deadball era season I know of.

Do you have the batting averages?
Anyway, does 1916 show less "slugging" than any of the 1920s-30s organized Leagues?
   50. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 07, 2007 at 01:09 PM (#2395992)
Just generally, it makes a lot of sense to me to to use the ISO-based adjustment in a very low SLG environment where average is accounting for a much higher percentage of SLG and where variations in power are being masked by ballpark or league conditions to such a high degree. If the goal is to draw out the true variation between player's power and league's power (and, thereby, to be able to put this difference into other contexts), it seems like a potentially fruitful path to me. A way to double-check how effective it might be is to run someone like Pop Lloyd through it to see if the results for him are reasonable or wacky.

Brent, when you did Cravath, did you do the ISO adjustment or the with-average adjustment? Do you think it matters for Gavy?
   51. Paul Wendt Posted: June 07, 2007 at 03:56 PM (#2396156)
Yes, and EB/hit is the natural "next step" in the same direction. The downside is that if you too find EB/hit an attractive nuisance --I mean, find EB/hit compelling, then it should be the basis for all equivalencies not only for leagues with X-low batting power.

By the way, in Sporting Life sometime March/April 1916, J.C. Kofoed tabulated the leading major league sluggers for several seasons through 1915. Number one was Gavy Cravath, of course. Number two was Ed Konetchy, a surprise to me.
   52. Paul Wendt Posted: June 07, 2007 at 06:39 PM (#2396336)
Re stealing bases in 1900 or 1910, two thoughts from the research desk:

Who worked as umpire? How many?
For 1900 the NL cut back to one umpire, behind the plate. "The base runners will be pleased with the single umpire system as the base umpire was too close and able to detect when the runner was slightly touched out. With the umpire behind the plate the runner is usually given the best of the decisions." --Detroit News 1900-04-02 Base Ball Notes

The pitchers may be more important than the catchers.
Perhaps the major league pitchers who worked in Cuba were better than CWL pitchers at holding runners on base. Left handed pitchers are much better than righties today. Did the CWL have a share of lefties roughly the same as major leagues? Offhand I guess not since the major league share developed only through decades of professional play.
(Of course, re Carlos Moran in particular, what matters is the major league pitchers who worked in Cuba around 1910.)

Do we know whether a pick off play at first base would be scored as caught stealing?

--
Third base in 1900
"Competent third basemen are the scarcest material on the market these days." --Detroit News 1900-03-22, in a paragraph on the trouble Philadelphia faces with the retirement of Billy Lauder.
[Lauder, unhappy with salary, becomes full-season college coach, whereas many major leagues work as coaches only some part of Feb to Apr. Lauder career OPS+ 77.

Bradley is a find for Chicago. Wolverton may lose his job.
[Yes, indeed. See Bradley's record. Wolverton plays 3 season games for Chicago, then 101 games for Philadelphia.
   53. Brent Posted: June 07, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2396758)
Who worked as umpire? How many?

Gary, who collected the data from box scores, can certainly answer better than I, but in his discussion of the 1908 Cincinnati Reds series, he mentions a single umpire--an American (minor league) umpire named Setley. The Library of Congress shows a box score from the 1910 Detroit series, and there are two umpires--HoF umpire Billy Evans and an "E. Gutiérrez."</a>

I suspect there were fewer southpaw pitchers in the Cuban League, but I haven't tried to identify and count them.

I'll have to defer to Gary or another expert on your question about scoring of a pick off play.
   54. Brent Posted: June 07, 2007 at 10:13 PM (#2396826)
Brent, when you did Cravath, did you do the ISO adjustment or the with-average adjustment? Do you think it matters for Gavy?

The problem and the way I approached it were both different. (That was more than two years ago -- good thing I wrote an explanation of the methods used on the Buzz Arlett thread, or I would have forgotten them.)

With Cravath the issue was a fairly extreme ballpark (Nicollet Park in Minneapolis). But I didn't have actual ballpark factors (which have to be compiled from home and road data--i.e., go through hundreds of box scores). What I did instead was compare the team's runs allowed and runs scored to the league average to come up with a "pseudo" park factor. Obviously, that doesn't tell us what components of offense were inflated. So, without true park factors, I really couldn't do component-by-component adjustments for context.

The method I used, however, was the method Bill James used in one of the 1980s Abstracts. The method, in adjusting for quality of competition, adjusts each element of the batting line separately (singles, doubles, triples, home runs, walks), so it was more sophisticated than just multiplying SLG by a factor. But it wasn't at all similar to what I did with Morán. If I were to do Cravath's MLEs again, however, I would probably do some things differently. I think we all benefit when we look at the MLEs with slightly different methods (and try to discuss and explain the differences).
   55. Brent Posted: June 07, 2007 at 10:56 PM (#2396865)
I'll also mention, if you haven't already read it, Gary's site has a discussion of the extremely low offensive levels in deadball-era Cuba. He demonstrates that whatever it was that was causing the reduction in isolated power also affected the visiting major league teams. The comments section provides some interesting discussion of possible reasons.
   56. Paul Wendt Posted: June 07, 2007 at 11:13 PM (#2396882)
The regular starting pitchers of the Detroit staff were very right-handed. Lefty Ed Siever played his last game June 1908; Ed Killian July 1910. If the regular pitchers handled the work in Cuba, Killian was the one lefty among five in Fall 1909 and there was no lefty next year.

The 1910 champion Athletics used only 4+ starting pitchers at 250+ innings apiece. The three righties were dominant (wow!) while Lefty Getty Eddie was only so-so for him. Next year, same quartet, with fifth man Harry Krause (lefty) up to 169ip).

The 1911 Giants used 4+ starting pitchers including lefties Marquard and Wiltse. Righty Mathewson had plenty of experience and probably enough money and status to skip Cuba anyway.
   57. Paul Wendt Posted: June 07, 2007 at 11:35 PM (#2396918)
(I see that's the Phillies not the Athletics in 1911)

Gary's site has a discussion of the extremely low offensive levels in deadball-era Cuba. He demonstrates that whatever it was that was causing the reduction in isolated power also affected the visiting major league teams.

Here is ISO (extra bases per at bat) in MLB competition and in Cuba for eight teams 1908-1913.
ISO MLB: .067 .075 .083-.089 .111-.100 .095 .093
ISO Cuba .032 .038 .039-.045 .084-.064 .088 .074 (recall, Roy Thomas career .043; Fielder Jones .062)

Hyphens join the two series played in 1910 and 1911.

OK, yes, the North Americans suffered a big decline in extra base hitting.


Here is extra bases per hit for the same eight MLB teams.
EB/H MLB: .29 .28 .31-.33 .39-.38 .33 .34
EB/H Cuba .16 .19 .16-.21 .34-.27 .28 .28 (recall, Roy Thomas career .14; Fielder Jones .21)
   58. Chris Cobb Posted: June 08, 2007 at 02:03 AM (#2397125)
Righty Mathewson had plenty of experience and probably enough money and status to skip Cuba anyway.

McGraw came to Cuba to win, and he had Mathewson with him. According to Holway, Mathewson started four of the nine games the Giants played in Cuba. He pitched on Nov. 25, winning 4-1, on Nov. 30, beating Jose Mendez 4-0, on Dec. 8, winning 7-4, and on Dec. 14, losing 7-4. Riley has Mendez beating Mathewson 4-3 and Nap Rucker 2-1, but I think Holway is more likely to have the straight story.
   59. Brent Posted: June 08, 2007 at 03:31 AM (#2397193)
1909 Tigers - pitchers were Willet 1-3, Mullin 1-2, Lelivelt 2-3. (T. Cobb absent)
1909 All-Stars - Joss 1-2, Nap Rucker 1-0, Howie Camnitz 0-1.
1910 Tigers - Summers 3-1, Mullin 3-1, Willet 1-2. (T. Cobb played)
1910 A's - Bender 1-3, Plank 0-3 (2 losses against Méndez), Coombs 3-0. (E. Collins & F. Baker absent)
1911 Phillies - Schultz 5-1, Stack 0-2, Chalmers 0-1.
1911 Giants - Matty 3-1, Becker 1-1, Wiltse 2-0, Crandall 3-1.
1912 A's - Bender 3-2, Coombs 5-0, Plank 2-0. (E. Collins & F. Baker played)
Source - Figueredo
   60. Brent Posted: June 08, 2007 at 03:45 AM (#2397197)
Gary has all of Méndez's starts against major leaguers posted here.
   61. Paul Wendt Posted: June 08, 2007 at 03:05 PM (#2397395)
I did read in Sporting Life one winter that Tigers players had wired Cobb from Cuba asking him to come down.

1909 Det - RHP Lelivelt was a tryout. RHPs Willet and Mullin worked about 600 of 1400 innings for the pennant-winning staff.
1909 stars - genuine stars, all righty
1910 Det - the remaining workhorses of the pennant-winning staffs; all RHP
1910 Athletics - 3/4 of the dominant champion staff, Plank a lefty
1911 Phillies - Schultz evidently below major league quality, Stack ordinary, Chalmers third starter on a good staff; all RHP
1911 Giants - unknown Becker, another tryout?; 3/5 of pennant winning staff where Crandall worked start & relief, Wiltse a lefty
1912 Athletics - same as 1910 but Coombs no longer dominating, team displaced as champions this year

Summary, simply counting decisions, listed in order above
12 _5 11 10 _9 12 12 = 71 games played to a decisions

_5 __ __ __ _8 _2 __ = 15 tryout and marginal mlb pitchers
_7 _5 11 10 _1 10 12 = 56 regular starters and genuine "All-Stars"

__ __ __ _3 __ _2 _2 = 7 left-hand pitchers
__ __ __ __ __ _2 __ = 2 Becker, unknown to me, probably a lefty
(If Beals Becker of the Giants, a lefty experiment; he never pitched in the majors. If Charlie Becker of Washington, a marginal major league lefty.)

In 1909-1910, when Moran stole no bases and was caught four times, the visiting pitchers were righties in 35 games, Eddie Plank in 3 games; overall 62 and 7 with 2 unknown, probably left. The visitors were 56 regular starting pitchers on these good to great major league teams and 15 marginal major league or tryout pitchers. The 1911 Phillies had only three regular or quality starting pitchers; only the third made the trip and he worked only one of nine games. Either the Phillies weren't serious or ace pitchers Alexander and Moore (700 of 1400 team innings, ERA+ 133 and 130) were uncooperative.
   62. Paul Wendt Posted: June 08, 2007 at 03:20 PM (#2397403)
Evidently Moran did not play in 1908. The 1908 Cincinnati Reds differ from the other visitors, not far below .500 but I insist on calling them a bad team. Hans Lobert plus a cast with OPS+ below 90. From general off-season reading in this era I know that Frank Bancroft of Cincinnati was a pioneering and probably the leading exponent of post-season tours.
   63. Paul Wendt Posted: June 08, 2007 at 09:11 PM (#2397609)
By the way, Fall 1900
-11-18 the Bancroft-led team departed Cincinnati, "will play ball through Cuba"
-11-29 "The barnstorming trip of the Cincinnati players did not pan out well and they have returned home"
   64. Brent Posted: June 09, 2007 at 03:43 AM (#2398058)
1911 Giants - unknown Becker, another tryout?;

I'm sorry, that was Beals Becker.

Evidently Moran did not play in 1908.

He was playing for Fe that year. The American series were limited to Habana and Almendares, the oldest and most popular teams.

The 1908 Reds pitchers in Cuba were Robert Spade 1-3, Bill Campbell 3-0, Jean Dubuc 1-2

In November 1900 Figueredo doesn't mention Reds playing in Cuba, but says, "As part of their barnstorming program, the Brooklyn Superbas and the New York Giants found their way to the Havana docks in November to battle each other and venture against the local talent." He doesn't describe the games played between the two American teams, but Brooklyn beat the local teams in all four matches, all by lop-sided scores: 12-2, 10-2, 13-1, 14-6. Comparing the 1900 series with the 1908-13 series is evidence that during the decade of the aughts the quality of Cuban play improved substantially. No mention of any games played by the 1900 Giants against the locals.
   65. Paul Wendt Posted: June 09, 2007 at 05:04 PM (#2398410)
I suspect this is another tour that will fail but it helps complete the picture --what do you do with a new empire but tour it commercially? Again from the Detroit News 1899

TO INVADE CUBA
New Orleans, Dec 23
"Cuba is to be invaded by a base ball team from the United States. An aggregation to be known as the All American Base Ball Club will leave this city for Havana soon for a stay of two months."

Led by Abner Powell, manager, New Orleans SL

Roster: Beecher, local ss, and "talent from the National and minor leagues"
Beckley and Steinfeldt, Cin; Childs, Phi; McAllister, Cle; Dan Phelan, Jimmy Delaney and Nance, New Orleans; Johnny Gonding, local catcher, Reading 1899.

I recall reading a few months later that Chiles of Philadelphia (Pete Childs) had been to Cuba that winter. He was quoted or cited on some point but I don't recall even that it was a baseball point.

--
Sometime during this offseason it was reported that Frank Selee, Boston NL manager, would take a team to Paris after the 1900 season, or if that doesn't work out, to California.
   66. Brent Posted: June 09, 2007 at 05:15 PM (#2398417)
There's no mention of an 1899-1900 All American Base Ball Club in Figueredo (but Figueredo misses a few of the early tours).
   67. Paul Wendt Posted: June 09, 2007 at 08:52 PM (#2398530)
According to the Detroit News game story (source?) for Baltimore at Brooklyn, 1900-10-14, the last game of the season in the East,
"In the second inning Sheckard assaulted Umpire Hunt for calling him out on a steal, and then refused to retire from the game."
"assault"? I don't know what it means.
Hunt forfeited the game to Brooklyn. "A game postponed from Baltimore was then played to appease the crowd . . ."
Both umpire Hunt and player Sheckard worked the game. Bro 8 Bal 3 (4-1/2 inn)
   68. Jeff K. Posted: June 09, 2007 at 09:25 PM (#2398560)
Okay. I never thought the day would come that I would see a HoM thread on the sidebar and think "Who?", but there you have it.

But no wonder.
   69. Paul Wendt Posted: June 12, 2007 at 02:32 AM (#2400819)
Detroit News 1899-10-22 reprints a list of "the more flagrant offenses of the year" from "a Chicago paper, in an editorial review of the seasons' work".
First of sixteen listed:
"May 2 - Row at Pittsburgh-St. Louis game. Bowerman was put out of the game. O'Connor was taken off the field by the police, and the crowd chased Umpires Burns and Smith."

The last two alone are called player "assaults" on umpires.
"Oct 9 - Mercer assaulted Umpire Mannassau at Washington.
"Oct 14 - Sheckard assaulted Umpire Hunt [at Brooklyn]
, refused to retire, and Hunt forfeited the game to Brooklyn."

The National League purchased the Washington and Baltimore clubs/franchises that winter; New York and Brooklyn acquired Mercer and Sheckard.

Mercer worked as a regular starting pitcher in 1899, Jun 5 to Aug 19, and in 1900, Jun 11 to the end of the season. Injured in '99? Suspended in '00? I don't know.

Sheckard was one of the youngest players in the league, 1900 playing time limited by the surplus talent there --Fielder Jones in center; at the corners and first base, Keeler Kelley and Jennings. (Essentially, Sheckard had been farmed to Baltimore a year earlier to make room for the three Orioles in Brooklyn.)

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