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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Charley Jones & Lip Pike

Our “friend of the HoM” John Proulx suggested this page. Good idea!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 07, 2004 at 01:45 AM | 69 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Proo Posted: September 07, 2004 at 05:44 PM (#840768)
I think, technically, I asked for Jones and Ed Williamson ;-) .

Seriously, though, thanks. Having these two together makes a certain amount of sense to me, since I see their value as fairly similar, but see that Pike has had a lot more support than Jones. Through a bit of urging and a bit of my own stirring interest, I am considering posting a ballot within the next few "years", and thus I'd much appreciate anyone who can explain why they prefer Pike, since I lean the other way.
   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 07, 2004 at 05:51 PM (#840786)
I think, technically, I asked for Jones and Ed Williamson ;-) .

Actually, you mentioned Pike and Jones in your e-mail to me, but you did also mention Williamson at the other thread, so nobody is actual wrong here. :-)

I think a McGraw, Williamson, Nash and Meyerle thread would be a good idea. Sometime this week...
   3. OCF Posted: September 07, 2004 at 06:04 PM (#840806)
I think a McGraw, Williamson, Nash and Meyerle thread would be a good idea.

Chris J. casts votes for Lave Cross. What's fairly acute here are cross-era comparisons versus Groh (for now) and Traynor (not too far away).
   4. Proo Posted: September 07, 2004 at 06:09 PM (#840816)
Actually, you mentioned Pike and Jones in your e-mail to me, but you did also mention Williamson at the other thread, so nobody is actual wrong here. :-)

Fair point...but nobody else knew that ;-) .

I think a McGraw, Williamson, Nash and Meyerle thread would be a good idea.

Billy Nash -- now THERE'S a guy who's been forgotten already, apparently. More info on him would be welcome as I decide who should be in what I guess is called my "consideration set".
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 07, 2004 at 06:17 PM (#840835)
Chris J. casts votes for Lave Cross. What's fairly acute here are cross-era comparisons versus Groh (for now) and Traynor (not too far away).

Good point, OCF. I'll add him to the thread.
   6. Paul Wendt Posted: September 13, 2004 at 04:00 PM (#851675)
BTW, Pike was the first to hit 10 major league home runs and the first to hit 20. He was the career leader each year thru 1879 and the single-season record holder thru 1878 (6 in 1872).

Jones was the first to hit 30, first to hit 40, career leader 1880-1884 except '82, and single season record holder thru 1883 (9 in 1879).

Stovey was the first to hit 50, first to hit 100, career leader 1885-1894 except '87-88, and single season record holder in 1883 (14).

In those days, the same men were the leading hitters of home runs and triples, maybe doubles. Thru 1877, when Pike hit his 20th and last major league home run, he was second to George Hall in triples (53-51) and second to Ross Barnes in doubles (121-114). Thru 1886, Jones was second in triples to O'Rourke. O'Rourke was the career leader in home runs thru 1882, triples thru 1885-87, doubles thru 1880-81.
   7. Kelly in SD Posted: March 28, 2006 at 09:36 AM (#1922361)
Resurrecting this thread to cross post with the 1973 Discussion Thread.

Charley Jones Keltner List. I have tried to be objective, but I am one of Jones' best friends.

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?
I don't have access to any primary sources for the years when Charley Jones played. The closest I have is a copy of Spink's The National Game from 1911. In it, he provides commentary about most of the good players back to the National Association. He usually only has good things to say. His comment about Jones is short. It says that he was one of the hardest hitters of his day, was a stalwart player, knew all the finer points of the game, he could field and throw finely, and he was his team’s home run hitter.
But, even without any primary sources, I believe that he was never regarded as the best player in the game. During his career, I believe the best players were considered to be George Gore, Paul Hines, Cap Anson, and John Ward

2. Was he the best player on his team?
Often he was. Using win shares, let’s see what we find.
<u>1876</u>: <u>He was</u>. Teams had 65 – 70 decisions. The Reds finished 9-56, which is below even Win Shares’ replacement level. Jones was the team’s only good player. Jones led his team with 9 win shares. The Cubs were an all-star team and dominate the top 10 lists that year, but Jones shows up in top 10s for Slugging, Adjusted OPS+, Doubles, Home Runs, and Extra Base Hits.
<u>1877</u>: <u>He was</u>. Teams had 57 – 60 decisions. The Reds finished 15-42 in last again. Jones tied with Jack Manning, the shortstop, for best player on the team with 8 win shares. It took Manning 57 games to do that, while Jones needed 38. Jones is better by rate. Lip Pike and Jack Manning show up in some top 10 lists. Jones has a better Avg, OBP, SLG than either, but doesn’t qualify b/c of insufficient PA.
<u>1878</u>: <u>He was</u>. Teams had 60 decisions. Reds were second best in league, 37-23. He had 12 win shares, most by a position player, better than Cal McVey, King Kelly, Deacon White, and Lip Pike – all HoMers. He is in the top 10, often top 5, in Avg, Slg, OPS, R, H, TB, 3b, HR, RBI, OPS+, Runs Created, and EBH.
<u>1879</u>: <u>He was</u>. Teams had 70-84 decisions. He is now with the Braves, second best in the league, 54-30. He had 21 win shares, 4 more than any other position player. He is top 10, often top 5 in Avg, OBP, SLG, OPS, R, H, TB, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, BB, OPS+, RC, and EBH.
<u>1880</u>: Kicked off team after playing 66 games before being kicked off the team. Teams had 80-84 decisions. Jim O’Rourke (HoMer) was best on team with 17 win shares. Jones ended with 12 win shares. He is in the top 10 in Avg, OBP, SLG, OPS, HR, RBI, and OPS+.
1881: Blacklisted
1882: Blacklisted
<u>1883</u>: <u>He was</u>. Teams had 96-98 decisions. He is now with the Reds in the American Association, third best in the league, 61-37. He had 18 win shares. He is top 10, often top 5 in OBP, SLG, OPS, TB, 3B, HR, RBI, OPS+, RC, and EBH.
<u>1884</u>: <u>He was</u>. You could argue for John O’Reilly at first base. At worst, they are tied. Teams had 104-109 decisions. Reds are 5th in a 12 team league, 68-41. He had 27 win shares. He is top 10, often top 5 in AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, R, H, TB, 3B, HR, RBI, BB, OPS+, RC, EBH, and Times on Base.
<u>1885</u>: <u>He was</u>. Teams had 108-112 decisions. Reds are 2nd in an 8 team league, 63-49. He had 24 win shares. The shortstop, Frank Fennelly, had close numbers – you could argue they were tied or Fennelly is slightly ahead. Jones walked more and had very good range in the OF while Fennelly hit for a lower average and was average defensively. He is top 10, often top 5 in AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS+, R, H, TB, 2B, 3B, HR, OPS+, RC, EBH, and ToB.
<u>1886</u>: <u>Probably not</u>. Teams had 135-139 decisions. Reds are 5th, 65-73. The keystone combination of Fennelly and Bid McPhee are the best players on the team, but Jones is a solid 3rd with 18 win shares. Top 10 in only OPS, BB, and HR.
<u>1887</u>: Played with 2 teams, so no. Top 10 in HBP only. Age 37 year.
<u>1888</u>: No, 6 games, final season.

I believe Jones was consistently the best position player on his teams for 10 years, from 1876 to 1885.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?
Win Shares sees Jones has one of the top 2 or 3 outfielders in the National League or American Association in 1879, 1883, 1884, and 1885. This bridges the 2 years of the blacklisting. The other great outfielders by win shares during the first 10 years of the NL/AA are all HoMers or solid candidates: King Kelly, Paul Hines, George Gore, Jim O’Rourke, and Pete Browning. STATS has him an all star 5 times.
How do these totals compare to other players of the era – remembering Jones missed 2 years of his prime?
Jim O’Rourke: 7 WS and 7 STATS (includes other positions)
Harry Stovey: 4 WS and 7 STATS
Paul Hines: 7 WS and 5 STATS
George Gore: 5 WS and 5 STATS
King Kelly: 8 WS and 8 STATS (includes other positions)
Pete Browning: 5 WS and 8 STATS
Charley Jones: 4 WS and 5 STATS
Jones is definitely in the argument for best outfielder of the first 10 years of the NL/AA.
   8. Kelly in SD Posted: March 28, 2006 at 09:41 AM (#1922367)
4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?
Hard to say definitively as all the pennant races occurred between 115 and 130 years ago and I am not going to go through newspapers day-by-day.
Definitely not in <u>1876 and 1877</u> as the Reds finished last.
In <u>1878</u>, the Reds were 2nd, 4 games behind Boston. Boston and Cincinnati split 12 games. Cin started out strong, going 11-3 putting them up on Boston’s 6-3. In June and July, Cin dropped behind going 11-15 while Bos went 20-7. Cin tried to close, going 15 - 5, but Bos held on going 15-9. The team performed well in the pennant race.
In <u>1879</u>, the Boston Red Caps were 2nd, 5 games behind Providence. Prov was 29-18 on July 31 and Bos was 27-20. Bos got fire, going 27-10. Unfortunately, Prov was hotter, going 30-7. Prov won the season series, 8 – 4. After the games of Sept 23, Bos was 2 games behind Prov, 55-24 to 53-26. Prov won 4 of the last 5 to win the pennant. Boston did very well over the last two months of the season, but not well in the final 5 games to decide the pennant. They were outscored 47 - 26.
<u>1880</u>: He was kicked off the team for September.
<u>1881</u>: He was blacklisted
<u>1882</u>: He was blacklisted
<u>1883</u>: Cin finished 3rd, 5 games behind Philly. The team was between .600 and .667 in all five months so they were consistent. They beat Philly 9 out of 14 times they played. They played Philly 7 times after Aug 20 and went 5-2. Cin was 5.5 games out at the start of Sept. They had their best month, but only gained a half game.
<u>1884</u>: Cin finished in a tie for 4th/5th, 8 games out. 2nd through 5th were between 6.5 and 8 games out. Cin was .500 or worse against all four teams ahead of them. They were in 5th, 8.5 games out at the start of September. They went 18-8 to end the year, but gained only a half game.
<u>1885</u>: Cin finished second, 16 games out. There was no pennant race.

I don’t know how Jones did individually, but his teams generally finished strong. As he was the best position player on these teams, give him however much credit you want. I would argue that this question is definitely not a negative one for Jones, but I don’t think it would be fair to count it as a positive either.

5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?
Jones one of the 7 oldest players in the AA from the time he returned in 1883, so I would say yes. Jones played 103 games out of 136 at age 37 with a 106 OPS+ in 1887. He was a part timer at age 38 and then retired. I believe it was rarer for a player to play that long in the 1880s than it is today. Jones’ prime lasted from age 26 (his second year in organized ball) through age 36. He had a long prime at a very high level. His career length is a positive.

6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Merit?
Depends on who you ask.
According to the HoM voters in 1972, no one thought so, but he did receive 3 votes worth bonuses.
Per Career Win Shares, <u>adjusted for Wars, schedule length, giving credit to Negro Leaguers and blacklisting credit</u>:
384 - George Van Haltren (344 unadjusted)
370 - Willard Brown (328 w/o war credit)
370 - Cool Papa Bell - pending new translations
351 - Jimmy Ryan (316 unadjusted)
348 - Jake Beckley (318 unadjusted)
346 - Sam Rice (327 unadjusted)
340 - Alejandro Oms (NeL translations)
340 - Mickey Vernon (296 w/o war credit)
338 – Minnie Minoso (283 w/o NeL credit)
336 – Charley Jones (161 w/o schedule and blacklist credit)
335 - Tommy Leach (328 unadjusted)
329 - Harry Hooper (321 unadjusted)
326 - Ben Taylor (NeL translations)
324 - Hugh Duffy (295 unadjusted)
322 - Rabbit Maranville (302 unadjusted)
321 - Edd Roush (314 unadjusted)
310 - Bob Johnson (287 without a year of minor league credit)
305 - Fielder Jones (290 unadjusted)
(I have Spots Poles, Dick Lundy, Bill Monroe, and Bus Clarkson between 300 and 325 but some of these are from very sparse actual numbers.)

However, career totals are not everything.
His 3 year peak (<u>adjusted for schedule length, but no credit for blacklist years</u>) is 98 WS. I have that as the 4th highest.
102 – Pete Browning (schedule adjusted, 75 without)
102 – Charlie Keller (no WWII credit)
101 – Hugh DUffy (sched adjusted, 90 without)

His prime (<u>best 7 years for me</u>) is 211 schedule adjusted win shares and 230 with blacklist credit (132 w/o adjustments). That is the best among backloggers.

Jones is tied at <u>14th in Black Ink with 20 points</u>. This doesn't include NeL'ers.
Jones is <u>5th in Grey Ink with 162</u> points behind Sisler 198, Minoso 189, Veach 170, and Beckley 165. Jones racked up the Grey Ink in 10 regular seasons. Sisler had 15, Minoso had 12, Veach had 12, Beckley had 17.
Jones is tied for <u>4th</u> in OPS+ behind Browning, Keller, Cravath, and tied with Kiner.

Jones is tied for 10th in STATS all-stars (he is missing 2 prime years) with 5
Jones is tied for 24th in WS all-stars (he is missing 2 prime years) with 4.

I don't see enough evidence to declare Jones the best, but he is definitely at the top.

I believe many baseball observers would say that Cool Papa Bell and George Sisler would be the best players in history whom we have not inducted.
   9. Kelly in SD Posted: March 28, 2006 at 09:42 AM (#1922368)
7. Are most of the players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Merit?

Tough question because of the changes in the game. Jones started play when teams played just 70 games a year and never played in a league with more than 140 scheduled games. I don’t know what Jones was doing before 1875 when he played 13 games with the Keokuk Westerns and the Hartford Dark Blues. The talent pipelines were not exactly organized. Also, Jones was blacklisted for two full seasons and part of a third. In consequence, he only has 881 career games played, or less than 5.5 seasons at 162 games.
But, based on the season lengths when he played compared to the games he played he has:
1876: .98
1877: .98
1878: 1.00
1879: .99
1880: .77 – blacklisted in August
1881: Blacklisted
1882: Blacklisted
1883: .92
1884: 1.00
1885: 1.00
1886: .90
1887: .75
1888: .05 (token apps)
Total: 9.34 seasons. At 162 games a season, that is 1513 games. From age 26 to 37, he appeared in 93% of his team’s games, so he was very durable. All this is to point out there is a tremendous adjustment that needs to make to his numbers. Then add in the 2+ years of blacklisting at 93% of 83 and 85 games, or add 1.86 seasons to 9.34 to get 11.2 seasons or 1814 games.
Depending on how you adjust for season length and blacklisting, you could be adding over 900 games to his career – basically doubling it.

I looked at the players with similar OPS+s and found Elmer Flick who had a 149 OPS+. He played 1483 games, but adjusted by games per season, he had 9.95 seasons.
Flick had 302 seasonally adjusted career win shares, Jones had 268 + 2 seasons of blacklist credit at an average of 1878-1880 and 1883-1885 for a total of 336.
Flick’s best three years in a row are 96 also seasonly adjusted 96. Jones had 69 seasonally adjusted to 98 (no blacklist credit here).
Flick’s 7 year prime is 215 seasonally adjusted to 223, Jones is 131 that is seasonally adjusted to 211 and including blacklist credit it goes to 230.
Both are C defenders.
Flick is a STATS all-star 6 times, Jones 5
Flick is a WS all-star 5 times, Jones 4
Flick is +.066 OBP over league, Jones is +.051.
Flick is +.098 SLG over league, Jones is +.108.

Food for thought.
   10. Kelly in SD Posted: March 28, 2006 at 09:45 AM (#1922369)
8. Does the player's numbers meet Hall Of Merit standards?

I don't know. When I first started in the HoM, I was told to judge each election separately and not to focus on Least Common Denominator arguments.
But let's look at few different standards.
<u>Bill James Hall of Fame Standards</u>: Jones scores a 16. His total is severely limited by the shortness of the seasons during his career and the two blacklisted seasons.
<u>Bill James Hall of Fame Monitor</u>: Jones scores a 26. His total is severely limited by the shortness of the seasons during his career and the two blacklisted seasons.

Looking at achievements among left field electees to the Hall of Merit. I am looking at position because my spreadsheets are not set up to allow an easy comparison all elected HoMers, but position by position is not too difficult.
<u>Unadjusted by War credit or schedule evening Win Shares</u>: Left field HoMers range from Jackson's 294 to Musial’s 604. Jones has 161.
<u>Adjusted for war, schedule and blacklisting</u> (War and blacklist credit based on 3 years on each side of break and schedule straight line adjusted): Medwick’s 305 to Ted Williams’ 733. Jones, with 336, is ahead of Medwick, Jackson, Joe Kelley, and is within 15 of Harry Stovey and Jimmy Sheckard.
<u>Win Shares per 648 PA</u>: HoMers range from Williams’ 37 to Goslin’s 23.8. Jones’ 26.4 is ahead of O’Rourke, Simmons, Stovey, Kelley, Sheckard, Goslin, Wheat and Medwick.
<u>Win Shares Prime – best 7 seasons</u>: HoMers range from Williams’ 298 to Monte Irvin’s 187 or Goslin’s 197. Jones’ 230 would place him sixth among elected HoMer LFs: Williams 298, Musial 283, Delahanty 249, Jackson 246, O’Rourke 238 and ahead of Simmons, Clarke, Stovey, Magee, Kelley, Sheckard, Goslin, Wheat, Irvin, and Medwick.

Some people are not fans of Win Shares, so let's move on.
<u>STATS All-Stars</u>:
Williams: 16
Musial: 13
Delahanty: 8
Magee: 8
Simmons: 8
O’Rourke: 7
Stovey: 7
Jackson: 6
Clarke: 6
Burkett: 5
Goslin: 5
Medwick: 5
Jones: 5
Irvin: ?
Wheat: 4
Sheckard: 2
Kelley: 1
Williams and Musial missed time due to WWII and Jones missed time due to blacklisting

I don't know of another source other than <u>win shares</u> so that I can provide another view of yearly <u>all-stars</u>. But another point-of-view is always good.
Williams: 10
Musial: 12
Delahanty: 7
Magee: 4
Simmons: 5
O’Rourke: 7
Stovey: 4
Jackson: 7
Clarke: 5
Burkett: 5
Goslin: 6
Medwick: 5
Jones: 4
Irvin: ?
Wheat: 6
Sheckard: 3
Kelley: 4
Williams and Musial missed time due to WWII and Jones missed time due to blacklisting

<u>OPS+</u>:
Williams: 190
Musial: 159
Delahanty: 152
Magee: 137
Simmons: 132
O’Rourke: 134
Stovey: 143
Jackson: 170
Clarke: 132
Burkett: 140
Goslin: 128
Medwick: 134
Jones: 149
Irvin: ?
Wheat: 129
Sheckard: 120
Kelley: 133


<u>Black Ink</u>:
Williams: 122
Musial: 116
Delahanty: 55
Magee: 35
Simmons: 23
O’Rourke: 25
Stovey: 56
Jackson: 14
Clarke: 8
Burkett: 31
Goslin: 10
Medwick: 41
Jones: 20
Irvin: ?
Wheat: 8
Sheckard: 19
Kelley: 2
Williams and Musial missed time due to WWII and Jones missed time due to blacklisting

<u>Grey Ink</u>:
Williams: 326
Musial: 390
Delahanty: 230
Magee: 210
Simmons: 215
O’Rourke: 288
Stovey: 210
Jackson: 186
Clarke: 160
Burkett: 174
Goslin: 200
Medwick: 226
Jones: 162
Irvin: ?
Wheat: 227
Sheckard: 124
Kelley: 122
Williams and Musial missed time due to WWII and Jones missed time due to blacklisting.

Jones is definitely better some of the left fielders we have inducted.

9. Is there evidence to suggest the player was SIGNIFICANTLY better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

As argued elsewhere, I believe there are a number of things to suggest he was better than his numbers.
One. Allowance made for the drastically shorter schedule. Jones did not play in a season scheduled over 100 games until he was 34.
Two. Allowances made for the blacklisting. Jones requested his pay when it was due. The team was on a road trip. The custom was for teams on road trips to not pay the paychecks until they returned back home so they would not have to carry large amounts of cash. Jones requested his pay amount. Things escalated. He jumped/was suspended from the team during the road trip in August of 1880. He was blacklisted by the team/NL. The blacklist held for the 1881 season. The AA did not want to challenge the blacklist during its first year of operation so Jones sat out 1882 also.
Three. The 1876 Reds were a disaster. They were 9-56. That is below any analysis sytem’s replacement level. Any analysis system that is tied to wins (both Win Shares and WARP, I think) will reduce Jones’ value unless it allows for negative values. Jones was clearly above replacement, finishing in the top 10 in SLG, 2B, HR, OPS+, and EBH.

Other things not caught by statistics that could hurt/hinder.
<u>Stolen bases</u>. We don’t have caught stealing information, but I have no reason to believe there is any missing value here.
<u>Ground Into Double Plays</u>: Don't have the information to see if he was Jim Rice or Craig Biggio.
<u>Hitting and Running / Small ball</u>: The hit and run did not exist during his career. We have no sacrifice information here. Jones was a power hitter so I would not expect to find significant value or demerits here.
Also, I have no information regarding whether Jones was considered a "brainy" player or if he was a flake.
<u>Clutch</u>: I have no information about whether he was considered clutch or not. His teams generally performed well in pennant stretches.
   11. Kelly in SD Posted: March 28, 2006 at 09:47 AM (#1922370)
10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Merit but not in?

Some voters say Jones, some say Minoso, some say Kiner, some say Bob Johnson, some say Keller. I’m not sure each of the five is rated the best on at least one person’s ballot, but it’s close.

My top 10 eligible left fielders are George Burns, Augie Galan, Bob Johnson, Charley Jones, Charlie Keller, Ralph Kiner, Heinie Manush, Orestes Minoso, Bobby Veach, and Tom York.

<u>Career Win Shares</u> (schedule adjusted/war credit/minor league credit for screwy team management.) and unadjusted totals.
336 – <u>Jones</u> – 161
323 – Minoso – 283
310 – Johnson – 285
298 – Burns – 290
285 – Manush – 285
271 – Veach – 265
263 – Keller – 218
262 – Kiner – 242
250 – Galan – 263
208 – York – 107 (York also has credit due him for 1871-1875 that I don’t have here)

<u>Peak - 3 consecutive years</u> - adjusted for season length only
102 – Keller
98 – <u>Jones</u>
97 – Burns
97 – Kiner
91 – Galan (I reduce for WWII down to 81)
88 – Veach
85 – York
81 – Manush
79 – Minoso
76 - Johnson

<u>Per 648 Plate Apps</u>:
30.9 – Keller
26.4 – <u>Jones</u>
25.2 – Kiner
24.8 – Minoso
24.6 – Galan
23.8 – York
23.6 – Veach
23.3 – Johnson
23.1 – Burns
22.4 - Manush

<u>STATS all-stars then Win Shares All-Star</u>s:
6 – Johnson - 4
6 – Kiner – 4
5 – <u>Jones</u> – 4
4 – Minoso - 7
4 – Keller - 4
2 – Burns - 6
2 – Veach - 4
1 – Galan - 4
1 – Manush – 3
1 – York - 2

<u>OPS+</u>:
152 – Keller
149 – <u>Jones</u>
149 – Kiner
138 – Johnson
130 – Minoso
127 – Veach
122 – Galan
121 – Manush
119 – York
114 - Burns

<u>Black Ink</u>:
52 – Kiner
33 – Burns
22 – Veach
20 – <u>Jones</u>
15 – Manush
15 – Minoso
11 – Galan
5 – York
4 – Keller
0 - Johnson

<u>Grey Ink</u>:
189 – Minoso
170 – Veach
162 – <u>Jones</u>
161 – Johnson
145 – Kiner
142 – Manush
135 – Burns
110 – York
96 – Galan
85 - Keller

Defensive:
York – A-
Galan, Minoso, and Veach are in the B range
Everyone else is in the "C" range.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did the player have? Did the player ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

First, there was no MVP award during his career so could never have won one. Jones’ teams never won a pennant, though they did finish 2nd three times.

Second, from my examination of his career, it does appear he had MVP-caliber seasons.
In <u>1878</u>, he was best position player on the Reds and tied for the fourth best position player in the game. In a 60 game season, Paul Hines led with 15 win shares. Jones was tied with 3 others with 12.
In <u>1879</u>, he was the best position player on the 2nd place Boston team. In an 84 game season, he accumulated 21 win shares that year, second among position players to Paul Hines’ 22.
In <u>1884</u>, he was the best position player on his team, and tied with Dave Orr for being the best player in the league with 27 win shares in a 112 game season.
In <u>1885</u>, he was the best position player on his team, and was third in the league with 24 win shares behind Pete Browning and Dave Orr, with 24 win shares in a 112 game season.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did the player have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other player who played in his many go into the Hall of Merit?

There were no all-star games during his career.
How many all-star type seasons did he have? Jones was one of the 3 best outfielders in his league in 1879, 1883, 1884, and 1885. In 1878, he was the fourth best position player in the NL (tied) but behind 3 outfielders – Paul Hines 15, Orator Shaffer and Tom York 13. In 1876, he had 9 win shares, but that was the 9-56 team. He accounted for one-third of the team’s win shares. No position player did as well.
Did he finish in the league’s top 10?
1876: No, but see above. The team was so bad that it cost him win shares because the teams was below replacement level – if that has any meaning in 1876.
1877: No, tied for 11th with 9
1878: Yes, tied for 4th with 12
1879: Yes, 2nd with 21
1880: No, blacklisted with 12 – if prorate, he finishes about 10/11th
1881: Blacklisted
1882: Blacklisted
1883: Yes, tied for 7th with 18
1884: Yes, tied for 1st with 27
1885: Yes, 3rd with 24

I would argue from the above that he was one of the best players in his league for 10 straight years.

13. If this man were the best on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

I would say yes. The key is “could.” When a player is among the top 5 players in his league, a team could win the pennant if that player was the best player on the team.
The 1878 team was 2nd by 4 games. Tommy Bond and Will White were very comparable #1 starters, but Boston was more efficient with their runs – being 5 games over projection compared with Cincinnati’s 2 games.
The 1879 team was 2nd by 5 games. Tommy Bond and John Ward were very comparable #1 starters, but Providence had the advantage over Boston in #2 men, Bobby Mathews over Curry Foley.
The 1885 team finished second, but they were trying to compete with the St.Louis who were starting Dave Foutz and Bob Caruthers while they were throwing Will White, Larry McKeon, and Bill Mountjoy.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipement? Did he change the game in any way?

I don't know of anything.

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guideline, instructs us to consider?

Non-applicable, but I have no information that Jones was an #######, a killer, a racist, a gambler, had a bad temper, frequently assaulted people, or a convicted violent felon. He did like to drink, but so did 75% of the league at that time.
   12. karlmagnus Posted: March 28, 2006 at 03:02 PM (#1922433)
It's very tough on your WS total when you have an OPS+ of 154, play the full schedule, but your team goes 9-56 (albeit with a Pythag of 11-54!) Jones has been in my PHOM for several decades, but he's not top of my "outrage" list and is indeed probably behind Browning. Do we have any data on his career before 1875? -- if we give MiL credit to Cravath, we surely should to Jones too.
   13. DavidFoss Posted: March 28, 2006 at 04:40 PM (#1922547)
your team goes 9-56 (albeit with a Pythag of 11-54!)

That's worse. All WS numbers get scaled down by 22%. (Of course, as Kelly said, that WPct is below the WS baseline, so other weird stuff may also happen).
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 28, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#1922586)
It's very tough on your WS total when you have an OPS+ of 154, play the full schedule, but your team goes 9-56 (albeit with a Pythag of 11-54!)

One of the few criticisms by karlmagnus of Win Shares that I actually agree with! :-D

Has anyone here developed some type of multiplier to be used for extreme teams such as this so that a player's WS will look reasonable?
   15. TomH Posted: March 28, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#1922780)
I just did a quick-n-dirty:

I plugged in a man with a .800 OWP (that's Cobb/Mantle territory, but actually I found that this effect will be about linear, so it works the same for merely 'good' players) on an average team and on great and lousy and truly awful teams. I gave the player 10% of the team's PAs and changed the team's OWP by averagng in 1/10th of the star.

I used standard pythag to get team winning pct with and without the star.

for an avg team, a .800 stud added 13.9 win shares (per 154 games) more than an avg player.

for a great or lousy team (.300 or .700), the stud only adds 12.0 win shares (14% fewer).

but on a truly decrepid group that only went 9-56 (or, rather, projected to 21-133), the stud only added 7.5 win shares; his value was only 54% of what it would have been.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 28, 2006 at 07:08 PM (#1922831)
Much obliged, Tom! That's exactly what I was looking for.
   17. Kelly in SD Posted: March 28, 2006 at 07:31 PM (#1922897)
Tom,
Do you mean that Jones' 9 WS for the 1876 Reds is similar in value to a 16.7 WS for a 1876 .500 team? [(9/.54)=16.7].

If I do understand you correctly, that total, among position players, would put him behind Ross Barnes' 20, Jack Manning's 19, and tied him with Jim O'Rourke, George Wright, and Lip Pike with 17. Manning's total include 197 innings with a 105 ERA+ and an 18-5 record.
   18. TomH Posted: March 28, 2006 at 07:52 PM (#1922953)
Yes, Kelly, that is how I peg it.

Of course, if the optimum way to accumulate win shares is being on a .500 team and one wants to adjust for that, the adjustment needs to be made for everybody. In the weird 1876 season, Chicago won 79% of its games, making it tough for Ross Barnes to add more than 6 or 7 wins to an already great team. I'd suspect there were a few other guys credited with 15 to 17 win shares that might have been worth more on the 'average' club that didn't exist much in the NL's first year.
   19. Chris Cobb Posted: March 28, 2006 at 11:29 PM (#1923405)
If I do understand you correctly, that total, among position players, would put him behind Ross Barnes' 20, Jack Manning's 19, and tied him with Jim O'Rourke, George Wright, and Lip Pike with 17. Manning's total include 197 innings with a 105 ERA+ and an 18-5 record.

In ranking Jones among the top hitters of the 1876 season, it is worthwhile to look at several measures.

1876 OPS+ leaders (bws leaders in bold)
List includes all full-time players with OPS+ of 130 or better
OPS+ Player (g) batting win shares (team w-l) EQA / BRAR

231 Barnes (66) 17.4 (Chi 52-14) .403 / 72
207 Hall (60) 9.6 (Phi 14-45) .370 / 49
173 Pike (63) 15.2 (Stl 45-19) .340 / 40
164 Meyerle (55) 6.7 (Phi 14-45) .329 / 31
162 Anson (66) 10.3 (Chi 52-14) .331 / 37
155 O'Rourke (70) 15.7 (Bos 39-31) .331 / 39
154 Jones (64) 8.3 (Cin 9-56) .314 / 29
145 White (66) 8.8 (Chi 52-14) .313 / 29
145 Peters (66) 9.0 (Chi 52-14) .312 / 30
143 Hines (64) 8.5 (Chi 52-14) .306 / 27
140 Sutton (54) 4.8 (Phi 14-45) .302 / 21
139 McVey (66) 8.3 (Chi 52-14) .306 / 26
136 Dick Higham (67) 11.0 (Har 47-21) .301 / 26
134 Hallinan (54) 10.3 (NY 21-35) .298 / 20
133 Wright (70) 13.5 (39-31) .304 / 30
131 Battin (64) 10.7 (Stl 45-19) .299 /23
   20. Chris Cobb Posted: March 28, 2006 at 11:36 PM (#1923421)
Based on the above data, I'd say that Jones looks like about the #7 hitter in the NL this season. He clearly trails Barnes, Hall, Pike, Anson, and O'Rourke. Meyerle was substantially better by rate, but lack of durability made him only a little more valuable than Jones.

Jones is just slightly ahead of White and Peters: there's really not much to choose between them.

Overall, Jones is clearly not top 5, but clearly is top 10, despite his win shares. I don't think he should be credited with 15 batting win shares, but he certainly merited more than 8.3.
   21. Kelly in SD Posted: March 29, 2006 at 01:17 AM (#1923521)
Chris,

That analysis makes sense to me.
   22. jimd Posted: March 29, 2006 at 01:58 AM (#1923571)
Meyerle was substantially better by rate, but lack of durability made him only a little more valuable than Jones.

Just pointing out that it wasn't a lack of durability that cost Meyerle (or Sutton or Hallinan in the above list). The Athletics and the Mutuals decided to punt their season-ending western road trip, figuring it was a money loser. For this, the two teams weren't invited back in 1877. I doubt the players had anything to do with it, though it cost them maybe 11 games (A's Meyerle and Sutton) or maybe 14 (Hallinan), as well as 4-5 apiece for the western teams (including Cincy and Chicago).
   23. Chris Cobb Posted: March 29, 2006 at 03:40 AM (#1923648)
That Meyerle's team played fewer games than others is a contributing factor to Meyerle's lower games total, but the team did play 60 games, and Meyerle's teammate George Hall played in them all. Meyerle missed 5 games, and Sutton 6, but in a 60-season, that's a considerable percentage. If Meyerle had played in all his teams' games, as Jones did in his, he would be well ahead of Jones in value.

Incidentally, if Charley Jones is shortchanged by win shares for 1876, he is treated much more fairly than the Philadelphia hitters, who _really_ get the shaft. Not that it matters for HoM purposes, since Sutton was long ago elected and neither George Hall nor Levi Meyerle has a case, but still, win shares does not give you a hint that all three of them were among the better hitters in the league.
   24. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 29, 2006 at 10:04 AM (#1923801)
Great stuff Kelly. As one of Jones' best friends, it was good to read! Hopefully this will help his support, especially among some of the voters who weren't with us in the early going.
   25. Brent Posted: January 29, 2007 at 04:56 AM (#2287889)
The Estimating league quality thread provides estimates of the AA-to-NL conversion factors for batters during 1882-89. Using these factors to convert Jones’s AA record to the NL equivalent, the following table presents his actual record and the estimate of what he would have hit had he played in the NL. Note that this presentation does not include holdout credit for 1881-82.

Year Age Tm     Lg   PA Relative to Lg   Relative to NL
                         OBP
SLGOPS+  OBPSLGOPS+
1875 25 WES/HAR NA   51   94  140  134    94  140  134
1876 26 CIN     NL  283  116  138  154   116  138  154
1877 27 CIN
/CHC NL  255  125  143  168   125  143  168
1878 28 CIN     NL  265  117  140  158   117  140  158
1879 29 BSN     NL  384  132  150  183   132  150  182
1880 30 BSN     NL  291  123  134  156   123  134  156
1883 33 CIN     AA  411  112  136  147    97  120  117
1884 34 CIN     AA  519  130  138  168   112  115  127
1885 35 CIN     AA  517  121  136  157   108  116  123
1886 36 CIN     AA  567  114  117  132   111  111  122
1887 37 CIN
/NYP AA  440  100  105  106    99  101   99
1888 38 KCC     AA   26   62   73   35    58   64   22
Total              4009  118  132  149   111  122  133 
   26. rawagman Posted: January 29, 2007 at 08:21 AM (#2288041)
Interesting qualitative measurement, but I'm thinking that if you are already giving Jones some blacklist credit for 81-82, you also have to somewhat discount his level of play immediately upon returning to the "bigs" with Cincinnati in 1883. A readjustment period, if you will. Besides, those rates for a player ages 34-36 are quite impressive in their own rights.
   27. Brent Posted: January 30, 2007 at 05:54 AM (#2288821)
I'll note that the adjusted "Total" line really isn't fair to Jones because increases in schedule length give greater weight to his 1880s AA years than to his prime 1876-80 years. A better estimate would adjust all seasons to the same length before calculating his career total OPS+. I'll agree with rawagman that readjustment may be a factor in his adjusted 1883 OPS+, but I'm not quite sure how to quantify it.
   28. Paul Wendt Posted: June 05, 2007 at 03:26 PM (#2393601)
Marc sunnyday in "2000 Ballot Discussion" #71, from a preliminary ballot
4. Pete Browning (6-4-3, PHoM 1961)
. . .
6. Charley Jones (8-5-6, PHoM 1921)—Browning and Jones are a matched pair, both have the numbers even with AA discount


Paul Wendt replied
Why Pete Browning and Charley Jones are not a matched pair.
Jones was 32 years old when the AA organized, Browning not quite 21. The AA reversed early plans and honored the NL blacklist in 1882, so there was no job for Jones until age 33. On the other hand, there was a job for Jones at age 26 when the NL organized six years earlier. Despite the late start and the interruption, Jones played essentially 4.8 full seasons in the NL (until the 1880 dispute) and four full seasons in the AA. On the other hand, Browning played only six seasons so full as those (1882-1887, age 21-26); include 1890 and call it seven full seasons.


Marc s
You prefer Jones to Browning, is that what I should understand? I would say, sure, different careers but clones with the bat.

Yes, you should understand that from what I wrote! If clones with bat then Jones meritier.

Jones played more full seasons as an older man, with better excuses for a shortish mlb career (short for a HOMer) and better evidence that he was a capable (before 1876) or great (1881-82) player when there was no job for him.

Browning was a 20 year old star on the local Reccius team when his hometown baseball fraternity helped organize a new professional league.
John Reccius at baseball-reference (see also Phil Reccius)

--
What happened to Jones in 1887? Did he get seasick on the Staten Island Ferry?
"July 11, 1887: Purchased by the New York Metropolitans from the Cincinnati Red Stockings for $1,000."
The poor Mets put him back in center field.
It's a small sample but not a tiny one; OPS+ 134/87 is quite a split season.
1888, off to Kansas City for a short stint of unsuccess as the oldest player in the league.

--
Regarding the nickname, I have supposed that "Baby" Jones refers to a baby face.
Reading of "Baby" Anson in Detroit News 1900, I realize that it may refer to a cry baby.

--
P.S. The poor Mets also fielded Lip Pike in one game.
   29. Paul Wendt Posted: June 05, 2007 at 03:40 PM (#2393615)
Browning was a 20 year old star on the local Reccius team when his hometown baseball fraternity helped organize a new professional league.

Good fortune. On the other hand, Browning was probably capable of playing in the majors as a teenager. It was bad fortune that his hometown dropped out of pro baseball in scandal when he was 16 and remained out for four years.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 05, 2007 at 04:19 PM (#2393661)
I like both Browning and Jones, but I like Charley a little bit better.
   31. Paul Wendt Posted: June 08, 2007 at 09:44 PM (#2397620)
If you have never read any early newspaper coverage of base ball, here is a great opportunity.

St Louis fielded its first professional teams in 1875, the "St Louis" and "Red Stocking" clubs so-called by the St Louis Dispatch (ancestor of the Post-Dispatch). Charley Jones played for the "Western" club in nearby Keokuk Iowa. I don't yet know whether SLPD includes anything interesting on Jones, or the Red Stocking and Western clubs, but this noon I was able to copy the baseball coverage published May 4 (opening day) to 6, and I have uploaded it to YouSendIt, available for seven days.

baseball coverage, St Louis Dispatch 1875 May 4-6

- Tue May 4 is the date of the first championship game in St Louis, Red Stockings at Brown Stockings (St Louis). But the advance coverage focuses entirely on the White Stockings (Chicago) who will play St Louis on Thursday after opening in Keokuk. The St Louis writer covers each member of the White Stocking team briefly.
I hope to find that both local teams were covered earlier. That is not certain. Looking ahead to the first game with the Westerns, I found advance coverage of the Boston Red Stockings.

- Wed May 5 coverage is general notes on the opener, play by play, and box score. Note total bases on hits and left on base in the batting section of the box score; first base on error and total bases on error in the fielding section. The St Louis battery is good (one base on errors) and the Red Sox is not (ten bases). So I believe: the pitcher and catcher yield many bases but no first bases on errors because their errors are pitches not handled --wild pitches and passed balls rather than fielding errors today. The seven in- and outfielders yield many first bases but no more total bases (no extra bases) on errors.
("Bad Dickey" loses the coin toss for St Louis so the Red Stockings choose to take the field.)

- Thu May 6 continues the anticipation of that day's match with the White Stockings.
   32. Paul Wendt Posted: June 08, 2007 at 09:56 PM (#2397625)
oh, that is Lip Pike in center field for St Louis, batting third behind "Bad Dickey" Pearce.
   33. Paul Wendt Posted: June 19, 2007 at 12:27 AM (#2408582)
According to the Commercial, one reason for Cincinnati optimism in spring 1876 was the play of the Reds in the Fall. So I looked at October on microfilm.

Sun 10-03 p1
Philadelphia (NA) 1, at Cincinnati 5 (with story and box score)
"another surprise to the Cincinnati people"
Several of the names match those of next spring, but no Charley Jones --whose 1875 Western BBC of Keokuk IA had been out of business three months

Sat 10-09 p2
"Cincinnati Reds win creditable victory" --tidbit in intercity Cinci/Covington woofing, quoting a St Louis newspaper, no date or clear location
did the Reds travel to St Louis?

Sun 10-10 p7 Base Ball: Stars continue to shine
Reds 3, at Covington Stars 7 (with story and box score)
most of the 1876 team but not Jones, I note to myself

The state election now dominates the news. Ohio votes as a nation watches. (You think you are excited about the election of Goose Gossage?) Hayes wins. The Commercial prints news, analysis and congratulatory letters to the people Ohio from just about everywhere. Some local yokels will continue to meet as a Hayes club to advance him as a Presidential candidate. Get serious!
Did it also rain next weekend? I find no mention of base ball between Fri and Wed reports of Stars wins at home against lesser teams.

Fri 10-22
Covington - Stars return home in sorrow
Stars of Covington 7, at Reds of Cincinnati 15 (with story and box score)
"The great Jones played left for the Cincinnatis."

How and since when are the people of Cincinnati familiar with "the great Jones"?
Did the Reds pick him up on the road, perhaps recently in St Louis?
Or was he simply out of action early this month? 10-03 and 10-10 stories did not mention Jones or say that any participant was a substitute.

I will look at September 30 and work backward. I don't know how much there may be to uncover but I will probably go to St Louis for the SABR convention in six weeks and it would be good to assess the situation before then, prepare to fill some gaps while I am there.

By the way, Does anyone still reading have Reds in Black and White? If so, is there anything on the 1875/76 return to professional baseball?
   34. Paul Wendt Posted: June 26, 2007 at 06:38 PM (#2418528)
How and since when are the people of Cincinnati familiar with "the great Jones"?
Did the Reds pick him up on the road, perhaps recently in St Louis?
Or was he simply out of action early this month? 10-03 and 10-10 stories did not mention Jones or say that any participant was a substitute.

I will look at September 30 and work backward. I don't know how much there may be to uncover but I will probably go to St Louis for the SABR convention in six weeks and it would be good to assess the situation before then, prepare to fill some gaps while I am there.


Jones played for the Ludlow BBC of Ludlow KY, a ferry ride from the West End of Cinci, as captain and lf-1b. Ludlow was one semi-amateur(*) local predecessor of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The Cincinnati club was organized late summer stimulated in part by the public success of the local amateur and semi-amateur clubs. Game stories never include first names of players but "C.W. Jones" of the Ludlows worked as umpire in a few games played by other local clubs.
   35. Paul Wendt Posted: June 30, 2007 at 07:55 PM (#2423936)
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal Jones would play for the Chicago White Stockings next year. "The Ludlow club is a very strong one, having among its players some of the best in the West. Jones, their left fielder, is under contract to play with Captain Spaulding's Chicago nine next season." (Saturday -09-09)

Ludlow had played poorly against the Louisville Eagles, losing 8-6. Jones did not get a base hit; he made 6 putouts in center and was the only Ludlow not charged with an error. The Ludlows and St Louis Red Stockings (Red Sox) would play that day in Louisville. LCJ noted that each had won three games so their local match would decide which is the better club. How many games did they play before Jones and perhaps others from disbanded NA teams joined the Ludlows? I don't know yet.

Jones was the Ludlow captain, commonly playing left field, his position in the Red Sox game. Ludlow won 4-1 scoring all four runs in the eighth. Their only other threat described was in the fourth. Jones singled, stole second, stole third, and tried to score on the bad throw, out 5-2. That day he scored no runs, made four of his team's 27 outs and in left field made nine (9) of its 27 putouts. I doubt I will read the verb "to lumber" in newspaper coverage of his play.

(Hard to believe. The LCJ box scores show 6 putouts for the Ludlow outfield on Friday, all by Jones in center; next day nine putouts, all by Jones in left. I daresay the captain knew how to position the team! The team made 14 errors in losing to the weaker Eagles, 4 in beating the stronger Red Sox.)

--
The Stars of neighboring Covington easily beat Ludlow and others for the state championship. The Blue Stockings of Cincinnati were another good team but closer to the best Louisville nines than to the Ludlows and Stars. The competitive and commercial success of local clubs in 1875 stimulated organization for 1876 of fully professional teams in both Cincinnati and Louisville. The Cincinnatis built a new ballpark in the city and fielded a team that summer. The Louisvilles hired Jack Chapman, manager, and he evidently signed most of a team for 1876 during September-October. --evidently while traveling with the St Louis Browns. Conveniently for 1876 recruitment, the Browns played 4 games home/home with Chicago early in the month and closed with a road trip, playing nine games against the five active Eastern teams October 14-29.

Sunday October 31, where I stopped reading. "Out-door Sports."
"Close of the Ball Season"
"That skating is a healthy and enjoyable recreation none will deny. . . . [Last year] those in charge . . . had sufficient experience to warrant a successful season this winter should they determine on again fitting up Eagle Park for skating purposes."
"Base Ball"
"Yesterday ended the season of professional base ball playing for the championship of the United States.
. . .
"The Chicago nine for 1876 will contain plenty of ex-captains of other clubs. There will be Spalding, captain of the Bostons; White, captain of the Clevelands; McVey, captain of the Baltimores; Barnes, captain of the Rockfords; Anson, captain of the Athletics; Glenn, captain of the White Stockings; Jones, captain of the Ludlows; Addy, captain of the Philadelphias; and Andrus, captain of the Mutuals." (That is nine.)
   36. Paul Wendt Posted: June 30, 2007 at 08:07 PM (#2423968)
In closing the 1875 season LCJ notes, "The Louisville nine begin work in the gymnasium on the first of February."

IIRC cblau observed that Jones, born in North Carolina, was raised in Indiana. Now I wonder whether he was known in Cincinnati or Louisville before the 1875 season. SABR convened in Cincinnati two years ago. Had I known then what I know now I would have visited the public library rather than attend the Board of Directors meeting.

Recently I asked about Cinci. Do we have anyone from Indi in the house?
   37. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 30, 2007 at 08:22 PM (#2424013)
Paul,

Just so I get this straight because I'm not sure what to make of the clippings.

In 1875:
-in addition to his stint with the NA Keokuks (and a game with Hartford) Jones was playing near-top-level ball with a Chicago-area team
-that this team had some level of regional or national recognition?
-for whom he was Cap't and top star?
-for whom he performed at a very high level?

This is very interesting. Put this information together with one other important piece of information: Jones was 25 years old in his rookie year, 1875.

You see where I'm going, right? Is it reasonable to suggest that we should be asking if...
-Jones merits some kind of credit for his non-NA play during 1875 since he was clearly MLB caliber (134 OPS+) and was leading a highly respected team?
-Jones may merit some credit prior to the 1875 credit for his play?

Jones' case must be the most bizarre and, therefore, interesting case around. The twists and turns just keep coming.
   38. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 30, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2424043)
-Jones may merit some credit prior to the 1875 credit for his play?


If we had a handle on his stats prior to 1875, I would, Eric.
   39. Paul Wendt Posted: June 30, 2007 at 08:48 PM (#2424079)
Skimming only the frequent location of in-season baseball coverage, the back page of four daily:
Saturday 1875-12-18, heading a long column of next-season coverage.
"The Chicago club has released Jones from the contract by which he bound himself to play with it in 1876, and he will now engage with Cincinnati."
   40. Paul Wendt Posted: July 06, 2007 at 09:28 PM (#2431363)
31. Paul Wendt Posted: June 08, 2007 at 05:44 PM (#2397620)
If you have never read any early newspaper coverage of base ball, here is a great opportunity.
[That was a one-week opportunity at YouSendIt.com]

St Louis fielded its first professional teams in 1875, the "St Louis" and "Red Stocking" clubs so-called by the St Louis Dispatch (ancestor of the Post-Dispatch). Charley Jones played for the "Western" club in nearby Keokuk Iowa.


Sometime during the 1875 season the Dispatch practically dropped base ball coverage. During the off-season I found only two substantial baseball articles: mainly "a review of the St Louis Nine" -01-22; an editorial for honest play, leave the other to politicians, -04-22.

One sentence in a column of local notes is related to dropping baseball, although I wonder whether this evening paper lost interest in the sport because of a disadvantage in covering games. "The dose of baseball literature in the morning papers will be repeated from day to day until someone rises in sheer desperation and kills the authors." -03-13

January's review of the nine includes a comparison of the Browns of St Louis and the Whites of Chicago. The Dispatch doesn't yet know of Jones release and it considers him a weak point in the Chicago team.
"The Chicagos have White, Spalding, Barnes, Hines, and McVey, a heavy battery surely. . . . The Browns field as a whole is by all odds the most perfect; every position will be capably filled and the Whites will be weak in the want of a change pitcher [and?] at third base and center field where the redoubtable "Baby" Jones will hold forth."
   41. Paul Wendt Posted: July 06, 2007 at 09:37 PM (#2431369)
From the Louisville Courier-Journal 1875-12-04
Sporting News.
Interview with Al Spalding, Captain of the Centennial Chicagos - His Judgment of the Playing Strength of the Clubs Next Year.
. . .
"A Chicago Tribune reporter called a the residence of Mr. William Brown, a mile north of Rockford, for the purpose of interviewing Al Spalding . . . "
[This is probably an adaptation of an article published by the Tribune.]
. . .
"I was in Cincinnati," said Mr. Spalding, "a short time ago, . . . Under proper management, this club is going to show up well. They are very anxious to have Jones relieved from his Chicago engagement and come there and play with them. Up to the present time we have not granted their request."
   42. Paul Wendt Posted: July 06, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2431376)
Eric Chalek wrote:
In 1875:
-in addition to his stint with the NA Keokuks (and a game with Hartford) Jones was playing near-top-level ball with a Chicago-area team


CINCINNATI.
Ludlow, Kentucky, across the river. Then late in the season, the new Cincinnati Red Stockings.

-that this team had some level of regional or national recognition?
-for whom he was Cap't and top star?
-for whom he performed at a very high level?


I don't yet have enough information to say the latter.
Yes, the Ludlows enjoyed some regional recognition and Jones was the team captain from date ???. Then the Cincinnati Red Stockings enjoyed some regional recognition.

Cincinnati Commercial baseball coverage is not so good as Louisville C-J's; much better than St Louis D's; pretty good on the Stars from Covington, Kentucky, also across the river, who must be best team in the Ohio Valley if you don't include St Louis; only so-so on the Ludlows.
   43. Paul Wendt Posted: July 06, 2007 at 09:54 PM (#2431387)
I have quite a bit more information than in #33 but reporting here as in #34-35 is impractical and all that I have doesn't amount to much on Jones play. In St Louis if all goes well I will at least see which newspapers to borrow. I need to think some [almost done], work some [begun], talk some, write some about what I think the SABR 19c Cmte should do.
   44. Paul Wendt Posted: July 06, 2007 at 10:06 PM (#2431400)
Whatever bears clearly on Charley Jones' status or reputation before spring 1876 --so clearly as what I have quoted in bold #33-41-- I will continue to quote here.

By the way, LCJ follows the Spalding interview with a table of data on the Cincinnati nine: name, fielding position, age, height, weight. (Also from Chicago Tribune? I doubt it. Yes, I am have sent this to the SABR data-gatherers/compilers).

The listing for Jones is
C. Jones, c.f. .... 22 6 ft. 152 lbs.

I doubt 6' 152 but it is a reminder that weight may change a lot. He is currently listed at unknown height, 202.
   45. Paul Wendt Posted: July 08, 2007 at 05:32 PM (#2433644)
danb in "2001 Ballot"
10.C. Jones- Minimal blacklist credit; a reasonable argument can be made that Jones was indeed planning on jumping the team, and was therefore partially responsible for his fate.

Who knows what range of expectations players or management may have had regarding contracts, verbal agreements, signings, etc. Previously there would have been no need for a star to jump a team because one could arrange for next year and continue to play in good standing this year. The reserve system was introduced (only within the NL of course) in Fall 1879 so this was still first year experience for everyone.

When someone visits greater Cincinnati to read about Charley Jones in the local newspapers around 1875, please include the local newspapers around 1880. Hey, read the whole period. The Cincinnati Reds got Cal McVey and Lip Pike for 1878 (and finished 4 behind Boston), lost Charley Jones for 1879, lost Mike Kelly for 1880, lost the franchise for 1881, jump started a new league for 1882.
   46. Paul Wendt Posted: August 09, 2007 at 01:10 AM (#2477635)
update after visiting Keokuk, Iowa

Bottom line:
Charley Jones was already captain of the Westerns in July 1874.
I expect to learn more soon from Keokuk IA newspaper on microfilm via InterLibrary Loan.


--
Tidbits from the Daily Gate City newspaper, research at the Keokuk Public Library.
publication dates rather than event dates.

1871-06-08
The Western Base Ball Club "leased block 43 in Reid & Perry's Additions" for a base ball grounds and "will be compelled to solicit subscriptions"

1872-06-14
The Western Base Ball Association (ballclub) incorporated. I will get a copy of the manuscript incorporation document from the library by mail.

1872-06-27 and -06-28
Reports of the best-of-three series at Iowa City, the Westerns winning 26-25 and 34-21.
(I infer that Western is now the Iowa champion and that Iowa City regains the championship sometime later in 1872 or in 1873.)

1874-07-09 "The toss was won by Jones of the Westerns". Captain Jones, batting third and fielding first, scores one run and makes three outs. The Westerns defeat the reigning state champion from Iowa City, 6-2, maybe the best game yet played in Iowa.

No game accounts checked prior to 1874-07-01. During the summer and fall of 1874, the Western team is a strong one, relatively stronger than in 1875 as a dues-paying and pennant-chasing NAPBBP member. One bad home loss to the Mutuals of New York, who beat the Westerns only 1-0 in the club's final game (1875-06-14) but 1874 games with teams from Chicago and Saint Louis show why people thought the Westerns might hold their own on the field in '75. And attendance 2000 for one Chicago White Stockings visit in the fall, greater than attendance at any championship game in the spring (from memory).

--
General tourism in the Saint Louis region was very interesting. (That's your cue, KJOK and OCF.) I took my time driving from SL to Keokuk on the Illinois side and learned upon public library arrival that I would be able to borrow the microfilm newspapers from Iowa Historical Society. So I didn't cram microfilm or stay overnight but spent only three hours on site, going once through the special collection of baseball and sports materials. The notes provided above are from newspaper articles included in the Bickel Notebook (clippings pasted on cardboard) or in the manila folder Baseball 1 (loose clippings).

It's the Bickel scrapbook that includes only five baseball articles from before July 1874, four covered above plus the 1873-09-30 notice that the Saint Louis Empires depart this week on tour of six cities including Keokuk. Bickel clipped and pasted about ten game accounts for July to October 1874 but I expect to find more coverage than that, and I hope to find during the twelve preceding months a paragraph introducing Jones, as well as some game accounts.

If I am right, this will close one gap in the baseball career and of course in the full-life biography of Charley Jones. I doubt that the coverage will amount to playing statistics for Charley Jones in 1874 or earlier that can be assessed for playing quality in the HOM tradition. And to illustrate, I include Carlos Moran among the players whose extra-mlb record has been assessed for playing quality. Summer/fall 1875 coverage (after the Westerns disbanded) in Louisville, Cincinnati, and even Saint Louis newspapers may amount to such playing statistics, enough to say that Jones was or wasn't a player of roughly the quality indicated by his dozen championship games played that spring. Which is not to say I will be the compiler of that 1875 record.
   47. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 16, 2007 at 03:03 AM (#2486911)
Paul,

I'll be very interested to see how far back Jones's career as a top Westerner stretches. It's not as though he needs tons more seasons to move up a bit, but 1874 and the remainder of 1875 as mentioned above certainly help him.
   48. Paul Wendt Posted: August 16, 2007 at 04:06 AM (#2487060)
Eric,
Thanks for your interest. I don't know how much I will learn in real HOM time.

When I looked at the nitty gritty, I learned that borrowing from the Iowa Historical Society thru my public library, as the Keokuk librarian suggested, will cost $3 per reel, maximum two reels. Therefore, but slowly, I looked into borrowing newspapers thru Harvard U where I am affiliated this year. Only this afternoon and evening I spoke to the right reference librarian regarding both ILL (for Keokuk) and the available guides and catalogs for newspaper resources (for a related bigger and broader project).

That Jones was a foreign player and the team captain implies some reputation before midsummer 1874. That's all I know this week, no more than last week.
   49. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 16, 2007 at 11:23 AM (#2487223)
If Jones was a force before he ever set foot in the NL, than maybe he should be viewed more as a player from the 1870s rather than from the 1880s. Since we haven't elected a truckload of players from the 1870s, maybe that will help his candidacy.

Great research, Paul!
   50. Paul Wendt Posted: August 16, 2007 at 02:16 PM (#2487315)
For what it's worth, I have always considered him "more as a player from the 1870s".

Recently (since Chris Cobb's study of Browning, et al.) I have referred to his 12-year prime, missing two seasons. That is 1875-1886.

Everyone who declines to give credit for 1881-82 should already consider him more a player from the 1870s.

His 3-year peak is 1877-79. (1, 0, and 1 games not played. 20 games not played in 1880 after "parting ways" with Harry Wright and Co.) His 5-year peak begins in '77

Under the deeper prevailing AA discounts, he must appear to be an improving player in the mid-1880s, more valuable in '85-86 than in '83-84, with 1883 the weakest of his 10 season in those 12 years.
(I don't gainsay that, only note it.
Maybe he was below par in '83 after two seasons when he played much less base ball and faced a good pitcher only occasionally.
Maybe his athletic skills generally declined, as age and 1887 and 14 games not played in 1886 {'83-86: 9, 0, 0, 14 gnp} all suggest. But his merit increased, at least to '85, because he adapted to chan more quickly than rival batters


Focus on the 1880s may explain why some people rank Jones below Browning on the whole. In '83-86 Browning "outbatted" Jones by a margin that makes up for his {14, 7, 0, 26 games not played}.
OPS+ less 100, 1883-86
47 68 57 32 Jones
77 73 90 54 Browning

But
OPS+ less 100, league rank at 5-year peak
7 3 3 2 5 C. Jones 1876-80 ; {1, 1, 0, 1, 20} games not played
1 2 5 2 6 Browning '82-86 ; {11, 14, 7, 0, 26} games not played
Adjusted for improving quality of the AA, Browning's 5-year peak begins a year or two later
5 2 6 2 3 Browning '84-88 {11, 14, 7, 0, 26, 5, 40 games not played in these seven seasons}
   51. Paul Wendt Posted: August 16, 2007 at 02:24 PM (#2487318)
Oops.
Underline represents strikeout.

His 3-year peak is 1877-79. (1, 0, and 1 games not played. 20 games not played in 1880 after "parting ways" with Harry Wright and Co.)
His 5-year peak begins in '77 or earlier.

Under the deeper prevailing AA discounts, he must appear to be an improving player in the mid-1880s, <u>more valuable</u> better (or meriter) in '85-86 than in '83-84, with 1883 the weakest of his 10 season in those 12 years.
(I don't gainsay that, only note it.
Maybe he was below par in '83 after two seasons when he played much less base ball and faced a good pitcher only occasionally.
Maybe his athletic skills generally declined, as age and 1887 and 14 games not played in 1886 {'83-86: 9, 0, 0, 14 gnp} all suggest. But his merit increased, at least to '85, because he adapted <u>to chan</u> more quickly than rival batters to the changes in pitching motions.
   52. DanG Posted: August 16, 2007 at 03:05 PM (#2487367)
Charley's birth year being 1850 (AFA we know) would also point to him as more of an 1870's star. Others born that year include HoMers Barnes, Spalding, Sutton and O'Rourke, as well as Tom York and John Peters.
   53. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 17, 2007 at 12:14 AM (#2488198)
For what it's worth, I have always considered him "more as a player from the 1870s".


My gut feeling has also been for a while that he was more a player from that decade, Paul. Your research only confirms that feeling.
   54. Paul Wendt Posted: August 22, 2007 at 05:35 AM (#2494745)
"2003 Results":
46. DavidFoss Posted: August 21, 2007 at 09:23 PM (#2494279)
In all seriousness, if anyone knows anything about what happened to Charley, let Paul Wendt know. His generic name has led him to be one of the few "lost players" in MLB history... well star caliber players anyways. Who else is lost? Anyone notable?

Jones is the greatest missing player.
He is number three behind Hugh One-Arm Daily and Harry Decker on the "Most Wanted" list of the SABR Biographical Research Cmte. That committee's focus is biographical data gathering, not biography writing. It completes and corrects a database whose scope is mainly what encyclopedists publish in the headings of their player registers and pages (managers too).

Daily is three years older than Jones and he was more famous in their day, at least in the 80s. His career path to the majors (and debut just short of age 35) is mainly unknown.

Decker has three patents for catcher's mitts, maybe unfairly, but he is probably living high off the hog somewhere.

47. Adam Schafer Posted: August 21, 2007 at 10:18 PM (#2494508)
I have been doing a lot of personal genealogy and a search for our Charley Jones on Ancestry.com states that he died Jan. 1. 1900 although his place of death is unknown. It lists him as a baseball player, correct date of birth and all other pertinent information. I don't know if that is his true date of death, or if they just gave him the 1st day of the century...FWIW, I've never seen them just give someone a date of death if unknown.

IIRC, and I have no confidence in this,
Around 1910 he was in poor health in NYC(?) and some other old baseballists planned a benefit.
Al Spink in The National Game listed him as living in NYC but he had the wrong guy.
Peter Morris has compiled the leads and known dead ends for all of the still-missing players.
   55. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 22, 2007 at 11:37 AM (#2494799)
He was a 70s player in the same sense that Jim Rice was. He was good in both decades, and pretty much straddles both decades, had his best year in the 70s too. I'd agree on the 70s designation.
   56. sunnyday2 Posted: August 22, 2007 at 11:41 AM (#2494800)
Who'da thunk when this thread was opened that both would make the HoM?

Who is the most surprising HoMer? Well, to the average fan, you'd probably have to say Jones, Pike, Pearce and Start, because the average fan has never heard of them.

To the average stathead who has maybe heard of all four, the biggest surprise would probably be somebody more like a Jake Beckley maybe?
   57. yest Posted: August 22, 2007 at 12:19 PM (#2494812)
only to the peak voter

personally the most suprising Homer was Dave Stieb (that dosn't mean he's the worst) because before this project started I never thought of any good argumant why he should be in
   58. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 22, 2007 at 01:31 PM (#2494844)
2 cents on surprising electees.

I suspect willie randolph or bobby grich could be the most suprising to the average person out there. Perhaps randolph more than grich. The old guys can be schluffed off with a "well their records are so old, I just didn't know about them," but most people out there saw Grich or Randolph play, and neither was ever a serious HOF candidate, nor really talked about in those terms. I think randolph may be more surprising since Grich at least got some play as an underground Jamesian candidate (as did the Evanses).

The other surprising guy might be Dick Allen for obvious reasons.
   59. Paul Wendt Posted: August 22, 2007 at 09:55 PM (#2495416)
Who is the most surprising HoMer? Well, to the average fan, you'd probably have to say Jones, Pike, Pearce and Start, because the average fan has never heard of them.

To the average stathead who has maybe heard of all four,


This quartet is not on the list of players the average stathead has heard of. What distinguishes the all-time baseball stathead from the fan who has read some tales of baseball past is likely to be such players as Jack Fournier, Stan Hack, Eddie Joost, Toby Harrah. Relatively recent players with stat.calling cards that some queries or calculations pick up.
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 22, 2007 at 10:33 PM (#2495441)
Who is the most surprising HoMer? Well, to the average fan, you'd probably have to say Jones, Pike, Pearce and Start, because the average fan has never heard of them.


Nah, it would have to be Sutton. Even Pearce gets a mention in 19th century baseball books because of the fair/foul hit, but I never even heard of Ezra before this project started. That the majority of us think he was the best 19th century third baseman is even more startling.
   61. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 23, 2007 at 12:03 AM (#2495615)
Speaking as an outsider, it's definitely Dickey Pearce. Pearce's great years were prior to 1871, and most of the stats that appear in the baseball encyclopedias are his NA years; by the time that the NL came along, he was 40, and his NL stats show a sub-.200 batting average in 33 games. Without historical background, there's no way to know he was an all-time great. And while Pearce may have popularized or invented the fair/foul hit, I would think that 90% of fans today who know about it associate it with Ross Barnes. I'm certainly not knocking Pearce's inclusion in the least; from what I have read here, and elsewhere, he was a true great of the early game, and deserves his inclusion. But his legacy is not that impressive until you look hard at it.

Sutton, on the other hand, is listed in the NBJHA as one of the 100 best third basemen, and as "often cited as the best third baseman of his generation." I would think most fans attuned to baseball history would have at least heard of him, if not able to tell you much about him.

Among modern players, Willie Randolph by a mile. A fine player, certainly, but not a great one, in most fans' minds. James slotting him at #17 between Gordon and Doerr indicates that he may have indeed been, but it goes against what we remember...
   62. jimd Posted: August 23, 2007 at 12:32 AM (#2495733)
by the time that the NL came along, he was 40, and his NL stats show a sub-.200 batting average in 33 games.

If a stathead stops and thinks, he/she realizes that anybody getting a substantial chunk of games at SS at age 40 had to have been pretty darn good when he was younger.
   63. sunnyday2 Posted: August 23, 2007 at 01:57 AM (#2496014)
Yeah, I became satisfied that basically he was the 19C version of Ozzie Smith.
   64. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 23, 2007 at 02:01 AM (#2496032)
Home Run Johnson doesn't even show up in the NHBA. I think he gets the prize (well, until you guys come around to my point of view on Bus Clarkson).
   65. Paul Wendt Posted: March 05, 2008 at 05:26 AM (#2706385)
This SABR biography of Israel Pike, brother of Lipman, includes some family history.

"Jay Pike" by Peter Morris
>>
Who was Israel Pike? He was the younger brother of Lipman Pike, baseball's first great Jewish star, and most likely was very briefly a major leaguer himself. Yet his career and life have been so shrouded in obscurity that questions endure about whether he is entitled to that distinction.

Israel's father Emanuel Pike was born in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1820, and met his wife Jane Lyons after immigrating to New York City. . . .
<<

That is about 10%
   66. Paul Wendt Posted: March 09, 2008 at 08:56 PM (#2709334)
gleaned from team and player records by Marshall Wright, The N.A.B.B.P. 1857-1870 (McFarland 2000)


1865
"Played his first game with the Atlantics ... July 14, 1865" according to SABR biography by Overfield. That was the second of 18 matches in the Atlantics second undefeated season. Wright lists nine players with 13-18 games and the numbers leave 17 starts for other players.


1866 Athletic, Philadelphia PA ( 23-2 inclg 12-2 vs major teams )
3B,OF,2B
played 16 of 25 games
Outs: 2.69, 5th of 11 who played 12-25 games
- or 3.06, 10th " " (there is some clerical error by Marshall Wright or his source)
Runs: 6.25, 3rd " "

Inference is precarious. Who played which games?


1867 Irvington, Irvington NJ ( 16-7 inclg 11-7 vs major teams )
3B
played 6 of 21 or more games
Outs: 3.17, roughly matches the bottom five of 10 regular players
Runs: 3.17, roughly matches the 5th to 7th of 10 regular players

Compared with the ten semi-regular players, 15-21 games, he roughly matches the bottom five in outs and roughly matches #5-7 in runs.
Maybe Irvington played slightly easier matches in June/July with Pike.
Before, 4/6 to 6/9 matches vs major teams; After, 12/14 to 14/17.
Maybe not, for the earlier major opponents seem stronger.
The team scored 25.7 runs per game in the first six matches, 28.6 overall.
Anyway, he made more outs (3.17) than team average in the games he played.


1867 Mutual, New York NY ( 23-6-1 inclg 13-5-1 vs major teams )
OF,3B,2B,1B
played 21 of 29 or more games
Outs: 2.42, 4th of 8 who played 21-29 games
Runs: 3.90, 2nd " "

The Mutuals certainly played much easier matches in June/July before Pike.
Before, 2/6 to 3/9 matches vs major teams; After, 16/21 to 17/24.


1868 Mutual, New York NY ( 31-10 inclg 13-8 vs major teams )
OF
played 25 of 42 games
Outs: 3.08, 9th of 11 who played 17-42 games
Runs: 2.60, 10th " "
Hits: 3.04, 7th " "
TBoH: 4.04, 7th " "

Unimpressive.
The number of semiregular players makes inference precarious. Who played which games?


1869 Atlantic, Brooklyn NY ( 40-6-2 inclg 15-6-1 in professional matches )
played 48 of 48 games
Outs: 2.16, 1st (superb)
Runs: 4.02, 3rd
Hits: 3.65, 5th
TBoH: 6.77, 2nd

rank on team, same four categories
1 3 5 2 Lip Pike, 2b
4 1 1 1 Joe Start, 1b
2 2 2 3 John Chapman, lf
6 4 6 4 Bob Ferguson, c
9 4 4 6 Dickey Pearce, ss
5 6 3 5 Charles Smith, 3b

Runs/Outs: Pike 1.72, Start 1.70, Chapman 1.63


1870 Atlantic, Brooklyn NY ( 41-17 inclg 20-16 in professional matches )
played 58 of 58 games
Outs: ?
Runs: ?
Hits: 2.48, 3rd
TBoH: 4.58, 1st

rank on team, same two categories
all matches (58) /professional matches (36), if different rank
3/4 1-- Pike, 2b
1-- 2-- Start, 1b
2/3 3-- Chapman, lf
5-- 4/5 Ferguson, c
4/2 6/4 Pearce, ss
6-- 5/6 Smith, 3b
7-- 7-- George Hall, cf
   67. Paul Wendt Posted: March 10, 2008 at 04:16 AM (#2709535)
Lip Pike, continued

bats left, throws left

2B - fielding position both 1869 and 1870
Neither Marshall Wright nor Bob Tiemann (ed., 19c Stars, SABR 1989) lists a secondary position.

It seems that the Mutuals used significantly more substitute players (their lineup was sig'ly less regular) than the Atlantics every season 1967-69, so rank on team data is more informative for the Atlantics (Start, Pearce, and Pike 1869 only). There is some risk in this inference. For example, maybe Wright compiled the Mutuals records from box scores but used Atlantic records compiled at the time

--
The player records published by Wright suggest that Pike was one of the best batter-runners other than George Wright in the two openly professional seasons, 1869-70. How many were as good as anyone but Wright, the plausible candidates for number two? Half a dozen or two dozen? Without computer data analysis I have no answer.

Along Lip Pike's career path before 1869, we need data on who played which games in order to be confident even about rank within team by runs scored per game. (That qualification may not generalize to other players on other paths from club to club, because much of the variation in playing time for substitute players was between clubs rather than between seasons.) With that qualification, Pike's record for outs and runs before 1869 is unimpressive. At best, it seems, he made a little more than his share of outs and scored a little more than his share of runs, overall 1866-68. That does not fit his evident desirability as a player. Historians suppose that Pike was one of the first players compensated to play the game --loosely one of the first professional players. First, why else move to Philadelphia? Second, it is accepted that the Athletics paid Al Reach to move one year earlier. Anyway, it is clear that the Irvingtons in 1867 and the Mutuals in 1867 and 1868 were clubs that recruited good players from other clubs. So were the Atlantics, who certainly hired him for 1869.
   68. Mike Webber Posted: July 10, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4178698)
Charley Jones, Forgotten Star

But for a “four’’ instead of a “three,’’ an enduring baseball mystery – one with a Cincinnati twist – might have been solved decades ago.

Instead, Charles Wesley Jones’ death lay cloaked in mystery for nearly 98 years, until earlier this year, when historian Greg Perkins discovered what happened to one of the earliest stars of the National League.

Before revealing how that occurred, though, a word about Charley “Home Run’’ Jones, the starting center fielder for Cincinnati in 1876, when the Red Stockings opened the season as one of the inaugural members of the league.

Second NL player to hit home run

On May 2, 1876, Jones became the second man to hit a home run in National League when he blasted one in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Stockings (today’s Cubs). Ross Barnes edged Jones for first honors when he homered in the fifth inning of the same game.

Jones etched his name in the record books in 1879 when he set the single-season mark with nine homers. He also was the first player in National League history to hit two home runs in the same inning. He was the league’s career home run leader from 1877 through 1885.

Sportswriters dubbed him “The Knight of the Limitless Linen” for his extensive wardrobe. He was handsome and loved to drink.

In November 1885, Jones abandoned his common-law wife and took up with Louisa Horton Smith, a married woman in Covington. His former love, Mrs. C.F. Arnold, aka Anna Jones, didn’t take kindly to being spurned.

On Dec. 14, 1885, Anna confronted Charley as he walked up Race Street toward Vine Street. Here is an excerpt from a Dec. 15 story in the The Enquirer:

“Last evening about nine o’clock Mrs. Jones again tackled (Charley) in front of Heuck’s Theater … and gave her several pieces of her mind.

“To avoid the crowd he walked out Thirteenth street … When at the corner of Vine and Thirteenth, she made a profane exclamation, and, saying ‘I will fix you,’ pulled out of the inside pocket of her cloak a handful of cayenne pepper and threw it full and fair into Jones’ face. He got it square in the right eye, which was turned toward her side, but it missed the other.

“Officer Lang, who was walking almost beside Jones got the worst of the dose. It filled both his eyes and covered his whole face. The intense smarting which this caused to the intended and the accidental victim made them howl with pain … Officer Reisinger placed Mrs. Jones under arrest.”

Eye injury cut career short

The eye injury curtailed Jones’ career. After being traded to a New York team in 1887 and signing with the Kansas City Cowboys in 1888, he retired early in 1888.

Club officials put up with Jones’ foibles because he was a “five-tool player” who could hit for average, throw well, run skillfully on the bases, hit for power and field well.

After a strong campaign for the Reds in 1878, Jones signed a contract with the Boston Reds and had his career year in 1879, hitting .315 and pacing the league in home runs.

Jones didn’t want to return to Boston for the 1880 season because of disputes with manager Harry Wright, so he held out. Unlike most holdouts, he wasn’t asking for more money, just to be paid.

Jones’ contract with Boston called for him to be paid $250 on the first of each month during the season, $1,500 in all, wrote the late Lee Allen, the former historian of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Jones asked Wright for his September pay in late August as the team was on its way to play in Cleveland. When the manager turned him down, Jones refused to play. Wright then cabled team co-owner Arthur Soden, a notorious penny-pincher who sometimes blacklisted rebellious players. Soden’s response was to suspend Jones and fine him.

Soden blacklisted Jones, ending his National League career.

Curiosity piqued historian's interest

Now back to how Perkins discovered Jones.

Perkins is a Cincinnati historian and player for the Ludlows, an amateur vintage baseball team based in Ludlo. He wanted to learn more about Jones, who starred for the original Ludlows in 1875, as part of a team history he was compiling.

He contacted Cooperstown officials in February and asked for the file Allen compiled on Jones. Allen worked on his Jones file, off and on, from the late 1940s until his death in 1969. By the time Allen began searching for Jones, no one could provide answers about what happened to him after his baseball career.

In the file was a letter dated “March 13, 1913,’’ from a Cincinnati Enquirer sportswriter (his name was indecipherable) to August “Garry’’ Herrmann, the president of the Reds at the time. The writer said he had enclosed a story he wrote about Jones and asked him to send it to Jones’ widow. There was no story included, however, and it’s not known if the letter was ever delivered.

That date, written in pencil, was off by a year. If the letter would have contained the correct year, 1914, Allen could have zeroed in on that year and found the missing story in bound editions of the Cincinnati Enquirer at the Cincinnati Public Library.

Perkins caught a break because the Cincinnati Public Library had just purchased ProQuest, a historical newspaper database.

“I assumed that Lee Allen had already checked into (the letter),’’ Perkins said. “It only took about 10 minutes to find the article.”

The story, dated March 9, 1914, said Jones died in July 1911 at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan at age 59.

But according to his death certificate, he died June 6, 1911, in Metropolitan Hospital in Manhattan from pulmonary tuberculosis. If someone had dated the letter 1914, its correct date, Allen would have learned of Jones’ fate more than 50 years earlier.

At Perkins’ request, baseball author and researcher Peter Morris got Richard Malatzky to pull Jones’ death certificate in New York City to confirm the find.

Jones’ remains rest where they have for 101 years – in an unmarked grave in the Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Queens, N.Y.

Robert Boyer is a Raleigh, N.C.-based freelance writer. He is finishing a book on Charley Jones.
   69. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 17, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4185284)
Hey, guys, still lurking after all these years....

Just checking in to say that I cannot find any evidence that a baseball card of Charley Jones was ever produced, making him the only MLB HOMer with that distinction to the best of my sleuthing skills. Neither Lip Pike nor Dickey Pearce (and perhaps not Joe Start) had one until the last few years thanks to several historical card sets (including the beautiful Infinite Card Set). If anyone knows of any Charley Jones cards, would you please post it?

Thanks!

Now back to lurking....

Doc C.

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