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Friday, December 10, 2004

Clark Griffith

I’m surprised nobody demanded a thread for the Old Fox before today.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 10, 2004 at 09:51 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: December 11, 2004 at 09:30 PM (#1013244)
I have slowly warmed up to Griffith and he is now on the precipice of my top ten.

237-146, 3.31 ERA, 121 ERA+, in 3385.7 IP

His RSI was 105.50, lowering his record to 233-150.

Accordint to BP...

...3.99 DERA, one of the best on our boardas only six guys are under 4.00. BP does take nearly a 1000 IP off, lowering that number to 2295, but hsi record is still good (154-102). His 5.9 tranlsated K/9 is above average for what we have left and his BB/9 are outstanding at 1.9, only five guys are under 2.0.

K# of 94
BB# of 144
K/BB# of 134

With only 3 1890's pitchers elected and not many 1890's players elected in general, I would not be sad to see Griffith get enshrined, though I think that Vance is more worthy with Waddel and Rixey right there with him.
   2. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: December 11, 2004 at 09:31 PM (#1013247)
Oh, I should mention I have no real way to judeg peak yet besides eyeballing WARP and WS. Hope this gets the conversation going!
   3. karlmagnus Posted: December 11, 2004 at 10:50 PM (#1013359)
He';s much better than Vance or Waddell because of a much better W/L. You can argue about Faber or Covaleski. But he should have been in the HOM years ago, as should Beckley -- they're the missing 90s players. Duffy and Van H not so meritorious, though both have an argument as does Leever if you really want to do justice to the 90s.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: December 11, 2004 at 11:10 PM (#1013399)
I have each 1880s year with 20 to 25 players (not counting guys with fewer than 10 G).

Then 29-30 in 1890-92, and 26 in 1893.
Then 20-22 in 1894-1903.
Then 24-25 in 1904-1907.
Then 25-28 in 1908-1914.
Then 24 in 1915, 28 in 1916, 25 in 1917 (counting Ruth and Hornsby already).
Then 19 to 22 in 1918 to 1922, with a number of players in those years not yet eligible for our ballots.

I do wonder a little if we are more impressed by early 1900s numbers that are achieved in only 'half the majors.' Those 'low' 1890s years coincide with the drop to one league, and tough competition.
Still, without dramatic quota efforts, we seem to be mixing it up reasonably well.
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 11, 2004 at 11:47 PM (#1013459)
There's just not enough peak or career for a pitcher of his era to interest me. But, since we only have three pitchers from the nineties so far, I wouldn't cry if he was inducted some day.
   6. OCF Posted: December 12, 2004 at 06:35 AM (#1014515)
For whatever reasons, Griffith has an unusually low number of innings pitched per decision (or an unusually high number of decisions per inning, if you want to put it that way.) Pitchers in my consideration set average 8.72 innings per decsion. A few are over 9 innings per decision: Walsh (tops at 9.23), Reulbach, Leever, Rusie, Mays, Joss, Cicotte. Then there are those with 8.5 or fewer innings per decision: Walter Johnson (8.50), Shawkey, Quinn, Dauss, Wood. Griffith, at 8.28, is the second lowest such ratio I've found, with only Ferrell (8.18) lower.

The main impact of that on rankings: measuring his durability/longevity by innings gives lower numbers than measuring it by decisions.
   7. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 12, 2004 at 04:03 PM (#1014943)
The main impact of that on rankings: measuring his durability/longevity by innings gives lower numbers than measuring it by decisions.

I also have been going by innings from the start, OCF. Going by decisions distorts what he was doing on the mound, IMO.
   8. Chris Cobb Posted: December 12, 2004 at 05:58 PM (#1015019)
I also have been going by innings from the start, OCF. Going by decisions distorts what he was doing on the mound, IMO.

The counterargument would be that Griffith's higher decisions per inning accurately reflect that he was pitching proportionately more higher-leveraged innings for his teams, because he was picking up wins in relief. Walsh did a lot of relieving, but he tended to be used in save situations, so his higher saves totals give him credit for leveraged relief pitching. He was 24-10 with 9 saves in 81 relief appearances.

Griffith competed 90% of his starts, so he isn't gaining his higher wins/inning from picking up wins from 6-inning outings.
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 12, 2004 at 06:34 PM (#1015072)
He was 24-10 with 9 saves in 81 relief appearances.

Baseballreference.com has him with 6 saves, so somebody is wrong there.

The counterargument would be that Griffith's higher decisions per inning accurately reflect that he was pitching proportionately more higher-leveraged innings for his teams, because he was picking up wins in relief. Walsh did a lot of relieving, but he tended to be used in save situations, so his higher saves totals give him credit for leveraged relief pitching.

I believe (please tell me if I'm wrong) that WS takes that into account. I'm not sure how far back it attempts to do this, though.
   10. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: December 12, 2004 at 07:01 PM (#1015101)
Doesn't Win Shares add points for saves? This is oneof the systems weaknesses methinks.
   11. Paul Wendt Posted: December 15, 2004 at 03:35 PM (#1021927)
OCF #6
For whatever reasons, Griffith has an unusually low number of innings pitched per decision (or an unusually high number of decisions per inning, if you want to put it that way.)

How unusual? Baseballistically significant or merely statistically significant?
At a glance, I see < 8ip/wl in 1894 and 1905.
   12. Chris Cobb Posted: December 15, 2004 at 05:31 PM (#1022174)
He was 24-10 with 9 saves in 81 relief appearances.

Baseballreference.com has him with 6 saves, so somebody is wrong there.


Probably the 9 saves is wrong, then. I get my data on decisions in relief from my 1982 MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia, and their numbers are sometimes a little off, esp. for 19th-century players.
   13. OCF Posted: December 15, 2004 at 06:04 PM (#1022282)
Paul: unusually low among a list of pitchers good enough to be mentioned as possible HoM candidates. I have a list of 58 such names active between 1890 and about 1940. It includes all of our elected candidates (including such not-yet-eligibles as Grove), all of those that have been seriously discussed, and a number of others (Tannehill, Chesbro, Orth, Coombs - that sort of quality.) All of these were very good pitchers with substantial careers, already singled out for their quality. It stands to reason that they would be different than the league averages in a number of ways.

The average IP/WL for the 58 was 8.76 with a standard deviation of 0.21.

Let Group I be Walsh, Rusie, Nichols, Grove, Alexander, Young, McGinnity, Faber, Brown, Plank, Coveleski, Mathewson, and Johnson. The average for Group I was 8.82 if you include all of them, 8.78 if you leave out Walsh (an outlier at 9.23).

Let Group II be Joss, Cicotte, Shocker, Waddell, Willis, Rixie, Grimes, Luque - those whose candidacies are still alive. The average for Group II was 8.81 if you don't include Griffith among them, 8.75 if you do include Griffith.

That would leave Group III (the less-serious or not-yet candidates, the Tannehills and Ruckers) averaging 8.73, or 8.75 if you leave out the other outlier, Ferrell.

Griffith is at 8.28, the second lowest on the list of 58 with only Ferrell lower. Walter Johnson is at 8.50, which is fairly low, and hints that this is mostly about decisions in relief rather than about innings per start.

It doesn't have a particularly large baseball significance - but for a borderline HoM candidate like Griffith, a small discrepancy in estimates of his career length and durability may mean many places in the rankings.

It shouldn't go without mention that an "inning" is far larger (more batters) in the mid-90's offensive explosion than it is in the time of Walsh and Brown.
   14. OCF Posted: December 21, 2004 at 12:26 AM (#1032486)
EEK! Mea Culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Post #13 is complete nonsense, at least as far as Griffith is concerned. He does NOT have a low IP/decision. In fact, he has a perfectly ordinary, even slighly above average 8.84 IP/decision.

The error I made? I had his whole career W-L record (at least within a handful of decisions) but my IP and runs allowed were not for his full career. When I started doing this, I was only working with years from 1894 on; I later added 1889-1893 to pick up the whole careers of Nichols, Young, and Rusie. I forgot to update Griffith, and hence was missing his 1891 and 1893 seasons. I have now fixed that mistake, adding 246 innings (about 27 virtual decisions) to his record.

The problem is, adding in 1891 and 1893 doesn't do Griffith much good. 1893 is only 20 unspectacular innings, so most of it is the 1891 AA. Now, the 1891 AA does deserve a steep league quality discount. Griffith split his time between a park with a park factor of 94 and one with a park factor of 113. For the purposes of putting him in my system, I set the park factor at 95; that's the league quality discount right there. That gives him a 94 RA+ for a 12-13 equivalent record for that year. The value of that is positive, but small.

My new career equivalent record for him: 216-160. The closest match for that is Wilbur Cooper at 220-166.
   15. Paul Wendt Posted: January 15, 2005 at 03:20 AM (#1080952)
Someone or a collaboration recently posted some minor league statistics for Griffith. (1942-1943?)

Here are two items about the beginning and end of
Griffith's minor league career in Milwaukee.

Before July 4, 1888, Milwaukee manager Jim Hart sent pitcher
John Quincy Adams Struck
>>
to the Bloomington club of the Inter-State club. In return, Hart paid $1,000 for that club and the league's best pitcher, who averaged over 12 strikeouts per game. He was first identified as "Griffin." He was Clark Griffith.
. . .
Friday the 13th [of July ...] The indifferent Griffith fared so meekly against the visiting Chicago Maroons that many surmised he was pitching for his release to the mutually interested St Louis Browns.
<< --Brian A. Podoll, The Minor League Milwaukee Brewers 1859-1952, p47-48, citing the Milwaukee Sentinel

Charlie Cushman succeeded Hart for 1890. In 1891,
>>
Cushman would have to make his pennant dash without Clark Griffith, who accepted $750 more than the $1,500 the Brewers offered. Griff would finally be united with Chris von der Ahe's St Louis Browns. Had Griffith not departed so abruptly, Milwaukee may have tacked on another $200-$300.
<< --Podoll p56, citing Milwaukee Sentinel

Otherwise, Cushman secured almost everyone he wanted except Jesse Burkett. (Milwaukee finished 1891 in the major AA.)

Jim Hart succeeded Al Spalding as Chicago NL President, 1892-1905, including Griffith's tenure with that club.
   16. DanG Posted: January 15, 2005 at 06:12 AM (#1081167)
Bringing this here from the 1942 discussion thread, #245, #248:

Daguerreotypes shows Griffith with Oakland in 1893, as was said, 30-18.

In 1892 he played with Tacoma in the P. N. W., presumably Pacific North West league. He was 13-7 in 24 G.

In 1891 he played in the AA. In 1890, age 20, he was 27-7 in 34 G with Milwaukee in the Western league. With MLB players in short supply, it's a bit strange he wasn't tried by a big league team.

Completing Griffith's minor league record.

In 1888 with Bloomington in the Cent.-Int. St. league he was 10-4 in 14G. K/W was 123/16.

Also in 1888, with Milwaukee in the Western league he was 12-10 in 23 G. K/W was 130/50.

In 1889 with Milwaukee he was 18-13 in 31 G. K/W was 159/91.

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