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Monday, December 06, 2004

Dazzy Vance

The Dazzler! His peak will help him land on quite a few ballots.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 06, 2004 at 05:05 PM | 49 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. PhillyBooster Posted: December 06, 2004 at 06:02 PM (#1000448)
Dazzy Vance v. Rube Waddell

Record:
Vance: 197-140
Waddell: 193-143

IP:
Vance: 2967
Waddell: 2961

Strikeouts:
Vance: 2045
Waddell: 2316

Walks:
Vance: 840
Waddell: 803

ERA+:
Vance: 125
Waddell: 134

League Leader in Ks:
Vance: 7
Waddell: 6

They strike me as indistinguishable -- pitchers who based their success almost entirely on lots of strikeouts, which the holistic stats all love. Look at Steve Treder's article <a href="http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/printarticle/strike-zone-dominance-in-context-dazzy-and-pedro/">here<a>, where he invents K+, and shows that the top 2 all-time are Vance and Waddell. Vance moves ahead in KBB+, or "strike zone dominance", because he pitched in a higher walk era.

I don't know. This strikes me as a debate similar to Sewell v. Bancroft v. Maranville, where even the winner doesn't get a ballot spot. But I'm a big believer in IP as a starting point, and working from there. Less than 3000 IP starts a player in a serious hole. Maybe I'm selling him short, though.
   2. DavidFoss Posted: December 06, 2004 at 06:18 PM (#1000501)
I was looking forward to voting for Dazzy because I like peak... ERA+'s to follow:

Dazz-191-189-173-146-119-118-113-111-110-098-etc
Rube-179-179-165-153-126-125-123-121-107-102-etc

Philly is right, they are close. Dazzy isn't as high as I would have guessed he'd be.... though I haven't heard that Vance was the headcase that Waddell was so maybe he'll do better in the RA+ numbers than Rube did.

Rube's in the top-10 so Dazzy is sure to get many votes. Could make my ballot... still thinking.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 06, 2004 at 07:17 PM (#1000715)
Dazz-191-189-173-146-119-118-113-111-110-098-etc
Rube-179-179-165-153-126-125-123-121-107-102-etc


Funny that you displayed this, David. I have both of them sitting contiguously on my ballot. I should have them at #11 and #12 on my next ballot, respectively.
   4. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: December 06, 2004 at 07:30 PM (#1000760)
Maybe my personal favorite page on my site:

Dazzy Vance.

He's good. Really really good.
   5. Dave Bowman Posted: December 06, 2004 at 07:55 PM (#1000844)
He's good. Really really good.

He /is/. I took the "1 in 13" thing from that link and extended it a bit farther into his career.

As you said, in 1924, he was
personally responsible for 1 out of every 13 strikeouts recorded in the National League. In 1925, 1 out of every 15 Ks. In 1928, at age 37, 1 out of every 17.

I would consider that impressive.
   6. andrew siegel Posted: December 06, 2004 at 08:02 PM (#1000876)
Vance vs. Waddell is one of the best examples ever of the initial numbers being deceiving. For all the reasons Chris states on his fabulous page (plus many more subject ones), Vance is miles ahead of Waddell. The problem for me is that I have Waddell about 45th or 50th. So, Vance might be two miles ahead of Waddell and in 25th place or three miles ahead and in 12th place or four miles ahead and in 3rd place. I try to do things subjectively and holistically, but I might need to come up with a numerical system of some sort in order to rank Vance. Right now I could see him 3rd and I could see him about 20th (right around Jose Mendez). It only gets harded.
   7. DavidFoss Posted: December 06, 2004 at 08:11 PM (#1000901)
From ChrisJ's page:

He did not start very often against the Phillies. After 1925, when he started six games against them, he started, year-by-year, 2, 5, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 0, and 2 games against them. He should've started 31 games against that annual also-ran, but instead he only faced them 20 times - five of those in one year. This makes his achievements a little more impressive.

I realize that I might be overly analytical about what might be a minute detail, but does staying out of the Baker Bowl and Philly skew his park factor and/or run support numbers by any significant amount?

Also, I recall that Waddell scored poorly on RA+ despite the nice ERA+. Is there a corresponding RA+/ERA+ comparison for Vance? This part might not have been something ChrisJ had done. Thanks.
   8. sunnyday2 Posted: December 06, 2004 at 08:12 PM (#1000909)
Waddell has been on my ballot for a long time now, so I expect Vance to be, also. It's not the Ks, however. Rather it's the ERA+. Being a peak voter, I'll take 3000 IP of 125-134 ERA+ over 4000 at 115 (well, especially the 134).

I have always thought that Ks are overrated. I mean, even if DIPS is correct, and I don't see why it isn't, it isn't the Ks per se that make it valuable to be a good DIPS pitcher, it is still about run prevention. That's why I always thought Nolan Ryan was grossly overvalued. Too many BB, not enough ERA+. Ks all by themselves are not the point.

Meanwhile, Waddell with his 134 could give up a fair number of UER before he would be as valuable as that guy at 115.

So anyway, white 20th century pitchers on my 1941 ballot will probably be:

1. Waddell
2. Vance
   9. Michael Bass Posted: December 06, 2004 at 08:21 PM (#1000926)
As a big Waddell fan, I suppose no one will be surprised that I like Vance, too. A quick eyeball says he's going to be the top pitcher on my ballot next year, but we'll see.
   10. DavidFoss Posted: December 06, 2004 at 08:48 PM (#1000994)
I have always thought that Ks are overrated. I mean, even if DIPS is correct, and I don't see why it isn't, it isn't the Ks per se that make it valuable to be a good DIPS pitcher, it is still about run prevention. That's why I always thought Nolan Ryan was grossly overvalued. Too many BB, not enough ERA+. Ks all by themselves are not the point.

True, its not just about the K's. But K's do take the ball out of the hands of the defense. Vance deserves a better split between Pitching and Fielding than another pitcher of the same ERA+.

Plus, Vance's appearances on the BB leaderboards (3rd, 3rd, 6th) are much sparser than Ryan's. (Of course his career is also quite shorter.)

Just dumping info here, haven't made up my mind on the Dazzster yet.
   11. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: December 06, 2004 at 09:12 PM (#1001054)
For what it is worth, BP's translated inninngs pitched, i.e. adjusted for era, have Vance ahead of Waddell 2642.3 to 2179.3. Big gap, dont' know if it should be that big, but it does serve to demonstrate that their similarity in IP is largely because Waddell pitched in an era where pitchers threw more innings, or Vance pitched in an era where they threw less, whichever.

With this in mind Vance will be my top pitcher in 1941 (#5 probably, unless Rogan somehow isn't elected). Waddell was at #9 in 1940, he will fall a bit because of the newbies, but I am nto sure how far yet.

Right now my rankings o fpitchers go
(Rogan?)
Vance
Rixey
Redding
Griffith
Mendez

Gap

Shocker
Joss
Cicotte
Mays
Grimes
Luque
Welch
Rommel

My first instinct on 20s' pitchers was that I would like Covaleski, Faber, and Vance with Rixey and Grimes on the fence. With Covaleski and Faber already in, it looks like we are doing our job, which is to vote in the players that Mark likes!
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 06, 2004 at 09:41 PM (#1001111)
Big gap, dont' know if it should be that big, but it does serve to demonstrate that their similarity in IP is largely because Waddell pitched in an era where pitchers threw more innings

That's true of Waddell, but his era also had shorter careers than Vance's.
   13. OCF Posted: December 06, 2004 at 09:56 PM (#1001157)
From my RA+ calculations:

Waddell 200-129 record
Vance 201-129 record

The number of decisions here is based on IP; so they have the same IP. There are differences between their times in how many innings a pitcher was expected to pitch.

I can turn this RA+ record into single-season equivalent FWP, with these results sorted from best to worst:

Waddell   34  30  29  26  16  15  14  10   7   6   1  -1
Vance     33  32  28  22  18  14  14  10  10   6   4   4   1  0  0  0


Not much difference, is there? But on top of that, Waddell has some negative baggage - the sense that he wasn't someone you wanted to rely on. Vance has no such baggage. With that, with the differences in the IP of leading pitchers of their times, a pinch of timeline, and a couple of other things, I have no problem putting Vance ahead of Waddell - and Waddell was 12th on my 1940 ballot.
   14. favre Posted: December 07, 2004 at 01:08 AM (#1001598)
Does anyone know why Vance wasn't pitching in the majors full-time until age 31?
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 07, 2004 at 01:16 AM (#1001615)
Does anyone know why Vance wasn't pitching in the majors full-time until age 31?

Because he wasn't that good and injury prone. Bill James speculates he had painful bone chips taken out of his elbow in 1920, which brought out the Dazzler that we all know about now.

BTW, anyone that has a ballot count can send them to me now. Thanks!
   16. karlmagnus Posted: December 07, 2004 at 01:18 AM (#1001621)
No they can't, it's still 40 minutes till the polls close.
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 07, 2004 at 01:38 AM (#1001669)
No they can't, it's still 40 minutes till the polls close.

I know. I can still check if I made an error with the ballots posted so far still. That way, if an error occurs with one of the later ballots not yet posted, I know where to look. It will save time this way and I'll be able to get the results up faster.
   18. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: December 07, 2004 at 02:19 AM (#1001790)
There's one thing on my site that's got to be a typo:

Vance went through a 16-start-stretch from June 4 to August 11 where the Dodgers scored a total of 11 runs for an RSI of 52.

I can only assume I meant 21 or 31 runs. Mickey Lolich had a stretch of 13 starts in the 1970s where the Tigers scored 12 runs, which worked out to an RSI of 21. No frickin' way worse run support garners a higher RSI in 1927.

Re: K's & run prevention.

According to the Dr Memory #s, Dazzy Vance not only had the greatest K% ever, but also the best K:W ratio ever. That really helped him get that 125 ERA+, especially when you consider that his defense was bad. Among HoFers, only Amos Rusie and Phil Niekro had worse Defensive Adjustments.
   19. jimd Posted: December 07, 2004 at 03:19 AM (#1001954)
After 1925, when he started six games against them, he started, year-by-year, 2, 5, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 0, and 2 games against them. He should've started 31 games against that annual also-ran, but instead he only faced them 20 times - five of those in one year.

Two sided sword here. Half of those expected 31 starts would have been in Baker Bowl. The Phillies usually needed the Lifebuoy soap (the big ad on the RF(?) wall) but Baker Bowl in this era was the best offensive park year-in-year-out that MLB had seen before Coors. Ducking them at Baker probably meant that Dazzy avoided picking up a typical 9-6 win in order to pitch against a tougher opponent with a greater chance of Vance losing but in a park more favorable to the ERA.
   20. OCF Posted: December 07, 2004 at 08:51 AM (#1002886)
Tempting as it is to compare Vance with Waddell (the two best strikeout pitchers for a very long time; high peak, injury-shortened careers), the comparison that's going to matter for the voters is this: how does Vance compare to Rixie (and, to a lesser extent, to Griffith). Vance/Rixie is a very hard comparison to make - short career versus long-career inning-eater, high peak versus miniscule peak, and so forth. But we need to do it.

(I called Vance's career injury-shortened. In an odd way: the injuries came first; the career latler.)
   21. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 07, 2004 at 09:12 AM (#1002905)
I know he led the league in strikeouts seven straight years. I know he lead the league in K/9 eight times. Peak voters are going to love him.

But he had just 4 big years, and really, only 10 effective years in his career. He didn't throw tons of innings either, only top 5 in an eight-team league five times (four of those being 4th or 5th). He's got more than Dean and Joss, I just hope we are careful here . . . at least Ruth/Hornsby guarantee we'll get to talk about him for at least a month.

Just the natural skeptic in my firing a preliminary salvo.

********

Chris - to add onto Jim's comments, does his ducking the Phillies cause him to be overrated by your analysis? While it may have been tougher on his W-L (playing worse teams) it was easier on his ERA - do you make your adjustments on a game-by-game (and park-by-park) basis? Or do you base things on his season numbers? Just curious as to the underlying methodology.
   22. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 07, 2004 at 09:19 AM (#1002910)
Comparing him to Rixey I see Vance as having 3 years that Rixey can't touch. But Rixey had 4 seasons that were pretty much as good as Vance's 4th season, and another 9 or so effective seasons (to Vance's 6). Plus a few filler years.

So the question is, do Vance's 3 big years make up for Rixey's extra 3 season effective seasons. Are 3 great seasons worth more than 6 pretty good seasons? I had Rixey #2 in 1940, so I see Vance pretty high either way.

Comparing Vance to Griffith, I see Griffith's 1898 as up there with any Vance season. Vance has two more big years, that Griffith can't touch.

Griffith also had roughly 10 effective seasons - so a quick eyeball analysis has me thinking Vance has the edge on Griffith.

Guess I've got some number crunching to do, but the early analysis shows Dazzy would have been somewhere between #2 and #7 on my ballot had he been eligible in 1940.
   23. PhillyBooster Posted: December 07, 2004 at 03:57 PM (#1003074)
I'm disappointed that no one has considered the possibility that Vance avoided the Phillies because he was afraid of losing to them.

:-)
   24. TomH Posted: December 07, 2004 at 04:03 PM (#1003086)
FWIW, Dazzy's bb-ref page is available for sponsorship for a mere $15.
   25. jimd Posted: December 07, 2004 at 07:22 PM (#1003472)
I'm disappointed that no one has considered the possibility that Vance avoided the Phillies because he was afraid of losing to them.

Being a Phillies fan from 1918-1948 has to be the toughest 30 years in major league history.
   26. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: December 07, 2004 at 08:57 PM (#1003685)
Well, Expo fans only have 1994-2004 so far, but you have to admit, the next 20 aren't looking so hot.
   27. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: December 07, 2004 at 08:58 PM (#1003690)
Chris - to add onto Jim's comments, does his ducking the Phillies cause him to be overrated by your analysis? While it may have been tougher on his W-L (playing worse teams) it was easier on his ERA -

Maybe. I don't really analyze ERA. I'd say the Phillies thing indicates he's underrated by W/L (even when adjusting for RSI), and overrated by ERA/ERA+.

Anyone wanna figure out how much ducking the Phillies cost him? Here's some preliminary info (year, DV's GS, his GS vs. Phil & Phil's batter park factor):

1926..22..2..105
1927..32
..5..101
1928..32
..3..103
1929..26
..2..107
1930..31
..1..107
1931..29
..2..108
1932..24
..3..112
1933..11
..0..113
1934..6
...2..113 


Looks like the Baker Bowl really wasn't going apesh1t until his career was winding down.

do you make your adjustments on a game-by-game (and park-by-park) basis?

Gaahhhh!! Good God Lord no!! I did most of this #### by hand! I just use batter park factor & accept that it ain't perfect. The more precise method would drive me to homicide or suicide.

FWIW, Dazzy's bb-ref page is available for sponsorship for a mere $15.

I've tempted to buy it to plug my site - but I'm a cheap b@stard.
   28. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: December 07, 2004 at 09:09 PM (#1003717)
jimd,

hey, Philly fans had those great A's teams. But I couldn't imagine being a Phillies fan. Seriously that is worse than being a Cubs fan or a Red Sox fan from 1918-2003. Never competitive? damn.
   29. karlmagnus Posted: December 07, 2004 at 09:21 PM (#1003760)
Senators fans 1972-2004?
   30. PhillyBooster Posted: December 07, 2004 at 09:24 PM (#1003770)

Being a Phillies fan from 1918-1948 has to be the toughest 30 years in major league history.


Well, there WAS that brief peak in 1932 when we finished in fourth place -- 78-76. It was the only year in the 30 when we finished over .500.

Now your saying that if Vance didn't duck up, we probably woudn't even have broken .500 that year either?
   31. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: December 07, 2004 at 09:31 PM (#1003791)
Now your saying that if Vance didn't duck up, we probably woudn't even have broken .500 that year either?

He actually started 1/8th of his starts against them that year, so I guess you can't say they only did it due to lack of Vance.
   32. jimd Posted: December 07, 2004 at 09:59 PM (#1003900)
Well, Expo fans only have 1994-2004 so far, but you have to admit, the next 20 aren't looking so hot.

Senators fans 1972-2004?

Providence Grays fan 1885 to date... ;-)
   33. jimd Posted: December 07, 2004 at 10:14 PM (#1003960)
Looks like the Baker Bowl really wasn't going apesh1t until his career was winding down.

Just a note. baseball-reference.com's "park factors", like Total Baseball's, are more than just park factors. In addition to compensating for park, they attempt to adjust for schedule inequity. The Phillies offense never got to face the Phillies defense during those years (or in any other for that matter). When their pitching/fielding was bad (which it often was, even after adjusting for the park), the offense is given some extra credit for missing out on the replacement level arms, and the pitchers get credit for missing out on facing the replacement level bats. It's usually a second order effect but when the team is truly bad (or good), it matters. (Win Shares does not adjust for this; WARP says it does.)
   34. TomH Posted: December 08, 2004 at 08:10 PM (#1006560)
Using BP's Translated Pitching Stats (grnad attempt to defense- and era- and park-correct everyone), here are six hurlers' careers:

....IP ...H/9 .W/9 .K/9 HR/9
A 2642 _7.2 2.9 _10.2 0.9
B 4626 _7.4 2.4 __9.0 0.7
C 2099 _7.3 2.8 __7.3 0.7
D 2179 _7.2 3.3 _10.4 0.9
E 3773 _9.0 2.3 __5.3 0.7
F 1131_13.2 0.9 ( -6 ) 0.2

I tried to find guys who matched the rates pretty closely.

A is Vance. B is the Rocket, the best pitcher in many many years. C is the best relievers career ever; Hoyt Wilhelm.

You can make a valid case that Wilhelm's leveraged innings put him above Vance. And yes Clemens has a huge career edge on Dazzy; but by rate stats, Dazzy is right there.

In today's game, when hitters swing-and-miss a lot, Vance would be putting up >10K games as regularly as the Big Unit, wouldn't he? I know, we're back to value vs. ability here, but I think some adjustment for ability is very legit here. Dazzy will be no lower than #4 this ballot.

Oh, pitcher D? Rube Waddell. Same argument, fewer innings. Still in my top 15.

Pitcher E is Rixey. Pitcher F is (E minus A), or Rixey's extra career over Rube's. NOT PRETTY! Rixey has the career length, but guys, these extra innings just can't be worth much positive value. I think Waddell is CLEARLY above Rixey.
   35. TomH Posted: December 08, 2004 at 08:16 PM (#1006578)
Oops. Pitcher F is Rixey minus Vance, not Waddell, and it's Vance who is above Rixey. Re-doing for Rixey vs Waddell:

.....IP ...H/9 .W/9 .K/9 HR/9
RW ..2179 _7.2 3.3 _10.4 0.9
ER ..3773 _9.0 2.3 __5.3 0.7
diff 1594 11.5 0.9 ( -2) 0.4

Looks like Tommy John in late career.
   36. PhillyBooster Posted: December 08, 2004 at 10:54 PM (#1007104)
Well, before you put too much stock in TomH's "subtract peak player A's career from career player B's career and see what's left over", let's look at a couple of others:

diff is TomH's Eppa Rixey minus Waddell calc.
dA is Juan Marichal minus Waddell
dB is Stan Coveleski minus Waddell

.....IP ...H/9 .W/9 .K/9 HR/9
diff 1594_11.5_0.9_( -2)_0.4
dA..805.3_11.7_(-3.3)_(-5.4)_(-1.5)
dB..388 _14.7_(-3.5)_(-24)_0.7

Certainly, at least, puts Rixey is some good company. I know I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be sitting in the stands during those two seasons when Coveleski was giving up -24 strikeouts per nine innings!
   37. Howie Menckel Posted: December 08, 2004 at 10:56 PM (#1007108)
I wasn't dazzyled by Waddell, so I won't be Dazzyled by Vance, either.
   38. Chris Cobb Posted: December 09, 2004 at 02:42 AM (#1007594)
Lots of comparisons of Waddell to Vance here. They were similar pitchers in career length and in style. But win-based analysis shows that Vance was consistently better. Not by a lot, but consistently better.

Here are my calculations of wins above an average pitcher, adjusted for run-support and fielding support, ordered best to worst over the 11-seasons runs as starting pitchers for Vance & Waddell

Vance – Waddell
9.5 – 8.6
7.4 – 7.5
5.7 – 5.9
4.8 – 2.9
3.6 – 2.6
2.8 – 2.4
2.1 – 2.2
1.8 – 1.1
1.4 – 0.8
1.1 – 0.0
0.9 – -3.3
_________
41.1 -- 30.7

The gap is slightly greater than this chart indicates, because Vance’s numbers are adjusted for his bad hitting: Waddell’s are not, because I hadn’t figured out how to make that adjustment reasonably 20 elections ago when I ran the numbers on Waddell. That would tend to drop Waddell’s numbers by .2 W+ per season.

This difference explains why Vance will be 4 places from the top of my ballot and Waddell will be about 4 places off my ballot.
   39. TomH Posted: December 14, 2004 at 02:44 PM (#1019411)
Philybooster brought in a few more comparisons, includng Coveleski. How does Stan C match up with Rixey?


diff is Eppa Rixey, not including his last 3 mostly poor years, minus Coveleski, excluding his mini-rookie season and last 2 poor yeras.


.....IP ....H/9 ...W/9 ..K/9 ERA
Rixey 3823 _9.4 2.3 _5.6 4.10
Cvlsk 2696 _8.3 2.2 _5.4 3.29
diff... 1127 13.5 2.5 12.9 6.03

I don't think anyone wants diff pitcher and his 1127 innings.
   40. DanG Posted: December 14, 2004 at 06:06 PM (#1019823)
I notice that Vance has very similar career win shares and WARP3 to Wes Ferrell, eligible in 1944. Didn't Ferrell have a pretty good peak, too?

If we elect Vance, aren't we going to have to elect Ferrell, too?
   41. Chris Cobb Posted: December 14, 2004 at 06:40 PM (#1019937)
Well, if you trust WARP3, Ferrell looks like the 5th best major-league pitcher of the 1930s, which would put him on the cusp of election.

Here's the group that's probably the top 10, as WARP3 sees it, balancing peak and career.

Pitcher -- WARP3 -- IP -- DERA
Grove -- 128.6 -- 3940.7 -- 3.26 (!!)
Hubbell -- 101.8 -- 3590 -- 3.69
Lyons -- 107.1 -- 4161 -- 3.93
Ruffing -- 104.4 -- 4344 -- 4.16
Ferrell -- 82.5 -- 2623 -- 3.90
Bridges -- 76.4 -- 2826.3 -- 3.72
Dean -- 62.2 -- 1967.3 -- 3.48
Newsom -- 82.6 -- 3759.3 -- 4.13
Harder -- 76.1 -- 3426.3 -- 4.10
Derringer -- 75.3 -- 3645 -- 4.26

I'm not saying we _have_ to elect Ferrell (or Vance), but WARP3 sets them above the pack of very good pitchers in their respective decades of dominance.
   42. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: December 14, 2004 at 08:49 PM (#1020256)
I notice that Vance has very similar career win shares and WARP3 to Wes Ferrell, eligible in 1944. Didn't Ferrell have a pretty good peak, too?

If we elect Vance, aren't we going to have to elect Ferrell, too?


Fun fact about Ferrell: a few years ago I set up a database - how many WS a pitcher had each year by age of the pitcher. Then I set up a 2nd sheet where I tallied the WS to get an on-going career tally of them. Not only did Ferrell have the most win shares (for career) in his mid/late twenties among all pitchers born in the first decade of the century (well, actually from 7/1/1899 to 6/30/00), but after he broke down it took 2-3 years before any of them caught them.

Just so we're clear here - other pitchers born then include: Lefty Gomez, Tommy Bridges, Red Ruffing, Carl Hubbell, Lefty Grove, & Ted Lyons.
   43. jonesy Posted: December 15, 2004 at 05:58 PM (#1022261)
Chris,

I like you, I really do. I think you're a very intelligent guy. I think this will likely clear up any questions. I tried to order a copy the other day and McFarland said it is due out in February.

http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?isbn=0-7864-2006-5
   44. jonesy Posted: December 16, 2004 at 02:45 AM (#1023596)
By the end of his first full season Wes Ferrell was drawing comparisons to Christy Mathewson and Cy Young. Columnist Ernie Lanigan of TSN --subsequently the first historian at the Hall of Fame -- wrote, "Every expert you see who has envisioned Ferrell this year raves about him." Sam Greene, the Detroit correspondent for TSN, noted in August (1929) that, "Ferrell seems to work best against the hard-hitting teams. He has beaten the Tigers and the Athletics three times each and the Yankees twice. Miller Huggins said the was the best prospect among the new pitchers who have come into the AL this season and the Tigers are ready to agree with the midget manager."

Grove came into the AL with much fanfare in 1925 after running up a 108-36 record in five seasons at Baltimore in the IL. He had little idea where the ball was going when he arrived in the majors.

"Last spring Jack Dunn, the wily manager of the Baltimore club...told me that he won win at least 20 games for Mack, possibly 25," wrote AL umpire Billy Evans late in 1925. "If Grove had come up to expectations and been a consistent winner for the A's as Connie Mack and Dun figured he would, Washington would now be facing a tougher task in repeating. Grove has shown me more stuff than any left-hander I have seen since the passing of Rube Waddell, but his control on the whole has been atrocious."

Chief Bender said the same thing. "Grove's inability to win consistently in the AL this year can be charged to his lack of control, for he certainly has the stuff."

Bill Slocum, a longtime NY writer and editor opined in an article about the AL's top freshman in 1929 that either Ferrell or Bill Dickey stood out as the best man.

"Ferrell," he wrote, "has size, strength, a fast ball that is worthy of the name and he has acquired a change of pace that is remarkable in a pitcher so young. He has hung up impressive victories against the best clubs in his league and even with his brief experience in the majors, where pitchers usually need several years to learn what is all about, he ranks in the top set of AL boxsman."

Said Mack of Wes late in 1930 when he was getting grief from the media for not starting Grove against Ferrell.

"I have said repeatedly that I believe Ferrell is a great pitcher, one of the greatest youngsters I have ever seen. His record proves conclusively that he doesn't need to have his spots picked for him. I have admired him deeply since I first saw him pitch, and I have expressed my admiration so often ...."
   45. DavidFoss Posted: December 16, 2004 at 06:51 AM (#1023909)
I had heard that Grove was not 100% in 1925 which partly explained his 98 ERA+, though he did struggle with his control quite a bit in Baltimore too.

Grove matured and had solid control numbers starting from 1928 on. Ironically, Ferrell was never much of a control artist himself. Never on the leaderboards for BB/9IP and a career K/BB ratio of less than 1.0.

Anyhow, Ferrell will get his own thread in a few weeks.
   46. jonesy Posted: December 16, 2004 at 11:40 AM (#1024474)
David,

Bill James once brought up that he had read that Grove was hurt in 1925. He said he could not remember where he read it. While not reviewing any Philly papers, I was on the lookout for a specific mention of arm trouble during Grove's rookie season while seaching the season in TSN. Never found any. Grove once told Donald Honig that he enjoyed every season he was in baseball but two, his rookie season "when I was learning the ropes," and his first season with Boston when he "had a sore arm."

I also looked at much of Grove's Baltimore record. His was especially wild the year he was 18-8 and ten or 12 starts where he couldn't make it past the third inning due to wildness. One game, without checking my notes, he went six innings without allowing a hit but took the loss because he had walked about nine or ten batters.
   47. jonesy Posted: December 16, 2004 at 11:46 AM (#1024477)
Ferrell, on the other had, was noted for his control.

Wes worked 99.1 innings in 1930 vs. NY and Phil. Grove of course didn't have to face his own team and worked but 16.2 innings against NY that year (Ferrell tossed 45). Grove in 1930 worked three times as often against the anemic Red Sox (53.2 IP) than he did against the Yankees.

Ferrell issued more passes due to strategic neccessity, issuing 50 walks in his 99.1 innings against Phil and NY but only 56 in 197.1 IP v. the rest of the league. Against the trailing teams, Chicago and Boston, Grove passed 14 in 86.1 IP and Ferrell 12 in 81.1 IP.
   48. jonesy Posted: December 16, 2004 at 01:03 PM (#1024487)
David,

Actually I believe Total Baseball lists Ferrell as the 1934 AL leader in fewest walks per 9 innings. (I am typing this without checking so I may be wrong.)

There is likely some artifact in that number though, for as I recall Ferrell, who was a holdout for about 1/3 of the season, did not pitch very much against the Tigers that year. On the other hand the Tigers were just one of the pack for most of the '34 season, not establishing themselves until mid to late August.

Even with sore arms in '33 (Ferrell) and '34 (Grove), Lefty and Wes were able to win against the poorer teams, but without fastballs had trouble with the top clubs.
   49. DavidFoss Posted: December 16, 2004 at 03:22 PM (#1024570)
Actually I believe Total Baseball lists Ferrell as the 1934 AL leader in fewest walks per 9 innings. (I am typing this without checking so I may be wrong.)

Ferrell: Base on Balls/9IP
1934-2.44-1
1935-3.02-10

You are right. I stand corrected. Sorry about that. FWIW:

Grove: Base on Balls/9IP
1928-2.20-9
1930-1.86-3
1931-1.93-3
1932-2.44-5
1933-2.71-7
1935-2.14-2
1936-2.31-2
1937-2.85-8
1938-2.86-8
1939-2.73-5

And in some way of keeping things on topic here (its a little bit early for a Ferrell thread, but maybe we need one?):

Vance: Base on Balls/9IP
1928-2.31-10
1929-1.83-1
1930-1.91-5
1931-2.18-6

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