Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Hall of Merit > Discussion
Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Friday, July 11, 2003

Galvin and Radbourn

As suggested earlier this week, a place to focus the discussion on some of our top candidates.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 11, 2003 at 03:50 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. OCF Posted: July 11, 2003 at 05:11 PM (#515276)
Radbourn supporters (of whom I'm one) claim that Hoss had the higher peak of the two. Galvin supporters dispute that.

Of course, a great deal of what appears to be pitching is actually defense - I won't dispute that. But splitting between earned and unearned runs just doesn't work as a way to split the credit. Imagine an inning with 6 hits, a walk, 2 errors, and 7 runs, of which the only 1 is recorded as an earned run. Sure, the errors hurt - but that pitcher just had a terrible inning, for which his stats do deserve a rip.

Two key years for this discussion are 1883 and 1884. The league scored 5.78 R/G in '83 and 5.50 R/G in '84. Here are our two guys runs allowed for those years:

Pitch. IP R ER ERA RA
   2. Rusty Priske Posted: July 11, 2003 at 05:26 PM (#515277)
I am copying my post from last "year" comparing Hoss, Galvin, and Rusie. It sums up why I like Hoss so much.

`````````````````````````````````

I have looked at Radbourn, Galvin, and Rusie using 7 different measurements, to try and find a clear leader. Unfortunately, it isn't clear at all. I'll show the variances and explain why I stand behind Hoss.

Seasons
   3. Brian H Posted: July 12, 2003 at 11:00 PM (#515282)
Joe point is well-taken with respect to comparing 19th century Pitchers to others. In fact, I would assume that explains his relatively low positioning of them on his ballot. However, I agree that when comparing 19th century Pitchers with each other WS is still accurate, especially when you compare virtual contemporaries like Radborne, Clarkson, Keefe, Galvin, Mullane and Carruthers. Of course, WS do not figure in level of competition which requires that Galvin and Keefe be discounted a bit for their brief AA careers and that Mullane and Carruthers be discounted quite a bit because most of their careers were in AA (or the 1890 NL which was far weaker than the 1890 Players league).
   4. Brian H Posted: July 13, 2003 at 12:25 AM (#515283)
When evaluating Pitchers from this era I also think its important to determine what they did as batters. This is long before the advent of the DH and relief pitching and Pinch-hitting were virtually non-existent. In short these guys came to bat.
   5. Brian H Posted: July 13, 2003 at 12:26 AM (#515284)
When evaluating Pitchers from this era I also think its important to determine what they did as batters. This is long before the advent of the DH and relief pitching and Pinch-hitting were virtually non-existent. In short these guys came to bat.
   6. Davo Dozier Posted: June 27, 2011 at 06:38 PM (#3863673)
I just noticed that Baseball-Reference.com puts Pud Galvin at negative 11.7 wins in his career as a position player (ie, excluding his pitching career)--and that this is the 4th lowest total in baseball history (the infamous Bill Bergen leads the way with negative 17.6 wins).

11 wins is pretty damn important, in terms of a pitching career. Was this discussed at all?
   7. DanG Posted: June 29, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3865291)
In 2003 it wasn't easy to find WAR totals for historical players. BB-Ref added it to their site last year.

Here is how this thread looked before it was truncated:

Galvin and Radbourn

As suggested earlier this week, a place to focus the discussion on some of our top candidates.
--posted by Joe Dimino at 11:50 AM EDT / Link / Discussion (9 Comments)

Posted 1:11 p.m., July 11, 2003 (#1) - OCF
Radbourn supporters (of whom I'm one) claim that Hoss had the higher peak of the two. Galvin supporters dispute that.

Of course, a great deal of what appears to be pitching is actually defense - I won't dispute that. But splitting between earned and unearned runs just doesn't work as a way to split the credit. Imagine an inning with 6 hits, a walk, 2 errors, and 7 runs, of which the only 1 is recorded as an earned run. Sure, the errors hurt - but that pitcher just had a terrible inning, for which his stats do deserve a rip.

Two key years for this discussion are 1883 and 1884. The league scored 5.78 R/G in '83 and 5.50 R/G in '84. Here are our two guys runs allowed for those years:

Pitch. IP R ER ERA RA
Pud 83 656.1 367 198 2.72 5.03
Pud 84 636.1 254 141 1.99 3.59

Hoss 83 632.1 275 144 2.05 3.91
Hoss 84 678.2 216 104 1.38 2.86

With the caveat that I don't know how bbref is calculating ERA+, my attempt at RA+ for these two years has Galvin at 114 and 144 and Radbourn at 151 and 202.

For the whole career, Galvin had a RA of 5.03 and Radbourn a RA of 4.51.

Posted 1:26 p.m., July 11, 2003 (#2) - Rusty Priske
I am copying my post from last "year" comparing Hoss, Galvin, and Rusie. It sums up why I like Hoss so much.

`````````````````````````````````

I have looked at Radbourn, Galvin, and Rusie using 7 different measurements, to try and find a clear leader. Unfortunately, it isn't clear at all. I'll show the variances and explain why I stand behind Hoss.

Seasons
Hoss: 11 Galvin: 16 Rusie: 13

WS
Hoss: 391 Galvin: 403 Rusie: 293

B.Ink
Hoss: 35 Galvin: 15 Rusie: 52

G. Ink
Hoss: 199 Galvin: 248 Rusie: 179

Adj ERA+ Seasons Led
Hoss: 1 Galvin: 0 Rusie: 1

WARP1
Hoss: 94.2 Galvin: 109.4 Rusie: 105.4

WARP2
Hoss: 55 Galvin: 59.9 Rusie: 75.5

WARP3
Hoss: 72.7 Galvin: 80.7 Rusie: 84.2

Now you can use these stats to "prove" that any of the three is the best of the lot, so I am afraid it didn't illuminate the argument any.

My conclusions:
Well, this didn't support me, but it didn't refute me either, so I am sticking with my argument, which is primarily WS. WS may not be perfect but Hoss leads Rusie by nearly 100! This is despite playing two fewer seasons! This is too big a gap to ignore. Pud has more than Hoss, but only 12 more, despite playing 6 extra years. If you look at WS/Season you get:

Hoss: 35.55 Galvin: 25.19 Rusie: 22.54

I find this too much to ignore.

Posted 4:06 p.m., July 11, 2003 (#3) - Jason Koral
In the NHBA, Bill James basically conceded that WS doesn't really work correctly for 19th century pitchers and made big adjustments in his pitcher rankings to reflect that. Just something to keep in mind. Under WS, Radbourn's 1884 campaign comes off as equally valuable as 3 ordinary MVP seasons or 2 good uber-superstar seasons (ie Ruth/Williams/Cobb/Mantle type seasons) combined.

Posted 8:47 p.m., July 11, 2003 (#4) - ed
Jason wrote:
"Under WS, Radbourn's 1884 campaign comes off as equally valuable as 3 ordinary MVP seasons or 2 good uber-superstar seasons (ie Ruth/Williams/Cobb/Mantle type seasons) combined."

Yeah, it would be wrong to compare Radbourn's 1884 to, say, Mantle's season in 1956, but we are comparing two contemporary pitchers here -- Galvin with Radbourn -- so I don't think there is any problems using WS as a measure.

Posted 1:37 p.m., July 12, 2003 (#5) - Joe Dimino (e-mail)
Ed there are lots of problems using WS for 19th Century pitchers. It assumes the base split between pitching and fielding is still 67% pitching, 33% fielding. That's ludicrous. It's much likely that those figures should be completely reversed. That alone pretty much makes the numbers meaningless.

Posted 3:16 p.m., July 12, 2003 (#6) - ed
Joe wrote:
"It assumes the base split between pitching and fielding is still 67% pitching, 33% fielding. That's ludicrous."

If you think WS are ludicrous, that's fine. You could change the split to be 67% fielding, 33% pitching, but even after changing the WS split it still won't change the outcome that WS has it that Radbourn is a better pitcher than Galvin because they are CONTEMPORARY pitchers, they basically pitched at the exact same time period as each other. We are not comparing Radbourn to Roy Halladay or Stan Musial here. The same methods that was applied on Radbourn are the same methods applied on Galvin.
While we are on the subject here, why do you think the 67% pitching 33% fielding so ludicrous? If the pitchers are so defensively dependent, why would there be any star pitchers? As soon as they leave one team or the core of the team changes, their effectiveness should vanish, but this is not the case as seen with Young, Clarkson, Nichols, Alexander, Mathewson, Johnson, et al. If the pitchers were so at the mercy of their defense then the Washington defense playing behind Walter Johnson all those years must have been Gold Glovers the night Johnson pitched and a bunch of butchers for all the other nights that Johnson wasn't out there.

Posted 7:00 p.m., July 12, 2003 (#7) - Brian H
Joe point is well-taken with respect to comparing 19th century Pitchers to others. In fact, I would assume that explains his relatively low positioning of them on his ballot. However, I agree that when comparing 19th century Pitchers with each other WS is still accurate, especially when you compare virtual contemporaries like Radborne, Clarkson, Keefe, Galvin, Mullane and Carruthers. Of course, WS do not figure in level of competition which requires that Galvin and Keefe be discounted a bit for their brief AA careers and that Mullane and Carruthers be discounted quite a bit because most of their careers were in AA (or the 1890 NL which was far weaker than the 1890 Players league).

Posted 8:25 p.m., July 12, 2003 (#8) - Brian H
When evaluating Pitchers from this era I also think its important to determine what they did as batters. This is long before the advent of the DH and relief pitching and Pinch-hitting were virtually non-existent. In short these guys came to bat.
Here are some of their batting stats:
----Galvin-----Radborne
AB: 2748 ----- 2487
Slg: .261 ---- 281
TB: 716 ----- 698
OPS: .483----- 564
WS: 9 ---------16
(Games played as non-Pitchers: Galvin 59 Radborne 150. Versatility was necessitated by the small size of teams 19th century teams and strongly supports the candidacies of Spalding and Carruthers and to a lesser extent Mullane).

Of the other pitching candidates Carruthers (54), Mullane (28) and Spalding (16) all rate high as hitters (hitting WS in Parenthesis starting in 1876). Welch has 12 WS in 2200 AB. Again, Carruthers and Mullane did most of their damage in AA (or 1890 NL); Galvin played about 1.3 years in the AA while Welch played 1890 in the NL (not the superior Players' League). Conversely, both Radborne and Spalding played their entire major league careers in the most competitive leagues in operation at the time.

Posted 8:26 p.m., July 12, 2003 (#9) - Brian H
When evaluating Pitchers from this era I also think its important to determine what they did as batters. This is long before the advent of the DH and relief pitching and Pinch-hitting were virtually non-existent. In short these guys came to bat.
Here are some of their batting stats:
----Galvin-----Radborne
AB: 2748 ----- 2487
Slg: .261 ---- 281
TB: 716 ----- 698
OPS: .483----- 564
WS: 9 ---------16
(Games played as non-Pitchers: Galvin 59 Radborne 150. Versatility was necessitated by the small size of teams 19th century teams and strongly supports the candidacies of Spalding and Carruthers and to a lesser extent Mullane).

Of the other pitching candidates Carruthers (54), Mullane (28) and Spalding (16) all rate high as hitters (hitting WS in Parenthesis starting in 1876). Welch has 12 WS in 2200 AB. Again, Carruthers and Mullane did most of their damage in AA (or 1890 NL); Galvin played about 1.3 years in the AA while Welch played 1890 in the NL (not the superior Players' League). Conversely, both Radborne and Spalding played their entire major league careers in the most competitive leagues in operation at the time.
   8. AROM Posted: June 29, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3865321)
As hitters I've got Radbourne at 2.0 WAR - which means he was an average hitting pitcher. Galvin was -11.7, well below average. It mattered quite a bit as they were getting 200-400 in their peak years.

For 1884, the pitching WAR is extremely close, 19.8 to 19.1. Looking at components, Galvin was +27 runs in limiting his walks, +13 for strikeouts, and +2 for avoiding homers. +42 total for the DIPS categories.

Radbourne was +16 for walks, +34 in strikeouts, and +9 for homers. +59 for the DIPS categories, though it could easily be argued that in 1884, homeruns were balls in play and should not be separated from the defense dependent stats.

For the rest of their run prevention, Galvin was +27 in avoiding hits in play and +76 for everything else - which includes stranding runners and probably most important for 1884, having fewer errors made behind him. Radbourne was +51 avoiding hits and +98 for everything else. What that +98 means is that he allowed 98 fewer runs than you would expect given his hits, walks, homers, and strikeouts. All of these numbers can be found on the baseballprojection.com player pages. For today's pitchers it usually represents a fluke, and will move up and down over a player's career centering on zero. For some pitchers though, like Tom Glavine, this represents a significant portion of his career value and after a while you had to expect he'd keep doing it. (+163 runs in his case).

Has anyone every looked into how useful a concept DIPS was for early baseball? The portion of balls in play was much higher than it is today, and I don't know how much of that to attribute to the pitching vs the defense.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Don Malcolm
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.3392 seconds
49 querie(s) executed