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Friday, June 11, 2004

Jose Mendez

If anyone would like to pass along some numbers or something for this intro, it’d be great.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 11, 2004 at 04:44 AM | 92 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. PhillyBooster Posted: June 14, 2004 at 03:31 AM (#675743)
I've got a lot of info on Jose Mendez that I'll be posting before he's eligible in a bunch of posts, but I'll start now with the "early years": 1908-1910.

He was born in 1887, and the first records available are as a 20 year old playing in the Cuban League for the Almadares Blues. His full name was Jose de la Caridad Mendez and his nickname was "El Diamante Negro" or "The Black Diamond." Later, he would be dubbed "Mathewson in black."

In the 1908 summer league (Cuban League had both a summer league and a winter league), he was 9-0 in 15 games against other Cuban teams, with 6 complete games. The other star of the team was the other pitcher (Eustaquio Pedroso) and it seems that they would often relieve each other. In 1908, the Cincinnati Reds also barnstormed to Cuba. In his very first game against a white Major League team, he brought a no hitter into the ninth inning, with 9 strikeouts and only 2 walks. He got pitcher Jean Dubuc for the first out and centerfielder Jim Kane for the second, but Miller Huggins got a single with a grounder between first and second, and had to settle for a 1-0 win and a one-hitter.

The next game Mendez did not start, but after the starter gave up 3 quick runs, he came in for relief in the top of the third and pitched 7 shutout innings against the Reds in a 3-2 loss. (Reds' Billy Campbell got the win).

In the rubber game, Mendez faced Dubuc again and was light-out. Five hits, no walks, and 8 strikeouts as the Blues beat the Reds 3-0.

In the 1908-09 winter league, Mendez went 15-6, the most victories in the league (5 shutouts also led the league that year). He pitched in 28 games, 18 complete games, and had 106 Ks and 56 BBs.

Instead of playing in the 1909 summer season, it looks like Mendez barnstormed against semi-pro teams in the United States, compiling a 44-2 record. Back in Cuba, he beat the travelling Indianapolis team from the American Association 2-1 with 11 Ks.

The the Detroit Tigers came. Even without Ty Cobb or Sam Crawford, they knocked out 11 hits and beat Mendez 9-3. It was widely viewed as the worst loss ever in his career. Ed Willits gaot the win. The next game was against the Tigers' Ed Mullin. He pitched much better, allowing only one earned run, but a bunch of errors led to a 4-0 loss. In game three, Mendez did not pitch and Eustaquio Pedroso no-hit the Tigers.

Game 4 was Mendez again, and he finally got a victory, beating Bill Lelivelt 2-1.

Mendez's only other "Major League" game of 1909 was against a barnstorming all-star team consisting of Sol Hoffman, Sherry Magee, Germany Schaefer, Jimmy Archer, Fred Merkle and pitcher Howie Camnitz. The team went 2-3 overall in Cuba, facing Mendez once. Mendez gave up 2 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 10, winning the game 3-1.

In 1910 summer league ball, Mendez was 7-0, pitching in only 7 complete games. He is credited with 66 innings, 51 Ks, 16 BBs, and 39 hits allowed.

After the season, the Tigers came back, this time with Sam Crawford (they had been humiliated with a 4-8 record against all Cuban teams, and wanted revenge.) In game 1, Mendez shut down Crawford, who went 0 for 4, but five hits and 3 runs gave Ed Mullin and 3-0 victory.

In game 2, he extended Crawford's 0-fer, gave up only 3 hits, and got two hits himself against Detroit's Ed Summers, but the game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Game 3 featured Crawford and Ty Cobb. Cobb went 1 for 2 with an RBI, and Crawford took yet another 0-fer, but Mendez lost 6-3.

The Philadelphia A's also came to Cuba in 1910. They split their 8 games against Cuban teams, and faced Mendez twice -- both opposite Eddie Plank. Mendez won both games, handing Eddie Plank 5-2 and 7-5 losses. In the other 6 games, Jack Coombs went 2-0 and Chief Bender went 2-2.
   2. PhillyBooster Posted: June 21, 2004 at 03:59 AM (#690141)
Mendez: The Early Years. Part II. 1910-1915

First: teammates. Since Cuba was a "Cuban" team and not a "Negro" team, there were lots of white Cubans playing, and some of them made the big leagues. Mendez's most famous teammate is his early years was Dolph Luque. Always third best on the Cuban team behind Mendez and Pedroso, Mendez went on to win 194 wins with a 117 ERA+. When Luque becomes eligible, his Cuban years should be considered also. Even though he was a white Cuban, don't think that racism didn't hinder his early years as well. Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida were other teammates who went on the play in the majors.

In the 1910-11 winter league, Mendez went 11-2, leading the league in wins, complete games (12), and shutouts (4). He also had a 2 hit game in which he faced the minimum, picking off one hitter, and having another (Spotswood Poles) thrown out o the bases trying to extend a single.

After the 1911 winter season, the Philadelphia Phillies came to town. Mendez went 2-1 against the major leaguers, beating George Chalmers 3-1 (Mendez also hit a triple off of Chalmers), beating Eddie Stack 4-0, before losing to Chalmers in his third game 8-1. The Phils were 5-3 overall in Cuba, but only 1-2 in Mendez games.

Then, against the New York Giants, after the Giants lost two games in games pitched by teammates Pedroso (6-4) and Luque (3-2), McGraw sent Christy Mathewson for game 3. Mathewson pitched a shutout and won 4-0, although Mendez only gave up 5 hits. In the next game, Mendez took a 3-3 tie into the 11th inning, striking out 11 Giants in the process, but gave up a 3 run homer to Buck Herzog in the 11th to lose 6-3.

Mendez's only other appearance in the series was a 4-inning save of Pedroso's start, where he only gave up 1-hit. The Giants lost 6-4

After the series, especially due to the close fought game against Mathewson, Mendez was dubbed "Mathewson in Black."

After 1911, major league teams stopped coming to Cuba, so I'll just give stats for the next few years. But from 1908-1911, Mendez was 8-7-1 against major leaguers, plus a four-inning one-hit save, and a 7-inning one-hit no decision.

YR-W-L-IP-K-BB
1910- 7-0-66-51-16
10/11-12-2-129-68-41
1912-9-5-138-92-36
1913-1-4-41-17-21 (obviously an injury season)
13/14- 10-0-85-38-25 (a successful comeback)
14/15- 2-0-13-3-1

Then, after 2 starts in the 1914-1915 season, Mendez suffered a "dead arm" and could not pitch any more. His "career" Cuban league record is listed at 64-15.
   3. Jeff M Posted: June 21, 2004 at 04:18 AM (#690145)
Not quantitative, but as long as we're learning about a player, I thought I'd drop in the info from The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers:

"Key Pitch: Fastball.

'He threw the ball with such ease that it amounted almost to a change-of-pace. You couldn't gauge it and the ball came so fast that it was very deceptive. I would say that Mendez - and this is just a personal judgment - I would say that Mendez was faster than Smoky Joe Williams.' (quoting Arthur W. Hardy in Only the Ball Was White)

'The idea of varying the height of the ball is best shown by Mendez, the black Cuban pitcher. I have seen Mendez work three slow balls, getting a strike on each, and each a long distance from where the one before it sailed, while he does the same thing with fast deliveries.'" (quoting an article in the August 1913 issue of Baseball Magazine.)
   4. PhillyBooster Posted: June 21, 2004 at 04:46 AM (#690156)
From 1915-1917, Mendez first barnstormed around the United States as a shortstop for the "All-Nations" team, a team that included players of all races and even a female player. They traveled with a dance band to increase the entertainment value, and played semi-pro and Negro League teams. He was an intermittent traveler, though, as he also, for example, coached for most of 1917 in Puerto Rico.

In 1918, he joined Rube Foster's CHicago American Giants, but I don't have any stats for him for that year. In 1919, he played for the Detroit Stars, where he starting pitching regularly again. Holway lists him as 2-0. After the season, he played winter ball with the Los Angeles White Sox.

In 1920, when the Negro National League was formed, Mendez joined the Kansas City Monarchs as player-manager. He was the super-sub on the team, playing 2B, SS, pitching, and playing every position except catcher at some point. He hit .205, and had a 2-1 pitching record.

(Mendez also pitched a little in the Cuban winter leagues between Negro League seasons. He recorded a 10-8 record in the Cuban leagues between 1920/21 and 1926/27. His career Cuban league record ended up 74-25).

In 1921, Sam Crawford took over as manager. Mendez remained super-sub, hitting .278 with a 1-0 record. Same in 1922, although the records show only a 3-1 pitching record. After the season, Mendez pitched an exhibition game against the AA Kansas City Blues, a white team made up of once and future major leaguers like Dode Paskert and Stan Baumgartner. Mendez beat Baumgartner 6-4.

In 1923, Mendez was back to full-time pitching. He went 15-6, including pitching the first 5 innings of a no-hitter (Bill Drake saved it in the last four innings.) Mendez co-managed, and the Monarchs won their first championship, finishing 57-33 on the year.

1924. Mendez again player-manages and goes 5-2 and the Monarchs win their second straight pennant, but surgery ends his season, and he is ordered to not pitch in the first Negro League world series against the Philadelphia Hilldales. In game seven, though, with the pitching staff depleted and the game tied through nine 3-3, Mendez pencils himself in to start the 10th, and pitches 3 shutout innings until the Monarchs score in the bottom of the 12th for a 4-3 win.

Mendez pitched himself in game 9 in the top of the ninth with a runner on third and no outs with the score tied. He struck out the first batter, but the team ended up losing on a defensive miscue on a grounder to first. Mendez got a no-decision.

In the decisive game 10, Mendez -- figured the hell with the doctors, I guess -- inserted himself as the starting pitcher and pitched a 3 hit shutout. Hilldale starter Scrip Lee was pitching a shutout, too, though, until the Monarchs scored 5 in the bottom of the eighth (a rally that included a hit and a run scored by Mendez). Mendez came back for the top of the ninth -- long flyout; ground out; walk; pop-out. The Monarchs had come back from a 1-3-1 deficit, and won the first World Series 5-4-1. Mendez, despite sitting out the first 6 games, went 2-0, 1.43, and was the pitching star of the Monarchs.

Mendez mostly managed again in 1925 (1-0 record). THe Monarch won their third straight pennant. He inserted himself in relief late in a tied game 3, but the 1924 magic didn't continue, and he took the loss. The Monarchs were crushed in the re-match with Hilldale 5-1 in the series.

In 1926, his final season with the Monarchs, he player-managed himself to a 3-1 record and his fourth pennant. I have no data on his playing anywhere after 1926.
   5. sunnyday2 Posted: June 24, 2004 at 02:19 AM (#695515)
I don't know yet if Mendez is the equal of Smokey Joe Williams or not. But this info suggests Mendez as a huge talent, who could easily have been a star in the ML. I see his record against ML (adding up from above) as a mere 15-11, but with an ERA of under 2.50, maybe more like 2.25.

More importantly, that 15-11 is not just vs. MLers. It's against the best teams and all-star teams. It's as if he pitched only against 1st division teams. A "rich man's" Wes Ferrell, if you will.

He and Santop look like #1 and 2 in 1932!
   6. yest Posted: June 30, 2004 at 03:53 PM (#706514)
Jose Mendez made the Fourth Team as a Utility man in the 1952 Pittsburgh Courier Poll

in his career he won more than 70% of his decisions.

Mendez compiled a 15-6 record his first year in the Cuban Winter League. He came to America in 1908 and went 44-2 for the 1909 Cuban Stars (some games were played against semi-pro teams). He spent all of 1910 in Cuba, playing both summer and winter, going 18-2. By 1914 he had compiled a 62-17 record in Cuba, but he developed arm trouble and never again pitched there regularly

In 1909, he was 44-2 for the Cuban Stars (some games were against semi pro teams). Led the Monarchs to 3 straight Negro National League pennants (1923-25) as a player manager. His was 20-4, with 7 saves over that span. John Henry Lloyd said he never saw a better pitcher.

New York Giants manager John McGraw said that lean, long-armed pitcher Jose Mendez was worth $50,000 - but in his day there was no market in organized baseball for a Cuban with coal-black skin. Mendez is generally regarded as one of the greatest Cuban ballplayers who did not play in the American major leagues.

Hall of Famer John Henry Lloyd said that he never saw any pitcher superior to Mendez.
And Arthur Hardy, another contemporary, said that Mendez threw harder than the legendary Smokey Joe Williams

Mendez was 8-7 in exhibition games against major league competition. He defeated Jack Coombs in 1908 and Hall of Famer Eddie Plank in 1909, and split two games with Christy Mathewson
   7. sunnyday2 Posted: July 02, 2004 at 06:49 PM (#712724)
There is an article about Jose Mendez in the current National Pastime which just arrived at my door today, though it is limited mainly to the 1908 barnstorming season.

Interesting that as late as 1908 a semi-pro team from Key West, FL, played the Cuban teams just as tough as the major league teams did. Maybe the idea that the MLs had all the best talent is still somewhat of a misconception a lot later than we thought (apropos of discussions that mostly centered on the 19th century).
   8. DanG Posted: July 02, 2004 at 07:54 PM (#712891)
This dovetails with something I just reread.

In the New BJHBA, James writes how the Negro leagues acquired talent in the early days. Barnstorming to nearly every corner of North America, they were constantly finding new talent, having local guys promoted to them in every place they visited. It seems likely that prior to WW-I they did a superior job to MLB in acquiring the best available talent.

Now, in no way does James argue that the general talent level of the Negro teams was as good as MLB; the blackball pool was much smaller. I think this suggests just what you said, that in 1908 MLB had not cornered the market on talent. Also, that there probably was not a wide gulf between MLB and the elite Black teams. While the black pool was smaller, there were also fewer teams at the top level, if I'm not mistaken.
   9. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 30, 2004 at 08:06 AM (#764656)
moving this to hot topics.
   10. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 30, 2004 at 08:07 AM (#764658)
This thread appears to be working fine, who said it wasn't? Or am I missing something? If the Chris' could post their estimates for Mendez, like Foster/Donaldson/Brown, that'd be great.
   11. karlmagnus Posted: July 30, 2004 at 12:48 PM (#764745)
Yes, now it works fine, but it didn't accept my post on 28th, or second attempt yesterday, so the system shuts threads down in somewhat less than a month. Look forward eagerly to Mendez info -- he's a clear borderline HOMer, but which side of the borderline?
   12. Chris Cobb Posted: July 30, 2004 at 03:15 PM (#764938)
I have used the i9s projection to calculate ERA+ and from ERA+ and innings pitched a support-neutral won-lost record for Jose Mendez. I haven't checked their projections against the extant data yet, but I will do that (and post what I find that hasn't already been given above) over the weekend.

i9s Jose Mendez, 1908-26
3001 ip, 2.79 ERA, 113.6 ERA+, .562 SN w%, 198-155 record

It should be noted that i9s sees Mendez as having an excellent peak, 1910-1914, with ERA+s of 120, 120, 148, 121, and 136 while throwing 293, 318, 331, 323, and 331 innings, respectively. His HoM case really rests on these early years, although he did have some good seasons 1920-24 also.

In the three pitcher studies I've done so far (of Rube Foster, John Donaldson, and Dave Brown), I have found that, according to my best interpretation of the data, the i9s projections underrate pitchers somewhat, so Mendez _may_ be underrated here. I'll put up my view of that matter when I've done the study.
   13. karlmagnus Posted: July 30, 2004 at 04:12 PM (#764990)
Look forward very much to your considered view. 198-155 is a pretty unimpressive WPCT; Foster's 241-176 looks considerably better, although neither are earth-shattering. Maybe I should put Mendez where Foster is now, about #20, and move Foster up to where I was going to put Mendez, about #10.

Very interesting; thanks very much for info and look forward to more of it.
   14. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: July 31, 2004 at 09:43 AM (#767431)
Chris,

How do you figure support-neutral W/L records from ERA? I have my own ERA projections for some of the upcoming pitchers and I wanted to project records as well.
   15. Chris Cobb Posted: July 31, 2004 at 02:11 PM (#767487)
How do you figure support-neutral W/L records from ERA? I have my own ERA projections for some of the upcoming pitchers and I wanted to project records as well.

Once I am satisfied that I have a major-league equivalent ERA for each season of a pitcher's career, I use the major-league average ERA for that year (actually, I use the NL and AL ERAs in alternating years -- quicker than averaging) to calculate an ERA+. I then use the pythagorean method to get a support-neutal winning percentage. (If you wanted to be more exact, you could use the ERAs and the pitchers innings to calculate earned runs allowed and then use the pythaganport method to calculatae the proper exponent, but I'm a bit lower tech.)

Once I have a winning percentage, I divide the pitchers' innings by 8.5 to get an estimated number of decisions, then I just multiply decisions by winning percentage to get a support-neutral won-lost record.
   16. sunnyday2 Posted: July 31, 2004 at 09:06 PM (#768561)
Right now I'm think that in 1932 (assuming we elect Dickey Pearce this year which may not be a correct assumption) my ballot will start like this:

1. Jennings
2. Santop
3. Pike
4. R. Foster
5. Mendez

I say this despite believing that the MLEs here are perhaps slightly generous. But I'm a peak voter, and what I mean is that I think the MLEs are little bit generous in the 'shoulder' seasons--i.e. the decline years. His career does not look to me like it would have lasted as long as the MLEs show.

So, as a peak voter, what is impressive to me is his record in direct competition against ML teams while he himself was at his peak. And not just ML teams but the barnstorming teams which tended to be among the best teams in the MLs or all-star teams. By my count, his record in such games is approx. 15-11 with about a 2.12 ERA. Considering the games are overwhelmingly against the bestter teams and opposing pitchers in the MLs, that is very impressive to me. So, if he remains in or around the #5 slot he will be a PHoMer in his first year of eligibility.
   17. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: July 31, 2004 at 10:05 PM (#768787)
Thanks, Chris!

The numbers I've run for Smokey Joe Williams will make him #1 with a bullet when he's eligible:

422-296 W/L, 2.50 ERA, 139 ERA+, 6090 IP
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 31, 2004 at 10:16 PM (#768828)
The numbers I've run for Smokey Joe Williams will make him #1 with a bullet when he's eligible:

422-296 W/L, 2.50 ERA, 139 ERA+, 6090 IP


Wow!

That looks like an inner circle HoMer to me.
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 31, 2004 at 10:17 PM (#768830)
BTW, how the hell is Williams not in the HoF?
   20. dan b Posted: July 31, 2004 at 10:43 PM (#768914)
John - he is.
   21. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: July 31, 2004 at 10:44 PM (#768917)
I made a mistake by multiplying the ERAs by 1.83 rather than using the exponent, so I stand corrected on the W/L for Williams:

469-249 W/L, .653 WPCT, 3 30-win seasons, 6 25-win seasons, 12 20-win seasons, 19 (!) 15-win seasons
   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 31, 2004 at 10:57 PM (#768938)
John - he is.

How did I miss him? Anyway, I'm glad that I'm wrong.
   23. Chris Cobb Posted: August 02, 2004 at 03:04 AM (#771183)
I've spent a lot of time looking at Mendez's stats this weekend in relation to i9s projections. Since these numbers are having an impact on the way people assess Mendez and other pitching candidates, I thought I'd better step back, check what I've been doing, and get some feedback on how I'm doing it.

My study of Mendez is consistent with my analyses of other pitchers so far in its indication that i9s projections underrate them by 5% or more, but this time I've detailed the analysis that led to that conclusion in Mendez's case.

Here’s how I think they build the projections for Mendez.

Mendez, in his games against major-league teams in Cuba, went 8-7-1, as Phillybooster’s data showed. (Incidentally, sunnyday2 posted above that he counted 15-11 vs. ML competition, but I don’t see how he reached that total.) He did this against teams with a combined major-league winning percentage of .584. (One was an all-star team with no mlb record as a unit, but he beat a pitcher who went 25-6 with a 1.62 era that year, so I figured I wouldn’t be underestimating that team at .600. With that team at .600, the winning percentages of the teams Mendez faced was .584)

An average team would have a .416 wp against these teams. If we assume the rest of his team was average, Mendez turned a team that would have gone .416 (6.2-8.8) against these teams to one that went 8-7. Against ML-average competition, then, backed by average run support, Mendez should have a winning percentage of about .620.

That winning percentage, translates into an ERA+ of 128.

If one calculates an ERA+ for what i9s projects as Mendez’s peak (1910-1914) it works out to 129.

So it looks like i9s is on target with the existing data.

Except . . .

This calculation assumes that the rest of Mendez’s team was, overall, major-league average. Is that a valid assumption? I would say that it seems unlikely. The Cuban teams sometimes had some ringers from the Negro Leagues with them, and may have featured the better Cuban players, but against Cuban competition Mendez went 62-17 during this same stretch, for a .784 winning percentage. If his competition were major-league average, we’d expect him, from the above study, to have a winning percentage around .620. It certainly appears that Mendez was able to dominate his Cuban opposition much more fully than he would have been able to dominate major-league average competition. It certainly looks like a discount to the Cuban competition of at least the .85 I typically apply to Negro-League competition is indicated. So, even if we assume that the Cuban teams playing the major-leaguers were better than the average Cuban team, I have a hard time assuming that they were, on the whole, major-league average teams, so it seems reasonable to me to set the support Mendez was receiving in his games against major-leaguers at 95% of major-league average, which boosts his performance during his peak to an ERA+ of 135.5. That matches pretty closely the winning percentage that is produced by discounting his Cuban winning percentage by the standard amount -- .85.

A simple but fair formula for adjusting Mendez's i9s projections to better fit his actual performance would be to multiply his ERA by .95, and calculate from there.

If anyone would argue the case for translations differently based on this data, I’d be happy to get a different view. Whether Mendez ends up in the HoM or out of the HoM may turn on whether we view him as a pitcher with a 5-year peak at 129 ERA+ or a pitcher with a 5-year peak at 135 ERA+ (or a 7-year peak at near that rate; i9s projects him onto a normal rookie-improvement curve, so that he’s about league-average in 1908 and 1909 in their estimates before jumping towards peak in 1910, but there’s no evidence in his actual record that he was less effective in these two seasons than he was 1910-1914), so I want to make sure that we do the best we can to get it right.

I’ve spent the time I had to work on Mendez this weekend checking his actual data against the i9s projections, so I haven’t had a chance to get to creating my own numbers, including win shares, but I’ll get to that as soon as I can.

Comments welcome!
   24. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: August 02, 2004 at 05:11 AM (#771256)
A simple but fair formula for adjusting Mendez's i9s projections to better fit his actual performance would be to multiply his ERA by .95, and calculate from there.

That's what I've been doing for Negro League pitchers over the weekend and I see about five HOM contenders, but first, the summary for Mendez:

i9s Jose Mendez, 1908-26
3001 IP, 2.65 ERA, 119 ERA+, .588 SN w%, 208-146 record

This projection sees Mendez as similar to
David Cone in terms of career results, though the shape of career is different. Compared to the other pitchers on the ballot, the closet match I see for Mendez is between Clark Griffith and the underrated Hippo Vaughn, though both have about a 300 IP difference from Mendez. As Chris Cobb mentions above, most of Mendez's value is shoved into a five-year peak period from 1910-1914:

1596 IP, 2.29 ERA, 134 ERA+, .635 SN w%, 120-69 record

In my mind's eye, I have Mendez loitering around the bottom third of my 1932 ballot.

Here are some career lines for other Negro League pitchers to whet your appetite:

i9s Smokey Joe Williams 1910-32
6090 IP, 2.50 ERA, 139 ERA+, .653 SN w%, 469-249 record

i9s Rube Foster 1902-1917
3844 IP, 2.45 ERA, 117 ERA+, .578 SN w%, 262-191 record

i9s Cannonball Dick Redding 1911-1928
3556 IP, 3.14 ERA, 108 ERA+, .541 SN w%, 226-192 record

i9s Dizzy Dismukes 1911-1926
2476 IP, 2.82 ERA, 116 ERA+, .565 SN w%, 165-127 record

i9s Phil Cockrell 1918-1932
3014 IP, 3.76 ERA, 105 ERA+, .527 SN w%, 188-169 record

i9s Bullet Joe Rogan (pitching only) 1920-1928
2430 IP, 3.70 ERA, 109 ERA+, .544 SN w%, 156-131 record

i9s Bill Drake 1916-1927
2323 IP, 3.39 ERA, 110 ERA+, .546 SN w%, 148-123 record
   25. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 02, 2004 at 01:08 PM (#771419)
Is Williams considered greater than Paige?
   26. jhwinfrey Posted: August 02, 2004 at 01:47 PM (#771442)
He was by Paige :)
   27. Michael Bass Posted: August 02, 2004 at 01:51 PM (#771444)
It is absolutely amazing that one of Cobb, Speaker, Collins, Lloyd, and Williams is going to have to be 5th in the 1934 election. Every one of those guys is a #1 in a strong majority of years. And that's not even mentioning Torriente, who's a pretty easy HOMer himself!

I had planned on putting Williams 5th, but the more I see, the more I think he's gotta be higher, even with this group.
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 02, 2004 at 01:55 PM (#771447)
It is absolutely amazing that one of Cobb, Speaker, Collins, Lloyd, and Williams is going to have to be 5th in the 1934 election.

I possibly might have Cobb and Speaker at the bottom of that list. That seems bizarre to me, but we're talking inner circle guys here.
   29. PhillyBooster Posted: August 02, 2004 at 01:57 PM (#771449)
I think the comparisons above are good and worthwhile, as far as they go, but doesn't just comparing the pitching miss much of the value of the second half of Mendez's "Monte Ward-esque" career?
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 02, 2004 at 02:08 PM (#771458)
I think the comparisons above are good and worthwhile, as far as they go, but doesn't just comparing the pitching miss much of the value of the second half of Mendez's "Monte Ward-esque" career?

He's going to be extremely difficult to rate, though he looks like he will land a prominent spot on my ballot. Still tentative though.
   31. karlmagnus Posted: August 02, 2004 at 02:13 PM (#771465)
For me the pitching career doesn't do it (under 200 wins) and the I9 figures for Williams suggest that there's a whole tier of NL pitchers above the ones we've seen.

My 1934 top will read:

1) Cobb

(big gap)

2) Williams
3) Collins
4) Speaker
(all of the above being close)

5) Lloyd (could change; haven't seen an I9 yet.)
6) Beckley (if not elected in '32.)
7) Welch
8) Torriente
9) Wheat (if not elected in '33)

Lloyd unlikely to move up, as 4-6 is a big gap, could move down.
   32. Chris Cobb Posted: August 02, 2004 at 02:39 PM (#771490)
Three comments:

1) Thanks, James Newburg, for putting together those translations from i9s! How are you calculating # of decisions based on IP?

I'd remind everyone that while the i9s numbers are an invaluable starting point, there's still a need to check what they've done player by player against the available career stats. i9s are _projections_, not translations, so they may distort careers (especially in terms of peak value) in ways that overrate or underrate individual players.

2) Phillybooster wrote:

I think the comparisons above are good and worthwhile, as far as they go, but doesn't just comparing the pitching miss much of the value of the second half of Mendez's "Monte Ward-esque" career?

It depends on how you translate Negro-League careers into major-league value. If I treat Mendez's batting record by the same standards I have used for Negro-League players so far, I have to conclude that he was not a good enough hitter to play in the majors as a position player. Mendez therefore will make it onto my ballot, or not, on the strength of his pitching.

Karlmagnus wrote:

For me the pitching career doesn't do it (under 200 wins) and the I9 figures for Williams suggest that there's a whole tier of NL pitchers above the ones we've seen.

Well, yes, but there are probably only two pitchers in this tier, Smokey Joe Williams and Satchel Paige. It's rather analogous to the major-leagues; we're looking right now at pitchers like Griffith and Cicotte and Waddell and Joss, but we know that Walter Johnson and Pete Alexander are out there as well. The fact that Johnson and Alexander totally outclass Griffith and Cicotte doesn't rule them out as potential HoMers. Mendez needs to be placed in relation to the Griffiths and Cicottes and Waddells and Josses, to whom he is similar.

We will have a good number of very fine Negro-League pitchers to consider in addition to the ones James Newburg has listed. Just around the corner are Nip Winters, William Bell, Lefty Andy Cooper, and Big Bill Foster, all of whom were in their prime between 1920 and 1935. For 1930-1950 there'll be Ray Brown, Hilton Smith, Leon Day, Bill Byrd, Max Manning, and maybe a couple more. But none of them are in the Wiliams/Paige tier.
   33. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 02, 2004 at 02:49 PM (#771501)
If I treat Mendez's batting record by the same standards I have used for Negro-League players so far, I have to conclude that he was not a good enough hitter to play in the majors as a position player.

That doesn't sound like Ward to me then (who was a standout as a hurler and as an infielder).
   34. KJOK Posted: August 02, 2004 at 09:09 PM (#772205)
Mendez hurt his arm around age 27, which is why he switched to SS. He did pitch a little bit in the 1920's.

He was VERY GOOD up until that point, but that certainly put a big damper on any "career pitching value."

Looks like he had around 1/2 of the career of Rube Foster.

As such, I don't think he'll be making my ballot after all.
   35. OCF Posted: August 02, 2004 at 10:09 PM (#772304)
KJOK, are you submitting a 1931 ballot? Still a little less than 2 hours left.
   36. OCF Posted: August 02, 2004 at 10:19 PM (#772318)
OK, I should have waited 5 minutes before posting that. KJOK: you might try fixing the misspelling of "Doyle" that you've had for several years.
   37. Chris Cobb Posted: August 03, 2004 at 04:43 AM (#772794)
Jose Mendez estimated record, including win shares

Notes: This is estimated mainly from i9s projections, using their innings and finding an ERA+ by comparing Mendez’s ERA to league avg., alternating between National and American leagues, with the following modifications.

1) Unless noted otherwise, I have reduced Mendez’s ERA by 5% from the i9s projection. (For reasoning behind that decision, see post above on translations.)
2) For 1908 & 1909, I have reduced Mendez’s ERA by 10%. The i9s projection seems to use some sort of a standard career-starting curve, but there is no evidence in Mendez’s record to support the idea that he was not a dominant pitcher at the outset of his career. So I use the 10% reduction here.
3) For 1916 and 1917, I have given Mendez no MLE credit. Because of his arm injury he was not able to pitch regularly, and he would not have played in the majors as a shortstop. I see his career path here as quite similar to that of his contemporary, Babe Adams, who also dropped out of the majors and returned when his arm did.
4) For 1919 and 1923, I set Mendez’s ERA+ at 116 and 128 respectively, based on his published record and TRA (he led the Negro leagues in TRA in both of these seasons). I9s shows him as an effective pitcher here, but not at the level he actually reached.

I estimated Mendez’s decisions by dividing his innings pitched by 8.8. This is consistent with the ratios of decisions to innings of his near contemporaries, though I haven’t done an exhaustive survey.

I estimate Mendez’s win shares by multiplying his innings pitched by .058 (the ws/inning of an average pitcher), multiplying his wins above or below average by 3, and adding or subtracting them as appropriate from the win shares earned by an average pitcher in the equivalent number of innings. (Wins above or below average determined by finding a support-neutral winning percentage from his ERA+ and comparing his record to an average pitchers.)

With the method explained, anyone should be able to adjust their estimates of Mendez’s value to fit their views of the best interpretation of the data.

Year – IP – ERA – ERA+ -- SNwp – SNw/l – W+ -- Pitching WS
1908 – 134 – 2.32 – 101 -- .504 – 7.7-7.5 – 0.1 -- 8.1
1909 – 229 – 2.26 – 109 -- .543 – 14.1-11.9 – 1.1 – 16.6
1910 – 293 – 2.39 – 126 -- .614 – 20.4-12.9 – 3.7 – 28.1
1911 – 318 – 2.65 – 126 -- .614 – 22.2-13.9 – 4.1 – 30.7
1912 – 331 – 2.18 – 156 -- .753 – 28.3-9.3 – 9.5 – 40.2*
1913 – 323 – 2.30 – 127 -- .617 – 22.6-14.1 – 4.2 – 31.3
1914 – 331 – 1.94 – 143 -- .671 – 25.2-12.4 – 6.4 – 35.5**
1915 – 88 – 2.54 – 116 -- .574 – 5.7-4.3 – 0.7 – 7.2
1916 ---
1917 ---
1918 – 38 – 2.81 – 98 -- .490 – 2.1-2.2 -- -0.1 – 1.9
1919 – 127 – 2.76 – 116 -- .574 – 8.3-6.1 – 1.1 – 10.7
1920 – 110 – 3.38 – 93 -- .461 – 5.8-6.7 – 0.5 – 4.9
1921 – 51 – 3.90 – 110 -- .546 – 3.2-2.6 – 0.3 – 3.9
1922 – 106 – 4.25 – 95 -- .474 – 5.7-6.3 -- -0.3 – 5.2
1923 – 213 – 3.11 – 128 -- .620 – 15-9.2 – 2.9 – 21.1
1924 – 98 – 3.66 – 106 -- .529 – 5.9-5.2 – 0.4 – 6.9
1925 – 32 – 4.25 – 103 -- .515 – 1.9-1.7 – 0.1 – 2.2
1926 – 64 – 4.03 – 95 -- .474 – 3.4-3.9 -- -0.3 – 2.8

total – 2886 – 2.63 – 121.2 -- .595 – 195-133 -- 31.0*** -- 257.3 pws****



*By the method, this season comes out to 47.3. but I’ve docked this one by 15%. My method overvalue peak seasons (I think the pythag method becomes unreliable at extremes – those who can change exponents get more accurate results), but there were half a dozen pitching seasons above 40 ws by James methods during this period: Johnson’s best were 47 (1912) and 54 (1913). A survey of the 40 WS seasons shows that this season is similar to 40-42 WS seasons, but not to a 47 WS season.

**Reduced by 7.5%.

***Added up his record is 197.5-130.5 and his W+ = 34.4 The difference is either a calculation error on my part or an indication of the slight overrating of his two seasons above 140 ERA+.

****No batting WS included, based on 154 game seasons, no attempt to identify leveraged innings during relief pitching work. This latter might boost his win shares in the second part of his career by a meaningful amount, but I don’t know enough to make an estimate that I would argue for. I’ll probably give him maybe 6-12 more WS on this basis.

Comments welcome!
   38. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 03, 2004 at 07:57 AM (#772939)
"(I think the pythag method becomes unreliable at extremes – those who can change exponents get more accurate results)"

PythaganPat does not get unreliable at the extremes. At least not until you get to about 20-30 runs a game (IIRC). As long as you are looking at that you should be okay.
   39. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 03, 2004 at 08:00 AM (#772941)
Great job again Chris.

I'd suggest just rounding the numbers for individual season W-L records, 22-14 or 28-9 is easier to visually look at that than 22.3-13.9 or 28.3-9.3, know what I mean?

The career record is a lot like David Cone's, although obviously packed into a shorter time-frame.
   40. TomH Posted: August 03, 2004 at 01:09 PM (#773023)
responding to Chris Cobb's post #23:
"I've spent a lot of time looking at Mendez's stats this weekend in relation to i9s projections. Here’s how I think they build the projections for Mendez. Mendez, in his games against major-league teams in Cuba, went 8-7-1"
--
And then Chris performa many gyrations with the data, al of which look reasonable - except that it appears everything is based on a team W-L record of only 15 games?! Talk about a poor unrepresentative sample! What if his team went 6-9, or 10-5? Mendez would either be Walter Johnson or Joe Nobody.

Chris again does a good job translating these #s into projected Win Shares...assuming the beginning numbers are good ones.

I may have to resort greater reliance on subjective opinion if this is all of the data we have - did I miss something here?

Black stars still on many ballots are Rube Foster, Bill Monroe, and Spots Poles. New this year are Santop and Mendez. My gut feel is that electing more than one or two of these remaining five would make us guilty of over-compensating to elect early black players. Putting four of them on my ballot among the top 15 also strikes me in the same way. I don't mean to make Foster to compete directly with Mendez for a ballot slot, but....what better comparison CAN I use??
   41. Michael Bass Posted: August 03, 2004 at 01:49 PM (#773065)
Using these stats, he seems almost a direct comp for Waddell.

195-133 vs. 193-143
2886 IP vs. 2961.3 IP
257 WS vs. 240

Waddell does have a nice ERA+ advantage, but we all know the problems with Rube's ERA+. Factoring in Mendez's quality hitting as a pitcher (though giving no major league credit for his time in the field), I'm putting him one notch ahead of Waddell on my ballot.
   42. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 03, 2004 at 02:00 PM (#773078)
I'm putting him one notch ahead of Waddell on my ballot.

Because of Chris' great work, I'm leaning toward that myself. Since I will have Rube at #8 next week, Mendez may be high on my ballot (until I change my mind about him again :-)
   43. Chris Cobb Posted: August 03, 2004 at 02:39 PM (#773123)
Tom asked:

I may have to resort greater reliance on subjective opinion if this is all of the data we have - did I miss something here?

Well, yes, though it wasn't written up in that particular post. I did all that work on Mendez's slim record vs. major-league teams because it's an important data point -- it's the fullest documentation of play vs. major-league competition that we have had for any black ballplayer. However, it's far from everything we have to go on in assessing Mendez. There's actually a lot of data:

Holway shows Mendez as 40-14 in regular season play vs. Negro-League competition in his career
Holway shows Mendez as 59-18 in the Cuban Winter Leagues, and Phillybooster's more complete data, which includes summer leagues, shows him with a career Cuban record of 74-25.
His one documented barnstorming season shows him 44-2 vs. all levels of competition.

So for Mendez there's actually a great deal of data: over 220 career decisions. The question is translating them into an MLE. For that purpose, the 8-7-1 record against major-league teams calls for careful scrutiny, which I gave it, basically as another way of assessing whether or not i9s are overrating or underrating pitchers in their projections. This data point can be compared to other data points for testing their projections,(i.e. the rest of Mendez's career, data from the career of other pitchers, etc.) I was interested in it primarily as a way of judging the MLE projections of i9s.

You're going to have to rely in some degree on subjective judgment about the quality of play in Cuba and in the Negro Leagues in deciding how to rate black ballplayers, but once you make that decision, I think there is enough data, and enough consistency in the i9s projections in relation to that data, to compare black players to white players as readily as to each other.

Right now it sounds as if the judgment my interpretation of the data might lead to is not quite jibing with your sense of what the value of black players probably was. I've tried to show, as fully as I practically can without either clogging up these pages or devoting myself full-time to the project, the basis for my interpretations. If you think that basis is justified in the final analysis, then you might change your mind. If you think it is unreasonable, then you should rely on whatever seems more reasonable.

For the numbers I'm providing, I will only say that I think they get us close to the value of these players: other defensible interpretations of the data could shift that value by 5 or 10%. Michael Bass is thinking about how to place Mendez in relation to Waddell, and that looks right. Some will put Mendez above, some below, and Waddell is all over people's ballots, so who knows exactly how he will place?
   44. PhillyBooster Posted: August 03, 2004 at 03:22 PM (#773195)
Holway shows Mendez as 59-18 in the Cuban Winter Leagues, and Phillybooster's more complete data, which includes summer leagues, shows him with a career Cuban record of 74-25.

Not wanting to appear that I am plagiarizing, my data on Mendez comes from a full chapter write-up in James Holway's out-of-print Blackball Stars, so my numbers should generally be consistent with the new Holway book. Blackball Stars is great book if you can find it anywhere. It gives the numbers with Holway-esque precision, but also gives full backgrounds to place the players in context.

The only drawback is that it only has 25 chapters!
   45. favre Posted: August 03, 2004 at 06:42 PM (#773559)
Mendez brings up an important question: to what extent can we use career records that did not occur in North America or against North American teams? This will be a considerable factor for a number of candidates: Mendez, Dolf Luque, Martin Dihigo, Minnie Minoso, not to mention all the Japanese players. I don't have any numbers inf front of me yet, but Mendez was clearly considered a big star in Cuba.

What do you all think?
   46. Chris Cobb Posted: August 03, 2004 at 06:50 PM (#773579)
my data on Mendez comes from a full chapter write-up in James Holway's out-of-print Blackball Stars

Wow! I was just thinking this morning that Mendez's life story would make a great book -- I'd love to read this chapter. Holway notes in passing in his Negro League book that Mendez "played the cornet, clarinet, and guitar, and in later years he visited other islands, strumming and singing and teaching baseball. He is credited with doing much to spread the game throughout the Caribbean." I'd guess his musical talents helped him during his stint with the All Nations, who were a performing group as well as an integrated, international, barnstorming baseball team. Add to that his early pitching duels in Cuba with ML pitching greats like Mathewson and Plank, the drama of his world series heroics late in his career as player-manager for the Monarchs, the story about his accidentally killing a teammate with his fastball in batting practice, and it makes for a pretty compelling story.
   47. sunnyday2 Posted: August 03, 2004 at 09:25 PM (#773915)
Mendez will be on my ballot and so will Rube Foster. What I wish Chris and others who have thought about this would do is compare Mendez and Foster directly. They seem pretty close to me. Both had those 56-1 and 44-2 years against all-comers, and both could clearly hold their own against the best MLers at their peak. And both peaked/primed for about the same length of time. How can I separate them? Their hitting?

Also, moving beyond Foster and Mendez, how are people seeing ALL of the NL stars? (Pls include the elected Johnson, Grant and Hill in your discussion, for perspective.) Right now I seem them as follows:

1. HR Johnson
2. Frank Grant and/or Bill Monroe
4. Santop--could be #2
5. Foster and/or Mendez
7. Hill--obviously many will have him higher, sorry, I still don't get it
8. Poles
9. Dobie Moore--but maybe higher based on new data today (i.e. his army career)
10. Sol White

Can't think of anybody else I regard as ballot-worthy. Pls help.
   48. TomH Posted: August 04, 2004 at 12:12 PM (#775514)
My take right now is

Santop
HR Johnson
Pete Hill
Frank Grant
Rube Foster/Mendez?
Bill Monroe
Poles
Dobie Moore
Sol White

But Lloyd, SJ Williams and Torriente will take spots 1-3 soon.
   49. Chris Cobb Posted: August 04, 2004 at 03:20 PM (#775706)
My ranking is slightly closer to TomH's than Sunnyday2's:

1) HR Johnson
2) Louis Santop
3) Pete Hill
4) Frank Grant
5) Rube Foster
6) Spots Poles
7) Jose Mendez
--on/off ballot line--
8) Bill Monroe
9) Bruce Petway
10) Dobie Moore
11) John Donaldson

The placements of Foster, Mendez, and Moore are still pretty uncertain, though.
   50. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 04, 2004 at 04:52 PM (#775865)
the closet match I see for Mendez is between Clark Griffith and the underrated Hippo Vaughn,

Yea, he's been reminding me a lot of Hippo Vaughn. Seems like he was a real good pitcher, had a heckuva stretch, but not a top-flight guy.
   51. karlmagnus Posted: August 04, 2004 at 06:30 PM (#776074)
1) Hill
2) Santop
3) Grant
4) Foster
5) HR Johnson
6) Poles
7) Mendez

FWIW; I'm no expert
   52. sunnyday2 Posted: August 04, 2004 at 07:34 PM (#776171)
So far the consensus (of four, small sample, I know) is as follows (straight 10-9-8 scoring, no bonuses for top position[s]):

1. HR Johnson
2. Santop--looking like a shoo-in. I have him #1 or #2 myself right now.
3. Grant
4. Hill
5. Foster
6. Mendez--I'm still hoping to see a head-to-head analysis of Foster and Mendez, or maybe somebody has already done one and can point me to it
7. Poles--though I myself don't see him that different from Hill (and would be inclined to put Hill down here)
8. Monroe--though I myself don't see him that different from Grant (but would be inclined to put Monroe up there)
9. Moore--but almost surely better than all except Johnson and maybe Santop and maybe Foster/Mendez for peak
10. Petway and/or the ever-underestimated Sol White whom I also see as very close to Grant and Monroe

I agree that all of these guys will be eclipsed (but not embarrassed) shortly.
   53. sunnyday2 Posted: August 04, 2004 at 07:40 PM (#776184)
In response to favre's question and speaking for myself, I an inclined to consider everything--Cuba, Japan, whatever. Of course I will also say that short of Sadaharu Oh I don't think there was a Japanese player worthy of consideration through his time. Since then, maybe, in terms of the quality of play--I don't know who specifically that would be.

The info that Cuban teams could beat the crap out of AAA teams, and the black army team could beat the crap out of PCL teams, suggests to me what the level of play was in Cuba and among the early Negro teams, and it was infinitely better than in Japan.

We know that "white" Cubans played in the MLs and did so successfully. So clearly the black Cuban players (some of them) could have and would have been good ML players, too. But they, like African-Americans in the US, were victimized by racial discrimination. It would doubly discriminate NOT to consider their Cuban achievements. So for me, they're within scope.
   54. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 09, 2004 at 09:26 PM (#786628)
Does anyone have a list of the games played for Mendez, Foster and Moore for each season they played? Thanks!
   55. Michael Bass Posted: August 12, 2004 at 04:35 PM (#792356)
Been thinking about the rankings of NLers to date, here's my list:

1. Santop
2. Johnson
3. Foster
4. Hill
5. Poles
6. Mendez
7. Grant - Stradling my in/out line
8. Moore
9. Monroe - Big drop after Bill, last one in serious contention for a ballot spot
10. Donaldson
11. Petway

My one regret personally is Grant, on whom I probably jumped the gun. I don't know that he's unworthy, but unlike those above him, I don't have an extremely strong confidence that he was. I got a little too caught up in the "first" cache he had, though I candidly admit part of this regret is that I don't feel as well-informed about him as I do about those in front of him.
   56. KJOK Posted: October 20, 2004 at 02:45 AM (#927372)
Orel Hershiser:

IP - 3130 (Mendez MLE 3001)
Sup Neut Wins - 197 (Mendez MLE 198)
Sup Neut Losses - 157 (Mendez MLE 155)
ERA+ - 112 (Mendez MLE 114)
   57. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 20, 2004 at 02:01 PM (#928254)
1. Santop
2. Johnson
3. Foster
4. Hill
5. Poles
6. Mendez
7. Grant - Stradling my in/out line
8. Moore
9. Monroe - Big drop after Bill, last one in serious contention for a ballot spot
10. Donaldson
11. Petway


What about Lloyd and Williams, Michael?
   58. PhillyBooster Posted: October 20, 2004 at 02:01 PM (#928256)
Hershiser might actually be a really good comp.

As a pitcher.

Mendez, however, also played 3-4 years as a position player during his "dead arm" period, and if he was a good enough hitter to play when he wasn't pitching, then he probably gets a bunch of bonus points for his hitting when he WAS pitcher, too.

Hershiser (and his comps Stieb, Vida Blue, Jim Perry) are the epitome of "one notch below". But what if you give any of them 1000 plate appearances with a (say) 100 OPS+ to go along with their pitching stats instead of the standard 0-33 you get with most pitchers?

When Hershiser is your pitching baseline, you don't have to quite be Caruthers with the bat to get up to the next level.
   59. Michael Bass Posted: October 20, 2004 at 02:52 PM (#928335)
Two months later, the my list would be

1. Williams
2. Lloyd
3. Santop
4. Torriente
5. Johnson
6. Foster
7. Hill
8. Poles
9. Mendez
10. Reding - Stradling my in/out line
11. Grant -
12. Moore
13. Monroe - Last one really in strong contention for a ballot spot
14. Marcelle
15. Smith
16. Donaldson
17. Petway

I think I've got allt he major players here.
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 20, 2004 at 02:59 PM (#928347)
Two months later, the my list would be

I didn't realize it was that long ago. Your list makes much more sense now. :-)
   61. sunnyday2 Posted: October 20, 2004 at 04:22 PM (#928491)
We are at the point, finally, where you need a crib sheet to keep track of the NeL candidates (and electeds). Here's mine.

C-Santop the obvious #1, but Petway a nice defensive back-up
1B-Ben Taylor the only real candidate
2B-Grant, Monroe and Sol White are close. I don't mind the in/out line falling in between there, but they are close.
SS-Lloyd, Johnson and (for you peak voters) Dobie Moore, an embarrassment of riches
3B-Ollie Marcelle
OF-Hill, Poles and Torriente seem pretty obvious to me; Chino didn't play long enough
P- Williams, R. Foster, Redding, Mendez

What a line-up!

1. Poles, cf
2. Lloyd, ss--why not get him all the PAs you can
3. Johnson, 3b--sorry Ollie, can't sit HR
4. Torriente, rf
5. Dobie Moore, dh--at least during his peak
6. Hill, lf
7. Taylor, 1b
8. Grant, 2b
9. Santop, c

In order of estimated/adjusted value:

1. Williams
2. Lloyd
3. Johnson
(Dobie Moore, then Chino Smith peak!)
4. Torriente
5. Santop
6. Grant
7. Redding
8. R. Foster
9. Monroe
10. Mendez
11. Hill
12. Dobie Moore overall
13. Poles
(Dobie Moore career)
14. Sol White
15. Taylor
16. Chino Smith
17. Petway
18. Marcelle
(Chino Smith career)

Redding, Monroe and Mendez still strong contenders on my ballot. Love Dobie Moore
   62. sunnyday2 Posted: October 20, 2004 at 04:26 PM (#928505)
Meant to say Love Dobie Moore but... Is there a comparable MLE to Moore and Chino Smith? I mean guys like Ross Youngs and Pete Reiser and Tony C were just not at that level. I can't think of an MVP candidate (better than mere all-star) who just dropped off the face of the earth like these two guys. OK, pitchers like Dean and Koufax and Joss, but not position players.
   63. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 20, 2004 at 05:07 PM (#928628)
Sunnyday,

How about Al Rosen?
   64. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 20, 2004 at 08:10 PM (#929012)
I tend to think of Moore as the Black Hughie Jennings. Except that I think Jennings peak is a little bit better.

I don't know about Smith, was he really an MVP guy? I think Ross Youngs is a good comp, though I give Smith the edge there.
   65. Brent Posted: February 09, 2005 at 05:21 AM (#1133669)
On the 1945 Ballot Discussion, # 9, Ardo asked:

I'm having a hard time ranking three very different pitchers: Rixey (many innings, shallow peak), Ferrell (few innings, sharp peak, great hitter) and Mendez (who appears to be a short-career type). I'd like to hear an advocate for each.

I’ve placed Mendez high on my ballots and plan to continue doing so. With Chris Cobb’s recent reconsideration of his win shares estimates for pitchers, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mendez may lose some support. A couple of elections ago I realized that Chris was probably slightly overrating pitchers, and I dropped Redding, but I still believe that Mendez deserves high placement. My reasons can’t be strictly quantified, but I have been reading up on Cuban League baseball and what I’ve read mostly reinforces the evaluation of Mendez as an HOM-worthy pitcher.

Here are some considerations:

(1) I think the Cuban League was probably stronger during the period 1908-30 than Chris has credited it. (My recollection is that Chris places the Cuban League slightly below the Negro Leagues, which in turn are placed slightly below the highest minor leagues – what we now call triple AAA). I think the Cuban League of that time was probably at least triple AAA level.
- The league was small, usually only 3 or 4 teams, implying that the talent was more concentrated.
- The American Negro League players who played in Cuba were the cream of the league - Lloyd and Charleston played many seasons there, as did other HoMers. Most of the Americans playing in Cuba (who could constitute up to 1/3 of the player pool) were probably major league quality.
- There were many white Cuban natives who played either in the majors or the highest minor leagues. Although Luque and Miguel Angel (Mike) Gonzalez were the only Cubans of that period with long major league careers, many others made it to the majors at least briefly, and quite of few of them had successful careers in the high minors.
- Comparing the black Cuban players to their white counterparts, it is clear that there were a number who would have been very good major league players, if not quite HoM quality. For example, Alejandro Oms may have been as good as Cuyler or Manush.
- If you go through the rosters add up the players who fit into one of the above categories, they account for the great majority of the regular players in any given season. Although there may have been some players who weren’t at the triple AAA level, I am relatively confident that the league as a whole was.
- The record of Cuban teams in exhibitions against major league teams is consistent with quality at least strong as triple AAA. In major league exhibitions from 1908-13, Cuban teams were 40-56. (These statistics are probably overly favorable to Cuba, because for a couple of the series some major players didn’t come. On the other hand, the ML teams that did play in Cuba were generally the top teams, and included World Series champions and pennant winners.)

(2) Although Mendez always played for good teams, the rosters do not suggest that he had an unusual advantage. During his peak seasons, 1908-14, Almendares was the only team that did not bring on American players. Consequently, Mendez was pitching against Americans including Lloyd, Grant Johnson, Pete Hill, Joe Williams, Dick Redding, and Spot Poles. His Almendares teammates seldom matched the Americans in hitting. The best players on Almendares during most of those years were probably Eustaquio (Bombin) Pedroso (another pitcher), Emilio Palomino (an outfielder), and Gervasio (Strike) Gonzalez (a catcher with a strong defensive reputation). The belief was widespread that the success of Almendares depended on Mendez, to the extent that one time an exhibition game was scheduled in which Mendez switched teams and pitched against his own team—and defeated them soundly.

(3) A number of other great pitchers played in Cuba – Rube Foster, Joe Williams, Dick Redding, Bullet Rogan, Willie Foster, Dolf Luque. None of them dominated the Cuban League to the same extent as Mendez.

(4) Contemporary comments from major league players and managers indicate that they regarded Mendez as special. For example, Ira Thomas of the Philadelphia Athletics wrote an article on Cuban baseball for the March 1913 issue of Baseball Magazine that generally tries to reassure Americans about their superiority, but also describes Mendez as “one of the greatest twirlers the game ever knew” and goes on at some length to praise him.

(5) Looking at the specifics of Chris Cobb’s projections, they are pretty good but should be tweaked in a few spots. I think too little credit is given to Mendez for his first two seasons, 1908-w and 1908-09. It’s true that he joined the team a little late his first season, so his innings pitched should be a little lower than subsequent seasons, but he still pitched the second highest number of games on his team and was tied for fifth in the league. I think the i9s don't assign enough playing time for his first two seasons. His second season he was fantastic, leading the league in games, complete games, and shutouts, and tied for the lead in wins and winning percentage. On the other hand, the projection misses his off year in 1913 (probably with an injury) when he pitched only 7 games with a 1-4 record. So the projection shows the start of his career with 5 great seasons and 2 good ones; in reality, it probably should be 6 great seasons and one off year.

(6) Several voters have commented on the similarity between Mendez and Waddell. I see the similarity, but I think Mendez also has several advantages over Waddell. Mendez was a good hitter – not as good as Ferrell or Mays, but good enough that he could play a little as a utility infielder. He had a reputation as a good fielder. He was also acknowledged as intelligent, a gentleman, and a leader, who was successful as a manager. Although Waddell probably threw harder and had more raw “stuff,” I think Mendez’s intelligence allowed him to work his way back after injury.

(7) Another comment is with the second half of his career. I agree that he didn’t do much from 1915-18 that merits ballot support, but in his second incarnation as a pitcher he was really quite effective, albeit without the stamina to pitch a lot of innings. In his best seasons he reminds me of Ted Lyons 1942 or Satchel Paige 1948 (probably not quite that good, but still very good). He was confident enough in his own abilities to put himself into the critical games of the 1924 World Series, with remarkable results.

I think we can do more to get a handle on Mendez – using Luque, Mike Gonzalez, and other Cuban major leaguers, we should be able to construct a more solid set of projections from Cuban League to majors. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll try to assemble some of the data needed.
   66. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 22, 2005 at 09:58 PM (#1354977)
Jose Mendez's placements on career NgL leaderboards are truncated to only 1920-1948 at this this time.

WINS t-113th with 26 wins

LOSSES t-247th with 9

DEICISIONS t-159th with 35

WINNING PCT .743
(50+ decisions minimum) DNQ
(25+ decisions minimum) 5th
(10+ decisions minimum) 13th

ADJ PCT OF TEAM DECISIONS .064
(50+ decisions minimum) DNQ
(25+ decisions minimum) 205th (out of 205)
(10+ decisions minimum) 325th (of 335)

WAT 68th with 3.5

WAT/DECISION .099
(50+ decisions minimum) DNQ
(25+ decisions minimum) 32nd
(10+ decisions minimum) 58th

YEARLY WINS LEADERBOARD APPEARANCES

1923 t-4th in wins with 12.
   67. Brent Posted: May 22, 2005 at 11:52 PM (#1355080)
Since we're looking at the NeL pitcher backlog, I thought I'd post the Cuban League record of José Méndez relative to his team:

   Yr          Team   W  L Tm W* Tm L Tm Pct Pennant  WAT % tm dec
08w      Almendares   9  0    36    8   .818       *  2.1      20%
08-09    Almendares  15  6    28   14   .667          2.0      50%
10w      Almendares   7  0    13    3   .813       *  2.3      44%
10-11    Almendares  11  2    20    6   .769       *  2.0      50%
12w      Almendares   9  5    14   17   .452          4.9      45%
13w      Almendares   1  4    16   16   .500         -1.8      16%
13-14    Almendares  10  0    22   11   .667       *  4.8      30%
14-15    Almendares   2  0    22   11   .667          0.7       6%
15-16    Almendares   1  1    28   12   .700       * -0.4       5%
20-21    Almendares   1  2    13   12   .520         -0.6      12%
23-24    Santa Clara  3  1    36   11   .766       * -0.1       9%
24w(S)   Santa Clara  1  2    13   12   .520       * -0.6      12%
24-25    Santa Clara  2  3    20   28   .417         -0.1      10%
25-26    Habana       1  1    19   15   .559         -0.1       6%
26-27(S) Alacranes    3  1    22   15   .595       *  0.7      11%
Total                76 28                           15.7 
         
* Excludes games won by forfeit: 1908w (1), 1910-11 (1), 1912w (3), 1915-16 (2), 1920-21 (8), 1925-26 (13).
w = winter
(S) = special season. 

Notes:
1908w - Led league in winning pct. (1.000).
1908-09 - Led league in games (28), complete games (18), shutouts (5); tied for lead in pct. (.714), wins (15) with Z. Hagerman.
1910w - Led league in pct. (1.000), wins (7); tied for lead in shutouts (1).
1910-11 - Led league in pct. (.846), games (18), complete games (12), wins (11), shutouts (4).
1912w - Tied for league lead in complete games (10), shutouts (2). Pennant-winner Habana featured 4 HoMers--Williams, Johnson, Lloyd, and Hill.
1913-14 - All-time Cuban League record for most times leading league undefeated (3); tied for all-time record for most times leading league in pct. (5). Led league in pct. (1.000); tied for lead in shutouts (3). No North American players in league.
   68. Gary A Posted: November 30, 2005 at 07:03 PM (#1753268)
Here's hoping the formatting turns out all right...
Cuban Pitchers Vs. Major League Teams, 1908-1913 (showing all pitchers with more than 20 innings pitched)

Pitcher            W  L Sv  TRA  G ST CG Sho  IP     AB  H  HR  W   K  HP
José Méndez        9 11  1 3.26 24 20 18  3  204.0  725 150  3  51 123  9
Eustaquio Pedroso  7 10  1 3.33 20 17 13  3  143.3  527 119  1  36  52  3
Pastor Pareda      5  6  0 4.01 21 12  9  2  130.3  484 123  1  38  54  6
Luis González      6  5  0 3.71 15 11  7  1   99.3  364  86  0  21  26  5
José Muñoz         5  3  0 2.49 11  9  8  0   86.7  328  67  2  20  30  4
Jesus Mederos      3  5  1 4.70 11  6  2  0   51.7  190  50  1  14  12  3
Luis Padrón        1  4  0 5.20  6  5  4  0   45.0  154  38  0  23  22  5
Adolfo Luque       1  1  0 7.96  5  3  0  0   26.0   93  25  0  16  10  3
Angel Villazón     1  2  0 7.20  5  3  1  0   25.0   94  27  1  14   8  1

Pitcher             OAVE OOBA OSLG  W/9  K/9
José Méndez         .207 .263 .257 2.25 5.43
Eustaquio Pedroso   .226 .277 .281 2.26 3.27
Pastor Pareda       .254 .313 .289 2.62 3.73
Luis González       .236 .284 .291 1.90 2.36
José Muñoz          .204 .259 .253 2.08 3.12
Jesus Mederos       .263 .322 .342 2.44 2.09
Luis Padrón         .247 .359 .305 4.60 4.40
Adolfo Luque        .269 .379 .323 5.54 3.46
Angel Villazón      .287 .382 .415 5.04 2.88


TOTALS   W  L  Sv  TRA  G   ST  CG Sho  IP     AB    H  HR   W   K  HP
Cubans   42 57  3 4.20 140 101  69  9  917.0  3379  802 11  277 374 47
MLers    57 42  2 3.41 117 101  88  7  883.0  3160  734  8  288 450 40
Combined 99 99  5 3.82 257 202 157 16 1800.0  6539 1536 19  565 824 87

TOTALS             OOAVE OOBA OSLG  W/9  K/9
Cuban pitchers     .237  .304 .296 2.72 3.67
Maj. Lg. pitchers  .232  .304 .285 2.94 4.59
Combined           .235  .304 .291 2.83 4.12


A few notes:
1) I've charged Méndez with a loss that elsewhere (Figueredo, etc.) has been mistakenly charged to Pedroso. It's the final game of the 1911 New York Giants' series, on December 18, 1911. Méndez started and pitched the first eight innings. Almendares trailed 3-1 when Pedroso replaced him at the start of the ninth. He gave up one more run, and the Giants won 4-1. It's clear that Méndez lost the game here.

2) Interestingly, the offensive averages of Cuban and major league teams were not far apart, though runs scored and W/L records were. The explanation lies, I think, in fielding, particularly errors (Cubans committed a lot) and double plays (ML teams turned a lot). Possibly baserunning played a role--MLers outstole Cubans 200-156, though it may have more to do with not getting thrown out.

3) I'm not sure this has been mentioned, but Pedroso's three shutouts do NOT count his 1909 11-inning no-hitter against Detroit (he won 2-1). On the major league side, Jack Coombs (8-0 overall in Cuba, easily the best among ML pitchers) no-hit Habana 10-0 on NOvember 15, 1912.
   69. sunnyday2 Posted: November 30, 2005 at 07:07 PM (#1753285)
I think it would be accurate to say that Mendez' record against ML opposition is in effect his record against (minimally) first division ML opposition. None of the ML teams he faced would have been second division teams, not close. A rich man's Wes Ferrell in my book.
   70. Gary A Posted: November 30, 2005 at 10:17 PM (#1753716)
Here are all of Méndez's pitching appearances against major leaguers in Cuba, plus the opposing pitcher and his record the previous year:
DATE     OPP  DEC SC ST-CG IP   H HR  R ER  W  K  OPP ST  (ML W/L)
11/15/08 CIN   W 1-0 st-c  9.0  1  0  0  0  2  9  Dubuc (5-6)
11/29/08 CIN     2-3       7.0  2  0  0  0  1  7  Campbell (12-13)
12/3/08  CIN   W 3-0 st-c  9.0  5  0  0  0  0  8  Dubuc (5-6)
11/4/09  DET   L 3-9 st-c  9.0 11  0  9  4  5  7  Willett (21-10)
11/14/09 DET   L 0-4 st-c  9.0  5  0  4  1  1  6  Mullin (29-8)
11/22/09 DET   W 2-1 st-c  9.0  5  0  1  1  3  5  Lelivelt (0-1)
12/16/09 AST   W 3-1 st-c  9.0  2  0  1  1  2 10  Camnitz (25-6)
11/13/10 DET   L 0-3 st-c  9.0  5  0  3     0  4  Mullin (21-12)
11/21/10 DET   T 2-2 st-c 10.0  3  0  2  0  2  3  Summers (13-12)
12/5/10  DET   L 3-6 st-c  9.0 13  0  6  3  2  2  Summers (13-12)
12/13/10 PHA   W 5-2 st-c  9.0  5  0  2  0  5  5  Plank (16-10)
12/18/10 PHA   W 7-5 st-c  9.0  9  0  5     3  2  Plank (16-10)
11/5/11  PHN   W 3-1 st-c  9.0  5  0  1  1  0  6  Chalmers (13-10)
11/13/11 PHN   W 4-0 st-c  9.0  4  0  0  0  5  8  Stack (5-5)
11/19/11 PHN   L 1-8       8.0 13  0  8  1  1  4  Chalmers (13-10)
11/30/11 NYN   L 0-4 st-c  9.0  5  0  4  4  2  4  Mathewson (26-13)
12/10/11 NYN   L 3-6 st-c 11.0 11  1  6  6  4 10  Crandall (15-5)
12/14/11 NYN   S 7-4       4.0  1  0  0  0  0  0  Mathewson (26-13)
12/18/11 NYN   L 1-4 st    8.0  5  1  3  3  3  7  Mathewson (26-13)
11/3/12  PHA   L 3-6 st-c  9.0 10  0  6     3  3  Bender (13-8)
11/11/12 PHA   L 4-7 st-c  8.0 12  1  7     1  2  Plank (26-6)
11/17/12 PHA     3-6       5.0  2  0  0  0  3  3  Bender (13-8)
11/25/12 PHA   W 3-2 st    8.0  6  0  2  0  2  3  Bender (13-8)
11/8/13  BKN   L 0-4 st-c  9.0 10  0  4  3  1  5  Wagner (4-2)


The average ML winning percentage of the opposing pitcher faced by Méndez was .595 (that's weighing all winning percentages by appearances here, rather than by ML decisions). So Wagner counts as .667, Bill Lelivelt as .000, Mathewson as .667 (counted three times).

It's also worth noting that Almendares scored a total of 50 runs in Méndez's 20 starts, scoring more than 3 runs only 4 times. His team was shut out four times. That's an average of 2.5 runs a game, compared to an overall Cuban average of 3.4 runs a game.
   71. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 30, 2005 at 11:45 PM (#1753935)
Thus Jose Mendez will be number 2 on my ballot this year, just as he's been at the top of my backlog for years.

Now Leroy Matlock.... ; )
   72. Paul Wendt Posted: December 01, 2005 at 01:59 AM (#1754185)
- If you go through the rosters add up the players who fit into one of the above categories, they account for the great majority of the regular players in any given season. Although there may have been some players who weren’t at the triple AAA level, I am relatively confident that the league as a whole was.
- The record of Cuban teams in exhibitions against major league teams is consistent with quality at least strong as triple AAA. In major league exhibitions from 1908-13, Cuban teams were 40-56. (These statistics are probably overly favorable to Cuba, because for a couple of the series some major players didn’t come. On the other hand, the ML teams that did play in Cuba were generally the top teams, and included World Series champions and pennant winners.)


In 1910, I believe, the Tigers and Athletics played against Habana and Almendares intact, no Cuban all-star or merged teams.
Sporting Life coverage implies the reason that Habana and Almendares were based in the city, in one ballpark that hosted all games (controlled by the tour promoter?).
Were Habana and Almendares also the strongest Cuban teams?
, but that isn't a full explanation. Were they the strongest
   73. Brent Posted: December 01, 2005 at 05:10 AM (#1754459)
Were Habana and Almendares also the strongest Cuban teams?

From 1908-09 through 1913-14, the Cuban League consisted of 3 teams (Habana, Almendares, and Fe) except for the first season when Matanzas competed (and withdrew from the league partway through the season after going 4-15). Almendares won 3 times, Habana twice, and Fe once. The big question (which maybe Gary can answer) is whether these teams were mostly Cubans or whether American stars like Home Run Johnson and Pete Hill also played. I notice that although Joe Williams, Rube Foster, and Dick Redding pitched in Cuba during these years, they do not appear in Gary's list of pitchers in # 68, suggesting that the Cuban teams were relying more on native Cuban talent than they did during the regular season.

It's also interesting to note that Almendares stayed with an all-Cuban lineup through most of this period and were still able to defeat opponents that were fielding American stars.
   74. Brent Posted: December 01, 2005 at 05:49 AM (#1754518)
Thanks to Gary for some most interesting data!

Thinking about how to compare Mendez to contemporary major league pitchers, it occurs to me that it may make sense to focus on the “defense independent” components of his pitching line, since there is evidence that the quality of Cuban glove men may have been inferior to their major league opponents. Gary reports Mendez’s W/9 as 2.25 and K/9 as 5.43, and we can easily calculate his K/W as 2.41.

For comparison, I took the pitching records during 1908-13 of all major league pitchers who pitched at least 650 innings during that period. (Note that I am using their records just during those 6 seasons, not their career records, in an attempt to keep the context similar to the conditions under which these Cuban series took place). This gave me a set of 65 pitchers, whom I then ranked by K/9, W/9, and K/W.

Here is how Mendez compares to the MLB leaders for that period:
    Pitcher          K/9
1.  Joe Wood        6.71
2.  Walter Johnson  6.38
3.  Orval Overall   6.15
4.  Rube Marquard   5.89
5.  Ed Walsh        5.60
Jose Mendez         5.43
6.  Vean Gregg      5.33
7.  Pete Alexander  5.32
8.  Chief Bender    5.27
9.  Earl Moore      5.06
10. Willie Mitchell 4.98

    Pitcher            K/W
1.  Christy Mathewson 4.16
2.  Walter Johnson    3.50
3.  Ed Walsh          3.22
4.  Addie Joss        3.11
5.  Chief Bender      2.81
6.  Joe Wood          2.56
7.  Cy Young          2.46
8.  Babe Adams        2.42
Jose Mendez           2.41
9.  Mordecai Brown    2.25
10. Ray Collins       2.18



Mendez’s 2.25 W/9 ratio is not among the top 10 for W/9 (a list headed by Joss, Mathewson, Young,
Adams, and Collins), but he is still above the average of this set of good pitchers at # 19 of the 65 pitchers (tied with Plank).

I think these data from Gary definitively demonstrate that Mendez was one of the top pitchers of this period—not as good as Johnson or Mathewson, but apparently better than Plank, for example. The question remains whether Mendez’s seven great seasons before his arm injury, combined with his work at shortstop and late career renaissance, constitute enough to propel him into the HoM.

I also note that Pedroso, Munoz, and Pareda all appear to have been major league-quality pitchers. These data also confirm an earlier observation that in the early teens Luque wasn’t yet ready for major league competition.
   75. Gary A Posted: December 01, 2005 at 06:50 AM (#1754587)
The big question (which maybe Gary can answer) is whether these teams were mostly Cubans or whether American stars like Home Run Johnson and Pete Hill also played. I notice that although Joe Williams, Rube Foster, and Dick Redding pitched in Cuba during these years, they do not appear in Gary's list of pitchers in # 68, suggesting that the Cuban teams were relying more on native Cuban talent than they did during the regular season.

From 1908 through 1910, black North Americans played for Cuban teams against major league teams; in 1908 and 1910, a Negro League team (the Brooklyn Royal Giants in '08, the Leland Giants in '10) played a series before the major leaguers arrived, and some of the players stayed on to join the Cuban clubs. They all played for Habana; alone of the three main teams Almendares seems to have adopted an "all-Cuban" policy.

In 1908, Johnson, Hill, and Frank Earle played for Habana against Cincinnati (Earle pitched two games, going 1-1). Also, the Brooklyn Royal Giants, who earlier played a series against Habana and Almendares, played one game against Cincinnati (winning 9-1), with Harry Buckner pitching. (I counted the Royal Giants as a "Cuban" team, since they were of equal quality--this is the only time I'm aware of during these years that a North American black team played a white major league team in Cuba.)

In 1909, Hill, Lloyd, and Petway played for Habana against Detroit.

In 1910, Hill, Lloyd, Johnson, and Petway played for Habana against Detroit and the A's.

In 1911, the Cuban players for Almendares and Habana went on strike, and operated as coop teams, calling themselves "Almendares Park" and "Havana Park." These "park" clubs were the ones that played the American Series against the Phillies and Giants. No North American blacks were involved in those games; but eventually Habana owners brought down several players to be strikebreakers (Hill, Johnson, Petway, Lloyd, Joe Williams, Walter Ball, Pettus). They called their club "Habana Empresa" (Havana Incorporated). Somehow the enmity between the "Empresa" club and the "parkistas," as they were known, was overcome long enough to stage a three-cornered series involving Empresa and the two "park" clubs.

The Habana club that then played in the 1912 regular season was Habana Empresa. Almendares and Fe signed away several of the other "parkistas," while some stubbornly remained outside the league.

At the time of the A's visit in fall 1912, no black North Americans had been engaged to come to Cuba, so the A's faced all-Cuban teams. The Lincoln Giants arrived after the A's series to play Habana and Almendares, and many stayed on to play for Fe in the Cuban League. As it happened, no Negro Leaguers played for Habana and Almendares, and Fe won the pennant easily.

In 1913 no Negro League team played in Cuba in the fall, and no black North Americans played for Cuban teams vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers OR in the Cuban League season that followed (1913/14).

Also: Habana and Almendares were, generally speaking, the best 2 of the 3 teams in the Cuban League during this period. The third club, Fe, finished:

3rd (out of 4) in both 1908 and 1908/09 (Matanzas, the fourth team, pulled out early in '08/'09);

3rd (of 3) in 1910;

3rd (of 3) in 1910/11;

3rd (of 3) in 1912;

1st (of 3) in 1913, the year they hired a bunch of Lincoln Giants;

2nd (of 3) in 1913/14, with no North American blacks in the league.
   76. Gary A Posted: December 01, 2005 at 06:59 AM (#1754591)
In 1910, I believe, the Tigers and Athletics played against Habana and Almendares intact, no Cuban all-star or merged teams.

During 1908-1913, major league teams only played Almendares and Habana (with one game against the Brooklyn Royal Giants). They never played all-star or merged teams, and in fact the two "Eternal Rivals" were at times at weaker strength than in the regular Cuban League season, due to the absence of Negro Leaguers. This affected pitching in particular; whereas Joe Williams, Rube Foster, Dick Redding, and others all played major roles in the Cuban League, as Brent has pointed out, none of them played against major leaguers in Cuba. Only Frank Earle pitched (in two games) against major leaguers for Cuban teams.

I'm not entirely certain why Fe didn't participate in the American Series. They did play against Negro League teams earlier in the 1900s, but never participated in the major league series. They were scheduled to play either Cincinnati or Detroit (iirc), but for some reason their directors backed out at the last minute--the newspaper account I read was a little cryptic (or my Spanish not up to the task).
   77. Chris Cobb Posted: December 01, 2005 at 04:01 PM (#1754826)
Brent, thanks for that run-down! It does indeed confirm that Mendez has to be viewed as one of the better pitchers of his era.

I would guess that these rankings actually underrate Mendez somewhat, given that he was generally pitching against above-average major-league squads.
   78. Paul Wendt Posted: December 01, 2005 at 05:18 PM (#1754954)
The big question (which maybe Gary can answer) is whether these teams were mostly Cubans or whether American stars like Home Run Johnson and Pete Hill also played. I notice that although Joe Williams, Rube Foster, and Dick Redding pitched in Cuba during these years, they do not appear in Gary's list of pitchers in # 68, suggesting that the Cuban teams were relying more on native Cuban talent than they did during the regular season.

Gary has answered.

My side notes on Sporting Life 1910 include
1910-1217p1 Cuba cover story
1910-1231p8 Det tour stats
1911-0121p9 Phi tour stats
I suppose no one here has the stats or even the rosters in convenient format, so I might copy them.

I know there were other articles in the Fall. Vaguely, I recall that the series promoter (name C?) was the SL correspondent. Maybe he sent articles to TSN or to some USA daily newspaper/s as well.
   79. Paul Wendt Posted: December 04, 2005 at 12:40 AM (#1758713)
1911-0114p1-2
coverage of the National Commission annual meeting. postseason games by MLB teams on the agenda, Frank Bancroft's plea for continued authorization. They considered a comprehensive ban but restricted only the new World's Champion. (We can't have them going around the country losing games.) It's clear that Athletic defeats in Cuba provided motivation.

At the time of the A's visit in fall 1912, no black North Americans had been engaged to come to Cuba, so the A's faced all-Cuban teams.

permitted to return because they failed to defend their championship

--
1911-01-14 p1-2
news

. . . The [National] Commission then debated long and earnestly on the question of prohibiting post-season trips altogether. The final conclusion was the passage of a rule prohibiting the playing of any postseason games whatever by the winners of a World's Championship. . . . [Otherwise] in all cases the full teams shall be put in the field and all exhibition games shall be played in the manner and with the spirit
of regular championship games.

1911-01-21 p4
Editorial Page

Senor Jiminez, the chief promoter and "Ban Johnson of base ball" in Cuba, is one person at least to feel pleased with, and grateful for, the action of the National Comission in the matter of postseason tours. Under the new rule Senor Jiminez will be in position to guarantee to his constituents that American teams visiting Cuba hereafter will be in all respects what the letter and spirit of the contract exacts; the responsibility for the guarantee being shifted from himself to the National Commission and the major league magnates. By so much the National Commission has also extended recognition and protection
to a new base ball community which may become at some time in the future an important factor in and for "organized ball."

(Baker and Collins(?) were no-shows in 1910.)
   80. Paul Wendt Posted: December 04, 2005 at 12:42 AM (#1758718)
Oops, my quotation is not clear.
Make it
[Baker and Collins(?) were no-shows in 1910. -Ed.]
   81. Gary A Posted: December 04, 2005 at 07:28 AM (#1759214)
To go along with the list of Cuban pitchers vs. major league teams, 1908-1913, here's a list of hitters for Cuban teams vs. major league teams. I've listed everybody with 50 or more plate appearances in these years. Since offense dramatically increased in Cuba over this time just as it did in the states, I also calculated an OPS+, normalized to each series average, so if a hitter played primarily in the earlier years, he's not disadvantaged. (Series average isn't necessarily the ideal benchmark, but will have to do for now.) NOTE: I did NOT remove pitchers from the series averages, so you'll need to mentally adjust these OPS upwards. Also: these totals are missing 1) three games from the A's series in 1910, for which La Lucha did not publish box scores--the Cuban teams won 2 of the 3 games, so this disadvantages the Cubans; and 2) the five-game series with the "All Stars" in 1909, which I just realized I forgot to include.

If I have time tomorrow, I'll post totals with the All-Star series included, and OPS+ with pitchers removed.
player          g  ab  h  d  t hr  r  w hp sb ave oba slg ops+
P. Hill        23  75 26  2  2  1 14 14  1  4 347 456 467 236
J. Lloyd       16  60 20  2  1  0  5  4  0  0 333 375 400 178
M. Cueto       16  47 19  0  1  0  6  6  1  0 404 481 447 177
G. Johnson     17  57 16  2  1  0  8 10  1  1 281 397 351 169
R. Almeida     43 149 47  5  0  1 18 19  3  8 315 404 369 155
C. Morán       32 108 30  4  2  0 19 16  3  3 278 386 352 153
A. Parpetti    28  97 27  0  2  1  8  8  3  8 278 352 351 149
R. Valdés      32 104 26  8  1  0 15 12  0 11 250 328 346 140
E. Pedroso     22  44 12  3  1  0  3  5  1  1 273 360 386 137
L. Padrón      40 146 37  1  2  2 13  9  2  8 278 333 361 129
R. García      22  66 18  1  1  0  7  5  1  2 273 333 318 125
L. Bustamante  23  77 18  2  1  0  8  7  0  4 234 298 286 107
G. González    46 157 36  3  3  0 13 13  3  1 229 297 287  98
H. Hidalgo     45 158 35  6  0  1 15 14  4 10 222 301 278  95
J. Castillo    30 107 23  5  1  0 11 11  1  2 215 289 280  91
A. Cabrera     43 147 34  4  1  0 11  9  0  9 231 276 272  81
A. Marsans     35 131 26  4  1  0 20 14  1 13 198 281 244  74
B. Petway      15  48 10  0  0  0  4  4  0  2 208 269 208  70
J. Violá       19  63 14  3  0  0  5  3  1  1 222 265 270  67
R. Hernández   35 114 21  1  1  0 14  9  2 22 184 250 211  59
J. Méndez      28  74 14  1  0  0  4  6  0  0 189 250 203  54
A. Cabañas     30  95 17  1  1  0 10  7  0  5 179 233 211  54
E. Palomino    22  68 10  0  1  0  3  6  1  9 147 227 176  42
P. Chacón      17  51  8  0  0  0  1  6  0  5 157 241 157  33
R. Figarola    17  57  8  1  1  0  3  2  0  0 140 169 193  29
M. Villa       17  56  7  0  2  0  6  0  0  2 125 125 196   6
T. Romañach    23  68  7  0  0  0  7  5  2  2 103 187 103 -11
   82. Gary A Posted: December 04, 2005 at 08:42 AM (#1759265)
NOTE: I did NOT remove pitchers from the series averages, so you'll need to mentally adjust these OPS upwards.

I mean adjust them downward.
   83. Gary A Posted: December 04, 2005 at 11:08 PM (#1760160)
OK, here are hitters for Cuban teams vs. major league teams, 1908-1913, including the "All Star" series of 1909. OPS+ normalized to series averages with pitchers removed. I added sac hits and flies as well.
player         g  ab  h  d  t hr  r  w hp sf sh sb ave oba slg ops+
P. Hill       23  75 26  2  2  1 14 14  1  0  5  4 347 456 467 227
M. Cueto      16  47 19  0  1  0  6  6  1  0  2  0 404 481 447 168
J. Lloyd      19  69 23  2  1  0  7  5  0  0  3  2 333 378 391 168
G. Johnson    17  57 16  2  1  0  8 10  1  0  2  1 281 397 351 164
R. Almeida    45 157 50  5  0  1 18 19  3  0  2  8 318 402 369 149
A. Parpetti   31 106 30  0  2  1  8  8  3  2  0  8 283 345 349 139
R. Valdés     34 110 28  8  1  0 15 13  0  0  2 11 255 333 345 136
C. Morán      35 119 32  4  2  0 19 16  3  0  1  3 269 370 336 136
E. Pedroso    22  44 12  3  1  0  3  5  1  0  1  1 273 360 386 130
L. Padrón     43 143 38  1  2  3 14 10  2  0  1  8 266 323 364 122
R. García     22  66 18  1  1  0  7  5  1  0  1  2 273 333 318 119
J. Castillo   32 113 27  6  2  0 11 13  1  2  1  2 239 318 327 112
L. Bustamante 26  88 19  2  2  0 10  7  0  0  2  4 216 274 284  92
H. Hidalgo    47 165 37  6  0  1 16 14  4  0  0 10 224 301 279  90
G. González   48 164 37  3  3  0 14 13  3  2  5  1 226 291 280  89
A. Cabrera    45 153 36  4  1  0 11  9  0  0  8 10 235 278 275  78
A. Marsans    37 140 28  4  1  0 20 14  1  0  4 14 200 277 243  68
J. Méndez     29  77 16  1  0  0  4  6  0  0  3  0 208 265 221  61
J. Violá      20  64 14  3  0  0  5  3  1  1  0  1 219 261 266  60
A. Cabañas    32 101 19  1  1  0 12  8  0  1  5  5 188 245 218  56
R. Hernández  38 124 23  1  1  0 16 10  2  3  3 23 185 252 210  56
E. Palomino   22  68 10  0  1  0  3  6  1  0  2  9 147 227 176  39
P. Chacón     17  51  8  0  0  0  1  6  0  1  1  5 157 241 157  29
R. Figarola   17  57  8  1  1  0  3  2  0  0  1  0 140 169 193  26
M. Villa      17  56  7  0  2  0  6  0  0  0  3  2 125 125 196   4
T. Romañach   23  68  7  0  0  0  7  5  2  0  4  2 103 187 103 -13
   84. Howie Menckel Posted: December 05, 2005 at 01:55 AM (#1760654)
My take has been Mendez as a P peak version of Moore/Jennings.
I see that as as key comparision for HOM-worthiness, so have at it...
   85. Michael Bass Posted: December 06, 2005 at 04:49 PM (#1763681)
Because pitcher careers are often shortish, I prefer a Ferrell/Walsh comparison (especially Ferrell, as Mendez could hit some, enough to play a bit of SS late in his career) to Jennings/Moore, but since all of the above mentioned names are high (or were high) on my ballot, it all works for me. :) Glad to see the re-emphasis on Jose's career, as I feel like he and Moore are the two NLers we've really missed at this point.

One other observation from this data....I know it's a small sample size, but the 14 BB in 75 AB for Pete Hill shows plate discipline to go with his known high batting average which increasingly supports his election, which was been questioned in the past. Obviously, would love to see more evidence to this effect (or against it) to be sure.
   86. sunnyday2 Posted: December 06, 2005 at 04:58 PM (#1763692)
Having questioned pete Hill's election, it is not that I know (or think I know) that he doesn't belong. It's just that he went in so fast for a guy about which so little was known. HR Johnson, Frank Grant, even Rube Foster went in over a period of years and people got a chance to get to know them. I still wouldn't know Pete Hill if I passed him on the street. I know less about Pete Hill than any other HoMer.
   87. favre Posted: December 06, 2005 at 05:30 PM (#1763765)
I still wouldn't know Pete Hill if I passed him on the street.

I don't think he would look very good...
   88. Gary A Posted: December 08, 2005 at 04:27 AM (#1766731)
From 1905 through 1910, Pete Hill played on several NeL teams that visited Cuba in the fall. These are his batting statistics for games against Cuban League teams:

G-58
AB-221
H-66
D-5
T-6
HR-0
R-38
W-26
HP-4
SH-8
SB-21
AVE-.299
OBA-.382
SLG-.376

The offensive context was still very low during these years, something like .220/.280/.240 or so.

Also, these are complete batting stats for his 1907 Cuban League season, for Fe:
G-23 (team 30)
AB-91
H-24
D-1
T-1
HR-0
R-15
W-3
K-5
HP-2
SH-7
SB-6
AVE-.264 (CuL .218)
OBA-.302 (CuL .292)
SLG-.297 (CuL .259)
OPS+ 118

1907 Cuban League Fielding
LF
G-20
DI-173
PO-47
A-2
E-4
RF-2.55 (CuL LF 2.09)
FPCT-.925 (CuL LF .905)

CF
G-3
DI-26
PO-7
A-1
E-1
RF-2.77 (CuL CF 2.21)
FPCT-.889 (CuL CF .926)
   89. Mark Donelson Posted: March 10, 2009 at 06:31 PM (#3098242)
I guess it's finally time for that Foster-Mendez comparison Sunnyday was asking for (above) all those years ago...
   90. KJOK Posted: September 17, 2011 at 07:04 AM (#3927863)
   91. KJOK Posted: September 17, 2011 at 08:40 PM (#3928226)
CORRECTED LINK:
Jose Mendez' Real Stats
   92. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 26, 2011 at 03:44 PM (#3937332)
By the way:

I just started reading "Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game", Rob Rusk's look at the history of minority ballplayers and how things have changed over the years. It's an excellent read, highly recommended.

-- MWE

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