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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Kiki Cuyler

He won’t be near my ballot, but others may find him worthy of a vote.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 25, 2005 at 03:38 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 25, 2005 at 03:44 AM (#1100505)
hot topics
   2. KJOK Posted: January 25, 2005 at 07:05 AM (#1101040)
Cuyler would seem to fall to Jimmy Ryan/Sam Rice territory. An average fielding RF/CF'er, so no fielding bonus...
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: January 25, 2005 at 02:28 PM (#1101331)
This might be the only place on earth where most of people correctly read his name as "K-eye, K-eye" and not "Kee-Kee".

I do like this version, from baseballlibrary.com, better than the common "he was a stutterer" version.
"Cuyler was called "Cuy" by his school teammates. It was while winning the MVP title of the Southern Association with Nashville in 1923 that he acquired the euphonious Kiki nickname. Fans heard the players shout for him to take the ball when he rushed in a short fly. The shortstop would yell, "Cuy," and the second baseman would echo the call."
   4. sunnyday2 Posted: January 25, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1101384)
I wrote this in the Goslin thread--doh! So I'll repeat it here. I love Cuyler in a certain irrational way. Clearly he's borderline, probably below in/out, but probably ballot worthy some day. I mean, he clearly is NOT a HoF mistake though in the lower ranks of HoFers who are not obvious mistakes, but clearly above the average lower end of HoFers.

But I acknowledge that he may be below our normal lower edge because we are electing more NeLers and more 19C players rather than the gross numbers of players from the Golden Age that the HoF did.

Nevertheless, I love KiKi. First, I guess I just love the sound of his name. But second, and the real point of this post: I once sat at a game in Wrigley next to a real old-time Cub fan. He said he'd been coming to Wrigley since the 1930s, so I quizzed him on the whole Cubs history. The one guy he just absolutely raved about was KiKi Cuyler. He didn't say he was the best Cub of them all, but he was the guy's favorite Cub over a 60 year period. I've probably been influenced too much by that.
   5. OCF Posted: January 25, 2005 at 05:50 PM (#1101587)
Here's my favorite offense-only ranking scheme, applied to some flank outfielders. Modified context-scaled RC. First column is based on RCAA; second column is a big years bonus; third column is based on RC above 75%; last column an arbitrary composite. It's a peak-friendly measure, and much less sensitive to season length than WS.

Player     Avg.  BigYr 75% composite
P. Waner    64    46    93    227
Clarke      60    39    88    206
Magee       54    40    78    192
Simmons     50    41    78    190
Flick       52    44    70    188
Goslin      49    30    78    173
Wheat       50    28    79    171
Kelley      46    33    69    166
Keeler      42    26    70    151
Tiernan     41    29    61    146
Sheckard    39    23    65    138
Cuyler      39    24    62    137
Klein       36    28    57    134
Thompson    35    24    58    132
Burns       34    25    57    128
Manush      35    22    60    128
Herman      37    23    54    126
Cravath     36    27    49    126
Browning    37    22    52    122
Youngs      33    25    47    118

Goslin is a career case. Comparisons to Wheat seem apt, but Goslin was in a stronger league than Wheat. Simmons has a peak advantage on Goslin, but with Goslin likely to be elected before Simmons is available, that debate may never happen. I suppose you didn't really need me to tell you which Waner that was; on this measure Waner is closely comparable to Heilmann.

Cuyler did play 700 games in CF; the context for him would seem to be Van Haltren/Duffy/Ryan. What do others make of his defense?
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: January 25, 2005 at 06:22 PM (#1101640)
Ironic (ok, actually, just coincidental) that Goslin and Cuyler went into the Hall of Fame together in 1968..
   7. Paul Wendt Posted: January 25, 2005 at 07:46 PM (#1101792)
The one guy he was really really enthusiastic about was KiKi. No, he didn't say he was the best Cub ever, but he was the guy's favorite Cub of all-time.

Fred Lynn! Maybe it is a common local fanomenen re a sensational rookie. When the player doesn't fulfull his early promise, national fans, who didn't entirely catch on early, end up saying "huh?" (I wasn't local when Fred Lynn arrived. I was one of the people later saying "huh?" It's Lynn and Rice for some local fans.)
   8. smileyy Posted: January 25, 2005 at 08:04 PM (#1101818)
Ok...now that I've been corrected on the pronunciation of his first name, how do I pronounce his last name?

K-eye-ler?
   9. karlmagnus Posted: January 25, 2005 at 08:07 PM (#1101819)
Nomar may well hold a similar position in Boston fans' minds in 50 years time -- 1999-2000 he was truly extraordinary.
   10. sunnyday2 Posted: January 26, 2005 at 06:52 PM (#1103853)
Some OPS+

Gehrig 182
Browning 164
Dave Orr 162
C. Jones 150
Hack Wilson 145
Fred Dunlap 132

Okay so there aren't many above 130, 125-130 ain't bad, but still there are an awful lot of them.

Goslin 128
Veach 127
Roush 126
Doyle 126
Bresnahan 126
Cuyler 125
Sisler 124
Bottomley 124
Duffy 121
Van Haltren 121

Add in defensive WS, the following are all within 5 OPS+ AND 5 DWS of Goslin:

Goslin 128 50
Cuyler 125 47
Doyle 126 49
Veach 127 48
Bresnahan 126 55

And then are some who do better than that on one or the other:

Roush 126 60
Duffy 121 59
Van Haltren 121 89

Again, on total career WS only Gehrig and Frisch beat the Goose, but I'm not sure he was ever as "dominant" as I thought. He is no Al Simmons and not even Ducky Medwick. The numbers upon which his legend mostly lies tend to be those that reflect the high offensive environment of the time, I think. So I'm tempted to find me a couple middle infielders to move up above the Goose from my prelim #3. I just gotta remember Sewell only played SS for 8 years, Sewell only played SS for 8 years....
   11. sunnyday2 Posted: January 26, 2005 at 07:04 PM (#1103874)
Oops, forgot I was on the Kiki thread and not the Goose thread. Bottom line: comparing Goose to Kiki might move the Goose down (get it? Goose down!?) rather than move Kiki up.
   12. andrew siegel Posted: January 26, 2005 at 07:20 PM (#1103914)
When listing OPS+ numbers, don't forget:

Mike Tiernan 138
   13. karlmagnus Posted: January 26, 2005 at 07:33 PM (#1103926)
Don't forget Beckley 125, for longer than any of them, either!
   14. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 26, 2005 at 09:20 PM (#1104171)
...and Jimmy Ryan at 124, and Mike Griffin at 123...
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2005 at 10:34 PM (#1104347)
...not to mention John Paciorek at 495...
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 26, 2005 at 10:43 PM (#1104371)
...okay, I know Paciorek is not eligible yet...
   17. Paul Wendt Posted: January 26, 2005 at 10:59 PM (#1104424)
He is no Al Simmons and not even Ducky Medwick.
(true of both Goose and Kiki)

Simmons and Medwick were dominant players for a moderate time and a short time. In practice, the case for Cravath, Klein, Wilson or Berger should be undermined if it seems that "he is no Al Simmons and not even Ducky Medwick." But Goslin?

The Goose will be elected if the voters think he belongs with O'Rourke, Clarke, Sheckard and Wheat rather than with Sam Rice (and GVH, for those who are happy to mix in a CF, not me). I think he will be elected and the case for Country Slaughter or whoever will someday be undermined if it seems that "he is no Clarke, not even Goose Goslin."

Cuyler isn't easy to classify by type, neither a peak nor a career candidate, neither a CF nor a corner --{Hugh Duffy, Kiki Cuyler, Reggie Smith}?. But it is easy to rank him below pure CFs Roush and Averill, so he isn't a viable HOM candidate.

(Jim O'Rourke and Reggie Smith? Sorry, I am not conversant with players born in the 1910s-20s, who will arrive here in the next twenty-five years: Medwick, Slaughter, et al.)
   18. Cblau Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:54 AM (#1127528)
Howie Menckel wondered (in the 1944 ballot thread):
What did he do in 1922 in majors? No AB, no position in field, just "1 G."

Most likely, he pinch-ran. Possible that he pinch-hit, and sacrificed, or was pinch-hit for before completing the plate appearance.
   19. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 08, 2010 at 06:53 AM (#3705454)
Eligible in 1944, Cuyler once crossed the 5% electoral vote barrier (1945), and has not received a tally since 1996.
Kiki's thread is remarkably quiet for someone I have on the cusp of the ballot/personal hall of merit territory.
Cuyler, at first glance, is just below Joe Medwick (elected in 1967) and Bob Johnson (4 points shy of defeating Andre Dawson for election in 2005).
Kiki produced three all-star campaigns to kick off his full season career in MLB (1924-1926 - ages 25-27), with an MVP type campaign in 1925.
1929-31 and 1934 witnessed another run of all-star type seasons, giving him seven for his career.
Filler seasons are added in 1927, 28, 33, and 36.
Kiki was having a fine campaign in 1927, but had quarrels with manager Donie Bush, was benched for inferior talent, and was subsequently traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he continued all-star level work.

With the stellar start to his career, does Kiki deserve any MLE credit?
In the 1921 Class B Michigan-Ontario League, Cuyler posted a 317/494 AVG/SLG, 6th best for qualifiers.
He played in Class B in 1922, this time in the South Atlantic League, posting a 309/503 AVG/SLG, 4th best for qualifiers.
Cuyler moved up to the Class A 1923 Southern Association, posting the best AVG/SLG at 340/514 for qualifiers.
If he were playing in the PCL, would he have been elected already, like Earl Averill (enshrined in 1961), who I feel is quite similar in career value to Cuyler.

I realize that Medwick, Averill, and Johnson are marginal candidates, but Cuyler has rarely sniffed the ballot.
Dan Rosenheck and Sean Smith's WAR indicate that Cuyler is a high quality candidate, although maybe just short of Hall of Merit standards.
If anyone thinks he deserves MLE credit in 1922 or 1923, please holler, as I will look deeper into his record and consider a ballot placement.

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