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Monday, September 19, 2005

Monte Irvin

Monte Irvin

Eligible in 1962.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 19, 2005 at 12:23 AM | 168 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 19, 2005 at 12:46 AM (#1626549)
I'm convinced that Irvin was a better player in the NeL than he was in the ML. But by how much is the question that needs answering.
   2. DavidFoss Posted: September 19, 2005 at 02:25 AM (#1626651)
MLE's will be an important issue -- we could have used an extra couple of weeks to prepare for him. Well, its done now. Hopefully we can work fast on him.
   3. Chris Cobb Posted: September 19, 2005 at 03:05 AM (#1626723)
He's not eligible until 1962, so we have an extra couple of weeks . . . as we do with Jackie Robinson. Kiner and Stephens only debut in 1961.
   4. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 19, 2005 at 03:06 AM (#1626725)
David, Irvin doesn't become eligible until 1962, we are currently finishing up the 1960 ballot. That gives us three weeks.
   5. DavidFoss Posted: September 19, 2005 at 03:11 AM (#1626728)
Oh, cool. Mea culpa! I should read the top of the thread.
   6. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 19, 2005 at 12:14 PM (#1627065)
I'm about 98% done with the Irvin MLEs, I'm just waiting for delivery of Marshall Wright's IL encyclopedia so that I can get the IL league averages for Irvin's two IL seasons. It should be arriving today, so I hope to post his MLEs by late today.
   7. sunnyday2 Posted: September 19, 2005 at 12:18 PM (#1627068)
There was a loooong discussion of Irvin, I think, way back in the context of NeL conversion ratios. Anybody remember more specifically where that was, and would it make sense to port it over here???

It seemed at the time that he was a very strong candidate but perhaps not a shoo-in. He may be more like Luke Easter than anybody else, in the sense that there are big holes in his record that require a large dose of judgment to interpret.
   8. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 19, 2005 at 01:02 PM (#1627085)
The discussion of Irvin was on the Beckwith thread in the midst of a discussion of SLG conversion rates. Irvin's record is actually quite well documented. He missed time to the war, but I've got a lot of info on him which I'll post momentarily.
   9. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 19, 2005 at 01:22 PM (#1627111)
Here's the data I've collected on Irvin. Born February, 1919. I've not included his MLB data here because I figured everyone could probably look it up at bb-ref for themselves.
NEGRO LEAGUES
YEAR LG  TM  AGE POS   TMG G  AB H  2B 3B HR SB BB K  AVG   SLG 
1937 NNL NWK 18  SS    37             
1938 NNL NWK 19  OF/SS 45             
1939 NNL NWK 20  3B/OF 45 22  72 29  4  3  1          .403  
1940 NNL NWK 21  SS/OF 54 36 133 48  8  5  4  3       .361  .586 
1941 NNL NWK 22  OF SS 34 30 108 41  9  1  5  2       .380  .620 
1942 NNL NWK 23  OF    49  8  32 17  6  4  2  1       .531 1.156 
1945 NNL NWK 26  OF    26  5  18  4  1  0  1  0       .222  .444 
1946 NNL NWK 27  SS/OF 63 59 221 86 20  4  8  6       .389  .624 
1947 NNL NWK 28  OF/SS 83 81 287 91 18  4 14 19       .317  .554 
1948 NNL NWK 29  OF    56 42 135 43                   .319  
                  
MEXICO                 
1942 MXL VER 23  2B    80 63 237 94 17  6 20 11 50 19 .397  .772 
                  
MILITARY SERVICE               
1943                  
1944                  
1945                  
                  
INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE              
1949 INT JC  30  OF   154  63 204  76 18  5  9 14 59 22 .373  .642 
1950 INT JC  31  OF   154  18  51  26  4  1 10  2 29  6 .510 1.216 
                  
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION              
1955  AA MIN 36  OF   154  75 250  88 21  1 14  2       .352  .612 
                  
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE              
1957 PCL LA  38  OF   168   4  10   3  0  0  1  0       .300  .600 
                  
PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE             
1940 PRWL SJ 21  SS    42     159  59        2          .371  
1941 PRWL SJ 22  SS    44     158  47 18  5  4          .297  .551 
1944 PRWL SJ 25  OF    42     108  41                   .380  
1945 PRWL SJ 26  OF    41     155  57 11  3  3  2       .368  .535 
1946 PRWL SJ 27  OF    56     142  55       11          .387  
                  
CUBAN WINTER LEAGUE              
1947 CWL ALM 28  OF    72  29  99  24  2  1  1  5       .242  .313 
1948 CWL ALM 29  OF    72  72 259  71 14  6 10 19       .274  .490 
   10. sunnyday2 Posted: September 19, 2005 at 02:36 PM (#1627216)
Don't know exactly what to make of his PRL and CL numbers. But holy ####, those MiL (AAA) numbers (other than 1957, age 38ish, but the others are age 30-31-36) are something. And about .360 with 18 HR per 500 PAs in the NeLs.

And in the MLs age 31-32-34-35-37 OPS+ of 131-147-142-108-118. Led the league with 121 RBI for the Miracle Gi'nts of 1951, 3rd in MVP vote behind Campy and Musial.

Career ~2850 PAs .293/.383/.475/126 all after age 30. Possibly as high as a 900 OPS guy, which puts him between Mike Schmidt and Bob Johnson, or in McCovey/Stargell land. Probably a 140 OPS+ guy under normal circumstances, a la Reggie Jackson, Cap Anson, Johnson, Duke Snider, Killebrew, don't you think?

Or, among NeLers, is he approximately Turkey Stearnes?
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 19, 2005 at 02:48 PM (#1627245)
I can't shed much like on the PRWL numbers because I don't have league averages, but the league AVG and SLG for the two years he was with Cuba were

.252/.329 in 1947
.258/.356 in 1948

So his 1947 CWL season was not so hot (below lg avg in both categories), but he was very good in 1948, MLEing at .269/.505.
   12. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 20, 2005 at 03:00 PM (#1629952)
Monte Irvin MLES
YEAR LG AGE POS AVG  OBP  SLG    G   PA   AB    H   TB   BB ops+ sfws
---------------------------------------------------------------------
1939 NL 20  OF .363 .441 .520   75  301  264   96  137   37 157  17.4
1940 NL 21  OF .330 .405 .473  128  504  448  148  212   56 141  23.5
1941 NL 22  OF .303 .384 .479  141  556  492  149  236   64 142  24.2
1942 NL 23  OF .307 .392 .531  121  484  424  130  225   59 169  24.4
1943 NL 24  OF .320 .402 .493  127  504  443  142  218   61 158  24.2
1944 NL 25  OF .342 .423 .539  104  416  365  125  197   51 170  23.7
1945 NL 26  OF .331 .415 .439  140  561  491  162  215   70 137  24.3
1946 NL 27  OF .356 .447 .568  123  503  432  154  245   71 186  32.0
1947 NL 28  OF .277 .359 .440  106  419  372  103  164   47 111  14.8
1948 NL 29  OF .279 .360 .477  135  531  472  132  225   60 125  21.0
1949 NL 30  OF .314 .434 .483   99  359  297   93  143   63 146  17.6
1950 NL 31  OF .325 .415 .580  128  505  437  142  253   68 158  30.2
1951 NL 32  OF .312 .406 .514  151  647  558  174  287   89 146  29.1
1952 NL 33  OF .310 .360 .437   46  136  126   39   59   10 120   5.0
1953 NL 34  OF .329 .403 .541  124  499  444  146  256   55 143  17.5
1954 NL 35  OF .262 .365 .438  135  502  432  113  253   70 112  14.1
1955 NL 36  OF .294 .380 .441  126  470  413  121  182   58 119  17.6
1956 NL 37  OF .271 .350 .460  111  380  339   92  174   41 116  11.1
=====================================================================
TOTAL          .312 .398 .508 2120 8278 7247 2261 3682 1030 146 371.7


The 2120 games played would place Irvin in top ten all time for LFs. Given how many games he seems to miss, and the length of his career, it seems pretty reasonable.

For the purposes of SFWS, I assumed that Irvin was a good outfielder who earned a FWS every 39 games instead of every 48 games as an average OF does.

Strangely, there is data available for the war years, typically winter-league data. I don't get why, but it's there. Anyway, I used that plus some rough averaging of surrounding seasons to fill in his military service years. This could be inflating his totals, depending on how you feel about military credit.

Finally Irvin completely dominated Mexico in 1942, and the resultant 211 MLE OPS+ seemed much to high, so I ratcheted down the conversion rate to .875/.76 which yielded numbers more in line with his career. However, because Irvin was in the NgLs as early as age 17-18, it's possible he simply peaked very early and I'm wrong to take him down a peg like that.

As ever, feedback appreciated!
   13. Mike Webber Posted: September 20, 2005 at 03:30 PM (#1630003)
I Like Irvin as candidate, but FWIW, I sorted all the hitters by win shares age 31+, and Irvin's 96 Wins shares ties him for 265th on the list, here are players 255 thru 291, with 99 to 93 Win Shares age 31 plus. Once you throw out the catchers it not a list that screams HOM.

Guerrero, Pedro
Ventura, Robin
DeCinces, Doug
Jones, Charley
Myer, Buddy
Bell, Jay
Bumbry, Al
Lacy, Lee
Harper, George
Buckner, Bill
Daly, Tom
McGann, Dan
Bauer, Hank
Bowa, Larry
Jacobson, Baby Doll

Irvin, Monte

Olerud, John
Bando, Sal
Fernandez, Tony
Carty, Rico
Gantner, Jim
Casey, Doc
Hernandez, Keith
Justice, David
Campanella, Roy
Vaughn, Greg
Philley, Dave
Velarde, Randy
Dickey, Bill
Sisler, George
Bonilla, Bobby
McGee, Willie
White, Devon
Ferrell, Rick
Martinez, Tino
Stanky, Eddie
Dempsey, Rick
   14. Chris Cobb Posted: September 20, 2005 at 03:44 PM (#1630034)
Dr. Chaleeko,

I assume that your games played for Irvin are based on a comparison of team games to player games in the raw data?

I am skeptical of that data as a valid measure of playing time, at least for NeL data (I suspect the MxL data is much better) because I am not confident that the tabulators were using handling the data in a logical, consistent fashion.

I suspet it to be the case that the team games are based on a count of recorded game outcomes, but player games are based on a count from surviving box scores. The numbe of recorded outcomes is generally going to be larger than the recorded number of games, making it appear that Irvin and Doby (since this issue has come up in the discussion about his on the Kiner thread) missed a lot of games, when they probably did not.

Perhaps Gary A, gadfly or KJOK could confirm or refute my concerns about this particular piece of data?

I'll do some cross-checking in Macmillan 8 tonight to see if there are clear patterns in players on the same teams.
   15. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2005 at 03:46 PM (#1630041)
Point taken. Irvin's case seems to rest to some degree on the belief that he was a 100 WS player by age 24, and tht record rests on 159 games in the NeL and MxL with a possible 80+ more in PRWL.

More to the point, his case rests on his work in the NeL for which we have more or less reliable conversions, as opposed to less or less reliable conversions for the other leagues. Or, in other words:

1939 NNL NWK 20 3B/OF 45 22 72 29 4 3 1 .403
1940 NNL NWK 21 SS/OF 54 36 133 48 8 5 4 3 .361 .586
1941 NNL NWK 22 OF SS 34 30 108 41 9 1 5 2 .380 .620
1942 NNL NWK 23 OF 49 8 32 17 6 4 2 1 .531 1.156

On the plus side, the NNL pre-1942 was pretty strong, I think. And the guy hit .391 and slugged .649. I'm gonna look for some comparisons for that same time frame among some of the names (Stearnes? Leonard? Suttles?). Hopefully somebody will throw some additional comparisons in there for us.
   16. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2005 at 04:10 PM (#1630095)
Not sure how meaningful this is, no absoutely direct comps, though all are in NNL. 1939-1942 or thereabouts.

Irvin 1939-1942 age 20-23 .391./649/12 HR
Leonard 1938-1941 (don't have age) .367/36 HR
Gibson 1937-39, '42 .377/60 HR
Wells 1937-39, '42 .359/12 HR in 2 yrs (don't have other 2 yrs)

Not a power hitter at this age, but his BA and SA are reasonably impressive for a young guy.

IOW this is not like Luke Easter, about whose younger and prime years almost nothing is known. I don't know that his post-age 30 record is a deal-breaker. IOW, let's assume that he would have spent a couple-three years in the MiLs at age 20-22 a la Earl Averill or whomever. Knock off 65 WS. Figure he spends 3 years in the military, knock off 72 WS.

Now you've got a mere 249 WS guy who needs, hwoever, whatever WWII XC each of our system's suggests. And he is still probably about a 146 OPS+ hitter, or at least 135-140. I think that is probably pretty real. I mean he's 131-147-142 for his first 3 100 game ML seasons at age 31-32-34.

I would certainly look twice at a 285 WS, 140 OPS+ player. In fact, I want to look at how he compares to the short career, moneyball players like Kiner, Keller, Hack Wilson, Berger et al. In fairness, he's got a much longer career than any of them, so I think he'll do well.
   17. Chris Cobb Posted: September 20, 2005 at 04:19 PM (#1630114)
Leonard and Gibson are the two most relevant comps, as they were both in the NNL at this time (when Gibson wasn't in Mexico) and in their prime as hitters. Both were better than Irvin, but I think he was probably the third best hitter in the NNL during this stretch. I'll get black/gray ink numbers from Holway to look at this issue.

Stearnes was mostly retired at this point, and Suttles was in his decline phase, as was Jud Wilson.
   18. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 20, 2005 at 04:46 PM (#1630166)
Chris,

You are correct that I'm essentially projecting straight from TM G played. However, I don't think the general effect is to hurt or help players in terms of their MLE games played. I'm finding as many instances where a player exceeds the reported record of the team as I am finding instances where it seems like the decisions are underreported.

HOWEVER, Doby and Irvin, both played on Newark, and if they both have issues with their games played vs. team games total, then this may be a problem specific to the reporting of Newark's games. I'll be interested to hear from our experts on whether this is a problem commonly known to be associated with the Newark team of that tim.

On the whole, I think it balances out in the end for most players, but perhaps not for Irvin. In seasons like 1949-1950 where he's transitioning between leagues he seems to lose some games.

That's another reason why I've chosen to incorporate winter league stats too. I've got standings via Van Hyning and Figuero that appear to be reasonably consistent, and those help give a sense of a player's durability.

Complicating the question, in Irvin's MLB career he had only one season with 150+ games, and no season at the 140+ level, suggesting that perhaps he wasn't the most durable player. That could the result of inappropriate platooning (as suggested by Gadfly), or it could brittleness, or both. His career ended with a chronically bad back at age 38 in the PCL (per Gadfly), so that could be a factor too.
   19. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 20, 2005 at 04:50 PM (#1630175)
The other point that Doby/Irvin bring up that I'm finding curious is their early starting age. It appears that each was able to hold his own very early in their career, and I wonder if that's because they were at the highest level so early. The Negro League teams don't seem to have much problem with letting an unseasoned kid get a lot of playing time, and I wonder if that helped guys like Doby and Irvin develp rapidly.

Or were they basically that good coming out of the womb?
   20. Chris Cobb Posted: September 20, 2005 at 05:06 PM (#1630220)
It doesn't look that unusual for a player with excellent speed and hitting talent to do well early. Doby's success as a teenager is highly unusual, but there are a number of contemporary major-league comps who had success quite similar to Irvin's in their early twenties.

Medwick broke in at 20, was good at 21, and entered his peak at 23. Dimaggio could have been a good major leaguer at 20, actually broke in with an excellent rookie season at 21, and entered his peak at 22. Kiner broke in at 23 and entered his peak at 24, but without the war he could well have reached the majors at 21-22 and entered his peak at 23. Irvin seems to have broken in at 20, been a very good player at 21, and entered his peak at 23.
   21. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2005 at 05:33 PM (#1630274)
Good point(s) there. In looking for comps for Irvin, I found that Gibson and Wells, at least, were in MxL in 1940-41. I think Irvin's play in 1939, though just 22 games, was against pretty bona fide competition. As early as '40 it starts declining. By Doby's time....

I mean, I heard a hundred times that the success of teenagers in the 1880s meant a lot. What about here?
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 20, 2005 at 05:44 PM (#1630297)
Sunnyday2,

You're one of main advocates for Browning, you tell me!

[ducks for cover]

; )
   23. Chris Cobb Posted: September 20, 2005 at 06:19 PM (#1630376)
As early as '40 it starts declining. By Doby's time....

The flow of players to Mexico isn't steady and uni-directional.

More NeL stars are in Mexico in 1940 and esp. 1941 than in later seasons. I think the 1942 NeL was better than the 1940-41 NeL. Of course, after 1942 the war is siphoning away talent, also, but the siphoning to Mexico is much reduced.
   24. Chris Cobb Posted: September 20, 2005 at 06:22 PM (#1630381)
And, come to think of it, MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY:

The conversion factors for the NeL that I and Dr. Chaleeko are using are derived from direct conversions from NeL to ML, using NeL data from 1944-1948.

So if you see the quality of play declining, then it is declining _to_ the official conversion level, not declining _from_ the official conversion level.

If you see a decline, then that's not evidence that Irvin and Doby are overrated by the conversions, but that the 1930s guys are underrated by the conversions.
   25. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2005 at 06:25 PM (#1630388)
But then it does mean that if Doby or Irvin looks like Stearnes, it means that they really look like < Stearnes, right?

So the comparison of Irvin to, say, Ralph Kiner should be good, but the comparison of Irvin to Stearnes is not as good.
   26. Chris Cobb Posted: September 20, 2005 at 06:32 PM (#1630403)
So the comparison of Irvin to, say, Ralph Kiner should be good, but the comparison of Irvin to Stearnes is not as good.

Exactly. The NL of the late 1940s is the era for which we can be sure no issues of changing league qualities interfere with the accuracy of the conversion factor from the NeL.

There are arguments, of course, that the methodology by which the conversion factor was derived has caused inaccuracies (gadfly argues that it is too low), but it's the best I've been able to do.
   27. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2005 at 06:58 PM (#1630447)
I don't think it's too low.
   28. Chris Cobb Posted: September 20, 2005 at 08:41 PM (#1630621)
Batting Black/Gray Ink Negro National League/Mexican League 1938-1943

This is a study that seeks to ascertain Irvin’s place among the Negro League stars immediately prior to WWII. This set of seasons surrounds Irvin’s pre-war career, 1939-42. I’ve given credit for black and gray ink earned in the NNL or in Mexico during those years. MxL only 1940-42, because it’s for those years that Holway provides data. Players active in all six seasons will have an advantage over Irvin, who played only four seasons.

Here is the group of top players by this measure.

Gibson 37/63
Irvin 15/34
Wright 9/27
Suttles 9/28
Leonard 8/56
Wells 8/38
Pearson 4/29

Willard Brown would have similar or better totals from the NAL and Mexico for these seasons.

Irvin was clearly the best player in the NNL in 1941 and the best player in the MxL in 1942. Gibson was the best player in both years, but he was in the other league.
   29. KJOK Posted: September 20, 2005 at 08:55 PM (#1630653)
Irvin looks very close offensively to Leonard, and should have more defensive value, which looks like HOM material to me....
   30. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 20, 2005 at 09:02 PM (#1630670)
The really difficult question for Irvin is where to slot him on the 1962 ballot. I personally am leaning toward Jackie #1, but Irvin's giving Feller a good run for #2.
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 20, 2005 at 09:20 PM (#1630717)
Extremely interesting discussion here, guys.
   32. KJOK Posted: September 20, 2005 at 09:33 PM (#1630734)
Regarding Games Played, Doby did play for the Great Lakes Naval Training Station Negro Team in 1944.
   33. KJOK Posted: September 20, 2005 at 09:39 PM (#1630743)
Actually, looks like Doby was there from 1943 - 1945, then was shipped to Guam, and was discharged in January, 1946.

Hit .342 for Newark in 1946, then played winter ball in Puerto Rico, hitting .358 with 14 HRs.
   34. sunnyday2 Posted: September 20, 2005 at 10:06 PM (#1630800)
Well, if Irvin = Buck Leonard, then I don't see him as pushing Feller too hard. Probably #3 though, a great player, and a probably HoMer, but let's not get too carried away unless and until we're sure he was a MLer at age 20.
   35. Brent Posted: October 02, 2005 at 07:48 PM (#1657925)
Dr. Chaleeko,

I notice that the site has made the data that you posted in # 9 and 12 unreadable. Would you be kind enough to re-post.

Thanks.
   36. DavidFoss Posted: October 02, 2005 at 11:20 PM (#1658374)
Weird... if you "View->Source" on this page, you can reconstruct posts #9 and #12 but the formatting is a bit off. Probably best if the good doctor reposts.
   37. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 03, 2005 at 01:33 PM (#1659248)
The site seems to suddenly be doing what Brent described for any information bracketed with with the pre /pre tags. John and Joe, is this a permanent problem, or is there something we can do? Or a different tag to use?

Thanks!
   38. OCF Posted: October 03, 2005 at 03:40 PM (#1659490)
Year  Larry Curly Moe
1932  38    21    11
1938   2    41    97

Just testing.
   39. OCF Posted: October 03, 2005 at 03:41 PM (#1659491)
That previewed just fine, but when it posted, the line breaks disappeared.
   40. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 03, 2005 at 03:56 PM (#1659518)
I spoke to Jim about the problem, guys. It's on his "to do" list.
   41. Howie Menckel Posted: October 04, 2005 at 02:28 AM (#1660763)
Fellas,
Let's try to get a good bead on Irvin right off the bat, as a 1st-year result often foretells a lot about his future chances.
Not a friend or foe just yet, but this probably is the most important piece of work that we will do this week.
   42. DavidFoss Posted: October 04, 2005 at 04:50 AM (#1660968)
When I like to this page by navigating through the important links area instead of clicking on Hot Topics, the interface is marked different. Most notably pre-formatted areas show up in larger font! While that is one of the coolest things ever (no more wondering if its a '5' or a '6'!) some of the wider tables are scrunching the hot topics area. Not a big deal to me, but looks strange enough that someone will want to fix it. Perhaps we'll just have to have narrower tables in the future?

Anyhow, a fun preview of what's to come. (speaking of previews, the 'live preview' is kinda wild. A bit of overkill, but can't complain.
   43. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 04, 2005 at 01:37 PM (#1661206)
Brent, as John noted, the problem is fixed. You should once again be able to read the info posted in #s 9 and 12.
   44. Daryn Posted: October 04, 2005 at 01:51 PM (#1661220)
I think Moe is on steroids.
   45. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: October 04, 2005 at 07:38 PM (#1662228)
It sheds no light on his HOM candidacy, but I thought some folks might find this interview I did with Irvin interesting.
   46. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 05, 2005 at 12:14 AM (#1663101)
Great interview, Eric. I also like the self-portrait at the top of your website. :-)
   47. Mark Donelson Posted: October 05, 2005 at 05:35 PM (#1664364)
I'm a little lost on Irvin at this point. Those MLE WS estimates, if taken by themselves, put him well off my ballot, somewhere around Hack Wilson territory (I have Hack around 28th). Definitely below Willard Brown, who is on my ballot, thanks to Brown's additional peak years.

Yet Irvin's reputation was obviously greater than that...and, of course, there are factors other than the MLEs. I can see giving him a bit of a boost on reputation alone, but I don't like large reputation boosts, and he'd need one to get as far as my ballot.

The comparisons to other NeL stars he played with are interesting, but the fact that he may have played better than, say, Suttles for a few years head-to-head doesn't convince me he was better or as good overall (for one thing, the MLEs for Suttles are much better, at least to a peak voter).

Part of all this, of course, is my emphasis on big peaks, so the Kiner/Keller/Berger types end up looking better to me overall. If that's what it comes down to, I can certainly live with putting Irvin off-ballot.

But I want to be sure I'm not missing something large here.
   48. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 05, 2005 at 05:56 PM (#1664436)
Those MLE WS estimates, if taken by themselves, put him well off my ballot

Eric is giving him about 371 WS (unless that has changed). That's kind of hard to ignore, Mark.
   49. Mark Donelson Posted: October 05, 2005 at 06:07 PM (#1664466)
Eric is giving him about 371 WS (unless that has changed). That's kind of hard to ignore, Mark.

Not for me. Racking up lots of career WS mostly via 24 WS seasons doesn't float my boat, frankly. (As I said, I'm an extreme peak voter.) To me, that's Hall of Very Good.

Now, that's not to say it doesn't elevate Irvin above similar players who DIDN'T rack up 371 WS. But that only gets him so far (maybe high 20s).

If there's a peak argument for Irvin that I'm missing, though, I'm interested to hear it.
   50. Mark Donelson Posted: October 05, 2005 at 06:07 PM (#1664469)
Eric is giving him about 371 WS (unless that has changed). That's kind of hard to ignore, Mark.

Not for me. Racking up lots of career WS mostly via 24 WS seasons doesn't float my boat, frankly. (As I said, I'm an extreme peak voter.) To me, that's Hall of Very Good.

Now, that's not to say it doesn't elevate Irvin above similar players who DIDN'T rack up 371 WS. But that only gets him so far (maybe high 20s).

If there's a peak argument for Irvin that I'm missing, though, I'm interested to hear it.
   51. Mark Donelson Posted: October 05, 2005 at 06:19 PM (#1664489)
Sorry about the double-post.
   52. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 05, 2005 at 06:27 PM (#1664507)
I agree with Mark, a lot of Irvin's WS are accumulated thorugh 15-20 WS seasons, in other words, barely above average. I like great players and to me these MLE's don't give me the impressionthat Irvin was ever great. He may make my ballot, but I would rather have Averill's ten best years than Irvin's career.
   53. Tiboreau Posted: October 05, 2005 at 07:07 PM (#1664581)
I agree with Mark, a lot of Irvin's WS are accumulated thorugh 15-20 WS seasons, in other words, barely above average.

"15-20 WS seasons" overstates things a bit--Irvin accrued over 20 WS in 10 of his first 13 seasons--but his peak does look a little low besides '46, '50, & '51. But no player who records OPS+ numbers such as Irvin's is "barely above average"; it's his playing time that's depressing his season-by-season WS. From 1940 to 1945, when Dr. Chaleeko has Irvin consistently at 23-24 WS, Irvin's average OPS+ is 152, yet he received only ~500 PA per season.

There are three reasons for the low playing time estimate: he consistently suffered from minor injuries that led to less playing time in the Negro Leagues (miss 5-10 games in a 50-60 game season, that's about 10-20%), Newark's manager liked to give Irvin ample rest, or there issues translating the meager Negro League info into Major League seasons (BTW, I've appreciated your work Dr. Chaleeko).

The second reason doesn't seem very plausible; no team would keep a player that his as good as Irvin's OPS+ estimates out of the lineup if he was healthy & available, especially with a reduced roster. So, really there are just two reasons. I don't know a lot about Negro League history (other than what I've been reading outside the project the last few months), but if anyone knows whether Irvin dealt with playing time issues during his peak, or about the reliability of Newark's statistics, it'd be cool if they could chime in.
   54. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 05, 2005 at 07:18 PM (#1664608)
But no player who records OPS+ numbers such as Irvin's is "barely above average"; it's his playing time that's depressing his season-by-season WS. From 1940 to 1945, when Dr. Chaleeko has Irvin consistently at 23-24 WS, Irvin's average OPS+ is 152, yet he received only ~500 PA per season.

Correct. When he played, he was well above-average.
   55. Mark Donelson Posted: October 05, 2005 at 07:29 PM (#1664629)
But not playing has an impact on overall value, too, does it not? I'm not voting on his theoretical peak, if he'd been healthy.
   56. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 05, 2005 at 07:39 PM (#1664653)
There are some issues with Newark games that have been uncovered in looking at Doby and Irvin (I think Gadfly and KJOK brought them to light IIRC). I'm not sure what to do about them, if anything, however.
   57. KJOK Posted: October 05, 2005 at 08:12 PM (#1664767)
I went searching for that answer, and the only thing I could find (see upthread a bit) is that Irvin played for the Great Lakes Naval Training Station Negro Team from 1943-45, so he might deserve a little playing time "bump" up for those seasons as I think his games are being based on the time he was able to spend in Puerto Rico during those seasons.
   58. favre Posted: October 06, 2005 at 04:42 PM (#1666846)
Dr. C, I want to preface this by saying a) your MLE’s are invaluable and b) I’m not a statistician and therefore c) what follows may do nothing more than display my considerable ignorance.

Here are some career statistics for Billy Williams, Roberto Clemente, and Zack Wheat:

Williams: 374 WS, 10519 PA, 2711 H, 1045 BB, 4599 TB, 132 OPS+
Clemente: 377 WS, 10212 PA, 3000 H, 621 BB, 4492 TB, 130 OPS+
Wheat: 380 WS, 9996 PA, 2884 H, 650 BB, 4100 TB, 129 OPS+

Remarkably similar outfielders. They are within 523 PA of each other. Each made it on base between 3500-3600 times in their career. They have between 4100-4600 total bases, 129-132 OPS+, and of course are within six career WS of each other. Actually, I find that interesting: while Clemente had similar offensive value, I would presume he had more defensive value than Williams and Wheat.

Now here are your MLE’s for Irvin:

Irvin: 375 WS, 8278 PA, 2120 H, 1030 BB, 3682 TB, 146 OPS+

Same amount of career WS, but his career statistics are lower than the others—not by a huge amount, but still noticeable. He was on base about 350-400 fewer times, and had 400-900 fewer total bases. His career OPS+ is much higher, of course, but he also has about two thousand less plate appearances than the other three outfielders. I don’t know what Wheat/Clemente/Williams OPS+ was at 8200 PA; I’m guessing it was higher than 130, but I don’t know that, and I would also guess it is still lower than 146.

Do you see where I’m going with this? The career statistics of Irvin don’t seem to quite match the others, but their career WS is the same. Is this due to era adjustments? Irvin’s playing time at SS? Is it just that he was so good of a hitter that he could equal their career WS totals despite having two thousand less PA?

Again, I imagine this just shows my complete lack of math ability, but I thought I would bring it up.
   59. favre Posted: October 06, 2005 at 05:08 PM (#1666897)
Just did a little bit of research:

Over the last four seasons of his career (1991 PA), Clemente posted OPS+ 168, 158, 145, and 138. So his career OPS actually went up over the last 2000 PA's of his career.

Over the last four sesons of his career (2015 PA), Wheat posted OPS+ of
   60. favre Posted: October 06, 2005 at 05:15 PM (#1666913)
Just did a little bit of research:

Over the last four seasons of his career (1991 PA), Clemente posted OPS+ 168, 158, 145, and 138. So his career OPS actually went up over the last 2000 PA's of his career.

Over the last four sesons of his career (2015 PA), Wheat posted OPS+ of 163, 142, 98, and 96. On the whole, I imgaine his career OPS+ stayed about the same.

Last four seasons of Billy Williams: (2148 PA): 117, 130, 116, and 97, so they were a drag on his career OPS+. I would be interesting in knowing what Williams OPS+ was before those last four seasons, but I have no idea how to calculate it.
   61. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 06, 2005 at 06:01 PM (#1667028)
favre,

Great question. I'll see if I can systematically figure out what's going on. I think there's a few possible areas for distortion.

1) The pre-MLB win shares are calculated by the short-form method, a process that is not necessarily as comprehensive as Chris Cobb's work. James says that errors in SFWS typically fall within three WS in any given season. So there's some room for scrutiny there. Since I used the SFWS mostly for 1939-1950, you could suggest there's as much as 36 SFWS of distortion there. I tend to doubt that any player would end up on the outer limit of systemic error each year of his career, but why not?

2) The data source combined with the method. My data sources do not always include such items as GIDP, SB, and CS. James does use those items in his full-bore RC calculations, where they are available, and I am not in SFWS. That could be a difference that helps Irvin.

3) Park factors. I have made no adjstment for park in any way, because I have no ideas what adjustments to make. Irvin's parks in Newark and Mexico may well have helped him, and if so, that would show up in an increased RC total and subsequently as higher BWS.

4) Fielding. From 1939-1950 I made Irvin a good outfielder, netting about 3 WS/1000 innings. His MLB seasons averaged 2.12 WS/1000 innings. My estimate was made figuring that Irvin was probably a very good outfielder in his early days since he was athletic enough to play the infield. In retrospect, I was probably overgenerous with his fielding credit. If so, however, the magnitude of that overgenerosity is probably in the range of .5 FWS per 1000 innings (or 118 games). That's a distortion of about 6 FWS over the period in question, not likely enough to sway things as much as you're hypothesizing.

So that's the little things, but let's return to the question of Irvin versus Williams and Clemente. (I want to leave go of Wheat for a moment because the other three are directly comparable or close to it erawise.)
NAME            PA   AB H+BB   TB  OBP* SLG
-------------------------------------------
Clemente     10212 9454 3621 4492 .355 .475
Williams     10519 9350 3756 4599 .357 .492
Irvin (MLE)   8270 7247 3291 3682 .398 .508
*(h+bb/pa)

Given there are issues of park and league-offensive levels here for all three players, but 40 points of OBP is a lot. Clemente would have to have gotten on base another 443 times in his actual PAs to have reached Irvin's OBP. He'd have to have netted an extra 311 bases for his SLG to match Irvin's.

So I think that what's going on is some combination of these things:
1) Irvin was a better hitter, but not as durable, good enough that he reaches the level of Clemente and Williams valuewise.
2) I've overestimated his defensive abilities.
3) There's some level of error everpresent in MLEs and SFWS.

I've listed them in the order of magnitude I perceive them, but I think number 1 is the most significant factor. I hope everyone else will let me know what they think and I'll make changes as needed.
   62. OCF Posted: October 06, 2005 at 06:37 PM (#1667120)
There's a timeline problem associated with the direct comparison of Irvin with Clemente and Williams on raw statistics. Clemente and Williams played through the "little deadball days" of the 60's; MLB circa 1950 was a higher-offense including higher-walk environment than the mid-60's.

Quick example: in 1950, the NL as a whole was .261/.333/.401. while the 1966 NL as a whole was .256/.311/.384

I'll believe that Irwin's OBP was better than Clemente and Williams, but perhaps by not as much as the 40-point difference shown in post #61.
   63. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 06, 2005 at 07:04 PM (#1667190)
PITCHER-EXCLUDED BATTING BY ERA
ERA                   AVG  OBP  SLG
-----------------------------------
1955-1972 (Clemente)  263  328  396
1960-1974 (Williams*) 262  327  391
1939-1956 (Irvin MLE) 269  340  395
1909-1926 (Wheat*)    279  336  372
1920-1937 (Oms)       290  348  409
*Williams's last two years were in the AL, as were Wheat's.


Irvin's environment is not substantially different on the SLG side (in fact, there's less ISO in his era), but he gets about twelve points of help with his OBP. I'd bet that in Williams's case, the park factor may nearly erase the era difference for OBP (which is only about 4-5% anyway). For Clemente, I doubt the park helped him, but it didn't hurt him too much either, usually falling right around neutral or 98-99.

I added Wheat back in just for fun, and his era was more obp-heavy than the others'. I also added Oms because I'm feeling that he and Irvin are highly similar valuewise.
   64. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: October 06, 2005 at 07:39 PM (#1667273)
Great stuff favre. Probably would be a good idea to do this with other Negro Leaguer MLEs to see how much distortion might be in the MLEs.

Random note: the deadline for info submissions to the HoF Negro Leaguers Special Committee is sometime this month. Anyone know exactly when this month? Sure would suck if it was yesterday. If not, probably should either just submit in what we've got or do some last minute longer write ups ASAP.
   65. sunnyday2 Posted: October 06, 2005 at 07:41 PM (#1667283)
>I also added Oms because I'm feeling that he and Irvin are highly similar valuewise.

That's not a very favorable argument for Irvin! (No disrespect to Oms intended, but...)
   66. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 06, 2005 at 08:07 PM (#1667350)
I think the HOM is undervaluing Oms, so saying that he's similar to Irvin is, in my rankings, highlgy positive. Of course, I have him very high, most don't.

That said, some voters in the group have articulated a line of logic that could lead them to vote for Irvin but not for Oms. It goes like this:
1. Irvin did some part of his work in the big leagues.
2: Irvin did his NgL work in the leagues from which Chris has arrived at his conversion conclusions.
Therefore...
3: Irvin's value could be interpreted as a more "fixed" than Oms's.

Again, this is not an argument that I personally use or endorse, but it's an argument occasionally put forth on the HOM with an understandbly skeptical flow of logic.
   67. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 06, 2005 at 10:31 PM (#1667730)
Chris, we have until Oct 31.

Believe me, Joe and I havent forgot about it.
   68. Brent Posted: October 07, 2005 at 02:06 AM (#1668027)
Just a reminder that Gadfly presented an extensive analysis of Monte Irvin on the John Beckwith thread (see posts # 152-159). He covers topics like the statistical differences between the two Negro Leagues of the 1940s and the white National League, park factors, and major league equivalencies. Here is one excerpt on Irvin's biography; however, I recommend also reading the other posts on the Beckwith thread.


Posted by Gadfly on January 30, 2005 at 12:53 AM (#1112377)
3) MONTE IRVIN BASEBALL BIOGRAPHY

Monte Irvin was born February 25, 1919, in Alabama. In 1927, his family moved to New Jersey. Irvin was, to put it mildly, a High School athletic superstar: lettering in Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Track for the Orange (NJ) High School in every year he attended the school.

Irvin grew up to be the perfect baseball prospect: big, strong, and fast with the ability to hit for average, hit for power, control the strike zone, throw, run, and field multiple positions. On top of all this, Irvin had a fantastic disposition: calm, controlled, competitive, and intelligent. If Irvin grew up today, he would almost certainly be the first player picked in the baseball draft.

He began playing professionally for Abe and Effa Manley’s Newark (NJ) Eagles of the Negro National League (NNL) in the summers of 1937 and 1938. In 1939, Irvin dropped out of college to join the Eagles full time; playing shortstop, third base and centerfield depending on the team’s needs. From 1939 to 1941, Irvin was recognized as the coming superstar of the Negro Leagues.

In 1941, Monte Irvin began to hit for great power in the Negro Leagues after copying the batting stance of Joe DiMaggio. In 1942, after an early season dispute with Effa Manley over his salary, Irvin left the United States to play for the Vera Cruz team in Mexico. At the age of 23, Irvin had (by his own evaluation) the greatest baseball year of his life, winning the Mexican League Triple Crown with statistics that are just short of incredible.

[Interestingly, the only player, in the history of the Mexican League, whose statistics can be compared to Irvin’s 1942 season without blushing are those of Josh Gibson in 1940 and 1941. Both men played in the same park. All in all, Gibson’s stats are better. While Gibson’s 1941 rate stats are quite comparable to Irvin’s 1942 stats, Gibson played the whole season. Irvin only played two-thirds of the season. Both men lead the Mexican League in HR, but Gibson hit 33 to Irvin’s 20. Of course, Gibson spent most of the 1941 season indulging in a season long drinking contest with Sammy Bankhead.

In other words, playing hung over, Gibson was as great a hitter as Irvin was at his absolute peak. Gibson’s 1940 Mexican season, when he was evidently sober, was so ungodly that nothing can be compared to it. Playing just the last month, Gibson hit .467 and came within one home run of tying for the league lead. That would be like Barry Bonds sitting out the most of the 2005 season, coming back in September, and then crushing the ball so hard and often that he failed to lead the League in home runs by just a whisker.]

Monte Irvin was inducted into US Army for the Second World War on March 9, 1943, before he could return for his second season in Mexico. He was discharged from the Army on September 1, 1945. Unlike most Major League players and many Negro League players during World War 2, Irvin did not play any type of organized baseball while in the Army.

In September of 1945, Irvin returned to play for the Newark Eagles, hitting .222 in a handful of games. He played in Puerto Rico for the Winter Season of 1945-46 to tune himself up; and was robbed of the BA title after hitting .368. In 1946, he played shortstop for the NNL Champion Eagles, winning the batting title (.389) and finishing tied for third in HR. Irvin hit .462 in the Negro World Series; and the Newark Eagles defeated the Kansas City Monarchs in 7 games.

Returning to Puerto Rico for the 1946-47 Winter Season, Monte Irvin hit .387. In 1947, Irvin continued to play shortstop for the Eagles. The Eagles won the first half of the NNL season; but the team, and Irvin, slumped after the Eagles sold Larry Doby to the Major Leagues. Irvin lead the 1947 NNL in HR and RBI, but Newark finished second.

After playing for Habana in the Cuban Winter League Season of 1947-48, Irvin began the 1948 NNL season with an unknown illness, reportedly under a doctor’s care, and missed the first month of play. After the season ended, the NNL folded up and the Newark Eagle franchise was sold, moved to Houston, and entered into the NAL. Monte Irvin returned to play for Habana in the 1948-49 Winter League Season, and lead the Cuban League in HR.

In January 1949, Branch Rickey and the Brooklyn Dodgers, believing that Irvin was now a free agent, signed Irvin to a Brooklyn contract while he played in Cuba. The Dodgers had originally approached Irvin in 1946, but backed off because the Eagles had a signed contract with Irvin that contained a reserve clause. Rickey, though certainly a hero in the integration saga, pretty much refused on general principles of cheapness to pay Negro League teams for their players.

Rickey also probably realized that Effa Manley, who was still angry for his uncompensated signing of former Eagle Don Newcombe, would want her pound of flesh. When Effa Manley strenuously objected to Irvin’s signing and pointed out that the Eagles had been sold and not dissolved, Rickey voided Irvin’s contract rather than pay Manley for it. Manley sold Irvin’s contract to the New York Giants, who were looking for their own Jackie Robinson.

In 1949, the now 30-year-old Monte Irvin played for the Giants’ Triple-A International League Jersey City Giants farm club and hit .373 with good power. Irvin made his Major League Debut on July 8, 1949; and played sporadically for the rest of the year, hitting just .224 in 76 AB. For some reason, Leo Durocher, the Giant manager, resisted just letting Irvin play so that he could get his feet on the ground.

In 1950, Monte Irvin once again began the year with Jersey City but went absolutely atomic with his bat, hitting 10 HR and 33 RBI, with a .510 BA, in 18 games. He was brought back up to the Giants where Durocher played him some at 1B and some in RF for the rest of the year. Irvin hit 15 HR, 66 RBI, and .299 BA in 110 Games to finally establish himself as a Major League player at the age of 31. However, Durocher still will not simply commit to playing Irvin full time.

In 1951, Irvin, after a great Spring Training season, began the season as the Giants regular 1B and clean-up hitter. However, Irvin started the season slowly (15 G, 1 HR, 8 RBI, .226 BA in April) and Durocher lost faith in him. Durocher batted him eighth a lot, sat him for six various games, put him in at RF, LF, 1B, and even 3B; and generally just screwed Irvin around for the entire first half of the 1951 season. The Giants fell way behind the Dodgers in the pennant race.

But Irvin started to hit. On the 78th game of the season (exactly the beginning of the second half of the season), Irvin went back into the clean-up spot. For the 86th game, Monte Irvin became the starting LF for good and was no longer shifted around at all. Irvin hit 12 HR, 71 RBI, with a .332 BA, in the second half. Irvin was the driving force behind the Giants surge to the 1951 NL pennant. In the 1951 Series, Irvin hit .458 but the Giants lose in six games to the Yankees.

On April 2 of 1952, while playing a Spring Training exhibition game in Denver, Irvin badly broke his ankle. After missing the entire first half of the season, he returned in the second half and, playing with a special heavy high top shoe to protect the ankle, hit .310 but with little power (4 HR) and almost no speed (2 2B, 1 3B, 0 SB) in 126 AB.

In 1953, the now 34-year-old Monte Irvin begins the season as the Giants’ clean-up hitter and left fielder. Although he starts slow again in April (14 Games, .218 BA) while still wearing the heavy protective shoe, Durocher leaves him alone and doesn’t lose faith in him. Irvin removes the protective shoe in May and begins to heat up. By August 8, 1953, Irvin has raised his hitting statistics to 20 HR, 91 RBI, with a .339 BA and .562 SA, in 101 Games. He is white-hot with the bat and on the verge of taking over the NL BA and RBI leads.

On August 9 of 1953, Monte Irvin once again badly re-injures his ankle in a collision at home plate in St. Louis. He missed several weeks, and then returned to play poorly while hobbling around (22 G, 49 AB, 1 HR, .245 BA, .367 SA). Irvin finished the season with a .329 BA. This second ankle injury would effectively end Irvin’s prime years as a baseball player.

In 1954, the now 35-year-old Irvin, handicapped by his wrecked ankle, struggles through a 19 HR, 64 RBI, .262 season. He bats just .222 as a part-time player in the New York Giants World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians. In 1955, Irvin once again starts slow (.253, .333 SA) and the Giants demote him to their Triple-A farm club. At Triple-A, he finally begins to hit again (.352) and is drafted by the Chicago Cubs for the 1956 season.

In 1956, the now 37-year-old Irvin hits 15 HR, 50 RBI, with a .271 BA and .460 SA, as a part-time left fielder for the Cubs. Released after the season, Monte Irvin signs for the 1957 season with the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels. However, he retires after a handful of games due to back problems that have probably been caused or exasperated by his ankle injuries. Irvin will later estimate that his ankle injuries took four to five years off his career.

Irvin goes on to a later career working in the Baseball Commissioner’s Office in the Bowie Kuhn administration. Most notably, Irvin is part of the Special Committee to honor the Negro Leagues and he is one of the nine original Negro League players enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
   69. Brent Posted: October 07, 2005 at 02:22 AM (#1668051)
Dr. Chaleeko (Eric),

It appears that the most controversial aspect of your Irvin MLEs has been the estimates of playing time. Here are a few specific questions:

- How can Monte Irvin be shown playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League in 1944 and 45 if he was in the army?

- For 1942 you show him playing 121 games. Yet the statistics show him playing 16% of Newark's games and 79% of Vera Cruz's games. Since these are both summer leagues, shouldn't those be added together to show him playing about 95% of the possible games?

- Since he was in the army for 1943-45 (except the last month of 1945), your estimates of games played for those seasons are entirely hypothetical, right? Why so little playing time, and why the year-to-year variations (127-104-140)?

- For 1946-47, the statistics show him playing 59 of 63 and 81 of 83 games for Newark. Why do the MLEs show only 123 and 106 games for those two years?

In general, the estimates of games played per season seem too low, both in view of his high estimated OPS+ and in comparison to the actual Negro League statistics that you've cited.

I'm not trying to be hypercritical, but I do want to make sure we understand the assumptions and methods that have been used.
   70. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 07, 2005 at 01:05 PM (#1668391)
Brent,

I'll take your questions in order.

1) I have no idea how he can have been in the PRWL during the war years, yet Lester/Clark lists him there. It was a question I had as well, and ultimately, I just decided that having some curious data was better than having none.

2) 1942: You are correct and the mistake is mine. I had intended to add them, but I made a copy-n-paste error. To the group: please accept my apologies.

3) Correct, those are hypotheticals based on surrounding seasons. I'm going to revisit them momentarily.

4) The 123 and 106 show up because I'm including winter-league data, where it appears he didn't play as frequently. In many cases with the PRWL, I've had to extrapolate G due to lack of data. I've done this by taking a player's AB/G and applying them to the known ABs for his PRWL season. In some cases, this creates too many ABs, in which case, I simply credit him with playing every game.

In light of these concerns and my own error, I'm going to go back through the MLEs today and repost them later on with any changes. It's important to get Irvin as right as we can, so I appreciate the feedback and hope you'll bear with me as I try to make the MLEs better.
   71. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 07, 2005 at 01:23 PM (#1668415)
Brent,

Sorry, I also screwed up an answer to your question about hypothetical years:
-1943 is a purely hypothetical year. I used the averages of the surrounding four seasons to generate it.
-1944 is based on the PRWL numbers
-1945 is based on a the combination of the small sample of NGL games and the PRWL numbers.

When I assembled the projections, I didn't know/realize that Irvin's 1945 NNL numbers came after he was mustered out. When I repost the translations, I'll account for the war effect by figuring out what percentage of his summer-league games he played in the surrounding four seasons, use that to build his total games played, then use the average of the surrounding seasons to figure his stats for the remaining games he is receiving war credit for. Then I'll add them to his actual games to create a composite 1945 season.

This will be reflected when I repost the MLEs later today.

Again, thanks for this excellent feedback, it's what we need to make sure these are working.
   72. andrew siegel Posted: October 07, 2005 at 01:27 PM (#1668419)
We have learned so much more about the Negro Leagues over time that I think it makes sense for each of us to go back and evaluate our Negro League position players afresh in a more systematic way, taking into account things like how we calculate playing time estimates, shifting quality of the leagues over time, etc.

I have the following eight Negro League (or pre-Negro League) position players in the top 50:

--Dobie Moore (4th)
--Monte Irvin (5th)
--Alejando Oms (9th)
--Biz Mackey (17th)
--Willard Brown (23rd)
--Cool Papa Bell (26th)
--Bill Monroe (33rd)
--Quincy Troupe (41st)

I am not cofident that I have these guys sorted correctly. I think I am going to start from scratch on evaluating them, and throw in Bill Wright, Ben Taylor, and Spot Poles. Major moves might be coming.
   73. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 07, 2005 at 01:43 PM (#1668428)
Ah, now I remember why I only used Irvin's Mexican numbers for 1942...his Newark numbers were so insanely good that when added to his excellent MxL numbers, it pushed his 1942 OPS+ up to 211 and his WS up to 41, which seemed entirely unreasonable and out of line with the rest of his career.

Players within five OPS+ points of 211 in a single season:
NAME           YEAR OPS+
------------------------
Ted Williams   1946 215
Jeff Bagwell   1994 214
Frank Thomas   1994 212
Willie McCovey 1969 211
Tip O'Neill    1887 211
Babe Ruth      1930 211
Rogers Hornsby 1925 210
Mickey Mantle  1956 210
Ty Cobb        1911 209
Lou Gehrig     1934 208
Babe Ruth      1928 208
George Hall    1876 207
Rogers Hornsby 1922 207
Barry Bonds    1993 206
Dan Brouthers  1886 206
Ty Cobb        1910 206
Mickey Mantle  1961 206


Which isn't to say that Irvin couldn't have been that good for one season, but at age 23? And with a second best OPS+ of 186, and 3rd best of 170? It just didn't seem like it made sense.

But it IS what's in the statistical record. And remember, it's not the Mexican translation it's the NNL translation that's causing the distortion here. The 1942 line shown above doens't have the NNL numbers in it and seems, at 169 OPS+, to be in line with the rest of his career.

What's anyone think I should do?
   74. Gary A Posted: October 07, 2005 at 02:18 PM (#1668470)
I think it might be better just to go ahead and use actual translated stats, rather than adjusting that one year because it seems out of line. It makes for a somewhat unusual season, but not completely unprecedented in actual major league history. Ted Williams, of course, had his best season at the age of 22 in 1941. That 213 OPS+ of Jeff Bagwell's is easily his best; his next best are 179 and 169. And after his 212 in '94, Frank Thomas's best are 181 and 180. I'm not sure that there's a player who exactly replicates what Irvin did (OPS+ at this level, this far out of line with the rest of his career at this age), but then, maybe Irvin's a unique player.

This is unregressed, right? While Irvin's '42 is still partly the result of smallish sample size, I think it would be better to adjust for this systematically throughout his career, or else just leave it alone and let each voter decide for himself. If '42 alone is adjusted by leaving out his NNL stats, you're basically ignoring a bit of evidence that he may have been a somewhat better hitter at that time than his surrounding seasons might indicate.

Also, Irvin did do something similar later (at the age of 31) in the International League, in even more at bats (.510 in 51 at bats).
   75. DavidFoss Posted: October 07, 2005 at 02:46 PM (#1668501)
Players within five OPS+ points of 211 in a single season:

Some other high translated-OPS seasons:

1926-Suttles--219
1937-Gibson---223
1939-Gibson---209
1940-Gibson---211
1941-Gibson---200
1943-Gibson---221
1946-Gibson---225

Is it easier to make an apples-to-apples comparison if you let us know how Irvin's 1942 compares to these seasons?
   76. sunnyday2 Posted: October 07, 2005 at 02:47 PM (#1668506)
andrew,

Taylor for sure, if only because he is the #1 1B, but also because he is probably that good.

Among all the rest, I'd have Lundy in there ahead of Poles and Wright. Easter is still the big conundrum, of course.
   77. Brent Posted: October 08, 2005 at 03:19 AM (#1670553)
The 123 and 106 show up because I'm including winter-league data, where it appears he didn't play as frequently

While I think winter-league data can be useful to provide a larger data set to estimate MLE batting and slugging averages, I'd recommend against using winter-league games played to estimate playing time.

The biggest Negro League stars were playing baseball essentially 12 months a year. Based on my reading on the Cuban League, it wasn't unusual for some of the North American stars to show up in the islands three or four weeks late, possibly because of a conflict with another barnstorming commitment. As far as I can tell, the island teams didn't mind and were happy to finally have the player. Therefore, I don't think we should interpret missing winter-league games as indicative of injuries or other factors that would have led to reduced playing time in the majors.

1944 is based on the PRWL numbers

Since there seems to be a question whether the 1944 PRWL numbers are even valid, maybe you either shouldn't use them, or else flag them as especially questionable.

Regarding 1942, I think we should expect an outlier or two since, as I recall, you aren't regressing the data like Chris would do. As long as the voters are aware which data are regressed and which data aren't, we can let the voters decide how to interpret unusual seasons.
   78. andrew siegel Posted: October 08, 2005 at 11:10 AM (#1670756)
sunnyday,

My mistake. Lundy is on my list too. He's currently 45, but has been much higher.
   79. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 08, 2005 at 05:03 PM (#1671035)
Doc, what would be Irvin's WS total if you he woudl be credited with that 211 OPS+?

The reason I ask is that I am leaning toward counting that seasons to a) keep things consistent i.e. the use of winter and summer leagues data together, and b) if he really had a year like that I think we should count it.

Also, is there any reason why his season shold be downgraded to maybe a 200 OPS+ or something? If 211 is too hard a pill to swallow, maybe 200 isn't.
   80. favre Posted: October 08, 2005 at 06:28 PM (#1671152)
I realize that Cr. C is planning on updating his MLE’s. However, just for fun, I decided to look at who would be comparable to Irvin as a player with the MLE’s we have now. And I found Edgar Martinez:

Irvin: 8278 PA, 2261 H, 1030 BB, 3682 TB, 146 OPS+
Martinez: 8672 PA, 2247 H, 1283 BB, 3718 TB, 147 OPS+

Pretty different hitting environments, but their plate appearances are close, and career OPS+ are very close. They were also similar types of hitters: right handed batters with lots of walks and medium power. Martinez has a season high 183 OPS+, followed by a 166 season; Dr C’s original MLE’s gave Irvin a season high 186 OPS+, followed by a 169 season, although there is some question to whether had a much bigger outlier season.

So, based on the original MLE’s, Martinez looks like a good hitting comp. Edgar has approx. 290 batting WS. If you give Irvin 44 fielding WS (per the short formula for outfielders), then Irvin’s career WS comes to 334.

334 career WS; Will Clark has 331.

Irvin: 8278 PA, 2261 H, 1030 BB, 3682 TB, 146 OPS+
Clark: 8283 PA, 2176 H, 937 BB, 3662, TB, 138 OPS+

The plate appearances are almost identical; Irvin is a better hitter, but not by huge margin. Like Irvin, Clark had some problems staying in the lineup after age 30, and was out of baseball by age 37 (although he was still a very productive player: 145 OPS+ in 505 PA at age 36). Irvin earned 96 WS after age 30 in the majors; Clark earned 90. (Dr. C’s MLE’s adjusts Irvin’s post 30 career to 124.5 WS).

So with the MLEs we have now, Will Clark would be the low end of the comparative scale; Edgar Martinez with some defensive value seems more likely. However, if you give Irvin about 700 more PA—I don’t know how possible that is, we’ll have to see the the new MLEs—you have Harry Heilmann:

8960 PA, 2660 H, 856 BB, 4053 TB, 148 OPS+.

Heilmann is also a similar hitter to Irvin: right hander, high OBP (fewer walks, more BA), medium power. His highest season OPS+ is 193, so perhaps Irvin could have had one a few points higher (though Harry’s came at age 28). Heilmann has 356 career WS, but Irvin was a better fielder (can you imagine Heilmann at shortstop?). That would push Irvin up to, what, 360-370 WS—or just about where Dr. C’s original MLE’s put him.

Basically, the MLE’s wee have now place Irvin on a comparative scale from Will Clark to Edgar Martinez to Harry Heilmann. Although not inner circle, that’s a HoM’r scale. Irvin will debut at least in the middle of my ballot. And he may have been better than the numbers we have now.
   81. favre Posted: October 08, 2005 at 06:29 PM (#1671153)
I realize that Cr. C is planning on updating his MLE’s. However, just for fun, I decided to look at who would be comparable to Irvin as a player with the MLE’s we have now. And I found Edgar Martinez:

Irvin: 8278 PA, 2261 H, 1030 BB, 3682 TB, 146 OPS+
Martinez: 8672 PA, 2247 H, 1283 BB, 3718 TB, 147 OPS+

Pretty different hitting environments, but their plate appearances are close, and career OPS+ are very close. They were also similar types of hitters: right handed batters with lots of walks and medium power. Martinez has a season high 183 OPS+, followed by a 166 season; Dr C’s original MLE’s gave Irvin a season high 186 OPS+, followed by a 169 season, although there is some question to whether had a much bigger outlier season.

So, based on the original MLE’s, Martinez looks like a good hitting comp. Edgar has approx. 290 batting WS. If you give Irvin 44 fielding WS (per the short formula for outfielders), then Irvin’s career WS comes to 334.

334 career WS; Will Clark has 331.

Irvin: 8278 PA, 2261 H, 1030 BB, 3682 TB, 146 OPS+
Clark: 8283 PA, 2176 H, 937 BB, 3662, TB, 138 OPS+

The plate appearances are almost identical; Irvin is a better hitter, but not by huge margin. Like Irvin, Clark had some problems staying in the lineup after age 30, and was out of baseball by age 37 (although he was still a very productive player: 145 OPS+ in 505 PA at age 36). Irvin earned 96 WS after age 30 in the majors; Clark earned 90. (Dr. C’s MLE’s adjusts Irvin’s post 30 career to 124.5 WS).

So with the MLEs we have now, Will Clark would be the low end of the comparative scale; Edgar Martinez with some defensive value seems more likely. However, if you give Irvin about 700 more PA—I don’t know how possible that is, we’ll have to see the the new MLEs—you have Harry Heilmann:

8960 PA, 2660 H, 856 BB, 4053 TB, 148 OPS+.

Heilmann is also a similar hitter to Irvin: right hander, high OBP (fewer walks, more BA), medium power. His highest season OPS+ is 193, so perhaps Irvin could have had one a few points higher (though Harry’s came at age 28). Heilmann has 356 career WS, but Irvin was a better fielder (can you imagine Heilmann at shortstop?). That would push Irvin up to, what, 360-370 WS—or just about where Dr. C’s original MLE’s put him.

Basically, the MLE’s wee have now place Irvin on a comparative scale from Will Clark to Edgar Martinez to Harry Heilmann. Although not inner circle, that’s a HoM’r scale. Irvin will debut at least in the middle of my ballot. And he may have been better than the numbers we have now.
   82. favre Posted: October 08, 2005 at 06:30 PM (#1671154)
sorry for the double post
   83. Chris Cobb Posted: October 08, 2005 at 07:50 PM (#1671233)
There's been excellent discussion of Irvin's candidacy here. I'm sorry I haven't had time to contribute any original analysis, but are a quick response to the work that's been done so far:

1) Dr. Chaleeko's seasonal translations leading to MLE OPS+ should be about as reliable as mine. The systems we use are the same except for (1) the absence of regression in Dr. Chaleeko's numbers, (2) our view of MxL quality. The good doctor projects the MxL as equivalent to the NeL, using a .9/.82 conversion factor, whereas I have generally used a slightly lower .87/.76 conversion for the MxL. This matters only for Irvin's 1942 season, which is excellent by both conversion factors.

2) Playing time for Irvin has been the big issue. Dr. Chaleeko's estimates of Irvin's playing time as low have been the driving factor in serious cautious assessments of Irvin's merit. I think Brent's observations about the problems with the playing time estimates are valid. Dr. Chaleeko has accepted several of them, and I expect that his revised projections will provide us with a more accurate view of Irvin's value.

3) I am leery of short-form win shares, but I don't think they are far off in this case. Favre's comparison of Irvin's career line to those of Edgar and to Heilmann indicates that the sfws are in the right range. Heilmann is a safer batting win-share comp than Edgar, though, because Edgar's batting win shares may be lower in relation to his OPS+ as a result of his being in the DH league.
   84. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 08, 2005 at 08:49 PM (#1671292)
Sorry for the delay in reposting the Irvin MLEs. I'm glad there's been subsequent discussion. I'm going to post them in a moment, but first I'll just mention the changes I'm going to make. On Brent's advice, I am going to remove the 1944 PRWL data from my own consideration due to the questions about whether it was even possible that Irvin played there in 1944. The data present for 1944 will, therefore, be an average of the nearest by seasons.

Irvin's fielding will be taken down to 2.5 FWS/1000 innings for the first part of his career.

His 1942 season, the infamous 211 season, will remain as is, but I will also offer a variation on it using Chris's MxL translation levels just to offer a wider sense of what his performance could mean.

All this will have an effect on his 1945 and 1943 stats which are created from whole cloth by looking at surrounding seasons.
   85. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 08, 2005 at 08:55 PM (#1671297)
If I am correct in how you are approaching Irvin's 1942 season, I think it is a good idea. Give as many variations as there could be with the numbers and let us each decide individually.
   86. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 08, 2005 at 09:51 PM (#1671379)
With 1942 converted at .90/.82         
YEAR LG AGE PO  AVG  OBP  SLG    G   PA   AB    H   TB  BB  ops+ sfws
---------------------------------------------------------------------
1939 NL 20  OF .363 .441 .520   75  301  264   96  137  37  157  17.1
1940 NL 21  OF .330 .405 .473  128  504  448  148  212  56  141  23.0
1941 NL 22  OF .303 .384 .479  141  556  492  149  236  64  142  23.6
1942 NL 23  OF .344 .433 .637  146  593  512  176  327  80  211  40.9
1943 NL 24  OF .334 .421 .561  137  551  479  160  269  72  183  31.8
1944 NL 25  OF .308 .392 .519  131  523  459  143  242  64  155  25.9
1945 NL 26  OF .331 .415 .439  153  613  536  177  235  77  137  25.9
1946 NL 27  OF .356 .447 .568  123  503  432  154  245  71  186  31.4
1947 NL 28  OF .277 .359 .440  106  419  372  103  164  47  111  14.4
1948 NL 29  OF .279 .360 .477  135  531  472  132  225  60  125  20.4
1949 NL 30  OF .315 .434 .491   99  359  297   93  146  62  147  17.5
1950 NL 31  OF .325 .415 .582  128  504  437  142  255  67  159  29.7
1951 NL 32  OF .312 .406 .514  151  647  558  174  287  89  146  29.1
1952 NL 33  OF .310 .360 .437   46  136  126   39   59  10  120   5.0
1953 NL 34  OF .329 .403 .541  124  499  444  146  256  55  143  17.5
1954 NL 35  OF .262 .365 .438  135  502  432  113  253  70  112  14.1
1955 NL 36  OF .300 .388 .460  126  471  413  124  190  59  126  19.1
1956 NL 37  OF .271 .350 .460  111  380  339   92  174  41  116  11.1
=====================================================================
TOTAL          .314 .401 .521 2196 8592 7511 2361 3911 1081 151 397.5
              
With 1942 converted at .875/.76         
YEAR LG AGE PO  AVG  OBP  SLG    G   PA   AB    H   TB   BB ops+ sfws
---------------------------------------------------------------------
1939 NL 20  OF .363 .441 .520   75  301  264   96  137   37 157  17.1
1940 NL 21  OF .330 .405 .473  128  504  448  148  212   56 141  23.0
1941 NL 22  OF .303 .384 .479  141  556  492  149  236   64 142  23.6
1942 NL 23  OF .337 .425 .603  146  591  512  172  309   79 199  37.4
1943 NL 24  OF .332 .418 .550  137  550  479  159  263   71 179  30.7
1944 NL 25  OF .306 .389 .507  131  522  459  142  236   63 151  24.9
1945 NL 26  OF .331 .415 .439  153  613  536  177  235   77 137  25.9
1946 NL 27  OF .356 .447 .568  123  503  432  154  245   71 186  31.4
1947 NL 28  OF .277 .359 .440  106  419  372  103  164   47 111  14.4
1948 NL 29  OF .279 .360 .477  135  531  472  132  225   60 125  20.4
1949 NL 30  OF .315 .434 .491   99  359  297   93  146   62 147  17.5
1950 NL 31  OF .325 .415 .582  128  504  437  142  255   67 159  29.7
1951 NL 32  OF .312 .406 .514  151  647  558  174  287   89 146  29.1
1952 NL 33  OF .310 .360 .437   46  136  126   39   59   10 120   5.0
1953 NL 34  OF .329 .403 .541  124  499  444  146  256   55 143  17.5
1954 NL 35  OF .262 .365 .438  135  502  432  113  253   70 112  14.1
1955 NL 36  OF .300 .388 .460  126  471  413  124  190   59 126  19.1
1956 NL 37  OF .271 .350 .460  111  380  339   92  174   41 116  11.1
=====================================================================
TOTAL          .314 .400 .517 2196 8590 7511 2355 3881 1078 149 391.9
   87. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 08, 2005 at 10:00 PM (#1671396)
OK, so here's the thing. This revision raises Irvin's profile somewhat. Having the big year raises his peak well up, and on top of that, the presence of that season changes the surrounding years used to calculate the "whole cloth" years of 1943 and 1944, raising their profile upwards as well. The result is a guy who looks (to me) from looking like Oms or Clemente to a guy who looks like Reggie or Fred Clarke. That's a pretty significant jump.
   88. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 08, 2005 at 10:01 PM (#1671398)
Thanks Doc!

A quick question, was 1943 a year he was playing or a year he was in the war?

His 1946 and 1943 numbers make 1942 look more in line. I think I find it easier to accept the numbers with CC's MxL conversions. 199 doesn't seem out of place and yet he still gets that one big year that his resume lacked before.
   89. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 08, 2005 at 10:08 PM (#1671405)
I forgot to throw a bold onto seasons 1943-1945.

1943 and 1944 are the "whole cloth" seasons where I used the three nearest surrounding seasons to generate the MLE line.

1945 is a hybrid becaause I gave him "whole cloth" credit for the portion of the season he spent in the war. It is added to his real 1945 numbers to create a total NNL season, which I then treat in the usual way.

Thanks again for the suggestions.
   90. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 08, 2005 at 11:11 PM (#1671493)
Okay, that makes a bit of a difference. I would probably have smoothed out the three war years were I giving war credit because I try not to boost a player's peak too much over the war. So maybe instead of 31,26,25 I might give him 28,27,27 or 29, 27,26. I guess it actually doesn't make much difference though outside of 3 year peak scores.

These numbers pull Irvin from mid ballot to the top third. I will have to figure out whether I like he or Mediwck more. Probably going to be #5 in 1962 behind Robinson, Feller, Ferrell, and Childs.
   91. Brent Posted: October 08, 2005 at 11:18 PM (#1671501)
Thank you, Dr. Chaleeko.
   92. Mark Donelson Posted: October 10, 2005 at 05:41 AM (#1673848)
Yes, thanks--this does make a big difference to Irvin's peak, and might even get him up to my ballot.
   93. Paul Wendt Posted: October 10, 2005 at 03:49 PM (#1674214)
George Hall played regularly for seven seasons, essentially every championship game in most of them including his three best seasons by OPS+ :
Year  '76 '72 '75
OPS+  207 141 140
Games  60  53  77

Gary A:
This is unregressed, right? While Irvin's '42 is still partly the result of smallish sample size, I think it would be better to adjust for this systematically throughout his career, or else just leave it alone and let each voter decide for himself. If '42 alone is adjusted by leaving out his NNL stats, you're basically ignoring a bit of evidence that he may have been a somewhat better hitter at that time than his surrounding seasons might indicate.

Yes. If you have data for the surrounding seasons, of similar quality as far as you know, the small 1942 sample is no grounds for translating or regressing at a special rate.
--unless you are so-called peak voter who selects nonconsecutive seasons. Then every season must be regressed, a la Chris Cobb, and the magnitude of regression is greatest where the number of games in the record is least.

Dr. Chaleeko:
This revision raises Irvin's profile somewhat. Having the big year raises his peak well up, and on top of that, the presence of that season changes the surrounding years used to calculate the "whole cloth" years of 1943 and 1944, raising their profile upwards as well.

There's the rub, no data (whole cloth) for 1943 and 1944. The pure career voter should pay no attention but anyone who pays attention to peak defined consecutively must be concerned. Deeply concerned in this case, I think.
   94. Paul Wendt Posted: October 10, 2005 at 03:56 PM (#1674229)
Sorry about "paying" so much "attention"

This is a <u>test</u> of this.
This is a <u>test</u> of this.
This is a <u>test</u> of this.

In order to avoid extra white space following a tag,
preceding and following text should be on the same linelike this.
   95. karlmagnus Posted: October 10, 2005 at 05:12 PM (#1674421)
Can Chris find time to do his usual wonderful job on Irvin? His methodology has the advantage of being generally agreed, and thus comparing apples to apples with other NEL players. If Dr. Chaleeko's MLEs aren't regressed in the way Chris and others including me "agreed" 25 years ago, they will almost certainly be too high. Personally I don't see the evidence that Irvin was so much better as an NEL player than as an ML player; anecdotal evidence doesn't convince me, since there was plenty of that around his good but quite ordinary Giants seasons.
   96. DavidFoss Posted: October 10, 2005 at 05:28 PM (#1674480)
Here is a copy of Ron Wargo's excellent table from the Buck Leonard thread with Irvin added:
Player   Pos    Begin   End     BA      OBP     SA      OPS+
Gibson   C      1931    1946    0.327   0.431   0.595   180
Irvin    OF     1939    1956    0.314   0.401   0.521   151
Leonard  1B     1934    1948    0.308   0.417   0.476   145
Suttles  1B-OF  1923    1941    0.302   0.366   0.538   137
Beckwith 3B-SS  1919    1935    0.333   0.387   0.522   137
Wilson   3B-1B  1922    1938    0.336   0.431   0.447   132
Scales H 2B-IF  1923    1938    0.292   0.392   0.440   118
Wells    SS     1926    1946    0.294   0.371   0.425   114
Scales M 2B-IF  1923    1938    0.277   0.382   0.413   109
Bell     OF     1924    1946    0.297   0.365   0.382   100
Mackey   C      1920    1941    0.301   0.359   0.393   98
Lundy    SS     1919    1935    0.299   0.333   0.391   92


Player   Pos    Begin   End     G       PA      BB      H       TB
Gibson   C      1931    1946    1930    7837    1210    2165    3941
Irvin    OF     1939    1956    2196    8592    1080    2361    3911
Leonard  1B     1934    1948    2081    8669    1358    2255    3477
Suttles  1B-OF  1923    1941    2420    10163   924     2791    4967
Beckwith 3B-SS  1919    1935    1905    8010    648     2451    3847
Wilson   3B-1B  1922    1938    2352    9879    1413    2845    3789
Scales H 2B-IF  1923    1938    1986    8136    1153    2039    3072
Wells    SS     1926    1946    2682    10836   1181    2839    4502
Scales M 2B-IF  1923    1938    1986    8136    1174    1936    2876
Bell     OF     1924    1946    3230    13637   1371    3710    4665
Mackey   C      1920    1941    2255    9020    745     2493    3249
Lundy    SS     1919    1935    2212    9160    451     2600    3408
   97. DavidFoss Posted: October 10, 2005 at 05:32 PM (#1674493)
yuck -- reposted the table from the Leonard thread with Irvin added and I lost the post! ARGH!
:-)
   98. DavidFoss Posted: October 10, 2005 at 05:37 PM (#1674506)
strike that, I didn't lose it after all! Yay! :-)

Anyhow, I agree with Karlmagnus on this one. No offense to the good Doctor C, but we've all gotten used to Chris Cobb's MLE's and have debated them back and forth as to how to insert NeL-ers into our MLB backlog.

Was Irvin a significantly better hitter than Buck Leonard?
   99. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 10, 2005 at 05:47 PM (#1674526)
no offense taken; i said before (and will say again), I don't know enough math to regress.
   100. sunnyday2 Posted: October 10, 2005 at 06:14 PM (#1674574)
I did a quick look back at all of our NeL candidates on the 1962 thread and came up with Irvin at #2 overall after Moore, and just ahead of Brown and Oms among the hitters. Let's review the raw data. This are just BAs but considering he hit with power and drew some walks BA is as good of a surrogate as anything.

Top NeL career avgs. (above .350) among eligibles-- Moore .365 Artie Wilson .361 Irvin .357 Chino Smith .354 Piper Davis .353 Heavy Johnson .352

Best avg. in AAA (MiL), (above .300) obviously only the late cohort--Irvin .375 Estalella .329 Dandridge .318 Wilson .311 Clarkson .309

Best MxL--Irvin .397 (granted, just one season) Dandridge .347 Wright .335 Clarkson .316 Trouppe .304

Cuba--Moore .356 Lundy .351 Clint Thomas .327 Marcelle .319 Poles .318 nobody else over .300, appears to have become an extreme pitchers league later on, a sampling: Dandridge .299 (19 points below AAA), Estalella .275 (54 pts below AAA), Irvin .273 (102 pts below AAA and this is a small sample, too, so if you discount Mx, discount this too)

PRWL--Irvin .359 Wilson .352 Clarkson .306

To me, there is just too much evidence of his excellence, except he had trouble in Cuba. Irvin to me is clearly one of the top 2 or 3 and unless there just aren't any candidates on this list, then that makes him one.
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