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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Red Ruffing

Red Ruffing

Eligible in 1953.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2005 at 12:21 AM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2005 at 01:00 AM (#1368879)
One of the weirdest careers, he looked like a totally different pitcher with the Red Sox than with the Yanks.
   2. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: May 29, 2005 at 02:09 AM (#1368957)
Red Ruffing. Maybe the notes section so far of any pitcher on my site. Among other things I try to figure out the riddle of Ruffing (why'd he look so different on his main two teams) and float the theory (not necessarily on that I agree with, but worth mentioning) that if you adjust him for factors outside of his control such as teammateson the Yankees, WWII and Hitler - in other words the impact of expansionist fascists, both at home and abroad (rim shot) - would he be a 300 game winner? Maybe, depending on what you think of the fact that he underachieved by 15 wins throughout his career.
   3. Michael Bass Posted: May 29, 2005 at 03:29 AM (#1369074)
Good, Ted Lyons-style candidate, I'd say. Not a ton of peak, but plenty of career and prime to get him a slot on my ballot.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: May 29, 2005 at 12:44 PM (#1369533)
Damn computer just ate my long message. Dammit.
Bottom line, he's in many ways identical to Rixey. Similar peak single-season ERA+s, IPs, etc.
I think Rixey is a fraction better, re war credit, etc. But it's close.
   5. karlmagnus Posted: May 29, 2005 at 02:06 PM (#1369587)
Ruffing looks to me significantly inferior to Rixey, and get a lot of his wins simply by pitching for the Yankees. He could hit, though, but even so he's just off the bottom of this crowded ballot.
   6. sunnyday2 Posted: May 29, 2005 at 02:38 PM (#1369622)
The interesting thing about Ruffing is his career shape.

Career totals--at least very good as in HOVG
Prime--at least VG
Peak--not VG but G

No one of these categories screams "elect me," but he's got something to say in each one. Kinda like George Sisler if you ask me. But then like Sisler:

Non-prime seasons--NOT G at all

So do we rate him on his good years or on the bad?
   7. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: May 29, 2005 at 04:52 PM (#1369797)
I don't have Ruffing as better than Rixey, which means he won't make my ballot in 1953. He could be in the top 30, though.
   8. DavidFoss Posted: May 29, 2005 at 05:23 PM (#1369871)
There is a book called "The Worst Baseball Pitchers of All Time: Bad Luck, Bad Arms, Bad Teams, and Just Plain Bad" by Kaufman & Kaufman. They bestowed the "Sold His Soul to the Devil" award on Red Ruffing for his career turnaround -- making it to the HOF after winning two Skunk Stearns awards early in his career. Ruffings turnaround was the most impressive ever -- other winners of this award included Camilio Pascual and Jerry Koosman for his Twins renaissance.
   9. OCF Posted: May 30, 2005 at 02:42 AM (#1371105)
I've got his career raw RA+ Pythpat record as 269-214, which puts him right there with - actually, a little ahead of - Faber and Rixie.

His case present an unusually large assortment of confounding factors to be dealt with - disentangling the pitcher from the team, which is mostly about defensive support, and accounting for his own hitting, which was quite good.
   10. TomH Posted: June 01, 2005 at 12:01 AM (#1373064)
Ruffing looks like (career wise) as effective a pitcher as Rixey, if ou adjust for defense and league qual.
Career length, at least as good - both ought to get similar war credit for those who do that
Ruffing's bat, of course, is huge - I guess about 130 runs better, or 11 wins (when converting pitcer batting from runs to wins, considering the offensive environ of the day and that the pitcher bats with fewer men on base, I'll use about 12 runs per win)
So to me it's easy to put Ruffing ahead - I think he'll debut about 8th on my ballot. He'd be top 5 if there weren't a question about his poor W-L record that the wonderful RSIs discuss
   11. Paul Wendt Posted: June 01, 2005 at 02:48 PM (#1374005)
OCF
His case present an unusually large assortment of confounding factors to be dealt with - . . . disentangling the pitcher from the team, which is mostly about defensive support,

Is there any anecdote re the turnaround? A new pitch or new coach? Re his soul, beside the devil, "discouraged" or "playing for a release" in Boston?

and accounting for his own hitting, which was quite good.

This won't go away, but diminuendo. Ferrell, Ruffing, Lemon, Drysdale,

TomH
Ruffing's bat, of course, is huge - I guess about 130 runs better [than Eppa Rixey's], or 11 wins (when converting pitcher batting from runs to wins, considering the offensive environ of the day and that the pitcher bats with fewer men on base, I'll use about 12 runs per win)

? Do you also adjust for leadoff batting?
   12. Paul Wendt Posted: June 01, 2005 at 02:51 PM (#1374009)
(afterthoughts)
There is a general tendency to remove pitchers from high-leverage batting situations. Charley Ruffing in particular was commonly used as a pinch-hitter.
   13. Trevor P. Posted: June 01, 2005 at 03:12 PM (#1374052)
Ruffing looks like (career wise) as effective a pitcher as Rixey, if ou adjust for defense and league qual.

Though I lurked for quite awhile prior to posting my first ballot a few years ago, I must have missed the threads where league quality regarding the NL of the 1910s and 1920s was discussed. Can someone point me in the right direction?
   14. DavidFoss Posted: June 01, 2005 at 03:21 PM (#1374069)
Though I lurked for quite awhile prior to posting my first ballot a few years ago, I must have missed the threads where league quality regarding the NL of the 1910s and 1920s was discussed. Can someone point me in the right direction?

There is a link right above the list of ballot links on the front page.
   15. TomH Posted: June 01, 2005 at 03:40 PM (#1374113)
Paul, yes, I also discount leadoff hitters; historically they bat with about 10-12% fewer runners on base than league avg, and so I cut their totals (like Runs Created) by 4% if they spent their whole career batting first. But natch they do get credit for an extra 10-12% plate appearances. Not a huge thing, but enough for me to swap my preference for Frank Robby over Rickey Henderson, which otherwise would go the other way. Unless Rickey scores another 100 runs in MLB in '06 :)
--
Yes, Rixey et al would be more often pinch hit for with high-leverge situations, although I guess it's not generally true for exceptions like Ruffing, so maybe it should be more like 11 runs per win instead of 12 for him.
   16. Cblau Posted: June 02, 2005 at 02:17 AM (#1375760)
Per the Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, Bob Shawkey, Yankees pitching coach, changed Ruffing's motion. The new one put a lot less strain on his arm, so he didn't run out of gas in the 5th inning.
   17. Trevor P. Posted: June 02, 2005 at 01:59 PM (#1376480)
Thanks, David.
   18. PhillyBooster Posted: June 02, 2005 at 03:59 PM (#1376694)
I think the comparisons to Rixey, Faber and Lyons are misplaced. I like these comparisons better.

Player A: 3082 IP, ERA+ 127, OPS+ 9

Player B: 3169 IP, ERA+ 120, OPS+ 81

Player C: 2623 IP, ERA+ 117, OPS+ 100

Player A is HoMer Stan Coveleski. Player C is Top 10 candidate Wes Ferrell.

In between the two are "Player B", which is Red Ruffing's stats as a Yankee only.

In my mind, Red Sox stats don't add anything to the discussion, and only confuse the issue, making it seem like comparisons to "4000 inning" pitchers are more relevant to comparisons to "3000 inning" pitchers.

Now, I had Coveleski #15 on my ballot when he went in, and Ferrell is currently in my 16-20 range, so Ruffing may go there are well. All three were, in my opinion, a notch below the 4000+ triumvirate above.
   19. sunnyday2 Posted: June 02, 2005 at 04:37 PM (#1376764)
Matt, excellent point. The question re. Ruffing is whether to rate him on his good years and his good points, as you suggest, or to in effect give him a deduction or penalty for not being very good before meeting up with Bob Shawkey. If the latter, then this is another case where he might have been better off in the minor leagues to that point.
   20. andrew siegel Posted: June 02, 2005 at 05:02 PM (#1376823)
Before we all get too caught up in the Bob Shawkey story, I note that the WARP statistics suggest that a good deal of the difference in his Boston and NY numbers is context-driven illusion. According to WARP, he was already a good pitcher in Boston.

WARP credits him with 241 pitching runs above replacement in 1142.33 innings in Boston and 852 pitching runs above replacement in 3201.67 innings after he came to NY.

Comparing those numbers:

Boston--.211 runs/inning or 63 runs per 300 innings.

Rest of career--.266 runs/inning or 80 runs per 300 innings.

That's a real difference but not overwhelming.
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: June 05, 2005 at 11:43 PM (#1383512)
HOM Ps, by year, through 1951 election. Must have pitched 1 IP per G or 35 G and mainly this position to be listed:
1868-76 (1) - Spalding
1877
1878 (1) - Ward
1879 (2) - Ward Galvin
1880 (3) - Ward Galvin Keefe
1881-83 (4) - Ward Galvin Keefe Radbourn
1884 (4) - Galvin Keefe Radbourn Clarkson
1855-88 (5) - Galvin Keefe Radbourn Clarkson Caruthers
1889 (6) - Galvin Keefe Radbourn Clarkson Caruthers Rusie
1890-91 (8) - Galvin Keefe Rad bourn Clarkson Caruthers Rusie Young Nichols
1892 (6) - Galvin Keefe Clarkson Rusie Young Nichols
1893 (5) - Keefe Clarkson Rusie Young Nichols
1894 (4) - Clarkson Rusie Young Nichols
1895 (4) - Rusie Young Nichols Wallace
1896 (3) - Young Nichols Wallace
1897-98 (3) - Rusie Young Nichols
1899-00 (3) - Young Nichols McGinnity
1901 (5) - Young Nichols McGinnity Plank Mathewson
1902 (5) - Young McGinnity Plank Mathewson RFoster
1903 (6) - Young McGinnity Plank Mathewson RFoster Brown
1904-05 (7) - Young Nichols McGinnity Plank Mathewson RFoster Brown
1906-07 (7) - Young McGinnity Plank Mathewson RFoster Brown Walsh
1908 (8) - Young McGinnity Plank Mathewson RFoster Brown Walsh Johnson
1909 (7) - Young Plank Mathewson RFoster Brown Walsh Johnson
1910 (8) - Young Plank Mathewson RFoster Brown Walsh Johnson Williams
1911-12 (8) - Plank Mathewson RFoster Brown Walsh Johnson Williams Alexander
1913 (7) - Plank Mathewson RFoster Brown Johnson Williams Alexander
1914 (8) - Plank Mathewson RFoster Brown Johnson Williams Alexander Faber
1915 (9) - Plank Mathewson RFoster Brown Johnson Williams Alexander Faber Ruth
1916 (8) - Plank Foster Johnson Williams Alexander Faber Covaleski Ruth
1917 (6) - Johnson Williams Alexander Faber Covaleski Ruth
1918 (3) - Johnson Williams Covaleski
1919 (5) - Johnson Williams Alexander Faber Covaleski
1920 (4) - Williams Alexander Faber Covaleski
1921 (6) - Johnson Williams Alexander Faber Covaleski Rogan
1922-23 (7) - Johnson Williams Alexander Faber Covaleski Rogan Vance
1924 (8) - Johnson Williams Alexander Faber Covaleski Rogan Vance Lyons
1925 (9) - Johnson Williams Alexander Faber Covaleski Rogan Vance Lyons Grove
1926 (10) - Johnson Williams Alexander Faber Covaleski Rogan Vance Lyons Grove BFoster
1927 (8) - Johnson Williams Alexander Rogan Vance Lyons Grove BFoster
1928 (8) - Williams Alexander Faber Rogan Vance Lyons Grove BFoster
1929 (8) - Williams Faber Rogan Vance Lyons Grove BFoster Hubbell
1930 (7) - Williams Faber Vance Lyons Grove BFoster Hubbell
1931 (6) - Williams Faber Vance Grove BFoster Hubbell
1932 (8) - Williams Vance Lyons Grove BFoster Hubbell, Dihigo
1933 (6) - Lyons Grove BFoster Hubbell, Dihigo
1934 (4) - Lyons BFoster Hubbell, Dihigo
1935 (4) - Lyons Grove BFoster Hubbell (Dihigo)
1936 (3) - Lyons Grove Hubbell (Dihigo)
1937 (4) - Lyons Grove BFoster Hubbell
1938-40 (3) - Lyons Grove Hubbell
1941-42 (2) - Lyons Hubbell
Welch would be 1880-91
Griffith would be 1891 and 1894-1906
Rixey would be 1912-17 and 1919-33

Negro Leaguers problematic, obviously.
I'll supply any other positions upon request, probably in a more appropriate thread though..
   22. Howie Menckel Posted: June 06, 2005 at 02:16 AM (#1383807)
Well, that's thru 1952, obviously
   23. TomH Posted: June 06, 2005 at 12:12 PM (#1384436)
Here are the results of taking Howie's table and turning it into a moving average of +-5 years on each side ("1915" means the avg of years 1910 thru 1920):

1885-87 5
1888-90 6
1891-95 5
1896-1900 4
1901-02 5
1903-05 6
1906-09 7
1910-12 8
1913-16 7
1917-19 6
1920-25 7
1926-28 8
1929-31 7
1932-33 6
1934-35 5
1936-37 4
   24. sunnyday2 Posted: June 06, 2005 at 12:37 PM (#1384447)
Extending Tom's table a bit:

1873-75 1
1876-78 2
1879 2.5
1880-81 3
1882-83 4
1884 5

One could certainly argue from this data that along with 1896-1900, the early days prior to 1884 are underrepresented.

Not to mention, so far, the period post-1935.
   25. Howie Menckel Posted: June 07, 2005 at 01:04 AM (#1385872)
cool stuff, TomH and sunnyday....
   26. Brent Posted: June 07, 2005 at 02:12 AM (#1386138)
sunnyday2 wrote:

One could certainly argue from this data that... the early days prior to 1884 are underrepresented.

However, if we were to look at the percentage of innings pitched by HoMers for different periods, I'll bet that the period prior to 1884 would seem to be overrepresented. (One or two pitchers per team.)
   27. OCF Posted: June 12, 2005 at 02:39 AM (#1398544)
For the second time (the first time being Ferrell), I tried a full adjustment for hitting for Ruffing. The methodology is exactly the same as what I applied to Ferrell.

I first tried to separate his pinch-hitting from his hitting while a pitcher. As with Ferrell, the vast bulk - always over 80% - of his hitting happened while he was a pitcher. The pinch-hitting value over his career comes out to 2 to 2.5 wins better than a 75% of league average baseline. Interestingly, this is almost exactly the same as the value of Ferrell's pinch-hitting. Ferrell was more effective per plate appearance, but Ruffing had more plate appearances.

The offense while pitching was judged against a 30% of league average RC/out. This was turned into an estimate of extra runs per game, and that added to the league and park run environment before turning his RA into a Pythagorean record.

This process adds 16 to 17 wins to Ruffing career; my offense modified RA+ pythpat career record is now 285-197. His three top years, 1932, 1937, and 1938, come out as 20-9, 20-9, and 20-8 under this system.

If I take this at face value, Ruffing becomes by far our best qualified eligible pitcher, and with a career value comparable to Hubbell, albeit without Hubbell's peak.

I don't quite take it at face value, because there's still one more adjustment that could be made, and that is for defensive support. Ruffing was in general well-supported by the Yankee defense.
   28. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 12, 2005 at 05:00 AM (#1398795)
16-17 wins? That's really high. Heck, I've only got a few pitchers in baseball history who gain that many wins from their teammates offense.

About his defense -- I have him at +0.5 fielding win shares in my defensive adjustment. That puts him in the bottom fourth of pitchers on my website.
   29. OCF Posted: June 12, 2005 at 06:38 AM (#1398827)
You're right: 16-17 wins is too much. I found a bug in the formulas, and it's more like 13 wins, which is still big. New estimate: 282-201. New estimate of top three years: 20-9, 20-9, 19-8.

My Ferrell calculations had the same flaw. Lower my estimate for him from 179-113 to 177-115.
   30. Cblau Posted: June 13, 2005 at 12:49 AM (#1400119)
OCF-
Two questions. Why are you comparing Ruffing's offense to 30% of league average, when pitchers as a whole were over 50% of league average in the 1930's?

And where are you getting pinch-hitting statistics?
   31. OCF Posted: June 13, 2005 at 02:15 PM (#1401060)
The 30% is a wild guess, although I looked at some other pitchers and it didn't seem riduculous. This is in RC/out. I may try it again with 50% just to see what happens - Ferrell too.

The only thing I'm doing with pinch-hitting is this: subtract games pitched from games played; assume the difference is pinch-hitting appearances (except for, in Ruffing's case, three career games in the outfield). Assume each pinch-hitting appearance is one plate appearace. Determine what fraction of plate appearances that is and take a proportional slice of the batting statistics.

If Ruffing were used extensively as a pinch-runner, that would throw this off, but I don't think that's the case. His productivity as a pinch-hitter might be different than his overall productivity but I wouldn't know.
   32. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 13, 2005 at 03:22 PM (#1401177)
If Ruffing were used extensively as a pinch-runner, that would throw this off, but I don't think that's the case.

IIRC Ruffing was missing a toe or some part of a foot, though I don't know if that was a war injury or not. If it was a pre-war thing, I'd agree with OCF that he wouldn't be used much as a pinch runner.
   33. OCF Posted: June 13, 2005 at 11:31 PM (#1402119)
...when pitchers as a whole were over 50% of league average in the 1930's?

My son has been looking at this on my behalf, trying to get RC/out as a percentage of league for whole staffs or leagues. So far all he has is 1935. Prelimnary conculusion: AL pitchers hit better than NL pitchers, by quite a bit. More on this when he has a couple of other years to look at.
   34. DavidFoss Posted: June 13, 2005 at 11:41 PM (#1402132)
My son has been looking at this on my behalf, trying to get RC/out as a percentage of league for whole staffs or leagues. So far all he has is 1935. Prelimnary conculusion: AL pitchers hit better than NL pitchers, by quite a bit. More on this when he has a couple of other years to look at.

Lee Sinin's Sabermetric Encylopedia spits out positional batting splits for leagues. I could post some of the numbers when I get home from work if you like.
   35. Cblau Posted: June 14, 2005 at 12:13 AM (#1402179)
According to Palmer and Thorn (and Elliot Cohen), pitcher's hitting was 60% of regulars in the mid-1930's. And FWIW, Ruffing was 58-228 as a PH.
   36. OCF Posted: June 14, 2005 at 12:30 AM (#1402221)
And FWIW, Ruffing was 58-228 as a PH.

For a .241 BA, compared to his overall .268 (.272 when not pinch hitting). My estimate was based on assuming his productivity was the same in both roles, but it really doesn't change much if it's not. A little less value as a PH, a little more as a P.

That's 228 AB. If his BB-HBP-S came ate about the same rate in that role as for his overall record, that would be about 246 PA. Three games in the outfield and maybe he's at 257 PA when not a pitcher. My crude estimate was 253 PA, so that checks out perfectly. No, he wasn't used as a pinch runner.

Side note: Ruffing's rate of sacrifices, 43 in nearly 2000 AB, is rather low for a pitcher - which makes sense.
   37. DavidFoss Posted: June 14, 2005 at 03:14 AM (#1402565)
AMERICAN LEAGUE--P HITTING STATS

YEAR     AB       R      H       2B      3B     HR  HR%      RBI      BB      SO     SB    CS
1930     3872     420      832    141     43     20  0.52     378     251     883       3      3 
1931     3838     373      743    118     20     24  0.63     319     227     874       6      2 
1932     3793     341      715    121     28     20  0.53     336     219     950       2      1 
1933     3728     306      702     88     20     17  0.46     280     227     775       6      4 
1934     3791     295      694    112     13     19  0.50     309     201     916       2      3 
1935     3786     365      762    113     17     29  0.77     362     266     865       2      2 
1936     3902     342      759    101     15     19  0.49     371     219     862       1      1 
1937     3908     369      767    110     17     16  0.41     344     246     933       5      3 
1938     3746     336      691     97     15     19  0.51     330     236     876       5      3 
1939     3722     328      734     91     13     14  0.38     294     224     838       3      3 
TOT     38086    3475     7399   1092    201    197  0.52    3323    2316    8772      35     25
   38. DavidFoss Posted: June 14, 2005 at 03:18 AM (#1402570)
AMERICAN LEAGUE--P HITTING STATS

YEAR  AVG  SLG  OBA  OPS  RC   TB    EBH  ISO  SEC  BPA  HBP GIDP   SAC    
1930 .215 .289 .264 .553  330  1119  204 .074 .139 .333   6    0    172       
1931 .194 .254 .240 .494  271   973  162 .060 .120 .298   9    0    174       
1932 .189 .251 .234 .485  252   952  169 .062 .120 .293   7    0    193       
1933 .188 .236 .236 .472  240   881  125 .048 .109 .282   6    0    203       
1934 .183 .235 .227 .461  236   889  144 .051 .104 .275  13    0    216      
1935 .201 .263 .255 .518  308   996  159 .062 .132 .312   5    0    203       
1936 .195 .243 .239 .481  264   947  135 .048 .104 .284   8    0    188       
1937 .196 .245 .245 .491  271   959  143 .049 .113 .292   8    0    190       
1938 .184 .234 .234 .468  242   875  131 .049 .113 .281   7    0    206       
1939 .197 .240 .245 .485  253   893  118 .043 .103 .261  10   95    225      
   39. DavidFoss Posted: June 14, 2005 at 03:22 AM (#1402573)
AMERICAN LEAGUE--PITCHERS EXCLUDED HITTING STATS

YEAR   AB     R      H      2B    3B   HR  HR%    RBI   BB    SO     
1930  38951  6244  11495   2226  614  653  1.68  5781  3713  3196     
1931  39193  5896  11265   2171  510  546  1.39  5484  3890  3088     
1932  39608  6090  11295   2163  541  688  1.74  5664  4190  3071     
1933  38900  5770  10927   2003  524  589  1.51  5368  4136  3134     
1934  38969  5988  11234   2084  435  667  1.71  5528  4381  3344     
1935  39159  5849  11261   2095  508  633  1.62  5421  4277  3060     
1936  39414  6592  11774   2282  527  731  1.85  6097  4592  3116     
1937  39379  6130  11407   2182  522  790  2.01  5721  4530  3521     
1938  38738  6243  11243   2036  470  845  2.18  5873  4683  3364     
1939  38858  6074  11130   2015  485  782  2.01  5660  4430  3467     
   40. DavidFoss Posted: June 14, 2005 at 03:25 AM (#1402583)
AMERICAN LEAGUE--PITCHERS EXCLUDED HITTING STATS

YEAR  AVG  SLG  OBA  OPS   RC    TB      EBH   ISO  SEC  BPA   HBP  GIDP   SAC
1930 .295 .434 .359 .794  6384  16908    3493 .139 .239 .490   197     0  1122      
1931 .287 .411 .354 .765  6068  16094    3227 .123 .227 .470   175     0   459      
1932 .285 .419 .356 .775  6268  16604    3392 .134 .243 .480   159     0   525      
1933 .281 .405 .352 .757  5883  15745    3116 .124 .232 .465   139     0   589      
1934 .288 .415 .362 .778  6270  16189    3186 .127 .246 .481   129     0   586      
1935 .288 .416 .360 .776  6223  16271    3236 .128 .241 .479   167     0   593      
1936 .299 .439 .374 .813  6924  17303    3540 .140 .263 .505   182     0   461      
1937 .290 .432 .365 .797  6635  17003    3494 .142 .263 .497   155     0   474      
1938 .290 .432 .369 .802  6610  16754    3351 .142 .269 .500   156     0   475      
1939 .286 .424 .362 .785  6352  16461    3282 .137 .257 .471   139   836   830      
   41. DavidFoss Posted: June 14, 2005 at 03:26 AM (#1402585)
Let me know if that type of data interests anybody. Its basically free with the Lee Sinin Encyclopedia, so I could post other leagues/years/positions/etc.
   42. OCF Posted: June 14, 2005 at 04:27 AM (#1402714)
One thing is clear: RC/out, which is what I'm using, behaves quite differently at the extremes than the measure used by Palmer/Thorn/Cohen that CBlau is quoting. RC/out gets pushed further away from average. That may be a weakness of the metric, but it is at least consistent with the way I have been measuring offense.

Pitchers' production as a percentage of league average, by RC/out:

1932 NL: 26%
1932 AL: 29%
1935 NL: 24%
1934 AL: 38%
1938 NL: 23%
1938 AL: 27%

This is all hitting by persons whose principal position is pitcher; the existence of P/PH is thus a distorting factor since only good-hitting pitchers would have been so used. Also, 1935 was the year Ferrell played some outfield.

The best-hitting team in these six league-years? Washington 1938 at 62%, followed by Boston 1935 at 57%. By far the worst-hitting team in this sample was Boston 1932.

The biggest difference between NL pitchers and AL pitchers? AL pitchers walked more.

30% is now not looking so bad. However, I now realize there's another distortion: I've been using a single park factor from the Stats handbook rather than the PPF from bbref. Hence I haven't corrected for the fact that Ruffing as a Yankee didn't have to face the Yankee hitters.
   43. Cblau Posted: June 14, 2005 at 10:53 PM (#1404449)
Wild. Just eyeballing the stats above, it looks like the ratio of pitchers' to nonpitcher's OPS is better than 60%, while the ratio of RC/out is 38% for the AL for the 1930's. Don't know why.
   44. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 14, 2005 at 11:25 PM (#1404521)
"Ruffing looks to me significantly inferior to Rixey, and get a lot of his wins simply by pitching for the Yankees. He could hit, though, but even so he's just off the bottom of this crowded ballot."

I'm with Karl here. Actually, I like him even less. To me Ruffing looks a lot Frank Tanana, if Tanana could like Brad Ausmus. The hitting bumps him up, but not to anywhere near my ballot. I should give him a little war credit as he was still going strong when he left and was good when he came back.

I've basically got Ruffing and Lombardi swapped out with the consensus. PhillyBooster makes a great point in #18, so maybe I could bump him up some. I still like Rixey much more. I think Ruffing should move up to the 16-25 range, but I can't see him moving past there.

I'll give a good comparison with Ferrell before the next ballot.
   45. karlmagnus Posted: June 15, 2005 at 12:37 AM (#1404736)
I think the Commissioner and I differed violently on Parisian Bob, but I'm delighted to see that we're now in agreement on 3 players, Ruffing, Lombardi and Beckley. Lombardi in particular looks like another of WS' substantial errors; he was much furtehr up the pecking order than WS gives him credit for.
   46. andrew siegel Posted: June 16, 2005 at 03:12 PM (#1408929)
My numbers really like Ruffing and like Grimes a lot better than most of you, but I found your arguments persuasive so I went back and took a look at my system.

I think I've set my baseline too low.

More specifically, both WS and, in particular WARP, give an extraordinary amount of credit for simply being an average pitcher. Ruffing has a whole bunch of seasons where he is 50 or 60 or 70 runs above replacement level according to WARP but only 5 or 15 or 22 runs above average. While it may be correct from an analytical standpoint to treat all the runs saved above replacement as equivalent (whether they are the runs that bring you closer to average or the runs that make you a Cy Young candidate), I'm not sure that they are all equal for the purpose of evaluating candidates for the HoM.

(Certainly, when it comes to position players I haven't treated them as equal or Beckley would be at the top of my ballot.)

So, I'm working on a new system for rating pitchers that doesn't give bulk such a big reward. Ruffing (and Grimes) should drop under my new system.

In Ruffing's favor, however, I note that among all pitchers who peaked between 1920 and 1970, he ranks (from memory) fourth in total WS behind 3 first ballot HoMers.
   47. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 08, 2005 at 01:46 PM (#1529736)
Reposting a bunch of stuff from the 1957 Ballot Thread:

1.Posted by Kelly from SD on August 02, 2005 at 07:02 AM (#1516660)
Part one of two on Red Ruffing. I am not finished with all the research I want to do. I still need to do a comparison of him with Gomez - who pitched against whom, pitched against different teams, etc. But, in general, it is finished.

Summary: Ruffing matched the performance of other Yankee pitchers. He just never got hurt. His bat helps his WS tremendously compared with someone like Gomez. He did not pitch well compared with the rest of the staff when facing teams that finished ahead of the Yankees from 1930 to 1942, nor did he pitch well compared to his teammates when facing the Yankees' closest rivals when the Yankees won the AL. Any pitcher could have, and did, have success pitching for the Yankees during the period when Ruffing pitched for them.

Extended version:
Yankee career numbers.
Wins: 231
Loss: 124
%age: .651
ERA: 3.47 from 3168 IP and 1222 earned runs
K/W: 1.43 from 1526 K and 1066 BB
WH/9: 11.54 from 3168 IP, 1066 BB, and 2995 hits allowed

I looked at Retrosheet to see how Ruffing did in a variety of situations. I found something surprising to me. His overall record while a Yankee was 231 – 124 or a .651 winning percentage. In games he started, the Yankees finished 241-146 or .623. He was used a few times out of the bullpen in his first few years with the Yankees and went 4 – 5 (with 7 saves) so as a starter, his record was 227 – 119 or .656. The Yankees went 14 – 27 in games where Ruffing started, but did not get a decision.

The Yankees’ record in 1930-1942, 1945-1946 was 1430 – 862 or .624 percentage. The Yankees record in Ruffing’s starts was 241 – 146 or .623. Including his bullpen work gives you 245 – 151 or .619. So the Yankees performed exactly as well with Ruffing as they did without Ruffing over his 3168 innings with the team.
Ruffing starting and getting a decision: 227 – 119
Ruffing starting and someone else gets a decision: 14 – 27
Ruffing gets a decision as a reliever: 4 – 5.
I would expect a HoM pitcher to pull his team above its average performance. And it is not the case of one or two terrible years dragging him back to the team. From 1931 to 1936, the Yankees had a worse record with Ruffing starting than they did overall every year. The same is true for 1940 and 1942. The funny thing is that the difference positive or negative is often quite large.
The following chart is year, Yankees overall W/L, W/L when Ruffing starts or gets a relief decision, W/L when Ruffing does not start or get a relief decision, difference:
1930   86–68 .558  15 -  8 .653  71 – 60 .542 .111
1931   94–59 .614  16 – 16 .500  78 – 43 .645  
.145
1932  107–47 .695  20 – 11 .645  87 – 36 .707  
-.062
1933   91–59 .607  11 – 18 .379  80 – 41 .661  
-.282
1934   94–60 .610  19 – 14 .576  75 – 46 .620  
-.046
1935   89–60 .597  17 – 13 .567  72 – 47 .605  
-.038
1936  102–51 .667  20 – 13 .606  82 – 38 .683  
-.077
1937  102–52 .662  23 – 8  .742  79 – 44 .642  
+.100
1938   99–53 .651  22 – 8  .733  77 – 45 .631  
+.102
1939  106–45 .702  21 – 7  .750  85 – 38 .691 
+.059
1940   88–66 .571  16 – 14 .533  72 – 52 .581  
-.048
1941  101–53 .656  17 – 6  .739  84 – 47 .641  
+.098
1942  103–51 .668  15 – 9  .625  88 – 42 .677  
-.052
1945   81–71 .533   8 – 3  .727  73 – 68 .518  
+.209
1946   87–67 .565   5 – 3  .625  82 – 64 .562  
+.063 


I checked to see if he was facing a disproportionate share of strong teams during his career. I found Ruffing to be slightly more likely to face a first place team and a fourth place team over the course of a season than any other team, but not much.
On average, he started against a
first place team 4.25 times a year,
second place 3.63 per year
third place 3.5 times
fourth place 4.14 times
fifth place 3.53 times
sixth place 3.4 times
seventh place 3.73 times
eighth place 3.53 times

This is nothing like Ford under Stengal.

In any case, even if was pitching slightly more frequently against the top teams than the bottom, he was not doing as well as the rest of the team did against those same teams. I looked specifically at the pre-WWII years because post-war, he only had one or two starts against any one team (in those 2 years, he went 2 – 4 vs. the top 3 teams)
In the years leading up to WWII, the Yankees finished 1st in 1932, 1936 – 1939, 1941-1942. Against the 2nd and 3rd place teams when the Yankees finished 1st, when Ruffing started the Yankees finished 28 – 27, but when everyone else started, the Yankees went 150 – 98. That is almost 100 percentage point difference: .509 to .605.
They finished 3rd in 1930 and 1940 and 2nd in 1931, 1933 – 1935. In those six years, Ruffing went 15 – 24, .384, against the teams the Yankees were chasing. When he wasn’t pitching, they went 60-77, .438.

I also did some totals for every pitcher who started 10 games in a season for the Yankees during 1930-1942 and 1945-46. There were 33 different pitcher who in one season or another started 10 games. 3 of them had losing records: 5 – 11 for a WWII pitcher, 6 – 7 for DeShong who started in 1934, and Sherrid 12 – 13 in 1930. 2 others were at .500 in their seasons as starters: Gettel, 15-15 in 45-46 and Breuer, 25-25 from 1940-1942. The other 28 starters had winning records while starting for the Yankees. Pretty much everyone who pitched for the Yankees had a winning record as a starter.
I think there was so much talent defensively and offensively that Yankee pitchers were like running backs to the Denver Broncos. Everyone looks good running behind that offensive line. Everyone looks good pitching for the Yankees. Yes, Gomez, Ruffing, and Chandler were a cut above the rest, but if a team can constantly plug new pitchers every year and they all have winning records with the Yankees, but do not do much after leaving the Yankees, I think it is the surroundings that have the most to do with it.
   48. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 08, 2005 at 01:48 PM (#1529738)
Posted by Kelly from SD on August 02, 2005 at 07:26 AM (#1516672)
Part 2

Esoteric Stuff:
Win Shares: 322
Win Shares per 275 IP: 20.38
Best 3 years: 75
Best 7 years: 163
At his retirement, he ranked 9th in career win shares by a pitcher post 1893. He ranked somewhere worse than 35th in win shares per 275 innings pitched. He ranked 43rd tied, in best 3 years (non-consecutive) or peak score. He ranked 32nd in best 7 years or prime score.
Compared to just HoMers: He would rank 9th in career win shares. He would rank last in peak by 5 win shares to Ted Lyons and by 14 to Eddie Plank. His prime score would tie Red Faber for last. His per 275 innings score would be ahead of only Red Faber. Well, if Red Faber is our standard for the HoM, he is in, but then so are about 10 more pitchers.
Compared to contemporaries / post 1893 eligibles: See previous post up the thread for details. He would be first in career win shares. In per 275 innings, he would be around 17th. In peak, he would be tied for 21st. In prime, he would be roughly 15th.

All-Star Appearances:
All-Star games: 6. This is a good number among his contemporaries, but nothing special. Hubbell appeared in 9, Grove 6. That is a good comparison. Hold on. Bucky Walters went to 6 all-star games. Lon Warneke went to 5. Lefty Gomez went to 7. Bobo Newsom went to 4. Paul Derringer and Tommy Bridges, they also went to 6.
STATS in their All-Time Sourcebook did retro All-Star teams:
Ruffing was chosen for 5. So was Ferrell; and Burleigh Grimes; and Urban Shocker; and Eppa Rixey; and Lefty Gomez. Carl Mays was chosen for 6. Bucky Walters, Herb Pennock, and Wilbur Cooper was chosen to 4.
Win Shares All-Star: Selected by ME based on top 4 win shares totals in each league in each year.
Ruffing has 4 of these. So do Mel Harder, Dizzy Dean, Bucky Walters, Vic Willis, Carl Mays, Rube Waddell, Urban Shocker, and Bob Shawkey.
Ferrell, Cooper, Grimes, and Rixey all made 6 though.

How about top 10s in league or majors?
Ruffing appearances in top 10 in pitching per win shares:
1928: 21: 6th league, 13th majors
1932: 26: 3rd league, 3rd majors
1934: 17: 7th league, 19th majors
1935: 22: 5th league, 9th majors
1936: 23: 5th league, 8th majors
1937: 24: 3rd league, 5th majors
1938: 25: 1st league, 2nd majors
1939: 22: 4th league, 6th majors
1941: 15: 9th league, below 20th majors

So Ruffing has 9 apps in the league top 10 and 6 majors top 10s.

Bobo Newsom has 7 and 4.
Tommy Bridges has 6 and 2.
Dizzy Dean has 6 and 5 and had less than ½ the career of Red.
Paul Derringer has 5 and 3.
Mel Harder has 5 and 5.
Lefty Gomez has 5 and 3.
Lon Warneke has 6 and 4.
Lefty Grove has 13 and 12.
Carl Hubbell has 9 and 6.
Ted Lyons has 7 and 5.

Stan Coveleski has 7 and 7.
Eppa Rixey has 8 and 6.
Carl Mays has 7 and 6
Burleigh Grimes has 8 and 6.
Wilbur Cooper has 9 and 7.

Vic Willis has 8 and 5.
Rube Waddell has 5 and 4.

And I didn’t do Hippo Vaughn, Urban Shocker, or Bob Shawkey who have many top 10s each, also.

So what separates Red? He was healthy. And he pitched for the Yankees. In a pitcher’s park. With good defenses behind him. Therefore, he won a lot of games.

I was somewhat surprised to find the Yankees played worse at home when he started than otherwise and the reverse on the road. The Yankees during Ruffing's years were 1430 - 862 (.624) overall, at home: 781 - 364 (.682), on the road: 649 - 498 (.565). In Ruffing's starts, the Yankees were only 130 - 65 (.667) at home, but 111 - 81 (.578) on the road.
That .682 record is 105 - 49 in 154 game schedule.

I also looked at WS per 9 innings for every pitcher who had 10 starts in a season during this period. It is hard to come to any conclusion because the Yankees had an average of almost 2 new starters every year and only 5 pitchers even had 700 innings pitched for the Yankees over the 15 years (at least mainly as starters): Ruffing - 3168, Gomez - 2411, Chandler - 1048, Pearson - 825, and Bonham - 737. These totals are based only on seasons where they got 10 starts or 100 innings pitched while Ruffing was pitching, so Gomez's injury season of 1940 is not included.
Anyway. Ruffing is the best among these 5 "long-timers," but it is solely due to his proficiency with the bat.
Player .. Win Shares per 9 innings
Ruffing .. .753
Bonham ... .746
Chandler .. .721
Pearson .. .698
Gomez .. .687

I don't have access to seasonal win shares broken down b/t pitching and hitting, but for his career Ruffing had 10% of his value from his bat. Gomez had zero and probably lost win shares because he hit so badly. But, a pitcher's bat counts so Ruffing comes out ahead.

In general, Ruffing's candidacy causes me some doubts, but not as much as Rixey's. If you are voting for Ruffing, how about Grimes? or Cooper?
   49. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 08, 2005 at 01:49 PM (#1529740)
Posted by TomH on August 02, 2005 at 08:26 AM (#1516690)
Thanks Kelly! For us Ruffing voters (who typically don't rely much on 'peak'), this is good research that tempers his case a bit in my eyes.
One note that has been made before: the claim that Red pitched in front of good defenses is only true starting in 1934 (half of his career, age 30 onward); before that, Yankee and Red Sox defenses were below average by most measures.

Posted by andrew siegel on August 02, 2005 at 08:56 AM (#1516709)
Kelly--

Your first post had me all convinced to drop Ruffing 20 or so places, but your second post strikes me as working in his favor.

If a guy has roughly the same number of all-star teams and league and majors top 10's as the top peak and prime candidates and has more career value, doesn't that speak in his favor rather than against him?

Posted by jschmeagol on August 02, 2005 at 09:55 AM (#1516777)
Andrew,

It coudl also show us that Redding benefitted more from his W-L record (i.e. playing for the yankees) than other pitchers from his era and is therefore overrated in history's eyes.

I am not a friend of Red Ruffing. I have him in the 30's for the same reasons that Kelly pointed out and dont' think he should be a HOMer. However, I cant' fight too vigorously against a Yankee making the HOM ;-).

Posted by TomH on August 02, 2005 at 10:08 AM (#1516790)
Ruffing does have a fine post-season record of 7W, 2L, 2.63 ERA
   50. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 08, 2005 at 01:53 PM (#1529750)
Posted by Kelly from SD on August 02, 2005 at 11:44 PM (#1519261)
The Further Adventures of Kelly’s Unhealthy Fascination with Red Ruffing:

I wasted much of today doing a comparison of Ruffing and Lefty Gomez. I looked at their record against the better pitchers of the era – Ruffing had more decisions, but Gomez the better records and more consistent. I broke down Gomez’ record by opponent and by finish. Gomez was spotted similarly to Ford (but not to such a sharp degree) while Ruffing just took a regular turn against every team. Gomez started a higher percentage of his starts against 1st division teams than did Ruffing. The Yankees won a higher percentage of their games when Gomez pitched against 1st division foes as opposed to when Ruffing started. Also, was used more against specific teams than others while Ruffing pitched the same amount against everyone. Lastly, there was something very wierd about the Yankees’ records when Gomez and Ruffing left games. While the Yankees collapsed when Ruffing did not get a decision (13-25 from 1930-1942), there was only a slight collapse when Gomez left (29-19 from 1930-1942).

I am not endorsing either candidate at this point. I thought it would be helpful if we had a comparison between the two stalwart Yankee pitchers. Also, it demonstrates to me some of the problems with win shares. Since it does not take who the pitcher faced into account you get results like 1932. Gomez went 24 – 7, started against the number 2 team (Phil) 8 times and went 7 – 0 and the Yankees won the other game anyway. Gomez was credited with 17 ws and Ruffing with 26. I understand Ruffing hit a whole lot better and he allowed fewer runs, but there is a definite problem without taking one’s opponents into account.

Specifics:
Against other top pitchers of era.

This was not a great era for pitchers. I used the win shares list of all players with 75 win shares for the 1930s and threw in a few more pitchers. The list: Grove, Ferrell, Harder, Bridges, Lyons, Hadley, Thorton Lee, Whitehill, Bobo, Allen, MacFayden, Crowder, Pearson, Hildebrand, Rowe, Earnshaw, Auker, Feller, Newhouser, Trout, Leonard, Walberg, Faber, and Uhle.
I am not going to type the individual records in.
Gomez: 66 – 45
Ruffing: 71 – 58

Gomez had a winning record against those pitchers every year, but for 1930 (0-2) and 1935 (5-8).
Ruffing had losing records in 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, and 1942.

Both pitchers had an amazing year. Gomez in 1932 went 11-0 while Ruffing in 1937 went 10-1.

Isolated records, (Gomez’ and Ruffing’s records):

Pitcher:  Gomez .. Ruffing 
Grove
:     6 – 5 ... 4 – 3  (both had winning records vs Grove)
Ferrell:   4 – 2 ... 5 – 3
Harder
:    5 – 8 ... 
Bridges
:   2 – 2 ... 7 – 0
Lyons
:     2 – 3 ... 6 – 5
Bobo
:      4 – 4 ... 5 – 3 
Rowe
:      2 – 3 ... 4 – 8  
Earnshaw
:  3 – 0 ... 3 – 2 
Feller
:    1 – 2 ... 2 – 4  
Walberg
:   3 – 1 ... 2 – 5 


Actually, against Grove, Gomez, Ruffing, and Grove have decisions as relievers and no-decisions as starters against one another. They are basically .500 against Grove.

Against Teams by Finish (1930 – 1942):
Fin .. Gomez / Ruffing
1st .. 9 – 14 (.391) / 12 – 20 (.375)
2nd .. 26 – 16 (.619) / 18 – 19 (.487)
3rd .. 24 – 17 (.585) / 23 – 17 (.575)
4th .. 40 – 13 (.755) / 38 – 19 (.667)
5th .. 27 – 12 (.692) / 38 – 13 (.745)
6th .. 32 – 12 (.727) / 30 – 17 (.638)
7th .. 29 – 16 (.644) / 37 – 17 (.685)
8th .. 25 – 7 (.781) ./ 32 – 18 (.640)


Ruffing’s advantage against 1st place teams is due to 1930 when Gomez started 6 times in his rookie year and 1940 when Gomez was injured.

I figured each pitchers’ percentage of games started against each finisher for the period.
Gomez / Ruffing
1st: .072 / .087
2nd: .132 / .101
3rd: .129 / .109
4th: .166 / .155
5th: .122 / .139
6th: .138 / .128
7th: .141 / .147
8th: .100 / .136

Again, Ruffing advantage against 1st place teams is due to 1930 and 1940.

Other notes:
Win Loss records from 1930 – 1942

Category      Gomez  Ruffing
Act Wins       189    219
Act Loss       101    120
Act 
%         .649   .646
as starter   183    215
as starter   89     115
% as starter  .673   .651
W in relief      6    4
L in relief     12    5
in relief   .333   .444
Tm W in ND     29     13 
Tm L in ND     19     25
Tm 
in ND    .604   .342
Total W        218    232
Total L        120    145
Total 
%       .645   .615 


Most wins against any opponent in a year: Gomez 1932 vs Phi: 7 – 0, Gomez 1934 vs Bos: 6 – 0, Gomez 1937 vs Was: 6 – 1, Ruffing 1939 vs Det: 6-1.
Worst record against any opponent in a year: Gomez 1935 vs Det: 1 – 5, Ruffing 1931 vs. Cle: 0 – 5

I hope this is interesting food for thought.

The weight of the evidence leads me to believe Ruffing is not a unique talent, does not have a significant peak, is greatly assisted by his surroundings, was the second best Yankee pitcher of the 1930s, the main difference b/t Ruffing and Gomez is Ruffing was healthier, and that Gomez was the more consistent, bigger game pitcher.

Posted by Kelly from SD on August 02, 2005 at 11:46 PM (#1519267)
Oh, and all information was gathered from Retrosheet. Without them, you would not have had to wade through these thousands of words about Ruffing
   51. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 08, 2005 at 02:02 PM (#1529759)
And now for a few thought of my own pulled out of my ballot where it's unlikely anyone would ever see them (It's OK, you want to attract attention, you submit on Monday.)

I'm not saying I completely agree with Kelly's analysis:

1)The "anybody could have done it" argument is belied by few of the other guys lasting more than a year or two. Did they just keep getting hurt, or did McCarthy have a extremely short leash for anyone but Ruffing and Gomez?

2)His non-Yankee time has some value - he threw a lot of innings in Boston.

3)When a team is as good as the Yankees, how much better can a pitcher be? I'd be interested to see a comparison to Three Finger Brown - everybody pitched well for the Cubs, too.

4)The odd thing is that he was better than the rest of the team in 37-39, which is generally regarded as the peak of that particular team. Obviously there's a certain amount of cause and effect here, but it's worth pointing out.

I have Ruffing on my ballot, but he really has a weird career. He does pretty poorly by Chris J's RSI analysis, but Chris basically says, "The numbers are probably wrong in his case," so I don't know what to make of it. In all honesty, I need to think about him some more.

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