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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Roger Connor

Eligible in 1903.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2007 at 02:23 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2299303)
A true titan of 19th century baseball, Connor was discussed in these threads:

1903 Ballot Discussion

First Basemen Positional Thread

If you know of any others, please let me know.
   2. OCF Posted: February 17, 2007 at 05:06 PM (#2299342)
There was a recent BTF thread in which Howard Megdal was campaigning for Gil Hodges for the Hall of Fame. Megdal included Connor on a list of HoF weaklings and marginals like Bottomley, Kelly, Terry, Chance, and so on that he could beat up on and claim that Hodges were better than. He simply didn't know what Connor's real qualifications are, and acted surprised when I called Connor "one of the monsters of his age."
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: February 17, 2007 at 06:16 PM (#2299366)
Well, Connor never hit more than 17 HRs and only knocked in more than 105 runs once, lol.

Never mind that his early-career seasons included only 80-something games and that the bulk of his career came in shorter seasons.
Sure, he ranked among the top 3 sluggers in the NL nine times from 1880 to 1890 (and 4th in 1891 and 1892), but it's all about the counting stats!

I'm gonna make that other guy change his first name.....
   4. sunnyday2 Posted: February 17, 2007 at 06:38 PM (#2299373)
>Megdal included Connor on a list of HoF weaklings and marginals like Bottomley, Kelly, Terry, Chance,

Sigh.
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 17, 2007 at 07:15 PM (#2299385)
To be fair to the other Howie, he was using BR.com's new Neutralize feature, which does a poor job with the 19th century players. When someone pointed out the inherent problems with that stat, he somewhat backtracked on his earlier comparison.
   6. HowardMegdal Posted: February 20, 2007 at 09:59 PM (#2300706)
"he somewhat backtracked on his earlier comparison."

If by "somewhat backtracked" you mean "completely withdrew," then yes, this is true. Thanks to all who brought me up to speed on Connor- I really appreciate it. He wasn't a player I knew much about, and I plan to continue changing that. Is there a definitive bio on him, incidentally?
   7. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 20, 2007 at 10:16 PM (#2300716)
If by "somewhat backtracked" you mean "completely withdrew," then yes, this is true.

Sorry about, Howard. I speed-read your post and didn't pick that up.

Is there a definitive bio on him, incidentally?

I'm not aware of one. He could use one, though I'm not sure there is enough hard data on him out there.
   8. HowardMegdal Posted: February 20, 2007 at 10:35 PM (#2300731)
No need to apologize. Sounds like it's Paperofrecord.com time for me! I'm curious where the Connor support comes from- is it just from his playing record itself? I'm assuming most of you haven't seen him play yourselves. What other sources do you use to evaluate him? I ask not to be snarky, but so that I can also read them...
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 20, 2007 at 10:47 PM (#2300739)
I checked out SABR's book on the 19th century, as well as Baseballlibrary.com, other sites on the web and many baseball books that have anecdotes about him.
   10. DavidFoss Posted: February 20, 2007 at 10:55 PM (#2300745)
Here a little online write-up about him:

http://baseballguru.com/attiyeh/analysismikeattiyeh01.html
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 20, 2007 at 11:26 PM (#2300759)
Howard,

One big thing is to just look at the numbers. His OPS+ are outstanding. WS and WARP also show him as a huge contributor. Once you prorate to 154 or 162 games, however, his counting stats show much better.

BTW, Ruth broke Connor's career HR record, IIRC.
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: February 21, 2007 at 12:21 AM (#2300800)
I saw him play. Awesome.
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 21, 2007 at 12:34 AM (#2300811)
I believe it, Marc. :-D
   14. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 21, 2007 at 02:44 AM (#2300890)
I saw him play. Awesome.

OK, if Harveys said that I might believe it, but.... ; )
   15. HowardMegdal Posted: February 21, 2007 at 03:17 AM (#2300908)
"I checked out SABR's book on the 19th century, as well as Baseballlibrary.com, other sites on the web and many baseball books that have anecdotes about him."

This isn't Deadball Stars of the National League, I assume, as I just went back and checked my copy. If you get a chance, let me know the title- I'll grab it.

"One big thing is to just look at the numbers. His OPS+ are outstanding. WS and WARP also show him as a huge contributor. Once you prorate to 154 or 162 games, however, his counting stats show much better."

This I saw- but I was struck by how he wasn't merely a star, but an inner circle guy.

"I saw him play. Awesome."

All joking aside, is he on the short list for players you'd travel back in time and see? What would that team be like?
   16. Howie Menckel Posted: February 21, 2007 at 03:26 AM (#2300911)
"I'm assuming most of you haven't seen him play yourselves."

Well played!
For me, look at his rank among peers in the key categories each year (click the "eligible in 1903" reference above). A very long and very high prime.

And I vote to allow Howard to keep his name after all :)
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 21, 2007 at 03:39 AM (#2300913)
This isn't Deadball Stars of the National League, I assume, as I just went back and checked my copy. If you get a chance, let me know the title- I'll grab it.

It's Baseball's First Stars, which is the second volume created for the 19th century stars (the first volume was aptly titled 19th Century Stars). It highlights the pre-20th century HOFers (which is almost all of them - some of them were in the first book, but they weren't enshrined at the time) not in the first book, as well as some other standouts left out of the first volume.
   18. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 21, 2007 at 03:42 AM (#2300915)
Since you asked, Howard....

I think Connor would be fun to see, but the guy I'd really want to watch for sheer entertainment value would be King Kelly. There's an awful lot of lore (and myth, surely) about him and about what an interesting player he was to watch. I think Ross Barnes would be fascinating to watch too, just to see how the master of the fair/foul hit did it. And maybe Bid McPhee to see what Brooks Robinson was like...without a glove.
   19. jimd Posted: February 21, 2007 at 04:01 AM (#2300925)
And maybe Bid McPhee to see what Brooks Robinson was like...without a glove.

Dunlap was allegedly better, ambidextrous, able to make amazing one-handed catch-and-throws with either hand. Hasn't made the HOM because he didn't last long enough. McPhee's in the HOM because he was very good forever.

Spink touted Dunlap as the best fielding 2nd-baseman ever (as of 1909 at least).
   20. jimd Posted: February 21, 2007 at 04:06 AM (#2300929)
Also, I agree with you about the King. And I want to see "Grasshopper" Jim Whitney pitch. He would start at the back of the pitching box, run forward, and jump before crossing the front line, releasing the ball in mid-air to throw down, as if from a mound (which hadn't been invented yet). And compare him to "Toad" Ramsey.
   21. Mark Donelson Posted: February 21, 2007 at 05:38 AM (#2300963)
He would start at the back of the pitching box, run forward, and jump before crossing the front line, releasing the ball in mid-air to throw down, as if from a mound

Sounds a little like a bowler in cricket...
   22. sunnyday2 Posted: February 21, 2007 at 05:56 AM (#2300968)
Dickey Pearce

The Cincy Red Stockings

Albert Spalding

Ed Williamson

And yes, King Kelly

Billy Hamilton

Amos Rusie
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: February 21, 2007 at 02:04 PM (#2301020)
I want to see Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson.
He either covered a lot of ground in center, or he had a tongue like a bullfrog.
Either way, that's something I want to see. :)
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 21, 2007 at 04:14 PM (#2301088)
Dickey Pearce

I'd like to have seen him when he was transforming the position of shortstop.

Besides the others mentioned, I would have liked to have seen Ezra Sutton and Deacon White. Paul Hines making his circus catches would be a treat, too. Can't forget Joe Start manning the fort at first or Amos Rusie flinging one of his thunderbolts.

But I agree King Kelly most likely would have been the most compelling presence out there.
   25. sunnyday2 Posted: February 21, 2007 at 04:18 PM (#2301091)
I shoulda mentioned Jim Creighton as well, the first pitcher to actually try to get batters out rather than just serve it up there like BP.
   26. DavidFoss Posted: February 21, 2007 at 04:20 PM (#2301092)
This I saw- but I was struck by how he wasn't merely a star, but an inner circle guy.

He was the "C" in the "ABC" of great 1880's first basemen. He didn't quite have the bat of Brouthers and certainly didn't have the longevity as Anson. He appears to have been the best fielder of the three though.
   27. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: February 21, 2007 at 05:40 PM (#2301145)
The Roger Connor memorial plaque is housed proudly at Municipal Stadium, Waterbury, CT.
   28. DL from MN Posted: February 21, 2007 at 05:57 PM (#2301156)
> Deadball Stars

Sounds like a fun Playstation game
   29. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 21, 2007 at 06:07 PM (#2301160)
Paul Hines making his circus catches would be a treat, too.

Or turning unassisted triple plays!
   30. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 21, 2007 at 06:12 PM (#2301165)
How could I forget this? Four players I'd want to see via the Way Back, Way Back! Machine:

Frank Grant
Grant Johnson
Bud Fowler
George Stovey
   31. jimd Posted: February 21, 2007 at 08:43 PM (#2301279)
Sounds a little like a bowler in cricket...

Hm. I've never watched a cricket match. I always thought cricket was like I imagined Al Spalding or Jim Creighton to be pitching, straight underhand, applying "English" to the ball was maybe not quite cricket. Maybe I should get out more. (And stop spending so much time reading here? Naah.)
   32. vortex of dissipation Posted: February 21, 2007 at 09:08 PM (#2301296)
Hm. I've never watched a cricket match. I always thought cricket was like I imagined Al Spalding or Jim Creighton to be pitching, straight underhand, applying "English" to the ball was maybe not quite cricket. Maybe I should get out more. (And stop spending so much time reading here? Naah.)

Here's an introductory video that shows cricket bowlers and their motions:

This Is Cricket - Bowling
   33. jimd Posted: February 21, 2007 at 09:44 PM (#2301316)
Then again, could my false image be based on 19th century cricket? There was some discussion here of cricket bowling during the great Spalding debates. Also, the Boston Red Stockings and the Athletic Club of Philadelphia toured England during the summer of 1874 (in the middle of the NA season, no less), putting on exhibitions of baseball and playing cricket against the British teams (all described in Nemec's Encyclopedia of 19th Century baseball). Has it evolved greatly since then? Baseball pitching certainly has.

Thanks for the link.
   34. Paul Wendt Posted: February 23, 2007 at 11:38 PM (#2302540)
Then again, could my false image be based on 19th century cricket?

Not based on competitive cricket contemporary to American baseball. Underarm to roundarm to shoulder-height (1790s to 1830s) to overarm (permitted 1864).

See Wikipedia: Pre-1850s in sports and all three of its References. And see Wikipedia: Roundarm bowling,

See also Cricket, History of Cricket
   35. Paul Wendt Posted: February 23, 2007 at 11:50 PM (#2302544)
The other HM #8
Sounds like it's Paperofrecord.com time for me! I'm curious where the Connor support comes from- is it just from his playing record itself?

As a longtime participant I daresay, Connor's playing record put him in the class where many HOM voters did not give him much attention.

Roger Connor has slipped through a few other cracks.
- At the turn of the millenium, he was one of three deceased Hall of Famers buried in an unmarked grave, with Bill Foster and Turkey Stearnes, two Negro Leagues stars. Connor played and managed (and owned?) ballclubs in Connecticut after his major league career and CT is the wealthiest state in the Union. It's hard to believe.
- At about the same time, the Baseball Survivor project did not include him in its initial group of 100+ premier players.

Is there a definitive bio on him, incidentally?

No. At least two people in Western CT are doing some research on Connor. (I have met two by email, perhaps this winter and last summer.) I don't remember whether either one plans a full-length book.
   36. HowardMegdal Posted: February 25, 2007 at 05:49 AM (#2302973)
"At the turn of the millenium, he was one of three deceased Hall of Famers buried in an unmarked grave, with Bill Foster and Turkey Stearnes, two Negro Leagues stars. Connor played and managed (and owned?) ballclubs in Connecticut after his major league career and CT is the wealthiest state in the Union. It's hard to believe."

He died in 1931- did he lose everything in the crash? Even his gravesite? That doesn't sound like a happy story... thanks for the info though.

A paragraph about his death appears on page 8 of the 1/8/31 Sporting News, and several on 1/15- so it wasn't unknown...
   37. Paul Wendt Posted: February 25, 2007 at 03:15 PM (#2303043)
Stearnes is now marked, too. Foster may be unknown.

But the Hall of Fame this year added some others without markers including Sol White. The SABR Negro Leagues Cmte published a list, about 7 of 17 inductees or about 7 of 39 finalists. It called for members to research the gravesites, if necessary, and help work on markers, which probably means locate/persuade some local non-members who might contribute money.
   38. DL from MN Posted: February 25, 2007 at 03:34 PM (#2303049)
Are there any unmarked among the HoM not HoF?
   39. HowardMegdal Posted: February 25, 2007 at 05:27 PM (#2303118)
Paul, I'm not arguing whether or not his gravesite is marked. What I'm wondering about is how that is possible, given that his death at the time warranted two stories in the Sporting News. Any sense of how that happened?

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