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Monday, January 22, 2007

Ron Guidry

Eligible in 1994.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 22, 2007 at 02:29 AM | 95 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 22, 2007 at 02:37 AM (#2284060)
Curious to see what his MLEs were before his awesome season of '77.
   2. JPWF13 Posted: January 22, 2007 at 03:48 AM (#2284089)
Curious to see what his MLEs were before his awesome season of '77.


probably none too good- he had terrible control problems early
   3. JC in DC Posted: January 22, 2007 at 04:23 AM (#2284101)
My favorite player, ever.
   4. OCF Posted: January 22, 2007 at 07:44 AM (#2284215)
In the RA+ system, I have his 1977 as an equivalent 24-7, which is spectacular. (Some other years: Koufax '66 26-10, Gibson '68 27-7, Carlton '72 28-8, Perry '72 27-11, Seaver '71 24-8, Gooden '85 25-6.)

But Guidry doesn't really have a rest of a career to back up that one year. I've got his career equivalent record as 158-108, which is quite a bit worse than his actual record (well-supported, perhaps?) and not enough for me to consider putting him on a ballot.

Does he rank above or below Vida Blue? That's not an easy question.
   5. Repoz Posted: January 22, 2007 at 08:08 AM (#2284227)
Back [in url=http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA197806170.shtml]June of 1978[/url]...I was blowing some beer & drinking some weed as I normally did with with the late great J.J. Smuggo Mohl at his parents tenement apt...when his pops (the later greater Jack J.J. Smuggo Mohl Sr.) decided to watch the Yankee game with us...

So out went the pot and we cracked open the vodka...and for some strange, unknown reason Smuggo Mohl Sr. announced that he was going to have a shot of soothing wodka every time Guidry struck out a batter.

18 shots later...we broke out the pot again...as the old man passed out.

For years, he blamed Joe Rudi's 4-K day on his failing liver.
   6. tjm1 Posted: January 22, 2007 at 11:24 AM (#2284251)
There's not a whole lot of difference between Guidry's stat lines and Koufax's. Koufax's are a bit better, but not so much better as to account for the differences in their HOF success.
   7. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 22, 2007 at 12:37 PM (#2284254)
Curious to see what his MLEs were before his awesome season of '77.

In the RA+ system, I have his 1977 as an equivalent 24-7, which is spectacular.


Unless there's some sort of miracle stat that you all have invented that sets all previous stats on their collective heads, I believe the year you're referring to was 1978.

There's not a whole lot of difference between Guidry's stat lines and Koufax's. Koufax's are a bit better, but not so much better as to account for the differences in their HOF success.

The difference is that whereas Guidry had one spectacular year and nothing else that came close to approaching it, Koufax had five spectacular years in a row, four of which involved tight pennant races, three of which the Dodgers won in great part because of his pitching.

Put it this way: Guidry was only "Sandy Koufax" for one year, and his overall career was more comparable to "Steve Carlton Lite" than to anyone else's. One historic year, quite a few other Excellent years, and a fair number of Not Muches scattered in there. Only Carlton had many more of the Excellents and a lower percentage of the Not Muches, which is why he's in the HOM and Ron Guidry will never be.

When I look at Guidry's career, I'm once again reminded of why I think that the next BTF project should be the Hall of Peak Value, where you combine a player's peak stat lines with their relative contributions to actual pennant races and postseason series. To begin such a Hall, I'd throw out Guidry 78 and Boudreau 48. Such a Hall would have a bit less statistical emphasis and a bit more emphasis of the context of those statistics, a bit less mathematics and a bit more historical setting.
   8. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 22, 2007 at 12:37 PM (#2284255)
I have Guidry as better than Jack Morris and Lefty Gomez, just a smidge behind Kaat, basically tied with Hippo Vaughn.

If he could have lasted a few more years, he'd have a shot with me, but it's just not quite a long enough career.

Peak guys should like him though. Using my system, but giving the Bill James peak type scoring system instead of Pennants Added or JAWS type scoring he comes out a lot better. In that type of system you could make a case for him being as good as Whitey Ford, Early Wynn, Billy Pierce, Dolph Luque or Clark Griffith, all HoMers except for Luque.

There of course several players in the peaky system that are way above that group that we haven't elected, guys like Dizzy, Dean, Bucky Walters, Urban Shocker, Dizzy Trout and Ed Cicotte. Guidry would have to rank below all of them IMO.

As a Yankee fan though, he is one of my all-time favorites, the ace of the staff when I was first introduced to the game.
   9. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 22, 2007 at 12:40 PM (#2284256)
tjm - Koufax buries Guidry. They are not on the same planet.

My Runs Allowed system shows Koufax with a career RA+ of 153, Guidry with 119. Guidry only pitched about a season's worth of innings more than Koufax, after adjusting for era norms.

Guidry's best season was a great year, no doubt. It would have been Koufax's fourth best season.
   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 22, 2007 at 12:40 PM (#2284257)
To begin such a Hall, I'd throw out [the names of] Guidry 78 and Boudreau 48.
   11. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 22, 2007 at 12:42 PM (#2284258)
OCF - I have him below both Steve Rogers and Vida Blue. Rogers was the best of the three.
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: January 22, 2007 at 12:45 PM (#2284259)
>When I look at Guidry's career, I'm once again reminded of why I think that the next BTF project should be the Hall of Peak Value,

The aforementioned MVP project could/would do this. First pick your MVPs. Then for each decade you could rate the MVP seasons 1-20.
   13. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 22, 2007 at 12:47 PM (#2284260)
There of course several players in the peaky system that are way above that group that we haven't elected, guys like Dizzy, Dean, Bucky Walters, Urban Shocker, Dizzy Trout and Ed Cicotte. Guidry would have to rank below all of them IMO.


Add Nap Rucker to that list - the peaky system shows him as better than all of those guys, except Dean - and he's only a smidge below Dean. He'd probably be dead even with Dean, but Dean only beats him out because of his better bat.
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 22, 2007 at 02:11 PM (#2284278)
Unless there's some sort of miracle stat that you all have invented that sets all previous stats on their collective heads, I believe the year you're referring to was 1978.

Obviously, I meant '78. That was the greatest performance that I ever saw until Gooden in '85.
   15. TomH Posted: January 22, 2007 at 02:18 PM (#2284281)
re: Hall of Peak Value and MVP project.
I'd be up for a countdown (Survivor) exercise of top 100 individual seasons. Start with nominations, create a group by initial consensus voting of best 100 seasons ever. Knock off a few per week until you wind up with The Best Season Ever.
   16. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 22, 2007 at 02:24 PM (#2284283)
Billy Martin was determined to get Guidry on the big league roster. I don't know if Martin and his coaching staff had anything to do with Ron getting a handle on the strike zone but as JP mentions above Guidry was pretty wild throughout his minor league career. 70 walks in 101 innings at Kinston. 53 BBs in 77 innings at West Haven. In 1975 in Syracuse he walked 37 in 62 innings which was a slight improvement but still no great shakes. Then 1976 rolls along and Ron pitches 40 innings at Syracuse strikes out 50 and walks 13 with a 0.68 ERA. And in 1977 he is in the rotation for the Yanks walking only 65 in 210 innings.

He always responded to Martin as his manager. 1977, 1978 (before Billy got fired), 1983, and 1985 were all really good years for Guidry. Granted, some of that is the fact that Martin left him in the game a LOT longer allowing Guidry to win games that might otherwise have gone to a relief pitcher. And who knows how that affected the man's arm. But he lasted until he was 37, won 170 games, and has two World Series rings. I doubt he's that upset.

I seem to recall Ron having nice things to say about Billy. As in Martin was the guy who believed in him before anyone else.

Do I have that correct Yankee fans?
   17. DavidFoss Posted: January 22, 2007 at 02:51 PM (#2284295)
Obviously, I meant '78.

Oh, since he said 'MLE' I actually thought he did mean 1977. 26-year-olds with 31 career MLB IP usually don't pitch 210 IP with five shutouts and an ERA+ of 140 and then prove it was no fluke by following it up with one of the great post-war pitching seasons in 1978.

He spent 1975-76 in AAA 6-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 1975 and 5-1 with a 0.68 ERA in 1976. BaseballCube's numbers look funny though... as if he was either hurt or he was being used as a reliever.
   18. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 22, 2007 at 03:03 PM (#2284301)
who knows how that affected the man's arm(?)

Well, I know exactly how Martin's managing in 1985 affected Guidry's arm -- it finished it. But yeah, I doubt that Guidry would give back that 22 win CYA runnerup season in exchange for a marginally less precipitous decline.
   19. tjm1 Posted: January 22, 2007 at 04:14 PM (#2284383)
Ok - I guess the similarities between Guidry and Koufax are more superficial than real (both lefties, almost identical carrer W-L records), but I still think that people who argue Koufax is the greatest lefty of all time should re-think that, unless they also think Guidry is a HOFer. For what it's worth, each won 20 games only three times, and Guidry did it in an era of 5 man rotations (although in the days where the fifth guy would get skipped a lot when there was an off-day).
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 22, 2007 at 05:00 PM (#2284442)
Ok - I guess the similarities between Guidry and Koufax are more superficial than real (both lefties, almost identical carrer W-L records), but I still think that people who argue Koufax is the greatest lefty of all time should re-think that, unless they also think Guidry is a HOFer. For what it's worth, each won 20 games only three times, and Guidry did it in an era of 5 man rotations (although in the days where the fifth guy would get skipped a lot when there was an off-day).

tjm1, I think you're misinterpreting what people say about Koufax. I don't know anyone who would argue that Koufax had the greatest lefty career of all time, which is what you're implying when you bring Guidry's overall career into the comparison. What they're saying is that for a brief, five year peak (1962-66), Koufax was the most consistently dominant lefty of all time, both in four tight pennant races and three World Series. His only real lapse during that stretch was the last couple of months of 1962 when he was injured.

Whether that assessment of Koufax is true or not is another story, but at his best he was right up there with Grove and Randy Johnson, even recognizing that Koufax's stats, unlike Grove's and Johnson's, get inflated by his era and his ballpark. But all that aside, there's simply no real comparison between Koufax and Guidry. One pitched like Koufax (and maybe even better than Koufax) for a year, while the real Koufax did it for five straight years.
   21. OCF Posted: January 22, 2007 at 05:11 PM (#2284451)
Yes, the "24-7" was 1978, not 1977. No, he's not Koufax. I have his best year as a little better than Blue's best but the career difference as unclear. I should work up Steve Rogers - haven't done so yet.
   22. JPWF13 Posted: January 22, 2007 at 05:32 PM (#2284476)
tjm - Koufax buries Guidry. They are not on the same planet.

My Runs Allowed system shows Koufax with a career RA+ of 153, Guidry with 119. Guidry only pitched about a season's worth of innings more than Koufax, after adjusting for era norms.



I cans see Guidry with an RA+ of 119 since his ERA+ was 120, but a 153 RA+ for Koufax?

No way, he played in possibly the greatest pitcher's park of all time- 1960s Dodger Stadium with a jacked up mound.

Koufax was better, but he definately wasn't on "another planet"
   23. OCF Posted: January 22, 2007 at 05:52 PM (#2284495)
I don't do a career RA+, but I can reverse-engineer one from the equivalent winning percentage: by that standard, I get Guidry at 121 and Koufax at 131. And Dean 129, Joss 128, Gomez 125, Ruth 121, Shocker 124, Maglie 125, Bridges 124, Waddell 124. It's not a number that means all that much by itself.
   24. DL from MN Posted: January 22, 2007 at 06:14 PM (#2284515)
Joe D got it right, Ron Guidry = Lefty Gomez. I actually have him slotted between Wilbur Wood and Gomez.
   25. Dizzypaco Posted: January 22, 2007 at 06:21 PM (#2284524)
Koufax was better, but he definately wasn't on "another planet"

No way, he played in possibly the greatest pitcher's park of all time- 1960s Dodger Stadium with a jacked up mound.

Koufax was on another planet. What part of pitching in Dodger Stadium in the 60's made it easy to have 97 - 27 record over a four year period?
   26. DavidFoss Posted: January 22, 2007 at 06:29 PM (#2284531)
Koufax was on another planet. What part of pitching in Dodger Stadium in the 60's made it easy to have 97 - 27 record over a four year period?

Who said that was easy? Don't change the subject here.

Guidry had a 76-28 record over a four year period. Whether that is a 'different planet' than Koufax is a semantic judgement call.

I think its unanimous that Koufax ranks above Guidry. Even to SABR types. Even with his early mediocre years mixed in, Koufax has a ten point lead in ERA+.
   27. JPWF13 Posted: January 22, 2007 at 06:57 PM (#2284547)
No way, he played in possibly the greatest pitcher's park of all time- 1960s Dodger Stadium with a jacked up mound.


I was talking about his RA+ of (allegedly) 153

Koufax's career RA was 3.12 (36 points higher tha his ERA)*

From 1955-1966 the NL averaged 4.244 runs per game
4.244/3.12 = 136

Koufax pitched more in the 60s than in the 50s, in fact more thasn 1/2 his career IP came from 1963-1966 when the NL average was 3.985.., weighting his league baseline per his innings pitched brings his RA+ down from 136 to about 132- before even taking Dodger Stadium into account. He gave up a few more runs than ERP or RC predict- but that may be because he was slightly "worse" with RISP than with bases empty (his worst split stat is a tie- he gave up an OPS of .664 with RISP & 2 outs-
hey, his OPS+ late and close is .531, it gets progressivey worse from there to tie games (.540), 1 runs games (.555), 2 runs games (.566) until finally in 4+ run games his opponent OPS+ was .664 - he pitched to the score!? (BTW Jack Morris shows no such pattern- a flat line- he gave up the same OPS+ in tie games, 1+, 2+, 4+ games- he did not pitch to the score- he won so much because of run support period)

Still, to get back on target I think it can be safely said that his career RA+ was lower than 153


[BTW Guidry's career RA was 3.59-30 points higher than his ERA- for this reason alone I am doubtful that Guidry's career RA+ would be worse than his ERA+, while Koufax's RA+ would be more than 20 points better than his ERA+)
   28. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 22, 2007 at 09:58 PM (#2284713)
I don't have time now, but later on (probably overnight) I'll give the full career rundown of Koufax, and we can pick apart the 153 . . . I will say that one of the things that boosts him are his leagues were especially tough, especially early in his career - the NL was much stronger than the AL during his time.
   29. DavidFoss Posted: January 22, 2007 at 10:02 PM (#2284718)
For comps, how about Guidry vs. Gomez?
   30. JPWF13 Posted: January 22, 2007 at 10:25 PM (#2284739)
I will say that one of the things that boosts him are his leagues were especially tough, especially early in his career - the NL was much stronger than the AL during his time.


How so?
Seriously, I suppose there are three options, the NL was stronger late 50s early 60s, the leagues were roughly even, or the AL was stronger.

I've seen all three positions put forth, I don't know which one to believe or put faith in.
I've read that from time to time that it's been generally accepted that one league was stronger than the other, but without interleague play, such opinions were based upon ridiculous smaple sizes (world series and all star games- which in addition to having small sample issues are not very representitive samples either)

One could systematically survey players changing leagues (which can include AAA to MLB as well) to see who fares better, NL Players moving to the AL or vice versa, AAA players moving to teh NL or AL, but you would also have to adjust for the aging curve etc. I know people ahve talked about such studies, but I have never seen one actually done*.



* The first time I'd heard of such a study it concerned the MLB in the teens (1915-1920)- in the context of a discussion of the Black Sox scandal- the WhiteSox were the prohibitive gambling favorite since recent WS success (plus players like Shoeless Joe and Cobb appeared to be superior to anyone the NL had) had convinced the mass of fans that the AL was superior to the NL - the 1919 Reds had more wins but that was seen as irrelevant- the article almost as a throwaway line said an analysis of trades indicated that was not true- the overall caliber of play was probably equal between the leagues, but if anything favored the NL not the AL- the 1919 Sox should not have been favorites to win at all, let alone the prohibitive favorites they were deemed to be.
   31. sunnyday2 Posted: January 23, 2007 at 12:03 AM (#2284812)
JP, those studies have been done and have been discussed here over the years.

The NL is pretty much unanimously regarded as tougher late '50s and for 20 years, though for many the evidence is the all-star games. The World Series results don't support that. But from top to bottom, the NL became more fully integrated well before the AL did and that was not an insignificant thing.
   32. Steve Treder Posted: January 23, 2007 at 12:30 AM (#2284830)
The NL is pretty much unanimously regarded as tougher late '50s and for 20 years, though for many the evidence is the all-star games. The World Series results don't support that. But from top to bottom, the NL became more fully integrated well before the AL did and that was not an insignificant thing.

This ongoing research in which I've been engaged strongly indicates the NL as the stronger league, beginning in the mid-1950s and extending at least into the mid-1970s:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-value-production-standings-1956-1960/

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-value-production-standings-1961-1965/

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-value-production-standings-1966-1970/
   33. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 23, 2007 at 01:00 AM (#2284849)
the NL became more fully integrated well before the AL did and that was not an insignificant thing.


Indeed. African-American (and dark skinned Hispanics) HOFers by league 1948-1978:

NL

Jackie Robinson
Roy Campanella
Hank Aaron
Willie Mays
Ernie Banks
Young Frank Robinson
Willie McCovey
Orlando Cepeda
Tony Perez
Lou Brock
Bob Gibson
Fergie Jenkins
Billy Williams
Joe Morgan
Willie Stargell
Roberto Clemente
Juan Marichal


AL

Larry Doby
Old Frank Robinson
Reggie Jackson
Rod Carew

The NL second tier talent was just as dominant
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: January 23, 2007 at 01:50 AM (#2284869)
iirc, Guidry was the first player to have fans rhymthically clapping in anticipation with 2 strikes (I think it may even have started that day he blew away so many Angels).
The Mets fans took it up a notch a few years later with Dwight Gooden - the fans in the upper deck had "K" signs, adding one for each strikeout. I still have some of those cards around somewhere, I guess they gave them out one game.

And yes, the rhythmic clapping is pretty cliched now, especially since it isn't reserved for true studs anymore in many parks.
   35. Steve Treder Posted: January 23, 2007 at 02:25 AM (#2284887)
The total Win Shares of players of color produced by NL organizations, versus AL organizations:

1953 NL 140, AL 80
1955 NL 281, AL 173
1960 NL 471, AL 165
1965 NL 1005, AL 357
1970 NL 1240, AL 487
1973 NL 1310, AL 569
1975 NL 1219, AL 682

That's as far as I've gotten so far. My incomplete tally of the 1980 season indicates the NL still holding the advantage, but the gap getting much narrower.
   36. Raoul Duke Posted: January 23, 2007 at 02:29 AM (#2284889)
I loved watching Ron Guidry pitch.
   37. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 23, 2007 at 11:43 PM (#2285338)
Indeed. African-American (and dark skinned Hispanics) HOFers by league 1948-1978:

NL

Jackie Robinson
Roy Campanella
Hank Aaron
Willie Mays
Ernie Banks
Young Frank Robinson
Willie McCovey
Orlando Cepeda
Tony Perez
Lou Brock
Bob Gibson
Fergie Jenkins
Billy Williams
Joe Morgan
Willie Stargell
Roberto Clemente
Juan Marichal


AL

Larry Doby
Old Frank Robinson
Reggie Jackson
Rod Carew

The NL second tier talent was just as dominant


You could add Monte Irvin to the NL list.
   38. JPWF13 Posted: January 23, 2007 at 11:50 PM (#2285343)
This ongoing research in which I've been engaged strongly indicates the NL as the stronger league, beginning in the mid-1950s and extending at least into the mid-1970s:


No it doesn't.
It indicates which teams within each league were producing talent relative to other teams in that league- but in the absence of interleague play or an analysis of the performance of player's switching leagues- it says nothing about whether the overall caliber of play was higher in one league than the other.

In fact, one could claim that a weaker league would erroneously appear superior by this method, because it's easier for a new player to establish himself and accumulate winshares agaionst weaker competition.
   39. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 12:01 AM (#2285348)
It indicates which teams within each league were producing talent relative to other teams in that league- but in the absence of interleague play or an analysis of the performance of player's switching leagues- it says nothing about whether the overall caliber of play was higher in one league than the other.

It doesn't reveal as much as direct inter-league competition would, of course. But it reveals a great deal, vastly more than "nothing."

Especially in the era before free agency, there were only two ways in which any team could amass talent: it could produce it from its own system, or it could acquire it from another system, at a price in talent/cash.

In such an environment, the organizations that produce more home-grown talent than their counterparts enjoy a huge first-order advantage: the only way in which the organizations with less home-grown talent can compete is by beating their opponents in trades. In the long run, virtually no team is adept enough at trading for that to be a successful strategy. In the long run, in the pre-free agent era, strong farm system production was the key to sustained W-L success. Even a cursory examination of the data presented in those articles makes the connection between farm production and in-league success abundantly clear.

While we have precious little inter-league results to corroborate it (I agree that WS and ASG results are worth almost nothing in this regard), the deductive reasoning from one league's disproportionate share of overall talent production, and egregiously disproportionate share of the production of players of color, to the logical conclusion of a corresponding difference in overall league quality is not difficult to apply. Indeed, denying its likelihood in the face of this startling data is not very logical.
   40. JPWF13 Posted: January 24, 2007 at 12:25 AM (#2285357)
While we have precious little inter-league results to corroborate it (I agree that WS and ASG results are worth almost nothing in this regard), the deductive reasoning from one league's disproportionate share of overall talent production,


But that's the problem- you don't actually know if one league is disproportionately producing talent unless you know the talent level in the leagues to begin with.
Take 2 leagues A & B- no interleague play
assume A is 20% better than B
A new player coming into league B will APPEAR to outproduce a new player of indentiocal quality coming into league A-
The new player coming into league B will not only appear to have a higher more valuable peak- he will last a bit longer at the front and back of his career- giving him even more apparent value.
   41. JPWF13 Posted: January 24, 2007 at 12:35 AM (#2285359)
To rephrase- league quality is something your study needs to control for- not something your study determines or analyzes
   42. JPWF13 Posted: January 24, 2007 at 12:40 AM (#2285362)
your results are consistent with the following sets of assumptions:

1: The AL is stronger and the teams in each league thereafter produce players of equal value- the players produced in the NL will appear more valuable- becaus ethey are but only in teh context of a weaker league

2: The Al and NL are of equal strength, and the NL then goes on to produce superior talent.

3: The NL is stronger and then goe son to continue producing superior value- vastly superior value

Option 3 is the least likely
Option 1 and 2 are pretty much a draw imho
   43. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 12:45 AM (#2285366)
I don't think you're correctly understanding the methodology employed in my research.

What I've done is add up the Win Shares of every player (well, precisely, the Win Shares of every player with 5 or more career Win Shares, which amounts to about 99.5% of all Win Shares) in every season, independently. Yes, in any given season, a player performing in about the same playing time in a weaker league will produce about as many Win Shares as a better player in a stronger league.

But over time, the less-talented players are beaten out for jobs by more-talented players. And teams that produce more talent than they can fit on their roster export that talent to other teams. The net flow of talent cascades from the teams with the most farm system production to those with the least -- we see this with crystal clarity within each league.

There is no logical reason, none whatsoever, to assume that the same cascade doesn't occur between teams with stronger farm production to those with weaker farm production across leagues. Indeed, from the 1950s through the 1970s, NL teams were producing a net export of talent; the Win Shares their farm-produced players generated were more than the win total of the NL could hold. By definition, there was a flow of talent from the NL to the AL. Over such a sustained period of time, there is simply no rational conclusion to draw but that it was by and large excess NL talent beating out lesser-capable players to win spots on AL rosters. There is just no other logical, plausible explanation for this data in this magnitude.

In short, in the era before free agency, it was simply a practical impossibility for a league producing substantially less farm talent to be as good as its more talent-productive counterpart. That's just the way the system worked.
   44. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 01:03 AM (#2285372)
your results are consistent with the following sets of assumptions:

1: The AL is stronger and the teams in each league thereafter produce players of equal value- the players produced in the NL will appear more valuable- becaus ethey are but only in teh context of a weaker league

2: The Al and NL are of equal strength, and the NL then goes on to produce superior talent.

3: The NL is stronger and then goe son to continue producing superior value- vastly superior value

Option 3 is the least likely
Option 1 and 2 are pretty much a draw imho


No. Especially in the context of everything else we know about how the business of baseball worked in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Option 3 is the most likely, by a wide margin.

We have lots of data on this subject.

We have the comparative stats of players who crossed leagues in this period. Exemplars include guys like Dick Williams, Billy Klaus, Cal McLish, Eddie Bressoud, Robin Roberts, Jim Gentile, Ray Culp, etc. etc. Time and time again, players who were struggling or marginal or not even able to make an NL roster went to the AL and won a job and prospered. Examples of players doing the same thing in the opposite direction are far, far fewer. I assure you I've been studying this in detail for a very long time.

But more than that we have the attendance data. The NL outdrew the AL on a per-game basis every season from 1955 through 1987, often by huge margins: 53% in 1965, 47% in 1966, 45% in 1971, 40% in 1958. Attendance means cash. Cash means money to fund the farm system, and in the days before the amateur draft, sign prospects. The NL teams had far, far more money to work with.

You add the Win Share production-by-system data I've been compiling over the past several months on top of this context, and knowing what we know about how teams moved players around in the pre-free agent era -- what their motivations were, what their limitations were -- and it's simply not plausible to come to any conclusion other than that the NL presented a superior quality of play, perhaps dramatically superior, from roughly 1955 through roughly 1980. I'm very interested in finding out what my data will reveal as I get into the 1980s; my hypothesis is that the league difference will hugely diminish.
   45. Flynn Posted: January 24, 2007 at 02:20 AM (#2285405)
From a media perspective, I don't think you could even deny that the NL was better.

It would be like saying the NL was better in 2006 because St Louis won the World Series. It would go against everything written over the course of that year that reflected public opinion that it was not.

The sports media doesn't always get everything right but when there is mass agreement on a subject, it's usually correct.
   46. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 24, 2007 at 02:23 AM (#2285407)
Steve,

Since everything you've written on this subject pretty much coincides with what anybody at the time who was equipped with two eyes and a reasonably well developed sense of deductive reasoning could have observed and concluded, my question is:

Are you going to get into the causes? Assuming (as I do) that 90% of the gap resulted from the AL's racism, do you attritube this to a more or less accidental set of owner / GM biases: Rickey, Stoneham & Pereni in the NL vs. Yawkey / Cronin / Collins, Weiss, Briggs, Griffith & Mack in the AL? Or was there something else going on that hasn't been accounted for?

As far as I'm concerned, the interesting part isn't the question of whether the NL was superior in the period you mention, or even how much it was superior (it was a lot, but quantifying it is another story), but why the AL persisted for so long in letting the NL grab up the overwhelming share of black talent. Was it just because the racist owners were making enough money to suit them, and didn't feel the need to compete any more strongly by adding black talent? Was it because they were really so dumb as to think they could compete without it? Was it sometimes because of their posse of racist subordinates? (Here I'm thinking of Dan Topping, who hired blacks for his AAFC football team long before he signed any blacks for the Yankees---was the Yankees' racism mostly a result of George Weiss's influence?) It was all just so g*dd*mn*d stupid that it's hard to believe that it actually persisted as long as it did---even if by the end of the run the gap may have been more due to inertia and perception on the part of blacks than actual reality.

I'll be interested to read your thoughts on all this at some point.
   47. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 24, 2007 at 03:16 AM (#2285434)
I think Andy's question is really interesting, and it reminds me of another thing about the era in question: the AL and NL were still very seperate entities at the time. Even though the commisioner was the game's CEOish figure, there were two different league presidents, and there were probably seperate cultures in each league since there was relatively little intermingling between them. For instance, today we wouldn't imagine that a major playing rule would be enacted in only one league, yet in 1973, only the AL took on the DH. Another point of seperation (IIRC) was that teams during this period still had to take waivers on a player before trading him into the other league during the season. So interleague trading was extremely difficult to accomplish, meaning the flow of talent was restricted for large portions of the year.

Anyway, it's interesting, looking back, at how different the leagues were, and how similar they are now by comparison.
   48. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 24, 2007 at 03:20 AM (#2285436)
(Here I'm thinking of Dan Topping, who hired blacks for his AAFC football team long before he signed any blacks for the Yankees---was the Yankees' racism mostly a result of George Weiss's influence?)

Yes. According to the book Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees, which I read a couple of month's ago, the Yankees failure to sign black players was largely the fault of Weiss. Unfortunately, I got the book from the library, and so don't have it here to quote it, but it was very critical of Weiss' refusal to sign black players, or in the case of Vic Power, keep them.
   49. JPWF13 Posted: January 24, 2007 at 04:10 AM (#2285451)
We have the comparative stats of players who crossed leagues in this period. Exemplars include guys like Dick Williams, Billy Klaus, Cal McLish, Eddie Bressoud, Robin Roberts, Jim Gentile, Ray Culp, etc. etc. Time and time again, players who were struggling or marginal or not even able to make an NL roster went to the AL and won a job and prospered. Examples of players doing the same thing in the opposite direction are far, far fewer. I assure you I've been studying this in detail for a very long time.

You add the Win Share production-by-system data I've been compiling over the past several months on top of this context,


The comparative data you mention is the type of data I said I wanted to see- the winshares production by system data adds absolutely nothing to the resolution of the question of which team was stronger
   50. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 24, 2007 at 04:37 AM (#2285464)
(Here I'm thinking of Dan Topping, who hired blacks for his AAFC football team long before he signed any blacks for the Yankees---was the Yankees' racism mostly a result of George Weiss's influence?)

Yes. According to the book Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees, which I read a couple of month's ago, the Yankees failure to sign black players was largely the fault of Weiss. Unfortunately, I got the book from the library, and so don't have it here to quote it, but it was very critical of Weiss' refusal to sign black players, or in the case of Vic Power, keep them.


In 1946 the Yankees opened their first Stadium Club, and IIRC became the first team to seriously pursue corporate season ticket holders. At the time this segment of the Yankee fan base was pretty much strictly a blueblood, Westchester / Connecticut crowd, and Weiss, who lived in Greenwich and shared its "genteel" anti-black prejudices, was convinced that keeping the Yankees white would accomplish two goals: (1) Keep the season ticket holders happy, since he assumed that they all shared his own anti-black prejudice, and (2) probably just as important, he thought that it would give the Yankees a big leg up in attracting southern and southwestern white talent, players who presumably wouldn't want to play on an integrated team.

All that seems positively bizarre and farfetched from a 21st century perspective, but both of those points were raised fairly often at the time as rationalizations for the Yankees' reluctance to integrate. In that book you refer to, Yankees Century, David Halberstam's essay on Weiss points out the fact that the first real black stars that the Yankee farm system ever produced were---Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter, nearly five decades after Jackie Robinson. And even though we all know that in the 20 years before that the Yankees had acquired lots of great black players through trades and free agency, that's still an amazing little mini-fact.
   51. BDC Posted: January 24, 2007 at 04:39 AM (#2285465)
The official story that the Yankees told in the pre-Elston-Howard years (and for some time even after signing Howard) was that they would be delighted to sign a black player (or another one), but they just hadn't run across one yet who would meet their high standards. To some extent, the fact that they continued to win pennants (and their share of Series) with a mostly-white ballclub, with even Howard (who was a superb athlete, a very fine ballplayer) mostly half-nailed to the bench, was an excuse for some of the more reactionary owners in the rest of the AL to hold the color line as well. The Yankees, in pre-draft days, could sign almost anybody they wanted to, and since they had largely their pick of white talent, they could continue to be a legitimate champion with a virtually all-white roster. That was a weird anomaly of the time.

George Steinbrenner, even, who had no problem signing ballplayers of color, was quoted in the 1970s as saying that he would hate to hire a black manager because he would hate to have to someday fire a black manager (and in those days, of course, George was firing his manager every six months or so). The curiously-phrased rationalizing excuses continued ...

Of interest is Arlene Howard's 2001 book Elston & Me.
   52. BDC Posted: January 24, 2007 at 04:44 AM (#2285472)
the first real black stars that the Yankee farm system ever produced were---Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter

Depends on your definition of "real," I guess -- Elston Howard, Roy White, and Al Downing were All-Stars, and Howard was an MVP.
   53. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 24, 2007 at 05:36 AM (#2285496)
And while they didn't end up as Yankees, IIRC McGriff and McGee were Yankee farmhands originally.

Another early black-Yankee dissmissal (in addition to Power) was Artie Wilson.
   54. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 24, 2007 at 05:42 AM (#2285500)
the first real black stars that the Yankee farm system ever produced were---Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter

Depends on your definition of "real," I guess -- Elston Howard, Roy White, and Al Downing were All-Stars, and Howard was an MVP.


I'd still go with Halberstam on that. As you point out yourself, Howard was nailed to the bench almsot as often as not---it doesn't look as if he even had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title until he was 33, in 1962. And to call Roy White or Al Downing a "star" is a bit much. A couple of All-Star appearances doesn't make you a star, and in any case even if you stretch the term there's no way to put them on the Williams / Jeter level, though White may come fairly close to Bernie once you adjust for the era.
   55. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 05:55 PM (#2285675)
the winshares production by system data adds absolutely nothing to the resolution of the question of which team was stronger

I don't know how it is that the deductive logic eludes you. The correlation between farm system Win Share production and team W-L record is enormously strong.
   56. Mark Donelson Posted: January 24, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2285678)
White may come fairly close to Bernie once you adjust for the era.

Yes...I think however that White was never perceived as a star, really, which I guess is the point here.

But I'm not sure why it matters that the first black players the Yankees finally did cultivate in any numbers didn't turn out to be Hall of Famers. I'm sure the powers that be would have been thrilled if Roy White had been the second coming of Willie Mays...
   57. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 06:12 PM (#2285686)
To some extent, the fact that they continued to win pennants (and their share of Series) with a mostly-white ballclub, with even Howard (who was a superb athlete, a very fine ballplayer) mostly half-nailed to the bench, was an excuse for some of the more reactionary owners in the rest of the AL to hold the color line as well.

I think this is probably the case. NL owners felt more compelled to compete for black talent out of competitive necessity, in order to keep up with the Dodgers, Giants, and Braves. AL owners were able to use the Yankees' slowness to integrate as a rationalization for their own, whether consciously or not.

And in the pre-amateur draft era, signing prospects was often very much a function of having scouts who became known and trusted within local geographies and communities. AL teams without much scouting presence in African-American communities and/or Latin American countries were thus at a disadvantage when at a later date they decided to compete there; the scouts from the other clubs were ahead of them in line.

Therefore being slow to get into the market made it tougher to catch up even when they wanted to get in.
   58. TomH Posted: January 24, 2007 at 06:21 PM (#2285697)
Plus the black stars WANTED to play in the NL. Mays and Aaron, and probably others, both purposefully took uniform numbers that were similar to Jackie's.
   59. JPWF13 Posted: January 24, 2007 at 06:27 PM (#2285706)
I don't know how it is that the deductive logic eludes you.


It doesn't- it's just that deductive logic founded upon unproven assumptions can lead one badly astray.

In post 32 you said that your ongoing value production studies proved that NL was stronger than AL in a certain time period.
Well, by itself, it did nothing of the sort because it was based upon winshares- which could be skewed by a disparity in the relative strength of each league (ie: a 10 win share player in one league could be worth 12 in the other)
The value production study BY ITSELF does not and cannot shed much light on the issue of relative league strength.-
especially because winshares assumes that league strengths are identical (unles you have recalculated winshares to adjust for the difference between leagues) becasue each team gets 3 winshares for each actual win to distribute amongst its players).

Now within a league farm production correlates with winning- therefore you deduce that because NL teams were producing more talent that they were stronger, and the NL bacame collective;y stronger than the AL as a result.

I gave an option 3 top explain the results of your study
3: The NL is stronger and then goes on to continue producing superior value- vastly superior value

I said that was the least likely- why? because if the NL was superior to begin with- then a player worth 12 winshares in the AL would be worth 10 in the NL- so the NL would need to produce guys worth 12 winshares in the NL to APPEAR equal to the AL- as the league disparity increased, the NL would have to keep boosting its advantage- from the 50s to the 60s to the 70s- to the point where the AL would be AAA caliber.

Then in post 44 you said, "We have the comparative stats of players who crossed leagues in this period"

well that's completely different- in fact it's a bait and switch trap like your pals MHS and BL keep trying to set for the unwary-
   60. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 06:48 PM (#2285717)
Plus the black stars WANTED to play in the NL.

Perhaps, but that didn't matter much. Beyond deciding which team to initially sign with, players had absolutely no say for which team they would play.
   61. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 06:54 PM (#2285721)
In post 32 you said that your ongoing value production studies proved that NL was stronger than AL in a certain time period.

No, I didn't. I said it strongly indicates it, not proves it.

The value production study BY ITSELF does not and cannot shed much light on the issue of relative league strength.-

It can, and it does. NL organizations produced more talent than AL organizations, by a significant margin and for a very long time. The study actively documents the net talent flow from the NL to the AL. To insist that this doesn't shed light on the issue of relative league strength is to actively avoid acknowledging the obvious.
   62. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 24, 2007 at 07:04 PM (#2285733)
Dick Cramer's study from thirty years also parallels what Steve has been saying about the relative strengths of the two leagues, FWIW.
   63. JPWF13 Posted: January 24, 2007 at 07:26 PM (#2285742)
No, I didn't. I said it strongly indicates it, not proves it.

ok, i may have mis-cited you

The value production study BY ITSELF does not and cannot shed much light on the issue of relative league strength.-

It can, and it does.


Nope, only in conjunction with other info, for instance
take every player who switched leagues 1955/56 (I use that example because I did it already)
then take everyone who had 50+ ab in each league (I wanted to use a higher cut off- but my already small sample size shrunk to nothingness)

3 Al players had 50+ ab in 1955 and had 50+ ab in the NL in 1956
in 1955 in the AL they hit .290/.393/.393 (average after normalizing to same ABs)
in 1956 in the NL they hit .249/.339/.363

Small sample size, but hmmmm

7 NL players had 50+ ab in 1955 and had 50+ ab in the Al in 1956:
in 1955 in the NL they hit .230/.306/.350
in 1956 in the Al they hit .251/.348/.378

OK- I haven't controlled for park and age(but I'm only comparing one year to the next) and my sample size (1955-1956) is too small, but ignoring those caveats, 3 comments:

1: If repeated for a number of years- these results would strongly indicate that the NL was stronger than the AL- as everyone has been trying to pound into my head in this thread.

2: The guys moving from the NL to the AL are picking up a lot of winshares they wouldn't have had they stayed in the NL- both by garnering more PT, playing better in that PT, and since an AL Winshare is deemed equal by the winshares system to an NL winshare. Since these guys were "developed" by NL teams- that effect may in part be driving the runaway divide your study seems to be showing (judging by your article headlines) as you head into the 70s.

3: It's your study, but if you are confident in your measurement of the disparity in league strength it's really something you need to control for (for ex: determining that a winshare earned in AL play is worth some X% of one earned in the NL during this time)
   64. Paul Wendt Posted: January 24, 2007 at 07:29 PM (#2285744)
Eric Chalek:
Are you going to get into the causes? Assuming (as I do) that 90% of the gap resulted from the AL's racism, do you attritube this to a more or less accidental set of owner / GM biases: Rickey, Stoneham & Pereni in the NL vs. Yawkey / Cronin / Collins, Weiss, Briggs, Griffith & Mack in the AL?

I doubt it. And I think it is going too far to say that Yankees success excused the AL owners racism. Certainly that is going too far for Eric Ch, who posits "separate cultures in each league", for it is to be expected that any "culture" in the AL of that time would include the Yankees as a model.

--
Steve Treder in most recent reply:
NL organizations produced more talent than AL organizations, by a significant margin and for a very long time. The study actively documents the net talent flow from the NL to the AL. To insist that this doesn't shed light on the issue of relative league strength is to actively avoid acknowledging the obvious.

It's more an economic argument (a good and partly empirical one, I think) than deductive logic. It's a crucial part of the story that the talent imported by the AL, counting noses, had not succeeded in the NL. The AL was employing former NL extras. Talent flowed from Kansas City to New York but the Kansas City team was not the stronger one; New York was importing some of Kansas City's best players.
   65. jimd Posted: January 24, 2007 at 08:54 PM (#2285794)
Dick Cramer's study from thirty years also parallels what Steve has been saying about the relative strengths of the two leagues, FWIW.

As does Davenport's at BP using his metrics and his modified version of the Cramer methodology.
   66. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 24, 2007 at 09:19 PM (#2285809)
I think that one reason why it took the AL so long to fully integrate is that winning an AL pennant and a World Series was equal to winning an NL pennant and World Series, and the AL was winning its share of World Series. THough it is still a little odd that one AL front office didn't decide to beat the Yankees by emplying a lot of black players at an earlier date.
   67. Dizzypaco Posted: January 24, 2007 at 09:31 PM (#2285816)
THough it is still a little odd that one AL front office didn't decide to beat the Yankees by emplying a lot of black players at an earlier date.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but at least three of the AL teams did use some minority players, and were did compete with the Yankees for part of the time - its just that none of the minority players were at the level of some of their NL counterparts. I'm thinking of the Indians, ChiSox, and Tigers. That leaves the Browns/Orioles, A's, and Red Sox. Of these teams, the A's were such a mess it didn't matter what they did. The Red Sox were run by a true racist, and I don't know what the story is with the Orioles.
   68. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 24, 2007 at 09:43 PM (#2285821)
I think that one reason why it took the AL so long to fully integrate is that winning an AL pennant and a World Series was equal to winning an NL pennant and World Series, and the AL was winning its share of World Series. THough it is still a little odd that one AL front office didn't decide to beat the Yankees by emplying a lot of black players at an earlier date.

Plenty of AL defenders at the time derided the lopsided All-Star results as a "small sample size", or in the language of the time, an "exhibition game," ignoring the fact that this domination was in great part caused by the NL's black talent and was a pretty good reflection of the NL's obvious overall supeiority. They then pointed to the AL's relative success in the World Series as a counterargument, neglecting to note that only one AL team won a World Series between 1949 and 1965. These owners were ensconced in their petty prejudices, their small profit margins, and their bloated self-images as "sportsmen," and were experts in denying reality, often until their death. And much of the mythology that they believed in survived in similar forms (black quarterbacks, black managers and football coaches, etc.) for many years after that.
   69. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2285823)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but at least three of the AL teams did use some minority players, and were did compete with the Yankees for part of the time - its just that none of the minority players were at the level of some of their NL counterparts. I'm thinking of the Indians, ChiSox, and Tigers.

The Indians integrated right away. The White Sox were slower off the mark, not employing their first players of color until 1951, but once they did they were reasonably serious about it. But the Tigers were one of the last teams to integrate, not playing their first black player until 1958.

That leaves the Browns/Orioles, A's, and Red Sox. Of these teams, the A's were such a mess it didn't matter what they did.

The Browns deployed Satchel Paige under Bill Veeck in 1951-53, but I've always wondered why Veeck didn't go all out and sign some more Negro Leaguers ... what did he have to lose? Once Veeck sold and the team moved to Baltimore, under Paul Richards they built an excellent farm system, but it took several years to bear much fruit. It is the case that not many of Richards' Baltimore products were black; Willie Tasby and Lenny Green were pretty much it.

The A's had only the bare rudiments of a functioning farm system through the 1950s. The Senators' system wasn't much more robust, though they were assertively recruiting Cuban players, both black and white.
   70. JPWF13 Posted: January 24, 2007 at 09:50 PM (#2285825)
And much of the mythology that they believed in survived in similar forms (black quarterbacks, black managers and football coaches, etc.) for many years after that.


Hey, no black coach has yet won a superbowl :-)
   71. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 09:52 PM (#2285826)
These owners were ensconced in their petty prejudices, their small profit margins, and their bloated self-images as "sportsmen," and were experts in denying reality, often until their death. And much of the mythology that they believed in survived in similar forms (black quarterbacks, black managers and football coaches, etc.) for many years after that.

Precisely. Given the prevailing culture among the type of old white millionaires who were running baseball and other sports, the surprising thing isn't that the AL was slow to integrate, it's that the NL largely wasn't.
   72. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 24, 2007 at 09:54 PM (#2285828)
Dizzypaco, fyi the Tigers were the next to last team to integrate, with Ozzie Virgil Sr. in 1958 (who went 5 for 5 in his debut). The A's had Vic Power four years before that. The only AL team to have a combination of more than one or two regular position players and starting pitchers at the same time prior to the 60's was the Indians. IIRC the AL order of integration was Cleveland & St. Louis (1947), Chicago (1951), Philadelphia (1953), Washington (1954 or 1955), the Yankees (1955), Detroit (1958) and the Red Sox (1959). But of course some of those teams (like the Browns) had purely token signings and didn't begin aggressively going after black players for years (sometimes many years) after their first signing.
   73. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 10:08 PM (#2285831)
IIRC the AL order of integration was Cleveland & St. Louis (1947), Chicago (1951), Philadelphia (1953), Washington (1954 or 1955), the Yankees (1955), Detroit (1958) and the Red Sox (1959).

That's correct. The Senators' first black player was Carlos Paula, in September of '54.

In the NL, it was Brooklyn (1947), New York (1949), Boston (1950), Pittsburgh (1953), Chicago (1953), St. Louis (1954), Cincinnati (1954), and Philadelphia (1958).

And it's right that it wasn't simply most NL teams playing a black player before most AL teams, it was also the quantity and quality of black players employed.
   74. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 10:15 PM (#2285833)
Oops, make that 1957 when the Phillies played their first black (John Kennedy, 4/22/57).
   75. Dizzypaco Posted: January 24, 2007 at 10:16 PM (#2285834)
Dizzypaco, fyi the Tigers were the next to last team to integrate

I wasn't aware of that. I think there were a couple of mid 50's Tigers that I always incorrectly thought were Black for some reason.

When I was a kid, I had the 1956 Strat-o-matic season, which I played with a whole bunch. I got to know all the teams real well, with the statistics, and I had an image of what most of the players looked like, based on their names and abilities. Clearly, I didn't always form the right image.

By the way, with the exception of the Phillies, every NL team came up with at least one minority future HOFer by the late 50's, nearly ten years before any AL team did.
   76. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 24, 2007 at 10:16 PM (#2285835)
THough it is still a little odd that one AL front office didn't decide to beat the Yankees by emplying a lot of black players at an earlier date.

At least one did, the Indians, with Smith, Doby, Paige, Easter, and Avila among others. They initially signed Minoso too.

But even the Indians didn't necessarily give players of color a full chance (see Easter). What I can't speak to very much is how the flow of black talent into Cleveland changed when Veeck went to StL.
   77. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 10:28 PM (#2285836)
At least one did, the Indians, with Smith, Doby, Paige, Easter, and Avila among others.

FWIW, Avila wasn't black. He was the sort of "light-skinned" Mexican who could have played before 1947.

Studying the integration issue forces one to have to comprehend the bizarre definitions of "black" and "white" that prevailed.

What I can't speak to very much is how the flow of black talent into Cleveland changed when Veeck went to StL.

The Indians under Hank Greenberg remained an active signer and developer of black talent following Veeck's departure: Harry Simpson, Al Smith, Dave Hoskins, Dave Pope, Joe Caffie.
   78. jimd Posted: January 24, 2007 at 11:23 PM (#2285861)
Put another way:

The Integration TimeLine

1947: Brooklyn 1, Cleveland 1, SL Browns 2
1948:
1949: NY Giants 2
1950: Bos Braves 3
1951: Chi WhSox 3
1952:
1953: Pittsburgh 4, Chi Cubs 5, Phi A's 4
1954: SL Cards 6, Cincinnati 7
1955: Washington 5, Yankees 6
1956:
1957: Phillies 8
1958: Detroit 7
1959: BoSox 8

The average and the median is 1953.
   79. Steve Treder Posted: January 24, 2007 at 11:40 PM (#2285871)
1947: Brooklyn 1, Cleveland 1, SL Browns 2

This is technically true, but a bit misleading regarding the Browns. After integrating with Willard Brown and Hank Thompson in mid-1947, the Browns reverted to all-white rosters in 1948, 1949, and 1950. The only black player they deployed in 1951-53 was Satchel Paige.
   80. jimd Posted: January 25, 2007 at 01:18 AM (#2285930)
This is technically true, but a bit misleading regarding the Browns.

That's just an alternate display of the data that you and Andy presented.

I think that the key point is that the team "integration" dates do not tell the real story. They just show the AL was lagging by about one year on average behind the NL. Which is, like, what's the big deal.

The real story has to be told in terms of the quantity and quality of the integration. And that's where the NL was significantly ahead of the AL.
   81. Steve Treder Posted: January 25, 2007 at 01:25 AM (#2285936)
The real story has to be told in terms of the quantity and quality of the integration. And that's where the NL was significantly ahead of the AL.

Absolutely right, as vividly illustrated by this data (which I showed earlier):

The total Win Shares of players of color produced by NL organizations, versus AL organizations:

1953 NL 140, AL 80
1955 NL 281, AL 173
1960 NL 471, AL 165
1965 NL 1005, AL 357
1970 NL 1240, AL 487
1973 NL 1310, AL 569
1975 NL 1219, AL 682

That's just staggering.
   82. Paul Wendt Posted: January 28, 2007 at 10:00 AM (#2287521)
Dick Cramer's study from thirty years also parallels what Steve has been saying about the relative strengths of the two leagues, FWIW.

As does Davenport's at BP using his metrics and his modified version of the Cramer methodology.


Dick Cramer's classic study is explicitly limited to batting skill.


--
I don't know much about the Cajun minority. Do (some?) Cajuns still speak a version of French? Did Ron Guidry?

Oh, maybe I can bring the thread back to pitching. Billy Pierce and Jim Bunning can't be far from Guidry's best comps in the Hall of Merit.

And for another source of interest, among good old 20th century white players Pierce and Bunning may be the players whose standing the HOM project has most elevated.

Did NL organizations produce colored pitchers with a staggering total win shares? The NL:AL ratio is not crucial; the difference is what matters to the general argument that the NL was stronger.


--
Studying the integration issue forces one to have to comprehend the bizarre definitions of "black" and "white" that prevailed.

Some would say that the USAmerican concept of race is bizarre today.

The total Win Shares of players of color produced by NL organizations, versus AL organizations

OK, Andruw Jones is colored and we don't need to decide whether he is Latin American.

How do you decide, in general, whom the old color line would have excluded? (I suppose that is the point.) Is there reason to believe that any brown people of native rather than European or African stock would have been excluded? I doubt it, or the scheme to play Charlie Grant as a native would make no sense. Those would be "darker" rather than "lighter" (Steve Treder said of Avila) Mexicans, I think.

Dennis Martinez, Candelaria, Valenzuela, Higuera (only two Mexicans, I know) --are any of them "of color"?
   83. OCF Posted: January 28, 2007 at 06:21 PM (#2287642)
Call it the "Estalella line" in honor of one whose placement is ambiguous. I think that Valenzuela would land on the "white" side of that line, even if no one would think to compare his race to Indian Bob Johnson. And of course, Ismael Valdez is white. I'm not so sure which side of the line Avila would land on, though. Have you looked at a picture of him?
   84. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2007 at 07:34 PM (#2287686)
Dick Cramer's classic study is explicitly limited to batting skill.

True, Paul, but there were others who used Cramer's concept for fielding and pitching and came up with a similar pattern.
   85. sunnyday2 Posted: January 28, 2007 at 08:16 PM (#2287704)
Any mention of Bobby Estalella is appreciated. And, yes, ambiguous is his middle name. Black? White? Superstar? Journeyman?
   86. Steve Treder Posted: January 28, 2007 at 08:44 PM (#2287716)
How do you decide, in general, whom the old color line would have excluded?

By studying those Latin American players who did play in the majors pre-1947, as well as the distinction made in contemporary accounts between different Latin Americans playing from 1947 until about 1960, when explicit references to players' racial background became less prevalent.

It obviously is an exercise that requries substantial subjective judgement, and is by no means highly precise. But it's equally obvious that the pre-1947 color line was by no means unambiguous, or in any way rational.

Looking at pictures of, and studying contemporary refercenes to, as many Latin players as possible from the 1930-1960 period is a task in which I've been engaged for many, many years, and continue.

Among the Latin players of the 1950s who weren't considered "colored":

- Bobby Avila
- Willy Miranda
- Pedro Ramos
- Chico Carrasquel
- Luis Aparicio
- Camilo Pascual
- Luis Arroyo

Among those who were:

- Minnie Minoso
- Luis Marquez
- Rafael Noble
- Ruben Gomez
- Hector Lopez
- Orlando Cepeda
- Roman Mejias

Based on the line as it was understood to be, I've made my best effort at categorizing all players since. I'm certain it isn't 100% accurate, but I'm equally certain it isn't far off. Feel free to email me with any questions about how I've categorized any specific players.
   87. Paul Wendt Posted: January 28, 2007 at 09:25 PM (#2287734)
: Dick Cramer's classic study is explicitly limited to batting skill.

True, Paul, but there were others who used Cramer's concept for fielding and pitching and came up with a similar pattern.


True. But
(a) if anyone's estimated differences in batting, pitching, and fielding skill

(b) Others have not generally replicated Cramer's finding regarding batting skill. For the 1950s-60s, maybe so (and maybe that is what you mean), but here is Cramer's finding.

batting skill relative to contemporary NL

American League 1901-1980
AL>NL: 1973-1980 (dh
AL=NL: never
AL<NL: 1902, 1907, 1917, 1924-1925 (plotted gap less than two quanta, I think)
AL<<NL: 01 03 05-06 08-11 16 18-23
AL<<<NL: 04, 12-15, 26-72 (that's right, 1926 to 1972)

AL<<<NL roughly comparable to AA<<<NL1884: 1901 and 1942-1968!
(1884 is the best of the five clearly inferior AA league-seasons, comparable to Federal League inferiority)

American Association 1882-1891
AA>NL: 1886
AA<<NL: 85, 87-89

Here is another qualitative representation of the gap according to Cramer, omitting the designated hitter seasons 1973-1980.
batting skill relative to contemporary NL [##] = number of MLB league-seasons in this class
+2: [01] PL 90
+1: [01] AA 86
==: none
-1: [04] AL 02 07 24-25
-2: [19] AA 85 87-89 ; AL 01 03 05-06 08-11 16 18-23
-3: [25] AL 04 12-15 26-41 69-72
really big gap:
-4: [31] AA 83-84 ; FL 15 ; AL 01 42-68

-5: [04] AA 82 90-91 ; FL 14
off the map:
-9: [01] UA 84

Now reread line "-4".

If the true difference in average pitching skill is half so great as that, then Pierce, Bunning and Wynn may be the HOM's biggest mistakes.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the size of the Cramer-measured difference casts doubt on the method. Where others broadly using the same method estimate a notably smaller gap, we really need to know why.
   88. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2287741)
True. But
(a) if anyone's estimated differences in batting, pitching, and fielding skill


The Hidden Game of Baseball didn't highlight the fielding and pitching studies that paralled Cramer's study, so I don't really know how similar they are to the batting study. Do you know where that's archibed at SABR, Paul?

(b) Others have not generally replicated Cramer's finding regarding batting skill. For the 1950s-60s, maybe so (and maybe that is what you mean), but here is Cramer's finding.

I was referring solely to the era that is being questioned on the thread.

batting skill relative to contemporary NL

American League 1901-1980
AL>NL: 1973-1980 (dh
AL=NL: never
AL<NL: 1902, 1907, 1917, 1924-1925 (plotted gap less than two quanta, I think)
AL<<NL: 01 03 05-06 08-11 16 18-23
AL<<<NL: 04, 12-15, 26-72 (that's right, 1926 to 1972)

AL<<<NL roughly comparable to AA<<<NL1884: 1901 and 1942-1968!
(1884 is the best of the five clearly inferior AA league-seasons, comparable to Federal League inferiority)

American Association 1882-1891
AA>NL: 1886
AA<<NL: 85, 87-89


Agreed, but unlike Davenport, Cramer let the numbers fall where they may. Unless proven to be 100% wrong, I lean more toward the Cramer study (except for the cross-generational aspect of it, of course).

Here is another qualitative representation of the gap according to Cramer, omitting the designated hitter seasons 1973-1980.
batting skill relative to contemporary NL [##] = number of MLB league-seasons in this class
+2: [01] PL 90
+1: [01] AA 86
==: none
-1: [04] AL 02 07 24-25
-2: [19] AA 85 87-89 ; AL 01 03 05-06 08-11 16 18-23
-3: [25] AL 04 12-15 26-41 69-72
really big gap:
-4: [31] AA 83-84 ; FL 15 ; AL 01 42-68
-5: [04] AA 82 90-91 ; FL 14
off the map:
-9: [01] UA 84

Now reread line "-4".

If the true difference in average pitching skill is half so great as that, then Pierce, Bunning and Wynn may be the HOM's biggest mistakes.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the size of the Cramer-measured difference casts doubt on the method. Where others broadly using the same method estimate a notably smaller gap, we really need to know why.


I wasn't a big supporter of Wynn and Pierce, so that wouldn't upset me greatly. :-). As for Bunning, he's only half AL, so he's not hurt nearly as much.
   89. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 29, 2007 at 12:48 AM (#2287777)
Among the Latin players of the 1950s who weren't considered "colored":

- Bobby Avila


Steve,

This is interesting stuff. I have a question about Avila, however. Bobby already had numerous outstanding seasons in Mexico, using numbers they looked more at back then:
1943 (rookie) .229
1944 .334
1945 .350
1946 .359
1947 .346

So why did they wait so long to snatch him up? Was it because they had to pay off the Puebla team? Because Bobby didn't want to leave? The timing is coincident with the breaking of the color line, so it seems very much like the Indians siezed that opportunity to sign him.
   90. sunnyday2 Posted: January 29, 2007 at 01:56 AM (#2287801)
Avila is another of those guys like Ellie Howard, Don Newcombe and Bobby Estalella who had a pretty good ML career and so we tend to think that ther ML record is a fair representation of their abilities. But I learned through the HoM process that this isn't the case, that integration occurred slowly and that teams had quotas that were not to be exceeded. So players were brought along more slowly than necessary and so their ML records understate their ability. But once the NeLs disappeared, they couldn't build a record there either.

So I am thinking Avila is another guy who deserves another look. I forget also to mention Luke Easter.
   91. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 29, 2007 at 02:08 AM (#2287807)
I saw Easter play in Buffalo when he was in his 40's. He couldn't move to save his life, but the man could still hit. With a modicum of health it is not unreasonable to imagine him hitting several hundred home runs in the big leagues. As in A LOT.

For those looking for someone in today's game look to Ryan Howard. Luke was a tall drink of water and weighed around 240 give or take.
   92. Steve Treder Posted: January 29, 2007 at 02:46 AM (#2287826)
So why did they wait so long to snatch him up? Was it because they had to pay off the Puebla team? Because Bobby didn't want to leave?

First of all, remember the nature of the Mexican League in this period: it wasn't affiliated with the National Association, and in fact was actively attempting to set itself up as a competing major league, signing a large number of high-profile major leaguers to contracts in the spring of 1946. Under these circumstances, it's highly likely that Avila was being rather well paid by Puebla, possibly even signed to a multi-year contract, and it would have taken a pretty good offer from a US team to get him to jump.

Second of all, remember that while a few Latin Americans had been employed north of the border before 1947, it was just a few, and by only a few organizations. Before Veeck bought them, the Indians had never been one of them. Veeck bought the club in mid-1946, and it was about 18 months later that his organization persuaded Avila to sign with them, despite the fact that the Indians had already swung a huge trade to acquire Joe Gordon, a superstar second baseman. Thus the question isn't why did it take the Indians so long to "snatch Avila up," but rather why they did it so quickly.

As for Avila's "non-colored" status, among other things, consider this anecdote related in The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading, and Bubble Gum Book, page 98:

"Sport" maganize once commissioned Gussie Moran to do a piece on the ten handsomest players in major league baseball ... Bobby Avila was Miss Moran's choice as the player she'd most like to be caught in a rundown with (something about the finely chiseled olive features and darkly brooding Inca eyes).


It is beyond inconceivable that Sport would have published such a thing in the 1950s had Avila been understood to be "colored."

After his playing career Avila became president of the Mexican League, and then mayor of Veracruz. Mexico doesn't have a history of apartheid quite like the US, but it's most definitely a racist society like all others. The Mexican League wasn't segregated like the US leagues, but Mexican society was (and is) racially stratified; black Mexicans weren't league presidents and mayors.

And any photo of Avila shows him to resemble, oh, Richardo Montalban more than Jorge Orta.

One excellent source of which players were considered black in that era is Crossing the Line: Black Major Leaguers, 1947-1959, by Larry Moffi and Jonathan Kronstadt (University of Iowa Press, 1994.
   93. jimd Posted: January 29, 2007 at 05:42 PM (#2288190)
but unlike Davenport, Cramer let the numbers fall where they may.

?? Details appreciated.
   94. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 29, 2007 at 06:52 PM (#2288278)
?? Details appreciated.

From what I have seen posted, Jim, Davenport has built into his translations his own feelings on the quality of certain eras (the Deadball Era comes to mind). If you or someone else has information that counters my understanding of the issue, it would be great if you post it here.
   95. jimd Posted: January 29, 2007 at 08:11 PM (#2288382)
I don't remember any such postings, though I don't claim to have read everything here.

My impression of Davenport's work is that he replicated the Cramer study, but used Davenport's metrics instead of Cramer's, and limited the time-range of the season comparisons.

I've suggested before (on the Lg Quality thread, probably early on) that using unlimited comparisons will cause some distortion around the peak years of very long career superstars. Limiting the time-range prevents creating data samples like the following: the AL in 1915 wasn't as strong as it was in 1927 because look how much better Cobb did in 1915; not only that, the AL in 1915 wasn't as strong as it was in 1924 because look how much better Cobb did in 1915; not only that, the AL in 1915 wasn't as strong as it was in 1907 because look how much better Cobb did in 1915, and so on. These are inappropriate comparisons if you believe the aging models, and these inappropriate comparisons are given high weight due to the large number of them that result from a long career superstar such as Cobb. Limiting the time-range to two years eliminates most of that.

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