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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Roy Campanella

Eligible in 1963.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2005 at 02:53 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 04, 2005 at 03:32 PM (#1661530)
Does anyone know if Campanella had a rougher or easier time with the fans since his father was Italian? My father doesn't remember any problems, but he was only five when Campy entered the ML, so he might not have been aware of earlier troubles.
   2. karlmagnus Posted: October 04, 2005 at 05:48 PM (#1661905)
Looks a pretty close comp to the Schozz to me -- not as long a career, even with some NEL credit, not quite as good a hitter, but a condierably better catcher. I have the Schnozz mid-ballot, so that's where I'd put Campy.
   3. karlmagnus Posted: October 04, 2005 at 05:49 PM (#1661907)
For Schozz, read Schnozz (Lombardi)!
   4. sunnyday2 Posted: October 04, 2005 at 07:19 PM (#1662194)
Not quite as good a hitter? Man, I gotta look that one up. My take on Campy is doh!
   5. Chris Cobb Posted: October 04, 2005 at 07:32 PM (#1662218)
Karlmagnus is correct that, as hitters, their career quality is highly similar.

The things that set Campanella and Lombardi apart are the two D's: Durability and Defense

Lombardi, during his 10-year prime, caught over 100 games 7 times in 10 years from 1932 through 1941, 1053 games total. He caught 120 or more games twice.

Campanella, during his 9 1/2 year major-league career, caught over 100 games 8 times, 1183 games total. He caught 120 or more games 7 times.

Lombardi is -120 FRAA for his career, graded as a D+ catcher by win shares, earning 4.20 fws/1000 innings.

Campanella is 70 FRAA for his career, graded as an A catcher by win shares, earning 6.63 fws/1000 innings.
   6. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 04, 2005 at 07:38 PM (#1662229)
Well, those two Ds plus two other big Ds: discrimination and disability. Campy likely had several seasons removed from his record by the color line and then lopped off the end by the wreck. While I won't offer him disability benefits for the end of his career, the addition of MLE credit (which I'll soon have to post) elevates him out of Lombardi's class altogether, and into the cream of catchers.
   7. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: October 04, 2005 at 07:46 PM (#1662245)
Based on the statistical and anecdotal evidence I've seen, Campanella would be my selection as the greatest defensive catcher in baseball history, without a close second, really.

According to Retrosheet, here are the 13 greatest individual seasons a catcher has ever had throwing out baserunners:
                                SB  CS  CS%
1   Roy Campanella   1951  BRO  15  32  68.1
2   Roy Campanella   1948  BRO  11  23  67.6
3   Roy Campanella   1952  BRO  17  30  63.8
4   Jose Azcue       1966  CLE  17  28  62.2
5   Roy Campanella   1950  BRO  21  34  61.8
6   Roy Campanella   1949  BRO  15  24  61.5
7   Ed Bailey        1959  CIN  19  29  60.4
8   Thurman Munson   1971  NYA  22  33  60.0
9   Dick Bertell     1963  CHN  27  40  59.7
10  John Roseboro    1964  LAN  19  28  59.6
11  John Roseboro    1959  LAN  17  24  58.5
11  Sammy White      1958  BOS  17  24  58.5
11  Roy Campanella   1953  BRO  17  24  58.5 


In his career Campanella threw out 57.4 percent of opposing basestealers, easily the best percentage ever among catchers with at least 500 games. The next best is 47 percent by Clay Dalrymple; Pudge Rodriguez ranks fifth with 46 percent.
   8. karlmagnus Posted: October 04, 2005 at 07:59 PM (#1662275)
No, Dr. C., adding seasons to the beginning of Campy's career elevates him INTO Lombardi's class. Without those, Lombardi had 60% more hits.
   9. karlmagnus Posted: October 04, 2005 at 08:00 PM (#1662284)
But to be clear, I'm not denying Campy's superiority as a defender -- but if Campy's #1 on the 1963 ballot, Schnozz should be higher than #40 or so. Unlike Robinson/Irvin, Campy's not overrated, but Scnozz is very underrated, IMHO.
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 05, 2005 at 12:11 AM (#1663092)
Great stuff, Eric. I never saw that before.
   11. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 05, 2005 at 01:31 AM (#1663316)
Another big difference, Campy played at an MVP level for a few seasons (though not consecutively), giving him qutie a peak. Lombardi was never a great player in any one season.

Oh, and didn't Campy have more power and walk more than Schnozz? Doesn't this mean that their difference in hits is washed out to even? And Lombardi was slow as hell and grounded into DP's at a Rice-like rate.

I have Lombardi outside my top 50 but in my consideration set, Campy has an elect me spot waiting for him on my ballot, especially with NeL credit.

Eric,

Does it matter than Campy's numbers came in an era with few stolen bases so his impact was probably less than that of some other guys? In talent, it is hard to argue that he wasn't the best at catching basestealers though with those numbers.
   12. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: October 05, 2005 at 01:46 AM (#1663345)
Eric,
Does it matter than Campy's numbers came in an era with few stolen bases so his impact was probably less than that of some other guys? In talent, it is hard to argue that he wasn't the best at catching basestealers though with those numbers.


Obviously it matters, though I suspect there will be some disagreement on the degree to which it matters.
   13. sunnyday2 Posted: October 05, 2005 at 02:29 AM (#1663439)
All of the best percents came against relatively low numbers of attempts. Maybe the runners hadn't had much practice stealing? Or maybe it's just that it's easy to have a flukey high (or low) percent against a small sample.

Be that as it may, if we're talking about a skill, well, Campy had the skill and I admire him for it.

If we're talking about value, well, it didn't have a tremendous amount of value. Kinda like Kirby Puckett bringing potential home runs back into the park. Looks great, my, how skillful! Three times a year.
   14. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: October 05, 2005 at 02:42 AM (#1663481)
All of the best percents came against relatively low numbers of attempts. Maybe the runners hadn't had much practice stealing? Or maybe it's just that it's easy to have a flukey high (or low) percent against a small sample.

Given that he had the same "fluke" just about every year of his career, I think it's safe to say that this is not a sample size issue of any kind. You can look at the career stats too: Campy is a full 10 percent better, 57 to 47 percent, than the second-best catcher.
   15. DavidFoss Posted: October 05, 2005 at 04:05 AM (#1663622)
Obviously it matters, though I suspect there will be some disagreement on the degree to which it matters.

Sure it wasn't a running era, but its still 20-30 extra-outs/erased-baserunners for the Dodgers each year. That's value in any era. So, as long as runner were dumb enough to run on Campy, he's racking up the fielding value.
   16. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: October 05, 2005 at 04:45 AM (#1663640)
The runs a catcher saves by throwing out bsaestealers is usually not in concert with his abilities and even his percentage. Once a guy like IRod, Yeager, and apparently Campy (I wasnt' aware of this before) get a good reputation, players stop stealing on him, which seems obvious. This would mean that the runs he is saving the team then go down (stopping baserunner from taking off does not save runs if you can throw them out at a 40% clip of better) and the league leaders are most likely guys who aren't as good as he is.

I believe this is born out in BPro's defensive numbers for catchers (I am recalling a study in one of their recent books, I believe the 2004 version), where a guy may lead the league for a year then drop down significantly as managers realize he is a stud.

This is different from the defensive value of most other positions, where the better you are, the more runs you usually save your team.

Just something to think about when looking at catcher defense, maybe there is more to it than the raw runs saved totals.
   17. Gary A Posted: October 05, 2005 at 04:56 AM (#1663646)
One note about that study by David Smith of Retrosheet (which can be found here): it only covers 1958-2000, PLUS all of Campanella's seasons, which are thrown in because Retrosheet had all of them.

Also, as Smith puts it, "the percentage of caught stealing has changed dramatically in the last 40 years." In 1960 it was 38.3%; in 2000 it was 26.4%. If you look at I-Rod and Campy relative to league averages, the difference between them shrinks considerably.

Smith doesn't give complete data on all their seasons (at least that I can find), nor league data for 1958-2000 (though I guess you can get that from the Retrosheet event files). BUT--I looked up the league totals for the NL, 1951-58 (CS aren't available except sporadically before 1951 for the NL), which comes out to 40.5. I think that's very close to the league figure for Campanella's career--1948-50 couldn't be far off, and if those seasons are different, they're very likely to have a *higher* CS%, as that's the historical pattern.

In 1979 pickoffs where the runner tries to advance began to be counted as caught stealing; but Smith gives the ML CS% for catchers for 1990, 1995, and 2000: 26.2, 25.5, and 26.4. These average out to 26.0.

So Campanella's career according to Smith looks like this:

SB, 1948-58: 179
CS, 1948-58: 241
CS% 57.4
NL SB, 1951-58: 3063
NL CS, 1951-58: 2082
CS% 40.5

And Rodriguez like this:
SB, 1991-2000: 398
CS, 1991-2000: 340
CS% 46.1
ML CS%, ave. of 1990, 1995, 2000: 26.0

Campanella career, relative to league: 1.42 (57.4/40.5)
Rodriguez career, relative to league: 1.77 (46.1/26.0)

Obviously, there are other important issues, such as how much a catcher depresses stolen base attempts relative to the rest of the league. And this isn't to say that Campanella wasn't exceptional. But I really do think context and era matter as much here as they do anywhere else.

By the way, there are probably earlier catchers who would do much better than the career leaders from 1958-2000 in raw CS%, since the league averages keep going up the farther back you go. In the NL from 1920-25 base stealers were caught 46.2% of the time (4777 steals, 4100 caught stealing).
   18. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 05, 2005 at 01:47 PM (#1663820)
ROY CAMPANELLA INFO
BORN 1921
MLB FIELDING WIN SHARES = 1 PER 17.8 GAMES         

NEGRO LEAGUES       TM
YEAR LG  TM  AGE PO G    G  AB   H  TB 2B 3B HR SB BB  K  AVG SLG
1937 NNL BAL 16  C             
1938 NNL BAL 17  C  42   2   3   0   0  0  0  0  0       .000 .000
1939 NNL BAL 18  C  33  16  46  13  17  1  0  1  0       .283 .370
1940 NNL BAL 19  C  84  26  82  25  44  2  1  5  1       .305 .537
1941 NNL BAL 20  C  59  23  68  25  45  7  2  3  1       .368 .662
1942 NNL BAL 21  C  48  30 111  33  46  4  3  1  1       .297 .414
1944 NNL BAL 23  C      45 175  64 100 19  4  3  6       .366 .571
1945 NNL BAL 24  C      43 146  51  78  8  2  5  1       .349 .534
                 
MEXICAN LEAGUE
1942 MXL MON 21  C  87  20  81  24  40  6  2  2  2  9  8 .296 .494
1943 MXL MON 22  C  90  90 342  99 169 24  5 12  4 46 28 .289 .494

NEW ENGLAND LEAGUE
1946 NEL NAS 25  C 113 396 115 189  19  8 13 16          .290 .477
                 
INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE             
1947 IL  MON 26  C 153 135 440 120 190 25  3 13  7 66 41 .273 .432
                 
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION             
                 C/
1948 AA  STP 27 OF 154  35 123  40  88  5  2 13  0 23 23 .325 .715
                 
PRWL                
1940 PRWL CAG 19 C         171  45  83 10  2  8          .263 .485
1941 PRWL CAG 20 C         156  46  61 11  2  0          .295 .391
1944 PRWL SNT 23 C          85  25  34  4  1  1          .294 .400
1946 PRWL SNJ 25 C  56      45  10  18  2  0  2          .222 .400
                 
CWL                 
1943 CWL MAR  22 C  48     128  34  49  9  3  0  2       .266 .383
   19. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 05, 2005 at 01:55 PM (#1663832)
ROY CAMPANELLA MLES

YEAR LG AGE PO AVG  OBP  SLG    G   PA   AB    H   TB  BB ops+ sfws
-------------------------------------------------------------------
1939 NL 18  C .254 .324 .303   75  313  284   72   86  29  69   7.6
1940 NL 19  C .246 .314 .408  101  422  383   94  156  38  98  14.0
1941 NL 20  C .284 .366 .383  107  460  407  115  156  53 111  16.9
1942 NL 21  C .259 .335 .347  132  558  500  130  174  57 100  16.5
1943 NL 22  C .247 .321 .387  136  573  517  128  200  56 104  18.2
1944 NL 23  C .301 .381 .411  122  523  463  139  190  60 123  22.1
1945 NL 24  C .311 .394 .433  154  666  585  182  254  81 130  30.8
1946 NL 25  C .241 .323 .354   74  316  282   68  100  34  92   9.0
1947 NL 26  C .265 .350 .392  136  584  516  137  202  68  97  20.7
1948 NL 27  C .302 .406 .622   35  156  133   40   83  23 175  10.6
===================================================================
TOTAL         .270 .349 .391 1078 4598 4098 1105 1601 500 106 166.1


I think Campy's poor winter league showing might be holding down his rate stats in the MLEs, but I didn't want to break from my previously established procedures, so I left them in. I'd say, therefore, that there's a lot of upward room here for more value.

Also, I'm not so sure his age-18 season should be part of any MLE credit given to him by the electorate. He was too green by all appearances.

One last point: 1948 only represents a partial season, he spent the rest of it in Brooklyn.
   20. sunnyday2 Posted: October 05, 2005 at 02:34 PM (#1663896)
Doc, what's with 1946? Kind of out of scale with surrounding years. Was he hurt? Or is it just that he was exiled to something called the New England League and that's what the conversion is? If so, it suggests that whoever had control of his contract placed him somewhere inappropriate to his talent--maybe for obvious reasons. If that's the case, in my bullshit dump I would make an upward adjustment for that.

Not that it matters in the least. Adding in 166 or 176 or even just 125 WS (picking a number completely arbitrarily) puts him among the top 3 catchers of all-time, which is exactly where James has him. In fact 166.1 gets you:

Berra 375 34-32-31/154/28.7
Bench 356 37-34-34/155/26.7
Campy 373 33-33-31/134/27.6*

The *27.6 is what James reports for his ML career only. Campy lacks the 5 consecutive because his best ML seasons were broken up by injuries. His earlier peak including 1944-45-47 is broken up by those anamolous years of 1946 and 1948. So #3 may be the right spot for him, but not any lower.
   21. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: October 05, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1664009)
Or is it just that he was exiled to something called the New England League and that's what the conversion is? If so, it suggests that whoever had control of his contract placed him somewhere inappropriate to his talent--maybe for obvious reasons.

That's exactly what happened -- Rickey decided he wanted to integrate not just the Montreal Royals, but two teams at once. The Dodgers' next-highest farm club after Montreal was in Fort Worth. So he sent Campanella and Newcombe to Nashua after signing them despite knowing they were too good for the league.
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 05, 2005 at 03:48 PM (#1664076)
As I mentioned in my comments, I think the winter-league stats are in that instance playing havoc. He was .290/.477 in the New England League, but then .220/.400 in PRWL. I think it's safe to assume that the anomolous 1946 season is an artifact of the methodology I used, and that overall, his season was better than the translation suggests.
   23. Mike Webber Posted: October 06, 2005 at 01:12 AM (#1665701)
Doc,

I don't think it matters much, cause Campy is getting in the HOM and probably sooner rather than later,

but his 1940 and 1941 seasons playing time seems way too high. 26 games of 84 team games in 1940, to an MLE of 101 games played, 23 of 59 in 1941 to an MLE of 107. Yes he played winter ball, but I think that is double counting. If he wasn't playing half the time in the NeL, I don't see how you could project that he would play 2/3 of the games in on ML schedule.

So maybe he's only the 5th best catcher of all time instead of the 4th. :}
   24. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: October 06, 2005 at 03:06 AM (#1666053)
Based on the statistical and anecdotal evidence I've seen, Campanella would be my selection as the greatest defensive catcher in baseball history, without a close second, really.

It's worth noting that this bit of info reflects not only on Campy, but also on Biz Mackey. From what I've read the old time Negro Leaguers said that Campy was a reincarnation of Mackey behind the plate. Campy learned the trade from BM in fact.
   25. Paul Wendt Posted: October 06, 2005 at 11:24 PM (#1667838)
Marc sunnyday2:
Maybe the runners hadn't had much practice stealing?

And the pitchers not much practice holding runners?
Why couldn't station-to-station era runners take advantage of some element of surprise? Maybe because they tried to steal especially when a steal was most valuable, hence most expected.

the league averages keep going up the farther back you go. In the NL from 1920-25 base stealers were caught 46.2% of the time

good point.
1871 data is unfortunately incomplete.


whoever had control of his contract placed him somewhere inappropriate to his talent--maybe for obvious reasons.

The story I've heard at regional SABR meetings credits New Hampshire with more progressive views on race --naturally. There may be two books on the Nashua Dodgers in the last ten years, one focusing on the club history
(by Steve Daly, see Member Books)
and another on 1946.
   26. Chris Cobb Posted: October 17, 2005 at 08:40 PM (#1689395)
Bump.

I'm working on MLEs for Campanella to accompany Dr. Chaleeko's. I should have stats up to OPS+ ready by tomorrow; win shares will follow a little later in the week.
   27. sunnyday2 Posted: October 17, 2005 at 09:17 PM (#1689446)
Thanks, didn't see it among the NeL threads, guess that's not where it was hiding.
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 17, 2005 at 09:26 PM (#1689455)
Thanks, didn't see it among the NeL threads, guess that's not where it was hiding.

Campy and Jackie are with MLers, since most of their value was created in the major leagues. BTW, if and when they are elected, I wont be including them in our running count of NeLers.

Irvin, OTOH, is with the NeLers.
   29. OCF Posted: October 23, 2005 at 12:22 AM (#1698345)
I'm working to see if I can get him to the top of the ballot, but it's not that obvious a case. Campenella has an odd/even thing going. His hitting in odd-numbered years puts him in the Cochrane/Dickey/Hartnett class, but his hitting in the even-numbered years doesn't put him there. So he was a fine defensive catcher - in an age when people didn't steal bases, which limits the value. His major league career is too short by itself to fully support his case, and even in a world with less discrimination, he wouldn't have been in the majors at 19. Two and a half years in the minors, one of those in the low minors - we know how and why that happened, but it still limits the evidence we have of his quality.

Chris - I don't see the followup to your post #26. Is it still coming?
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 23, 2005 at 02:00 AM (#1698612)
OCF, who do you see above him at this point of your analysis?
   31. Howie Menckel Posted: October 23, 2005 at 04:47 AM (#1698908)
For me, Campy's 1951-53-55 numners are reminiscent of the Jennings four-year case. Of course, Jennings was only No. 15 for me when he got elected.
But 1949-50-52 also are outstanding for any C; so that's six big-time years right there.

Cochrane vs Campy, starting with best OPS+s:
Campan: 159 55 53 35 31 21 02
Mickey: 157 49 37 35 33 28 24 22 17

But Campanella conservatively with NeL credit can match the bottom 3 on Cochrane's career, so I see him slightly ahead of Cochrane - on batting alone.

Throw in a defensive bonus, and I see Campy well ahead - and I'm a big Cochrane fan.

Maybe some voters will grant that Campy was great in his 3 big years - without realizing just how amazing it is to have a MVP-level hitter who also kicks butt as a defensive C.
I always did respect how Jennings dominated the earth, briefly, as an SS MVP-level guy. Can't see how any Jennings backers can't like Campy even better.
   32. sunnyday2 Posted: October 23, 2005 at 01:48 PM (#1699094)
As a FOHJ, yes, I like Campy. Haven't thought what if they went head to head. Campy's peak seasons are as good--which is to say, better--than any C until you get to Johnny Bench, IMO. Among MLers of course. The fact that they didn't come bing-bang-boom is only a very very slight distraction.

Counting his NeL days, the real question is how does Campy do head to head with Jackie. I think there's a case to be made for Campy.
   33. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 23, 2005 at 02:12 PM (#1699104)
Counting his NeL days, the real question is how does Campy do head to head with Jackie. I think there's a case to be made for Campy.

I'd go with Campy fairly easy, Marc.
   34. Chris Cobb Posted: October 23, 2005 at 05:01 PM (#1699279)
Here are my MLEs for Roy Campanella. They're a little lower than Dr. Chaleeko's, but not much. The main differences are that 1) mine do not include winter-league play, 2) mine use a slightly lower conversion factor for the MxL, and 3) mine are regressed for NeL (but not MiL) play. So you can choose the fine-tuning you prefer.

I don't have win shares yet, but I hope to have those tonight or tomorrow.

Roy Campanella MLEs

Year Team EqG   PA  BB  Hits TB   BA   OBP  SA   OPS+
1938 Bal   20   80   4   16   23 .211 .254 .308   54
1939 Bal   75  300  19   77  108 .273 .319 .384   88
1940 Bal   55  220  15   56   86 .272 .321 .420  103
1941 Bal   60  240  19   66  103 .297 .353 .467  129
1942 Bal* 131  524  41  124  174 .258 .316 .361   98
1943 MxL  146  584  59  132  197 .251 .327 .375  102
1944 Bal  116  464  45  124  175 .295 .364 .419  120
1945 Bal  110  440  47  113  159 .287 .362 .405  113
1946 Nash 113  452  53  104  149 .260 .348 .374  104
1947 Mon  135  506  62  114  171 .256 .348 .384   94
1948 StP   35  146  20   34   71 .269 .369 .567  150
totals    996 3956 384  959 1417 .268 .339 .397  105

tot 43-48 582 2300 257  555  824 .272 .353 .403  109
(1/2 of 1943 included to model mid-season call-up)

ML tot.  1215 4816 553 1161 2101 .276 .360 .500  124
Combined 1797 7116 810 1716 2925 .275 .358 .468  119

*Also played in Mexican League
   35. OCF Posted: October 23, 2005 at 05:57 PM (#1699433)
My offensive system: modified RCAA, sorted from best to worst, arbitrary units. For Campanella, major league years only:

Campanella  54 52 41 34 24 17  6 -6 -9-18
Cochrane    48 42 40 38 34 30 29 26 19 13  7  6  1
Hartnett    41 39 34 32 30 19 19 16 15 15 14 12 12 12 6 5 4 1 0-7
Dickey      50 48 46 39 35 34 24 22 20 20 14 14 12  6 1-1-3

OK, there's my uneasiness, and maybe the way out of it as well. The instability of Campanella's career is an issue. He does have the top handful of years, although not necessarily consecutive, but he's short, at least in the major leagues, in "shoulder" years to make up a prime.

Was his birthday 11/19/21? If so, then the ages in Dr. Chaleeko's post #19 are a year older than he really was during those seasons, although correct in post #18. He reached the majors at the age of 26. Again, I don't think he would have been a teenage major leauger, but there's enough there for "shoulder" value in his early 20's.
   36. Jeff M Posted: October 23, 2005 at 07:24 PM (#1699611)
Let's not forget this guy won 3 MVP awards, ahead of Musial, Mathews and Snider, respectively (in those years).

Who else has 3 or more MVPs? Berra, Foxx, Schmidt, Dimaggio, Mantle, Musial and Bonds. Who doesn't? Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, etc.

I'm not suggesting that Campy is in the same breath with those guys, but let's give him some credit beyond what our post-hoc analysis of his numbers shows.
   37. Chris Cobb Posted: October 23, 2005 at 07:42 PM (#1699656)
Was his birthday 11/19/21?

Yes.

Let's not forget this guy won 3 MVP awards, ahead of Musial, Mathews and Snider, respectively (in those years).

To indulge in some post-hoc analysis of numbers, I see that in terms of raw value, neither WARP nor WS sees Campy as the best player in the league in any of his three MVP seasons. With a catcher bonus, he may well be the right choice for 1951 and 1953, but not 1955. That was a mistake on the writers' part.

I'm not suggesting that Campy is in the same breath with those guys, but let's give him some credit beyond what our post-hoc analysis of his numbers shows.

All that OCF's analysis is suggesting, it seems to me, is that Campanella probably does not rank among the top 5 catchers of all time: he's only solidly in the top 10! This seems to me the drift of much of the analysis we've seen this week.
   38. Kelly in SD Posted: October 24, 2005 at 07:35 AM (#1701069)
I think one reason Campanella was so highly regarded was his level of performance was so far above a typical catcher of the previous years.

These are the averages of the catcher with the most games caught for each team from 1939 to 1946, NL. I have AL numbers that I will post when Berra comes up for election. Those numbers are worse than the NL's.
year games abs r  h  hr rbi bb so tb  avg  obp  slg
1939 112   342 35 96 8  48  32 29 144 .280 .341 .420
1940 110   345 36 97 8  48  29 25 141 .280 .336 .408
1941 120   366 35 86 6  43  33 31 119 .235 .299 .324
1942 112   352 38 96 5  39  32 28 131 .272 .333 .373
1943 110   349 34 95 5  45  30 24 128 .273 .331 .366
1944 111   364 36 98 5  44  30 24 134 .269 .325 .367
1945 90    268 29 70 5  33  32 21 101 .261 .338 .375
1946 97    303 33 81 5  38  30 34 114 .267 .333 .378  


The highest total for each category:
Hits: 163 Danning 1939
Runs: 79 Danning 1939
Home runs: 20 Lombardi 1939
RBI: 91 Danning 1940
BB: 56 Mueller 1943
TB: 249 Danning 1939

Number of players with 10 or more home runs in a season in 8 years: 16
Number of players with 15 or more home runs in a season in 8 years: 3
Number of players with 20 or more home runs in a season in 8 years: 1

Number of players with 70 or more rbi in a season: 8
Number of players with 80 or more rbi in a season: 3
Number of players with 90 or more rbi in a season: 1

Campanella:
Had 10 homers in every year except his first year when he only played 86 games.
Had 15 homers in 8 years, 1949 to 1956.
Had 20 homers in 7 years, 1949 to 1953, 1955 to 1956.
Had 25 homers in 4 years, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1955
Had 30 homers in 4 years, same
Had 40 homers in 1953.

Had 70 rbi in 7 years, 1949 - 1953, 1955 - 1956.
Had 80 rbi in 6 years, 1949 - 1953, 1955.
Had 90 rbi in 4 years, 1951 - 1953, 1955.
Had 100 rbi in 3 years, 1951, 1953, 1955.

Other than Walker Cooper's 35 HR and 122 RBI season (1947), the last NL catcher to get more than 100 rbi was Hartnett's 122 in 1930 and the last NL catcher to hit more than 25 / 30 homers was Hartnett's 37 in 1930.
Campanella (and Berra) was the first catcher who could consistently hit with home run power and drive in runs in great numbers. Campanella's other key was his ability to stay in the line-up. From 1949 to 1956, Campanella has 7 seasons of at least 120 games caught and an eighth at 111. This compares to the previous great hitting catchers:
Lombardi had 2 seasons with 120 games caught and 2 more at 111 or better.
Hartnett had 4 seasons with 120 games caught and 5 more at 110 or better.
Dickey had 6 years with 120 games caught and and 1 more at 110 or better.
Cochrane had 8 years with 120 games caught and 3 more at 110 or better.
It had been a decade since people had seen such a durable catcher, plus he hit with home run power that no catcher had consistently shown.
Berra was even more durable, but we'll deal with him in 1970/71.

Use as you see fit.
   39. Jeff M Posted: October 24, 2005 at 09:46 PM (#1702031)
All that OCF's analysis is suggesting, it seems to me, is that Campanella probably does not rank among the top 5 catchers of all time: he's only solidly in the top 10! This seems to me the drift of much of the analysis we've seen this week.

It had been a decade since people had seen such a durable catcher, plus he hit with home run power that no catcher had consistently shown.

...which makes him an easy choice for a top spot on the ballot. :)

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