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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Tom York

The greatest leftfielder of the 1870’s, his place in baseball history is obscured by numerous factors.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 11, 2004 at 11:08 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2004 at 04:15 PM (#1021995)
Paul Wendt presented this nugget on the leftfielders thread:

Al Spink on left field in the early days. Salt to taste.

_ Left field has always been considered the hardest place to fill in the outer works.
_ It was especially hard in the early days of the professional game, when the pitching was slower than it is now, when the ball contained more rubber than the ball used at the present time and when hits to the left field, long rangy hits, were the order of the day in nearly each and every game.
_ So it happened that in the earliest days of the professional game the fleetest men on each team were assigned to positions at left field.

"The Left Fielders." The National Game, 2d ed. 1911.


Solid evidence that left field was considered the same way that we consider centerfield. Maybe a great fielding player at that position who played a long time for his era may get a second chance now with the electorate.
   2. Paul Wendt Posted: December 15, 2004 at 04:24 PM (#1022015)
At last, a venue to pass on this tidbit! When he was sold to Baltimore for $500 (1882-1883), "York considered retirement. However, he signed after receiving a bonus -- the scorecard concession at Oriole Park."
--Richard A. Puff, "Thomas J. York," 19c Stars
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2004 at 04:51 PM (#1022072)
Glad I could be of service, Paul! BTW, I love all of those SABR books.
   4. Michael Bass Posted: December 15, 2004 at 05:36 PM (#1022192)
Maybe it's just me, but I'm failing to see a screaming need to induct anyone else from this era. It is quite well represented.

So in order to make a serious case for me to have York (or Tommy Bond, who I like better than York) on my ballot, one is going to have to make the case to me that he was better than someone we have inducted from that era. I don't think that's going to happen any time soon. Hell, Lip Pike just barely edged in, and I can't see any serious argument that York is nearly as good as Pike.
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2004 at 05:46 PM (#1022225)
Maybe it's just me, but I'm failing to see a screaming need to induct anyone else from this era. It is quite well represented.

I have never had York in an elect me spot, so I don't think he's an outstanding choice either. But he deserves as much respect as the "usual suspects" from the outfield glut have been earning. Why Van Haltren (who I have at the bottom of my ballot), but not York? York would have had as many WS or more playing during Rip's time, plus he played a more demanding position that he was best at for numerous seasons, but he is forgotten man with the electorate.
   6. Michael Bass Posted: December 15, 2004 at 06:02 PM (#1022274)
I think your unjustified leap is in going from LF was the most important OF position (a position with which I agree) to it was an important defensive position. It was, at best, 6th on the defensive importance scale, and quite likely 7th behind P, too. Meaning, defensive great or no, he's gonna have to bring a lot more bat than he did to be a serious HOM candidate.
   7. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2004 at 06:34 PM (#1022352)
I think your unjustified leap is in going from LF was the most important OF position (a position with which I agree) to it was an important defensive position.

I have never made that leap, Michael.

What I do see is a great fielder and fine baserunner who played a long time for his era (I adjust for that) at a tougher position than most people realize.
   8. jimd Posted: December 15, 2004 at 08:38 PM (#1022697)
I believe that Spink's quote tends to be more relevant to the late 1860's extending into the early NA period. Offensive levels were dropping rapidly during this time, perhaps due to the introduction of the strike zone, or the curved ball, or other factors.

Win Shares does not distinguish between OF positions. So if LF in the 1870's was like CF today, he would get his props from Win Shares, overly so due to a) Win Shares giving the OF collectively a fixed share, and b) over all baseball history, the OF made the smallest percentage of non-K putouts during the late 1870's (causing Win Shares to collectively overrate the OF).

WARP-1 also adjusts defensive roles, so WARP-1 should adjust him appropriately defensively. He should get a larger piece of a smaller OF pie; the smaller pie will hurt him when compared to Win Shares. WARP-2 uses fixed defensive proportions based on the modern game (extending the Win Shares philosophy to the individual OF positions), giving him a smaller piece of a larger pie; this will not be as favorable as Win Shares either.

My guess is that Win Shares will tend to overrate OF defense in general from this period, though it will adjust to the LF/CF change, and overrate all the OF equally.
   9. Paul Wendt Posted: January 25, 2009 at 02:17 AM (#3059802)
(jimd,
Thanks for the nutshell explanation of WARP1 and WARP2 approaches to fielding history.)

Here is a tidbit of correspondence from Boston to the Baltimore Sun re Tom York and colored baseball.
>>
BASE-BALL
[Correspondence of the Baltimore Sun. -Sun]
Boston, March 28.--
{deleted: two paragraphs on the Boston NL club -Ed.}

Boston has a colored base-ball club which promises to make a good showing this season and is to be one of the contestants for the National Colored League championship. Tom York, formerly a well-known player, has offered a pennant as a prize for colored clubs, and there will be some lively hustling for the trophy. The Resolute is the name of Boston's crack colored club. The men have been in the gymnasium training for two or three weeks, and next week will begin the field work. . . .
<<

So Tom York supported competition behind the color line. It is not clear that he offered this trophy to the League champion, but I guess so.

(I doubt that he would have supported local or regional competition in and near Boston. Although he earned greatest fame in nearby Providence and he played all his prime seasons for Hartford and Providence --3 and 5 seasos 1875-82, judged by OPS+ and playing time. He played for Baltimore teams '72-73 and '84-'85; born Brooklyn, died New York.)


3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2004 at 10:51 AM (#1022072)
Glad I could be of service, Paul! BTW, I love all of those SABR books.

JTM, Do you have a complete set of The National Pastime? If not, how far back?
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 25, 2009 at 07:36 PM (#3060014)
JTM, Do you have a complete set of The National Pastime? If not, how far back?


I think I joined SABR in 2003, Paul, so I have them all as far back as that.

I bought the 19th century books online for the HoM project. I also have "The National Pastime" book edited by John Thorn that I purchased during the late '80s.
   11. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 25, 2009 at 07:38 PM (#3060015)
So Tom York supported competition behind the color line.


Another reason to like him.
   12. Mark Donelson Posted: January 27, 2009 at 06:15 AM (#3061201)
I feel like it's because they were all used up in some other thread, but how can there be no bad Radiohead jokes on this one?

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