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Monday, April 04, 2005

Tommy Bridges

Tommy Bridges

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 04, 2005 at 01:24 AM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 04, 2005 at 01:37 AM (#1230234)
Which president was he named after? :-)
   2. DavidFoss Posted: April 04, 2005 at 03:39 AM (#1230680)
Neyer does a write up of Bridges in the Neyer/James guide to pitchers.

Like Lyons, Bridges thrived as a 'Sunday Starter' late in his career.
   3. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 04, 2005 at 03:47 AM (#1230688)
Started, but didn't finish his MOWPs earlier today. Not helping him too much. He faced (through 1940/1ish) slightly fewer winning teams than he should've. Nothing serious - MOWP+ of about 98 or 99, but lower than most of the others I've checked and Bridges probably needs these things to break in his favor, not against him, if he's going to have a chance. I don't have the info with me right now, but IIRC, he ducked the Yanks for a few years. Then again, in 1940 he owned them.

Put him with Babe Adams and Wilbur Cooper and Charlie Root and the rest of 'em that are good enough to be respected but not good enough to get on the ballot.
   4. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 04, 2005 at 03:51 AM (#1230694)
I just checked his stats at b-ref, and they were better than I would've guessed. Feel free to ignore the last paragraph in the previous post, but then again, you don't need me to tell you that.
   5. OCF Posted: April 04, 2005 at 05:34 AM (#1230817)
RA+ Pythag PythPat; with separate threads for Hubbell, Warnecke, and Bridges, this could go anywhere.I've decided to put it hear, on the Bridges thread. These aren't adjusted for defense, for quality of opponent (see Chris J.'s comments about Hubbell), or (except for Ferrell) for the pitcher's own offense. The rank order is by FWP.

Pitcher    W-L   Big yrs bonus
Hubbell  249-150  76
Lyons    260-202  22
Rixie    275-224  19
Hoyt     234-184  18
Bridges  190-124  17
Ferrell  179-113  54  (offense adjusted)
Warneke  184-128  38
Gomez    169-109  46
Root     201-156  12
Dean     136- 82  35


Sorry about the double post on the ballot thread; when the page refused to load, I assumed (incorrectly) that nothing had gone through.
   6. kthejoker Posted: April 04, 2005 at 06:00 AM (#1230862)
Total random fact:

Bridges went 1-0 in the 1945 series against the Cubs, despite giving up 3 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs in only 1 2/3 innings.

But you know, I like him better than Clark Griffith. Even with Clark's super 1898 season, Tommy's 5 year peak ERA+ average is higher (141.4 vs 140.2), he had 6 seasons with a 140 ERA+ or higher (versus 2 for Griffith), and was consistently in the top ten in K/9 and BB+H/9.

Ultimately, I think the comparison to Dazzy Vance sticks, though, and he's just a glut pitcher. Definitely one of the unmentioned very good ones in history.
   7. kthejoker Posted: April 04, 2005 at 06:04 AM (#1230867)
Looking at my last post, I should qualify that to me, Tommy is the poor man's Dazzy Vance.
   8. Flynn Posted: April 04, 2005 at 06:37 AM (#1230914)
Unbelievable curveball.

Very rarely is someone universally considered to have the best curveball in the major leagues - just no discussion as to who had the best. Not even Barry Zito can definitively claim that.

Bridges had a hard 12-6 downer that broke a country mile, from chest to knees.
   9. DavidFoss Posted: April 04, 2005 at 07:50 AM (#1230987)
Bridges went 1-0 in the 1945 series against the Cubs, despite giving up 3 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs in only 1 2/3 innings.

Bridges had a no-decision in this game. Entered the game down 3 runs and pitched poorly. Tigers came back to tied after he left the game, but then they lost in extra innings.

Game 6

Also, the 45 WS is in Bridges' "token" period... his eligibility clock was already ticking and would not be reset.
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: April 04, 2005 at 01:53 PM (#1231109)
for those who give minor league credit:
from baseballlibrary.com, it appears Bridges led the Pacific Coast League in 1946 with a 1.64 ERA. He also pitched a PCL no-hitter in 1947.
   11. DavidFoss Posted: April 04, 2005 at 02:45 PM (#1231168)
for those who give minor league credit:
from baseballlibrary.com, it appears Bridges led the Pacific Coast League in 1946 with a 1.64 ERA. He also pitched a PCL no-hitter in 1947.


This is in the Neyer/James Guide to pitchers write-up for Bridges. Neyer has the 1.64 ERA in 1947 in only 13 games (W-L: 13-7). 15-11 with a 2.86 ERA in 1948. 11-11 with a 3.82 ERA in 1949 before washing out in 1950.

I'm not sure how much minor league credit we should give after WWII. Also, not sure how much credit Bridges should get for it this 'year' as its just Jan of 1949.
   12. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 04, 2005 at 05:52 PM (#1231623)
OCF,

When the page doesn't load, I usually just hit the back button. The post should be there. If it isn't the post didn't go through.
   13. OCF Posted: April 04, 2005 at 07:07 PM (#1231685)
Put him with Babe Adams and Wilbur Cooper and Charlie Root and the rest of 'em that are good enough to be respected but not good enough to get on the ballot.

... and he's just a glut pitcher. Definitely one of the unmentioned very good ones in history.... the poor man's Dazzy Vance


I dunno - I have him better than that. Not the peak that Ferrell has, but definitely competitive with Ferrell. And Warneke is the same neighborhood, too.
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 06, 2005 at 07:29 PM (#1236434)
Does anyone have an idea what would be reasonable WWII credit for Bridges?
   15. jimd Posted: April 07, 2005 at 03:04 AM (#1237693)
Using WARP, I really can't see a case for putting Bridges ahead of Ferrell. His career value is less than Ferrell's (needs two WWII credit seasons to pass him) and his peak is not comparable; one, maybe two, 2nd team all-star selections vs 4 first-team selections for Ferrell plus two seconds. He does have a number of good seasons, typical of a "lesser ace" (3rd/4th team all-star; equivalent to being 3rd/4th best at an everyday starting position about half-a-dozen times).
   16. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 07, 2005 at 03:22 AM (#1237737)
I did the MOWPs for Bridges & Warneke - Warneke comes out way ahead. Bridges actually ends up with a MOWP+ a little under 100. Fun fact: in 1942 only 3 of his 22 starts came against teams with winning records. Looking it up, it appears to be a fluke as he was starting on weekends as a Sunday pitcher -- but the Tigers kept facing sucky teams on weekends.
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 07, 2005 at 05:54 PM (#1238788)
Nobody thinks that Brdges deserves any WII credit?
   18. Al Peterson Posted: April 07, 2005 at 09:01 PM (#1239426)
Nobody thinks that Brdges deserves any WII credit?

John, of course Bridges deserves some credit for the war. At least 1944, probably part of 1945. Based on the previous 5 years Tommy would have gotten 20-25 starts in '44 with an ERA+ of around 130.

Problem with doing that: I don't know if it helps his chances. That's not going to help his peak argument and his career is not too long.

Of interest might be why he didn't get a real chance in 1946 and beyond. He proved he could still pitch in the PCL after his ML time. My guess is the Tigers during post-WWII had quite a bit of good starting pitching and so why go back to a player in his late 30s.

Even without war credit I've got Bridges somewhere around 30th on the ballot.
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 07, 2005 at 09:22 PM (#1239485)
Even without war credit I've got Bridges somewhere around 30th on the ballot.

That's my problem, Al. Without WWII credit, he's in the low thirties. Depending on the amount of WII credit given, he could pop up on my ballot, so it's important that I get the proper amount of credit for Bridges. It's difficult in this case since he was very productive pre-military, but hardly pitched when he came back to the majors.

I don't see WWII credit helping Warneke, since he was on his way out anyway.
   20. Al Peterson Posted: April 08, 2005 at 01:31 PM (#1240546)
To bring up Bridges curveball as his best pitch, here is a story from the 1939 All-Star game. National Leaguer Frank McCormick is the source.

"I faced Tommy Bridges in that game," said Frank McCormick, "and I said to myself, 'That's the greatest curveball I've ever seen.' A few innings later, I face Feller and I said to myself, 'No, THAT'S the greatest curveball I've ever seen."

Before TV and interleague play you didn't get much of a chance to see players in the other league - maybe just spring training.
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 08, 2005 at 04:16 PM (#1240797)
I'm not sure how much minor league credit we should give after WWII.

Normally I would be hesitant as you are, David, but I think the Tigers screwed up with him. It looks like the guy could still pitch.

As of right now, I'm going to give credit to Bridges for '44 and '45 (comparable to his pitching pre-WWII), which will place him on my ballot. I'm on the fence for the Pacific Coast League career. Does anyone have his complete PCL stats?
   22. PhillyBooster Posted: April 08, 2005 at 04:37 PM (#1240836)
Which president was he named after? :-)

My money's on "Thomas 'Jefferson Davis' Bridges", not "'Thomas Jefferson' Davis Bridges" The protest vote will be registered when Bridge's parents become eligible for induction.

Bridges in definitely a bubbler. I've got him anywhere from 14-28, depending on war credit. His problems are (1) he was a bad hitter; (2) without extra credit, he's got fewer IP than Bob Caruthers.

I think for about 20-30 years now, I've had Vic Willis placed in the 15-25 range. Tommy Bridges is another case of a pitcher who I can't justify placing on my ballot unless I can justify placing him above Vic Willis.
   23. PhillyBooster Posted: April 08, 2005 at 04:45 PM (#1240849)
Does anyone have his complete PCL stats?

I have them at home, and will post them tonight after the kids' bedtime if no one beats me to it.
   24. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 09, 2005 at 04:05 AM (#1243061)
Tommy Bridges. Comments in (well, in theory - my computer says no, but they should be there for you all). Really not good news for him. I didn't realize his MOWPs were that bad until I put them on the site. Yikes.
   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 09, 2005 at 05:58 PM (#1243289)
My money's on "Thomas 'Jefferson Davis' Bridges", not "'Thomas Jefferson' Davis Bridges" The protest vote will be registered when Bridge's parents become eligible for induction.

LOL
   26. PhillyBooster Posted: April 10, 2005 at 03:26 AM (#1244622)
Sorry I didn't get to this yesterday. Bizarrely, my wife thought that finishing the taxes was more important. Go figure.

There are no records of Bridges playing in the PCL in 1945 or 1946.

He pitched for the 3rd place Portland Beavers in 1947.

1947
W: 7
L: 3
G: 13
GS: 13
CG: 11
Sho: 1
IP: 104
H: 84
R: 29
ER: 19
K: 73
BB: 31
ERA: 1.64

While the ERA was the lowest among pitchers with over 100 innings, Bridges would not have qualified for the ERA title that year due to the low innings pitched total. (I know he pitched the no-hitter in April of this year, so I don't know if the low IP is due to low usage, or an injury). #2 in ERA that year for Portland was Vic Raschi at 2.75, also in about 100 innings, as he was headed for the Yankees before the year was up. The ERA leader among "qualifiers" in 1947 was Bill Chesnes, with a 2.32 in San Francisco. He'd get a shot with the Pirates the next year.

1948 for the 5th place Beavers:

W: 15
L: 11
G: 29
GS: 24
CG: 15
Sho: 7
SV: 1
IP: 195
H: 173
R: 72
ER: 62
K: 123
BB: 75
ERA: 2.86

The ERA was again best for Portland, with second place being Duane Pillette, the year before his major league debut (again with the Yankees) before a career spanning the Browns/Orioles divide. The second place S.F. Seals had the ERA leader that year with Con Dempsey's 2.10 in 219 innings. Dempsey also led the league in Ks with 171. Dempsey got a cup of coffee with the Pirates in 1951.

Don't know if or where he pitched in 1949 or later, but it wasn't in the PCL.
   27. Kelly in SD Posted: April 10, 2005 at 09:15 AM (#1244836)
From Dagguerotypes:

1949: Portland PCL
W: 11
L: 11
G: 28
IP: 184
H: 179
R: 80
ER: 78
K: 110
BB: 75
ERA: 3.82

1950: San Francisco and Seattle PCL
W: 0
L: 0
G: 11
IP: 24
H: 18
R: 16
ER: 14
K: 11
BB: 23
ERA: 5.25
   28. PhillyBooster Posted: April 10, 2005 at 01:57 PM (#1244898)
Wow. You're right. Completely missed those years last night. I hope I did a better job finding my deductions!

To fill in the gaps.

1949:

GS: 24
CG: 15
Sho: 2

ERA was third best on the team after Hal Saltzman (3.26) and Roy Helser (2.95). The team finished 6th of 8.

1950:

GS: 4
CG: 0
   29. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 10, 2005 at 05:12 PM (#1245090)
If we are giving Holmes minor league credit sould he even be eligible now? Is it too late to bring this up?

I, however, am not too inlcined to give him much MiL credit, though. Not many IP in 1947, decent year in '48, what looks like an OK year in '49, and nothing to speak of in 1950. As far as War credit si concerned, I am not sure it will do an awful lot for him in my peak heavy system.

It is always interesting to find Major League players that I know so little about.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 10, 2005 at 07:40 PM (#1245774)
If we are giving Holmes minor league credit sould he even be eligible now? Is it too late to bring this up?

I believe Tommy Holmes is still active in '49.

:-)

Seriously, since I don't timeline, it's a moot point for me, anyway.
   31. DanG Posted: March 08, 2006 at 08:39 PM (#1888876)
From Bridges' entry at SABR Bioproject, http://bioproj.sabr.org/bioproj.cfm?a=v&v=l&bid=807&pid=1553

"Bridges continued as a stating pitcher through 1943, when he was called to military duty in the Army. He returned in time in 1945 to pitch a few games in the Tigers' World Series championship season, but in 1946 he was told he was over the hill. Still feeling the need to play, he swallowed his ego and went down to the minors to pitch. From 1946 through 1949 he pitched for the Portland Beavers. He went 7-3 in 1947 with a fine 1.64 ERA but never made it back to the majors and retired after pitching for the San Francisco Seals in 1950. In his major league career Bridges won 194 games and lost 138. He racked up 1674 strikeouts and had an ERA of 3.57.

In his glory days with the Tigers Bridges was considered a sober, sensitive, and intelligent man. He called his wife Carolyn (nee Jellicorse), whom he'd married on March 21, 1930, almost every night and was concerned about their daughter. Some time after Bridges went into the service he started to drink. After his return from the service and being relegated to the Pacific Coast League, Bridges' drinking became much worse. Then to make matters disastrous, he was caught in bed with another woman. Her enraged husband took a couple of shots at him, Bridges escaping unharmed. He divorced Carolyn to marry Iona Veda Kidwell, the other woman, on May 17, 1950. He and his wife returned to the Detroit area, where Tommy ran into Eldon Auker and Billy Rogell. They were shocked to see him in such a dissolute state. Rogell had become a city councilman in Detroit and had lined up a job, for Tommy, who never showed up."
Bridges' entry
   32. DL from MN Posted: March 08, 2006 at 09:27 PM (#1888985)
I'm glad someone brought the thread to the top. I'd been discounting his 1943 and not giving him any war credit. If I give a season of war credit he jumps up from 10th to seventh on my ballot. Adding minor league credit could get him all the way up to 6th but I'm not really inclined to give minor league credit to someone who was over 40, drinking and not pitching a whole lot of innings.
   33. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 08, 2006 at 09:42 PM (#1889014)
My wife would call me an insensitive husband if I "called ...almost every night" or if I wasn't "concerned about their daughter." Geez, how much slack should a guy get for being on the road 90 days a year?
   34. Jim Sp Posted: March 08, 2006 at 10:23 PM (#1889139)
My wife would call me an insensitive husband if I "called ...almost every night" or if I wasn't "concerned about their daughter." Geez, how much slack should a guy get for being on the road 90 days a year?

talk about a reverse timeline :)
   35. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 13, 2006 at 10:07 AM (#1896576)
Yeah really on the reverse timeline - in the 70s (I can't remember it, but I've heard about that era :-), wasn't it rare for the husband to deliver with the wife (I mean being in the room and all)? Didn't he just sit an smoke a stogie somewhere?

Now if you don't stop the world, fly across country and be in the room with her holding her hand, no matter whether your team is playing in the Super Bowl or the World Series that day or whatever, you are a considered a jerk of a husband.

Not that that's a bad thing, but I think times have changed for sure.
   36. Howie Menckel Posted: March 26, 2006 at 02:36 PM (#1918851)
Happened to peruse Elden Auker's book in the store yesterday (now out in paperback!).

Auker tells this amazing story about Bridges showing up out of the blue on his front door one day. Bridges was about 45 at the time; Auker said he looked 60.
Bridges never had a drop to drink in all their years as roommates, apparently. But then Auker got traded after the 1938 season, and Bridges started rooming with Al Benton - a notorious boozehound, Auker suggests.
(Ironically, Bridges pitched a bit BETTER in those next four years, during his descent from teetotaler to barfly.)

Anyway, Bridges shows up asking Auker for $125 because he said he'd quit drinking and needed a new suit and such for a job interview.
Auker says maybe he should give him $500 or $1000 for this profound moment.
But Bridges says no, he only needs $125 (pretty good money around 1950, though). Auker writes him the check, and has him sign a promissory note. If Bridges is still sober after a year, Auker says he'll tear up the note. Otherwise, Bridges has to pay him back.

Cops find Bridges the very next morning, passed out on someone's lawn. He went straight from Auker's house to a bar, where he cashed the check.
Auker says he still has the note to this day. He ran into Bridges again years later, and he says neither one of them mentioned it.

None of this is relevant to Bridges' HOM case.
But it's a pretty remarkable - and sobering - tale.
   37. favre Posted: March 26, 2006 at 03:41 PM (#1918867)
None of this is relevant to Bridges' HOM case.
But it's a pretty remarkable - and sobering - tale.


No pun intended, I'm sure...:]
   38. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 29, 2006 at 09:46 AM (#1923800)
I have Bridges and Auker on my Diamond-Mind team that is starting the 1930 season. I'll do my best not to ever trade for Al Benton. So in our universe, Bridges will stay sober!
   39. Paul Wendt Posted: November 26, 2008 at 02:27 AM (#3015989)
Now in "2009" we have four pitchers among the top 15 incumbents, or ranks #4 to #18 in the 2008 election:
Bucky Walters, Dick Redding, Luis Tiant, David Cone in election rank order.

Here is the pitcher subset from the first five ballots cast, down to rank 30 if posted, including entire comment on the first pitcher listed.


2. Bridges
: Tommy Bridges - Best rate production of the pitchers available, maintained that rate for a long period of time despite (perhaps because of) innings pitched numbers that aren't overwhelming. There are fewer pitchers elected from the WWII era than any other. It wasn't easy to pitch in the AL of the 1930s and early 1940s. Deserves some war credit. Looks even better in the standard deviation adjusted numbers. Incredibly strong PWAA - even with Walsh, Lyons, Saberhagen, Bunning. Best pitcher currently eligible.
4. Tiant
6. Cone
10. Lee Smith
11. Shocker
---
16. Jim McCormick
19. REDDING, pre-NeL
20. Quinn
22. Kevin Appier, new eligible 2009
That is 9 pitchers in ranks 1-25.


2. Joss
I’m now [unspecified past] even more convinced I missed him earlier, and that adjusting innings down for dead ball pitchers is illegitimate. 2327 IP at an ERA+ of 142. 160-97 by age 30. If you assume the rest of his career would have been 1800 IP, 120-90 with an ERA+ of 110 (somewhat conservative, assuming you boost his last sick season, though pitchers didn’t last as long as they did later) then 50% credit would put him at 3227IP, 220-142, with ERA+ of 130. 25% credit puts him at 2777 IP, 190-120, with ERA+ of 136. Substantially better than Koufax. OPS+20. Electorate needs to take him more seriously.
3. Cicotte
8. Leever
9. John
10. Mays
(11. Elmer Smith, primarily LF but his adjusted career includes "about 1400IP at an ERA+ of 113 and a W/L of about 96-72")
13. Mickey Welch
---
(16. Van Haltren, primarily CF and "significantly below Elmer Smith, either as hitter or pitcher.
")
19. Cone
21. Tiant
22. Willis
23. Lee Smith
26. Reuschel
That is 11++ pitchers in ranks 1-30.


5. Mickey Welch
- PHoM 1929 (8,8,6)
Along with #7, my personal lost causes / tilting at windmills.

(7. Van Haltren)
13. Willis
---
16. REDDING, pre-NeL
21. Grimes
22. Mullane
(25. Kid Gleason, a greater pitcher than E.Smith or GVH -pgw)
29. Tommy John

That is more than 6++ pitchers in ranks 1-30.
Full summary not available.
This ballot fills about half of ranks 16-30 with Negro Leagues and pre-NeL players, such as Dick Redding, probably including some pitchers (none of the Hall of Fame pitchers, none of the 100? best known players).


5. Bridges
: Tommy Bridges - What I've read makes me agree with DL that he's the best available pitcher, just think Smith, Puckett, and Perez are higher.

6. Lee Smith
8. Joss
9. Dean
14. Cone [seems to be 15]
15. Appier [seems to be 16]
---

That is 6 pitchers in ranks 1-15 (and no listings beyond #15).


3. Walters
- Great peak and good career value, 3000+ IP 115 ERA+.
6. LEROY MATLOCK, NeL
8. Trout
11. Cone
14. Tanana
15. Appier, new eligible 2009
---
16. Lee Smith
(21. Van Haltren)
26. John
   40. Paul Wendt Posted: November 26, 2008 at 02:29 AM (#3015990)
five summaries:

That is 9 pitchers in ranks 1-25.
That is 11++ pitchers in ranks 1-30.
That is [at least] 6++ pitchers in ranks 1-30. [maybe more NeL pitchers I don't recognize]
That is 6 pitchers in ranks 1-15 (and no listings beyond #15).
That is 8+ pitchers in ranks 1-30.
   41. Chris Cobb Posted: November 26, 2008 at 05:08 AM (#3016066)
fwiw, here's a little more info on one of the ballot-summaries above:

5. Mickey Welch
- PHoM 1929 (8,8,6)
Along with #7, my personal lost causes / tilting at windmills.

(7. Van Haltren)
13. Willis
---
16. REDDING, pre-NeL
19. Sam Streeter, NeL career 1921-36
21. Grimes
22. Mullane
(25. Kid Gleason, a greater pitcher than E.Smith or GVH -pgw)
29. Tommy John

None of the other NeL players listed in the 16-30 range on this ballot were pitchers. Bill Monroe (who is well-known in HoM circles) was a pre-NeL second baseman, Ted Strong a rightfielder, Joe Greene was a catcher, Baldy Souell was a third baseman, and Archie Ware a first baseman. All but Monroe were medium-level stars in the 1940s. This voter's preference for this group is unique and mysterious: I don't ever recall reading an explanation for it.
   42. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 09, 2008 at 02:51 PM (#3023684)
I'll do my best not to ever trade for Al Benton.


Even in tiny Baker Bowl, Benton has outperformed his historical ERAs his first two seasons in our league, Joe, so I'm happy to have him so far on my Phillies. :-)

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