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In 1943, in perhaps his most amazing slugging exhibition, Gibson hit 10 home runs in 40 games at Griffith Stadium, while the Senators hit 9 in 77 games, and the rest of the American League hit another 14.
i also think george davis is a poor shortsop choice. not as many great hitters to replace him with but you could go with a player like hughie jennings. he eventually learned to hit and he was obviously a great fielder.
Basically, if Gibson wasn't the greatest catcher of his time, then no one in the Negro Leagues in the 30s and 40s - whom he consistently out-hit - was more than a very marginal Hall of Famer. The conversions required to knock Gibson down to the level of Dickey and Cochrane would take his peers out of the Hall altogether.
You know damn well that there's no way (for instance) to prove that Ty Cobb was greater than Oscar Charleston, not in the same way you can prove that Barry Bonds was greater than Ken Griffey Jr.
Is it really likely that the best players in a league drawing from 10-12% of the population are going to be better than the best players in a league drawing from the other 90%?
Bottom line: Within ten years after the first Filipinos came over here and started gambling and playing in our tournaments, it became universally recognized that the top Filipinos were as good as or better than the top American players. And with the competition now coming from all over Asia and Europe, there are no more than a handful of Americans considered to be in the top 20 overall.
For one player (Cobb) we have lots of evidence; for the other player (Charleston) we have less evidence.
It is a little dangerous to necessarily extrapolate the percentage of black players who were top hitting stars from the 50s and 60s to the teens through 30s, particularly since the trend really didn't hold by the end of the 80s.
If you can't say anything about Charleston, then you can't say anything about Cobb in relation to Charleston.
The 90s were a little higher with Bonds and possibly Griffey (not sure how you want to classify ARod), but then there's Piazza, Bagwell and Chipper as well.
If you're not including Frank Thomas as one of the best hitters of the 1990s, you're not doing it right.
Position players. Thomas was one of the best five hitters, but not one of the best five position players.
You're using a different interpretation (and one that punishes players whose careers start in the middle of decades), obviously since ARod isn't on there. The players get ranked first, and then I group them roughly by decade.
why are approximately zero of the best players today American blacks?
Who is the best black American position player not on this list? Fielder, Granderson, Phillips, one of the Uptons, Bourn or Stanton? I think Stanton will be on this list real soon.
I would say if you took the best 20 position players whose careers were the bulk amount between 1890-1942, having 8 black players would be about the right amount. Whereas from 1946-1998 maybe that number is more like 10 to 12. The increase in players from the Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and then Venezuela complicates that latter half though. For the first group, almost all the foreigners of note were Cubans. (And we'll leave Japan out of this).
BITGOD (and there actually was such a thing in pool), there was so much easy money to be had from suckers on the local level**...**There were over 2000 pool rooms in New York City in the 1920's. You'd be lucky to find two dozen today. More proof of our declining culture.
In addition, the equipment today is far tougher than BITGOD.
In early Nov., the Detroit Tigers received an invitation to visit Havana, Cuba, for a 12 games series of games. The Tigers had gone there the previous Nov., 1909, and lost 4-8 to the Havana black team, which was strengthened by a few US black superstars of the Negro L. The Tigers had lost before, and this time asked Cobb to join them, so they could win their series this time. So, those mean-spirited Tigers of 5 wks. ago, now were asking Cobb for a favor.
Although Ty initially refused on racial grounds, he relented when the Cuban promoters added a $1,000. bonus for him. "I broke my own rule for a few games." Ty went down there, but missed the 1st 5 games. When he arrived, the Tigers were 3-3-1 with the blacks.
With Ty, they finished the series at 7-4-1. With Ty, they did 4-1.
I can't see how saying Josh Gibson is one of the top-3 catchers ever (with Bench and Berra)...
The Yankees had some very nice pitching during Berra's career as a starting catcher, including a lot of guys who improved markedly upon joining the Yankees. I'm inclined to give Berra a lot of credit for that.
I have no strong opinion on these issues, but it strikes me there's interesting contemplation in this: let's say segregation of baseball had persisted till 1970 (ludicrous, but it's just "let's say"). We'd have a full major-league line for Mickey Mantle, and he'd have had somewhat weaker competition. (There weren't many great black AL players during Mantle's career, but with more jobs for star white players in the NL, the AL would have been some small amount weaker.)
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