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Friday, March 14, 2014

Bill James Mailbag - 3/14/14

I’ll read my annuals with the pork and beans…

Assume MLB never expanded but it continued to recruit players as it has, roughly halving the size of the MLB pool: are there players we now consider to be at the star/solid regular level who would be sitting on the bench? IOW, which position is so full of stars/solid regulars now that the 17th best player would surprise people?

There are no such players. Expansion put pressure on the organizations to find more players, leading to larger minors, much more aggressive international scouting. Without expansion the quality would be exactly what it is now, or less. .. probably less, because whatever does not grow tends to die.

Bill, Grady Sizemore is making a comeback after missing several years. I can’t think of other position players who came back after missing several seasons due to injury. It seems more common for pitchers to miss several years with sore arms, or for players to miss time while fighting in wars. Are there other position players who have missed several years in a row due to injury, and how well have they done in their comebacks?

I think Jim Eisenreich might be the closest parallel in the last 30-40 years.

Bill, regarding platoon differentials: is it true, as my intuition tells me, that lefty pitchers do better against lefty hitters than righty pitchers do against rightyhitters? If so, do you have a theory as to why?

It is more untrue than true. There is SOME such effect, which I think is not genuinely difficult to understand, but in general, the effect is more the same than it is different.

What makes you think [Bryce] Harper’s platoon splits aren’t normal? For him anyway.

Because, in reality, almost every player has essentially the same platoon differential, not as an absolute rule, of course, but in general. People think of the platoon differential as an individual characteristic, different for each player. The reality is that it is not an individual characteristic of each player; it is a general feature of the game itself, which, over time, tends to have the same effect on every player. With a few exceptions, of course.

Having read about how you started your research while working as a night watchman, just wondering if you ever had a “eureka” moment, and what it was that convinced you to start this as a career?

There were probably several Eureka moments, but in the spring of 1977, when the spring annuals hit the newsstands, I bought several of them, as I usually did, and started working my way through them (on my shift as a night watchman.) After about a half hour I realized that I knew far more about the subject than the people writing the magazines did. It’s a normal kind of maturity moment, I think; as a child you assume that others are experts, that people who write books and people who write for magazines have some sort of magical insight that makes them better qualified than you to write these things. At some point—I would assume no matter what it is that you are interested in, stamp collecting or martial arts—at some point you realize that the people who have been educating you so far are running on empty, and it’s your turn to talk.

Have you ever looked at the most inexplicable performances in MVP voting? I stumbled across the case of Phil Marchildon today. Pitcher for the A’s in the 40s, only things he ever led the league in were losses, walks, HBP, and wild pitches. But he received MVP votes in three different seasons, including the year he led the league in losses.

Marchildon in 1942 was 17-14, but with a team that was solidly in last place, 55-99; they were 38-85 when he wasn’t the pitcher of record. He was 6 or 7 games better than the team. In 1946 he was 13-16, same team, but the team was 49-105, meaning they were 36-89 when he wasn’t on the pitcher of record, so he was still about 4 games better than the team. In 1947 he was 19-9; the A’s were 78-76, but that means they were 59-67 without him, so he’s still 5 to 6 games better than the team. (Paragraph/warning that I am telling you this from memory, hence could be wrong.) Marchildon was a Prisoner of War during World War II, and it is possible that there was some sympathy voting for him or attention effect voting for him. But also. ..his won-lost records on the teams he pitched for are extremely good, and I would suspect that the won-lost records explain most of the voting.

The District Attorney Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:58 PM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, bryce harper, grady sizemore, history, phil marchildon, sabermetrics

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   1. AROM Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4671855)
There are no such players. Expansion put pressure on the organizations to find more players, leading to larger minors, much more aggressive international scouting. Without expansion the quality would be exactly what it is now, or less. .. probably less, because whatever does not grow tends to die.


I don't think that's quite right. MLB began integration - expanding the talent pool - 14 years before they expanded the number of teams. I think the minors were larger (at least per team) in the 50's than today, but I'd have to check.

In any case, if there were 16 MLB teams today then by definition some starters would not be starters, whether they were on the bench, in the minors, playing another sport, or doing something else with their lives.
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4671861)
That answer he gave was a non-sensical answer to a really stupid question.
   3. Morty Causa Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4671865)
Do we know, though, that there weren't ways in which the talent pool was also constrained. For instance, after WWII, suddenly for many there were greater opportunities, educationally and vocationally. Guys who formerly might have seen their escape from poverty, or entry into a higher level of opportunity, in baseball, could go into, say, the oil-gas industry, the auto industry, pro football, and even with the GI Bill and loans go on and get a higher education. Employment and educational opportunities weren't as restricted as they had been.
   4. GuyM Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4671867)
Bill, regarding platoon differentials: is it true, as my intuition tells me, that lefty pitchers do better against lefty hitters than righty pitchers do against rightyhitters? If so, do you have a theory as to why?
It is more untrue than true. There is SOME such effect, which I think is not genuinely difficult to understand, but in general, the effect is more the same than it is different.

It is much more true than not true. LHP have a MUCH bigger advantage than RHP over same-handed hitters. Last two years:
RHP/RHH: .698 OPS, RHP/LHH: .746 (48 point difference)
LHP/LHH: .647 OPS, LHP/RHH: .744 (97 point difference)

Without expansion the quality would be exactly what it is now, or less. .. probably less, because whatever does not grow tends to die.

This makes no sense at all. League quality would be much, much better in a 16-team MLB.

at some point you realize that the people who have been educating you so far are running on empty

Umm, Mr. James........
   5. Morty Causa Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4671871)
I thought what he said about the lefty-lefty difference not being greater than the righty-righty rather surprising. I don't know if I remember reading it, or just kind of assumed it, but I would think that lefty-lefty would stand out more because left-handed hitters don't see nearly as many left-handed pitchers as the opposite right-handed do, so don't have the learning opportunity that leads to a greater adjustment, as incremental as that adjustment might be, being ultimately subject to constraints that are impervious to being overcome.
   6. GuyM Posted: March 14, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4671882)
I would think that lefty-lefty would stand out more because left-handed hitters don't see nearly as many left-handed pitchers as the opposite right-handed do

Even more important is the selection bias created by the fact that 70-75% of pitchers are RH. This means that if you are a RHH who can't hit without the platoon advantage, you can't survive in the majors. But a LHH who can't hit LHP can still make a good living as long as he can mash against RHP.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4671892)
I thought that MGL has said that on platoon differentials, when it comes to right handed batters that there is a consistent and real difference(9% swing?) from the right handed batters than you don't get(consistency) from left handed batters. (in that left handed batters have a 9% differential on up vs their same handed opponent)


So that is arguing that Bill is wrong here, where MGL is basically saying that almost all right handed batters have the same drop in performance vs right handed pitchers, while with left handed batters they also have the same drop in performance or more vs left handed pitchers.
   8. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 14, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4671906)
That answer he gave was a non-sensical answer to a really stupid question.


I thought it was a stupid answer to a non-sensical question.
   9. Monty Posted: March 14, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4671912)
I thought it was a stupid answer to a non-sensical question.


Always my favorite feature in MAD Magazine.
   10. ptodd Posted: March 14, 2014 at 08:12 PM (#4671934)
I don't think that's quite right. MLB began integration - expanding the talent pool - 14 years before they expanded the number of teams. I think the minors were larger (at least per team) in the 50's than today, but I'd have to check.


The talent pool in the 50's and 60's was decimated by the depression (birth rates) in the 30's and the wars (WWII, Korea, Vietnam deaths, wounded) and conscription in the 50's and 60's. Integration covered some of that, but integration was not fully realized until the late 60's. Expansion in the early 60's stressed this even more. I think the baseball played in the 50's and into the late 60's might had the weakest talent pool of the modern era.

Right now I think we are probably at the peak of talent relative to the number of teams in MLB history thanks in no small part to the Latino infusion which took off in the 1990's, and the advanced training that maximizes the talent, thanks in part to higher salaries which allows players to work on conditioning in the offseason instead of working a 2nd job which players had to do until the 80's.

The one weakness in the talent pool is African Americans (born in US). I think the War on Drugs and competition from football and basketball has reduced that pool quite a bit, especially over the last 10 years
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 09:15 PM (#4671957)
The talent pool in the 50's and 60's was decimated by the depression (birth rates) in the 30's and the wars (WWII, Korea, Vietnam deaths, wounded) and conscription in the 50's and 60's. Integration covered some of that, but integration was not fully realized until the late 60's. Expansion in the early 60's stressed this even more. I think the baseball played in the 50's and into the late 60's might had the weakest talent pool of the modern era.



That makes no sense, sure the birth rates might have been down (percentage wise) in those years, but the number of people in the country at those times was still higher than previous decades and more were surviving their youth years. You might have had a minor lull, but it wasn't devastating.

Raw number of births in the U.S. per year

Edit: then add in the renewed popularity in the game, the high salary(not in today's standard, but ballplayers still made more than most middle class salaries), and at worse it was a wash (pre-integration)

Edit 2: I could understand saying the late 40's and early 50's....but not at all in the 60's.
   12. Sunday silence Posted: March 14, 2014 at 09:22 PM (#4671961)
we should legalize drugs so we can get more players like WIllie Mays and Hank Aaron.
   13. AndrewJ Posted: March 14, 2014 at 10:27 PM (#4671981)
11>> Any idea if there was a similar minor lull in birth rates during the Civil War, which might have affected the number of players entering the big leagues in the 1880s?
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 10:38 PM (#4671983)
11>> Any idea if there was a similar minor lull in birth rates during the Civil War, which might have affected the number of players entering the big leagues in the 1880s?


No clue on a lull, but I think the talent level at that time was so low that pretty much anyone who wanted to play and had any talent at all, probably played.
   15. Mefisto Posted: March 14, 2014 at 10:55 PM (#4671986)
The 1860 census showed 31 million people, but the 1880 census showed 50 million. Immigration picked up a lot after 1870, so it's unclear whether recent immigrants would have been able to play and whether they should be counted in the population.
   16. Bhaakon Posted: March 14, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4671995)

Immigration picked up a lot after 1870, so it's unclear whether recent immigrants would have been able to play and whether they should be counted in the population.


Every immigrant should have to prove that they can either hit a breaking ball or throw one for strikes before receiving their green card. It's a sensible immigration policy that I think we can all agree on.
   17. bjhanke Posted: March 15, 2014 at 02:48 AM (#4672009)
If there was a drop in the number of young players (about 20 years old) available to MLB, it would have been in the early 1960s. WWII ran, for America, for 5 years - very late 1941-1945 and 1946, as the veterans got demobilized). Add 20 years and you get 1961-1966 as the period when you would have a low number of 20-year-olds. I am myself an early baby boomer (born 1947). I turned 20 in 1967. I very vividly remember the huge problem America was having just building public buildings fast enough for us. For example, I lived in a suburb of St. Louis called Webster Groves (yes, the CBS special of 1966 called "16 in Webster Groves" is about my high school, the year after I graduated). When I was in 6th grade, the high school AND the junior high school were all in one building (7th - 12th grades), but the district was building a junior high school, which I went to for 7th grade, while they built TWO new junior high schools. Then they had to build an addition to the high school. To give you even more context, only one of the district's 3 junior high schools actually still serves as a middle school. The other two are now the district administration building and a 6th grade magnet center. High school graduating classes now number in the 300s; mine was 555. So, if there was a shortage of kid prospects in the early 1960s, we more than made up for it in the late 1960s. - Brock Hanke
   18. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 15, 2014 at 03:31 AM (#4672010)
And then there were so many college enrollments that colleges had to actually expand their faculties--there weren't enough PhDs for them to do the adjunct thing yet--, and as a result, a huge number of current professors got their jobs in the early to mid '70s. That was the golden age of academic hiring--sort of like the higher education version of MLB's expansion. Naturally, it caused--and enabled--more people to get PhDs, which in this case led to adjunct phenomenon. Eventually, and I think we're already seeing it, the widespread understanding of that phenomenon will lead to fewer people getting PhDs again, just as James thinks that if MLBs expansion caused more people to try to play baseball, its non-expansion would have meant that fewer people would have been trying to play baseball. It doesn't always follow a linear path, but, sometimes unfortunately, job availability tends ultimately to wind up driving education and training, not the other way around.
   19. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 15, 2014 at 06:42 AM (#4672019)
This makes no sense at all. League quality would be much, much better in a 16-team MLB.

That is certainly true, if you assume those 16 teams would have the same talent pool to choose from, that the 32 today have. Although if I were to make a case for a reduced talent base, it would probably be from the opposite side that BJ approaches it. Although he does have a point, that 32 teams can identify and develop talent better than 16 can. I would think the bigger issue would be talent opting to stay away from MLB, due to the reduced opportunity to make it.

If a HS athlete has to pick a sport to dedicate himself to, and he has half the opportunity to make it, than he does right now, it makes choosing a different sport over baseball a lot more appealing. Similarly, if MLB isn't seen as a viable way out for Latin American kids, does the talent there develop as it has? Do the academies pop up, and churn out as much talent as they do? You could also argue that perhaps somebody like Billy Bean never gets a chance. Maybe it stays much more of an old-boys network, with no new ideas flowing in. OBP stays undervalued. Lots of spots are still filled with hackers. Teams play too much smallball, and love speedsters with high CS%s. There is also a case to be made that a general talent drain affects the players that do stay behind, because they need good opponents to play against to get better themselves.

I am not saying all of that would necessarily cancel out the effect of shrinking the league. I just think assuming talent would stay approximately the same, distributed among fewer clubs, is a far too simplistic approach.
   20. Mefisto Posted: March 15, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4672086)
Every immigrant should have to prove that they can either hit a breaking ball or throw one for strikes before receiving their green card. It's a sensible immigration policy that I think we can all agree on.


Funny, but the issues with immigrants are (1) the age distribution; and (2) whether they grew up playing baseball such that they could reasonably meet the skill level demanded.
   21. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 15, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4672090)
whatever does not grow tends to die.


The Swiss Confederation: dying since 1529!
   22. Walt Davis Posted: March 15, 2014 at 06:28 PM (#4672198)
His expansion/talent argument is essentially a standard "market competition creates growth" argument -- without the need to find more baseball talent, teams never go looking in DR and elsewhere. I don't buy it for a second and I suspect you could find data to support the opposite.

On the minor leagues -- another weirdly off point. There were over 400 minor-league teams in the late 40s. By the end of the 50s, it was under 100 and the entire system was in danger of collapse. This led to the official farm systems where every team supports at least X number of minor-league teams.

His stuff on the platoon splits is just bizarre but that's the joy of weasel words like "more untrue than true" and "more similar than different." WTF do those mean? He gives a better answer in the Bryce Harper question.

   23. Walt Davis Posted: March 15, 2014 at 08:53 PM (#4672230)
Here's a useful table, hopefully properly sourced! Alas it's proportions not counts but somebody can link it to pop counts. Yes, the 5-19 age group is not ideal for our purposes but it's close enough.

The proportion 5-19 runs at about 30% in the early 1900s then dips to 26% by 1940 and 23% by 1950. However, via integration of the 10% AA population (which usually tends younger too), you increase the US-born future baseball labor pool by 3% overall. Then you get the baby boom which boost the proportion back to 27% by 1960 and 30% by 1970. At this point, the future baseball labor pool is substantially larger than it had been -- remember, the US population grew about 125% between 1900 and 1960.

So the white 5-19 population of the US in 1900 was about 20 million. I don't know that baseball scouting was really a national phenomenon yet plus all the competing factors -- the baseball talent pool was quite small you'd think at the time the AL began (not that this was expansion exactly).

By 1960 you're talking about 48 million in the (all races) 5-19 age group. Even at the 1950 low point, it's about 35 million. Sure, there's more competition from other sports and better job opportunities generally but that's a lot of kids to choose from.

There was a very large drop by 1980 and again to 1990 and again in 2010 to where it's now just 17.5%. However that 17.5% is still 54 million so the size of the US-born future baseball labor pool has remained pretty constant from 1960 on. And of course PR then DR (and to a lesser extent other Latin and Asian populations) get added in.

The other thing driving ML expansion is urbanization. In 1900, 40% of the population lived in urban areas (this can be pretty broadly defined, including suburban and small urban areas) and by 1990 it was 75%. Baseball would have expanded into those new markets whether the labor pool kept pace or not.

Would they have gone looking in PR, DR, etc. if not for expansion? I don't see why not. They didn't (finally) accept black players out of the goodness of their hearts, they did so because there were many damn good players to be had in doing so. That didn't require expansion.

I know others have done the legwork (and my memory might be a bit off) but it's also what you seen in terms of regions of the US in the early days. Also, no, I'm not going to track where the population was concentrated in those days. Between 1900-1909, about half of all players came from Penn, Ohio, NY, Ill or Mass. It wasn't just the western states being mostly ignored -- the Midwest and even Cal do reasonably well -- but the South (a relative hotbed) was pretty completely ignored. Va, NC, SC, Ga, FL, AL barely register.

For 1930-39, Cal is #1, Texas #4 and NC #6. You have to go 7 states deep to get to 50%.

From 50-59, the big growth is in "other countries" which sits at #2 and about 8%. It's hard to imagine that's post-war immigration (only a handful of first generation kids would have been in the country long enough to learn the game by 1959) and the pre-war era was not a major time of immigration. So in the 50s we have MLB searching out talented black players and talented foreign players without any pressure of expansion.

From 60-68, the big jumps are California (from 10-13% ... probably about in line with population) and foreign-born up another 3%. What's fascinating to me is that b-r reports 1070 players found from 1950-59 and 1068 from 1960-1968 -- that's a bit bizarre given a 25% increase in teams and it would seem the initial reaction to expansion was greater career length. That might suggest a constant talent pool and a lower average talent. (Granted, the second period is one year shorter but I want to avoid the 69 expansion.

From 69-79, it's also rather bizarre as Cal explodes from 13% to 21% while foreign born remains stable and no other state tops 5.1%. It's understandable there'd be a concentration of talent in Cal but it seems MLB probably should have been looking more widely than that.

From 80-89, you see growth in other countries and a bit in Tex and FL and, somewhat surprisingly, NY. From 90-99 you see the explosion in foreign-born, from 13% to 22% with California falling back to 17%. There was a SABR paper a few years back looking at the ethnic composition of baseball (with the obvious limitations of measuring such a thing) and if my memory serves, you first see a reduction in white US players then a substantial drop in AA US players. It would be interesting to try to tease out those dynamics -- was the US labor pool tapped out so expansion was primarily into foreign markets; or were the foreign players just better; or was it a draft/cheap international signing thing; or was it reductions in HS athletics; or was it competition from other sports, maybe especially in the AA community?

Anyway, linking these up, what we do see is a relative flattening in the number of US-born potential baseball players from around 1960-1970. This couldn't really be foreseen in 1960 but it does mean that the expansion of the 1960s (and later) would eventually lead to either a reduction in the "relative quality" or an expansion into foreign labor markets (or both of course).

By "relative quality" I mean that while in the past a US-born player might have had a 1 in 300,000 chance to make the majors, maybe it would have risen to 1 in 200,000 without expansion to foreign markets. It's always possible that other trends (better fitness training, etc.) would lead to stability or even an increase in absolute quality.

   24. bjhanke Posted: March 16, 2014 at 04:04 AM (#4672282)
Walt has one heck of a lot of good research there. I've done nothing like this quantity or depth of research, but I have tried to figure out how many MLB players were from the South at the beginning of the 20th century. As near as I can figure it (including trying to figure out who counts as "from the South"), when Ty Cobb reached Detroit in 1906, there were probably not a dozen MLB players from the South, and there may not have been a dozen in the entire history of MLB to that point. I think you can make a good argument that Branch Rickey's first major contribution to MLB was to start seriously recruiting the rural South, including Oklahoma and Texas. Before Rickey, when MLB got a southerner, it was usually because he was a local superstar who managed to get himself to a MLB spring training camp. Tris Speaker, among others, did that. I speculate that, aside from just not playing MLB in the south, one of the issues may have been religion. The South, in 1900, had a large percentage of people who were descended, by not too many generations, from the Scots-Irish, who were mostly Presbyterians, as best I can figure it out. The north didn't have anything like that concentration. They tended to get Irish Catholics in the mid-1800s. But that's just speculation, and I don't know any exact demographic percentages, and it ignores fallout from the Civil War. I don't know anything like enough to comment on Walt's other percentages. - Brock Hanke
   25. bjhanke Posted: March 16, 2014 at 04:04 AM (#4672283)
Duplicate post, sorry.
   26. Sunday silence Posted: March 16, 2014 at 04:39 AM (#4672285)
when Ty Cobb reached Detroit in 1906, there were probably not a dozen MLB players from the South, and there may not have been a dozen in the entire history of MLB to that point.


I dont think that's quite right. Ive mentioned this before and maybe you didnt see it. A dozen is a bit of a stretch. There was Sammy Strang in the 1880s and Gabby Street in the 1890s. They were fairly well known. But if you look hard hard you can find a few more: both Harry Spies (New Orleans) and Walt Preston (Richmond) played on the 1895 Louisville team. Same year: Tom COlcolough (Charleston SC) played for PIT. BIlly Nash (Richmond VA) Zeke Wilson(Benton AL) BOS. I know there were a handful of southern born players that came along in 1905-06 a couple of them played for Cincinnati.

So your overall pt is of course true; but I think a dozen in the history of MLB is not enuf. Maybe 25?
   27. Swedish Chef Posted: March 16, 2014 at 07:40 AM (#4672287)
   28. Sunday silence Posted: March 16, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4672321)
That was great chef. Can you point me to a tutorial for that sort of thing?
   29. bjhanke Posted: March 16, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4672327)
Sunday - Thanks for the info. You are right; I did bring this concept up some months ago, but never saw your comment. Of your list, I only recognize Strang, Nash, Wilson and Street. Swedish - The only reason that I don't just use BB-Ref is that I'm not sure I agree with their definition of "from the South." I can't decide whether it should mean "born in the south" or "was living in the south when he entered MLB." That's why I didn't give any exact numbers. I think it's pretty likely that the group "born in the south" is larger than "living in the south when they entered MLB", because the first group would include all the players "whose parents migrated northward when they were young children and who therefore have no memory of ever living in the south". This latest group is not one I want to count, because the core issue is culture shock. Someone who moved at age 3 to New York is not really "from the south", no matter where he was born. In any case, I don't have a hard count, and Sunday's estimate of 25 may well be right, depending on your definition of "from the south." "Raised in the south" is another possible definition, although it's not as easy to define as the others. Is it "lived in the south for the majority of his years between birth and entering MLB" right, or do you want to limit it to "born in the south AND spent the majority of his years between birth and MLB in the south?"

And then there's Deacon Phillippe, who entered MLB while living in Tennessee, but the MLB team was in Louisville. Civil War historians usually place Tennessee among the border states, but some do count it as the south. I went to college at Vanderbilt, which is in Nashville. One time, for a paper, I went to the campus library to find Union-based info about the Civil War. Vandy had one entire floor, out of the six in the library, devoted to Civil War books. There were only a half-dozen, out of the hundreds on that floor, that worked from the Union side. So Tennessee is pretty much a southern state, as border states go. In either case, it's not that far a move north to go to Kentucky. And then there's players "who moved to MIssouri when young children." Missouri, again, is usually a border state, but has now and probably had then more of a southern flavor than, say, Louisville. So that's the problem for me: the definition, not the research per se, although going through all those players looking for "raised in the south" would take a while. - Brock
   30. Swedish Chef Posted: March 16, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4672331)
> That was great chef. Can you point me to a tutorial for that sort of thing?

I'm afraid I can't, because I didn't do anything but use their Place of Birth thingie hidden under Frivolities. They have the useful Players by Place of Birth page when you want more detail, just select a state and sort chronologically.
   31. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 16, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4672332)
Interesting, I never realized Southerners were so rare in the early days of baseball. Since two of the most famous ones that come to everyone's mind are Ty Cobb and Joe Jackson.
   32. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: March 16, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4672334)
Civil War historians usually place Tennessee among the border states...

Really? I'm shocked by this.
   33. Swedish Chef Posted: March 16, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4672354)
Really? I'm shocked by this.

Eastern Tennessee was pro-union.
   34. GregD Posted: March 16, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4672356)
Historians invariably class TN as a Confederate state with a sizable loyalist population. TN was one of the wave of upper south states that resisted secession in January Feb but then seceded after Lincoln's post Sumter call for troops and that upper lower first wave second wave matters. But I don't know any historian who doesn't count TN as southern unless they don't believe in the concept at all.

The border states were KY MD and Missouri which had serious secessionist movements but stayed it were forcibly kept in the US. Delaware is sometimes classed there bc of slavery and it's very pro southern reps but it did not gave a serious secession movement. It can go either way.
   35. GregD Posted: March 16, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4672375)
some phone autocorrect confusion above. Too late to edit. Will try again:

Historians of the Civil War always class Tennessee as Confederate. It had a sizable loyalist population, but so did northern Alabama. It was one of the tier of second-wave secessions, the ones who resisted January/February 1861 secession calls but who seceded once Lincoln called for troops after the attack on Fort Sumter.

Historians certainly emphasize the difference between first and second wave secessions. And, more generally, beyond the Civil War, historians often distinguish between Upper South and Lower South or Deep South, and Tennessee as a state is considered Upper South (with west Tennessee more in line with the Lower South. The old saying is that the Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis.)

But every historian who uses the term southern, that I am aware of, counts Tennessee as southern.

In the Civil War, the border states consist of Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri, which had strong secessionist movements but which either stayed in the U.S. or were forcibly prevented from seceding. You can make a case for Delaware, too, based on its slave population and its politicians' strongly pro-southern stances, but it did not have a strong secessionist movement.

Outside of the Civil War, Kentucky is generally grouped in with the Upper South. Maryland and Missouri generate more argument, and you can get regional claims for the eastern shore or Little Dixie.
   36. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: March 16, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4672393)
That's (GregD/35) more consistent with my understanding, but I'm far from well read here; thanks all.
   37. Sunday silence Posted: March 16, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4672413)
yes Greg has it right. THe upper south includes TN, VA, and I think ARK. Missouri, KY and MD and maybe DEL are the border states.

There were very few TN guys I saw. If you count VA and ARk you get about 100 southerners who had played MLB up to about 1906. ANd about 60 if you dont count the border states. I see no reason not to count Va they were plenty southern, and fought hard in the civil war.

I certainly dont want to discredit BJ his main point is quite correct. I would have to guess the segregation has more to do with provincialism than outright exclusion. THe south had industrial leagues I think. And in the far west it was pretty far to travel so I guess western leagues and southern leagues just sprang up on their own. If you were living in 1890s Alabama you might be surprised to find that a whole nother league was classed as big league when maybe to you that was the bigs.

I.e. what we think of as MLB was probably a regional phenomenon in the early days.
   38. Sunday silence Posted: March 16, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4672418)
It's a good point also that something happened in 1906 (namely Cobb/Speaker) to open up MLB to southerners Up to 1906 SC had only 4 guys ever play MLB including the aforsaid Doc McJames and Colcolough. Missippi has only 2. AL has 5 including Gabby Street. Louisiana 15. Tex 11. FL zero. NC 4 .

actually that's position players only. Stupid interface, NC now up to 8; LA 22...
   39. bjhanke Posted: March 17, 2014 at 12:02 AM (#4672616)
Thanks to all for the history update. I haven't had an American History class since the 1960s. When I was in high school, the border states were listed as Missouri, Tennessee, Maryland, and Delaware. Apparently, this has changed, or my HS teacher had it wrong. Either is possible; Im trying to remember 1964 here. Trying to figure out where somebody "came from" is hard if all you have is their place of birth, and you're trying to figure out how they ended up in MLB. But, as far as I know, that's all we have in any systematic sense. Sunday's numbers, (which are culled by place of birth, right?) are a lot larger than I thought. Maybe the migration factor from the south to the north was greater than I knew. Or maybe, he just has a more comprehensive list; when I've tried to look at this issue, I was looking for multi-year starters, just to get the sample size under control. What threw me was how few I could find. I got started looking at this because of the Negro Leagues. A point that many analysts have made is that the NgLs were largely populated by players from the south, even though they were based in northern cities. I got to wondering whether what looks like northern migration was racial in nature, or just a thing that America was going through. I still don't know, but Sunday's numbers suggest that it was more of a general thing than just a black people thing. In any case, I do appreciate knowing a lot more about this than I did two days ago. Living in STL all my life, I've heard a lot of weird stuff about northern migration. - Brock
   40. cardsfanboy Posted: March 17, 2014 at 12:35 AM (#4672621)
I love how roughly a semi random post in post 10 has resulted in this thread.

But, as far as I know, that's all we have in any systematic sense.


Without going through the biography of each player, we really just don't have much to go by other than birth.
   41. GregD Posted: March 17, 2014 at 01:29 AM (#4672628)
Brock,
You raise a lot of good points and there may well be something to the idea that the first southerners who made it were migrants and that it took a lot longer to tap the native southern pool. That makes sense to me.

On white and black migration, it is interesting that often they ran in parallel. For some decades the numbers of whites and blacks who left Mississippi were almost exactly the same. About a million whites and a million blacks moved north from Mississippi alone in the first four decades of the 20th century is my recollection. So yes white southerners were moving a lot too. The South was in economic freefall as cotton prices dropped steadily over the late nineteenth century.

But the burst of movement is a little off for your story as movement peaked after the turn of the century and especially in World War I.
   42. bjhanke Posted: March 17, 2014 at 03:33 AM (#4672633)
Greg - Actually, that makes a lot of sense. The Negro Leagues don't really get started as anything even remotely stable until 1920, unless some new info has turned up. And I did try to track the introduction of southern superstars. Before WWI, there appear to be very few. Cobb, Speaker, Jackson, Eppa Rixey, Hornsby, not many others, although I've surely missed some (I'm not sure about Eddie Cicotte, for example). It picks up in the 1920s, although I don't know how much of that was caused by Branch Rickey, how much by having spring training in the south, and how much would be due to migration. It's a hard problem, because I don't really want to use place of birth as a proxy for "when MLB first discovered this guy."

One thing I did notice was that you said the raw numbers of migrating whites and blacks were about the same. I know nothing about population distribution in the South at this time. I would assume that the percentage of southern blacks who migrated was higher, and maybe much higher, than the percentage of whites, if the raw numbers were the same. But I don't have any idea what the white/black population numbers are in the south. Just to ask, do you? The percentages might be much more telling than the raw numbers. - Brock
   43. Sunday silence Posted: March 17, 2014 at 04:46 AM (#4672634)
But are you considering that the south had its own leagues, the midwest had its own leagues and far west had its own leagues as well. To someone living back then and playing in such a league it might have made little sense to go north to play big league ball when he was playing what he thought was big league ball.

For a similar analogy take anglo saxon law, which goes back over a thousand years to Germany. We trace our law all the way back there like its some sacred thing and yet if you lived in 500 AD you might be flabbergasted to learn that those Angles living across the river were the font of all legal knowledge when there were a hundred other tribes all running around Europe each one having it's own deal. It's only much later when we trace the evolution do these sort of communities somehow achieve grandiose proportions.

Whatever the nature of negroe leagues, or southern leagues, or mid west leagues, no matter how transient or how "unstable" they were, it could be that to people living there that was the highest level of baseball

The stats I listed are based on birth rate yes. BJ.

ALso you are quite correct there are not many full time regular southerners.

Pre 1900 there's Strang and Gabby Street. Morrie Rath who later played for the world champion Red broke in about 1906 as well when a number of southerners crossed the Maxon Dixon line or whatever it was that was holding them back.
   44. Sunday silence Posted: March 17, 2014 at 05:17 AM (#4672635)
other notable southern players:

NC. Charlie Jones, who got 1100 hits in an 13 year career broke in w/ Keokun NA and spent mostly with CIN.

AL Charlie Duffee some 500 hits in early 90s, for STL and others. Gabby Street 300 hits starting in 1904. Zeke WIlson won 52 games in late 90s for CLEV/BOS. He died in AL too.

MI: Sport McAlister 358 hits in a 7 yr career around 1900. CLEV, DET, BAL. It wasnt till Guy Bush and Buddy Myer and Hughie Critz in 1920s that there were any players of note

SC Doc McJames 79-80 in the late 90s for WAS, BAL and BRK. He died in SC. Shoeless Joe came up in 1908, the underrated Del Pratt came along in 1912 and got 1900 hits, 200 more than Jackson.

FL didnt get its first player until 1908 Ralph McLaurin. Al Lopez came along 20 years later.

GA: the only one of note is: Tully Sparks went 121- 137 starting in 1897 mostly with PHI, he died in AL. Cobb came in 1905 Between 1911-12 no less than 17 Georgians came up including Jim Bagby and IVy WIngo.

LA had 22 players prior to 1906, the only one of note is: John Peters an 11 yr starting in 1874 with CHI, PIT ALleghenys, PROV and BUFF he finished w/ 758 hits. REbel Oakes came along in 1909 and finished with 1011 hits w/ CIN, STL and PIT (Fed Lg). Peters died in MO, the Rebel in LA.
   45. Sunday silence Posted: March 17, 2014 at 06:21 AM (#4672638)
TN always had a few players in MLB. "Parisian" Bob Caruthers won 218 games in 10 yr career starting 1884 for STL and BRK; he also got 695 hits. Noodles Hahn won 130 starting in 1899 mostly w/ CIN one year with NYY. He died in NC. Sammy Strang (the Dixie THrush) came up for 14 games with Louisville in 1896 at age 19 then disappears for four years. He emerged w/ Chicago Orphans, who promptly traded him to NYG and BRK and finished 790 hits. He was born and died in Chattanooga. John Dobbs (585 hits for CIN/BRK) and Lefty Davis (338 hits mostly PIT/BRK) came up in 1901. Later, Clyde Milan came up in 1907. He was purchased from WIchita in the Western Assoc and spent all 16 yrs w/ WAS amassing 2100 hits exactly. He died in TX. Fred Toney who won 139 games, came up in 1911 for CUbs was purchased from Winchester in the Blue Grass league. Born and died in Nashville.

VA had Billy Nash (15 yrs 1608 hits) broke in with Richmond AA in 1884 season but spent the rest with BOS and PHI. Paul Hines (20 yr 2133 hits ) started in 1872 age 17, mostly for CHI, PROV and WAS. ALso Steve Brodie (12 yr; 1728 hits) He was purchased by Beaneaters from Hamilton in the Int'l league in Dec. 1889. Played mostly for BAL, but also BOS, STL, PIT and NYG. He died in Baltimore. Deacon Phillippe went 189-109 for PIT. Like Strang he broke in at LOU in 1899 as a 27 year older who had been drafted from Minneapolis in the Western league, then went to PIT in that mammoth trade involving HOnus Wagner, CHesbro, Mike Kelly Chief Zimmer etc. Charlie Ferguson was 99-64 in 4 yrs with PHIL starting in 1884. THeir first HoF'er was Eppa Rixey signed as a free agent in 1912, age 21 out of Univ of VA.

TX had Hunter Hill w/ 253 hits he came up in 1903 spent 4 years w/ STLB and WASH, born and died in AUstin. Ned Garvin went 58-97 for PHI, CHI, NY and BRK he started in 1896 for PHI then turns up 3 years later for CHI Orphans, who trade him and aforementioned Sammy Strang in 1901 to NY. Before the season started he jumped NY to go to MIlwaukee Brewers, and before 1902 season he jumped from White Sox to BRK Superbas. Hippo Vaughn 178-137, came up in 1908 the NYY who purchased him from HOt Springs in the Ark State league; he also played for CHC.

Speaker came with 6 other Texans in the 1905-07 period.
   46. Sunday silence Posted: March 17, 2014 at 07:28 AM (#4672644)
Did some more editing.....

NC. Charlie Jones, who got 1100 hits in an 13 year career broke in w/ Keokun NA and spent mostly with CIN, KS City. Geo Suggs debuted in 1909 (99-91 w/ DET, Cin, BAL) and was traded back to Mobile in the middle of the 1910 season then turns up in CIn next year. Rube Benton (150-144) was purchased by the Reds in 1910 from Macon in the So Atlantic conference, he died in AL. Possum Whitted (978 hits) was purchased by STL Browns from Jacksonville in the So Atlantic in 1912.

AL Charlie Duffee some 500 hits in early 90s, for STL and others. Gabby Street 300 hits starting in 1904. Zeke WIlson won 52 games in late 90s for CLEV/BOS. He died in AL too.

MI: Sport McAlister 358 hits in a 7 yr career around 1900. CLEV, DET, BAL. It wasnt till Guy Bush and Buddy Myer and Hughie Critz in 1920s that there were any players of note

SC: Doc McJames 79-80 in the late 90s for WAS, BAL and BRK. He died in SC. Shoeless Joe came up in 1908 after being purchased by the Athletic from Greeneville in the Carolina assoc (same team as Ivy Wingo two years later). The underrated Del Pratt came along in 1912 after purchased by STL Browns from Montgomery in the Southern asso. He finished w/ 1996 hits, 200 more than Jackson. He spent his whole life in AL/Tex.

FL didnt get its first player until 1908 Ralph McLaurin; drafted by Cardinals from Augusta in the South Atlantic in 1908 rule V draft. Zack Taylor (748 hits ) was purchased by BRK from Charlotte (So Atlantic ) 1919. Al Lopez came along in 1928.

GA: the only one of note is: Tully Sparks went 121- 137 starting in 1897 mostly with PHI, another one with gaps he shows up in '97 in PHI, then '99 in Pit; PHI purchased him in 1900 but he's not there, he shows up in '01 in Milwaukee. He died in AL. Willie McGill (71-73) debut age 16 for CLEV. Cobb came in 1905 Between 1911-12 no less than 17 Georgians came up including Jim Bagby (purchased by CLE from New Orleans in Southern Assoc; also played PIT/CIN) and Ivy WIngo (purchased by STL from Greenville SC in 1910, he played for STL/CIN and had 1039 hits. Nap RUcker (134-134) was drafted by BRK Superbas from Augusta in the So Atlantic league in the 1906 Rule V draft. George Stallings, a Georgian all the way, and manager of Miracle Braves played very briefly in MLB. He was discovered by the Phillies in 1886 catching amateur ball in Jacksonville FL. When his doc asked why his heart was so bad he said "Bases on balls, you son of a #####." More of this character can be found here:

http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/1caa4821

LA had 22 players prior to 1906, the only one of note is: John Peters an 11 yr starting in 1874 with CHI, PIT ALleghenys, PROV and BUFF he finished w/ 758 hits. Rebel Oakes came to MLB via trade from LA in the PCL to CIN 1909 he finished with 1011 hits w/ CIN, STL and PIT (Fed Lg). Peters died in MO, the Rebel in LA.
   47. Sunday silence Posted: March 17, 2014 at 07:50 AM (#4672647)
final edits....

NC. Charlie Jones, who got 1100 hits in an 13 year career broke in w/ Keokun NA and spent mostly with CIN, KS City. Geo Suggs debuted in 1909 (99-91 w/ DET, Cin, BAL) and was traded back to Mobile in the middle of the 1910 season then turns up in CIn next year. Rube Benton (150-144) was purchased by the Reds in 1910 from Macon in the So Atlantic conference, he died in AL. Possum Whitted (978 hits) was purchased by STL Browns from Jacksonville in the So Atlantic in 1912.

AL Charlie Duffee some 500 hits in early 90s, for STL and others. Gabby Street 300 hits starting in 1904. Zeke WIlson won 52 games in late 90s for CLEV/BOS. He died in AL too. Guy Morton (98-86 all w/ Clev) starting in 1914. He died in AL. Tom Long had 401 hits for SEnators and Cardinals starting in 1911. Walton Cruise had 644 hits for Cardinals and Bosox starting in 1914. He was later sold to LA in PCL.

MI: Sport McAlister 358 hits in a 7 yr career around 1900. CLEV, DET, BAL. He died in MI. WIllie Mitchell (83-92) was purchased by CLEV Naps from San Antonio in 1909. Reb Russell (80-59) was drafted by White Sox from Ft Worth (Texas) in 1912 Rule V draft. It wasnt till Guy Bush and Buddy Myer and Hughie Critz in 1920s that there were more famous players.

SC: Doc McJames 79-80 in the late 90s for WAS, BAL and BRK. He died in SC. Shoeless Joe came up in 1908 after being purchased by the Athletic from Greeneville in the Carolina assoc (same team as Ivy Wingo two years later). The underrated Del Pratt came along in 1912 after purchased by STL Browns from Montgomery in the Southern asso. He finished w/ 1996 hits, 200 more than Jackson. He spent his whole life in AL/Tex.

FL didnt get its first player until 1908 Ralph McLaurin; drafted by Cardinals from Augusta in the South Atlantic in 1908 rule V draft. Zack Taylor (748 hits ) was purchased by BRK from Charlotte (So Atlantic ) 1919. Al Lopez came along in 1928.

GA: the only one of note is: Tully Sparks went 121- 137 starting in 1897 mostly with PHI, another one with gaps he shows up in '97 in PHI, then '99 in Pit; PHI purchased him in 1900 but he's not there, he shows up in '01 in Milwaukee. He died in AL. Willie McGill (71-73) debut age 16 for CLEV. Cobb came in 1905 Between 1911-12 no less than 17 Georgians came up including Jim Bagby (purchased by CLE from New Orleans in Southern Assoc; also played PIT/CIN) and Ivy WIngo (purchased by STL from Greenville SC in 1910, he played for STL/CIN and had 1039 hits. Nap RUcker (134-134) was drafted by BRK Superbas from Augusta in the So Atlantic league in the 1906 Rule V draft. George Stallings, a Georgian all the way, and manager of Miracle Braves played very briefly in MLB. He was discovered by the Phillies in 1886 catching amateur ball in Jacksonville FL. When his doc asked why his heart was so bad he said "Bases on balls, you son of a #####." More of this character can be found here:

http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/1caa4821

LA had 22 players prior to 1906, the only one of note is: John Peters an 11 yr starting in 1874 with CHI, PIT ALleghenys, PROV and BUFF he finished w/ 758 hits. Rebel Oakes came to MLB via trade from LA in the PCL to CIN 1909 he finished with 1011 hits w/ CIN, STL and PIT (Fed Lg). Peters died in MO, the Rebel in LA.
   48. GregD Posted: March 17, 2014 at 09:38 AM (#4672677)
Brock,
You're right that then there's real syncing up then if you're seeing the jump as around WW1. I misread your earlier post.

Mississippi had a slight black majority for most of the era, so it's possible--though tricky to pin down exactly--that whites were leaving Mississippi even faster than blacks. Can you blame em?

Overall though whites outnumbered blacks 2-1 in the South by 1890-1900, just a slight tic up in the ratio since 1860 (or 1800 for that matter.) That proportion really starts to change around 1920 and decided so after World War II.

Tracing white southern migration presents some challenges if you want to go beyond the census records for state of birth, but many midwestern cities had "Appalachian" neighborhoods some of which were really just white southern not Appalachian. Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland stand out, as well of course as river cities like Evansville and Cincinnati, which in some way are a different story since they were the economic capitals of regions that crossed state borders into the south. The giant migration of white southerners to LA, however, "disappeared" into the general white migration pretty quickly.
   49. Sunday silence Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:35 AM (#4673160)
bump to see if anyone is still into this thread...
   50. bjhanke Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:57 AM (#4673172)
Sunday - I am still on this thread, and have a comment for you, but BTF is falling apart, as it does at 3am, probably because of backup. I'll comment with thanks for your info tomorrow. - Brock
   51. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 18, 2014 at 08:18 AM (#4673191)
Civil War historians usually place Tennessee among the border states,


Nothing to do with this conversation, but it's just something I like people to know: when Southern congressmen put out the segregationist "Southern Manifesto" in the mid-1950s, 7 of 11 Tennesseans did not sign, including the fathers of Howard Baker and Al Gore.
   52. GregD Posted: March 18, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4673233)
Nothing to do with this conversation, but it's just something I like people to know: when Southern congressmen put out the segregationist "Southern Manifesto" in the mid-1950s, 7 of 11 Tennesseans did not sign, including the fathers of Howard Baker and Al Gore.
and the congressman who was from Pulaski, birthplace of the KKK!
   53. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4673251)
I haven't had an American History class since the 1960s. When I was in high school, the border states were listed as Missouri, Tennessee, Maryland, and Delaware. Apparently, this has changed, or my HS teacher had it wrong.


I'm going to lean toward your teacher being clueless. The idea that a CSA state could simultaneously be considered a border state strikes me as bizarre.
   54. Ron J2 Posted: March 18, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4673304)
#53 As noted there were large parts of the state that were pro-union. Now the term "border state" means something to most people and Tennessee doesn't qualify, but it doesn't strike me as nuts to use it WRT to Tennessee. It can be seen as the one state that was basically in play that actually seceded.
   55. bjhanke Posted: March 18, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4673390)
Greg - Thanks! I don't have this kind of info because I went to Vanderbilt, which is in Tennessee. Vandy is (and was) the "brains school" of the SEC at the time - Vandy and Tulane, although Vandy was the stronger school at the time. Even so, the student base was very southern, because if you were smart and from the south, Vandy was calling you. Vandy's administration was, at the time, trying to integrate the SEC, which they did with basketball player Perry Wallace. But the students didn't always keep up. One incident that I remember real well: When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered, the news got to Vandy's radio station. Apparently, the people there weren't sure who should do this breaking news, because none of them were certain that they had the right attitude to make this sound as horrible as it was. I had never had anything to do with the radio station - didn't even know where the studio was - but they called me to do the news that night. I was active in the theater, and apparently one of the theater guys said that he knew a guy with a good voice and also the right attitude to take this VERY seriously. I seem to have done a good job; no one said a word for 2 minutes after I stopped. But the main point is that the radio and theater guys, who fancied themselves the independent thinkers, were aware that they might be a bit too southern in attitude to do that broadcast. I had long since learned not to talk too much about civil rights or politics in general, because the other students had troubles swallowing my politics whole. This was in 1968; I have no idea what it was like in 1900. But I did get into the mental habit of not asking about things like northern migration from the south in the 1800s. So your info is a real help to me.

Sunday - Oh boy! Thanks for so much good info. I'm going to copy your comments into a Word file and keep them around, just so I can look this stuff up. I do know, in general, who the players are that you mentioned, Bob Caruthers and such. I had to work the 19th century up three times, including that I am active in the Hall of Merit. But I had no idea that there were that many of them from the south. Having teams in STL and Louisville probably helped, as did spring training in the south.

On the independent league thing: I know that other leagues, like the Eastern League, were completely independent of the NL or AA in any administrative sense. But my opinion on how the NL/AA got to be the "major" leagues was that they were the leagues that paid the best. Cap Anson went out raiding other leagues for talent in 1878-79, but that's not just Anson's desire to improve his team; it's also Spalding's checkbook. If you check out bios of people like John Montgomey Ward, you'll find that they started out by joining a local team, dominating its competition, then moving, sometimes in mid-season, to a team that paid better, and then to another and another, until finally reaching the NL/AA. You stopped there, because no one paid any better. For example, Pud Galvin had a great season for Buffalo in the Eastern League. Next year, he was in the NL. The Eastern League was a very strong league at the time, probably the best other than the NL, but they could not match the NL's paychecks. So they ended up as a "minor" league. And, ironically, there was no structure of "organized baseball" to protect Buffalo's contract with Galvin. If Anson offered Pud more money, Pud was free to leave at the end of the year, perhaps even before that. I think that's an undercurrent that runs through the whole idea of becoming a "major" league. And possibly the Negro Leagues, too. The league teams were the ones with enough money to outbid other black teams. I think it was just plain in the cards for the NL/AA to become the major leagues. Money talks too loud. - Brock
   56. GregD Posted: March 18, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4673397)
Greg - Thanks! I don't have this kind of info because I went to Vanderbilt, which is in Tennessee. Vandy is (and was) the "brains school" of the SEC at the time - Vandy and Tulane, although Vandy was the stronger school at the time. Even so, the student base was very southern, because if you were smart and from the south, Vandy was calling you. Vandy's administration was, at the time, trying to integrate the SEC, which they did with basketball player Perry Wallace. But the students didn't always keep up. One incident that I remember real well: When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered, the news got to Vandy's radio station. Apparently, the people there weren't sure who should do this breaking news, because none of them were certain that they had the right attitude to make this sound as horrible as it was. I had never had anything to do with the radio station - didn't even know where the studio was - but they called me to do the news that night. I was active in the theater, and apparently one of the theater guys said that he knew a guy with a good voice and also the right attitude to take this VERY seriously. I seem to have done a good job; no one said a word for 2 minutes after I stopped. But the main point is that the radio and theater guys, who fancied themselves the independent thinkers, were aware that they might be a bit too southern in attitude to do that broadcast. I had long since learned not to talk too much about civil rights or politics in general, because the other students had troubles swallowing my politics whole. This was in 1968; I have no idea what it was like in 1900. But I did get into the mental habit of not asking about things like northern migration from the south in the 1800s. So your info is a real help to me.
I always love your Vandy stories. A couple of guys I knew were kids of people who played h.s. with Perry Wallace. Pearl!
   57. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 18, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4673407)
#53 As noted there were large parts of the state that were pro-union. Now the term "border state" means something to most people and Tennessee doesn't qualify, but it doesn't strike me as nuts to use it WRT to Tennessee.


But as has also been noted, the same could be said of Alabama. Or Arkansas. Or probably North Carolina (considering that it seceded after Tennessee). Virginia, too, though of course woebegone West Virginia resulted from that, I suppose; serves those inbred Yankee-wannabe toothless tarpaper-shack trailer-dwelling traitors right.
   58. Sunday silence Posted: March 19, 2014 at 03:24 AM (#4673733)
Hi BJ: glad you liked the little bit of research I did. You always have a lot of great stories so I'm glad I could reciprocate. It seems like almost all of those guys were lifetime southerner, nearly all of them ended their life in the south. You should check out that article on Geo. Stallings. He played very briefly in the early 90s; but he managed for many years in the south. I think he managed the AUgusta club which was referenced in my posts.

I knew one of Del Pratt's relatives. Pratt was some sort of all american football player at Alabama. The nephew said he spent most of the remainder of his years hunting down in Texas. I get the feeling he did not have strong family kinship. Bill James wondered what became of him in one of his articles.

You are right that Louisville was one team that was friendly to southerners. As was Cincinnati. I know they were one of the teams that had a few southerners when the torrent really started in 1906; Morrie Rath was one of them. I think I mentioned him. And same with the Senators. Also, there was a lot of jumping that involved various cities, sometimes Louisville, sometimes Chicago or Milwaukee. I do not know much about that aspect, but the record of transactions is pretty spotty in a lot of cases; I tried to mention a few above.

Gef you're right about NC. The western section in the Blue Ridge mountains was said to be pro union. Just like mountainous WVa and East TN. And of course there was a few counties in north east AL that were said to be pro union. Of course things got really bad in the south as the war went on so at some point nearly every region was filled with deserters or brigands or just general outcasts. They went through some upheaval.

Also can anyone shed light on the Rule 5 draft back then? How can you draft people from a league that is independent of your league? I dont quite get that. In the list above, there are guys drafted at least back to 1906 under Rule 5.
   59. bjhanke Posted: March 19, 2014 at 04:16 AM (#4673735)
Sunday - Sorry, I don't know anything about the Rule 5 draft in the early 1900s. In fact, your mention here is the first I've ever heard of such a thing that early. MORE good info for me to credit to you.

Greg - Thanks. I'm a storyteller by nature (still trying to break into comic books), so I tend to write in stories, even when I'm dealing with non-fiction. And you actually knew people who played with Perry Wallace? I'd love to find out what kind of person he was then. I got to meet him a couple of times in college. The thing that most struck me about him was his level-headedness. He knew exactly what he was being asked to do, and volunteered with no illusions. He knew he was going to get fouled, and hard, game after game. He knew that in the SEC of the time, the home team hired the referees, so many of those flagrant fouls weren't going to be called. And he knew that he could NEVER fight back. And he could NOT afford to get bad grades. That impressed me even more than his quality of play did.

Just because you like Vandy / Perry Wallace stories: Perry would have gone to the NBA, even though he was a 6' 6" center. Dan Issel, who was the only center in the SEC who was a bit better than Perry (and was only 6' 8" himself), had a very good NBA career. Tom Boerwinkle, the 7' 2" center from Tennessee, had some career in the NBA, although Perry just took him apart when they met in games. But Perry got caught up in a rule designed to control Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). This rule required a dunk to NOT be straight down into the basket; you had to dunk from an angle. Well, in high school, or so I've been told, Perry never had to shoot. The Nashville Pearl team consisted, essentially, of four guys who might very well have won a national championship if there had been a 3-point rule, and Perry. Perry averaged 20 rebounds a game (a monstrous number for high school), and 20 points, too. But all his points were put-back dunks after he'd gotten rebounds. He literally did not have a 5-foot shot. And he, of course, had no time to develop one. So no NBA for him. He did, however, go on to get a law degree and ended up working for the Justice Department. If he handled any segregation cases, I would not have wanted to be the opposing lawyer. Perry had brains, and UNBEATABLE drive and determination, and he'd been through wars that lawyers seldom experience. He's probably the biggest hero I've ever met, because he just would not allow himself to blow up emotionally. I don't know where he put all the emotion, but he never put it on display. He knew what that would to to the cause of integration.

Oh, and BTW, ESPN, or some such channel, has a show where they do a commentary on the Glory Road movie, where Texas Western beat Kentucky in the finals with an all-black lineup, embarrassing the hell out of Adolph Rupp, who had bluntly stated that no black kid could possibly play point guard, and his All-American point guard, Louis Dampier, would just take this team apart. Happened much more the other way, especially at the end. Anyway, in this documentary about the movie, there is an interview with Perry Wallace. Worth it if you can find a clip. - Brock
   60. Sunday silence Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4674446)
BJ here is a pretty interesesting article on the old Rule 5 draft which goes back to 1903. Basically this was an agreement among all the leagues in organized baseball to protect some players and the rest were draftable. Similar to what is now in place. Hal Chase was a rule 5 pick, as was Hack Wilson.


http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-ten-most-interesting-rule-5-draft-picks-1903-1940/
   61. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4674497)
I always love your Vandy stories.

I enjoy them as well.
Good stuff in this thread, guys - thanks!
   62. bjhanke Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:19 AM (#4674724)
Sunday - Thanks again. I'll give this article a look. And it does lead to an amusing answer whenever anyone asks who was the worst Rule 5 draftee in history. Hal Chase. Hard to do worse. - Brock
   63. bjhanke Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:34 AM (#4674725)
Sunday - I read the article, which is very good, and a question occurred to me. It's known that Jack Dunn, in Baltimore in the International League, kept fighting against any sort of draft, and managed to keep the IL out of the drafting business for years. Does this mean that the IL never signed on to the National Association of Baseball Leagues until the late 1920s, which is 20 years after the Association was formed, and probably before Jack Dunn owned a club? That issue wasn't addressed, and Dunn may have been fighting against something else, but if he was fighting against Rule V, how did it happen that the IL had not long ago surrendered to it? Don't kill yourself researching this, but if you know that answer off the top of your head, I'd like to know this bit of history. Trying to figure out what "organized baseball" actually constituted in the early decades has always been a problem for me. I've just never found a reference. Thanks in advance, - Brock
   64. Sunday silence Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:38 AM (#4674741)
Hey BJ. The rule 5 draft is even older than 1903, If you look at Jesse Tannehill's career he was drafted by the Pirates in 1896 Rule 5 draft from Richmond VA. I have no idea how far back the draft might go but some version of it must pre date 1903. Tannehill is another guy from KY and there must be close 100 guys from KY by 1905. Of course Louisville was in the NL at this time so no surprise. He went 107-49 for the Pirates in a 5 year stretch and his Elo Fan meter have him right behind Catfish Hunter, David Wells and
   65. just plain joe Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:38 AM (#4674742)
[63]

I am neither an expert on this subject nor am I a lawyer but I believe that prior to the 1920's minor league teams did not have to transfer a player's contract to a major league team unless they wanted to. Of course nearly all teams would sell their players to the majors because that was a primary source of income; apparently Jack Dunn felt that keeping his stars (and winning the IL) was more important than money. It was after the Federal Baseball v. National League decision in the mid-twenties that exempted MLB from anti-trust laws that the current relationship between MLB and the minors was established. After that exemption was granted MLB was able to dictate the terms under which the organized minors operated, and one of those conditions was the right to purchase players from minor league teams at a fixed price.
   66. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4674756)
Historians of the Civil War always class Tennessee as Confederate. It had a sizable loyalist population, but so did northern Alabama.


As did western North Carolina; in fact the Appalachian Mountain areas in the South had large pockets of Union sympathizers. Of course, some (maybe most) of that was resentment at being asked to fight a war for the benefit of those who held the reins of power "down east".

There's a pretty good series of articles on the history of the Civil War in North Carolina here.

-- MWE
   67. BDC Posted: March 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4674883)
Confederate states typically had at least some small Unionist areas. Even in Mississippi, the counties in the extreme northeast (near northern AL) and southwest (nearest New Orleans) voted against secession. In Texas, the principal Unionist areas were the farm belt north and east of Dallas, and the Hill Country west of Austin. Areas settled by a lot of free white homesteaders, IOW, which one might expect would have little sympathy with slaveholding secessionists.
   68. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4674944)
The only Confederate state not to raise any regiments for the Union was South Carolina.

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