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Monday, May 02, 2005

Double Duty Radcliffe

Ted Radcliffe

Eligible in 1952.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2005 at 08:48 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 02, 2005 at 08:51 PM (#1305139)
A legitimate HoM candidate that's still alive! At 102, let's put our thinking caps on out of respect for him.
   2. Brent Posted: May 03, 2005 at 02:45 AM (#1306267)
I posted this link to a Washington Post article on Radcliffe when it first came out, but I thought it would be worth reposting

Note - the Washington Post site requires registration. The article is quite long, so you'll either have to scroll through several pages or click on the printer-friendly version.
   3. Gary A Posted: May 04, 2005 at 03:25 AM (#1309470)
1928 Ted Radcliffe
Detroit Stars

G-65 (team 80)

FPCT-.968 (NNL .969)

Radcliffe didn't play any other positions in 1928.
   4. Brent Posted: May 21, 2005 at 03:58 AM (#1351756)
# 4 NeL catcher on Bill James' list.

Our first living HoM candidate.

Played for more than 20 years and on some of the greatest teams in black baseball history.

Doesn't anyone have anything to say about him?
   5. PhillyBooster Posted: May 21, 2005 at 05:19 PM (#1352253)
From Holway's Complete Book of Baseball Negro Stars:

1928 Detroit Stars: .265: 4th out of 8 league Cs
1929 Detroit Stars: .310: 3rd out of 8 league Cs

1930 St. Louis Stars: .293 -- 10th best on team -- listed as "utility"

Also, 9-3 as a pitcher, fourth most wins on team. Team won the pennant.

1930 Postseason

5 for 14 (.357) with a double, second highest average on team in the postseason as a hitter.

Pitched in game 1 (started, ND in win), game 4 (relieved, ND in loss), and game 5 (relieved, received loss) in a 7 game series that St. Louis ended up winning over the Detroit Stars.

1931: Listed as 3-0 for the Detroit Stars. Only pitcher other than Nelson Dean (9-6) with a winning record. Team ends in 6th place with a 23-30 record. No batting average listed.

1932: Pittsburgh Crawfords. Finished 15-9 or (15-8) for the 54-32 Crawfords. Listed as "utility" .279 BA, with Oscar Charleston leading the team at .313. Radcliffe was the #2 pitcher behind Satchell Paige (21-9). Paige led the league in wins. Radcliff was tied for 4th.

IN a 1932 series against the Casey Stengel All-Stars, which the Crawford won 4 games to 2, Radcliff is listed as 0 for 2 at bat, but does not include the game in which he lost 9-8 to Bill Swift and Larry French, so he might have gotten some hits there. Radcliffe also pitched in 2 other games, but did not get a decision in either.

More later . ..
   6. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 22, 2005 at 07:02 PM (#1354414)
From my own Holway-based pitcher research.

Radcliffe's rankings in several categories:

WINS t-45th with 51

LOSSES t-73rd with 32

DECISIONS t-60th with 83

WIN PCT. .614
(50+ dec.) 30th
(25+ dec.) 49th
(10+ dec.) 83rd

(50+ dec.) 100th
(25+ dec.) 145th
(10+ dec.) 211th

WAT 324th with 0.1

(50+ dec.) 72nd
(25+ dec.) 104th
(10+ dec.) 163rd

Also a little snippet from the season leader boards that I'm working on now. (I've only gotten wins done so far.)
1931: Tied for 3rd in East in 1931 with 9 wins.
1931: Tied for 3rd for most wins in NgLs with 12.
1932: Tied for 4th most wins in EWL with 15.
1946: Tied for 8th most wins in NgLs with 7.
   7. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 22, 2005 at 07:12 PM (#1354468)
Forgot to address the * from the previous post about ADJ pct of team decisions. Here I just wanted to point out that this is a measure of usage. The idea is that for all starters, we're using decisions as a proxy for innings so that we can determine how pitchers were being used during their career (as a #1, #2, #3, etc...).

The adjustment comes in when a guy plays on two or more teams in a season. The adjustment is really simplistic and goes like this:

If a guy is with two teams,
1) figure his total decisions
2) figure the total decisions of the teams he was on
3) for first team, divide pitcher's decisions with first team by his total decisions, then multiply by team's total decisions
4) repeat for second team
5) add results of steps three and four to figure his adjusted team decisions
6) divide his total decisions into adjusted team decisions.

   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 22, 2005 at 07:17 PM (#1354485)
Does anyone think he's at least a borderline case?
   9. Gadfly Posted: May 22, 2005 at 09:12 PM (#1354905)

Radcliffe is only a borderline case if you start combining things. In other words (and in my opinion), he wasn't good enough to make the Hall of Fame or Merit as a catcher, or simply as a pitcher.

He probably has a better case as a pitcher, where he had a good peak; but he is directly comparable to two other spit/cut ball pitchers (Brewer and Byrd) and nowhere near as good as either of them. However as a catcher-pitcher, he may have been more valuable than credited at his peak, but that's a big if.

It seems, from the evidence, that, when he was pitching full-time, he was not catching full-time, and vice-versa. I don't think he would have pulled double duty in the Major Leagues. From the late 1930s on, Radcliffe was no longer a full-time player.

Radcliffe, of course, had a tremendously long career, but it is extremely doubtful that he would have had that longevity in the Majors. In some ways, he is the perfect guy to have such a long career in the Negro Leagues.

He could pitch and catch and manage. He had a good bat and was, by all accounts, an excellent pinch hitter. This versatility allowed him to extend his career in the Negro Leagues forever.

But, in organized ball, he probably would have spent most of his time in the 1940s doing his thing in the minor leagues.

His biography, written by Kyle McNary, is an extremely interesting book.

Radcliffe is a world class storyteller (some would perhaps say braggart) and, if you compare that book with some of his earlier interviews, you can actually see some of his stories (a less kind person would say untruths) evolving.

One of my favorite Negro League juxtapositions is Radcliffe's and Buck Leonard's take on Radcliffe being put on the roster of the Birmingham Black Barons for the 1943 Negro League World Series versus Leonard and the Homestead Grays.

Radcliffe says the Grays allowed him to play for the Black Barons because Homestead knew he would increase the attendance.

Leonard says the Grays allowed the Black Barons to add Radcliffe to their roster because the Grays knew he wasn't going to hurt them one bit.

If I was going to put a Radcliff(e) on my ballot, I probably be more inclined to put his brother Alex on; but, truthfully, I doubt either really belongs.

On the other hand, I realize that I subconciously downgrade Radcliffe for puffing himself up so much. He may have been better than I give him credit for, but probably still not good enough.
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 22, 2005 at 09:18 PM (#1354918)
If I was going to put a Radcliff(e) on my ballot, I probably be more inclined to put his brother Alex on; but, truthfully, I doubt either really belongs.

Well, if you don't think he has a real case (since you're an extremely supporter of the NeL), then that's probably it for him then.
Too bad, though. It would have been nice inducting a man in his hundreds that could still have been able to enjoy the accolade.

Thanks for the info, Gadfly.
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 22, 2005 at 09:35 PM (#1354944)
I think Gad's right about comparing DDR's pitching to Brewer's. A little more effective than Brewer, but less bulk.* Byrd stands well above both of them as a pitcher I think.

*I'm only thinking about Brewer's stateside pitching at this point, I haven't gotten much of handle on the Mexican years.
   12. PhillyBooster Posted: May 23, 2005 at 04:36 AM (#1355277)
Continuing from Post 5 . . .

1933 Homestead Grays finish in 3rd place. Team is only listed with 25 games (compared to over 50 for most others). Radcliffe is full time catcher (.289, fifth best on team, and 2-1 as a pitcher (second most decision, Ray Brown in 6-2).

1934 -- Listed 0-1 as a pitcher for the Chicago American Giants and 0-1 for the Homestead Grays. Also listed 1 for 5 as a hitter in the playoffs for Chicago, and 5 for 9 against major league Caucasian competition. No other stats listed.

1935 -- Brooklyn Eagles. Hit .256 as a utility player. No pitching line listed.

1936 -- Cincinnati Tigers. Listed as a pitcher, but as having received no known decisions. In a postseason game, he pitched a complete game 11 inning 4 hit 1-1 tie against the Satchel Paige All Stars.

1937 -- Cincinnati Tigers. Radcliffe is listed only as a catcher (and manager), but with a .351 average, third on the team after Howard Easterling (.360) and Neil Robinson (.363). Despite apparently having the best record in the league, they were not one of two teams who played in the post-season (I think because they didn't win either "half" of the season).

1938 -- Manager of the Memphis Red Sox. Listed as .235 as a utility player and 3-4 as a pitcher.

1939 -- Manager of the Memphis Red Sox. No stats listed.

1940 -- Played in Mexico. 19 for 77 (.246) as a hitter. 5-6 as a pitcher.

1941 -- back for the Memphis Red Sox, but not hitting. Only stats given are 3 for 8 hitting and 1-2 as a pitcher.

1942 -- Birmingham Black Barons. .367 as a catcher. 1-0 as a pitcher.

1943 -- Chicago American Giants. 250 as a catcher. 0-1 as a pitcher. 0 for 5 in the playoffs against Birmingham.

1944 -- Birmingham Black Barons. .215 as the catcher. No pitching line listed. 4 for 18 in the WOrld Series against the Grays.

1945 on -- ?? Couldn't find anything.
   13. PhillyBooster Posted: May 23, 2005 at 04:48 AM (#1355286)
General thoughts:

Radcliffe could play forever because what team anywhere couldn't use a guy who could both catch and pitch at at least league average? He was like Kieschnik, but good. He was also a b*tch to research, because he hardly ever played for the same team more than two years in a row.

He was probably significantly above average as a catcher, and about league average as a pitcher. He also gets "Flexibility Points" for being able to fill both roles.

That is a whole lot, but I don't think it's enough. It probably puts him near the bottom of the "Top 50 All Time Negro League Players" and a shoo-in for the Negro League Hall of Fame. It seems like it was the rare year, though, that he was actually called on to do the "Full Caruthers" of pitch regularly and play the field on his off days, which would have really bolstered his value up to what I would consider borderline.

Gadfly says: "Radcliffe is only a borderline case if you start combining things. In other words (and in my opinion), he wasn't good enough to make the Hall of Fame or Merit as a catcher, or simply as a pitcher."

While I agree with the fact that "he wasn't good enough to make the Hall of Fame or Merit as a catcher, or simply as a pitcher," I actually disagree with this quote in two other ways. First, I don't think he's bordeline if you combine hitting and pitching. He is somewhat below borderline. Second, however, I strongly disagree that "combining things" is an "only" or a cheap way to earn credit. It is exactly what I do, and I have voted for players like Caruthers and Ferrell even though they would both have been much lower if I hadn't combined things.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: May 23, 2005 at 12:38 PM (#1355525)
We've gotten to the point where it's extremely difficult to gain a ballot slot; too many holdovers from too many decades.
Double Duty may have been as valuable as a few guys who got votes in the early years, but I don't see him getting near my ballot nowadays.
   15. Gadfly Posted: May 23, 2005 at 05:05 PM (#1355914)
Philly B-

1) I don't necessarily disagree with your contention that Radcliffe was somewhat below borderline even if you combine pitching and catching. What I was trying to say was that, even if you combine the two, it only raises him up to borderline in a BEST CASE scenario.

In other words, we're pretty much saying the same thing.

2) I never said or meant to infer that combining hitting and pitching talent is a 'cheap' or wrong way to earn credit. I think combining both in the cases of Ferrell, Caruthers, and especially Dihigo is entirely appropriate. All I am saying is that Radcliffe, even with credit for both, just doesn't seem to measure up.

Since I once looked up all Ferrell's minor league numbers and tried to figure out MLEs for them and translated Dihigo's cuban bio for fun, I cannot be tarred with that particular brush.

Radcliffe, of course, is a fascinating player. He was very obviously a Major League caliber catcher in his prime. He was also pretty obviously a Major League pitcher in his prime, but with one caveat.

Radcliffe was a spit-cut ball pitcher who very obviously reached his prime as a pitcher outside any type of organized baseball. He reached his prime playing indepedent ball out in the Midwest in the 1930s and I get the impression that the policing of doctoring the baseball out there was slim and none.

Probably his best individual season was 1932 or 1934.

In 1932, Radcliffe played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords. He was one of the club's main pitchers and also caught some (it's also the year he got the nickname Double Duty). But he wasn't the club's only or main catcher with Frank Duncan and Bill Perkins around.

In 1934, Radcliffe played for the independent Jamestown Red Sox in North Dakota from May to September (and some more in October). The Red Sox, like most independent teams didn't play the most rigorous schedule.

The club played 56 games and Radcliffe won 19 and lost 4 for a team that went 40-16. He also hit .355 in the extent 53 box scores. However, he still wasn't the team's main catcher. Bill Perkins was (Perkins was also the team's best hitter, smacking .422).

Interestingly, in 1935, Radcliffe went back to ND and played for the famous Bismarck team with Satchel and all. He pitched some but was mostly a catcher. In the Wichita Tournament, Radcliffe did not pitch at all (Paige and Chet Brewer split the pitching chores).

A synopsis of Radcliffe's career would probably go like this:

1928: Breaks into the Negro Leagues as a starting catcher. Also pitches well, becoming a sevicable starting pitcher.

1929-1933: Slowly changes into a good starting pitcher who can also catch and hit.

1934-1935: A very good pitcher and hitter, sometimes catcher, playing independent ball.

1936: Begins his managing career. From this point on, Radcliffe manages, pitches, catches, and pinch hits; but without really playing full time at any one thing.

However, because of the incredible value of this combination to a Negro League team [one man who can pitch in a pinch, catch in a pinch, pinch hit in a pinch and also manage eliminates the need to pay at least three guys], Radcliffe's career has the potential to go on endlessly.

1937-1951: Radcliffe's career goes on endlessly. But the random statistics of the 1940s, beginning with his Mexican League pitching and hitting stats in 1940, show a player who is very obviously no longer of Major League caliber.

The BEST CASE scenario for Radcliffe would be this: 'He was a Major League caliber player from 1928 to 1939, starting off as a decent Major League catcher in 1928, peaking in the early 1930s as a pitcher-catcher, and slowly fading away as the 1930s closed.

In Win Share terms, it is quite possible that, taking his catching and pitching together, he had some seasons of 30 or so Win Shares in the early 1930s. But, if you start him with 15 WS in 1928, then peak him at 30 or so for 1932 and 1934, with a slow fade to 10 or so WS in 1939, you're basically looking at about 200 career WS.

In other words, Radcliffe would have to tack on 10 WS a year in his dotage (1940-1951) just to get up to the career WS necessary to be considered by my system for the Hall of Merit.

For these reasons, I think he falls short despite being a fascinating player and character.
   16. Brent Posted: May 28, 2005 at 03:21 AM (#1367601)
I ran across a very nice Web page that provides a history of the integrated North Dakota baseball teams the Radcliffe, Satchel Paige, Chet Brewer, Hilton Smith, and others played on in the mid 1930s.
   17. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 11, 2005 at 04:33 PM (#1538617)
   18. Gadfly Posted: August 12, 2005 at 05:39 PM (#1541636)
Of course, it is sad that Ted Radcliffe passed away; but, hopefully, he is now playing ball and chasing women in heaven.

That being said, I did want to add one thing to his thread. I've got walk data for Radcliffe for about one season (500 or so at bats), pretty much just adding up random samples throughout his career. Radcliffe virtually never walked.

If he had played in the Majors, I don't think he would have walked 20 times per each 500 ABs. In fact, I think his walk rate would have been closer to 10 per 500. In this regard, Radcliffe was something like Lombardi, only even more hacktastic.

It makes an interesting comparison to Quincy Trouppe, who would have probably walked 100 times per 500 ABs in the Majors and was a better hitter than Radcliffe even without the walks.
   19. karlmagnus Posted: August 12, 2005 at 06:32 PM (#1541737)
It's also an interesting comparison to Willard Brown -- this was obviously a type of hitter that existed in the NEL but not in the majors. We should not add fictional walks, thus improving quality, without scaling back elsewhere.
   20. Gary A Posted: August 13, 2005 at 04:27 AM (#1543325)
Yes, in 1928 I have Double Duty with 6 walks in 270 plate appearances. I think he was really a better pitcher than catcher.

And Quincy Trouppe is definitely somebody we should look at (along with Bus Clarkson).

But Radcliffe was one of the few living people whose statistics I've compiled, and it's sad to see him finally gone.
   21. Chilibob Posted: August 18, 2005 at 02:48 AM (#1554211)
Today was the funeral for Double Duty. It was a sad day and also an uplifting day. There were several hundred friends and family in attendance. I had known him for about 10 years and the way we met was pure luck. I stopped in a local independent joint for a burger and grabbed a table. While enjoying my lunch with my newpaper, I overhear a gentleman talking about Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth and how he played with and against these guys! I fell out of my chair! Thereafter we became friends and would meet occasionally where we would talk baseball. What a man he was. The 100th birthday party that was thrown for him at Comiskey Park was awesome. It's a shame that the dolts who vote-in the old timers could not get this done while Ted was still alive. He was hoping that would happen.

Ahhh, his memory lives on in all of us and hopefully the BBWA will make the right decision.

Greatest baseball player ever??? Could be... Look at his numbers and history and enjoy a great legacy. Read up on him if you can. God bless you Double Duty, we will miss you.

-PS- Coach our Sox from above... we need it right now;)
   22. Paul Wendt Posted: September 13, 2005 at 02:51 PM (#1615196)
On the technical successor to Radcliffe, from Col. Sammy Miller, editor of the Negro Lgs Cmte newsletter (and one of the twelve electors).

Emilio "Millito" Navarro,who played for the Cuban Stars (East) in 1928 and 1929 as an infielder will be celebrating his 100th birthday on September 26th. Anyone wanting to send him congratulations or best wishes may do so by writing him at:

Emilio Navarro
Torres St, #97
Ponce, PR 00731

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