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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ed Delahanty

Eligible in 1909.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 10, 2007 at 01:13 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 10, 2007 at 01:19 PM (#2309917)
Big Ed's case was discussed here:

1909 Ballot Discussion

Left Fielders Positional Thread

If you know of any others, please let me know.
   2. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 10, 2007 at 02:37 PM (#2309934)
So here's a what-if questions for Big Ed. What kind of odds did he have of reaching 3000 hits had he stayed on the train?
   3. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 10, 2007 at 08:38 PM (#2310023)
OK, so I like answering my own questions....

Vital information needed to "answer" the question:
-Ed Delahanty had 2597 hits at the time of his "retirement," so needed a mere 403 hits.
-Career, he had a .346 average in leagues that batted .282 (per SBE), an unadjusted relative average of 123.
-He was 35 when he died.

-He'd have stayed in the AL for the rest of his career.
-The relative average of his remaining years would decline around 3% per year from what it was at age 35.
-He wouldn't play past 40.
-He would play 120 games a year and have 450 AB (He missed a lot of time in his career and was getting old.)

Under these suppositions, Ed would have done the following in the remainder of '03-age 40, where cHITS is career hits:
1903 .313  100  2697
1904 .290  138  2834
1905 .278  132  2966
1906 .278  132  3098
1907 .268  127  3226
1908 .251  119  3345 

I'm not going to say it's realistic, but with these basic assumptions, he's hitting the mark at age 38.

But let's ask this. How did comparable players fare? I searched the SBE for all players who
-were 35 or younger
-had at least 2300 hits
-had a relative average of 120 or higher.

I got these 19 guys:
P Waner

12 of the 19 made it to 3K. What do they tell us about Big Ed's chances?

Only Puckett didn't bat after age 35. On the whole, the group had a 124 REL before and a 112 after, a 10% drop. After age 35, the group had about 1/5th of the ABs they did before.

So let's revise our look at Big Ed. The 10% drop looks good, but we need to adjust the ABs. He had 7505 before dying. Using the 1/5th guideline, he'd have about another 1501 ABs left in him. That's three-five seasons depending on how it's apportioned. Let's slope it downward this time. We'll give him 500 total for the death year, then decline by 50 each year: 344 450 400 307, done at age 38. Serious chronic alcholics with behvioral issues aren't a great bet to see 40+ in MLB anyway.

Declining Ed by 10% of his pre-36 REL, means a 112 REL; the league averages plummetted in the AL in this period, and he will need to hit .283 over the final phase of his career to match the comps' trend. Declining him 3%, then 4%, then 4.5%, then 5%, turns the trick. Now we have this scenario:

1903 .313  108  2704
1904 .287  129  2834
1905 .271  108  2942
1906 .265   81  3023

If the comps are any kind of help, then Ed barely, barely makes it.

I do think the drinking is an issue. Of the guys on that list, few (beyond Waner) were drinkers of ill repute. Hard to say whether the booze would catch up to him before he ran out of ABs. But anyway, a fun little exercise anyway, that suggests Delahanty's odds may have been very good for reaching 3000.
   4. Paul Wendt Posted: March 13, 2007 at 12:31 AM (#2311026)
Do we have any readers of the Jerry Casway biography in the house? Ed Delahanty and the Emerald Age of Baseball. Casway is a professor of history specializing in Irish and Irish-American history.

Del needed money because he was a gambler.

New York (McGraw?) offered him BIG BUCK$ to jump back to the NL, and he signed but couldn't go. George Davis sat out a year when the powers didn't let him play for New York. I suppose he had money.

Ed Delahanty would have played as long as anyone would have paid him to play, maybe continuing in the minors. Maybe he would have been in New York in place of Mike Donlin. (As it turned out, New York made very good deals in 1904 and 1905 for Mike Donlin and Cy Seymour. Washington went into internal receivership --Ban Johnson-- needing to sell players? or not permitted to sell players?) Maybe in Cleveland, as a hometown boy, although I don't know that Lajoie would have welcomed him.
   5. Paul Wendt Posted: March 13, 2007 at 12:41 AM (#2311034)
Relying on REL :-) your analysis underestimates Delahanty as a batter. He opened with four seasons below league-average, 1500 atbats. At death he was in his twelfth season as a dominator. It isn't clear to me that A, B, or C was any better than D.

Re 3000 hits, I think it's a question whether something else would have happened, if that didn't happen. No dissipation on the King Kelly scale.
   6. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 13, 2008 at 03:20 AM (#2689504)
TOTALLY UNSCIENTIFIC STUDY ALERT! Curious to see where Big Ed might rank had he steered clear of waterfalls, I searched for the leaders among pre-integration corner outfielders in salary earned (as measured by my WARP2 and consensus salary estimator) at ages 33 and 34. After discarding the wartime mirage Dixie Walker, I got the following list: Fred Clarke, Gavvy Cravath, Sam Crawford, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, Paul Waner, and Ken Williams. Seems like quite a reasonable list of comparables for Delahanty, truth be told.

I then plotted their salary earned after the age of 34 against their salary earned at ages 33 and 34, and got 56% r-squared (yes, on only 7 data points--I already said this was unscientific!!). Applying the resulting equation to Delahanty's 1901 and 1902, I get him with an additional $76 million to top off the $251M he earned through 1902 (removing his partial 1903), bringing him to $327M. That roughly ties him with Rickey Henderson ($331M), nestled between Frank Robinson ($318M) and Mel Ott ($350M). That seems eminently reasonable, no?
   7. Paul Wendt Posted: February 13, 2008 at 08:03 AM (#2689588)
The answer seems reasonable, one of many.
I guess it's too generous. Here's why

Eric Chalek understates the skill level from which Del declines in 1903 and thereafter, by including 1888-1891 rather than using his prime seasons 1892-1903 as the base. (By OPS+ the difference is career 152, twelve prime seasons 167. Proportional adjustment of Eric's guestimate yields a decline roughly from REL 136 to 122.)

Dan R overstates the production level from which to extrapolate Del's career, by ignoring spring 1903. The 1903 sample is too small to show that Del was in decline as a batter but his record for the 2.4 seasons 1901-1902 plus spring 1903 must yield a better estimate of current productivity than does the record for 1901-1902 alone. Measured by OPS+, his 2-season rate is 179 and the 2.4-season rate is 175.
Further, Del missed 17 of the 59 games played before his death, matching his career second-high number of games missed in any full season.

How many games did Delahanty miss? in 13.4 seasons as a regular player
1890: 16 10 32 1 15 17 7 5 6 8
1900: 10 1 15 17

So Eric Chalek is right, he missed numerous games. But once he became a regular he missed
91 games in six seasons 1890-95, then only 37 games in six seasons 1896-1901. So the downward trajectory in durability is limited to (a) the last 1.4 seasons in Washington. The decline in playing time is partly the effect of 1900 contraction from 154 to 140 games.
   8. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 13, 2008 at 02:42 PM (#2689663)
The problem is that I don't have data on how the comparables performed 59 games into their age 35 season.
   9. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: February 14, 2008 at 05:01 PM (#2691037)
Can't you just weigh the season age 35 at 59/140 for the others?
   10. Paul Wendt Posted: February 14, 2008 at 11:25 PM (#2691514)
That seems to me a good solution.
   11. Paul Wendt Posted: August 09, 2008 at 07:16 PM (#2896544)
The first NL monopoly season, 1892 was Delahanty's breakout as a batter, 24.5 years old in the spring. He was then Harry Wright's regular center fielder between Hamilton and Thompson.

Here are the league leaders by OPS+ during his twelve prime seasons which happen to cover the nine NL monopoly seasons and the "AL war"; the leagues made peace in winter 1903 and negotiated the allocation of some players who had signed to change leagues for that season.

NL 1892-1900
Brouthers Connor OBurns Delahanty BEwing Hamilton JRyan Childs // Thompson Holliday=143
Hamilton Delahanty ESmith GDavis Thompson // Burkett Childs Tiernan Kelley Larkin=131
Thompson Joyce Duffy Kelley Delahanty Hamilton // Stenzel Turner Griffin Dahlen=136
Delahanty Thompson Clements Stenzel Lange Kelley Hamilton Burkett Joyce // Tiernan=147
Delahanty Kelley Joyce Tiernan Burkett Dahlen ESmith McCreery Jennings // Hamilton=142
Clarke Keeler Delahanty Lajoie // Kelley Jennings GDavis Burkett Joyce ESmith=133
Hamilton Delahanty Flick // Jennings McGraw JRyan Anderson Grady Collins ESmith=139
Delahanty McGraw Burkett Williams Freeman // McFarland Stahl Wagner Keeler Beaumont=137
Wagner Flick McGraw Burkett // Selbach Lajoie Kelley Hickman Sheckard Keeler=129

NL 1901-1903
Burkett Delahanty Sheckard Crawford Hartsel Wagner Flick // Heidrick ClarkeVan Haltren=137
Wagner Clarke Crawford // Beaumont Tenney Beckley Leach Slagle Keeler Peitz=130
Clarke Bresnahan Wagner Sheckard Donlin Chance // Thomas Steinfeldt Tenney Keister=135

AL 1901-1903
Lajoie Freeman // Seybold Collins Donlin Williams Anderson Keister Grady Stahl=127
Delahanty Lajoie Hickman // Bradley Seybold Williams Freeman JRyan Burkett Selbach=123
Lajoie Crawford Hartsel Bradley // * Barrett Green Freeman Seybold Hickman Flick=136

* Delahanty, 145 in a long two months
   12. Paul Wendt Posted: August 09, 2008 at 07:17 PM (#2896545)
[copied from the Left Fielders - Discussion]

> Was Delahanty a greater hitter than Brouthers?
[and thus perhaps the greatest batter of the 19th century]

With the Phillies under Harry Wright, Ed Delahanty played 2b-lf as a part-timer in 1888-89 and then took the opportunity to go home to Cleveland where he played more SS than anything else in the Players League. Philly picked up Billy Hamilton and retained Sam Thompson. They played left and right with Eddie Burke/Billy Sunday in center. When Delahanty returned, Wright put him in center for two seasons, and Wright also made the left-center switch with Hamilton for 1893.

Delahanty wasn't much of a batter during his first four seasons. His breakout was 1892, his last season in center.

According to the "age tool" at baseball-reference, OPS+ 90 in about 1700 pa through 1891, ages 20-23.
In his twelve seasons 1892 to death, 167 in about 6700 pa.

OPS+, rank in league
42511321-21i Delahanty 1892-1903 (i = ineligible, part of 1903)
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: August 10, 2008 at 01:58 PM (#2897263)
A copy of the NY Times story on Ed's death, with his last name misspelled numerous times:

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