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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Hilton Smith

Hilton Smith

Eligible in 1954.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2005 at 12:19 AM | 92 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2005 at 01:02 AM (#1368882)
I have a feeling his career might be hard to analyze due to its uniqueness.
   2. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 29, 2005 at 02:39 AM (#1368997)

WINS 24th with 70 wins.

LOSSES t-97th with 28 losses.

DECISIONS t-45th with 98 dec.

WIN PCT .714
(minimum 50 dec) 7th
(minimum 25 dec) t-11th
(minimum 10 dec) t-22nd

(minimum 50 dec) 44th
(minimum 25 dec) 62nd
(minimum 10 dec) 91st

WAT 43rd at 5.1

WAT/DEC .052
(minimum 50 dec) 44th
(minimum 25 dec) 65th
(minimum 10 dec) 102nd


1937 t-3rd in NAL in wins with 6, t-6th in NgLs.

1938 1st in NAL in wins with 12, 3rd in NgLs.

1939 3rd in NAL in wins with 8, 5th in NgLs.

1940 t-1st in NAL in wins with 6, t-9th in NgLs; t-3rd in NAL in losses with 4, t-7th in NgLs.

1941 1st in NAL in wins with 10, t-4th in NgLs.

1942 t-6th in NAL in wins with 4, t-7th in NgLs.

1946 t-5th in NAL in wins with 5, t-9th in NgLs.

1947 t-3rd in NAL in wins with 7, t-6th in NgLs.

1937: 1st on team in dec
1938: 1st on team in dec
1939: 1st on team in dec
1940: 1st on team in dec
1941: 1st on team in dec
1942: 3rd on team in dec
1943: 4th on team in dec
1944: t-4th on team in dec
1945: 4th on team in dec
1946: t-2nd on team in dec
1947: 2nd on team in dec
1948: 5th on team in dec

Holway lists no decisions for Smith from 1932-1936.


OPP+: 114
485 adj team decisions vs
426 league-average team decisions

hOPP+: 79
485 adj team decisions vs
612 historicaly average team decisions

Other notes:

It would be really helpful to know what to do with Smith's 1932-1936 years. Riley is a bit inconsistent with regard to how he treats the two NO teams Smith played on as well as with the Monroe Monarchs. On one hand, he doesn't treat them as MiL in the headnotes, but he does suggest in the biography that they are. Either way, Holway has no recorded decisions for Smith from that period.

Smith played for outstanding teams, thus his WAT is not very high.

Riley lists him as going 8-5 in VZ for the 1946 winter season (for the champion team).

Holway's Latin America numbers for Smith:
6-3 in Cuba in 1937.
4-2 in Cuba in 1939.
3-5 in Mexico in 1941, with a 3.88 ERA.
13-11 in Mexico in 1942.

26-21: .553
   3. sunnyday2 Posted: June 08, 2005 at 11:10 AM (#1389477)
   4. sunnyday2 Posted: June 08, 2005 at 11:21 AM (#1389482)
Better than just a "bump," let me ask Chris and Doc how they compare:

Brewer--eligible 1952
H. Smith--1954
R. Brown--1955

If I have the dates right.

Smith won .714 with only 5 WAT) so as you say he obviously played on very good teams. Is WAT fair to guys who were on good staffs? On good teams? I mean it's hard to earn a lot of WAT when your team is at .700 already. Could we see his annual W-L? Do we have leaderborads for ERA?

At a min. let's see if we can get these four slotted correctly! And I guess it would further be helpful to think about how they compare to the 2 NeL pitchers now getting votes--Mendez and Redding.

Off the top of my head I might think, but subject to revision as I haven't really seen Ray Brown's numbers concentrated in one place:

1. Ray Brown--especially for career voters
2. H. Smith--in the Coop HoF, high peak

After that it gets murky:

3? Byrd--pretty good peak and career?
4? Mendez--huge peak
5? Redding--career
6? Brewer--career
   5. sunnyday2 Posted: June 08, 2005 at 11:39 AM (#1389486)
Just for the record in the Cool Papas book, when the experts and players were asked what players who are NOT now in the Coop HoF SHOULD be, they voted as follows:

Hilton Smith already in
Dick Redding 50% and 80%
Ray Brown 61% and 64%
Chet Brewer 54% and 64%
Bill Byrd 36% and 32%
Jose Mendez ???

Number of times a Holway all-star, MVP or "Cy Young" winner

Brown 3-2-2
Redding 2-0-4
Byrd 1-0-3
Smith 1-0-3
Brewer 2-0-1
Mendez ???

How many times Bill James' pitcher of the year

Byrd 3
H. Smith 3
R. Brown 1
Brewer 1
Redding 1
   6. sunnyday2 Posted: June 08, 2005 at 11:41 AM (#1389488)
These numbers suggest to me that the questions are:

1. Who had the better peak--Mendez or H. Smith?
2. Who had more career value--R. Brown or Redding?
3. What to do with Byrd?
4. If one of these is not like the rest, would that be Brewer?
   7. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 08, 2005 at 12:41 PM (#1389508)
Hilton Smith's year by year numbers as requested (I don't have the Mexican team totals handy):

1937 NAL KC  6  4 0.600 -0.4
1938 NAL KC 12  2 0.857  3.1
1939 NAL KC  8  2 0.800  1.9
1940 NAL KC  6  4 0.600 -2.8
1941 NAL KC 10  1 0.909  1.9
1941 TOR MX  3  5 0.375    ?
1942 NAL KC  4  3 0.571 -1.4
1942 TOR MX 13 11 0.542    ?
1943 NAL KC  4  2 0.667  1.1
1944 NAL KC  2  4 0.333 -0.8
1945 NAL KC  5  2 0.714  1.4
1946 NAL KC  5  2 0.714 -0.3
1947 NAL KC  7  0 1.000  1.8
1948 NAL CL  1  2 0.333 -0.5
TOTAL       74 28 0.725  5.1 
   8. sunnyday2 Posted: June 08, 2005 at 01:10 PM (#1389542)
So he had 12 years in the "major" leagues, plus 5 years in a league of "less major" status, is that right? A 17 year active career? Thanks Eric.
   9. Chris Cobb Posted: June 08, 2005 at 01:15 PM (#1389547)
These numbers suggest to me that the questions are:

1. Who had the better peak--Mendez or H. Smith?
2. Who had more career value--R. Brown or Redding?
3. What to do with Byrd?
4. If one of these is not like the rest, would that be Brewer?

Answers as I see them now (I'll be posting MLEs and a little more data on Hilton Smith later today):

1. Mendez. Smith had several great seasons in his peak, but a couple of ordinary ones are interspersed. Mendez was dominant for six years straight, if I recall correctly. Smith probably has more value outside his peak, however. Last night, I had Smith comped to Lefty Gomez, but that was without the Mexican League numbers for 1942 and 1943, which Dr. Chaleeko has just posted, which changes my view of his usage patterns.

2. Good question. I won't have an estimate on that until I do MLEs for Brown, and Redding's career really needs a fresh look in any case.

3. Well, up-to-date MLEs are there, for what they're worth. I see them as placing him in the 15-30 backlog right now, not on the ballot. I have him as the #3 NeL pitcher eligible, though more work needs to be done on the backlog of good NeL pitchers to confirm that.

4. Yes. Brewer has a good reputation, and he pitched forever, but there's nothing in his extant numbers that indicates that he was a great pitcher. It's possible that the numbers are misleading and we should take his finish in the _Cool Papas_ poll more seriously. However, none of the experts have voiced support for him (though neither Gary A. nor gadfly has said much about pitchers, so it may be wrong to place much weight on that).
   10. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 08, 2005 at 02:00 PM (#1389595)
In terms of where Smith fits in, here's three NgL pitchers:

A)  74 28  .725   5.1    .05   .675     .699
B) 130 59  .688  21.8    .12   .606     .643
C) 158 56  .738  32.8    .15   .637     .654

TM PCT+ = Win pct when pitcher's teams # of decisions are each equalized to historical norm of 51 decisions.

Pitcher C looks like the big winner here. But pitcher B isn't too far off of pitcher B's pace.
Pitcher A is less certain but appears to lag.

A = Smith (of course)
B = Andy Cooper
C = Ray Brown
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 08, 2005 at 02:02 PM (#1389601)
Some pitchers with similar records to Smith:

Smith: 70-28 with 5.1 WAT
J. Williams: 57-23 with 7.3 WAT (post 1920 only)
T. Williams: 49-14 with 9.1 WAT (post 1920 only)
D. Brown: 67-34 with 10.9 WAT (post 1920 only)
H. Rile: 66-32 with 13.0 WAT
L. Matlock: 77-31 with 9.7 WAT
L. Day: 68-32 with 11.2 WAT
B. Hunter: 63-23 with 9.3 WAT
J. Wright: 37-16 with 3.2 WAT (NgL career ended by integration)
J. Lamarque: 43-15 with 5.1 WAT (NgL career ended by integration)
B. McDaniels: 25-10 with 7.1 WAT (NgL career ended by integration)
M. Manning: 67-31 with 8.0 WAT (NgL career ended by integration)

I haven't worked up team win PCTs for these guys.
   12. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 08, 2005 at 03:15 PM (#1389736)
I'll try to round up more on Smith's Mexican League performances in the next couple of days.
   13. Chris Cobb Posted: June 08, 2005 at 04:19 PM (#1389897)
Dr. Chaleeko, if you're looking at Mexico, could you also perhaps collect data on Leon Day, Leroy Matlock and Bertrum Hunter? Day was in Mexico in 1940, 1947, and 1948; Matlock in 1940 and 1941; Hunter, 1940-1944.
   14. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 08, 2005 at 06:40 PM (#1390317)
Chris, I'll be happy to get the Day and Hunter data. Might take a couple days, however, because my evenings are a little tight right now. But I'll get it as soon as I'm able. Data on Matlock (and Tiant) is located at or near the bottom of the re-evaluating pitchers thread.
   15. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 08, 2005 at 07:03 PM (#1390388)

Here's the data I was able to lay my hands on for Smith. Turns out that he DID NOT pitch in Mexico in 1942. Holway confused him with Theolic "Fireball" Smith. However, Holway did not report Hilton Smith's 1940 numbers in Mexico.

Here's the goods:

1940: Torreon y Nuevo Laredo
5-3, 86.67 innings, 14 G, 6 CG, 1 SHO, 60 K, 27 BB

5.09 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 2.22 K/BB

Torreon went 45-41, so Smith's WAT is about .9. (I say about because I don't know the split between TOR and NL, so I'm just going with TOR's numbers all the way).

Smith's teammates at Torreon had
5.14 ERA, 4.8 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 1.25 K/BB

Smith looks a bit unlucky in the ERA department compared to how well his K and BB rates stack up against team.

1941: Torreon
3-5, 62.67 innings, 12 G, 3 CG, 35 K, 28 BB

3.88 ERA, 5.03 K/9, 4.02 BB/9, 1.25 K/9, -.6 WAT

5.33 ERA, 3.8 K, 4.3 BB, .9 K/BB

Smith appears to be quite unlucky in 1941 with numbers that suggest he was the best pitcher on the staff, yet went only 3-5.
   16. Chris Cobb Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:48 AM (#1391415)
Dr. Chaleeko provided us with a useful list of pitchers whose records are potentially similar to Hilton Smith’s. I thought I’d sift through the biographical evidence about the shape of their careers to see if that might determine which of these pitchers should receive full-scale MLE analysis.

Executive Summary: Joe Williams is far better than Hilton Smith (surprise!). Leon Day, Leroy Matlock, Max Manning, and Bertrum Hunter are close enough to Smith that MLEs are probably necessary to distinguish between them clearly. Tom Williams might be comparable but probably isn’t. Huck Rile would be worth a study as a two-way player, but he isn’t comparable to Smith as a pitcher. Booker McDaniel, Johnny Wright, Dave Brown, and Jim LaMarque are clearly not in Smith’s class, unless perhaps Brown is ranked purely on peak value. Day and Manning are not yet eligible but should be given serious consideration when they are eligible. MLEs for Matlock and Hunter would be useful to have before we vote on Smith for the first time.

Fuller biographical summaries of each of the pitchers in question follow in the next post.
   17. Chris Cobb Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:50 AM (#1391424)
I estimate Hilton Smith as having 12 years as a starting pitcher for top teams (1936-1947) with a 6-year peak. I’ve tried to discern whether the listed pitchers possibly match Smith on either of these basic measures.

20+ yrs. Joe Williams. Shows up as comparable to Smith only because the first decade of his career is missing and several years from the mid-1920s with Homestead are very lightly represented.

8-16 yrs. Leon Day, 1935-37, 1939-40, 1942-43, 1946. Day is going to be one hellaciously tough player to evaluate. His Negro-League pitching record comes mostly from 7 seasons (those listed above except 1940, when he was in Venezuela and Mexico, going a combined 18-1), which are better documented than Smith’s 12 seasons. So his pitching value may be lower than Smith’s. However, the seasons when he was not pitching are a varied lot. In 1938 he seems to have been lightly used. Was he injured, holding out, struggling? In 1941, he began the year in the rotation, but when the team’s CF’er was drafted, he switched to CF, and when the 2nd baseman was injured, he shifted to 2B. So he was playing full time, but not pitching. In 1944-45, he was in the army. Late in a brilliant 1946 season, he developed a sore arm and was ineffective in the 1946 WS. He continued pitching in Mexico in 1947-48, in the Negro Leagues in 1949-50, and in the minors from 1950-54. His major-league equivalent career ended, I would guess, sometime between the arm injury in 1946 and the 1951 season, but when exactly I couldn’t begin to guess without seeing his Mexican League numbers. One more thing: Day was a prodigy, breaking into the NeL at the age of 17 in 1934 and becoming an established star by the age of 19. When he hurt his arm in 1946, he was only 29. Day reminds me of Dwight Gooden: fabulous young pitcher and terrific all-around athlete, with the arm injury but without the drug problems, playing in an environment that made better use of his versatility. Is there enough here to make a HoMer? I don’t know, but he obviously will require a close look.

12 yrs. Leroy Matlock, 1930-1941. Possibly a very good comp for Smith. His career NeL record comes mostly from a well-documented 7-year run from 1930-36. From 1937 to 1941 he played mostly in Latin America (Santa Domingo in 1937, Venezuela in 1939, and Mexico in 1940 and 1941. His Mexican League numbers look good, according to Riley, 15-10, 3.26 and 15-9, 3.94 for Mexico City. I’d want to do a full study of him before deciding where to rank him in relation to Smith.

7-13 yrs. Max Manning, 1939-41, 1946-49. Lost four seasons to the war, then, just around the time he might have moved into organized baseball in 1948, he hurt his arm and was never the same, retiring after playing in Venezuela, Mexico, and Canada in 1950-51. With war credit and credit for 1950-51, his career is as long as Smith’s, but virtually all his data is from six seasons, 1939-41 and 1946-48. If his peak in these six seasons matches Smith’s, he could have a case to be as good.

6-12 yrs. Bertrum Hunter. 1931-36. His career numbers come from these 6 well-documented years in the NeL, so by them alone he is obviously not much of a comp for Smith. However, he went with Satchel Paige to Santa Domingo in 1937, got married, and stayed there (was he pitching?) through 1939. He then pitched in Mexico from 1940 to 1944. Riley lists his records as 2-3, 9-11, 8-13, 3-4, and 0-1 for the five seasons, with an ERA of 4.79, so his MLE career might continue on as late as 1942. More study of his NeL peak and more data on his Mexican-League years (and any data on his 1938 and 1939 years in Santa Domingo!) would help determine if he is comparable to Smith.

9 yrs. Tom Williams, 1916-1924. With pre-1920 seasons, career 66-20, 12.2 WAT. Peak looks possibly similar to Smith's, career shorter. One of his pre-1920 seasons is very well documented, the other three are sketchy. A full study would be good, but I’m pretty confident Smith was the better pitcher.

9 yrs. Booker McDaniel, 1942-1950. Of these nine seasons as a regular starter, 4.5 were for the Monarchs: 1942-45 and half of 1949. In 1946-48 he pitched in Mexico, where his record was ok according to Riley (14-18, 3.01, 14-14, 3.41, 12-11, 4.81). In 1949 he returned to the Monarchs and was signed midseason by the LA Angels in the PCL. He was 8-9, 4.22 and 3-4, 6.49 with the Angels in 1949-1950. He was 38 or 39 in 1950, so it’s not surprising that he closed out his professional career in 1951 with a brief stint for Mexico City. Without evidence that he was a significant player before the age of 30, there’s little chance he was as good as Smith.

7+ yrs. Huck Rile, 1921-27. Rile’s pitching career was much shorter than Smith’s. His career totals are close because of more heavily documented seasons, but he’s not a close comp. He might bear consideration in his own right, though, as a two-way player: his career as a first baseman continued well after 1927.

6-8 yrs. Johnny Wright, 1939-40, 1943, 1946-48. Almost half of Wright’s recorded decisions come in his 18-5 season for the 1943 Grays. He was a frontline starter for the weak Toledo Crawfords in 1939 and presumably for the Ind. Crawfords in 1940, though Holway does not provide any data for that team except its 3-5 record. He registered a few decisions for Baltimore in 1941 and for the Grays in 1942 before his breakout year in 1943. He lost most of 1944-45 to military service, pitched 1946 in the minors, then returned to the Grays for 1947 and 1948, although he has no decisions listed for 1948. Even with war credit, there seems no chance that he was comparable to Smith in peak or career.

6 yrs. Dave Brown, 1920-25. Although Riley lists him with the Chi Am Giants in 1918-19, Holway gives him no decisions for those seasons, which suggests he did not face top competition before 1920. Peak possibly similar to Smith's, but with his truncated career he's not really comparable.

6 yrs. Jim LaMarque, 1945-1950. LaMarque broke in to the Negro Leagues in 1942, but only in 1945 did he become a full-time starter, posting fine seasons 1945-48. During the 1950 season he joined a semipro? ballclub from Fort Wayne, Indiana and pitched for them through 1958. Since he wasn’t pitching at the professional level during the 1950s, I don’t see his career as potentially comparable to Smith’s.
   18. Chris Cobb Posted: June 09, 2005 at 03:43 AM (#1392012)
Hilton Smith MLE projections

With the same caveats and the same system I used for Bill Byrd, here are MLEs for Hilton Smith. I wouldn’t place all that much weight on totals for any single season here. The number of recorded decisions for the Negro American League teams and their pitchers per season is smaller than anything we’ve dealt with since the formation of the Negro Leagues, so Smith’s short seasons (the most recorded decisions he ever had was 14 in 1938) would need to be regressed somewhat to really simulate a major-league season. He swings from very high values to very low values with very little middle ground. I think the career numbers, however, tell us basically what we need to know to place him, and a look at 5-7 years together, say, some chunk of 1936-1942 depending on how you like to measure, can give us a pretty good idea of the height of his peak.

Year  IP DERA DERA+  snW-L      wp
1936 205 4.50  100   11.8-11.8  .500
1937 251 5.00   90   12.9-15.9  .448
1938 314 2.80  161   26.1-10.0  .722
1939 256 3.13  144   19.9- 9.6  .675
1940 292 4.73   95   15.9-17.6  .474
1941 323 2.72  165   27.2- 9.9  .732
1942 180 5.88   77    7.7-13.0  .372
1943 148 3.75  120   10.0- 7.0  .590
1944 106 6.00   75    4.4- 7.8  .360
1945 135 3.28  137   10.1- 5.4  .652
1946 165 4.59   98    9.3- 9.7  .490
1947 178 1.81  248   17.6- 2.9  .860
1948  26 7.50   60    0.8- 2.2  .265
tot 2579 3.91  115  173.7-122.8 .588

For ranking Smith, I’d suggest chewing over two initial comps:

1) Lefty Gomez as analyzed by WARP: 2503 IP, 3.90 DERA. Smith has a big edge on Gomez, though, in that his hitting (which was decent, I’d guess it was at the “no harm” level of hitting as far as win shares are concerned) is already figured into these decision-based MLEs, whereas Gomez’s DERA doesn’t include his hitting, which was terrible (-96 BRAR for his career)

2) Wes Ferrell: 2623 IP, 3.90 DERA, but where Smith’s hitting is neutral and already figured in, Ferrell adds his career 100 OPS+ to his pitching (50 BRAR as WARP sees it).

I’m off line again until Monday, so I’ll be interested to see how discussion has gone when I get back. I hope to get MLEs for Matlock and Hunter as high-peak comparisons early next week.
   19. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 09, 2005 at 05:00 PM (#1392816)

Here's the Mexico data for Bertrum "Buffalo" Hunter per the Mexican League Encyclopedia.

1940: Chihuahua (14-67)
2-3, 12G, 1 CG, 66.67 INN, 80 H, 41 K, 28 BB

5.40 ERA, 5.53 K/9, 3.78 BB/9, 1.46 K/BB, 1.21 WAT.

1941: Aguila (44-57)
9-11, 29 G, 11 CG, 184 INN, 214 H, 64 K, 94 BB

5.18 ERA, 2.98 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, .68 K/BB, .1 WAT.

1942: Puebla (42-45)
8-13, 37 G, 8 CG, 185.33 INN, 214 H, 92 K, 99 BB

4.22 ERA, 4.47 K/9, 4.81 BB/9, .93 K/BB, -2.82 WAT.

1943: Tampico (41-48), Puebla (44-43), Veracruz (39-51)---No splits available.
3-4, 16 G, 2 CG, 70 INN, 84 H, 22 K, 34 BB

4.63 ERA, 2.83 K/9, 4.37 BB/9, .65 K/BB, ??? WAT.

1944 Mexico City (28-62)
0-1, 1 G, 1.67 INN, 1H, 2K, 2BB, 5.40 ERA, -.31 WAT.

I don't have a team context for Hunter yet, but it looks like he spent a lot of time at altitude, which appears to have a VERY dramatic effect on K/BB rates as well as ERA.
   20. sunnyday2 Posted: June 10, 2005 at 07:15 PM (#1395799)
Hilton Smith's record is certainly disappointing. I had him slotted on my ballot, not high but not low, more in the middle. Now I see him way down in the second 50.

On the whole, the HoF honored a lot of defensive specialists among the NeL positon players.

Among pitchers, so far it seems that they had done very well. Smith would appear to be a case of being recent enough to be fresh in everybody's mind but no way does he rate near (much less above) Mendez, Redding, Cooper, Byrd or maybe Winters and a couple-three others on my ballot.
   21. TomH Posted: June 10, 2005 at 07:30 PM (#1395880)
FWIW, Hilton didn't make Holway's top 7 list of pitchers, B James' top 4, Courier poll's top 6, Ted Knorr's list of top 6 he gave maybe there is consensus that agrees with the MLEs.
   22. Michael Bass Posted: June 10, 2005 at 07:49 PM (#1395976)
Just for the record, Brent can you run the short form on these?
   23. Michael Bass Posted: June 10, 2005 at 07:53 PM (#1395992)
As an aside, I'm not terribly surprised that we seem to have located an overrated Negro League pitcher. We've already ID'd several overrated NL hitters, if we just rubber-stamped all the HOF's pitcher selections, I'd be worried about how in-depth we were going.
   24. Brent Posted: June 11, 2005 at 03:05 AM (#1397101)
Based on Chris's MLEs, here are short-form win shares for Hilton Smith:

Year WS
1936 9
1937 7
1938 34
1939 25
1940 11
1941 36
1942 0
1943 11
1944 0
1945 12
1946 7
1947 26
1948 0
Total 178

Again, as happened with Andy Cooper, the short-form WS formula seems to be coming in below the comps that Chris mentioned in # 18. Lefty Gomez was credited with 185 WS and Wes Ferrell with 233. So it may be appropriate to add 10 percent to these WS estimates.
   25. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 11, 2005 at 02:02 PM (#1397369)
That looks like a mighty impressive peak, dizzy Dean like but not for as long a time (I can't believe I just wrote that). I would presume that if we are adding 20 or so WS to Smith's career total we should add them to some of the lower seasons. Was his career that uneven?
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: June 11, 2005 at 02:28 PM (#1397376)
I don't get it.

1942- won 4 lost 3 in NeL, T-6th in wins in the league though only 3rd in usage on the team and with a negative WAT (these were the KC Monarchs after all).

MLE = 8-13.

WS = 0? Granted 4 and 3 with the Monarchs that year, or 8 and 13 MLE isn't great but it's an MLE not 8-13 in NeL or Mx.

His actual career doesn't look quite that uneven, with only one exception his seasonal record varied from -2 to +2 WAT, and he ranked 3-1-3-1-1-6-5-3 in NeL wins.

Not that it's going to make a big difference. I still don't see him as good as Byrd much less R. Brown or Redding or Mendez.
   27. Brent Posted: June 11, 2005 at 02:33 PM (#1397378)
1942- won 4 lost 3 in NeL, T-6th in wins in the league though only 3rd in usage on the team and with a negative WAT (these were the KC Monarchs after all).

MLE = 8-13.

WS = 0? Granted 4 and 3 with the Monarchs that year, or 8 and 13 MLE isn't great but it's an MLE not 8-13 in NeL or Mx.

I think Chris has already addressed this problem when he wrote:

I wouldn’t place all that much weight on totals for any single season here. The number of recorded decisions for the Negro American League teams and their pitchers per season is smaller than anything we’ve dealt with since the formation of the Negro Leagues, so Smith’s short seasons (the most recorded decisions he ever had was 14 in 1938) would need to be regressed somewhat to really simulate a major-league season. He swings from very high values to very low values with very little middle ground. I think the career numbers, however, tell us basically what we need to know to place him, and a look at 5-7 years together, say, some chunk of 1936-1942 depending on how you like to measure, can give us a pretty good idea of the height of his peak.
   28. yest Posted: June 24, 2005 at 07:15 PM (#1428540)
from Mlb .com
he closer
Smith best known for relieving Paige
By Ken Mandel/

Hilton Smith was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.

Born: Feb. 27, 1912, Giddings, Texas
Died: Nov. 18, 1983, Kansas City, Mo.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Hall of Fame induction: 2001

Behind every great starting pitcher lies a great reliever. For Satchel Paige, that reliever may have been Hilton Smith, who, himself, had a tremendous Negro League career mostly with the Kansas City Monarchs.

For teammates on those Monarchs teams, Smith was best known for being Paige's "relief." After Paige pitched three innings, Smith would toss the final six, and be just as effective. Despite his domineering mound presence, his quiet manner lost out to Paige's flamboyance.

"Most people never heard of me ... because I was Satchel Paige's relief," Smith said, in an excerpt from "Voice from the Great Black Baseball Leagues," by John Holway. "He'd go two or three innings. ... I'd go in there and save it. The next day I'd look in the paper and the headline would say 'Satchel and Monarchs Win Again.' I guess it really hurt me."

Hurt feelings aside, opposing batters certainly heard of the man who possessed the best curve in black baseball and whom many players thought was the game's best all-around pitcher. Though the curve was his best pitch, his repertoire also included a sinking fastball, a slider and change-up, all of which he threw both side-armed and overhand, maintaining good control with both styles.

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Smith's playing career began with his father in a small town in Texas, possibly his birthplace of Giddings, Texas and it continued during his two years attending Prairie View A&M College in Texas. He began pitching during his final season there and joined the semipro Austin Senators in 1931. The next season, at age 20, he joined his first Monarchs team, of Monroe, La.; those Monarchs were also his first professional team.

They won the pennant that season and ended the season playing the mighty Pittsburgh Crawfords for the unofficial Negro League Championship. Smith learned how dominant a team with Paige, Josh Gibson, Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, Oscar Charleston, and Jimmie Crutchfield could be, as the Crawfords took the nine-game series in six games.

Smith then bounced around on poorer teams for the next three seasons in the Negro Southern League, before Double Duty convinced him and Monarchs ace Barney Morris to join a semipro team in Bismark. The trio combined with Chet Brewer to form what some consider the greatest pitching staff ever. Incomplete records say Smith won all but one decision - while batting .343 with 4 homers - but was overshadowed by Paige's 30 victories.

The next fall, without Satchel, Smith barnstormed with the Kansas City Monarchs, and became a permanent fixture there in 1937, when the Monarchs became a charter member of the Negro American League. During his 12 years with the Monarchs, the right-handed hurler often won 20 or more games, with his best years coming in 1939-1942, when he finished with records of 25-2, 21-3, 25-1 and 22-5. Hurling two winters in Cuba, the 6-foot-2, right-hander compiled a 10-5 record in the league.

Like seemingly every other Negro League great, Smith could also hit, and would play first base or the outfield when he was not pitching. This knack came in handy in 1943, when an injury to his pitching arm temporarily made him a .500 pitcher. He would return to form a few years later, but fashioned batting averages of .360 in 1942, and .333, .243 and .431 in 1944-46 on a World War II depleted team.

Negro Leaguer Sherwood Brewer spoke about Smith's hitting skills in James Reilly's "Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues.

"Usually teams would put a pitcher out in right field because they had nobody else. But Hilton could have played outfield with any of the great teams. The Grays, Chicago, any of 'em. He could hit."

By 1946, with many regulars having returned to the lineup, Smith resumed his pitching greatness full time, fashioning an 8-2 record and helping toss the Monarchs to the pennant. In Venezuela Smith went 8-5 for the champion Vargas team. He then topped it off allowing one hit in five innings against the New York Yankees in a March 1947 exhibition game -- just as Jackie Robinson was preparing to smash down the color barrier in his first spring with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The Dodgers invited the 35-year-old to play in their organization, but, despite a 6-1 mark against Major Leaguers in exhibition play, Smith stayed with the Monarchs, perhaps feeling his best years were behind him. A year later, with a 1-2 record, he retired from the Negro Leagues with a 161-32 lifetime mark.

The six-time All-Star then pitched in New Mexico for two more seasons before closing his playing career. He then embarked on a career as a teacher and coach, and as an employee with Armco Steel until he retired in 1978. He died five years later, while working as an associate scout for the Chicago Cubs, and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in March, 2001.
It took the Baseball Hall Of Fame more than a half century to recognize the extraordinary talents of the K.C. Monarchs' "other pitcher" during the late 1930s and 1940s. In an era when the colorful Satchel Paige was the darling of black sportswriters and, consequently, the fan favorite on any day, the brilliant career of Hilton Smith never quite received the attention it deserved.

Smith had a solid foundation of experience when he joined the K.C. Monarchs staff in 1936. Prior to donning the Kansas City uniform he had played two years of college ball in Texas and labored for four seasons with the Monroe Monarchs (Negro Southern League) and lesser southern clubs. When he arrived in Kansas City he was ready for business.

During each of his 12 seasons with the Monarchs he posted 20+ wins. He appeared in six consecutive East-West All-Star games from 1937-1942, and in 1941 posted a .961 winning percentage in a 25-1 season. To top it all off Smith contributed three .300+ seasons at the plate, making him as dangerous at the plate as he was on the mound.

After his retirement from baseball Smith served as a scout for the Chicago Cubs organization. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2001.
   29. yest Posted: June 24, 2005 at 07:17 PM (#1428548)
From USA Today
Helton Smith
Credited with winning 20 or more games in each of his 12 seasons with Kansas City,
had a 93-11 record over a four-year span ('39-42).
In '41, won 25 games with one defeat while going 10-0 in 19 league games.
Pitched no-hitter in '37 against the Chicago American Giants.
Named to six consecutive East-West All-star Games ('37-42).


Born: February 27, 1907, at Giddings, Texas.
Died: November 18, 1983, at Kansas City, Missouri.
Height: 6'2", Weight: 180 lbs. Batted right, threw right.
Elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001

Born in Giddings, Texas, the tall right-hander began as a ballplayer on his father's local team. Following a short stint with the Austin Senators in 1931, the 20-year-old Smith joined the Monroe Monarchs of the Negro Southern League. After four years (1932-1935) with Monroe, as well as a number of other brief affairs with small-time clubs, Smith joined the Kansas City Monarchs — the club with which he would make his mark and the club with which he would play out his career.

Prior to joining the Monarchs, Smith was a pitching talent who got by on raw ability. With the Monarchs, Smith blossomed into a true all-around pitcher. Smith credited Kansas City Manager Andy Cooper, long-time Monarch catcher Frank Duncan, and future Hall of Famer Bullet Rogan as the teachers that transformed him into an ace on the Monarch staff.

Though Negro League statistics are incomplete at best, Smith is credited with winning 20 or more games in each of his 12 years with Kansas City, including an astonishing record of 93-11 over a four year span from 1939 to 1942. In 1941 he won 25 games with but one defeat, and, in league contests that year, was 10-0 in 19 games, allowing a league-low 39 hits in a league-best 89 innings. That season he also led the league in wins, shutouts (2) and saves (3). In a 1937 contest against the powerful Chicago American Giants, Smith pitched a no-hitter as just two balls were hit out of the infield.

During much of his career with Kansas City, Smith acted as a long-reliever to the legendary Satchel Paige. In order to attract a large crowd, the flamboyant Paige was commonly tabbed to pitch the first few innings of a Monarchs ball game, often leaving after a once-through of the opposing lineup. The quiet Smith would pitch the remainder of the game, shutting down the competition with an assortment of pitches highlighted by a devastating fastball and a curveball frequently cited as the best in Negro League history.

Smith was named to six consecutive East-West All-Star Games (1937-1942), striking out a total of 13 batters in these mid-summer classics. Over the same span of time, he was instrumental in the Monarch's clear domination of the Negro American League. Overall, he was a member of seven Monarch pennant-winners, posted two Negro League World Series wins, and played on one Monarch World Championship team (1942).

In a glimpse of what might have been, Smith pitched brilliantly in exhibitions against white major leaguers, collecting six wins with just one loss in the contests. As if his pitching prowess was not enough, his ability with the bat meant that it was not uncommon for the Monarchs to utilize Smith as an outfielder or first baseman.

Following his retirement from baseball, Smith was a teacher and coach. He also served as a scout for the Chicago Cubs until his death in 1983.

Hilton Smith
is credited with winning 20 or more games in each of his 12 seasons with Kansas City Monarchs
went 93-11 from 1939 to 1942.
played in six consecutive East-West All-Star Games from 1937 to 1942 striking out a total of 13 batters
was a member of seven Monarch pennant-winners and one Monarch World Championship team (1942).
advised Kansas City Monarchs owner J.L. Wilkinson to sign Jackie Robinson
In 1941 he went 25 and 1 (961 winning percentage)
in league contests that year, was 10-0 in 19 games, allowing a league-low 39 hits in a league-best 89 innings. That season he also led the league in wins, shutouts (2) and saves (3).
In 1937 against the Chicago American Giants he pitched a no-hitter with just two balls hit out of the infield.
got 2 Negro League World Series wins
against white major leaguers, collecting six wins with just one loss in the contests.
it was not uncommon for Smith to play as an outfielder or first baseman.
served as a scout for the Chicago Cubs until his death in 1983.
NEGRO LEAGUES, 1932-1948
   30. sunnyday2 Posted: June 24, 2005 at 07:45 PM (#1428645)
Well, Holway shows him with a total of 70 NeL victories, whereas 12 x 20 = 240, so that's some discrepancy. Likewise, 25-1 in 1941 vs. 10-1.

I would guess that the 12 x 20 and the 25 are against all-comers. If the HoF has this info, why don't we. Because it is just oral tradition, perhaps???

I don't know if we're right or wrong on Hilton Smith, whereas I am sure that Ray Brown is an elect-me player in most years, including 1955. But this sure shows why we have to be super-careful about trying to document quality of opposition.

And finally, were the Chicago American Giants still "powerful" in 1937? And what is one game? I saw Hoyt Wilhelm no-hit the Yankees on TV in 1958 (?), Of course, Hoyt is a HoFer and a HoMer. So maybe Smith is too. But his plaque sounds eerily like those for the 19th century players... "was credit6ed with." By whom? And against whom? And "what many regard." Like, who?
   31. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 24, 2005 at 08:01 PM (#1428676)
The first of Yest's posts seemed like it was suggesting that Smith played on the famed North Dakota teams. If that's the case, we've probably got to revisit the early phase of his career. His career could be longer than we think.
   32. Brent Posted: June 24, 2005 at 11:07 PM (#1429210)
Reposting from the Radcliffe thread...

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.
   33. Brent Posted: June 24, 2005 at 11:41 PM (#1429292)
Hilton Smith pitched two seasons in the Cuban League. Here's his record:
Year  Team         G CG  W  L Tm W* Tm L Tm Pct  WAT % tm dec
37-38 Marianao    14  7  6  3   29    28   .509  1.7      16%
39-40 Santa Clara  9  2  4  2   24    27   .471  1.3      12%
Total             23  9 10  5                    3.0 
* Excludes games won by forfeit: 1937-38 (6-W)    

1937-38 - Team's no. 3 pitcher (in decisions) behind Dihigo and Barney Brown
1939-40 - Team's no. 5 pitcher behind René Monteagudo, Roy Partlow, Armando Torres, and Andy Porter.
   34. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: June 25, 2005 at 04:27 AM (#1429809)
Here's the SABR Bioproject entry for Hilton Smith. It mentions him taking part in the National Congress Tournament in 1935-36, but not who he was playing for, and starting touring with the Monarchs in 1936. I'm reasonably sure I read that he was up in North Dakota for at least 1 season.
   35. Jeff M Posted: June 25, 2005 at 04:18 PM (#1430014)
Other than the short form WS, I've been fiddling with another method of calculating WS that might shed some light. The method assumes that an average pitcher with 250 IP would earn about 15 WS.

The method incorporates Pete Palmer's linear weights calculations. Palmer's linear weights for pitchers is a function of the pitcher's ERA compared to the league ERA, weighted by innings pitched. That gives you linear weights "runs," which are runs above average. Linear weights runs can then be converted to wins based on an estimator of runs scored per game (which we can base on runs created/27). And, of course, wins can be converted to Win Shares.

Accordingly, you can start with 15 WS and add or subtract WS above average derived from Palmer's linear weights.

Let's use Smith's 1938 as an example. First, Chris' MLEs appear to be based on a league ERA of 4.50. Smith had an ERA of 2.80, and 314 IP. Using Palmer's formula, he gets 59.46 linear weights runs.

To convert that to wins, we need to estimate how many runs it takes to get a win, which in LWTS parlance is based on how many runs were scored per game that year. We don't know, of course, and we don't even have the RC/27. However, from 1936-1948, the National League RC/27 was approximately 1.15 higher than the ERA (on average), so we can multiply that by the 4.50 ERA assumption and get approximately 5.20 RC/27 and assume that the RC/27 isn't too far off from the actual runs per game per team.

To convert LWTS runs to wins, you divide them by:
(10*(SQRT(RunsperGame/4.50)). We have assumed runs per game of 5.20, so plugging that into the formula tells us that it takes about 10.75 runs to gain a win under the LWTS system. Dividing Smith's linear weights runs (59.46) by 10.75 runs per game, you get 5.53 wins.

Each win is worth approximately 3 win shares (although the formula seems to work better if you use 2.66). So 2.66 x 5.53 is 14.7 WS above average. Add that to the 15 WS an average pitcher would get, and you've got 29.7 WS.

Can't stop there, though, because that is based on a 250 IP assumption. Since Smith pitched 314 innings in Chris MLE's, you can multiply the 29.7 x 1.256, and get about 37 WS.

If you use the same method for all the MLE's (assuming a 4.50 ERA and a 5.20 RC/27), Smith earns 206.5 WS, with a 3-year peak of 102, a five year consecutive peak of 131 and a 7-year peak of 164.

The short form method calculated by Michael gives him 34, and Michael suggests adding 10%. That would get you to about the same place.
   36. Jeff M Posted: June 25, 2005 at 04:42 PM (#1430036)
Another quick WS estimate. If you look at all major league pitcher seasons during Smith's career, and search for seasons that are within .015+/- of his MLE winning percentage (i.e., .573 to .603), you find that the total pitching win shares for those major leaguers are about 1.125 times their total pythagorean win totals.

Smith's MLE's show win totals (which I assume are pythagorean-based) of about 174. Multiply that times 1.12 and you get about 196 pitching WS. That's in the same ball park as my post #35 and Brent's post #24 (with the recommended 10% boost).
   37. Jeff M Posted: June 25, 2005 at 04:43 PM (#1430037)
By the way, in post #35 I attributed the short form WS calcs to Michael Bass, but they are actually Brent's.

Sorry Brent (and Michael). :)
   38. sunnyday2 Posted: June 25, 2005 at 07:39 PM (#1430246)
Smith seems to be a pretty unusual cat with his peaks of 102, 131 and 164, and his total of somewhere from 178 to 206.

For his 3 and 5 year peaks his comps (within 10 of each) include:

Smith 102-131
Koufax 100-139
Walters 102-132
Willis 101-138

Within 10 (for 3) and 20 (for 5):

Gibson 98-143
Feller 98-151
Griffith 96-143
Waddell 100-145
Dean 99-145

Of these Koufax (194) and Dean (181) are within his career range.

Starting on the career side, however, besides Dean and Koufax, Smith's comps are more like Don Newcombe, Virgil Trucks, Catfish Hunter, Ron Guidry, Lefty Gomez, Dwight Gooden, Brett Saberhagen, Addie Joss, Vida Blue, Hippo Vaughan and David Cone. Some encouraging comps, some not so encouraging.

In the end I come back to:

Smith 102-131-164-178 to 206 for career
Koufax 100-139-168-194
Dean 99-145-171-181
Joss 88-131-167-191 not as good for 3 years but in the cluster thereafter
H. Vaughan 82-128-148-206 ditto Joss

Other than Vaughan, this cluster (and including his career cluster with Saberhagen, Gooden, Catfish, Guidry, Newk, Hershiser, Joe Wood, Cone et al) suggests that Smith had some unusual reason (illness or arm trouble) that accounts for a guy with that kind of peak but unable to sustain.

Of course, in Smith's case it was perhaps more of a late start than an early decline. Anybody know if there was any arm trouble or illness?

But finally, if it was obvious to observers at that time that he was no Satchel Paige (not that I've heard this conclusively stated), but if it was, then perhaps Hippo Vaughan is a pretty good comp, working in the shadow of Pete Alexander in the NL and Eddie Cicotte 'cross town.
   39. ronw Posted: June 02, 2006 at 04:49 PM (#2048355)
Update to Hilton Smith:

HOF Study...71-31

Not much of a W-L difference BUT

The HOF Study gives Smith 304 R (152 ER) in 812.3 IP, for a 3.37 RA (1.68 ERA). I don't have his old R/ER numbers.

FWIW, Chris Cobb gave Smith a 3.91 DERA, but I'm not sure I understand how he calculated that.

We've been waiting for some new numbers, perhaps it is time we crunch them.
   40. sunnyday2 Posted: June 02, 2006 at 07:59 PM (#2048524)
I thought Smith's HoF numbers look better than I expected, but I don't know why. I would like an educated update on him as well. Not sure he isn't what we wanted Redding to be.
   41. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 02, 2006 at 08:12 PM (#2048535)
I'm not educated, but I'll say I'm also pretty impressed by his SoG numbers. I'd love Chris's take on it too. That 1.82 ERA is pretty sparkly.
   42. DL from MN Posted: June 13, 2006 at 09:02 PM (#2062280)
> Smith's comps are more like Don Newcombe, Virgil Trucks...

The mle of 115 ERA+ in 2580 innings, 174-123 is very close to Virgil Trucks without the war credit. I finally ran Hilton Smith through the spreadsheet and he's 27th, ahead of Dick Redding.
   43. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 13, 2006 at 09:11 PM (#2062289)
DL, is that pre or post SoG update?
   44. Mark Donelson Posted: June 13, 2006 at 09:15 PM (#2062294)
Is there a central place where all these updated numbers are available?
   45. DL from MN Posted: June 13, 2006 at 10:06 PM (#2062347)
That's pre-SoG from post #18. I don't think anyone has re-run them. I think we need to re-run them for someone who looks like a top 25 guy.
   46. Mark Donelson Posted: June 13, 2006 at 10:08 PM (#2062349)
Never mind, I figured it out.
   47. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 14, 2006 at 12:39 AM (#2062619)
Of course, in Smith's case it was perhaps more of a late start than an early decline. Anybody know if there was any arm trouble or illness?

The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues states, "In 1943 Smith suffered an injury to his pitching arm", but he pitched pretty effectively for five more years after that. I don't know what the injury was, or whether it had lingering effects that contributed to his retirement.
   48. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: June 14, 2006 at 01:28 AM (#2062839)
Nice hitting by Marlon.

William Nathaniel Showalter. I miss Rooney.
   49. Paul Wendt Posted: November 06, 2009 at 09:42 PM (#3381378)
23. Michael Bass Posted: June 10, 2005 at 03:53 PM (#1395992)
As an aside, I'm not terribly surprised that we seem to have located an overrated Negro League pitcher. We've already ID'd several overrated NL hitters, if we just rubber-stamped all the HOF's pitcher selections, I'd be worried about how in-depth we were going.

Have any of the principals reconsidered Hilton Smith during the last three or four calendar years? It's merely three years for those who posted during 2006, when the main theme was that Smith needs to be reconsidered.

Here is a general point. Hilton Smith barely scored in HOM balloting and contemporary Hall of Fame pitcher Leon Day was shut out. Hall of famer Andy Cooper who pitched about fifteen years earlier was also shut out here. Concerning Negro Leagues pitchers, those three sharp rejections by the Hall of Merit make the only differences between HOM and Cooperstown memberships. The HOM lists eight NeL pitchers; Cooperstown eleven. Consider this listing in time.

Negro Leagues pitchers by debut in high-level professional play
1900s - Rube Foster, Jose Mendez, Joe Williams
1910s - Bullet Rogan
1920s - Willie Foster, Martin Dihigo, Satchel Paige, C
1930s - Ray Brown, D, S
1940s - ( none )

full names represent HOM members (who are all in Cooperstown too)
initials C, D, S represent HOFers Cooper, Day, and Smith

The time pattern is remarkable. Given that the formal Negro Leagues flourished during the 1920s-30s-40s it may be incredible. Why did the Leagues produce only one "meritorious" pitcher during the 1930s and 1940s?
   50. Brent Posted: November 23, 2009 at 01:48 AM (#3394224)
I've posted the data for Hilton Smith from the Hall of Fame study on his Wikipedia page. Here are a few comments:

- His statistics are quite good. There are reasons (explained below) to discount his extremely low ERA statistics, but total run average presumably is accurate, and Smith's average of 3.37 ranks third among the pitchers for whom the HoF has released data (just behind Satchel Paige, 3.31, and Willie Foster, 3.36).

- The picture that emerges is a pitcher with excellent control (1.1 BB/9) who was also able to get strikeouts (5.2 K/9).

- One of the knocks on Smith has been the relative brevity of his recorded career--basically 12 seasons with Kansas City, from 1937 to '48. One thing I hadn't noticed until looking at him again, however, is that new research has moved his birthdate forward 5 years, from 1912 to 1907, which means he was 30 when he started with KC. This suggests that he may have been a mature pitcher during the largely unrecorded period from 1933-36 when he pitched in the Negro Southern League and with Bismarck (as Paige's teammate) in integrated North Dakota semipro baseball.

- Looking at the comparison of ERA to RA during the 1940s, there appear to be an implausible number of unearned runs, even taking account of the high error rates of the Negro leagues. The same pattern appears in Paige's 1940s numbers, which suggests that whoever was keeping the Monarchs' boxscores was simply missing some of the earned runs. Along with my comment on the Redding thread, this is more evidence that the HoF needs to carefully edit the data.
   51. Gary A Posted: November 23, 2009 at 04:48 PM (#3394530)
I suspect the problem with earned runs in the 1940s comes from only a few box scores giving earned runs at all (or from having only a small number of game accounts detailed enough to figure them out). So what you see in the 1940s may represent the earned runs from, say, 2-3 games a year or whatever. The ER column really should have been left blank. You can see the same problem with RBI. In the 1920s you can only pin down RBI for a few games with good play-by-play accounts (no box scores then had RBI). The HoF stats just left those numbers in, so you end up with Mule Suttles in 1925 hitting .319 with 10 home runs and 12 RBI. It's a serious mistake in presentation. Unless you're able to make a full-scale, serious effort at estimating the data, the RBI and ER columns really ought to be left blank for years the information isn't available for most games.

The only time I've seen ER to R ratios like that is in the Cuban League in the 1900s, when the league fielding percentage was under .900. The box scores did carry earned runs for every game. You'd have cases where a team scored 12 runs and the box score would say, "Earned runs--Almendares 1." In that case there's some evidence (from commentary in newspapers) that the scorer was extremely stingy about crediting hits, preferring to charge fielders with errors wherever possible. It's also possible that on top of that the scorer was additionally stingy about crediting runs as earned. In any case I tend to think that the ERAs produced by this process are more or less useless.
   52. Paul Wendt Posted: November 23, 2009 at 05:46 PM (#3394618)
In the United States about that time (1900), earned runs were still credited to the batting team for something like runs earned by hitting, in contrast to the base on balls as some kind of "battery error" --not literally a class of scored errors but a generator of unearned runs.

I'm more than six months from reading any boxscores and games stories in old newspapers. It's possible that I'm confusing 1887 with "about 1900" because during the last two years I've read a lot of game reports from both times. If it's 1887, however, it may yet be true that the approach survived in Cuba to the 1900s. (BTW, Harvard-Yale followed some scoring or presentation traditions a generation after pro baseball had revised them away.)
   53. Gary A Posted: November 23, 2009 at 06:16 PM (#3394651)
Yes, I suspect (I don't have direct proof) that runs scored by bases on balls (walking in a run, or even a runner scoring who was put on base via a walk) were considered unearned. And in Cuba "earned runs" were definitely counted, not for pitchers, but for the offense (thus, "Earned runs--Almendares 1" meant that Almendares scored one earned run).
   54. Alex King Posted: February 01, 2010 at 06:43 AM (#3451392)
I calculated WAR for Hilton Smith's MLEs (post 18), based on Chone Smith's methods.
Assuming that the league average runs/game is 4.50, I calculated Smith's pythagenpat winning percentage in each year (which is very slightly different from the wp Chris Cobb gave in the MLEs). Then I subtracted replacement level (0.420) from this winning percentage, and multiplied by innings pitched divided by 9.

Hilton Smith, WAR
1936 1.8
1937 0.9
1938 10.1
1939 6.9
1940 1.8
1941 10.8
1942 -0.9
1943 2.7
1944 -0.6
1945 3.4
1946 1.3
1947 8.4
1948 -0.4
Total 46.3

Smith may also deserve credit for 1935, when he pitched for Bismarck in North Dakota, and 1932-1935, when he pitched in the Negro Southern League. If we assume he was a league-average pitcher in those seasons (2 WAR/season), he finishes with 54.3 WAR. Either way, he's a very marginal candidate based on career totals but a strong candidate based on peak.
   55. DL from MN Posted: February 01, 2010 at 03:49 PM (#3451503)
As was noted later in the thread, the MLE's in post 18 are not based on the most up to date information (HoF data available at his Wiki page). There are large discrepancies:

1937 NAL KC 6 4 0.600 -0.4 --> corrected to 11-3 109IP, 74K/15BB, 2.56RA
1938 NAL KC 12 2 0.857 3.1 --> 8-3 87.7IP 55K/7BB 2.46RA
1939 NAL KC 8 2 0.800 1.9 --> 7-4 106IP 79K/14BB 3.14RA
1940 NAL KC 6 4 0.600 -2.8 --> 4-4 53IP 43K/9BB 5.26RA
1941 NAL KC 10 1 0.909 1.9 --> 11-1 78.3IP 38K/5BB 2.30RA
1941 TOR MX 3 5 0.375 ?
1942 NAL KC 4 3 0.571 -1.4 --> 7-3 76.3IP 45K/18BB 4.72 RA
1942 TOR MX 13 11 0.542 ?
1943 NAL KC 4 2 0.667 1.1 --> 3-1 46IP 15K/1BB 2.74RA
1944 NAL KC 2 4 0.333 -0.8 --> 3-3 37.3IP 12K/0BB 4.34RA
1945 NAL KC 5 2 0.714 1.4 --> 2-4 50.7IP 25K/5BB 4.44RA
1946 NAL KC 5 2 0.714 -0.3 --> 8-2 84.3IP 53K/13BB 2.24RA
1947 NAL KC 7 0 1.000 1.8 --> 5-2 49IP 17K/5BB 4.78RA
1948 NAL CL 1 2 0.333 -0.5 -> 2-1 20.3IP 10K/4BB, 3.98RA (with KC, not CLE)
TOTAL 74 28 0.725 5.1 ---> 71-31 0.696 812.3IP 470K/96BB, 3.37RA

Add in the missing data from 1932-1936 where he was probably league average at best to start but trending toward his strong 1936 numbers and you might have something. Those are his age 25-29 seasons. The numbers from a war-depleted Negro Leagues in 44 and 45 are pretty unimpressive. 1946 is probably his last good season. However, I'm comfortable counting those to make up for his missing 32-36 data. I would consider 1932 his first "minor league" season but his 1935-36 with ND deserve an MLE. He had been "noticed" by that point. My guess is 1935-36 is probably close to the same level he was in 1937 with the Monarchs. Satchel Paige's ND data was available in the Tye biography, my guess is the Hilton Smith numbers are available if you know where to look.
   56. Alex King Posted: February 01, 2010 at 08:54 PM (#3451924)

The large discrepancies on a seasonal basis should cancel out, as Smith's revised W-L is almost the same as his original W-L. Certainly the revisions change the shape of his career a little, but both sets of data seem to support the idea that Smith was a ~50 WAR player for his career.
   57. DL from MN Posted: February 01, 2010 at 09:34 PM (#3452004)
One thing in the data that interested me was Hilton Smith at 4-4 with a 5.26 RA and a winning record with a 4.72 RA. Some of that is due to his team being one of the best, but it suggests the run scoring environment may have been > 4.5RPG.
   58. Alex King Posted: February 01, 2010 at 09:44 PM (#3452028)
Does anyone know where I could find league averages for the Negro American League during Smith's career?
   59. Brent Posted: February 02, 2010 at 04:42 AM (#3452345)
I'm not aware of any source that gives Negro league averages for pitching statistics like RA/ERA, BB, or K after about 1928. (Several studies provide league data for some seasons in the 1920s.) The release of data from the Hall of Fame study for the 2006 special election candidates does include league averages for batting average and slugging percentage, but these apparently represent the combined averages for both leagues (NNL and NAL), not the averages for each league separately.

I'll note that of the pitchers for whom we have data from the HoF study (basically, the HoF members plus William Bell, Chet Brewer, Bill Byrd, and Cannonball Dick Redding), Smith ranks third in career RA (3.37) behind Paige (3.31) and Bill Foster (3.36). That information, along with the new information about his age (he was born in 1907 rather than 1912) have lifted his place in my rankings.
   60. Brent Posted: February 02, 2010 at 04:51 AM (#3452350)
I'll add that with respect to "peak" values, the MLEs for pitchers face the opposite problem from those for position players. I believe that Chris and Eric didn't use regression for pitchers, so most pitcher MLEs show a lot of volatility year to year that could be interpreted as a strong peak. I believe that Leroy Matlock's MLEs are an especially pronounced example of this.
   61. Alex King Posted: February 02, 2010 at 05:49 AM (#3452370)
I found Eric Chalek's estimates of runs created per game for the Negro Leagues from 1920-1948, and Gary A's posts reporting actual runs scored for the 1921 and 1928-1930 Negro Leagues.

Between 1928 and 1930, the Negro Leagues scored an average of 0.46 runs/game more than Eric's estimates predict. I assumed that this difference was constant throughout Smith's career (1937-1948), due to two opposing factors canceling out: fielding improved, following the historical trend, but quality of play dropped as many black stars moved to Mexico.

Then I calculated RA+ using these estimates of league runs scored and the Hall of Fame data; from RA+ I calculated WAR. Out of convenience, I assumed that Smith's defensive support was average throughout his career; was the Monarchs' defense especially good or bad during Smith's career?

Hilton Smith WAR, using the Hall of Fame data:

1937 8.8
1938 8.7
1939 5.2
1940 0.2
1941 10.6
1942 -1.1
1943 4.5
1944 0.9
1945 1.2
1946 5.3
1947 0.4
1948 0.4
Total 45.1

In addition Smith deserves credit for 1935-1936, when he pitched for Bismarck, and possibly 1932-1934. Chris Cobb's MLE credits Smith with 1.8 WAR for 1936 but I don't know how Chris came up with his MLE for 1936. Based on these estimates, Smith may deserve substantially more than 1.8 WAR each in 1935 and 1936.

As for regression, I understand exactly what you mean, Brent: I ran Day through the same process and he had a 10.2 WAR peak season; Matlock had a 10.4 WAR peak season. Neither had more than 50 career WAR, and they both had extremely unusual career shapes. I am working on a method to regress Smith's seasons (since Smith is a peak value candidate, it is vitally important that I accurately assess his peak); I hope to finish sometime later this week.
   62. DL from MN Posted: February 02, 2010 at 03:00 PM (#3452466)
The Monarchs were one of the better teams, I'd say their defense was major league average or better. Jackie Robinson was the SS for a couple years there.

Is this just pitching WAR? Smith could hit okay for a pitcher.
   63. Alex King Posted: February 03, 2010 at 12:51 AM (#3453042)

That WAR does not include hitting. Did the Hall of Fame pdf contain Smith's hitting stats, and do you have a link to it? Thanks.
   64. Brent Posted: February 04, 2010 at 04:55 AM (#3453777)
Smith's hitting statistics are published in Lawrence Hogan's book Shades of Glory. Here's his career line:


I'd forgotten that Eric Chalek came up with estimates of runs per game. I have a few comments:

- It's important to keep in mind that your "two opposing forces" play quite different roles. An improvement in fielding (if it indeed occurred--I'm not aware of any evidence on the point) would have affected the relationship between AVG and SLG and runs/game; fewer ROE and fewer runners advancing on errors. On the other hand, a decline in quality of play affects the translation of the Negro league statistics to MLEs. We should be able to test and verify the first force once complete league data become available. The second force will always be difficult to verify.

- I disagree with the idea that there was an increasing trend toward more player playing in Mexico throughout Smith's career. I'm working from memory here (I think Eric Chalek once put together counts of number of players by year), but my recollection is that the peak numbers came about 1940. During World War II, very few American players went to Mexico (and few Latin American players came to the United States; I assume the reason was wartime travel restrictions), but obviously quite a few players were drafted or enlisted during those years. In contrast to the majors, however, several of the biggest NeLg stars avoided the draft and played throughout the war, so I think the war had less relative impact on the NeLgs than on MLB. Finally, in 1946 Pasquel paid big money and induced many MLB and NeLg players to play in Mexico, with the players who went to Mexico receiving bans from both leagues. Although a number of important NeLg stars went to Mexico, I believe they were mostly older players. Robinson had already signed with Rickey in the fall of 1945, so talented younger players like Irvin and Doby didn't want to risk losing their chance of a major league career by going to Mexico. So overall, I don't think the loss of NeLg players to Mexico was any more severe in 1946 than it had been in 1939-42, and it may have even been a little lighter.

So my best guess would be that quality of play was relatively constant throughout the 1937-46 period, with the losses to the Dominican Republic in 1937, Mexico in 1938-42 and 1946, and to military service in 1943-45 roughly balancing out. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that quality of NeLg play was higher during the one-league era from 1932-36. Finally, by 1948 (and perhaps as early as 1947), the loss of talented younger players to organized baseball, along with the continuing ban on players who had jumped to Mexico, was starting to hurt the quality of NeLg play.

-Maybe my most important observation is that the "benchmark" we've used for quality of play comes from Chris Cobb's study of players who moved from the NeLg to MLB in the late 1940s and early 1950s (see the John Beckwith thread starting about #84, with discussion continuing on the major league equivalencies thread). Thus, if you think league quality was declining during Smith's career, what you're really saying is that relative to the benchmark league quality adjustments established by Chris Cobb, league quality should be treated as higher in the early part of Smith's career.
   65. Alex King Posted: February 04, 2010 at 06:59 AM (#3453825)
Brent--thanks for the numbers and the advice. I will try to calculate an MLE for Smith's career hitting line, and then convert that to WAR, later this week.

As for the quality of play during Smith's career, you've convinced me to agree with you; you're definitely more of an authority on this subject than I am.

Lastly, what "defensive adjustments" do you think are appropriate from 1937-1948? Eric posted a table comparing the runs scored and RC estimates for various leagues, including the 1921 NNL and 1928 NNL. Just looking at these 2 leagues, the Negro Leagues seem to be about 20-30 years behind the majors, in terms of defense--1921 corresponds to the 1890s and 1928 corresponds to the early 1900s. That would make Smith's career correspond to 1911 (in the chart), which has a difference of 0.4. Does this seem like a reasonable estimate? Thanks.
   66. Paul Wendt Posted: February 05, 2010 at 12:19 AM (#3454410)
Before winter turns to spring you may become the expert on Negro Leagues research that has been posted here. Thanks for all the cross-references. That table of team runs scored and batting runs created in various league-seasons seems new to me. It's a concise presentation of differences that must be governed mainly by errors --batters safe on errors.
   67. Alex King Posted: February 09, 2010 at 06:11 AM (#3456639)
Estimating Hilton Smith’s Hitting WAR

First, I established a league baseline to compare Smith against. Since the hitting data is provided for Smith’s entire career, I weighted each year’s league average SLG and OBP by Smith’s actual IP for that year to determine weighted league averages.

For each year’s SLG, I combined the Hall of Fame data with Gadfly’s data from his study of Monte Irvin on the Beckwith thread; I used Gadfly’s data when available (1944 and 1945) because it includes only the Negro American League and is thus more applicable to Hilton Smith than the Hall of Fame data, which combines both leagues. For BA, I followed the same logic, using HOF data between 1937 and 1943, and Gadfly’s data from 1944 to 1948. Then I determined OBP by using Eric Chalek’s estimated walk rates and the aforementioned BA data.

Thus I determined that the NeL average OBP was .319 and the NeL average SLG was .353; Smith's OBP was 0.311 and his SLG was 0.397, giving him an OBP+ of 98 and a SLG+ of 112.

Next I multiplied Smith's OBP+ and SLG+ by .87, resulting in an MLE OBP+ of 85 and an MLE SLG+ of 97. I calculated NL OBP and SLG using the process described above, allowing me to translate Smith’s OBP+ and SLG+ numbers to the NL; the resulting OBP was 0.279 and the resulting SLG was 0.362. Lastly I used Smith’s MLE wOBA and the league-average wOBA (calculated according to the 1.8*OBP + SLG approximation) to determine his runs above average (wRAA). Smith's wOBA was 0.288 and the league-average wOBA was 0.321; thus Smith was 8.2 runs below average for his career.

I determined the pitching position adjustment by sampling a couple pitchers in the NL each year and calculating the position adjustment per 600 PAs from the Pos_Adj column of Rally's WAR. These numbers should be roughly accurate, but they exhibit a lot of variation, so I may need to expand my sample size to obtain more accurate results.
Pitching Position Adjustments (estimated):
1937 50
1938 50
1939 50
1940 48
1941 48
1942 40
1943 31
1944 38
1945 35
1946 38
1947 45
1948 45

Using the same process described above for league averages, I determined that the average position adjustment for Smith's career was equivalent to 21 runs over Smith's 289 PA. I assumed a replacement level of 20 runs per 600 PA, thus giving me Smith's RAR: -8.2 + 21 + 10 = 23. The runs-to-wins converter for Smith's career was roughly 9.5, resulting in a batting WAR of 2.4

However, Smith would have accrued far more than 289 PA in the majors. Smith pitched 798 innings in the Negro Leagues between 1937 and 1948; Chris Cobb's MLEs give him 2579 IP. With the same ratio of PA to IP as in the Negro Leagues, Smith would have had 934 PA in the majors. In 934 PA, Smith would have accumulated 7.8 batting WAR.

Combining batting WAR with pitching WAR, I estimate Smith's career value at ~53 WAR. However, Smith also deserves credit for his seasons in Bismarck in 1935 and 1936; 3 wins per season is a conservative estimate, giving him a career total of 59 WAR. Among the current backloggers, that total is comparable to those of Cone, Tiant, and McCormick*, suggesting that voters may have underrated Smith. In fact, assuming that my translations are accurate, Smith deserves far more support than he has gotten; however, I am reluctant to advocate Smith's case too strongly until others have vetted my MLEs and my assumptions.

Furthermore, Smith may deserve some credit for his 1932-1934 Negro Southern League seasons. Significantly, when Smith signed with the Monroe Monarchs of the NSL, it was considered a major league due to the collapse of the East-West League. Would Smith have been signed by a major league team had any existed in 1932? However, if Smith really was a major-league quality pitcher between 1932 and 1934, why wasn't he signed by a major league team?

*I am not advocating rating players solely by career WAR; however, in the absence of regressed season totals for Smith, a career total is the only reliable way to measure his value.
   68. DL from MN Posted: February 09, 2010 at 04:14 PM (#3456827)
That is just slightly higher than my back of the envelope estimate. It looks a lot like "What if Vic Willis could hit?"

Other comps - Dizzy Trout, Ron Guidry, Babe Adams, Virgil Trucks. Smith grades out at about that level as a pitcher but the 7-8 WAR with the bat separates him from the pack.
   69. Alex King Posted: February 10, 2010 at 06:00 AM (#3457589)
Hilton Smith Regressed WAR, including hitting:

For each year of Smith's career, I combined his actual statistics with a rolling three-year average in which each year was weighted equally. Smith's actual statistics were weighted according to his Negro Leagues IP, and the three-year average was weighted by the remaining innings (Chris Cobb's MLE IP minus Smith's actual IP). Then I added Smith's hitting WAR by multiplying his batting WAR per IP by his MLE IP for that year.

Year WAR
1937 9.1
1938 9.7
1939 5.6
1940 5.7
1941 6.5
1942 2.0
1943 2.9
1944 1.2
1945 1.7
1946 4.8
1947 4.0
1948 0.5
Tot 54

Compared to Cone and Tiant:

Player Tot Peak 3_yr 5_yr 5_cons >5 >2
Smith 60* 9.7 25.3 36.6 36.6 5 11
Cone 60.2 8.7 22.3 34.6 31.5 5 11
Tiant 59.6 7.5 19.8 30.6 26.4 6 14

*Includes 3 WAR each for 1935 and 1936 when Smith pitched for Bismarck

Key: Tot is Career WAR, Peak is peak season WAR, 3_yr is best 3 years, 5_yr is best 5 years, 5_cons is best 5 consecutive years, >5 is years with more than 5 WAR, and >2 is years with more than 2 WAR
For Cone and Tiant, I adjusted strike-shortened seasons to 162 games (so their totals will not match

Smith compares very favorably to Cone in both career and peak value; both Smith and Cone appear to be slightly ahead of Tiant. Smith has a strong case to be the #3 pitcher by WAR (after Brown and Reuschel) when you factor in his reputation as a top Negro Leagues player. At this point I would rate the top 5 pitchers this way (excluding Redding as I have not yet considered his HoM case):
1. Brown
2. Reuschel
3T. Cone, Smith
5. Tiant
More work is needed to separate Cone and Smith; while using only WAR slightly favors Smith, he should be docked slightly for pitching in the pre-integration era (his numbers were translated into the segregated National League, but if baseball had been integrated, the quality of play in the NL would have been higher and consequently everyone's numbers would have been lower. Thanks to Dan Rosenheck for pointing this out on an old ballot discussion thread).
   70. DL from MN Posted: February 10, 2010 at 02:49 PM (#3457712)
> should be docked slightly for pitching in the pre-integration era

We haven't really done that with anyone else in his era.
   71. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 10, 2010 at 04:33 PM (#3457807)
We certainly haven't, and it was a mistake not to in my view. That's where the "30's bulge" comes from.
   72. DL from MN Posted: February 10, 2010 at 05:58 PM (#3457913)
I keep imagining an alternate reality where the PCL decided to go major and integrate at the same time. Imagine Jackie Robinson as a Los Angeles Angel or Hollywood Star winning over the town. We treated segregation as expansion and given the portion of public attention baseball had among sports then I'm not certain if it was the wrong decision.
   73. Paul Wendt Posted: February 10, 2010 at 08:11 PM (#3458092)
This is one of the big questions.

The bulge is more in the 1920s, I think. A remarkable number of the Negro Leagues stars were there in 1920 or soon after. (Of course, some played from about 1920 into the 1940s.) Cooperstown has honored relatively few of the 1930s debutantes and we have rejected three of them: Smith, Leon Day, and Ray Dandridge. Another is among the commonly deprecated HOMers, Willard Brown.
   74. Alex King Posted: February 11, 2010 at 05:34 AM (#3458453)
The reason we should adjust pre-integration stats downward is the same as the reason we adjust Negro League stats downward: had baseball been integrated, both blacks and whites would have faced tougher competition and thus they would have compiled less value. Dan R, what percent adjustment do you use? Also, for what years do you perform such an adjustment? Since there were relatively few black stars before 1900, I believe that we shouldn't penalize 19th-century players as much as we should for 1900-1950 guys.
   75. DL from MN Posted: February 11, 2010 at 03:08 PM (#3458565)
> had baseball been integrated, both blacks and whites would have faced tougher competition

That assumes no expansion. When baseball actually did integrate it expanded within 15 years (which is about how long it took to truly integrate). One reason baseball integrated is they saw their stadiums filling up with black fans for NgL games. At any point in the what-if of integration you have many questions to ask: When would it have integrated? How integrated would it have been? just how many players of MLB caliber were there? Do you treat each black player as if they were Jackie Robinson (no other black players) or as if they were Joe Morgan?

I'd estimate there were 100 NgL players of MLB caliber - give or take 25 - in any given year. I haven't run the numbers on that, it would be a great thought exercise.

Penalizing NgL players for a competition rise at this point is closing the barn door after the animals are out. We've already elected most of that generation using a pseudo-expansion standard. To correct that error I think we'd have to run the whole experiment over again from the beginning.

I also don't believe a whole lot of this applies to Hilton Smith in particular - he fits in more with the currently underrepresented war era.
   76. Alex King Posted: February 12, 2010 at 05:40 AM (#3459139)
"I don't believe a whole lot of this applies to Hilton Smith in particular"

You're right; this has turned into more of a general discussion about how to correct for various changes in the quality of play, and I'm going to digress even further...

By reducing pre-integration players' WAR by a constant, we "correct" the total number of wins handed out to match the wins available in a 16-team major league. But what if we imagine a graph of wins available against the eligible player pool? Starting with the 1893 12-team NL, wins available stays constant even as the player pool increases, then drops sharply in 1899 to account for the NL's contraction. In 1901, wins available doubles because of the addition of the AL. Then wins available remains constant from 1901 to 1947, even as the player pool increases. In 1947, wins available begin to drop due to integration, and continue falling until 1962, when they sharply increase due to expansion.

What if we tied the number of wins available to the population of eligible players, rather than to the number of major league teams? This would have the effect of smoothing out the wins available—player population graph. Players in the first part of the integration era (1900-1930?) would be negatively affected, since there were more wins available than you would expect given the size of the player pool, while players in the post-integration era would get a boost, because there were fewer wins than would be expected from the size of the player pool.

What do you guys think? Does this idea have any merit? DL, does this address your concerns about integration and expansion?
   77. DL from MN Posted: February 12, 2010 at 03:23 PM (#3459264)
I think that's a better approach but complicated enough that I couldn't pull it off.
   78. Paul Wendt Posted: February 12, 2010 at 07:20 PM (#3459491)
I will be skeptical about anyone's measurement of the "eligible player pool".

First things first. I don't understand the premises.
Starting with the 1893 12-team NL, wins available stays constant even as the player pool increases, then drops sharply in 1899 to account for the NL's contraction.

That is 1899/1900 contraction for the 1900 season.

Do you mean wins "available" after incorporating some adjustment for the number of games, such as straight prorating to 154? The schedule expanded from 132 in 1897 to 154 in 1898, for example.

At the Hall of Merit, wins have been "available" for black players before 1920. I don't know how to estimate the number but Grant Johnson, Rube Foster, and Pete Hill have been elected with careers centered in the 19-aughts. Mendez, Williams, Lloyd, and Santop soon followed. By implication we have recognized something less than one 8-team league but more than nothing.

Players in the first part of the integration era (1900-1930?) would be negatively affected, since there were more wins available than you would expect given the size of the player pool

That is first part of the segregation era.

Perhaps wins available for black players have been equivalent to two 8-team leagues during the 1920s, or during the mid-1920s when there were two major Negro Leagues in business.

Has anyone compiled a record of "major league" playing time apparently attributed to the black HOMers each season?
--such as six full-season and two part-season players in 1911
   79. Alex King Posted: February 13, 2010 at 07:13 AM (#3459824)
"Do you mean wins "available" after incorporating some adjustment for the number of games, such as straight prorating to 154? The schedule expanded from 132 in 1897 to 154 in 1898, for example."

Yes, I should have been more clear. Wins available would be pro-rated to 162 games--I would calculate them by simply multiplying the number of teams by 81. However, wins available also includes wins assigned to excluded Negro Leaguers. This is one of the potential problems with such a method--it would rely on an accurate estimate of the number of major league quality Negro League players in any given year.

"I will be skeptical about anyone's measurement of the 'eligible player pool.'"

I was planning to imitate David Gassko's method for estimating league quality, which he explained in the 2007 Hardball Times Annual. Gassko defined the eligible player pool as the U.S. population (whites only in the pre-integration era, and divided in half since only men play professional baseball) plus the population of any country with at least 3 pitchers from that country in the majors in that season (Gassko's method was developed to rate pitchers only; I would change that from 3 pitchers to ~5 position players).

Another potential problem with this method is that the relationship between the player pool and the number of teams is non-linear. Between 1900 and 2000, the number of teams approximately doubled, from 16 to 30, but the player pool grew at a much faster rate--the U.S. population alone increased from 76 million to 281 million.

Ultimately, there are so many potential flaws in this method that it may be better to simply give a small boost to the 1950's players, increasing each year to account for the effects of integration (and thus the decrease in "wins avaialable"). Otherwise, 1950's players are unfairly punished for having fewer major league teams than in either the pre-integration era or the expansion era.
   80. DL from MN Posted: June 23, 2010 at 05:52 PM (#3567926)
My guess is 1935-36 is probably close to the same level he was in 1937 with the Monarchs.

I had an opportunity to flip through a Negro Leagues book over the weekend (title escapes me) that had a chapter on Hilton Smith. The book was all oral history from various players. According to Smith, he didn't pitch as much in 1935 - Satchel did most of the work. Smith said he played all over the field, lots of RF especially. However in 1936 Satchel was gone and Smith was their workhorse. He mentioned going 4-0 in the top amateur tournament in 1936.

He said he didn't really know how to pitch until he got to the Monarchs but I'll bet he didn't learn instantly and his value as a "thrower" was relatively high.
   81. OCF Posted: June 25, 2010 at 12:46 AM (#3569667)
Are the rest of you having trouble finding the HoM home page with all the links to the individual player and election threads? I need that to navigate!
   82. Paul Wendt Posted: July 01, 2010 at 05:38 AM (#3575788)
Now that you mention it, yes, nor do I find "Important Links".

The chronological Hall of Merit Archives remain easy to find. That first page covers the 100 most recent threads. The last regular election cycle, virtual 2008 completed November 2007, was recently bumped to the second page.

For links to discussion of individual Negro Leagues and pre-NeL players, such as Hilton Smith, visit "The Negro Leagues homepage".

Two other subsets of the important links
: Selected 19th Century Candidates
: Selected 20th Century Candidates
   83. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 11, 2010 at 02:56 AM (#3585380)
I'll start trying to figure out what happened to the home page, sorry I haven't been around for awhile . . . please don't hesitate to email me when something like this happens . . .
   84. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: July 11, 2010 at 03:32 AM (#3585390)
OK, I've got the important links page back or an older version of it at least, moving that discussion there.
   85. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 21, 2017 at 11:35 AM (#5559522)
Hey, gang,

Please find my latest MLEs for Hilton Smith here. The MLE method is fully articulated in a link you'll find inthe first paragraph.
   86. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 06, 2017 at 06:04 PM (#5571913)
The numbers are pretty impressive for Hilton, placing him as a worthy lower quartile HOM candidate.
   87. DL from MN Posted: November 06, 2017 at 08:31 PM (#5571994)
The only worry I have is that all of the Chalek numbers have caused me to revise NgL players upward. We already have quite a few NgL players represented. That said, Smith will probably move up on my ballot.
   88. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 06, 2017 at 10:21 PM (#5572033)
Good point DL, but Smith's translations at the moment exceed Ray Brown and Willie Foster, and are about on par with Rube Foster.

It will be interesting once Doc adds in Dick Redding and others.
   89. DL from MN Posted: November 03, 2022 at 10:14 AM (#6103914)
Hilton Smith deserves a closer look. Here are his most recent MLEs year-by-year
HILTON SMITH 1932 25 NL 40 200 98 4.40 4.58 4 0.4 1 0 2.3 19 23 67 -1 7 5.9 0.6 0.4
HILTON SMITH 1933 26 NL 34 210 92 3.96 4.63 16 1.6 1 0 3.5 20 36 70 -1 7 5.5 0.6 0.4
HILTON SMITH 1934 27 NL 42 230 114 4.46 5.62 30 2.7 1 0 4.9 27 56 77 -1 9 7.2 0.7 0.5
HILTON SMITH 1935 28 NL 39 240 89 3.33 4.77 38 4.0 1 0 6.1 24 62 80 -2 8 6.6 0.7 0.4
HILTON SMITH 1936 29 NL 40 260 109 3.76 4.01 7 0.8 1 0 3.1 22 29 87 -2 10 8.4 0.8 0.5
HILTON SMITH 1937 30 NL 35 250 78 2.81 4.40 44 5.0 1 0 7.2 23 67 83 -2 9 7.6 0.8 0.5
HILTON SMITH 1938 31 NL 39 250 81 2.93 4.14 33 3.9 1 0 6.0 21 55 83 -2 10 8.0 0.8 0.5
HILTON SMITH 1939 32 NL 37 250 105 3.79 4.35 16 1.7 1 0 3.9 23 38 83 -2 9 7.5 0.8 0.5
HILTON SMITH 1940 33 NL 19 140 88 5.66 4.38 -20 -1.9 1 0 -0.6 13 -7 47 -1 5 4.3 0.4 0.3
HILTON SMITH 1941 34 NL 32 200 83 3.71 4.12 9 1.0 1 0 2.8 17 26 67 -1 7 6.1 0.6 0.4
HILTON SMITH 1942 35 NL 20 130 76 5.23 3.88 -20 -2.1 1 0 -0.9 10 -9 43 -1 4 3.4 0.4 0.3
HILTON SMITH 1943 36 NL 31 160 58 3.24 3.93 12 1.4 1 0 2.8 13 25 53 -1 4 3.4 0.4 0.3
HILTON SMITH 1944 37 NL 5 110 39 3.18 4.21 13 1.7 1 0 2.5 10 22 37 -1 3 2.7 0.3 0.2
HILTON SMITH 1945 38 NL 22 140 60 3.89 4.70 13 1.3 1 0 2.6 14 26 47 -1 4 3.3 0.3 0.2
HILTON SMITH 1946 39 NL 24 130 39 2.70 3.93 18 2.1 1 0 3.2 11 28 43 -1 4 3.5 0.4 0.3
HILTON SMITH 1947 40 NL 20 110 67 5.49 4.87 -8 -0.7 1 0 0.3 11 4 37 -1 4 3.3 0.3 0.2
HILTON SMITH 1948 41 NL 20 110 49 4.01 4.28 3 0.4 1 0 1.3 10 13 37 -1 4 3.2 0.3 0.2
   90. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 03, 2022 at 09:50 PM (#6104078)
I've always believed in Smith as a worthy member of the Hall of Merit and a rare example of Cooperstown hitting/our community missing. He was so good in his thirties (he joined the Monarchs in his age-30 season) that we shouldn't penalize him for having a poorly documented record in his twenties.

Pitchers don't have a decade like Smith's 1937-46 if they weren't really good beforehand. I see him as a lite version of Curt Schilling in a lot of ways.
   91. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2022 at 11:53 AM (#6104212)
It didn’t help the Monarchs that Smith got hurt. He remembered, “My arm went dead in 1943. I hurt it, and I played first base and outfield for two years. In ’44 I began working back into shape
   92. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2022 at 03:29 PM (#6104233)
Negro Leagues pitchers by debut in high-level professional play
1900s - Rube Foster, Jose Mendez, Joe Williams
1910s - Bullet Rogan
1920s - Willie Foster, Martin Dihigo, Satchel Paige, C
1930s - Ray Brown, D, S
1940s - ( none )

full names represent HOM members (who are all in Cooperstown too)
initials C, D, S represent HOFers Cooper, Day, and Smith

We've since added Dick Redding to the 1910s. Don Newcombe is PHoM and fits in the 1940s. Bob Gibson in the 1950s. Ferguson Jenkins and Luis Tiant for the 1960s.

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