Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Hall of Merit > Discussion
Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Most Meritorious Player: 1901 Discussion

Most Meritorious Player: 1901 Discussion

Going back to the first season of the American League because next year is the pre-integration committee vote.

No World Series yet so no postseason consideration. I could use help locating Negro Leaguers to consider. 1901 was really sketchy for Negro League statistics and even consistent barnstorming teams. The Cuban X Giants and Chicago Union Giants were active. I believe Frank Grant, Charlie Grant, Grant Johnson and Rube Foster are from this era.

Comments on league strength are welcomed.

Player			SH WS		BBR WAR
Napoleon Lajoie		41.4		8.4
Honus Wagner		36.0		7.1
Elmer Flick		30.4		6.6
Jimmy Collins		27.3		6.7
Jimmy Scheckard		33.0		6.4
Jesse Burkett		37.5		7.1
Ed Delahanty		32.4		6.6
Bobby Wallace		26.1		7.7
Jimmy Williams		21.5		4.1
Kid Elberfeld		22.7		3.8
Fred Clarke		28.0		5.0		
Topsy Hartsell		27.6		5.6
Buck Freeman		22.5		4.8
Tom Daly		24.8		3.8
John McGraw		15.3		3.7
Lave Cross		18.2		3.6
Fred Hartman		19.2		3.8
John Anderson		19.7		4.4
Jake Beckley		18.1		3.9
George Davis		21.7		4.8
Bill Dahlen		18.0		3.6
Mike Donlin		20.6		4.3
Bill Bradley		19.2		3.2
Sam Crawford		23.5		4.8
Dummy Hoy		25.6		4.3
Emmet Heidrick		23.4		4.4
Ginger Beaumont		25.1		3.6
Roy Thomas		23.5		3.9
Tommy Leach		17.2		3.0
Jimmy Barrett		22.6		2.7
Socks Seybold		20.5		3.4
Freddy Parent		20.4		5.1
Fielder Jones		22.9		3.8
Chick Stahl		22.7		4.3
Bill Kiester		18.1		1.6
Heine Peitz		11.0		2.6
Boileryard Clarke	11.8		2.3

Cy Young		42.0		12.6
Christy Mathewson	23.7		9.0
Noodles Hahn		26.0		7.5
Clark Griffith		26.6		7.2
Vic Willis		32.4		8.7
Roscoe Miller		27.7		7.0
Al Orth			28.1		7.4
Kid Nichols		30.8		7.1
Nixey Callahan		22.3		5.9
Joe McGinnity		28.0		7.2
Bill Dinneen		26.4		6.1
Jack Chesbro		23.6		5.6
Bill Donovan		25.7		5.7
Eddie Plank		20.0		5.0
Joe Yeager		20.1		5.0
Deacon Phillipe		25.2		5.1
Jesse Tannehill		22.3		5.0		
Earl Moore		16.5		4.4
Red Donahue		25.4		5.5
Ed Siever		20.6		3.6


DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2014 at 02:54 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4857855)
Pete Hill was also active in 1901, though he was 19 years old
   2. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4857877)
Frank Grant was 33 (or 36) in 1901 and was a regular on top teams until 1903. Rube Foster was 22 but didn't make a top team until 1902. Bill Monroe 24 and playing SS for the Cuban X Giants. Walter Ball was playing in North Dakota. Pat Dougherty was pitching somewhere. Home Run Johnson was 29 and playing for the Columbia Giants.
   3. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4857916)
Sol White was 33 in 1901.
   4. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4857925)
I guess tentatively I'd slot Johnson at the top of the heap since he should be in his peak seasons. Then Bill Monroe or Frank Grant. I don't think it is a stretch to think they were both better than Jimmy Williams in 1901.

In general I have Home Run Johnson as a better player than Bobby Wallace but I have to acknowledge that this is Wallace's best season which makes it hard to project Johnson as better.

   5. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4857942)
1901 prelim - no league strength yet

1) Napoleon Lajoie - AL
2) Cy Young - AL
3) Honus Wagner - NL
4) Elmer Flick - NL
5) Christy Mathewson - NL
6) Jimmy Collins - AL
7) Jimmy Scheckard - NL
8) Jesse Burkett - NL
9) Ed Delahanty - NL
10) Bobby Wallace - NL

11) Grant "Home Run" Johnson
12) Noodles Hahn - NL
13) Jimmy Williams - AL
14) Bill Monroe
15) Frank Grant

Clark Griffith (AL) and Vic Willis (NL) are my next pitchers and they're probably better than Rube Foster in 1901.
   6. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4857974)
16-20) Kid Elberfeld, Fred Clarke, Topsy Hartsell, Buck Freeman, Clark Griffith
21-25) Tom Daly, Vic Willis, Roscoe Miller, John McGraw, Al Orth, John Anderson
   7. Qufini Posted: December 09, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4858102)
I could use help locating Negro Leaguers to consider. 1901 was really sketchy for Negro League statistics and even consistent barnstorming teams. The Cuban X Giants and Chicago Union Giants were active. I believe Frank Grant, Charlie Grant, Grant Johnson and Rube Foster are from this era.

1901 was really sketchy for the Negro Leagues in general. There were only 4 or 5 top barnstorming teams so there wasn't a lot of competition. Seamheads basically skipped over 1901- though I hope they'll eventually go back and fill it in.

In the east, you had the Cuban X Giants and the (original) Genuine Cuban Giants. The Cuban X squad was clearly superior. They had two of the top players in Bill Monroe and Frank Grant. The two of them made up the double-play combo though I've seen conflicting reports as to who played SS and who played 2B. Considering that Grant played SS and Monroe 1B for the 1903 Philadelphia Giants, I think it's more likely that Grant played SS in '01 at the ripe old age of 36 and Monroe played 2B. However, at 23, Monroe was clearly better with the bat. His average OPS+ over his surrounding seasons was 174 (small sample size warning applies all around). Grant's surrounding seasons average 103. Grant was still considered the best position player in the east but that may have had more to do with leadership and seniority than superior defense.

In the west, the two Chicago teams merged as the Chicago Union Giants. It made them a better team but left them with even less competition than in the east. They were also built upon a classic double play combo with Grant Johnson and Charlie Grant. Johnson was 28 and played SS (he turned 29 at the end of the season). He also hit well- his four surrounding seasons average to 150 OPS+. C. Grant was 23 and played 2B. He was more of a glove-first player at this point in his career- his surrounding seasons come out to a 59 OPS+. This is also the season in which Grant nearly broke the color barrier as McGraw tried to sneak him onto the roster as a Native American.

There was also a significant barnstorming team in the south, the Norfolk Red Stockings, though I don't know if they had any major players on the roster (Peterson's "Only the Ball was White").

For pitchers, you already discovered that Rube Foster didn't play on a major team until 1902 so he's out for this season. However, there was at least one pitching star before Foster. Harry Buckner was a HoVG level pitcher who was in the prime of his career at 28 years old. He was the ace for the Chicago Union Giants though we only have one recorded game for each of 1900 and 1902 (and none for 1901). On the bright side, he threw a complete game shutout in '00 and only gave up two runs in another complete game in '02.

One other player to consider is Chappie Johnson. He was the catcher for the Chicago Unions and was in the midst of a stellar peak. His average OPS+ over the 4 surrounding seasons was 170- second only to Bill Monroe. He would have been 24 in 1901, though he fell off a cliff as a hitter at the age of 28.
   8. DL from MN Posted: December 10, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4858958)
Clark Griffith and Fred Clarke both managed their teams to a pennant in addition to playing. Not sure if that should get them extra credit.

Lajoie hit .426/.463/.643
   9. OCF Posted: December 10, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4859248)
League strength is a serious issue. This was the very first year of the AL - or at least the first year that it claimed to be a major league - and its recruiting hadn't reached maturity yet. I'd be inclined to apply a sizable discount to both Young and Lajoie, and that might well be enough to move Wagner into the top spot. In fact, Young, all by himself, can serve as a measuring stick, considering the contrast between his 1901 season and his 1899 and 1900 seasons.
   10. DL from MN Posted: December 10, 2014 at 11:16 PM (#4859342)
Any expansion is going to dilute the talent pool as well. 1900-1901 doubled the number of major league teams.

"When the Opening Day rosters were set for 1901, nearly two-thirds of all American Leaguers were NL veterans."

The NL was probably still better but both leagues were weakened.
   11. Morty Causa Posted: December 10, 2014 at 11:33 PM (#4859358)
Not only that, but there were minor league players just as good as major leaguers. You couldn't depend on a natural progression as you can now. Some very good players preferred playing on a team in a league close to home. For one thing it made it easier to have a second job and a family. The NL had so adulterated fan goodwill (Bill James called baseball in the 1890s criminal) and watered down its product in the 1890s (12 teams until after 1899 season), that the AL fairly easily gained major league status, then ascendancy.
   12. OCF Posted: December 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4859803)
"When the Opening Day rosters were set for 1901, nearly two-thirds of all American Leaguers were NL veterans."

At least some of them (Dummy Hoy comes to mind) had lost their roster positions in the 1899-1900 contraction. Whereas some of the stars (like Cy Young and Jesse Burkett) were available to the AL because of the general disgust about how they'd been shipped around by the corrupt syndicate ownership in the AL.

I just had to check on something - Kid Nichols. I see he was still in the majors in 1901, and is listed in the header to this thread. His detour as a minor league star and gate attraction happened in 1902-1903.
   13. jdennis Posted: December 11, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4860264)
I don't have the document available, but I'm pretty sure I had Young in the AL and Flick in the NL. Young obviously took the best pitcher title by a huge margin. I'm pretty sure it was enough for him to win overall best player from me, because Flick's win wasn't a huge number. I wonder if this was just before Wagner became a really good fielding shortstop, maybe that's why he didn't win in mine.
   14. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 11, 2014 at 09:30 PM (#4860291)
I wonder if this was just before Wagner became a really good fielding shortstop, maybe that's why he didn't win in mine.

This. On the 1901 Pirates BB-Ref page, Wagner isn't listed as a starter for the Pirates because even though he played in every game that season, he didn't lead the Pirates in games played at any single position.
   15. toratoratora Posted: December 11, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4860299)
1901 was the first year Wagner played shortstop the majority of the time. He played 61 at SS, 54 in the OF, and 24 at 3b. Strangely enough, in 1902, he reversed course, playing 44 at shortstop and 61 in the OF.
It was only in 1903 that the best SS in MLB history really took over SS, at the tender young age of 29, hitting triple digits (111) games played there. The next time he played less than 100 at shortstop he was 42, and then the slacker only played 92.
Wagner was a crazysauce player, pretty much unique in history
   16. bjhanke Posted: December 13, 2014 at 03:16 AM (#4861040)
Honus Wagner is reputed to not want to play shortstop. He apparently perceived of himself as an outfielder. It took his manager a few years to talk him out of that.

Also, This is going to be one weird ballot if no one has any real, serious way of comparing the league strengths. My guess is that the 1901 AL was probably about as strong as the mid-1880s AA - the AA at its best. After all, Ban Johnson had been planning this since 1893, and had the big city ballparks and the saved-up salary money to make it pay off. He was probably a couple of years ahead of the AA in acquiring talent. And he also was able to buy up a few no-doubt superstars. But, by the mid-1880s, the AA, while not long on superstars, was pretty close to the NL. My guess is that the 1901 AL was not very far behind that. The AL did win the first World Series, in 1903, although there are some asterisks regarding the Pittsburgh pitching staff that year. The odd thing is that we're supposed to rank the stars, which is the hardest part. The 1901 AL, while it did have many NL-quality players, had a lot of them at the beginnings or ends of their careers. Prime-career stars were a lot fewer, and so they are going to look absurdly dominant. Cy Young is the poster boy for this. He was great, but not THAT great in a mature major league. And then, there's my ongoing problem with thinking that WAR overrates pitchers, but that has nothing to do with 1901, except that I could get the order of pitchers wrong, because I would not be making enough adjustment for the league.

Also, everyone should be at least a little cautious about the Milwaukee Creams. They were in the AL for only this one year, moving in 1902 to St. Louis to become the Browns. But, in the process of working up Gavvy Cravath for the HoM, I happened upon a book that had dimensions for every ballpark ever used in a major league - including the Milwaukee park, because it had been used in 1901. It turns out that the dimensions of this park were EXACTLY the same as those of the Baker Bowl. There is probably not ten feet of difference in any dimension. So pitchers there are going to look horrible, and hitters are going to look overblown, and there's only one year's worth of data to deal with. - Brock Hanke
   17. lieiam Posted: December 13, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4861253)
Here's my very prelim ranking.
No discount has yet been applied to the AL.
I haven't researched top Negro League players yet in 1901.

1 a Young, Cy 9959
2 a Lajoie, Nap 9124
3 n Burkett, Jesse 7633
4 n Wagner, Honus 7503
5 n Sheckard, Jimmy 7002
6 n Delahanty, Ed 6561
7 n Flick, Elmer 6464
8 n Willis, Vic 6433
9 a Collins, Jimmy 6042
10 n Wallace, Bobby 6005

11 a Griffith, Clark 5892
12 n Orth, Al 5854
13 n Nichols, Kid 5797
14 n Hahn, Noodles 5741
15 a Miller, Roscoe 5616
   18. DL from MN Posted: December 13, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4861321)
lieiam - surprised Mathewson isn't top 15
   19. EricC Posted: December 14, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4861518)
1901 prelim. Major leagues only, for now. Thanks to Chris Fluit in #7 for providing context
for the sketchy NeL data.

1. Cy Young
2. Nap Lajoie
3. Honus Wagner
4. Jesse Burkett
5. Elmer Flick
6. Vic Willis
7. Jimmy Sheckard
8. Ed Delahanty
9. Jimmy Collins
10. Christy Mathewson

11. Roscoe Miller
12. Buck Freeman
13. Al Orth
14. Bobby Wallace
15-17. Griffith, McGinnity, Hahn
   20. lieiam Posted: December 14, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4861586)
@DL from MN:
My numbers (again, no league adjustment and only NL and AL considered so far) have Mathewson 18th.
He does really well with baseball-reference WAR (2nd best pitcher) but in the other systems I'm using he doesn't fare as well.
I expect he will move up some once I discount the AL numbers but not enough to make my ballot.
   21. MrC Posted: December 15, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4862024)
!901 All star teams

Unlike many of you who are/have participated in the Hall of Merit discussion, I have very little even name recognition of the players in these early years (with the exception of a few obvious ones of course)

Just a few random comments (some of which are very obvious and well known)

1. the % of earned runs in 1901 is significantly less than in the present: about 70% (NL) and 67% (AL) as compared to 92% today. (I'm sure the gloves have nothing to do with that :-))

2. more pitchers hit well enough to play other positions then they do today

3. pitchers complete a much higher % of their games today Duh!!!

4. far fewer home runs and strikeouts

5. One thing I discovered which I had not previously known was that the "first two foul ball for strikes rule" did not take effect until 1903 in the AL; being at least part of the reason for the high scoring in the AL in 1901.

I am sure this only scratches the surface of the differences between the two eras.

Even with these differences, I am have used the same procedure to evaluate players (with the exception of when information is not available in this era) giving me the following all star teams. Checkto see if it passes the sniff test.

NL All Star teams

C Ed McFarland neither league had a catcher with great offwnsive numbers
1B Jake Beckley
2B Tom Daly
3B Tommy Leach
SS Bobby Wallace
OF Jesse Burkett Most of the high offense players in the NL were OF (exceptions being Wallace and Wagner)
OF Elmer Flick
OF Jimmy Sheckard
SP (including hitting)
Kid Nichols very good hitter; would not be on the list with his pitching
Vic Willis
Christy Mathewson
Al Orth
Noodles Hahn and Bill Dineen would replace Nichols and Orth if hitting was ignored

AL All Stars

C Bob Wood
1B John Anderson
2B Nap Lajoie
3B Jimmy Collins
SS Freddy Parent
OF Mike Donlin
OF Chick Stahl
OF Ollie Pickering

With the exception of Lajoie and Collins, I'm not sure if there are any truly "stand out" all stars

SP (with hitting)
Cy Young
Clark Griffith Excellent hitter as well as solid pitcher
Roscoe Miller
Jimmy Callahan Excellent hitter

Eddie Plank would replace Callahan if hitting was ignored

It has been an interesting task to evaluate players that I do not know in an era so different from today.

   22. DL from MN Posted: December 15, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4862099)
Has anyone done a 1900-1901 analysis of NL-NL and NL-AL players? That should get at league strength issues. Just looking at individual players it seems clear the 1901 AL was weaker than the 1900 NL. The 1901 NL also looks weaker than the 1900 NL but the data is muddier.

Dan R's league adjustment is .915 for the AL and .91 for the NL.

NL average offense .267/.321/.348 .669 OPS
AL average offense .277/.333/.371 .704 OPS

1900 NL average offense .279/.339/.366 .705 OPS

   23. DL from MN Posted: December 15, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4862113)
Back to my prelim - I went through and subtracted 5% from the totals of my AL players assuming the AL was only 95% of the NL level of competition. Few stars actually end up on my ballot, plus Young and Lajoie are so far ahead that this doesn't matter. Even a 10% adjustment doesn't bring Young far enough down to be #3 and I don't think the AL was minor league caliber. All a 5% adjustment does is slide Jimmy Collins down the list one notch and a 10% adjustment bumps him down two slots. Griffith drops below Vic Willis off ballot but not any further.
   24. MrC Posted: December 15, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4862115)

Batters: start with RAA (using custom linear weights), adjust for park, position and defense (using DRA) Convert adjusted RAA to wins. Add 60% of normal Runs above replacement to get WARR (wins above reduced replacement)

Pitchers: Calculate RAA using a pitchers FIP and calculate RAA using a pitcher's RA9.

Calculate RAA, using a blend of RA9 and FIP from above, adjust for quality of opposition and park. Convert adjusted RAA to wins. Add 60% of normal runs above replacement to get WARR (wins above reduced replacement). Add Hitter WARR for overall WARR. As well, a few pitchers have fielding numbers as position players which I take into account.

1. Cy Young 9.69 WARR
2. Nap Lajoie 7.50 WARR
3. Jesse Burkett 7.19 WARR
4. Bobby Wallace 6.90 WARR
5. Elmer Flick 6.73 WARR
6. Jimmy Sheckard 6.49 WARR
7. Kid Nichols 6.27 WARR Not only a solid pitcher, but also an excellent hitter
8. Vic Willis 6.16 WARR
9. Christy Mathewson 5.85 WARR
10. Honus Wagner 5.83 WARR

Rest of the top 20
Jimmy Collins
Al Orth
Clark Griffith
Bill Dinneen
Topsy Hartsell
Ed Delahanty
Noodles Hahn
Jesse Tannehill
Fred Clarke
Roscoe Miller
   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2014 at 07:43 PM (#4862584)
1) Cy Young
2) Nap Lajoie
3) Jesse Burkett
4) Honus Wagner
5) Vic Willis
6) Jimmy Sheckard
7) Al Orth
8) Ed Delahanty
9) Kid Nichols
10) Elmer Flick
   26. DL from MN Posted: December 16, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4863008)
I like that Cy Young is going to win an MM Pitcher award because it would be awful unfair to have him win a CYA.
   27. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: December 16, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4863095)

Why would it be unfair? Bud Selig won the inaugural Bud Selig Award. :)
   28. Qufini Posted: December 18, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4864915)
1901 Prelim

1. Cy Young, P, Boston Americans: 219 ERA+ is 72 points better than second best; 371 IP is second in the AL
2. Nap Lajoie, 2B, Philadelphia Athletics: 198 OPS+ is 43 points better than second best; 158 RC is 55; the AL may have been a weaker league but Cy and Nap absolutely dominated
3. Jesse Burkett, LF, St. Louis Cardinals: 1st in OPS+ and RC with 181 and 132
4. Vic Willis, P, Boston Braves: NL-leading 154 ERA+ in 305 innings
5. Noodles Hahn, P, Cincinnati Reds: NL-leading 375 innings to go with a 119 ERA+
6. Christy Mathewson, P, New York Giants: the best combination of quality (138 ERA+) and quantity (336 IP)
7. Honus Wagner, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates: 159 OPS+ and 111 Runs Created; I think that WAR overrates supersubs like Tony Phillips and Ben Zobrist; Wagner was valuable (+4 fielding runs) but his positional adjustment is lower than if he had played SS fulltime
8. Joe McGinnity, P, Baltimore Orioles: 108 ERA+ in league-leading 382 innings
9. Ed Delahanty, LF/1B, Philadelphia Phillies: 174 OPS+ and 121 RC
10. Bill Donovan, P, Brooklyn Superbas: 121 ERA+ and 351 innings

11. Deacon Philippe, P, Pittsburgh Pirates: 148 ERA+ in 296 innings
12. Roscoe Miller, P, Detroit Tigers: 130 ERA+ in 332 innings
13. Jimmy Sheckard, LF, Brooklyn Superbas
14. Fred Clarke, LF, Pittsburgh Pirates
15. Al Orth, P, Philadelphia Phillies
16. Bobby Wallace, SS, St. Louis Cardinals
   29. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 18, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4864943)

1. Cy Young, P, Boston Americans: 219 ERA+ is 72 points better than second best; 371 IP is second in the AL
2. Nap Lajoie, 2B, Philadelphia Athletics: 198 OPS+ is 43 points better than second best; 158 RC is 55; the AL may have been a weaker league but Cy and Nap absolutely dominated

With a league adjustment for both of them, though, I think Burkett and Wagner were close. Truly great seasons, at any rate.
   30. toratoratora Posted: January 03, 2015 at 01:06 PM (#4872101)
My very rough prelim. There are not a ton of War systems out there and I need to look into some serious adjustments.

4-Lajoie-He and Honus are tied but I'm putting Wagner first for league strength.
6-Big Ed Del

BOTR, in order: Hahn, Orth, Collins, Mcginnity, Nichols
   31. DL from MN Posted: January 03, 2015 at 02:35 PM (#4872127)
How are people gauging league strength - pitcher hitting?
   32. toratoratora Posted: January 04, 2015 at 12:55 PM (#4872531)
I have some real doubts about the AL in 1901. My suspicion is that the level evened out quickly so 02 will be close and 03 will be equal. Right now I think the AL was likely around 90-95% as strong as the NL. Two of the top ten OPS+ are AL. Three of the top ten in ERA+ are AL. Nap Lajoie's season is one for the ages, Cy had a year that sticks out like a sore thumb, Hoy(Is it politically acceptable to refer to him by Dummy? Where are the nomenclature nannies on this?)took a year off and then had one of his better seasons in a decade at age 39, Buck Freeman had the season of his career, the list goes on...
   33. bjhanke Posted: January 06, 2015 at 01:42 AM (#4873979)
Mr. C - I've certainly seen worse lists than yours (the all-stars, not the ballot, which is also pretty good). You should be proud of it. A few notes: Tom Daly was a good hitter for a 2B, but a poor glove. He's actually a leftover catcher from the 1890s, who got pulled out from behind the plate because he hit too well for his team to have him missing all the games that catchers of that time did miss. Turkey Mike Donlin was a very big star at this time. Ed Delahanty should probably be on some list somewhere.

In general, 1901 is in a period that I call the "sweet spot for pitching." In the 1880s, it became clear that pitchers could not pitch whole schedules any more, but no one knew how many IP they could handle. The number seemed to keep changing, which it was, because possible workloads have steadily decreased since 1871. By the 1890s, the concept of having a pitching rotation, with multiple "starters" was in place. However, sometime in that decade, baseball people realized that the possible workload was decreasing just through time, not because of some odd rule or something. So they responded by adding pitcher after pitcher. There were 5-man rotations in MLB in the early 1900s. This resulted in pitchers handling much smaller workloads than they could actually have handled. The results were two: 1) really great fastball / change up pitchers, like Johnson, Young, and Nichols, could pitch a LOT of innings, and 2) aside from those guys, everyone threw one or more curves. The reason for all the curves, I am pretty confident, is that, while throwing curves does wear out your arm harder than fastballs or changes do, pitchers were handling light workloads, so they could afford to be curve ball specialists without destroying their arms. Pittsburgh, especially, specialized in curve ball pitchers. Their best starters - Phillippe, Leever, Willis, Tannehill - were curve ball artists, as was Babe Adams at the end of the decade. Frank Selee built the Cubs' rotation around Three-Finger Brown, who threw a truly wicked curve, because he was missing a finger. The result of this was a lot of ground balls and bunts. Jimmy Collins made, and deserved, his huge reputation by figuring out how to counter the bunts (he was the guy who invented playing 3B in front of the bag with a bunter at the plate). Still, the best hitters were the guys who could drive hard liners past the infield and to the walls for doubles and triples, like Donlin and Delahanty. - Brock
   34. OCF Posted: January 07, 2015 at 04:06 AM (#4874928)
Hoy ... took a year off and then had one of his better seasons in a decade at age 39

It wasn't really a year off. Hoy lost his NL job in the 1899-1900 contraction. Caught up in the Louisville-Pittsburgh consolidation, he had to compete with Ginger Beaumont, and Beaumont wound up with the Pirate CF job. But Hoy played baseball in 1900, and he played for the exact same team in the exact same league as he would in 1901 - except that in 1900, that league wasn't called the AL and didn't claim to be a major league. There's talk of this on Hoy's discussion thread here (I think); our statistical coverage of the 1900 Western League isn't as good as our coverage of the majors, so it's harder to determine his value.
   35. neilsen Posted: January 08, 2015 at 02:18 PM (#4876110)
Besides all the different WAR's, I look at Seamheads and Holway for Negro League info, the BJHBA, The Pride of Havana, a History of Cuban Baseball, and Ritter's " The Glory of Their Times".

1901 Prelim

1. Cy Young
2. Nap Lajoie
3. Honus Wagner
4. Jesse Burkett
5. Jimmy Shekard
6. Vic Willis
7. Elmer Flick
8. Ed Delahanty
9. Kid Nichols
10. Christy Mathewson

11. Al Orth
12. Bobby Wallace
13. Fred Clarke
14. Roscoe Miller
15. Clarke Griffith
   36. DL from MN Posted: January 08, 2015 at 03:51 PM (#4876211)
I look at Seamheads and Holway for Negro League info

If you see anything interesting please post it.
   37. Yardape Posted: January 08, 2015 at 04:21 PM (#4876255)
Prelim ballot. I have the AL at a bit of a discount, based on the comments of others and what I've read about this period. I do not have any Negro Leaguers rated for this year; there is no data on Seamheads and Holway just listed rosters for three teams (two of whom apparently shared the title). When we went through the Hall of Merit process it made sense to determine that Frank Grant or Pete Hill or whomever was ballot-worthy even with missing data; it feels a lot different to me to say that Bill Monroe was one of the 10 best players in the 1901 season with literally nothing to go on. So I have no Negro Leaguers on my ballot this year.

1. Jesse Burkett
2. Nap Lajoie
3. Cy Young

I guess my AL-penalty is slightly stronger than some other voters, since I get Burkett ahead of the two AL stars.

4. Honus Wagner
5. Jimmy Sheckard
6. Noodles Hahn - best NL pitcher
7. Bobby Wallace
8. Elmer Flick
9. Ed Delahanty
10. Ginger Beaumont

11. Christy Mathewson
12. Tom Daly
13. Claude Ritchey
14. Roy Thomas
15. Jimmy Collins
   38. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 14, 2015 at 09:22 AM (#4880572)
Right now I think the AL was likely around 90-95% as strong as the NL.

I'm going with 90% myself.
   39. TomH Posted: January 18, 2015 at 03:36 PM (#4883066)
Pete Palmer's Hidden Game of Baseball, which is ancient but still useful, has AL batters needing to subtract 40 pts off of their AVG and SLG to equal NL batters in 1901. AL batters hit 12 and 23 pts better than NL batters in AVG and SLG, so I guess that makes the typical conversion a loss of 28 pts in AVG and 17 pts in SLG. If one assumes (and there's a lot of assumin goin on here) OBA proportionate to AVG, that makes 45 pts of OPS, which would be about 15% of the run value under modern circumstances. Which the 1901 AL wasn't, and I am to lazy to back and find James' RC formulae for the early deadball era, which probably are the best to use, given how different the game was.

So, take that for what it's worth.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF


Thanks to
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.


Page rendered in 0.4762 seconds
41 querie(s) executed