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Monday, September 10, 2018

Most Meritorious Player: 1947 Discussion

Baseball finally begins to integrate. The Yankees beat Brooklyn in the World Series.

The NY Cubans beat the Cleveland Buckeyes soundly in the Negro World Series.

Vote for 10.

Player			SH WS		BBR WAR
Ted Williams		45.2		9.9
Ralph Kiner		29.5		8.3
Bob Elliott		29.1		6.7
Lou Boudreau		27.5		7.5
Johnny Mize		31.6		7.1
Vern Stephens		22.6		4.3
Harry Walker		24.3		6.1
Phil Rizzuto		25.5		4.1
Pee Wee Reese		26.6		6.2
Tommy Henrich		26.4		4.6
George McQuinn		24.0		4.4
Walker Cooper		23.1		5.3
Joe DiMaggio		29.1		4.8
Joe Gordon		25.3		7.0
Johnny Pesky		25.8		4.1
Willard Marshall	24.4		5.4
Stan Musial		24.9		4.6
Whitey Kurowski		26.0		5.9
Luke Appling		22.0		4.6
George Kell		23.7		4.2
Roy Cullenbine		21.2		4.3
Hank Majeski		18.1		3.4
Eddie Stanky		20.2		3.6
Earl Torgeson		18.1		3.6
Barney McCoskey		22.5		3.5
Stan Spence		24.9		3.6
Tommy Holmes		20.2		3.7
Ferris Fain		19.3		4.0
Augie Galan		19.9		4.0
Dixie Walker		23.5		3.9
Jackie Robinson		22.1		3.1
Grady Hatton		21.4		3.1

Monte Irvin		14.7		2.0
Henry Kimbro		18.8		3.9
Sam Jethroe		6.8		1.2
Minnie Minoso		13.4		1.9
Al Smith		6.2		1.1
Silvio Garcia		11.3		1.4
Luis Marquez		14.7		1.8

Larry Doby		12.7/0.1	2.2/-0.4
Hank Thompson		10.1/1.5	1.4/0.0

Pitcher			SH WS		BBR WAR
Warren Spahn		32.1		9.3
Ewell Blackwell		29.3		8.7
Hal Newhouser		24.1		6.4
Dutch Leonard		22.7		6.5
Fred Hutchinson		22.1		5.5
Ralph Branca		25.4		6.3
Eddie Lopat		21.1		5.7
Walt Masterson		21.1		5.1
Joe Dobson		19.4		4.7
Bob Feller		22.4		5.4
Larry Jansen		20.5		5.0
Johnny Sain		22.7		5.5
Harry Brecheen		17.7		5.0
Dick Fowler		18.5		4.4
Joe Haynes		17.0		4.2
Early Wynn		19.1		4.5
Red Munger		17.9		4.5
Murry Dickson		17.4		4.4

Joe Page		16.8		3.8

Bob Romby		8.1		3.3
Amos Watson		6.5		2.3
Luis Tiant		5.2		2.1
Patricio Scantlebury	6.6		2.2
Bill Byrd		7.9		2.8
Max Manning		7.2		2.7

Dan Bankhead		0.9/0.4		0.8/0.0
DL from MN Posted: September 10, 2018 at 01:16 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: September 10, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5741624)
1947 Prelim

I haven't spend a lot of time on the Negro Leaguers yet so they aren't in this prelim. NL appears to have a talent advantage over the AL this season but not much in stdevs. NGL pitching is unimpressive. AL adjustment is 0.961 and NL is 0.957.

1) Ted Williams
2) Warren Spahn
3) Ewell Blackwell
4) Ralph Kiner
5) Bob Elliott
6) Lou Boudreau
7) Johnny Mize
8) Hal Newhouser
9) Dutch Leonard
10) Vern Stephens - Dan R is giving SS much more credit than bWAR.

11-16) Harry Walker, Phil Rizzuto, Pee Wee Reese, Fred Hutchinson, Tommy Henrich, Ralph Branca
Guessing Henry Kimbro, Monte Irvin, Al Smith in the 12-20 range.
   2. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 11, 2018 at 05:16 PM (#5742442)

1) Ted Williams
2) Ralph Kiner
3) Warren Spahn
4) Johnny Mize
5) Joe DiMaggio
6) Bob Elliott
7) Lou Bodreau
8) Ewell Blackwell
9) Dutch Leonard
10) Joe Gordon
   3. DL from MN Posted: September 13, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5743558)
Al Smith is a good example of a career derailed by integration. He was one of the best hitters in the NAL at age 19. He played in the NAL again in 1948 and performed even better. Still in 1948 he signed with the Indians and they sent him to A-ball where he integrated the Eastern League and was clearly the best player on the team. Despite this the Indians kept him in Wilkes-Barre for another season. I would guess this was because the Indians' AA affiliate was in the Texas League which wouldn't integrate until 1952. In 1949 he and fellow NGL veteran Harry Simpson were clearly the best players on that team.

In 1950 he was finally promoted to the PCL, skipping over AA. He was teammates with Simpson and Minnie Minoso that year on the San Diego Padres. The Indians sent him back to the Padres in 1951 where he was the best hitter on the team despite being 7 years younger than competition.

The Indians decided he needed more minor league seasoning in 1952 sending him to integrate Indianapolis. The informal "quota" system as well as the success of the Indians may have been more of a factor since the Indians already had Doby, Avila and Simpson on the MLB roster and had traded Minoso to the White Sox that winter. The Indians would also add Luke Easter that season after he crushed AAA that spring. Top black talent was coming in faster than MLB was willing to absorb it. Smith crushed the AAA competition in 1952 hitting .288/.371/.530 and his reward was a 4th season back in AAA where he hit .332/.423/.613. This was finally enough to earn him a promotion to the Indians. Al Smith quickly became a star player helping the Indians win 111 games in 1954. He ended up playing 12 seasons and producing 20 WAR.

What would have happened if he had been a white player or in a different organization? I'm guessing he would have been in the big leagues at least 4 seasons earlier. Looking at his numbers in the NAL 1947-1948 plus his quick success in Wilkes-Barre he was ready to go straight to AAA in 1949 with a possible big league debut that season instead of in 1953.
   4. DL from MN Posted: September 13, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5743687)
From Hank Thompson's SABR bio

Immediately after the regular 1946 season, Thompson joined up with Satchel Paige to barnstorm against a team of major leaguers put together by Cleveland great Bob Feller. In Feller’s opinion, Thompson, the youngest player on the Negro League squad, was also the best.8

After the successful and lucrative tour, Thompson journeyed to Cuba to play third base for the Havana Reds in the Cuban Winter League. There he met his future wife, Maria Quesada. Hank played three winter seasons with Havana, hitting over .300 each year, leading the league in RBIs in 1947-48 and runs scored, hits, and triples in 1948-49. On the island he was known by the nickname “Ametralladora,” a Spanish word that translates to “machine gun” in English.9

Hank really hit his stride in 1947. The 21-year-old was hitting around .340 as the Monarchs’ shortstop when his contract was purchased by the St. Louis Browns in mid-July.

On Opening Day of the 1947 season, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers had crossed Major League Baseball’s color line and set National League turnstiles humming wherever he played. Almost three months later, former Newark Eagles star Larry Doby broke the American League color barrier, prompting the Browns, mired in last place and drawing more flies than fans, to try to capitalize on the novelty of Negro players. The Browns reportedly purchased the contracts of Thompson and the veteran outfielder Willard Brown, one of the biggest names in the Negro Leagues, from the Monarchs on a conditional basis for a mere $5,000. Immediately plugged into the Browns lineup, Thompson played second base and batted seventh, going hitless in four at-bats and contributing an error to a 16-2 whipping by the visiting Philadelphia Athletics.10

Despite a cool reception by the St. Louis players, Thompson performed adequately for the woeful Browns. His .256 batting average and .341 on-base average in 27 games both exceeded the team norm. Yet the Browns shipped him and Brown (who hit only .179 in 21 games) back to Kansas City in late August rather than pony up another $5,000 to retain their services.

Thompson finished his fragmented 1947 campaign hitting .344 and scoring 54 runs in 48 games for the Monarchs.
   5. DL from MN Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5743691)
Larry Doby SABR bio

With Doby’s notoriety high after the 1946 championship season, Bill Veeck, the owner of the Cleveland Indians, took notice. Veeck, who had long been eager to racially integrate the American League, hatched a plan for Doby to join Cleveland right after the 1947 All-Star break. Doby had played the first half of the season with the Eagles, and he had hit a home run in his final Newark at-bat. The Cleveland team quietly purchased Doby’s contract and brought him to Cleveland. A scoop by local writer Bob Whiting forced the team to move up Doby’s first game from July 10, which was the original intention, to July 5.37

Teammates, however, did not immediately welcome Doby, averting their eyes and not speaking to him as he made his entry to the clubhouse at Comiskey Park to meet with player-manager Lou Boudreau.38 “Shrug it off,” Boudreau reportedly said.39 Still, Doby in 2002 recalled, “I knew it was segregated times, but I had never seen anything like that in athletics. I was embarrassed. It was tough.” As Bill White later noted, Doby had to go to the Chicago clubhouse to get a first baseman’s glove since none of his Cleveland teammates offered him one.40

Pinch-hitting for Bryan Stephens against Earl Harrist of the White Sox, Doby struck out in his first major-league at-bat. On July 6, in the second game of that day’s doubleheader, Doby made his only start of the season at first base. He got his first major-league hit, a single off Orval Grove in the third inning that also gave him his first RBI.41 During that difficult first season, Doby batted only .156 in 29 games with two RBIs. “It was 11 weeks between the time Jackie Robinson and I came into the majors. I can’t see how things were any different for me than they were for him,” Doby said.42

He had to wait until the start of the 1948 season to win a starting job in Cleveland’s outfield.
   6. DL from MN Posted: September 13, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5743699)
Dan Bankhead SABR bio

With Linda and Lulu in tow [11], Bankhead returned to Puerto Rico in the winter of 1946-47. Pitching for the Caguas Criollos, he went 12-8 and led the league with 179 strikeouts. He also showed his speed on the basepaths with 12 steals.

Back with Memphis in 1947, Dan had the pleasure of playing with his brother Fred. That year was the first time that any of the Bankhead men were teammates; Garnett also appeared briefly with the Red Sox in ’47, possibly after Dan left. On July 27, Dan again got the win in the East-West All-Star Game, allowing one run in three innings at Comiskey Park. The West won, 5-2, before a crowd of 48,112.

Dodgers scouts George Sisler and Wid Matthews were aware, and they alerted their boss, Branch Rickey. Brooklyn was short on pitching -- ironically, they had unloaded starter Kirby Higbe because he refused to play with Jackie Robinson -- so Rickey again turned to the Negro Leagues. On August 22, Rickey biographer Lee Lowenfish wrote, “he and Sisler then traveled to Memphis to observe Dan Bankhead. . . . After the game [in which Dan struck out 11 and lifted his record to 11-5 {12}], Bankhead and his wife fed the visitors dinner, and soon thereafter Rickey announced that the pitcher had been purchased from Blue Sox [sic] owner J.B. Martin for $15,000.” [13]

Rickey would have preferred to test his new pitcher in the minors first, but he needed a live arm more. The 27-year-old rookie’s debut came at Ebbets Field on August 26. One news story estimated that black fans made up roughly a third of that day’s crowd of 24,069. A very nervous Bankhead entered in the second inning in relief of Hal Gregg.

“[His] first pitch to Pirates outfielder Wally Westlake came inside too far. As Westlake remembers it 60 years later, the pitch bore in hard, as Bankhead’s high-octane fastballs tended to do, and then struck Westlake around the left elbow.

‘I couldn't get away from it,’ Westlake said. ‘He just about took my left arm off.’” [17]

The undercurrent was whether the drilling might provoke a race-based fight. Fortunately, Westlake simply took his base. Dan went on to allow eight runs (six earned) on 10 hits in his 3 1/3 innings of work that day. In one of his well-honed turns of phrase, sportswriter Red Smith wrote, “(T)he Pirates launched Bankhead by breaking a Louisville Slugger over his prow.” [18] However, Dan also homered off Pittsburgh’s Fritz Ostermueller in his first major-league at-bat.

After the game, Bankhead told pioneer black sportswriter Sam Lacy, “I think I’ll be okay as soon as this newness wears off. Today it seemed like I was wearing a new glove, new shoes, new hat, everything seemed tight.” [19]

Dodgers manager Burt Shotton mixed praise (“speed, a good curve, and control”) and criticism (“the boys were calling all his pitches”) in his post-game remarks. He said he “wanted another look before I form an opinion one way or another.” [20] Bankhead pitched just three times more over the remainder of the season, though, with no decisions and a 7.20 ERA in 10 innings overall.
   7. Qufini Posted: September 16, 2018 at 05:02 PM (#5745121)
   8. DL from MN Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:08 AM (#5747295)
1947 World Series
Player Name  G  AB  R  H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  BA  OBP  SLG  OPS  SB  CS  E
Joe DiMaggio 7 26 4 6 0 0 2 5 6 2 .231 .375 .462 .837 0 0 0
Tommy Henrich 7 31 2 10 2 0 1 5 2 3 .323 .364 .484 .848 0 0 0
George McQuinn 7 23 3 3 0 0 0 1 5 8 .130 .286 .130 .416 0 0 1
Phil Rizzuto 7 26 3 8 1 0 0 2 4 0 .308 .400 .346 .746 2 1 0

Pee Wee Reese 7 23 5 7 1 0 0 4 6 3 .304 .448 .348 .796 3 2 1
Jackie Robinson 7 27 3 7 2 0 0 3 2 4 .259 .310 .333 .644 2 0 0
Eddie Stanky 7 25 4 6 1 0 0 2 3 2 .240 .321 .280 .601 0 1 1

Pitcher Name  G  GS  ERA  W  L  SV  CG  IP  H  R  ER  BB  SO  WHIP
Joe Page 4 0 4.15 1 1 1 0 13.0 12 6 6 2 7 1.077

Ralph Branca 3 1 8.64 1 1 0 0 8.1 12 8 8 5 8 2.04
   9. DL from MN Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5747303)
From Ted Williams' wiki page

Williams also won the Triple Crown in 1947, but lost the MVP award to Joe DiMaggio, with 201 votes compared to DiMaggio's 202 votes. One writer (whom Williams thought was Mel Webb, who Williams called a "grouchy old guy",[92] although the identity of the writer remains unknown) completely left Williams off his ballot, who would have tied DiMaggio or won if one writer who had voted Williams as second had voted him first.[93]
   10. MrC. Posted: September 20, 2018 at 01:54 PM (#5748175)
1947 Prelim
1. Ted Williams 10.06 WARR
2. Warren Spahn 7.75 WARR
3. Lou Boudreau 7.60 WARR
4. Ralph Kiner 7.58 WARR
5. Ewell Blackwell 7.21 WARR
6. Harry walker 6.43 WARR
7. Joe Gordon 6.18 WARR
8. Johnny Mize 6.14 WARR
9. Bob Elliott 6.04 WARR
10. Hal Newhouser 5.78 WARR

Rest of the top 15
Willard Marshall
Ralph Branca
Pee Wee Reese
Eddie Lopat
Tommy Heinrich

   11. DL from MN Posted: September 24, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5750870)
Sam Jethroe is another player who wasn't treated kindly by integration. He was an established NGL star by 1947 but already 30 years old. In 1948 the Dodgers purchased his contract. He went to Montreal and hit .322/.385/.473. That wasn't quite as good as Gionfriddo for the same team but should have been good enough to earn a promotion. Too bad the Dodgers outfield was loaded with Snider, Furillo and Gene Hermanski. He was sent back in 1949 to Montreal and hit .326/.403/.520 in one of his best seasons. In 1950 he was traded to the Boston Braves and won the RoY award at age 33.

Tommy Henrich hit .308/.391/.554 in 1947. Jethroe's MLE is .318/.380/.493

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