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Negro Leagues Newsbeat

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Shohei Ohtani’s double-duty feats are a reminder: The Negro Leagues are still overlooked

In the Linden Hill section of Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago rests a headstone etched with the figure of a pitcher throwing a baseball to the figure of a catcher. The honored deceased is Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe: born July 7, 1902, died Aug. 11, 2005.

His parents didn’t nickname him Double Duty. New York baseball columnist Damon Runyon did. Why?

During a 1932 doubleheader that pitted Radcliffe’s Pittsburgh Crawfords against the New York Black Yankees at Yankee Stadium, Runyon witnessed Radcliffe hit a grand slam and catch Satchel Paige’s shutout in the twi-night opener, only to turn around and throw a shutout of his own in the second game. ...

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 21, 2021 at 09:28 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Saturday, June 19, 2021

The story of honoring Negro League history and a search for buried treasure

Months earlier, Ray listened to Rob Neyer interview Scott Simkus, an author and researcher for Seamheads.com, a site where a small group of hobbyists came together to try to pull off the impossible: find every existing Negro League box score from the top leagues. The result of their work means there are no longer thousands of missing box scores, but hundreds.

On the podcast, Simkus told Neyer they were certain there were missing games in places like Memphis; Zanesville, Ohio; and Erie. The missing puzzle pieces are mostly, now, in towns and cities where Negro League teams played during their lengthy tours. Seamheads was looking for volunteers willing to visit the libraries in these places and search the newspaper archives.

Erie? That’s not too far away, Ray thought. He reached out to Simkus.

Ray, a history buff and member of the Society for American Baseball Research, knew Major League Baseball had elevated the best Negro Leagues to major-league status in December. Any box score Ray could unearth would eventually be included in official MLB statistics.

His work would help fill out the historical record at Baseball Reference, the preeminent statistical database, and one of his favorite online research tools. On Tuesday, Baseball Reference unveiled its new Negro League data with major-league status, data it licensed from Seamheads.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 19, 2021 at 06:06 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Baseball Reference Adds Negro Leagues Statistics, Rewriting Its Record Book

On Monday, Baseball Reference, the go-to source on the internet for such matters, would have told you that Stan Musial led the major leagues with a .357 batting average in 1943. It also would have said numerous pitchers took a turn leading the majors in strikeouts per nine innings between 1927 and 1945, and that the top three batters in career adjusted on-base-plus-slugging percentage were Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Barry Bonds.

A day later, all of that looks much different. Now, Tetelo Vargas of the New York Cubans (.471) and Josh Gibson of the Homestead Grays (.466) have both surpassed Musial in 1943. Satchel Paige, a dominant pitcher for more than 20 seasons, has taken over eight of those strikeout titles. And Oscar Charleston, perhaps the finest all-around player in Negro leagues history, has bumped Bonds for the third-best career mark in adjusted O.P.S.

“A lot of new books on baseball trivia will be coming out in the next few years,” Sean Forman, the founder and president of Sports Reference, joked on a video call ahead of his baseball site’s announcement on Tuesday that it had drastically changed and expanded its accounting of the Negro leagues. The move comes ahead of Major League Baseball’s own plans to incorporate the statistics into its historical record, which could happen in the next off-season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2021 at 04:51 PM | 182 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball reference, negro leagues

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

‘A magical place’: Hinchliffe Stadium, former Negro Leagues ballpark, being restored to its former glory

It’s a dilapidated, decaying stadium, overrun with weeds and graffiti, after years of neglect in Paterson, New Jersey.

Now, after lying vacant for 24 years, Hinchliffe Stadium is coming back to life.

Government officials, architects and baseball historians will gather at an emotional groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday to restore the 89-year-old stadium and a return of pride and dignity.

The stadium will resurrect memories of the old Negro Leagues where the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans played. This is the site of the 1933 Negro League World Series called the Colored Championship of the Nation. It was where Paterson Eastside and Paterson Central High Schools played in the annual Thanksgiving Day game.

And is it the home of Paterson hero Larry Doby.

This is where Doby was discovered in a Negro League tryout with the Newark Eagles. He was the first player to go directly from the Negro Leagues to the Major Leagues on July 5, 1947, breaking the American League color barrier with Cleveland, just 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson integrated baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was inducted in 1998 into the Hall of Fame.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 13, 2021 at 01:08 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues, stadiums

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Negro League Stars That MLB Kept Out — And Is Finally Recognizing

Let’s start with pitchers. Tall right-hander Satchel Paige is probably the most famous Negro Leagues player of all time, and with good reason: According to Seamheads, he was their all-time leader in pitching WAR with 39.3 in his career — or an average of 7.1 over a 162-game season.4 Paige was a true strikeout artist, whiffing 8.5 batters for every nine innings he pitched, easily making him the best of his era in that regard. He also had the best fielding-independent pitching (FIP) mark of any Negro League pitcher, which is why he compares well to the great Pedro Martínez and to Corey Kluber, Chris Sale and Jacob deGrom (among active pitchers).

On a per-game basis, however, there were some other pitchers who were close to (or even better than) Paige’s 7.1 WAR per 162 games. In fact, José Leblanc’s 7.8 rated higher, though he didn’t pitch as long — he died tragically after an on-field fight in 1922. Among more tenured Negro League pitchers, Ray Brown’s 6.8 WAR per 162 challenged Paige as well. Brown won 122 games in 14 seasons, best in the Negro Leagues, establishing himself as ace of the storied Homestead Grays … and as a talented outfielder, too, on days between starts.

On the batting side, the Negro Leagues’ most valuable position player was the brilliant Oscar Charleston — 48.9 total WAR — a blazing-fast outfielder who was also one of the greatest ever when it came to hitting for both average and power. Among current players, Charleston’s two most similar comparables are Mike Trout and Ronald Acuña Jr., while his most similar fellow Hall of Famer is Tris Speaker. His addition to the official ranks of MLB players instantly makes Charleston one of the greatest major leaguers ever to play the game — not that he needed the affirmation to cement his status as a legend.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 25, 2021 at 09:43 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The All-Time Negro League All Star team

First Base: Walter ‘Buck’ Leonard is our starting first baseman. A teammate of Josh Gibson, Leonard is another player who hit for power and average. He regularly posted .350+ batting averages, leading the Negro Leagues in 1948 with a .395 mark, and often finished second in home runs behind Gibson.

Second Base: at second base, we place utility man Martin Dihigo. The pitcher / outfielder / second baseman hailed from Cuba, and was another player in the Cool Papa Bell-mold of disruptive lightning quick on the bases.

Third Base: Ray Dandridge is our starting third baseman. A born shortstop, Dandridge played at the hot corner for most of his career since his teammate Hall of Famer Willie Wells manned up-the-middle. Dandridge was an exceptional fielder, with a strong bat.

Shortstop: Few shortstops can claim to play a decent middle infield into their mid-40s, but John Henry Lloyd is one such player. As a 45-year-old in 1945, Lloyd batted .370, and followed up by hitting .369 the following season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 10, 2021 at 06:12 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hardball Talk: Harrison Ford to play Branch Rickey in Jackie Robinson biopic

According to Spencer Fordin of MLB.com, Legendary Pictures announced yesterday that Harrison Ford will play Hall of Fame Dodgers’ executive Branch Rickey in a biopic about Jackie Robinson.

Many prominent actors have been mentioned for the role of Rickey over the years, including Robert Redford this past April, but Ford was apparently their top choice. His work in “Cowboys and Aliens” probably put him over the top.

As for Robinson, he’ll be played by the relatively unknown Chadwick Boseman. The 27-year-old has appeared in television shows such as “Lincoln Heights” and NBC’s “Persons Unknown.”

The film, which is appropriated titled “42,” is being written and directed by Brian Helgeland of “L.A. Confidential” and “Mystic River” renown.

Shia LaBeouf will play Branch Rickey’s son who takes over the movie for no reason.

Tripon Posted: December 10, 2011 at 08:41 PM | 110 comment(s)
  Beats: business, dodgers, history, media, mets, negro leagues, special topics, television, yankees

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Media Res: Mediating Baseball

In Media Res is a weekly online publication about different roles media play in culture; they take up a different theme each week—this week is Mediating Baseball!

Mediating Baseball [October 24-28, 2011]

Monday October 24, 2011 – Elizabeth Rawitsch (University of East Anglia) presents: Melting Pot or Multiculturalism? Mediating Ethnicity in Baseball

Tuesday October 25, 2011 –  Pellom McDaniels III (University of Missouri-Kansas City) presents: “I is Unruffable”: Rereading African American Sports Performances as Unique Expressions of Dissent

Wednesday October 26, 2011 –  Annie Dell’Aria (City University of New York) presents: Tagging Fans, Tweeting Beards: Major League Baseball, social media, and the body

Thursday October 27, 2011 – Nicholas David Bowman (West Virginia University) presents: Major League Brouhaha: Boosting ratings with bad blood?

Friday October 28, 2011 – Jeremy Groskopf (Georgia State University) presents: “I Found Kong”: Naturalizing the National in Baseball Fiction

formerly dp Posted: October 26, 2011 at 12:59 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: media, negro leagues, online

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

TRACER: Bill Veeck’s Satchel Paige vs Joe Dimaggio anecdote

Bill Veeck was known for telling some wonderful tales and so I decided to see if one of his tales was actually true.

Joe Dimaggio had trouble hitting Satchel Paige, partly-I suppose-because Satch made him wait. Satch once committed the ultimate insult of walking a man deliberately to get at Joe, and then getting Joe to pop out. It was DiMaggio’s temperament to be a solid professional, to show no emotion, but you knew that Joe burned inwardly at the gratuitous slap and was hurting to get back at Satch. And so Satch would fiddle around on the mound until he saw he had Joe anxious, then he’d give him the three loop-de-loop windups and have Joe ready to catch the ball in his teeth and spit it out by the time it got the plate. Page 238 Hustler’s Handbook Ivan R. Dee edition

So did Paige ever IBB walk a player to get to Joe and how did Joe do against Paige?

Paige shows up in the major leagues in 1948 and plays for Veeck’s Indians until 1949. He then shows up with Veeck’s Browns in 1951 which is also Joe’s last season. So we have three seasons in which Paige was in the AL and Dimaggio was playing.

In 1948 Paige faces the Yankees 5 times for a total of 7.2 innings. Fortunately we have PBP for all 5 of those games. So did it happen in 1948? Nope. Paige faced Dimaggio twice and got him to fly out and strike out (though Joe did reach base on that strikeout) . The strikeout was to lead off the inning and the flyout did not happen after a walk. In fact he didn’t walk anybody in that game and he only walked one Yankee and that was in a game in which he didn’t face Dimaggio.

In 1949 Paige faced the Yankees 4 times for a total of 9 and a third innings. That year, according to Retrosheet, Paige had no IBB against the Yankees but he did have 3 walks against them. So perhaps one of those was of the unintentional intentional variety. Well, in Satch’s only start against the Yankees Dimaggio did not play and that was the game in which Paige gave up his 3 walks. So we definitely know it didn’t happen this year. Joe was 0-3 against Paige this year with a pop out, fly out, and a strike out. One of the outs had Joe as the leadoff hitter of the inning while the other two outs came after a double play and a flyout.

So all we have left is 1951 and in that year Paige faces the Yankees 3 times for a total of 14 and a third innings. Unfortunately Retrosheet has only PBP for two of the three games against the Yankees that year. Paige does give up 7 walks to the Yankees this year though none of them are recorded as IBB. Perhaps some of them were since it appears Retrosheet has none of his walks recorded as IBB for that year. In Paige’s first start he gives up 5 walks but Dimaggio did not play that day. In their final matchup of the season Dimaggio faces him once and hits into a fielder’s choice. So that just leaves us with the one game in which we only have the boxscore. In that game Paige pitches 4.1 innings and gives up one walk. Unfortunately the other two Browns’ pitchers give up 4 walks so there are a ton of walks to go around. Woodling batted in front of Dimaggio and he did draw a walk. I believe Paige faced him Joe 2 times in that game. So we’ll have to go to the newspapers to find out and the newspapers reveai that Woodling was walked by Pillette in the 4th and not by Paige. Paige walked Joe Collins who subbed for Johnny Mize in the 6th spot while Joe Dimaggio was in the 4th spot. Dimaggio goes 0-2 against Paige in that game and might have struck him out once or twice.

So Joe never faced Paige during the regular season after somebody else had been walked, intentionally or otherwise. Perhaps it happened during spring training. The Yankees held their Spring Training in St. Pete’s during this era except for 1951 when they played in Phoenix. The Indians after WWII moved out to Arizona so it is unlikely that Paige and Dimaggio faced each other when Paige was an Indian. The Browns it appears held their spring training in Burbank, CA in 1951. So it doesn’t appear that his could have happened during spring training.

I’m not sure if they still had exhibition games in the late 40’s and early 50’s or if Veeck heard about some barnstorming game from the 30’s but it appears this part of the story is false.

But on the other hand Dimaggio was 0-8 against Paige so Bill Veeck was very much correct in saying Joe wasn’t very good against Paige.

McCoy Posted: September 28, 2011 at 07:40 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, cardinals, hall of fame, history, indians, negro leagues, orioles, yankees

 

 

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