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Pioneers/Executives

GM Update #10: Yankees HoMErs

We’ve been dragging our feet on working up the numbers for Yankees legends and Hall of Miller and Eric members, Ed Barrow and George Weiss. These two form one uninterrupted chain of Bronx greatness. Beginning in the 1930s, Weiss was Barrow’s farm director, and he remained in that role for Larry MacPhail’s three tumultuous seasons from 1945 to 1947. Then he took over the front office.

Check these figures out:


                                     UNDER  UNDER  ABOVE  1 WIN
NAME      YEARS         W-L     PCT. .500   .550   .600  FROM .600
------------------------------------------------------------------
Barrow    1921-1944  2281-1394 .621    1      1     16      1
MacPhail  1945-1947   265-195  .576    0      1      1      0
Weiss     1948-1960  1243-756  .622    0      1     11      1
==================================================================
TOTAL                3789-2345 .618    1      3     28      2

Right. So in 40 years, the Yanks averaged the equivalent of a 100-win team (in 162-game notation). They finished under .500 only once (1925 when Babe Ruth had a “stomach ailment”). Two of the times they went under .550 were at the nadir of wartime (1944-1945). Twenty-eight of forty years (70% of the time) they played at least .600 baseball, and two other times they came within a single win of matching that. They won about a million pennants and World Series, including one season when they finished more than two games away from .600 (1926, 91-63 .591).

So let’s have a look at how they did it.

Team Performance

  • RECORD: Won-Loss record while GM was in office
  • PCT: Winning percentage
  • vs EXP: An adaptation of the expected wins formula Bill James introduced in his managers book. Except we use pythagenpat records instead of actual records to calculate it.
  • OCT: Postseason apperances (starting in 1969).
  • OCT v EXP: Measures postseason appearances against the basic probability of any random team making it.
  • WS APP: World Series appearances
  • WS APP v EXP: Similar to OCT v EXP
  • WS WINS: Championships won
  • WS WINS v EXP: Ditto
  • MGR PYTH: This is the team’s variance against its Pythagenpat record as a measure of how much value the GM’s manager brought to the team.
TEAM PERFORMANCE
NAME RECORD PCT. VS EXP OCT OCT VS EXP WS APP WS APP VS EXP WS WINS WS WINS VS EXP MGR PYTH
BARROW 2281-1394 .621 +160 N/A N/A 14 +11 10 +8.5 +72
BAVASI 1 2386-2166 .524 +54 2 +0.2 8 +5.1 4 +2.5 +42
BROWN 1816-1625 .524 +48 5 +2.5 2 -0.2 2 +0.9 -5
CAMPANIS 1576-1280 .552 +44 6 +4.9 4 +2.5 1 +0.2 +8
CASHEN 1342-1177 .533 +27 4 +1.2 1 -0.3 1 +0.4 -1
DALTON 2175-1965 .525 +64 4 +1.4 5 +3.0 2 +0.9 +9
GILLICK 2276-1993 .533 +95 11 +5.7 3 +1.0 3 +2.1 +23
GRIFFITH 2967-2964 .500 +24 N/A N/A 3 -1.88 1 -1.44 +35
HOWSAM 1331-1049 .559 +63 5 +3.3 4 +2.8  2 +1.4 +44
MACPHAIL1 904-777 .538 +69 N/A N/A 2 +0.6 1 +0.3 +6
MACPHAIL2 1181-1036 .526 +54 0 -0.7 0 -1.4 0 -0.8 +31
QUINN 2147-2126 .502 +20 0 -0.5 3 -0.1 1 -0.5 -7
RICKEY 3265-3015 .520 +87 N/A N/A 8 +2.7 4 +1.5 +46
SCHUERHOLZ 2348-1794 .567 +140 16 +10.8 6 +3.4 2 +1.1 +69
WEISS 1503-1303 .536 +28 N/A N/A 10 +7.9 7 +5.9 +3
BAVASI 2 756-869 .465 -41 0 -2.9 0 -0.6 0 -0.3 -6
ROBINSON 683-772 .469 -6 0 -1.5 0 -0.5 0 -0.3 -5
SEGHI 883-989 .472 -11 0 -2.0 0 -0.9 0 -0.5 -4
SMITH 566-776 .422 -49 0 -2.1 0 -0.6 0 -0.3 -38

Barrow is simply amazing. His record is in many ways more impressive than the Mahatma’s, though Ed had the advantage of having Babe Ruth on board when he arrived. Then again, the same could be said for Rickey and the Rajah.

The thing about Weiss is that the expansion Mets of 1962-1966 really drag down his record. They also drag down his performance against expected wins and pythagenpat. Yet he was the person most responsible for the 1969 Mets’ World Series victory. In fact, his Mets were until the 1997 Marlins, the fastest expansion franchise to appear in and win the World Series. They were the fastest expansion team to win their division until the 2001 D’Backs. They were the fastest to reach a 100-win season until 1999’s Snakes. They are still the fastest expansion squad to have the best record in their league. Of the total 41.1 WAR the Miracle Mets created, players he brought into the system earned 72% of it. Those players included Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Cleon Jones, Buddy Harrelson, Tug McGraw, Jerry Grote, Ken Boswell, and a host of lesser contributors. By the time the Mets reached the Series again in 1973, those players of his left from the 1969 team created 51% of the team’s value above replacement. Most of it in the form of Tom Seaver and his 11 Wins.

GM Performance

Now let’s look at how the GMs themselves did at constructing competitive clubs. BASE: Talent in WAR that a GM inherited

  • GM: Talent in WAR that a GM acquired
  • CONT GOAL: The amount of talent the GM needed to acquire to field a contender, a .550 team
  • %GOAL: How close he got, a career average of the seasonal averages
  • med%GOAL: Median seasonal %GOAL
  • WS GOAL: The amount of talent the GM needed to acquire to field a typical WS entrant in his era
  • %GOAL: How close he got, a career average if the seasonal averages
  • med%GOAL: Median seasonal %GOAL
GM PERFORMANCE
NAME BASE GM CONT GOAL avg%GOAL med%GOAL WS GOAL avg%GOAL med%GOAL
BARROW 217 923 719 128% 119% 959 96% 94%
BAVASI 1 373 690 791 91% 100% 972 71% 88%
BROWN 281 552 557 97% 101% 696 76% 81%
CAMPANIS 342 407 364 128% 119% 469 87% 90%
CASHEN 255 361 370 98% 85% 462 78% 61%
DALTON 500 426 337 126% 84% 449 95% 68%
GILLICK 385 684 671 108% 107% 807 88% 91%
GRIFFITH 198 1025 1313 78% 79% 1703 60% 60%
HOWSAM 338 229 243 83% 81% 350 60% 53%
MACPHAIL1 183 193 257 69% 46% 356 46% 36%
MACPHAIL2 300 185 258 72% 69% 346 53% 57%
QUINN 222 729 824 92% 97% 1066 68% 72%
RICKEY 428 879 1132 73% 78% 1580 52% 58%
SCHUERHOLZ 487 576 539 116% 105% 667 87% 88%
WEISS 252 358 460 78% 107% 615 58% 67%
BAVASI 2 191 128 234 63% 52% 282 48% 47%
ROBINSON 124 183 260 74% 73% 315 58% 60%
SEGHI 115 239 350 63% 72% 420 53% 60%
SMITH 97 114 247 46% 55% 293 41% 47%

When we look at Barrow’s record in detail, we see that he was great at retooling on the fly. Upon taking over, he had the Babe, Wally Pipp, Carl Mays, and several other high quality players. In late 1920, he began adding adding important contributors and role players: Waite Hoyt and Wally Schang that year. Bullet Joe Bush, Joe Dugan, Sad Sam Jones the next year. He signed Lou Gehrig in 1923 and dealt for Herb Pennock. Soon he had acquired Earle Combs. By 1926, he had turned over so much of the roster so that only Ruth, Bob Meusel, Bob Shawkey, Pipp, and Aaron Ward remained from the previous administration. By 1930, Ruth was the only holdover. By 1935, with Ruth gone, the entire team sprang from the mind’s work of Ed Barrow. For the next 10 years, led by Joe DiMaggio, Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, Bill Dickey, and Joe Gordon, they won, won, and won some more. The only thing that stopped them from winning was World War II. Barrow continued to use Paul Krichell’s astounding scouting department and George Weiss’ productive farm system to add and develop talent deep into his tenure. Before being ungracefully pushed aside by Larry MacPhail, he signed Yogi Berra, Tommy Byrne, Joe Collins, Joe Page, Phil Rizzuto, and several others who were important to the Yanks of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Weiss continued this tradition. With Charlie Keller, Tommy Henrich, Spud Chandler, Red Ruffing, and Joe DiMaggio, among others, slowing down in the early 1950s, Weiss got to work. He added classy lefty Eddie Lopat, Gene Woodling, Gil MacDougald, and, of course, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. When Scooter Rizzuto faded out, he replaced him with Tony Kubek. When Billy Martin fizzled, he brought up Bobby Richardson. When Yogi couldn’t catch anymore, along came Elston Howard. He plugged a third base hole with Clete Boyer.

Both Barrow and Weiss had good taste in managers. Miller Huggins and Joe McCarthy are probably the best consecutive managerial hires ever for a single franchise. Casey Stengel, despite his mediocre record before coming to New York was the ideal skipper for a veteran team with some highly moveable parts. This combination of roster genius and managerial acumen led both men to far exceed both expectations and Pypathenpat while in the Bronx.

On the other hand, it seems that little could be done for the Mets. While it’s true that Weiss didn’t draft Reggie Jackson (oops!) and those early Mets teams were utterly atrocious, he nevertheless spent his time wisely building from the ground up, resulting in 1969’s championship. Both Weiss and Stengel’s records suffered greatly from the early Mets teams, but expansion teams aren’t like regular teams and usually aren’t run like them until several years into their existence.

Transactions Detail

OK, let’s see what these guys actually did to build their teams.

  • AM FA: Amateur free agent
  • PUR: Purchased from another pro team
  • FA: Free agent (includes the short-lived free-agent compensation picks of the early 1980s)
  • AM DF: Amateur draft (any time of year, only players who signed with the team and played in MLB)
  • R5 DF: Rule 5 Draft
  • ML DF: Minor League Draft and First Year Draft
  • ML XD: Expansion Draft
  • TR: Trade
  • WV: Waivers
  • SLD: Players sold to other teams
  • REL: Players released
  • NOTE: Unkown transactions not included except in TOT
TRANSACTION DETAILS: NUMBER OF INBOUND TRANSACTIONS
NAME AM FA PUR FA AM DFT R5 DFT ML DFT EX DFT TR WV TOT
BARROW 49 45 13 N/A 4 2 N/A 74 6 294
BAVASI 1 101 42 48 69 6 15 29 135 2 455
BROWN 93 27 20 49 7 7 0 85 3 294
CAMPANIS 40 10 38 79 5 2 0 69 2 247
CASHEN 31 8 46 97 4 2 0 116 3 313
DALTON 36 37 91 127 15 2 0 141 7 461
GILLICK 71 40 207 148 19 8 0 130 31 663
GRIFFITH 36 72 18 N/A 35 2 N/A 115 23 608
HOWSAM 33 23 14 50 7 1 0 95 1 228
MACPHAIL1 45 73 18 N/A 10 1 N/A 43 14 246
MACPHAIL2 47 38 18 33 13 6 0 82 7 255
QUINN 137 70 33 25 16 15 0 113 8 436
RICKEY 174 78 32 N/A 25 11 N/A 108 24 748
SCHUERHOLZ  62 14 265 142  7 1 0 150 17 659
WEISS 131 66 17 13 9 8 22 70 9 360
BAVASI 2 16 15 157 43 4 0 0 69 16 322
ROBINSON 11 15 130 70 4 1 0 58 15 309
SEGHI 10 14 33 38 4 1 0 106 5 212
SMITH 11 7 103 34 9 2 0 65 22 254
TRANSACTION DETAILS: NUMBER OF OUTBOUND TRANSACTIONS
NAME SOLD REL R5 DFT ML DFT EX DFT TR WV TOT
BARROW 65 16 14 2 N/A 74 13 213
BAVASI 1 49 59 27 13 6 135 10 308
BROWN 46 51 14 15 12 85 6 218
CAMPANIS 13 63 12 5 0 69 8 179
CASHEN 21 45 16 4 0 116 3 208
DALTON  33 89 16 2 11 141 0 300
GILLICK 25 127 22 2 6 130 21 337
GRIFFITH 69 36 3 1 N/A 115 21 304
HOWSAM 22 24 11 3 5 95 1 164
MACPHAIL1 37 27 3 0 N/A 43 6 129
MACPHAIL2 28 30 14 0 14 82 3 178
QUINN 82 51 21 15 0 113 5 300
RICKEY 111 50 36 9 N/A 108 34 388
SCHUERHOLZ 6 170 11 2 6 150 18 366
WEISS 37 44 18 7 0 70 9 207
BAVASI 2 6 83 0 0 2 69 3 169
ROBINSON 4 66 3 1 5 58 13 155
SEGHI 10 39 2 0 0 106 1 165
SMITH 4 53 5 3 0 65 15 151

Barrow was a very careful GM. He made many fewer moves than others from his era, but he made exceptionally good moves as we’ll soon see. He could be generally described as not much liking other MLB teams’ scraps. There are nearly 100 moves not credited by BBREF, so we can’t say anything for absolutely sure, but we get the strong gist here. Weiss was probably about average in how many moves he made. He wasn’t as careful Bob Howsam who had a similarly long career. He’s more like Frank Cashen in terms of activity level. Like Barrow, Weiss was an especially careful trader. He virtually never dealt away one of his stronger players. Great players stayed Yankees for their whole careers during their tenures. Barrow’s trades tended to fill small holes and add pitching. Just like Weiss later. The most important star acquired via a major-league trade by either of them was probably Red Ruffing. While Red is a HoMEr, he’s not a star the caliber of Gehrig, DiMaggio, Dickey, Berra, Gordon, or Mantle. They both well understood that surrendering a star’s rights forever was soaked in risk, and because the team was well capitalized, they could afford to retain stars and build around a core for a decade.

TRANSACTION DETAILS: VALUE IN WAR TO TEAM OF INBOUND TRANSACTIONS
NAME AM FA PUR FA AM DFT R5 DFT ML DFT EX DFT TR WV TOT
BARROW 297 124 154 N/A -1 0 N/A 480 7 1216
BAVASI 1 430 70 36 235 1 0 54 257 -1 1106
BROWN 313 2 3 228 2 4 0 216 -2 765
CAMPANIS 48 40 2 171 -1 1 0 257 0 518
CASHEN 56 2 9 251 -1 0 0 270 3 590
DALTON 18 47 65 313 4 1 0 285 2 733
GILLICK 132 62 194 295 60 -1 0 228 -2 978
GRIFFITH 95 233 26 N/A 39 -1 N/A 416 11 1087
HOWSAM 98 7 2 104 6 0 0 228 0 445
MACPHAIL1 116 100 38 N/A 19 0 N/A 219 48 632
MACPHAIL2 244 0 16 113 13 0 0 195 8 632
QUINN 443 45 183 141 25 2 0 480 1 1318
RICKEY 794 116 211 N/A 122 1 N/A 262 0 1898
SCHUERHOLZ 117 9 142 298 -1 0 0 246 7 818
WEISS 480 70 5 21 -1 -1 11 168 7 764
BAVASI 2 27 9 96 131 0 0 0 24 5 290
ROBINSON 7 14 69 98 6 0 0 59 8 264
SEGHI -4 14 4 32 2 2 0 275 -1 323
SMITH 3 -2 27 36 -2 3 0 140 10 215
TRANSACTION DETAILS: VALUE IN WAR OF PLAYERS IN OUTBOUND TRANSACTIONS
NAME SOLD REL R5 DFT ML DFT EX DFT TR WV TOT
BARROW 158 3 50 26 N/A 440 75 794
BAVASI 1 15 20 129 20 30 438 19 674
BROWN 18 10 4 29 59 343 -2 471
CAMPANIS 22 13 4 23 0 298 17 374
CASHEN -3 8 8 4 0 304 -1 330
DALTON 18 0 7 0 42 284 0 354
GILLICK 16 20 25 0 -2 285 10 357
GRIFFITH 157 -2 0 0 N/A 528 73 832
HOWSAM 8 4 27 -1 -3 251 0 286
MACPHAIL1 45 39 9 0 N/A 146 4 395
MACPHAIL2 37 -2 15 0 95 166 1 332
QUINN 75 38 3 81 0 496 25 711
RICKEY 337 10 62 -4 N/A 573 8 1040
SCHUERHOLZ 7 46 2 -1 26 246 6 332
WEISS 28 22 13 51 0 326 17 463
BAVASI 2 1 8 0 0 -1 147 0 154
ROBINSON 3 10 2 3 12 92 8 129
SEGHI 2 3 16 -2 0 253 0 272
SMITH 2 1 0 0 0 141 0 144

Ed Barrow was a really good trader. You’ll note that he is one of the few GMs in our table to have positive net value from his trades. As we’ll see below, however, there’s a little bit of illusion baked into that record. Weiss was, not so great. With Paul Krichell’s scouting team, Barrow maximized his opportunities, finding three figures’ worth of value from four different channels. Among amateurs he found Gordon, Keller, Rizzuto, and Berra. Through various professional outlets, he bought Gomez and Dickey. BBREF classifies Lou Gehrig as a free agent, though he’s just as likely an amateur free agent. Perhaps not surprisingly given his background in player development, Weiss tended to lean on amateur talent. He acquired Mantle, MacDougald, Skowron, Koosman, Seaver, and many many others this way. Both men let a lot of talent go, more in fact than many GMs ever acquire. This is, as mentioned, partly a function of the Yankee farm system. Weiss lost most of them in trade, though Paul Blair slipped away in the short-lived First Year Player Draft.

Let’s do my favorite thing and look at their trading records. Every trade where they gained or lost 10 or more WAR.

Barrow

Trades Won

  • 11/21/34 (+78): Received Joe DiMaggio (78) for Floyd Newark, Jimmy Densmore, Ted Norbert, and $5,000
  • 5/6/30 (+60): Received Red Ruffing (59) for Cedric Durst and $50,000 (-1)
  • 8/1/25 (+50): Received Tony Lazzeri (50) for Mack Hillis, Frank Moeller, Curt Fullerton, and $50,000 (0)
  • 1/7/24 (+43): Received Earle Combs (43) for Elmer Smith and $50,000 (0)
  • 1/30/23 (+35): Received Herb Pennock (33) for Norm McMillan, George Murray, Camp Skinner, and $50,000
  • 12/15/20 (+20): Received Harry Harper, Waite Hoyt, Mike McNally, and Wally Schang (48) for Dell Pratt, Muddy Ruel, Hank Thurman, and Sammy Vick (28)
  • 6/27/31 (+14): Received Johnny Murphy, Jack Saltzgaver, two players to be named, and cash (14) for Jimmie Reese and Albert Harvin (0)

Trades Lost

  • 12/20/21 (-40): Received Bullet Joe Bush, Sad Sam Jones, and Everett Scott (27) for Rip Colins, Roger Peckinpaugh, Bill Piercy, Jack Quinn, and $100,000 (67)
  • 12/9/41 (-33): Received Buddy Hassett and Gene Moore (1) for Tommy Holmes (34)
  • 2/8/27 (-25): Received Cedric Durst and Joe Giard (-2) for Sad Sam Jones (23)
  • 8/10/38 (-24): Received Gil English, Johnny Riddle, Bobby Reis, Tommy Reis, Johnny Babich, Vince DiMaggio, and cash (0) for Eddie Miller (24)
  • 12/17/42 (-24): Received Oscar Grimes and Roy Weatherly (6) for Roy Cullenbine and Buddy Rosar (30)
  • 6/5/32 (-21): Received Danny MacFayden (-2) for Ivy Andrews, Hank Johnson, and $50,000 (19)
  • 1/29/43 (-21): Received Bill Zuber and cash (1) for Milo Candini and Jerry Priddy (22)
  • 12/31/20 (-17): Received Braggo Roth (0) for Duffy Lewis and George Mogridge (17)
  • 5/30/30 (-17): Received Ownie Carrol, Harry Rice, and Yats Wuestling (1) for Waite Hoyt and Mark Koenig (18)
  • 6/14/36 (-17): Received Jake Powell (0) for Ben Chapman (17)
  • 7/23/22 (-13): Received Joe Dugan and Elmer Smith (8) for Chick Fewster, Elmer Miller, Johnny Mitchell, Lefty O’Doul, and $50,000 (21)
  • 8/5/39 (-13): Received Frenchy Bordagary, Nino Bongiovanni, and $40,000 (0) for Vince DiMaggio (13)
  • 2/6/26 (-10): Received George Mogridge and cash (0) for Wally Schang (10)

Those trades in red are a specific kind of trade that teams haven’t made since at least the 1960s. These are trades between a major league team and a minor league team. Minor league teams signed and developed talent, then made money by selling it to MLB squads. In many cases, the big league team would send back a couple-few crumb-bum or over-the-hill players to reduce the cash outlay. That kind of trade is more like a purchase with a couple players tossed into the purchase price than it is a trade with some cash moving too. So when we eliminate those types of trades, Barrow’s trading record is much spottier than it looks in our tables above. Overall, of course, that record of inbound WAR is still sparkling, but in many ways these trades could just as easily be seen as purchases.

Weiss

Trades Won

  • 2/19/57 (+29): Received Wayne Berardi, Art Ditmar, Jack Mcmahon, Bobby Shanty, Curt Roberts, and Clete Boyer (32) for Rip Coleman, Milt Graff, Billy Hunter, Mickey McDermott, Tom Morgan, Irv Noren, and Jack Urban (3)
  • 10/19/65 (+16): Received Jerry Grote (16) for Tom Parsons (0)

Trades Lost

  • 12/13/48 (-32): Received Roy Partee and Fred Sanford (0) for Red Embrue, Sherm Lollar, Dick Starr, and $100,000 (32)
  • 8/29/51 (-23): Received Johnny Sain (6) for Lew Burette (29) and $50,000
  • 5/3/52 (-23): Received Irv Noren and Tom Upton (7) for Jackie Jensen, Spec Shea, Jerry Snyder, and Archie Wilson (30)
  • 4/11/54 (-18): Received Enos Slaughter (0) for Emil Telling, Bill Virdon, and Mel Wright (18)
  • 6/15/51 (-16): Received Bob Kuzava (2) for Tom Ferrick, Bob Porterfield, and Fred Sanford (18)
  • 11/17/54 (-14): Received Billy Hunter, Don Larsen, Bob Turley, Mike Blyzka, Darrell Johnson, Jim Fridley, and Dick Kryhoski (16) for Harry Byrd, Jim McDonald, Willy Miranda, Hal Smith, Gus Triandos, Gene Woodlng, Don Leppert, Theodore Del Guercio, Bill Miller, and Kal Sergist (30)
  • 6/15/57 (-12): Received Ryne Duren, Jim Pisoni, and Harry Simpson (6) for Woodie Held, Billy Martin, Bob Martyn, and Ralph Terry (18)
  • 11/30/62 (-12): Received Larry Burright and Tim Harkness (1) for Bob Miller (13)
  • 12/16/53 (-10): Received Loren Babe, Harry Byrd, Tom Hamilton, Carmen Mauro, and Eddie Robinson (3) for Don Bollweg, Jim Fenian, Johnny Gray, Vic Power, Bill Renna, Jim Roberston, and $25,000 (13)

Weiss was a terrible trader. He didn’t outright win a trade until his tenth year on the job. He won only two (by my definition) in his whole career. He got creamed overall 168 to 326. No wonder he stuck to the amateur market! But Weiss was a good fit for the two kinds of teams he led: One with a stable core that had time to develop talent to tune up the next generation; one starting from scratch and needing to develop its own talent.

So for you Yankee fans out there, enjoy the plaques these two received and all the history they brought you.

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Discussion

One thought on “GM Update #10: Yankees HoMErs

  1. Weiss may have lost that November 1954 trade, but for one glorious day in October 1956 getting Don Larsen really worked.
    Nice analysis as usual.
    v

    Posted by verdun2 | July 18, 2016, 8:24 am

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