[All MLEs updated 7/4/18 to include (a) new 1938 and 1947 data (b) new baserunning-runs estimates(c) new, more objective playing-time estimates]
[Note: All MLEs here updated 1/1/18 due to changes in approach to pitcher batting.]
[Note: Updated 1/20/18 to include adjustment that accounts for general differences in pitcher-batting ability between MLB and Negro Leagues.]
We introduced you in our last two posts to eight of the eleven Negro Leagues honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Hall of Merit. This time we’ll close the loop with Bullet Rogan, Hilton Smith, and Smokey Joe Williams.
[In case you want a reminder of the method we’ve outline, it’s here.]
[Note: Updated 1/14/18. Presence of highly skewed league data caused z-score translations to be appear artificially low. Fixed.]
[Note: Updated 1/23/18 to fix a tiny calculation error that amounts to a change of -0.2 RAA/WAA/WAR.]
Wilbur “Bullet” Rogan is perhaps most famous for, like Martín Dihigo being a double-threat: A great pitcher and a great hitter. While Rogan lacked the versatility of Dihigo, he was probably a better pitcher. Rogan started his career in the US Army, not with a Negro Leagues team. In 1915, he was promoted to the 25th Infantry Wreckers so that he could join their ballclub, which featured future Negro Leagues stars Dobie Moore and Heavy Johnson among others. The Wreckers, stationed in the Pacific, took on all comers, and they beat a lot of PCL teams and pretty much everyone else.
From our perspective in the 21st Century, we might ask why a ballplayer wouldn’t hook on instead with a Negro Leagues team. Part of the answer is that there were no official Negro Leagues at that moment. Instead, blackball was a group of loosely confederated indy teams some of which might travel the country as a pair barnstorming their way to a paycheck or go it alone and take on the local yokels. This probably sounds to you like an unstable business model. Yup. With no central authority, there were no guarantees of payment, or at least prompt payment. That combined with playing multiple games a day in dusty towns you never heard of made Army baseball an attractive option. If you could hack basic training and could stand the hierarchy, you played ball; got paid in full, on time; got room and board; and led a predictable life. In the Wreckers’ case, a predictably sunshine filled life on an island.
As soon as the Negro National League formed in 1920, members of the Wreckers bought their way out of their service commitments and signed on with league teams. In fact, all three of Rogan, Moore, and Johnson were scooped up by J.L.Wilkinson and his Kansas City Monarchs. Actually, Rogan had played briefly with one of Wilkinson’s touring teams in 1917 but had returned to the army shortly after. Anyway, so at age 26, Rogan entered the Negro Leagues, and within two seasons, he was a star. He led the Monarch’s pitching staff as the team rumbled along to several pennants and Negro World Series appearances. In the mid-1930s, just as Satchel Paige joined the team and Hilton Smith emerged as a star, Rogan wound down his career, as did his long-time teammate Andy Cooper. He left behind a stellar 145 ERA+ (1303 innings) and a super 160 OPS+ (1721 PA).
Bullet Rogan Negro Leagues Stats | Bio Career: 1915–1937 Destination: NL 1915–1936 Missing data: 1915–1919, 1926–1927, 1929–1932 Honors: Baseball Hall of Fame, Hall of Merit PITCHING | BATTING | TOTAL YEAR AGE IP RAA WAA WAR | PA WAR | WAR ======================================================= 1915 21 200 18 2.3 4.2 | 67 0.6 | 4.8 1916 22 210 20 2.6 4.6 | 70 0.7 | 5.2 1917 23 220 21 2.7 4.7 | 73 0.6 | 5.4 1918 24 220 21 2.7 4.7 | 73 0.6 | 5.3 1919 25 240 21 2.7 4.9 | 80 0.7 | 5.6 1920 26 270 22 2.6 5.2 | 90 0.8 | 6.0 1921 27 300 24 2.5 5.6 | 100 0.9 | 6.5 1922 28 280 46 4.7 7.6 | 93 0.8 | 8.4 1923 29 300 56 5.9 8.9 | 100 0.9 | 9.8 1924 30 270 41 4.5 7.2 | 90 0.8 | 8.0 1925 31 260 39 3.9 6.6 | 87 0.8 | 7.4 1926 32 260 34 3.6 6.2 | 87 0.8 | 7.0 1927 33 270 30 3.3 6.0 | 90 0.8 | 6.8 1928 34 210 17 1.8 3.9 | 70 0.7 | 4.6 1929 35 200 17 1.6 3.7 | 67 0.6 | 4.3 1930 36 200 17 1.5 3.6 | 67 0.6 | 4.2 1931 37 180 8 0.8 2.6 | 60 0.6 | 3.2 1932 38 150 - 6 -0.6 1.0 | 50 0.5 | 1.4 1933 39 1 0 -0.1 0.0 | 0 0.0 | 0.0 ------------------------------------------------------- TOTAL 4241 445 49.0 91.3 | 1414 12.6 | 103.9 Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960) Innings pitched: 19th Pitching Wins Above Average: 8th Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 7th Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): 5th
Enough of Rogan’s record is missing from his Negro Leagues seasons, that we were a little concerned. For missing-data seasons, we use the pitcher’s career performance rate, but Rogan’s rate was very, very high and caused us to wonder if he was being inflated due to the lack of data. It was high enough that halving the career rate of run prevention still led to what you see above. As more data rolls in, we’ll update our MLE accordingly. In addition, Rogan’s 1922, 1925, and 1926 seasons required us to use the manual override to keep his performance in line with league norms.
There’s not a ton to add to the story. Rogan was an excellent pitcher and great hitter for any batter, not just for a pitcher. You have to guess, though, that all of these great hitting pitchers in the Negro Leagues would probably have been lesser hitters than we translate, simply because they’d get fewer reps, fewer chances to play in the field between starts. When teams barnstormed and operated on shoestring budgets, they had to economize. One way to do so was to bring as few players as possible on the road. That meant rosters of 13 or so for traveling. Which, in turn, meant that pitchers had to be two-way players in order to spell on another and spell injured or tired position players.
We’ll see as we delve deeper into the candidate pool in posts down the line detailing other pitching candidates that these guys couldn’t all hit. But many could, and in this way, the Negro Leagues were 20 to 30 years behind the majors which saw a sharp reduction in pitcher batting as rosters expanded to cover longer schedules and specialization began to increase.
We’ll be providing an MLE down the pike for Rogan as if he had never pitched but only been a position player.
Fixing the issue with the skewed league data bumped Rogan up considerably because some seasons that showed up near average became above average.
[Note: Updated 1/14/18. Presence of highly skewed league data caused z-score translations to be appear artificially low. Fixed.]
[Updated 4/3/18 with additional 1937 data.]
For many years, Hilton Smith was most famous for following Satchel Paige to the mound. The great Paige, having been advertised near and far as pitching on a given day would go three innings, and Smith would finish things off. At least, when the Kansas City Monarchs traveled. In league games, Smith was more likely to start and finish his own games.
Other circumstances conspired to reduce Smith’s visibility. Rather than rise up through main Negro Leagues, he got his start in the Negro Southern League, which was major only in 1932 as a haven for teams bailing on the failing major leagues. He was 25 and stuck with his Monroe teammates for a couple more years then was recruited to play for the semipro Bismarck super team that beat back all comers in the mid-1930s. When he joined the Monarchs for 1936, they were mostly a barnstorming team with relatively few documented games against top rivals, and he became Satch’s shadow. Paige left the Monarchs for the majors in 1948. Smith stayed behind and then retired after the season, leaving behind appearances in six East-West All-Star Games in his wake.
Hilton Smith Negro Leagues Stats | Bio Career: 1932–1948 Destination: NL 1932–1948 Missing data: 1933–1936, 1948 Honors: Baseball Hall of Fame PITCHING | BATTING | TOTAL YEAR AGE IP RAA WAA WAR | PA WAR | WAR ======================================================== 1932 25 180 12 1.3 3.1 | 60 0.3 | 3.4 1933 26 210 13 1.5 3.6 | 70 0.4 | 4.0 1934 27 200 12 1.2 3.3 | 67 0.4 | 3.7 1935 28 220 13 1.3 3.6 | 73 0.4 | 4.0 1936 29 270 15 1.5 4.3 | 90 0.5 | 4.8 1937 30 260 6 0.7 3.3 | 87 0.5 | 3.8 1938 31 260 16 1.7 4.4 | 87 0.5 | 4.9 1939 32 260 24 2.6 5.2 | 87 0.5 | 5.7 1940 33 270 34 3.8 6.4 | 90 0.5 | 7.0 1941 34 210 24 2.8 4.8 | 70 0.4 | 5.2 1942 35 180 3 0.3 2.1 | 60 0.3 | 2.4 1943 36 160 19 2.2 3.7 | 53 0.2 | 4.0 1944 37 20 2 0.2 0.4 | 7 0.0 | 0.5 1945 38 180 13 1.4 3.3 | 60 0.3 | 3.5 1946 39 180 8 0.9 2.7 | 60 0.3 | 3.0 1947 40 180 -13 -1.3 0.5 | 60 0.3 | 0.9 1948 41 20 0 0.0 0.2 | 7 0.0 | 0.2 ------------------------------------------------------- TOTAL 3260 201 22.2 54.9 | 1088 6.1 | 61.0 Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960) Innings pitched: 51st Pitching Wins Above Average: t-56th Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 40th Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): 30th
We made the manual adjustment for Smith’s 1943 season run-prevention rates to keep him in line with league norms.
A word about 1932–1936. The Lester/Clark HOF study included his stats for Monroe in the 1932 Negro Southern League in Shades of Glory. That Monroe team took on the Crawfords for a Negro Championship. They report nothing else until 1937. Riley and other bio sources indicate that Smith went to Bismarck with Satch and others in 1934/1935 somewhere, then from there became a Monarch in 1936. Given that in 1937 and 1939, Smith appears to be a finished product at age 30, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that we include 1932–1936 in our MLE. So we did at his known career average.
Smith is another good-hitting Negro Leagues pitcher who adds a lot of value that way. I’m not sure what’s up with 1944. There’s some mention of an injury in 1943 in some sources, though I see no evidence of it in the stats. But in 1944, he does appear to have been unable to start as often as usual, so maybe he hurt himself in winter ball, affecting his summer performance. It seems to have affected his durability more than his effectiveness.
It is also possible that Smith spent part of 1945 in the war, though we can’t find corroboration. He is alleged to have tipped off J.L. Wilkinson, leading to Jackie Robinson’s signing with the Monarchs immediately after his discharge.
[Note: Updated 1/1/18 to fix transcription errors in the mid-teens.]
[Note: Updated 1/6/18 to correct calculations for Joe’s first two and last years.]
[Note: Updated 1/14/18. Presence of highly skewed league data caused z-score translations to be appear artificially low. Fixed.]
In The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill ranks Joe Williams 52nd among the greatest players in baseball history. I can buy that, or even a better ranking. Williams was an early link in a long historical chain of Texas fireballers that includes “The Ryan Express” and the “The Rocket.” He must have been extremely intimidating back in the 1900s and 1910s. He stood 6’3” tall, with a chiseled face that bore the high cheek bones, angular nose, and strong chin gifted him from the Comanche heritage of one of his parents. That great fastball, likened by a promoter to a pebble blown by a storm, must have erupted from his hand a lot closer to home plate than most hitters were used to during a time when the average American male was an inch and a half shorter back then than today. Cyclone Joe, as he was called earlier in his career, gained fame for his prodigious strikeout totals. His career variously included no-hitters and a 27-strikeout performance (at night, in 12 innings) among other gems. He beat PCL teams by the bushel in a California swing, went 20-7 against white major league teams (8-3 documented), and had a 140 ERA+ in Cuba. His ERA+ of 149 trails only Dave Brown (150 ERA+) among hurlers with 1000 innings in the Negro Leagues Database, and only Brown and Satch (193 ERA+) among players anywhere near 1000 innings. His 1240 strikeouts rank first in the Database. His 1862 innings are third in the Database, his 132 victories are third, his 196 complete games are third, and his 20 shutouts rank fifth. He could bring it.
Smokey Joe Williams Negro Leagues Stats | Bio Career: 1907–1932 Destination: NL 1907-1930 Missing Data: 1907–1908, 1925–1927, 1929 Honors: Baseball Hall of Fame, Hall of Merit PITCHING | BATTING | TOTAL YEAR AGE IP RAA WAA WAR | PA WAR | WAR ======================================================= 1907 21 100 12 1.6 2.5 | 33 0.1 | 2.7 1908 22 200 22 3.1 4.9 | 67 0.3 | 5.2 1909 23 250 8 1.0 3.4 | 83 0.4 | 3.8 1910 24 300 17 2.0 4.9 | 100 0.4 | 5.4 1911 25 310 32 3.6 6.7 | 103 0.5 | 7.2 1912 26 300 52 5.7 8.7 | 100 0.4 | 9.1 1913 27 300 25 2.9 5.9 | 100 0.5 | 6.4 1914 28 270 34 4.2 6.7 | 90 0.5 | 7.2 1915 29 250 18 2.3 4.7 | 83 0.4 | 5.1 1916 30 250 31 4.2 6.5 | 83 0.4 | 6.9 1917 31 300 39 5.2 7.9 | 100 0.4 | 8.3 1918 32 270 28 3.7 6.2 | 90 0.3 | 6.5 1919 33 280 20 2.5 5.1 | 93 0.4 | 5.5 1920 34 300 30 3.6 6.5 | 100 0.4 | 6.9 1921 35 300 35 3.8 6.9 | 100 0.5 | 7.3 1922 36 250 41 4.2 6.7 | 83 0.5 | 7.2 1923 37 240 10 1.0 3.5 | 80 0.4 | 3.9 1924 38 200 29 3.1 5.1 | 67 0.3 | 5.4 1925 39 180 19 1.8 3.7 | 60 0.3 | 4.0 1926 40 150 18 1.9 3.4 | 50 0.3 | 3.7 1927 41 130 16 1.7 3.0 | 25 0.2 | 3.2 1928 42 50 4 0.4 0.9 | 18 0.1 | 1.0 1929 43 20 3 0.3 0.5 | 7 0.0 | 0.5 1930 44 10 2 0.2 0.3 | 17 0.1 | 0.4 ------------------------------------------------------- TOTAL 5210 545 63.7 114.6 | 1732 8.2 | 122.8 Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960) Innings pitched: 4th Pitching Wins Above Average: 6th Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 3rd Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): 3rd
We employed the manual override on 1912, 1914, 1921, and 1922 to keep Williams’ MLEs in line with league norms.
In terms of their relative standings, he is precisely to Paige as Pete Alexander is to Walter Johnson. The thing about Johnson and Paige is that everyone in the greatest-ever conversation gets compared to them. Roger Clemens? How does he stack up to the Big Train? Joe Williams? How does he compare with Satchel? That’s not a dis on anyone, either. It’s simply an acknowledgment of how great those guys were. Similarly, whoever is juxtaposed to them in any serious discussion of GOATedness (that is, Greatest of All Time) must be an awfully good pitcher to even merit the comparison. Williams was a really great pitcher. Yet, he needs a strong bat to get by Paige. In terms of measuring his pitching performance, Williams finishes behind Paige, but he needs 400 more innings to do it.
That said, if you were GM for a big league club, and someone said they could clone Smokey Joe Williams and have him ready to pitch for you starting next year, you’d do it quicker than you can say medical ethics. He was the towering figure among moundsmen in the early Negro Leagues era, and anyone would take the kind of peak we are estimating in his MLEs.
Note: When we adjusted our league stats to remove pitchers with very low innings and very high RA9, several of Williams’ seasons drastically improved, and his MLE value along with them. He now looks to be right on par with Satch.
And now, we’ve reached the end of our walk to the mound to meet with our Negro League Hall of Fame/Merit hurlers. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know them a little and learning about some of baseball’s best players who are virtually unknown historical figures. Often we talk about underrated players in MLB. Tony Gwynn and Tim Raines were the subject of such talk while I was growing up, and Miller and I write about underrated players like Dwight Evans or Bobby Grich all the time. But those guys are better known by many orders of magnitude compared to anyone in the Negro Leagues, with the possible exception of Satchel Paige. It’s more likely that the average fan on the street knows who Sean Casey is than Buck Leonard. Or Josh Collmenter than Josh Gibson (and certainly Kirk Gibson over Josh Gibson). Every Negro Leagues player is underrated, so we hope we’re able to give them a little spotlight time. If you’re interested to learn more, we recommend not only the amazing Negro Leagues Database and the equally amazing SABR Bioproject, but also books such as Shades of Glory and The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues.
Next time out, we’re going to document for you our MLE method for position players, then we’ll dive into the Hall of Fame/Merit players at each position en route to a first sweep through the Negro Leagues.
A few weeks ago when Eric suggested to me that we reach out to some of our favorite people in the industry, I immediately agreed. That he should do it. I don’t mind admitting that I’m intimidated by these folks, just as I am my favorite baseball players. But somehow I’ve tried, and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. Last week I shared a conversation with Ryan Thibodaux of the Hall of Fame Tracker. Today it’s Adam Darowski of the Hall of Stats and SABR’s Overlooked 19th Century Base Ball Legends Project.
Adam inspires us at the HoME with his depth of thought about how players should be evaluated and who should be in the Hall of Fame, he treats us with rankings of players on our favorite teams, he motivates us to help keep the past alive at the HoME – it’s not just players in our lifetimes who have been overlooked, and he helps un-muddy the waters, if you will, with a Hall of Consensus, which compares the Halls of a number of experts against that of the Hall of Fame.
If you’re not familiar with Adam’s work, or if you are, I’m excited to introduce you to him here. And if you think he’s awesome at baseball and suspect he might also be awesome at music too, check out his 2015 punk rock album, YAY!.
What made you start the Hall of Stats?
When the 2013 Hall of Fame results came out (and nobody was elected by the BBWAA), I wrote a manifesto of sorts about this topic. From a very young age, my specific baseball interest has been this intersection between baseball history and baseball statistics. It’s really no surprise that I’d eventually become deeply interested in Hall of Fame metrics. That naturally led to me identifying and researching the players with strong statistical cases who have been overlooked by Cooperstown. The more I learned about these players, the more attached I became. And the more they were overlooked, the more it affected me. The Hall of Stats is essentially a reaction to that. As I wrote in The Hardball Times in 2015, I just want to see my generation adequately represented.
The Hall of Stats originally started as a book project, but I got about ten pages into it before discovering I’m really not a writer. What I do is make digital products on the web. I decided that was probably a better medium for the Hall of Stats anyway, since it would allow me to constantly tinker and update things year after year. I enlisted the help of my friend Jeffrey Chupp and we built it and launched almost five years ago. Since then another friend of mine, Michael Berkowitz, helped me build out additional features (most notably positional pages and franchise pages).
Do you have a favorite feature at the Hall of Stats website?
Oh boy, that’s like picking my favorite kid. The one I’ll go with is the most recently I added. The Upcoming Elections page presents the players eligible for every Hall of Fame election (BBWAA, Today’s Game, Modern Baseball, Golden Days, or Early Baseball) between 2018 and 2031. For players like Alan Trammell who could appear on one of two ballots, we opted for the era in which the player earned the most Hall Rating.
There has likely never been a time when the Hall of Fame’s election process has been so influenced by outsiders’ opinions. How do you think the Hall of Stats is contributing to the discussion that is changing the Hall’s elections?
I’m just a guy who runs a small site, so I don’t think the impact is too huge. But I’d be lying if I said there was no influence at all. I know that my research made it into the room for at least one of the Era committee elections. I don’t know if it was considered, but at least it was there. I noticed that after I made an impassioned plea for the candidacy of Charlie Bennett at SABR’s 19th Century Base Ball Conference, he jumped from a tenth place finish in the 2016 Overlooked Legend voting to fifth this year. I think I may have helped raise awareness of Bennett, but he still remains a long way off from Cooperstown.
Who’s your favorite Hall of Famer?
It’s going to be hard not to go with Nolan Ryan (since I named my son Nolan). But Deacon White’s induction was a big deal for me.
Did you really name Nolan after Nolan Ryan?
I would say his name was inspired by Nolan Ryan. I pushed for the name early on because Nolan was my favorite player of all time. Eventually, my wife came around
How about a favorite who clearly doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall?
I’ve always been enamored with Pete Incaviglia. He just seemed like the everyman who tried hard and achieved some success with his brute strength. Long ago (I mean really long ago) I created a site dedicated to him. I must have done a decent job with it, because for a while Pete was using the bio I wrote about him on his own official site (which has since been taken down).
You’re also head of the Overlooked Nineteenth Century Base Ball Legends Project of SABR’s 19th Century committee. How did you receive that honor?
I became the project’s chair in September of 2013, taking over from Joe Williams. Joe co-founded the project and did an amazing job—eventually getting to see Deacon White (the project’s second selection) inducted to the Hall of Fame. As Joe was looking to scale his role back some, he took notice of my contributions to the group and thought I could handle it (I had only joined the group three months earlier). Luckily, he’s been there as a resource to help me every step of the way. I’m very proud of the selections the group has made, most recently Bob Caruthers this year and Jack Glasscock in 2016.
If you had a magic Hall of Fame wand to add 19th Century players to the Hall, which player would you add first?
I was asked this on the panel at the SABR Conference, too. I went with Doc Adams because his contributions to early baseball were far more significant and impactful than the playing careers of anyone still on the outside. In terms of players, I’m quite partial to amazing all-around shortstops Bill Dahlen and Jack Glasscock.
And what player on the outside looking in (19th or 20th Century) is most deserving in your estimation?
The easy answers here are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, but I think you’re looking for straight up overlooked players, rather than punished ones. Among 20th century overlooked players, I really have a “Big 6” that it’s tough to choose from. They’re all modern stars who played since 1970, which I think says something about how much higher the standards for the Hall have gotten. They are (in alphabetical order because it’s hard to pick just one): Bobby Grich, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, and Lou Whitaker.
Strangely, there aren’t a ton of players I lobby for who played in between Dahlen (retired in 1911) and Grich (debuted in 1970). Those who I strongly lobby for include Dick Allen, Wes Ferrell, and Minnie Miñoso.
Do you put Miñoso in without consideration for what he did before he reached the majors?
If we’re removing Miñoso’s Negro League career (and the fact that he was kept out of MLB by the color line), then yes… he’s borderline. But I think those are certainly enough to push him over the line.
Who has the best Hall Rating who wouldn’t get your vote?
Per the Hall of Consensus project I put together, I would have to say it is Kevin Appier. With a 112 Hall Rating, maybe I should be more sympathetic to his case. I haven’t given him the close inspection like I gave Rick Reuschel, David Cone, Larry Walker, and others. Maybe doing so would convince me.
Who has the worst Hall Rating who would get your vote strictly on his playing career?
That’d be Joe Start (76). The reason is because his prime came in the decade before the National Association. He was one of the biggest stars of the 1860s, but none of that is included in his statistical record (and therefore his Hall Rating). The fact that he reached 76 without the benefit of his prime speaks to his overall longevity and dominance.
All modesty aside, would the Hall’s voting process be improved if you and folks who did work like yours had a vote?
I’ll come right out and say “yes” and here’s why—even if I don’t agree with your Hall of Fame vote, if you have a system or a consistent standard that you apply, I’m good with it. I have one of those. Jay Jaffe has one of those. Other historically-focused friends of mine like Graham Womack and Joe Williams have their systems. They’re organized about it.
I want to stress that there are many, many BBWAA voters who put a great deal of thought into this, though. They have their consistent standards and apply them well. Take Barry Bloom for example. His real Hall of Fame vote and my fake one don’t overlap a whole bunch, but every year I feel like we have constructive (and civil, that’s a key) conversations about our choices. I respect the amount of thought he puts into it—which is indeed quite a bit—even though I don’t agree with where he ends up with all of his votes. That’s what we need more of and I think that has gotten better over the last couple of years as only people still close to the game can keep their votes.
This is fun! Happy to do it. Please let me know if any follow-up questions came from the answers above.
As I did last week, I’m including that last line, which is kind of outside the Q & A, because it offers a sense of what a good guy Adam is. I don’t know that I can articulate just how much fun it was for me.
Yes, I’m still intimidated talking to these folks, but there seems no reason to be. As Ryan was, Adam was awesome. Humble, thoughtful, and willing to share his time with someone he doesn’t know to discuss the game he loves.