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Martin Dihigo

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Election Results: Negro Leagues #4

What position am I playing today?

Someone, maybe it was Bill James, said that the Negro Leagues resembled in some ways what MLB baseball was like in the 1880s and 1890s. These were baseball’s teenage years, and the professionalization of the game, including the structure of its leagues and individual franchises remained an unfinished but evolving work. On the field, stuff happened with some regularity that never happens now and that quickly washed out of the game.

Lefty-throwing catchers and third basemen basically exited the game at the end of this period. While pitchers that could hit nearly as well as regulars persisted a bit longer, the Bob Caruthers/Dave Foutz player who could do both well died on the vine by the 1900s. Gloveless fielders disappeared. The idea that right field existed to rest your catcher or your good-hitting pitcher went poof. Pitching both ends of a twin bill became a rarity instead of the actual job of moundsmen.

The majors got a ten-to-twenty-year head start on the Negro Leagues. By the time Branch Rickey conceived the farm system, the first durable league for black teams had only recently started play. The Negro Leagues of the 1910s to early 1930s (and perhaps later), were indeed in their teenage years. One of Cuba’s finest players from 1902 through the mid teens was a lefty third baseman named Carlos Moran. Lots and lots of Negro Leagues pitchers could hit about as well a weak-hitting regular. Those pitchers often played right field. Most interestingly, the Bob Caruthers player flourished more vibrantly than even the 1880s majors. Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, for example, got his sobriquet thanks to his ability to both catch and pitch. The great José Méndez was a utility player and a pitcher. Smokey Joe Williams and later Leon Day and Hilton Smith took regular turns in the outfield.

There are, however, three players whose careers typify the ability of a Negro Leagues player to make his mark all over the diamond. One is Lazaro Salazar, the centerfielder-pitcher-manager triple threat. Another is Hall of Fame Bullet Rogan, a devastating pitcher and All-Star-level outfielder. But no player in baseball history can claim the diversity of abilities of our fourth honoree, Martín Dihigo.

It’s no wonder he picked up the nickname “el Maestro.” He could lead a team at any position. Well, except catcher. He didn’t really do much there. But he began as a shortstop, played every infield and outfield position well, hit like an All-Star, could run, and pitched like an All-Star.

Because of our 11 decade remove from Caruthers and his ilk, we may not fully understand the breadth of talent Dihigo possessed, so let me fuse together some modern names to make sense of it. Combine equal parts:

  • Tony Phillips’ versatility and defensive abilities
  • Jesse Barfield’s arm
  • Eddie Murray’s production
  • Ted Lyons’ pitching.

That’s the amazing picture we can paint for you. If you’re incredulous, well, I don’t blame you. But keep in mind that we have no frame of reference. Almost no one (perhaps no one) reading these words watched baseball in the 1920s and 1930s, let alone Negro Leagues baseball. we can’t really comprehend a league where everyone traveled by bus only, where teams only brought 13 players on the road, and where between league contests, a team might twice or thrice the same day against all comers, including amateurs, semipros, and minor league squads. That’s a big reason why someone like Dihigo could express this wide breadth of talents.

Well, that and being right-handed.

To consider just how special this package of abilities and its expression are consider how difficult it’s been for Shohei Otani to become a two-way player. And now he’s a one-way player either forever, or for a while until his arm heals.

So congratulations to el Maestro, a man who truly got the most out of his abilities in every way imaginable.

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Evaluating More Negro Leagues Pitchers, Part 7

Not even Yadier Molina takes as many trips to the mound as we are in this long series of articles on Negro Leaguers. Today we’ll get our signs straight with Eustaquio Pedroso, Cannonball Dick Redding, and Carlos Royer (we promised you Wee Willie Powell, but actually, we’d rather wait until more data for him becomes available). If you want to take a trip to the boring zone, we beckon you to read all about our Major League Equivalencies (MLEs) for Negro Leagues pitchers.

Eustaquio Pedroso

Either he was a great hitting pitcher or a poor hitting corner man. Somehow that feels like a Groucho one liner when I hear it in my head. Pedroso veered back and forth between the mound and the corners being great at neither, but at least average as a pitcher and a batter, iffy in the field, and overall a below-average position player. So let’s focus today on his pitching.

We’re seeing Pedroso as a pretty durable righty (5’11”, 200 pounds) with a few very good years, some averageish years, and some horrid years. Ultimately he’s not a great candidate, but as a two-way guy, he’s interesting.

Eustaquio Pedroso
Negro Leagues Stats | Bio
Career: 1907–1926
Destination: NL 1907–1922
               PITCHING          |  BATTING    |  TOTAL
YEAR  AGE   IP  RAA   WAA   WAR  |  PA    WAR  |   WAR
========================================================
1907   20  100    0   0.0   1.0  |   33   0.2  |   1.1 
1908   21  200  - 5  -0.6   1.3  |   67   0.4  |   1.7 
1909   22  260   10   1.3   3.8  |   87   0.5  |   4.3 
1910   23  250   24   2.9   5.3  |   83   0.4  |   5.7 
1911   24  310  -24  -2.4   0.9  |  103   0.6  |   1.5 
1912   25  300   14   1.5   4.6  |  100   0.5  |   5.1 
1913   26  300   12   1.4   4.4  |  100   0.6  |   5.0 
1914   27  310   15   1.8   4.8  |  103   0.7  |   5.5 
1915   28  300   13   1.6   4.5  |  100   0.6  |   5.1 
1916   29  250    1   0.1   2.5  |   83   0.5  |   3.0 
1917   30  200    4   0.5   2.4  |   67   0.4  |   2.8
1918   31  180  - 1  -0.1   1.7  |   60   0.3  |   2.0
1919   32  200  - 7  -0.8   1.1  |   67   0.4  |   1.5
1920   33  100  -11  -1.2  -0.1  |   33   0.2  |   0.0 
1921   34   20  - 8  -0.7  -0.5  |    7   0.0  |  -0.5
1922   35   10  - 4  -0.3  -0.2  |    3   0.0  |  -0.2
------------------------------------------------------- 
TOTAL     3290   35   4.9  37.4  | 1096   6.4  |  43.8
 
Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960) 
Innings pitched: 51st 
Pitching Wins Above Average: 283rd
Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 105th  
Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): 79th

Worth noting before we move on: Pedroso didn’t pitch from 1918 to 1920, or at least not in the data on the Negro Leagues Database. If he hurt his arm or what have you, we may want to consider ending his career before or during his stretch. He did actually pitch from 1921 to 1926, but he stank it up.

Cannonball Dick Redding

I’ve probably only mentioned 154 times now that I am a participant in the Hall of Merit project over at Baseball Think Factory. Dick Redding has been eligible for election over there for roughly 80 years. In that time, many voters have check his box, but not me. For years, he looked to me like a low WAA, high-innings pitcher, and that’s not a pitcher that excites me. Early Wynn and Red Ruffing required great bats to get my vote.

I think I’m going to change my mind about Dick Redding.

After doing all the stuff I do to adjust this that and the other, Redding comes out looking like a heavy favorite to get a vote. To be fully transparent, he’s not a competitor for the best Negro Leagues pitcher ever. He’s got Satch, Smokey Joe, and Bullet Rogan clearly in front of him. Only Martén Dihgio is close behind. That’s true also when we remove batting and look only at pitching WAA and WAR. This list is ranked by Wins Above Average:

  1. Paige: 70.9 WAA, 119.8 WAR
  2. Williams: 63.7 WAA, 114.6 WAR
  3. Rogan: 49.0 WAA, 91.3 WAR
  4. Redding: 42.4 WAA, 91.5 WAR
  5. Mendéz: 39.7 WAA, 62.6 WAR
  6. Foster: 37.8 WAA, 70.4 WAR
  7. Dihigo: 32.1 WAA, 75.9 WAR

Redding wasn’t a pathetic hitter at all, in fact he translates to a bit above average for a pitcher. He simply doesn’t derive enough value from it to catch up to Rogan.

So what I’m saying is that I’ve been missing the boat for 80 electoral “years” at the Hall of Miller and Eric, but, for me anyway, Dick Redding’s ship has come in.

Dick Redding
Negro Leagues Stats | Bio
Career: 1911–1931
Destination: NL 1911–1931
Missing Data: 1927, 1929
               PITCHING          |  BATTING    |  TOTAL
YEAR  AGE   IP  RAA   WAA   WAR  |  PA    WAR  |   WAR
========================================================
1911   21  250   29   3.2   5.7  |   83   0.2  |   5.8 
1912   22  260   45   4.9   7.5  |   87   0.1  |   7.6 
1913   23  250  - 3  -0.3   2.2  |   83   0.2  |   2.4
1914   24  270  -12  -1.4   1.3  |   90   0.2  |   1.5
1915   25  300   12   1.5   4.4  |  100   0.1  |   4.5
1916   26  310   18   2.4   5.3  |  103   0.2  |   5.5
1917   27  300   19   2.4   5.3  |  100   0.1  |   5.3
1918   28  270   34   4.5   7.0  |   90   0.1  |   7.0
1919   29  280   42   5.5   8.1  |   93   0.1  |   8.2
1920   30  300    6   0.7   3.7  |  100   0.2  |   3.8
1921   31  300   35   3.8   6.9  |  100   0.2  |   7.1
1922   32  250   41   4.2   6.7  |   83   0.3  |   7.0
1923   33  210   20   2.0   4.1  |   70   0.2  |   4.3
1924   34  200    5   0.6   2.6  |   67   0.1  |   2.8
1925   35  210    3   0.3   2.5  |   70   0.2  |   2.7
1926   36  200    0   0.0   2.1  |   67   0.2  |   2.3
1927   37  210   22   2.3   4.4  |   70   0.2  |   4.6
1928   38  210   43   4.6   6.7  |   70   0.2  |   6.9
1929   39  180   16   1.5   3.4  |   60   0.2  |   3.6
1930   40  170    1   0.1   1.9  |   57   0.2  |   2.1
1931   41   10  - 5  -0.4  -0.3  |    3   0.0  |  -0.3
------------------------------------------------------- 
TOTAL     4940  371  42.1  91.3  | 1586   3.3  |  93.0
Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960) 
Innings pitched: 8th 
Pitching Wins Above Average: 11th 
Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 7th 
Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): 7th

Yeah, those hypothetical career rankings indicate a pretty good pitcher….

Redding is to Smokey Joe Williams almost exactly as Pete Alexander was to Walter Johnson. Williams, as you saw a couple paragraphs ago was a cut above everyone but Paige, but specifically, above his near contemporary Redding, just as Alexander was close but clearly behind the Big Train. Williams began his career the same year as Walter Johnson (1907), and Redding began his the same year as Alex (1911). Johnson was a strong hitter for a pitcher, and so was Williams who often took turns in the outfield. Alexander, like Redding, was a decent hitting pitcher, but not nearly as good as Johnson.

That last paragraph is a fun analogy, but it’s an important reminder of how strong Redding appears to be in his MLE.

Carlos Royer

This 5’9″ righty was one of the great players of the early Cuban leagues. Which also means that our stats on him aren’t nearly as complete as we’d like. Right about half his likely MLE-length career resides in the Negro Leagues Database. So the MLE below must be considered provisional. 

Royer debuted at age 16 in 1890, making him a near contemporary of a lot of famous pitchers. He was three years younger than Amos Rusie and four years younger than Kid Nichols. The NLDB picks him up at age 28 when he threw 291 innings with a 21-12 record between the Cuban Winter League and its playoffs. He started all but one of Havana team’s games. The next winter he fashioned a 13-3 ledger in 142 innings, making all but four of the team’s starts. Whether his arm gave out or age simply caught up with him, Royer took fewer starts as the nineteen aughts wore on, yielding to younger talents such as José Mendéz, and eventually hung it up at age 36.

Carlos Royer
Negro Leagues Stats | Bio 
Career: 1890–1910
Destination: NL 1894–1910
Missing data: 1890–1901
Honors: Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame
               PITCHING          |  BATTING    |  TOTAL
YEAR  AGE   IP  RAA   WAA   WAR  |  PA    WAR  |   WAR
========================================================
1894   20   80    0   0.0   0.9  |   27   0.0  |   1.0
1895   21  160    3   0.3   2.1  |   53   0.0  |   2.1
1896   22  200    6   0.5   2.8  |   67   0.0  |   2.8
1897   23  290    8   0.7   3.9  |   97   0.1  |   4.0
1898   24  310   10   1.0   4.3  |  103  -0.1  |   4.2 
1899   25  310    5   0.4   3.8  |  103   0.1  |   3.9 
1900   26  290   11   1.0   4.2  |   97   0.1  |   4.2 
1900   27  290   16   1.6   4.7  |   97   0.0  |   4.7 
1902   28  280   17   2.0   4.8  |   93   0.0  |   4.8 
1903   29  270   36   3.8   6.6  |   90   0.1  |   6.7 
1904   30  260   20   2.4   4.9  |   87   0.0  |   4.9 
1905   31  250    5   0.5   3.0  |   83   0.1  |   3.1 
1906   32  180  -22  -2.5  -0.7  |   60   0.0  |  -0.7 
1907   33  180    1   0.1   1.8  |   60   0.0  |   1.8 
1908   34  160   11   1.4   2.9  |   53   0.0  |   2.9
1909   35  120   23   3.1   4.2  |   40   0.0  |   4.2
1910   36   80   12   1.5   2.2  |   27   0.0  |   2.2
------------------------------------------------------- 
TOTAL     3710  159  17.7  56.5  | 1237   0.3  |  56.8 

Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960) 
Innings pitched: 32nd  
Pitching Wins Above Average: 81st
Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 37th  
Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): t-40th

Royer was a star in the 1890s, so we treated him like a top-of-the-rotation pitcher from 1897-1901, which is where all the innings are coming from. This is a very good but not great pitcher as we now estimate him. Perhaps if additional data arrives that fills in some of the front-half of his career, we’ll get a better idea of his performance. As it stands now, we have two big years plus the backside of his body of work.

* * *

Next time, we dust off our rhythmic hand clapping for centerfield. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, and we’ll start with Bernardo Baro, Jerry Benjamin, Gene Benson, and Irvin Brooks.

Negro Leagues Legends Wrap Up

[This page is not being updated with the latest MLE information.]

So we’ve been taken a tour of the diamond, introducing all of the Negro Leaguers honored by the brick-and-mortar Baseball Hall of Fame and the online only Hall of Merit. In doing so, we created Major League Equivalencies (MLE), estimates of what a player’s achievements might reasonably look like in an MLB setting.

Today, we’re going to put these 36 players on the same page so that you can compare and contrast them all you want in one spot. This will also help you develop mental benchmarks for the players we’ll be translating going forward, the best of the rest among blackball stars. We’ll show you the career component stats we’ve presented in our previous posts, along with some commentary about how reliable our estimates might be given the information that’s missing and our confidence in the specifics underlying the numbers. And for the eagle-eyed out there, we’ll drop a couple hints about some players we haven’t talked about yet who might be challengers to these 36 players.

First we’ll recap by position, then we’ll run a table sorted by career MLE WAR. Italics indicate the player is already a member of the Hall of Miller and Eric.

Negro Leagues legends by position

CATCHER


NAME               PA Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos  RAA   WAA   WAR 
===================================================================
Roy Campanella   7315  218  - 3   -19    25    61  283  27.9  54.9
Josh Gibson      8010  577  - 7     0    26   - 6  591  61.3  88.7
Biz Mackey       7000  253  - 7     0    18    50  315  30.8  53.1
Louis Santop     6560  231  - 4     0     2    73  302  33.1  56.2
Quincy Trouppe   7140  248  - 8     1     0    49  290  28.8  52.0

Let’s remember that our MLE for Gibson has him transitioning to first base during his peak years. Aside from Josh, we could toss the other four catchers into a hat and pick any one at random to come up with pretty much the same player. Some of them hit more than the others. Some field better than the others. Some played at a time when runs were more plentiful or scarcer. One slight advantage accrues to Louis Santop whose 1918 and 1919 seasons are placed into the war-shortened MLB schedules of those years. For those who prorate up to 154 or 162 from there, he’ll pick up another 30 to 50 games. Also, let’s remember that much of Trouppe’s career remains to be updated once the Negro Leagues Database (NLDB) uploads data for the post-war seasons. As for our elections, initial research into the best of the rest at catcher suggests that however many catchers we choose, the four unitalicized names above will be the sole candidates to merit strong consideration.

FIRST BASE


NAME             PA Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos  RAA   WAA   WAR 
=================================================================
Buck Leonard   9830  537  -15     0    27   -95  453  47.1  80.5
Mule Suttles  10190  374    0     0    39   -98  315  31.1  63.9 
Ben Taylor    10130  344  - 8     0    67   -84  319  34.6  69.9

There’s a bit more separation here than at catcher. Buck Leonard wins in a walk, and Ben Taylor finishes a clear second. Like Santop above, his career includes those 1918 and 1919 seasons, giving him still another edge on Suttles. We should note, however, that several of Suttles’ and Leonard’s seasons remain outside the NLDB. Looking forward, a few candidates that dang near nobody has ever heard of could make some noise at first base and challenge for a ballot spot. Let’s just say, we’ll send you the bill.

SECOND BASE


NAME               PA Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos  RAA   WAA   WAR 
===================================================================
Frank Grant                      ?????
Jackie Robinson  6953  332   36     4    97    36  500  50.2  76.4

Jackie was awfully good, and Grant’s career totals so far consist of very, very few plate appearances, so we just can’t do too much with him just yet. But the pickings at second aren’t robust. Outside of Grant, candidates simply don’t fall out of trees as they do at shortstop and centerfield. One fellow appears like an outside shot to rise up in challenge, but we have some work to do before we decide whether he’s marvelous enough to make it.

THIRD BASE


NAME              PA Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos  RAA   WAA   WAR 
==================================================================
Ray. Dandridge  7690  212   18     1   144    10  385  41.0  68.0
Judy Johnson    5400    2    0     0    24    31   57   5.7  22.7
Jud Wilson      8400  456    0     0    43    24   24  51.2  77.9

There’s a clear winner and clear loser here. Then there’s Ray Dandridge. This is probably the maximum value Dandridge could end up with. But we’re still working through how to best evaluate the fielding contributions of players whose primary source of fielding data is the minor leagues. Stay tuned, but know that Dandridge’s value is more likely to decrease than increase. Among the unheralded players we’ll be looking at in the near future, at least one has a puncher’s chance of a candidacy, and maybe a couple depending on what data becomes available and when. More on that later.

SHORTSTOP


NAME                PA Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos  RAA   WAA   WAR 
====================================================================
John Beckwith     7530  403  -17     0   -64    36  358  34.6  58.8 
Grant Johnson     9080  157  - 5     0    66   108  327  34.4  65.7
John Henry Lloyd  9490  410   40     0    39   112  601  67.7 102.5
Dick Lundy        9380  227   19     0    35   126  407  41.0  71.5
Dobie Moore       5380  239  - 1     0    99    75  412  43.8  62.2
Willie Wells     10780  229   20     0   100   149  497  50.6  85.9

Quite a melee here! Beckwith trails considerably due to his stone glove, while Lloyd and Wells are clear yesses. In between them is a very competitive trio. Dobie Moore lacks career length, but like Jackie, he packed a whale of a punch into his short tenure. He also would pick up some value due to the shortened war schedules of 1918 and 1919. But so would Dick Lundy! However, Grant “Home Run” Johnson gets even more with several turn of the century seasons that require proration. Once you account for all this, it’s a very close ranking. Well, lucky we get to pick 29 guys, because it’s possible that five of these six could end up with a plaque. Then again, two or three other, less well-known names are emerging in our research into the best of the rest. At a minimum, John Beckwith should be worried about losing his seat on the bus.

LEFT FIELD


NAME             PA Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos  RAA   WAA   WAR 
=================================================================
Monte Irvin    7817  356   36   -13    76   -43  412  42.5  70.1
Minnie Minoso  9952  360   18     5    21   -75  325  32.4  62.7

We really see Irvin more as a centerfielder, but his MLB career in left field gets him plunked here. Both he and Minoso have several seasons of missing data that could provide a little more jet fuel for their candidacies. Then again, Minoso is so close to the borderline that not-so-hot performances in the missing years could also set him back. Which leads to the larger point that Minoso probably shouldn’t be considered a Negro Leagues at all candidate because he played just a handful of his seasons in them. However, because we ran the numbers, we felt it was important to show his totals. In the future, left field looks like it has some depth among the also rans with the possibility of a couple borderliners. We’re just starting to pick at these guys, and while it wouldn’t be surprising in the least if we don’t elect a single Negro Leagues left fielder (if we call Irvin a centerfielder), some names could bubble up high enough to make a play. Sometimes betting against heavy odds pays off.

CENTERFIELD


NAME                  PA  Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos  RAA   WAA   WAR
======================================================================
Cool Papa Bell      10370  209   57     0   -13   -34  430  22.1  55.7
Willard Brown        9560  176    9   - 7    18   -41  155  15.6  49.4
Oscar Charleston     9910  626   37     0    31   -75  619  62.8  95.5
Larry Doby           7530  332   16    22    22   -19  375  38.5  62.4
Pete Hill           10330  419    5     0    26   -69  381  43.7  81.7
Alejandro Oms        9970  409    0     0   -12   -49  348  35.0  71.1
Turkey Stearnes     10500  600    6     0    35   -54  587  57.8  91.6
Cristobal Torriente  8380  486   20     0   -18   -57  432  46.8  76.1

Charleston and Stearnes, news at 11:00. But beyond them a bed vein of center field treasure. Pete Hill, Cristobal Torriente, and Alejandro Oms have compelling cases. Larry Doby and Cool Papa Bell are lagging behind, but in both their cases, some missing seasons could improve their odds. Then there’s Willard Brown. Need to reiterate here that his MLE is highly provisional. We have the missing seasons, and we have the fact that outfield defense is more difficult to figure than infield defense when most of the data comes from minor league seasons. Don’t count Brown out quite yet, but his case needs a lot of help. Again, this is a very deep position, and we have a ton of other quality candidates to check in on. We’ll give you pole to pole coverage, don’t worry.

RIGHT FIELD


NAME              PA Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos  RAA   WAA   WAR
===================================================================
Martin Dihigo*  10700 526    0     0    120  -65  581  59.0  94.1
Bullet Rogan*    9780 539   20     0     22  -99  481  50.1  83.0  
*Assumes the player did not have a pitching career

Again, we’re seeing Dihigo as more of a centerfielder than we are a right fielder, but that’s just the way his record fell out. With the exception of shortstop and catcher, you can put him at any old position you want, including on the mound, and he’s a Hall member in the making. That said, he’s probably a better hitter candidate than pitcher candidate, but he’s hardly a slouch on the mound. Rogan is more limited as a position player, really only a right fielder. But he sure could hit. He plays up better as a pitcher, but as you can see, he’s got some serious sting in that bat. Looking into the future, there are very few high quality right field candidates in general, so we think we’ll be lucky if even one strong candidate emerges.

PITCHER


                          PITCHING          |   BATTING  | TOTAL
NAME                  IP  RAA   WAA     WAR |  PA    WAR |  WAR 
=================================================================
Ray Brown            3940  160  18.0   57.9 | 1314   7.6 |  65.5 
Andy Cooper          3100  320  33.5   65.0 | 1034  -4.9 |  60.0
Leon Day             2860   68   8.2   37.2 |  954   5.3 |  42.5
Martin Dihigo-a*     4335  297  32.1   75.9 | 1446  12.4 |  88.2
Martin Dihigo-b*     3865  267  29.1   67.9 | 1289  10.4 |  78.3
Rube Foster          3420  159  20.9   54.6 | 1140   5.0 |  59.6
Willie Foster        3220  363  37.7   70.3 | 1075  -0.1 |  70.3
Jose Mendez          2420  317  39.7   62.3 |  807   1.3 |  63.9
Satchel Paige        4825  686  70.9  119.8 | 1584   1.5 | 121.4
Bullet Rogan*        4241  447  49.3   91.5 | 1414  12.6 | 104.1
Hilton Smith         3260  261  28.6   61.2 | 1088   5.5 |  66.7
Smokey Joe Williams  5210  545  63.7  114.6 | 1732   8.2 | 122.8
a: MLE created from scenario where Dihigo follows normal pitching career arc
b: MLE created more directly from Dihigo’s stats, which are heavily influenced by his two-way play
*Assumes the player did not have a position-player career

The only guy here whose case is on life support is Leon Day, but even has a ray of hope since one of his biggest seasons isn’t yet accounted for in the NLDB. As we’ve noted before, Andy Cooper’s MLE feels a little puffy. He’s missing a few tail-end seasons that we’ve had to fill in with league-average performance that may be making him look as though he finished stronger than he did. He’s also going to face a tough challenge and needs some good news to appear on the NLDB. Jose Mendez has a very short career, especially for his time, but man it’s a dandy. Pound for pound he might be the best guy on this list, but there’s just not enough bulk for him to get in the ring with Satchel or Smokey Joe.

Every one else is in the great middle until you reach Rogan, Williams and Paige. These three appear to be the cream. I’ve argued before that Paige is the clear choice as the #1 Negro Leagues pitchers, and quite possibly the best pitcher between the world wars. Joe Williams comes up behind him in overall value, but I would caution against getting too onto that bandwagon. The difference in pitching WAA is huge between them. Williams makes up some of the difference in bulk value that’s below average and above replacement, but a huge part of his run at Paige is from batting. Now if we only looked at this table, we’d think nearly every Negro Leagues pitcher was a star hitter too. They played the field and swung the bat a lot more than their more specialized MLB counterparts. It’s an open question whether their outstanding hitting bats would remain so potent in organized baseball. I’m guessing probably not, and that right there puts more separation between Paige (who wasn’t a great hitter anyway) and Williams who benefits more from his bat.

Most of the Negro Leagues pitchers we honor will come from this list. Maybe all of them. But there’s a whole lot of pitching talent that we haven’t begun to scratch the surface of understanding yet. Tons of talent, so much that we’re worried it will feel like a volley of cannonballs, so we’re going to alternate between pitchers and hitters. We don’t want to nuke you into a winter’s worth of pitching headaches.

We’re a zillion words into this post, so we’ll leave you with one final table. This time we’ll just list out all the guys above in order by their WAR, separating hitters and pitchers. By the way, in the hitters table, the position will reference the spot on the field where our MLE says they would have played the most, which doesn’t necessarily correspond to where we lumped them above.

Negro Leagues legends ranked by MLE WAR

HITTERS


RK  NAME           POS     PA Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos  RAA   WAA   WAR 
===========================================================================
 1  J. H. Lloyd     SS   9490  410   40     0    39   112  601  67.7 102.5
 2  O. Charleston   CF   9910  626   37     0    31   -75  619  62.8  95.5
 3  M. Dihigo*      CF  10700  526    0     0   120   -65  581  59.0  94.1
 4  T. Stearnes     CF  10500  600    6     0    35   -54  587  57.8  91.6
 5  J. Gibson     C/1B   8010  577  - 7     0    26   - 6  582  60.4  87.8

 6  W. Wells        SS  10780  229   20     0   100   149  497  50.6  85.9 
 7  B. Rogan*       RF   9780  539   20     0    22   -99  481  50.1  83.0   
 8  P. Hill         CF  10330  419    5     0    26   -69  381  43.7  81.7
 9  B. Leonard      1B   9830  537  -15     0    27   -95  453  47.1  80.5
10  J. Wilson       3B   8400  456    0     0    43    24  523  51.2  77.9 

11  J. Robinson     2B   6953  332   36     4    97    36  500  50.2  76.4
12  C. Torriente    CF   8380  486   20     0   -18   -57  432  46.8  76.1
13  D. Lundy        SS   9380  227   19     0    35   126  407  41.0  71.5
14  A. Oms          CF   9970  409    0     0   -12   -49  348  35.0  71.1
15  M. Irvin        CF   7817  356   36   -13    76   -43  412  42.5  70.1

16  B. Taylor       1B  10130  344  - 8     0    67   -84  319  34.6  69.9
17  R. Dandridge    3B   7690  212   18     1   144    10  385  41.0  68.0
18  G. Johnson      SS   9080  157  - 5     0    66   108  327  34.4  65.7
19  M. Suttles      1B  10190  374    0     0    39   -98  315  31.1  63.9 
20  M. Minoso       LF   9952  360   18     5    21   -75  325  32.4  62.7

21  L. Doby         CF   7490  332   16    22    22   -19  375  38.5  62.4
22  D. Moore        SS   5380  239  - 1     0    99    75  412  43.8  62.2
23  J. Beckwith     3B   7530  403  -17     0   -64    36  358  34.6  58.8 
24  L. Santop        C   6560  231  - 4     0     2    73  302  33.1  56.2
25  C.P. Bell       CF  10370  209   57     0   -13   -34  430  22.1  55.7

26  Campanella       C   7315  218  - 3   -19    25    61  283  27.9  54.9
27  B. Mackey        C   7000  253  - 7     0    18    50  315  30.8  53.1
28  Q. Trouppe       C   7140  248  - 8     1     0    49  290  28.8  52.0
29  W. Brown        CF   9560  176    9   - 7    18   -41  155  15.6  49.4
30  J. Johnson      3B   5400    2    0     0    24    31   57   5.7  22.7

PITCHERS


                          PITCHING        |  BATTING   | TOTAL
RK  NAME            IP   RAA  WAA   WAR   |  PA   WAR  |  WAR 
===============================================================
 1  J. Williams    5210  545  63.7 114.6  | 1732   8.2 | 122.8 
 2  Satchel Paige  4885  686  70.9 119.8  | 1584   1.5 | 121.4
 3  Bullet Rogan*  4241  447  49.3  91.5  | 1414  12.6 | 104.1
 4  M. Dihigo-a*   4335  297  32.1  75.9  | 1446  12.4 |  88.2
 5  M. Dihigo-b*   3865  267  29.1  67.9  | 1289  10.4 |  78.3

 6  Willie Foster  3220  363  37.7  70.3  | 1075  -0.1 |  70.3 
 7  H. Smith       3260  261  28.6  61.2  | 1088   5.5 |  66.7 
 8  Ray Brown      3940  160  18.0  57.9  | 1314   7.6 |  65.5 
 9  Jose Mendez    2420  317  39.7  62.3  |  807   1.3 |  63.9
10  Andy Cooper    3100  320  33.5  65.0  | 1034  -4.9 |  60.0 

11  Rube Foster    3420  159  20.9  54.6  | 1140   5.0 |  59.6
12  Leon Day       2860  368  8.2   37.2  |  954   5.3 |  42.5

See you next time when we get into the first five Negro Leagues pitchers who haven’t been elected to a Hall!

Evaluating Negro Leagues Corner Outfielders

[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]

The Negro Leagues didn’t exactly churn out high-profile corner outfielders. If you think about it for a moment this makes sense. The best righty athletes played shortstop, third base, or centerfield. The best lefty athletes played centerfield or pitched. First base wasn’t quite the sluggardly dumping ground it was in MLB, and fielding there was highly valued in the Negro Leagues. Catcher? That’s its own beast. Which leaves us with only second base, left field, and right field. For most of the existence of the Negro Leagues, second base was either a hitter’s position (like in MLB) or in transition toward a fielder’s position (as double plays increased). Like third base in the majors since the 1930s, it was something of a tweener job: not athletic enough to play the premium positions, but a good enough hitter to start. Then there were the corner pastures. The Negro Leagues produced some decent left fielders but they appear in retrospect to be second-tier guys, very few of whom were major stars. We’ll meet them sometime in 2018. Right field was even less respected. Pitchers routinely moonlighted in right field when not pitching. So this position has even less depth than left field.

Which explains why today’s crop of so-called corner outfielders are actually out of position despite being well known as corner guys. Monte Irvin played left field in organized (aka: white) baseball, but he played centerfield and shortstop in the Negro Leagues. Minnie Miñoso played third base and went to left field out to unblock his path. Bullet Rogan could hit nearly as well as he pitched, and Martín Dihigo, whom we encountered earlier, was the greatest utility man the world has ever seen. We refer you to our Major League Equivalencies (MLEs) for Negro Leagues batters for all the gory details on our translations, but those for Rogan and Dihigo don’t include any pitching value.

Left Field

Monte Irvin

[Note: Updated 1/14/18 to include 1946 data.]

[Updated 4/3/18 with minor park corrections.]

Montford Merrill Irvin was on the short list of players that Branch Rickey considered for integrating the Dodgers. Many African American players thought he should have been the first. Newark Eagles owners Abe and Effa Manley would have made a storm of it, and Rickey looked elsewhere. Irvin was considered the finest all-around player in black baseball. He possessed outstanding speed, a good arm, great general athleticism, and a high baseball IQ. Plus he could hit like the dickens. He spent nearly three seasons in Uncle Sam’s uniform in the mid-1940s, during which time he played little if any baseball, and he claimed he lost a lot of traction in the transition back. That just meant he went from amazing to outstanding before returning to amazing. Most fans today remember him as one of the earliest stars to integrate. He led the NL in RBIs in 1951, earning a third-place finish in the MVP vote. He was 32 and his best years were behind him. The Giants jerked him around a little, sending him on AAA assignments here and there during his tenure in Gotham. Even before that, he had to prove himself in the minors, as if he hadn’t been proving himself for ten years prior to that. Integration was a slow, stupid, fearful process, and it cost Monte Irvin MLB service time. It cost us all the chance to watch an all-time great.

Monte Irvin
Negro Leagues Stats | Major League Stats | Minor Leagues Stats | Bio
Career: 1938–1957
Destination: NL 1939–1956
Missing data: 1947–1948
Honors: Baseball Hall of Fame, Hall of Merit, Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame

Year Age Lg Pos    PA Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos RAA   WAA  Rrep RAR   WAR
===========================================================================
1939  20 NL CF    190    3    0    0     1     0    3   0.4    6    9   1.0
1940  21 NL CF    490   19    0    0     3   - 1   22   2.3   15   37   3.9
1941  22 NL CF    590   30    1    0     4   - 1   33   3.5   18   51   5.6
1942  23 NL CF    620   41    1    0     4   - 1   44   5.0   19   64   7.2
1943  24 NL CF     30    0    0    0     0     0    0   0.0    1    1   0.1
1944  25                         WORLD WAR TWO
1945  26 NL CF     90    1    0    0     0     0    2   0.2    3    4   0.5
1946  27 NL CF    640   40    1    0     4   - 1   44   4.9   20   64   7.2
1947  28 NL CF    640   27    1    0     4   - 1   30   3.1   20   50   5.2
1948  29 NL CF    580   27    1   -2     4   - 1   29   3.0   18   47   4.9
1949  30 NL RF    550   32    0   -2     0   - 5   36   2.6   17   43   4.4
1950  31 NL 1B    620   41    0   -2     8   - 6   41   4.1   19   60   6.1
1951  32 NL LF    657   40    4   -1     7   - 7   43   4.4   24   68   6.9
1952  33 NL LF    135    3   -1    0     0   - 1    1   0.1    5    6   0.6
1953  34 NL LF    502   29   -1   -3     7   - 5   28   2.6   19   47   4.5
1954  35 NL LF    512    5    0   -2    13   - 6   10   1.0   19   30   2.9
1955  36 NL LF    173   -4    1    0     4   - 5   -2  -0.3    7    5   0.4
1956  37 NL LF    388    7    0   -2    10   - 4   11   0.9   15   25   2.4
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 7407  340    7  -13    73   -43  365  37.6  246  612  63.8

Hypothetical MLB Career Rankings (1871–1960)
PA: 122nd 
Rbat: 41st
WAA: 34th
WAR: 36th

Two quick WW2 notes before we dive in a little further. Irvin played in a handful of games prior to his draft notice arriving in 1943. He was mustered out in August of 1945, arriving on September 1st to rejoin the Newark Eagles. That’s why all three years of his military service aren’t blank spots.

I mentioned above that Irvin was jerked around a bit by the Giants. In 1949, he played in 63 games with Jersey City, crushing AA with an 1.161 OPS. He was added to the big league roster in July, but got into only 36 of the Giants’ remaining 80 games. The team had three outfielders with an OPS+ in the 110 to 130 range. Irvin played little and in sporadic time didn’t hit that much. Our MLE reflects his actual performance while providing playing time appropriate to an All-Star player. In 1951, the same thing happened, only this time Irvin teed off with a 1.907 OPS, got to New York much earlier and hit well.

In 1952, Irvin suffered a gruesome ankle fracture. While he returned from it, he had obviously lost his speed. While our Rbaser figures prior to the injury, therefore, do not take his post-fracture running figures into account, we are using his MLB career Rdp rate for seasons without or with incomplete MLB data. He is likely losing a handful of runs here.

We also note that prior to his ankle injury, and putting aside 1949 for reasons mentioned above, Irvin played in 91% of games in known full seasons. This is the rate we use to generate his playing time prior to his big league years.

Regarding his position. He started life as a shortstop and quickly moved to centerfield where we have little data on his defense. So we went a different route. As a major league left fielder, Irvin earned 16 runs of combined positional value and fielding in 724 games. That’s 3.2 per 154. So to move him to centerfield retrospectively, we assumed that same rate per 154 games, and finding his fielding runs by subtracting his positional runs from that 3.2/154 rate. That averages out to about 4 Rfield in most seasons.

Ultimately, the MLE for Irvin tells a story reminiscent of Joe DiMaggio. Great young player, three years in the service, comes back and eventually injury does in his effectiveness. DiMag had more height to his peak, while Irvin played a couple more full seasons.

Minnie Miñoso

[Note: Updated 1/14/18 to include 1946 data.]

They called him Orestes in the Negro Leagues. They also called him a third baseman, but Miñoso signed with the Indians whose roster already included the fading Ken Keltner and the rising Al Rosen. So off to left field trundled Miñoso, where he would gain his fame. The irrepressible Miñoso became a popular figure thanks to his dashing all-around play and amiable attitude. It earned him seven All-Star berths, second place in the 1951 Rookie of the Year voting, four fourth-place finishes in the AL MVP voting, plus votes in several other seasons. He picked up three Gold Gloves to boot. He led the league in all sorts of categories throughout his career, including Hit by Pitched Ball an astounding ten times.

And that MLB career by itself isn’t enough. It hasn’t been for the Hall of Fame, nor for the Hall of Miller and Eric. So far, we haven’t taken his pre-MLB into account. Our rules prohibited us from doing so, and now we must decide how to apply our rules since we’ve finally gotten his MLEs worked out. They don’t, by the way, make him a slam dunk, but they put him right on or right over the line. Let’s go to it.

Minnie Miñoso
Major League Stats | Minor League Stats | Bio
Career: 1946–1964, 1976, 1980
Destination: AL 1947–1964
Missing data: 1947-1948
Honors: Hall of Merit, Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame, Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame
Year Age Lg Pos   PA Rbat Rbaser Rdp Rfield Rpos RAA   WAA  Rrep RAR   WAR
===========================================================================
1946  20 AL  3B  100    1    0    0     0     0    1   0.2    3    5   0.5
1947  21 AL  3B  450   15    1    0     0     0   15   1.7   14   29   3.2
1948  22 AL  3B  560   12    1    0   - 1     0   12   1.2   17   29   3.0
1949  23 AL  3B  590   26    1    0   - 2     0   23   2.4   18   43   4.3
1950  24 AL  3B  570   18    1    0   - 3     0   16   1.5   18   34   3.2
1951  25 AL  3B  622   39    4    1   - 4    -4   37   3.7   19   56   5.5
1952  26 AL  LF  668   18   -1    1     6    -4   19   2.1   19   39   4.0
1953  27 AL  LF  657   26    0   -1   - 1    -7   17   1.7   20   37   3.8
1954  28 AL  LF  676   47    2    0    16    -6   58   6.2   20   78   8.2
1955  29 AL  LF  614   14    1    0     8    -6   17   1.8   18   35   3.7
1956  30 AL  LF  665   43    3    2     2    -7   43   4.3   20   63   6.2
1957  31 AL  LF  678   30    3    1     5    -7   33   3.4   20   53   5.4
1958  32 AL  LF  538   32   -1    0     6    -7   29   3.0   19   48   5.0
1959  33 AL  LF  650   28    1    0    15    -7   36   3.5   19   55   5.5
1960  34 AL  LF  670   26   -2    0   - 5    -8   10   0.9   20   31   2.8
1961  35 AL  LF  635   21    2    1   -13    -7    3   0.1   19   23   2.0
1962  36 AL  LF  108  - 7    2    1     0    -1  - 6  -0.7    4  - 2  -0.3
1963  37 AL  LF  363  -10    0   -1   - 9    -4  -23  -2.7   11  -12  -1.6
1964  38 AL  LF   38    0    0    0     1     0    1   0.1    1    2   0.2
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                9952  378   18    5    21   -75  343  34.3  300  646  64.7

Hypothetical MLB Career Rankings (1871–1960)
PA: 23rd   
Rbat: 33rd
WAA: 44th   
WAR: 36th

To give you a sense of what’s missing, here’s what Miñoso’s pre-MLB career path looks like.

  • 1946: Negro Leagues
  • 1947: Negro Leagues, played in East-West All-Star Game
  • 1948: Negro Leagues, played in East-West All-Star Game; 11 games at Dayton of the A-level Central League, .525 AVG, .825 SLG
  • 1949: 9 games with the Indians, 137 with San Diego of the PCL, .855 OPS as a 23 year old
  • 1950: 169 games with San Diego, .945 OPS

There’s little reason to believe that Miñoso wasn’t a big-league ready player at a very early age. These MLEs add an additional 13.2 WAR to The Cuban Comet’s MLB total. There is likely some wiggling that’s going to happen as more data is released at the Negro Leagues Database. Miñoso’s rookie season of 1946 was just released, and looks less flattering than 1947 and 1948 promise to be. In fact, it drags him down by 0.2 WAR from his 1946-less MLE, because it’s good enough to include as if he were a part-time player breaking in as a rookie. That’s exactly what you see above, and he was an average ballplayer. We got 1947 in June of 2018, and it is a very good batting season (+15 Rbat) that pushes his numbers for 1946, 1948, and 1949 a little bit upward. If 1948 is also a good season, that could help Miñoso pick up a bit more value. Of course the opposite could be true as well. What they will do, we hope, is give us a better sense of his fielding value. We stepped him down gradually to a place where moving to left field made sense, but in the event, he might well have been above average at the hot corner. We don’t currently know. The other missing link is those 11 games in the Central League. They don’t currently count toward his record because we are missing walks and we don’t have league-wide totals to work from. Hey, 11 amazing games can help, even if just a little bit.

Overall, Miller and I are already having lively discussions about Miñoso and how we handle his case. As we approach our January vote, it’ll likely heat up. Note: We elected him.

Right Field

Martín Dihigo

When last we saw our hero, Dihigo was sporting a pair of pitching MLEs. Now we get to see how he’d look if he made the majors only as a position player. El Maestro played nearly all the positions around the diamond. Here’s the games listed on the Negro Leagues Database and the innings as well. We’re missing innings for many seasons, which is why the two don’t quite pass the eye test:

  • 1B: 64 games, 235 innings
  • 2B: 41 games, 108 innings
  • 3B: 66 games, 406 innings
  • SS: 40 games, 142 innings
  • LF: 23 games, 151 innings
  • CF: 45 games, 340 innings
  • RF: 57 games, 300 innings

And that’s just the Negro Leagues. He played for many years in Venezuela and the Mexican League, not to mention various winter leagues, but we don’t too much info on them. But when it comes down to it, his defensive stats look best at centerfield and right field. But he played more in the corners than in center, which is why we’re sharing him with you among the corner guys. In our MLE, he’s more centerfielder than anything else, and he starts out in center and moves eastward at age 32, then finally to first base at age 39 to round out his final three years.

Martín Dihigo
Negro Leagues Stats | Bio 
Career: 1924–1947 
Destination: NL 1924–1947 
Missing data: 1929, 1932–1934 
Honors: Baseball Hall of Fame, Hall of Merit, Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame

Year Age Lg Pos   PA Rbat Rbaser Rfield  Rpos RAA   WAA Rrep  RAR   WAR
========================================================================
1925  20 NL  CF  180    7    0       2   - 1    8   0.7    6   13   1.3
1926  21 NL  CF  460   37    1       5   - 3   40   4.0   14   54   5.5
1927  22 NL  CF  590   36    1       6   - 3   40   4.0   18   58   5.9
1928  23 NL  CF  590   20    1       6   - 3   24   2.4   18   42   4.3
1929  24 NL  CF  580   26    1       6   - 2   31   2.8   18   49   4.5
1930  25 NL  CF  590   36    1       6   - 2   41   3.5   18   59   5.2
1931  26 NL  CF  570   34    1       6   - 2   39   4.0   18   56   5.9
1932  27 NL  CF  570   28    1       6   - 2   32   3.3   18   50   5.1
1933  28 NL  CF  560   26    1       6   - 2   31   3.5   17   48   5.5
1934  29 NL  CF  570   26    1       6   - 2   31   3.1   18   49   4.9
1935  30 NL  CF  590   28    1       6   - 2   33   3.3   18   52   5.2
1936  31 NL  CF  580   26    1       6   - 2   31   3.1   18   49   5.0
1937  32 NL  RF  550   34    1       6   - 5   35   3.6   17   52   5.4
1938  33 NL  RF  580   37    1       6   - 6   39   4.0   18   57   6.0
1939  34 NL  RF  580   37    1       7   - 6   39   4.0   18   57   5.9
1940  35 NL  RF  550   24    1       6   - 5   26   2.7   17   43   4.6
1941  36 NL  RF  560   17    1       6   - 5   18   2.0   17   36   3.9
1942  37 NL  RF  450   16    0       5   - 4   17   2.0   14   31   3.6
1943  38 NL  RF  380   12    0       4   - 4   13   1.5   12   25   2.9
1944  39 NL  1B  350    6    0       6   - 3    9   1.0   11   20   2.2
1945  40 NL  1B  300   10    0       5   - 3   12   1.3    9   22   2.3
1946  41 NL  1B  290   13    0       5   - 3   15   1.7    9   24   2.7
------------------------------------------------------------------------
               11020  535   12     125   -69  603  61.4  343  947  97.7

Hypothetical MLB Career Rankings (1871–1960)
PA: 9th
Rbat: 18th 
WAA: 13th  
WAR: 12th

As he does on the mound, Dihigo looks like a star. Only more so.  He’s quite a hitter, an outstanding fielder, and an average runner. With four years of missing data and a couple others with relatively little data, there’s a lot of use of Dihigo’s career average. This weighs down his peak and makes him look preternaturally consistent, and you may want to look at the career data as your primary barometer.

Back to the fielding question for a moment. About the only places you wouldn’t want to put him on for an MLE are shortstop and second base. He wasn’t abysmal at either, but there’s a noticeable gap between his defensive performance there and everywhere else. Which leaves us with centerfield as probably his best fit position-wise. But if you wanted to run an MLE with him starting off at third base and moving across the infield, that could easily work too. This configuration made the most sense to me as a major league career pathway, and we could well discover how wrong we really are should more data come to light. That said, we haven’t done a lot of shaping here, just plugging in his average defensive rate over time. His younger seasons might well have more value and his older ones less.

Bullet Rogan

We’ve already showed you that Rogan is a top-five pitcher in Negro Leagues history. He’s nearly as good in the outfield. In this MLE, we’re working from the premise that he never pitched and played as a full-time right fielder. He certainly had the arm for it.  And the bat. His 160 OPS+ in Negro Leagues play is 13th highest on the Negro Leagues Database. It’s actually 17 points higher than Dihigo’s.

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

Year Age Lg Pos   PA Rbat Rbaser Rfield  Rpos RAA   WAA  Rrep RAR   WAR
========================================================================
1915  21 NL  CF  300   16    0       2   - 3   15   1.8    9   25   3.0
1916  22 NL  CF  560   31    1       4   - 7   28   3.5   17   46   5.8
1917  23 NL  CF  560   31    1       4   - 6   28   3.5   17   46   5.7
1918  24 NL  CF  460   24    1       3   - 5   23   2.7   14   37   4.5
1919  25 NL  CF  510   25    1       3   - 6   23   2.8   16   39   4.7
1920  26 NL  CF  530   18    1       3   - 6   16   1.8   17   33   3.8
1921  27 NL  CF  630   27    1       4   - 7   25   2.5   20   45   4.6
1922  28 NL  CF  650   53    1       4   - 6   52   4.9   20   72   6.9
1923  29 NL  CF  570   34    1       2   - 5   31   3.0   18   49   4.8
1924  30 NL  CF  550   49    1       1   - 5   45   4.5   17   62   6.3
1925  31 NL  CF  550   32    1       1   - 5   28   2.6   17   45   4.3
1926  32 NL  CF  580   33    1       1   - 6   29   2.9   18   47   4.8
1927  33 NL  RF  590   32    1       1   - 6   28   2.8   18   46   4.7
1928  34 NL  RF  630   33    1       0   - 6   28   2.8   20   48   4.8
1929  35 NL  RF  600   33    1      -1   - 6   27   2.4   19   45   4.2
1930  36 NL  RF  510   28    1      -2   - 5   22   1.9   16   38   3.3
1931  37 NL  RF  380   20    0      -2   - 4   15   1.5   12   27   2.8
1932  38 NL  RF  380   16    0      -3   - 4   10   1.0   12   22   2.2
1933  39 NL  RF  190    7    0      -2   - 2    3   0.4    6    9   1.0
1934  40 NL  1B   50   -3    0       1     0   -3  -0.4    2   -2  -0.2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                9780  539   20      22   -99  473  49.0  305  778  82.0

Hypothetical MLB Career Rankings (1871–1960)
PA: 28th
Rbat: 18th 
WAA: 18th  
WAR: 16th

Seems like we’ll elect this guy at whatever position he played. I left his fielding alone and didn’t include the algorithmically derived version because I’d already done a lot of shaping. But Rogan is a +6/154 right fielder according to the formula, which is very similar to what you see in his good years above.

* * *

Next time out we’ll start our look at centerfield. The Negro Leagues spat out great centerfielders left and right, and our this two-parter will feature Cool Papa Bell, Willard Brown, Oscar Charleston, and Larry Doby.

Evaluating Negro Leagues Pitchers, Part I: Brown, Cooper, Day, Dihigo

[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 recently described to you our method for creating Major League Equivalencies (MLEs) for Negro Leagues pitchers. Today we start unveiling the results. This is the first of three posts in which we’ll share MLEs for Hall of Fame and Hall of Merit Negro Leagues pitchers in alphabetical order.

Today we’re going to cover Ray Brown, Andy Cooper, Leon Day, and Martín Dihigo.

Each MLE should not be too literally interpreted. There’s a lot of moving parts, and, yes, human error creeps in sometimes. We suggest looking first at the player’s career numbers than at the seasonals, the latter of which are more volatile and more likely to look funny to you. We’ll include information about some of the thornier issues in each man’s record along the way as well as provide some sense of what these players would like compared to MLB players. The reason for the latter is not to demean their actual performance in the leagues they played in, but rather to give you a sense of what their performance reminds us of and as a sanity check to be sure that we’re doing our job correctly. We invite you to tell us what you think in the comments so we can refine these estimates.

Ray Brown

[Note: Updated 1/14/18. Presence of highly skewed league data caused z-score translations to be appear artificially low. Fixed.]

Ray Brown was a durable righty in the 1930s and 1940s whose record on the Negro Leagues Database currently stands at 111-37 (.750) and a 145 ERA+ that sits eleventh among pitchers with at least 200 innings in the database. His 35.2 WAR rank second in among hurlers and his 1310 innings place ninth. Brown threw the kitchen sink at hitters and was most well known for his curveball. The mainstay of the dynastic Homestead Grays, he was known as a tough competitor but pleasant and quiet. He was also a favorite in Cuba and Puerto Rico where he racked up impressive records and was known as Jabao (freckled one). Not much is known about him personally because he died in 1965, just before intensive research got underway to interview Negro Leagues players before they passed on.

Ray Brown
Negro Leagues Stats | Minor Leagues Stats | Bio
Career: 1932–1951
Destination: NL 1932–1951
Missing data: 1950–1953, any Cuban or Puerto Rican winter seasons
Honors: Baseball Hall of Fame, Hall of Merit
               PITCHING          |  BATTING    |  TOTAL
YEAR  AGE   IP  RAA   WAA   WAR  |  PA    WAR  |   WAR
========================================================
1932   24  210  - 7  -0.7   1.5  |   70   0.4  |   1.9
1933   25  240  - 2  -0.3   2.1  |   80   0.5  |   2.6
1934   26  230  -14  -1.4   1.0  |   77   0.5  |   1.5
1935   27  220   25   2.6   4.8  |   73   0.4  |   5.2
1936   28  270   33   3.5   6.2  |   90   0.6  |   6.8
1937   29  260    7   0.8   3.4  |   87   0.5  |   4.0
1938   30  260    9   1.0   3.6  |   87   0.6  |   4.2
1939   31  260   21   2.3   4.9  |   87   0.5  |   5.4
1940   32  270   27   2.9   5.7  |   90   0.6  |   6.2
1941   33  250   29   3.3   5.7  |   83   0.5  |   6.3
1942   34  250   22   2.7   5.1  |   83   0.5  |   5.6
1943   35  160   22   2.6   4.1  |   53   0.3  |   4.4
1944   36  260    3   0.3   3.0  |   87   0.4  |   3.4
1945   37  210  - 3  -0.4   1.8  |   70   0.3  |   2.1
1946   38  200  -15  -1.7   0.3  |   67   0.4  |   0.7
1947   39  160  - 2  -0.2   1.4  |   53   0.3  |   1.7
1948   40  110    3   0.3   1.4  |   37   0.2  |   1.6
1949   41   40    2   0.2   0.9  |   23   0.1  |   1.1
1950   42   40    1   0.2   0.6  |   13   0.1  |   0.6
1951   43   10    1   0.1   0.2  |    3   0.0  |   0.2
-------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL     3940  160  18.0  58.0  | 1314   7.5  |  65.4

Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960)
Innings pitched: 26th
Pitching Wins Above Average: 78th
Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 32nd
Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): t-20th

At this time, Brown’s best MLB comps are Red Ruffing and Burleigh Grimes. They also had the same strengths and weaknesses: Long careers, good-to-great great bats for a moundsman, and pretty good on the bump, itself, but not exactly Lefty Grove either. Ruffing is the upside, Grimes is the downside. Though he looks like more Ruffing than Grimes, lacking Old Stubblebeard’s tendency to ying and yang between good and poor seasons, and being at least twice as good a hitter. More like Ruffing in that sense as well.

I expected Ray Brown to come out looking like a higher-tier pitcher than he has. But there’s a couple things of interest here that appear to militate against that:

  1. Brown pitched in front of several teams with HUGE DRA totals, which he is debited for (though we cap at +/- 0.50 runs per nine innings).
  2. Because we use for our innings estimates the workload of a typical MLB pitcher, Brown may show fewer MLE innings than he might have racked up in MLB. He doesn’t appear to have much of an injury history and may well have been able to shoulder an ace’s load.
  3. He’s getting hurt by his 1934 season, which was short 22.33 IP and bad (60 ERA+). We haven’t manually adjusted for that here, but even just making him a league average pitcher for that year would add 4 WAR to his career MLE total. It’s possible that step is in order to bring him closer to the historical consensus.
  4. Brown was excellent in winter league play but because that data (especially the league-wide pitching data) is not available yet on the Negro Leagues Database, we haven’t included it. Brown seems unlikely to be elected in our first round of HoME Negro Leagues elections, but he will surely make it into the subsequent rounds. It may be that taking an independent dive into his Cuban seasons could help, though Puerto Rican information remains sketchy at this time.

 Andy Cooper

[Note: Updated 1/1/18 to fix a transcription error in 1925 (formerly 8.0 WAR, not corrected to 5.4 WAR).]

[Note: Updated 1/14/18. Presence of highly skewed league data caused z-score translations to be appear artificially low. Fixed.]

One of a pair of brothers to pitch in the Negro Leagues, Cooper had the profile of a big-league lefty: a wide repertoire of pitches all of which had wrinkle to them, thrown with pinpoint control, at a variety of speeds. And, of course, a good move to first. In other words, a classic finesse pitcher. Stylistically, players like Jimmy Key and Mark Buehrle spring instantly to mind. He made his bones with the Detroit Stars in the 1920s Negro National League but eventually signed on with the famous Kansas City Monarchs, forming an impressive trio with Hilton Smith and Satchel Paige at one juncture. He also managed the team.

Andy Cooper
Negro Leagues Stats | Bio
Career: 1920–1939
Destination: NL 1920–1936
Missing data: 1926–1927, 1929–1932
Honors: Baseball Hall of Fame
                PITCHING         |   BATTING   |  TOTAL
YEAR  AGE   IP  RAA   WAA   WAR  |   PA   WAR  |   WAR
=======================================================
1920   24  140    5   0.6   1.9  |   47  -0.4  |   1.5
1921   25  220    6   0.6   2.9  |   73  -0.4  |   2.4
1922   26  250   46   4.7   7.2  |   83  -0.3  |   6.9
1923   27  210   14   1.4   3.5  |   70  -0.4  |   3.1
1924   28  200   22   2.4   4.4  |   67  -0.5  |   3.9
1925   29  210   32   3.2   5.3  |   70  -0.3  |   5.1
1926   30  200   30   3.2   5.2  |   67  -0.4  |   4.8
1927   31  210   23   2.4   4.5  |   70  -0.4  |   4.2
1928   32  210   12   1.2   3.4  |   70  -0.3  |   3.1
1929   33  200   18   1.7   3.8  |   67  -0.2  |   3.6
1930   34  200   20   1.8   4.0  |   67  -0.2  |   3.7
1931   35  220   24   2.6   4.8  |   73  -0.3  |   4.5
1932   36  210   22   2.4   4.5  |   70  -0.3  |   4.2
1933   37  210   21   2.5   4.5  |   70  -0.4  |   4.1
1934   38  170   21   2.2   4.0  |   57  -0.2  |   3.8
1935   39   30    4   0.7   0.7  |   10   0.0  |   0.6
1936   40   10    2   0.3   0.3  |    3   0.0  |   0.3
-------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL     3100  320  33.5  65.0  | 1034  -4.9  |  60.0

Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960)

Innings pitched: 65th
Pitching Wins Above Average: 26th
Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 22nd
Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): 32nd

Cooper’s 1925 translated RA9 is considerably lower than the qualified league leader in the NL. So we adjust him to 10% above the leader so we aren’t overshooting. His last two seasons also translated better than the leader, and even though we are nipping the innings down from an initial projection, we are still capping his RA9.

Cooper might look better in this MLE than he does on the Negro Leagues database. Part of the reason could be that our protocol substitutes the pitcher’s MLE-career average performance in instances where we have no data available to us. Much of the heart of Cooper’s career is missing, so he either currently looks worse on the Negro Leagues Database than he ought to, or he looks better in our MLE. We won’t know until we know. So the combination of lopping off a couple of lesser end-of-career seasons, giving him MLE-career average performance in missing seasons, and giving him more innings in his salad days makes him come forward a bit.

On the other hand, I translated him in 2005 at the Hall of Merit for 500 more innings than this MLE and a .560 win% (223-176). We didn’t have team and league stats at that time, nor did we have WAR. But if .560 represents his true performance level, then that’s 22 WAA in shorthand (10 runs per win, 22 wins or so above .500). So I’m coming in higher now than previously, but by enough to be covered by things like park factors and team defense. Another poster on BTF chipped in that they figured 223 Win Shares, if you remember them from early 2000s. Divide Win Shares by 3 for wins, and that’s 74, and maybe nip off some wins for sub-replacement performance since Win Shares doesn’t really deal with replacement much, if at all, and you’re in the same neighborhood we’ve arrived at here.

Overall, Andy Cooper has long particularly reminded me of Andy Pettitte: Long-career lefties who didn’t have great fastballs, who played on the dominant team of their times (the Monarchs being the Yanks of the Negro Leagues), who weren’t notably durable in-season but who generally stayed in the rotation, who had a big year or three, who were generally not All-Star type pitchers but nonetheless were above average for a long time in run prevention, and who were not typically the ace of their staff. Mark Buehrle might also fit this description. We’ve projected Cooper as a #3 starter for most of his career based on the number of starts he had on his real teams, but on virtually any other team he would have been a solid number two man. In that way, we could be coming in low on him bulk-wise.

Two final notes. First, some of the biographical data indicates that Andy Cooper might have hurt his arm in late 1930, though that’s contradicted by his participation and performance in the California Winter League that winter. Still, I hedged on 1931 and took his innings down a bit. Second, Cooper had an excellent record during a brief run as the Monarch’s manager in the late 1930s, winning three pennants.

Leon Day

[Note: Day’s 1952 MLE updated on 1/1/18 to correct a transcription error. It previously read 2.2 Total WAR and is now, correctly, listed at 1.5.]

[Note: Updated 1/6/18 to correct STDEV information for seasons in late 1930s to include all pitchers, not just ERA qualifiers; to use the manual adjustment on his 1943 season.]

[Note: All MLEs here updated 1/13/18 to include newly released data for 1946, which add about two WAA/WAR to his pitching totals; also updated batting for consistency of approach.]

[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 correct a tiny calculation error that resulted in +0.3 WAA/WAR and +3 RAA.]

Day struck out lots of hitters and was selected for seven East-West All-Star Games as the main man in the Newark Eagles’ rotation. In 586 innings, he struck out 402 hitters in the Negro Leagues, a rate of 166 per year, good for 9th among documented Negro Leagues seasons. He served two years during World War II, spent a couple seasons in Mexico, and in his final years toiled in the minor leagues.

Leon Day
Negro Leagues Stats | Minor Leagues Stats | Bio
Career: 1934–1953
Destination: NL 1935–1953
Missing Data: 1949, 1950
Honors: Baseball Hall of Fame, Hall of Merit
               PITCHING          |  BATTING    |  TOTAL
YEAR  AGE  IP   RAA   WAA   WAR  |   PA   WAR  |   WAR
=======================================================
1935   18   50    5   0.5   1.0  |   17   0.1  |   1.1
1936   19  100    9   0.9   1.9  |   33   0.2  |   2.1
1937   20  170  - 3  -0.3   1.4  |   57   0.3  |   1.7
1938   21  140  - 1  -0.1   1.3  |   47   0.3  |   1.6
1939   22  260   20   2.2   4.8  |   87   0.5  |   5.3
1940   23  230   20   2.2   4.5  |   77   0.4  |   4.9
1941   24  210   12   1.3   3.4  |   70   0.4  |   3.8
1942   25  180   27   3.3   5.0  |   60   0.3  |   5.4
1943   26  220   26   3.1   5.2  |   73   0.3  |   5.5
1944   27                        |             |
1945   28                        |             |
1946   29  260    4   0.4   3.0  |   87   0.5  |   3.5
1947   30  180  - 8  -0.8   1.1  |   60   0.3  |   1.4
1948   31  210  - 9  -1.1   1.2  |   70   0.4  |   1.6
1949   32  260    0   0.0   2.7  |   87   0.5  |   3.2
1950   33  160    2   0.2   1.8  |   53   0.3  |   2.1
1951   34   40    1   0.1   0.5  |   13   0.1  |   0.5
1952   35  160  - 6  -0.7   0.9  |   53   0.3  |   1.2
1953   36   30  - 5  -0.5  -0.2  |   10   0.1  |  -0.1
-------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL     2860   93  10.9  39.8  |  954   5.3  |  45.1

Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960)

Innings pitched: 90th
Pitching Wins Above Average: t-151th
Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 92nd 
Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): 74th

Day hurt his arm in the offseason of 1937 and missed some time in 1938, which we’ve accounted for. He also missed 2 years and one September to the war. The tough spot in this MLE is 1937. In his SABR bio, Day and the author claim it as an outstanding year, something like 13-0. But on the Negro Leagues Database, we only have a few starts from him. Those starts are good not great, and when translated are roughly average. It is entirely possible that the Database simply doesn’t yet have his complete numbers for 1937. Day’s bio also says that he had a dead arm in 1946 after a two-year army layoff. Despite that, he pitched the whole year, and his stats that year from the Negro Leagues Database suggest he was in great form. His performance in Mexico in 1947 and 1948 certainly suggests he had lost something. The apparent rally in 1949 and 1950 is probably only because our protocol uses his career average due to no data for those seasons. He pitched reasonably well in the minors at ages 34 and 35, but at 36 was very clearly done.

As a hitter, he was excellent. Not as good as Ray Brown, but really good. In fact, in 1943, he spent a little time with the Philadelphia Stars in addition to the Eagles, but he didn’t pitch once for them. He was too busy in their lineup at second base.

These MLEs suggest that value-wise, he comps to a pitcher such as Howard Ehmke, only with a good bat. Or perhaps Red Lucas who had a great bat. Style-wise, not so much. Generally, that feels too flat for me, but until we see the rest of the data on him, we can’t say with certainty. But now that we have the 1946 data, we are missing only two summer seasons of information and whatever in-season data is not yet available. We are closing in on the point where we have a high degree of confidence that Day was not a Hall level pitcher.

Martín Dihigo

[Note: Updated 1/14/18. Presence of highly skewed league data caused z-score translations to be appear artificially low. Fixed.]

Last licks today for Martín Dihigo (pronounced Mar-TEEN DEE-go), a most interesting case. He’s famous for playing all the hell over the diamond, but he also had a substantial pitching career, and a good one. His evolution to starting pitcher, however, was slow. From 1923 (age 18) through 1931 (age 26), his appearances at pitcher amounted to 17% of his total games played, and he appears to have been used as a #4/5 or swing starter since he was incredibly useful elsewhere on the diamond. Then there’s a three-year blank spot where he toured with a team out of the Dominican, with no stats available. When he returned to the Negro Leagues in 1935–1936, he pitched in almost 30% of his games played, still holding down a regular job as a position player too. Beginning in 1937 he went down Mexico way, and in La Liga, he pitched in 40+% of his games, and, yes, continued to play the field as a regular until the very end. Which means that there’s two ways we can approach Dihigo’s career with MLEs. The first is that he was a pitcher all the way and would have followed a typical pitcher’s path in terms of workload. The other is just to run the numbers as is.

We’re presenting both versions so you can get an idea of the spread of potential we’re talking about here.

Martín Dihigo
Negro Leagues Stats | Bio
Typical pitching arc
Career: 1924–1947
Destination: NL 1924–1947
Missing data: 1929, 1932–1934
Honors: Baseball Hall of Fame, Hall of Merit, Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame
               PITCHING          |   BATTING   |  TOTAL
YEAR  AGE   IP   RAA   WAA   WAR |   PA   WAR  |   WAR
========================================================
1924   19   50    6   0.6   1.1  |   17   0.1  |   1.2
1925   20   80    5   0.4   1.3  |   27   0.2  |   1.5
1926   21  100  - 7  -0.7   0.4  |   33   0.3  |   0.6
1927   22  200  - 4  -0.4   1.7  |   67   0.6  |   2.3
1928   23   50  -14  -1.3  -0.8  |   17   0.2  |  -0.6
1929   24  180   12   1.1   3.0  |   60   0.5  |   3.5
1930   25  200   44   4.0   6.1  |   67   0.5  |   6.6
1931   26  220   15   1.6   3.9  |   73   0.6  |   4.5
1932   27  210   16   1.7   3.8  |   70   0.6  |   4.5
1933   28  210   12   1.4   3.5  |   70   0.6  |   4.1
1934   29  200   15   1.5   3.6  |   67   0.6  |   4.2
1935   30  190   24   2.5   4.4  |   63   0.5  |   4.9
1936   31  200   21   2.2   4.2  |   67   0.6  |   4.8
1937   32  260   23   2.5   5.1  |   87   0.8  |   5.9
1938   33  260   39   4.4   6.9  |   87   0.8  |   7.8
1939   34  260   19   2.0   4.7  |   87   0.8  |   5.5
1940   35  190    8   0.9   2.8  |   63   0.6  |   3.4
1941   36  190    8   0.9   2.8  |   63   0.6  |   3.4
1942   37  250    9   1.0   3.5  |   83   0.8  |   4.3
1943   38  220   33   4.0   6.1  |   73   0.4  |   6.5
1944   39  230   28   3.2   5.5  |   77   0.3  |   5.8
1945   40  210    3   0.3   2.4  |   70   0.6  |   3.0
1946   41  130  -25  -2.5  -1.2  |   43   0.2  |  -0.9
1947   42   50    7   0.7   1.2  |   17   0.4  |   1.6
-------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL     4340  297  32.2  75.9  | 1448  12.4  |  88.3

Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960)
Innings pitched: 17th
Pitching Wins Above Average: 28th
Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 13th
Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): 8th

In both the versions we’re presenting, Dihigo’s 1930 translated RA9 is considerably lower than the qualified league leader in the NL. So we adjust him to 10% above the leader for reasonableness.

Worth noting that in this and the following MLE, we have given Dihigo 50 innings in 1928 because, well, he stank it up. Seems unlikely that he would have been given a long leash while allowing that many runs.

Here we have a player with a good if not phenomenal peak plus lots of bulk, and, of course, an excellent bat. This version of Dihigo looks like a little peakier version of Ted Lyons but with three times the bat. Heckuva package.

Martín Dihigo
As-is estimate
               PITCHING          |  BATTING    |  TOTAL
YEAR  AGE  IP   RAA   WAA   WAR  |  PA    WAR  |   WAR
=======================================================
1924   19   50    6   0.6   1.1  |   17   0.1  |   1.2
1925   20   80    5   0.4   1.3  |   27   0.2  |   1.5
1926   21  100  - 7  -0.7   0.4  |   33   0.3  |   0.6
1927   22  150  - 3  -0.3   1.3  |   50   0.4  |   1.7
1928   23   50  -14  -1.3  -0.8  |   17   0.1  |  -0.6
1929   24  150    9   0.9   2.4  |   50   0.4  |   2.9
1930   25  150   33   3.0   4.5  |   50   0.4  |   4.9
1931   26  140    9   1.0   2.4  |   47   0.4  |   2.8
1932   27  150   11   1.1   2.7  |   50   0.4  |   3.1
1933   28  130    8   0.9   2.2  |   43   0.3  |   2.5
1934   29  140   11   1.1   2.5  |   47   0.4  |   2.9
1935   30  150   18   1.9   3.4  |   50   0.4  |   3.8
1936   31  170   18   1.8   3.5  |   57   0.5  |   4.0
1937   32  260   23   2.5   5.1  |   87   1.7  |   5.9
1938   33  260   39   4.4   6.9  |   87   1.7  |   7.7
1939   34  260   19   2.0   4.7  |   87   1.7  |   5.4
1940   35  190    8   0.9   2.8  |   63   0.6  |   3.4
1941   36  190    8   0.9   2.8  |   63   0.6  |   3.4
1942   37  250    9   1.0   3.5  |   83   1.7  |   4.2
1943   38  220   33   4.0   6.1  |   73   0.4  |   6.5
1944   39  230   28   3.2   5.5  |   77   0.3  |   5.8
1945   40  210   12   1.3   3.5  |   70   0.6  |   4.1
1946   41  130  -25  -2.5  -1.2  |   43   0.2  |  -0.9
1947   42   60    8   0.9   1.5  |   20   0.4  |   1.9
-------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL     3870  267  29.1  67.9  | 1291  10.4  |  78.4

Hypothetical MLB career rankings (1871–1960)
Innings pitched: 28th
Pitching Wins Above Average: t-34th
Pitching Wins Above Replacement: 18th
Total Wins Above Replacement (pitchers only): 11th

Still kind of like Ted Lyons, only a little flatter peak this time. Same great bat as before, just in slightly less playing time.

Again, the difference here is all in the innings pitched. In the first version, we see a rough estimate of what he might have done with a more typical MLB career arc as a pitcher. The second version is much less interpretative and shows us how his pitching career was bifurcated between his American (through 1936) and Mexican (after 1936) experiences. Either way, he appears very strong, and it’ll be very interesting to see how his MLEs as a position player come out by comparison.

OK, that’s it for part one. Next time out, we’ll have a go at messers Foster, Foster, Mendéz, and Paige. And if you’re worried that you don’t see enough peak value in these performers, wait til part two. You won’t be disappointed.

Institutional History

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