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Thread: Jack Chesbro

  1. #1

    Jack Chesbro

    I was reading his SABR biography. They threw in an excerpt from Bill James at the end stating Chesbro was no better than three of his contemporaries and for a couple years teammates - Sam Leever, Deacon Philippe and Jesse Tannehill.

    They have remarkably similar careers. They each had 9 year stretches of at least 20 starts between 1898 - 1908 (collectively). Chesbro seems to come out on top while playing on comparatively worse teams. Not sure what James was thinking.

    Player W L ERA GS CG SHO IP BB SO ERA+
    Chesbro 192 118 2.53 310 243 35 2692 614 1217 116
    Tannehill 178 95 2.63 275 235 30 2355 384 843 121
    Philippe 167 104 2.56 268 230 25 2335 335 857 122
    Leever 164 87 2.48 264 219 35 2254 502 748 125

    I know Chesbro has the lower ERA+. I put it in there for context into why James may have made his statement.
    Last edited by bluesky5; 05-08-2012 at 10:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Chesbro won 40 games in a season. The others didn't.

    (I've always been quite fond of Leever's career myself).
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesky5 View Post
    Chesbro comes out on top while playing on comparatively worse teams.
    Can you clarify? Who is saying Chesbro comes out on top? Is this what you are saying? Or someone else?

    I'm not questioning whether he's better or not. I just am trying to figure out who's saynig what.
    Last edited by dgarza; 05-08-2012 at 10:00 AM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by dgarza View Post
    Can you clarify? Who is saying Chesbro comes out on top? Is this what you are saying? Or someone else?

    I'm not questioning whether he's better or not. I just am trying to figure out who's saynig what.
    I think Chesbro looks better. He was with the Highlanders after all 4 guys were on the Pirates.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Cowtipper View Post
    Chesbro won 40 games in a season. The others didn't.

    (I've always been quite fond of Leever's career myself).
    Maybe thats a main reason he's in. He pitched quite a bit more than the others too, which in the deadball era was what counted. He was a bit wild but was out there more than the others.

  6. #6
    They all about the same to me.

    I think I like Leever a little better than the rest, but still in the same bracket.

  7. #7
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    A lot of pitchers in that era had records similar to Jack, Jesse, Deacon and Sam.

    Debuting 1894-1904, IP 2300+, WAR 25-50
    Code:
    Rk             Player  WAR ERA+     IP From   To   Age SHO   W   L  ERA
    1          Addie Joss 43.4  142 2327.0 1902 1910 22-30  45 160  97 1.89
    2             Al Orth 43.2  100 3354.2 1895 1909 22-36  31 204 189 3.37
    3        Chief Bender 40.3  112 3017.0 1903 1925 19-41  40 212 127 2.46
    4        Jack Chesbro 40.1  111 2896.2 1899 1909 25-35  35 198 132 2.68
    5        Bill Donovan 39.9  106 2964.2 1898 1918 21-41  35 185 139 2.69
    6        Bill Dinneen 39.1  107 3074.2 1898 1909 22-33  24 170 177 3.01
    7     Jesse Tannehill 38.4  114 2759.1 1894 1911 19-36  34 197 117 2.80
    8          Sam Leever 38.2  123 2660.2 1898 1910 26-38  39 194 100 2.47
    9           Doc White 37.0  113 3041.0 1901 1913 22-34  45 189 156 2.39
    10      George Mullin 31.2  101 3686.2 1902 1915 21-34  35 228 196 2.82
    11   Deacon Phillippe 30.7  120 2607.0 1899 1911 27-39  27 189 109 2.59
    12       Harry Howell 29.9  109 2567.2 1898 1910 21-33  20 131 146 2.74
    13          Bob Ewing 29.6  116 2301.0 1902 1912 29-39  19 124 118 2.49
    14         Earl Moore 27.9  111 2776.0 1901 1914 23-36  34 163 154 2.78
    15        Jack Taylor 27.1  115 2626.0 1898 1907 24-33  20 152 139 2.65
    OTOH, the guys with 50+ WAR:
    Code:
    Rk              Player  WAR ERA+     IP From   To   Age SHO   W   L  ERA
    1    Christy Mathewson 93.0  135 4788.2 1900 1916 19-35  79 373 188 2.13
    2          Eddie Plank 83.2  122 4495.2 1901 1917 25-41  69 326 194 2.35
    3           Vic Willis 65.2  117 3996.0 1898 1910 22-34  50 249 205 2.63
    4         Rube Waddell 60.1  135 2961.1 1897 1910 20-33  50 193 143 2.16
    5             Ed Walsh 58.4  145 2964.1 1904 1917 23-36  57 195 126 1.82
    6        Joe McGinnity 58.2  120 3441.1 1899 1908 28-37  32 246 142 2.66
    7          Jack Powell 51.9  106 4389.0 1897 1912 22-37  46 245 254 2.97
    8       Mordecai Brown 50.5  139 3172.1 1903 1916 26-39  55 239 130 2.06
    Last edited by Freakshow; 05-08-2012 at 12:12 PM.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Freakshow View Post
    A lot of pitchers in that era had records similar to Jack, Jesse, Deacon and Sam.

    Debuting 1894-1903, IP 2300+, WAR 25-50
    Code:
    Rk             Player  WAR ERA+     IP From   To   Age SHO   W   L  ERA
    1          Addie Joss 43.4  142 2327.0 1902 1910 22-30  45 160  97 1.89
    2             Al Orth 43.2  100 3354.2 1895 1909 22-36  31 204 189 3.37
    3        Chief Bender 40.3  112 3017.0 1903 1925 19-41  40 212 127 2.46
    4        Jack Chesbro 40.1  111 2896.2 1899 1909 25-35  35 198 132 2.68
    5        Bill Donovan 39.9  106 2964.2 1898 1918 21-41  35 185 139 2.69
    6        Bill Dinneen 39.1  107 3074.2 1898 1909 22-33  24 170 177 3.01
    7     Jesse Tannehill 38.4  114 2759.1 1894 1911 19-36  34 197 117 2.80
    8          Sam Leever 38.2  123 2660.2 1898 1910 26-38  39 194 100 2.47
    9           Doc White 37.0  113 3041.0 1901 1913 22-34  45 189 156 2.39
    10      George Mullin 31.2  101 3686.2 1902 1915 21-34  35 228 196 2.82
    11   Deacon Phillippe 30.7  120 2607.0 1899 1911 27-39  27 189 109 2.59
    12       Harry Howell 29.9  109 2567.2 1898 1910 21-33  20 131 146 2.74
    13          Bob Ewing 29.6  116 2301.0 1902 1912 29-39  19 124 118 2.49
    14         Earl Moore 27.9  111 2776.0 1901 1914 23-36  34 163 154 2.78
    15        Jack Taylor 27.1  115 2626.0 1898 1907 24-33  20 152 139 2.65
    Not sure how "similar" these pitchers are. I'd say that WAR 20-50 is a somewhat wide swath.
    The distribution seems pretty consistent with most eras is baseball. Nothing unusual enough to point out that would suggest that this era has more similar pitchers of this ilk than other eras do. (but I'm not sure if that was what you were getting at or not)

    But Jack, Jesse, Deacon and Sam are all within a 10 WAR range.
    Last edited by dgarza; 05-08-2012 at 12:26 PM.

  9. #9
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    Chesbro's 40-win run came on heavy reliance of the spitter, learned from Elmer Stricklett. Not only did this give him more distinction than the others, but Chesbro was more of a pitching showman. Teammates marveled at Chesbro's ability to not only place the spitter, but indicate towards his catcher the amount of break he was giving it, which varied anywhere from two inches to over a foot.

    Because Stricklett was considered by a good amount of people at the time to have originated the spitball, Chesbro was seen as the first guy who made it famous (Walsh didn't perk up until 1906-1907). Chesbro's pitch was rather new at the time, adding a bit to his legacy. Leever was using sharp curves, Phillippe had a standard assortment of pitches, and Tannehill relied on fastballs mixed with changes of pace through curves and slow balls.
    "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrus4189Cobb View Post
    Chesbro's 40-win run came on heavy reliance of the spitter, learned from Elmer Stricklett. Not only did this give him more distinction than the others, but Chesbro was more of a pitching showman. Teammates marveled at Chesbro's ability to not only place the spitter, but indicate towards his catcher the amount of break he was giving it, which varied anywhere from two inches to over a foot.

    Because Stricklett was considered by a good amount of people at the time to have originated the spitball, Chesbro was seen as the first guy who made it famous (Walsh didn't perk up until 1906-1907). Chesbro's pitch was rather new at the time, adding a bit to his legacy. Leever was using sharp curves, Phillippe had a standard assortment of pitches, and Tannehill relied on fastballs mixed with changes of pace through curves and slow balls.
    Good stuff Tyrus, Chesbro was a bit of a primadonna (true?) too from what I read. Maybe he was just trying to strong arm a new contract. Had to do what you could back in those days.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by dgarza View Post
    They all about the same to me.

    I think I like Leever a little better than the rest, but still in the same bracket.
    They are close. But what was important back then was pitching as much as possible. Giving up more hits/BB (Chesbro gave up more) wasn't as important as now, still important, but you weren't always coming out if you let up a couple hits/BB in a row. Chesbro's penchant for pitching more may have resulted in his election over the other 3. Moreso than politics, as James implies.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesky5 View Post
    Good stuff Tyrus, Chesbro was a bit of a primadonna (true?) too from what I read. Maybe he was just trying to strong arm a new contract. Had to do what you could back in those days.
    From what I know, he was a bit of a prima donna. I wonder how this played out in later years when he began to decline.

    He's one of those guys I don't believe is a HoF player or pioneer, but does deserve recognition because he is just another unique story to the game (see Charlie Sweeney).
    "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

  13. #13
    I would not put Chesbro in the HOF. If he gets in in large part for 40 wins, Maris probably should go in too and I don't think he should go in. Neither should Hack Wilson for 191. I think they have VERY similar cases. Same for Chuck Klein. Klein, Maris and Wilson all finished with under 40 WAR and Chesbro is right at 40 and with the NEW WAR the top pitchers are a little above the top hitters.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgarza View Post
    Not sure how "similar" these pitchers are. I'd say that WAR 20-50 is a somewhat wide swath.
    The distribution seems pretty consistent with most eras is baseball. Nothing unusual enough to point out that would suggest that this era has more similar pitchers of this ilk than other eras do. (but I'm not sure if that was what you were getting at or not)

    But Jack, Jesse, Deacon and Sam are all within a 10 WAR range.
    Let's not exaggerate; the "swath" is not really 30 WAR, it's only 16.3 WAR wide, from 27.1 to 43.4. It needs to be that large to cover the sims from Phillippe (30.7) to Chesbro (40.1).

    Anyway, the thing I was trying to suggest is that Chesbro (and Bender and perhaps Joss) do not quite have the value of the true hall of famers from that era, as might also be seen here:

    Most pitching WAR 1898-1912, minimum 2000 IP
    Code:
    Rk              Player  WAR ERA+     IP From   To   Age SHO   W   L  ERA
    1             Cy Young 94.5  137 4380.2 1898 1911 31-44  53 295 194 2.26 H
    2    Christy Mathewson 88.4  147 3910.0 1900 1912 19-31  68 312 146 1.98 H
    3          Eddie Plank 66.8  123 3432.2 1901 1912 25-36  48 251 145 2.35 H
    4           Vic Willis 65.2  117 3996.0 1898 1910 22-34  50 249 205 2.63 H
    5         Rube Waddell 59.7  135 2947.1 1899 1910 22-33  50 193 142 2.16 H
    6        Joe McGinnity 58.2  120 3441.1 1899 1908 28-37  32 246 142 2.66 H
    7             Ed Walsh 55.8  149 2773.2 1904 1912 23-31  54 182 118 1.77 H
    8         Noodles Hahn 46.3  132 2029.1 1899 1906 20-27  25 130  94 2.55
    9          Jack Powell 45.9  104 4164.0 1898 1912 23-37  44 230 244 2.96
    10      Mordecai Brown 44.6  153 2481.2 1903 1912 26-35  49 195  96 1.82 H
    11          Addie Joss 43.4  142 2327.0 1902 1910 22-30  45 160  97 1.89 H
    12        Jack Chesbro 40.1  111 2896.2 1899 1909 25-35  35 198 132 2.68 H
    13        Bill Donovan 39.7  107 2924.0 1898 1912 21-35  35 184 136 2.67
    14        Bill Dinneen 39.1  107 3074.2 1898 1909 22-33  24 170 177 3.01
    15          Sam Leever 38.2  123 2660.2 1898 1910 26-38  39 194 100 2.47
    16           Doc White 37.5  114 2938.0 1901 1912 22-33  45 187 152 2.35
    17     Jesse Tannehill 37.3  117 2588.1 1898 1911 23-36  33 187 107 2.67
    18             Al Orth 36.8  101 2788.1 1898 1909 25-36  29 167 159 3.15
    19        Chief Bender 33.3  117 2186.1 1903 1912 19-28  27 155  89 2.33 H
    20       George Mullin 32.5  102 3341.2 1902 1912 21-31  34 208 173 2.76
    21          Earl Moore 31.0  118 2501.0 1901 1912 23-34  32 150 135 2.59
    22    Deacon Phillippe 30.7  120 2607.0 1899 1911 27-39  27 189 109 2.59
    Eradicate, wipe out and abolish redundancy.

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    And just for a comparison, fast forward 70 years.

    Most pitching WAR 1968-1982, minimum 1700 IP
    Code:
    Rk             Player  WAR ERA+     IP From   To   Age SHO   W   L  ERA
    1          Tom Seaver 86.6  133 3649.1 1968 1982 23-37  52 248 143 2.68 H
    2         Phil Niekro 84.2  120 4070.2 1968 1982 29-43  42 240 205 3.21 H
    3       Gaylord Perry 77.7  121 4094.0 1968 1982 29-43  44 247 196 3.01 H
    4       Steve Carlton 75.8  123 4005.0 1968 1982 23-37  49 268 172 3.00 H
    5      Fergie Jenkins 71.1  116 3847.1 1968 1982 25-39  44 250 195 3.34 H
    6       Bert Blyleven 64.5  126 3021.0 1970 1982 19-31  42 169 150 2.96 H
    7          Jim Palmer 60.0  131 3504.1 1969 1982 23-36  52 240 130 2.74 H
    8       Jerry Koosman 53.8  114 3324.0 1968 1982 25-39  30 191 181 3.24
    9          Nolan Ryan 53.4  112 3321.1 1968 1982 21-35  50 205 185 3.10 H
    10      Rick Reuschel 52.5  116 2247.2 1972 1981 23-32  17 133 125 3.40
    11         Bob Gibson 51.6  131 1980.1 1968 1975 32-39  31 126  86 2.72 H
    12        Wilbur Wood 50.8  115 2429.0 1968 1978 26-36  24 159 146 3.21
    13         Luis Tiant 49.4  114 2794.1 1968 1982 27-41  38 184 137 3.38
    14         Tommy John 48.1  119 3010.0 1968 1982 25-39  31 197 129 3.09
    15         Don Sutton 46.4  114 3679.0 1968 1982 23-37  51 235 166 3.00 H
    16       Steve Rogers 44.7  121 2357.1 1973 1982 23-32  32 133 121 3.05
    17          Vida Blue 41.6  112 2970.1 1969 1982 19-32  37 191 138 3.13
    18        Jon Matlack 39.7  115 2289.2 1971 1982 21-32  30 123 122 3.13
    19      Mickey Lolich 38.6  107 2610.2 1968 1979 27-38  25 151 137 3.38
    20       Frank Tanana 37.9  113 1951.0 1973 1982 19-28  26 113 106 3.26
    21   Andy Messersmith 34.1  121 2230.1 1968 1979 22-33  27 130  99 2.86
    22   Dennis Eckersley 34.0  118 1724.1 1975 1982 20-27  18 111  85 3.43 H
    Eradicate, wipe out and abolish redundancy.

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  16. #16
    Al Orth looks good on both those lists; especially if you factor in his hitting. He probably belongs in the Chesbro comparison more than Leever and Phillippe and is in the close but no category for his generation.

    Chesbro is often looked at as one of the worst mistakes in the HOF, but when you look at how he stacked up against his peers, he probably is not deserving of that moniker.

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    Nice posts by everyone. I never realized how much I had him overrated in my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrus4189Cobb View Post
    He's one of those guys I don't believe is a HoF player or pioneer, but does deserve recognition because he is just another unique story to the game (see Charlie Sweeney).
    To clarify what I said, I did not mean Hall of Fame recognition. Just your regular attention
    "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

  19. #19
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    I think all that James is suggesting is that Chesbro had a good career but so did a number of others in that exact time frame.
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    With Chesbro, like Hack Wilson and some others who had some eye popping seasons but not the lengthy productive period of many HOFers, James made the point that the Chesbros and Wilsons garnered attention because they had the big seasons. That said, James also acknowledged that there's some logic in that, though I'd say his presentation indicates it gets overblown.
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  21. #21
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    Yeah that sounds about right, Happy Jack no better than Willis Hudlin or George Mullin, had the Hack Wison-like 'super spike' season that got the VC's attention years later. I don't mind him being in, but its hard to differentiate him from the Leever crowd.

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