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Thread: Negro League Stats on Baseball Reference .com

  1. #1
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    Negro League Stats on Baseball Reference .com

    In case anyone here didn't already know Baseball Reference.com put up a section for Negro League stats and information a couple of months ago. Just click a year that you would like to take a look at.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/nlb/

    If anyone is interested, here is a project that I put together with thirty-two of the best "Blackball" teams of all time (IMHO) for my Strat-O-Matic baseball computer game. The teams are as close as I could get to being historically accurate with the player cards that I had available. I had to add supplemental players to some teams to round out the rosters. I determined that I needed a minimum of eleven position players and eight pitchers on each team to make it possible to play out a Major League type of schedule with them.

    http://www.stratfanforum.com/forums/...ad.php?t=92312
    Last edited by TerryB; 05-29-2012 at 09:04 AM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks I never noticed this before. I've always wanted to look at these to help me with my Negro League rankings.
    "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

    "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by TerryB View Post
    In case anyone here didn't already know Baseball Reference.com put up a section for Negro League stats and information a couple of months ago. Just click a year that you would like to take a look at.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/nlb/
    Hi all--does anyone have any insight into the discrepancies between the Baseball reference database and the Seamheads NeL database? I notice that in some cases Seamheads lists more stats (e.g., AB/IP) than BBR for the same season--I see the same thing with my 1996 Macmillan limited NeL stats as well. Is BBR the most authoritative source?

  4. #4
    I thought that when the Hall Of Fame held the Special Negro Leaguers Election of February 2006 that there had been a lot of research into box scores throughout the two previous years by various Negro Leagues-related committees. This research was supposed to be published to produce new and more accurate Negro Leagues statistics. Was this work ever completed?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by philliesfiend55 View Post
    I thought that when the Hall Of Fame held the Special Negro Leaguers Election of February 2006 that there had been a lot of research into box scores throughout the two previous years by various Negro Leagues-related committees. This research was supposed to be published to produce new and more accurate Negro Leagues statistics. Was this work ever completed?
    Yes, according to Baseball Reference, that work culminated in the database that is now listed on their site (just posted last summer, I think)--a project that was funded by MLB. But the numbers are different than what Seamheads lists, and the Seamheads data appears to be more complete (for example, much more fielding and position played information). So I'm just not certain which one is most accurate (which is not always the same as which one is "official", it seems!).

  6. #6
    From what I heard the MLB funded research was incomplete. All I know is some of the stats don't match up with my own compiled data that I did on my own. The seamheads.com database is the more complete and (un-funded as far as I know) set of stats out there. And they continue to be amended. The only "problem" with the seamhead stats is that the researchers continue to break-open myths surrounding some legends with solid statistical data. I can't say enough about how important to baseball geeks like me that the seamhead stats are.
    See My Baseball Card Project: www.infinitecardset.blogspot.com

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    The Stats for Seamheads were collected independently from those of the baseball Hall-of-Fame and they are more complete, but far from complete in that they don’t include all games against all opponents.

    The Strat-O-Matic game company (which has a presence in the baseball Hall-of-Fame) has also sponsored some more recent research (on-going) on Negro League and “Blackball” stats. In particular, this research has led to upcoming baseball simulation products for the 1920, 1931 and 1942 seasons that will be released February 11th. They are also working on more of these products to come.
    Last edited by TerryB; 02-05-2013 at 08:56 AM.

  8. #8
    That Negro Leagues election of 2006 was very unsatisfying to a lot of baseball fans and historians. The most egregious offense by that committe was the rejection of the only living candidates on the ballot Buck O'Neill and Minnie Minoso. (O'Neill passed away later that year and Minoso is now somewhere between 87 and 90 according to which story you believe). Compounding the fans' frustration is the fact that the HOF has declared that there wilol not be any subsequent Negro league elections. That's hardly fair when you consider that even marginal Hall Of Fame candidates from the major leagues that were rejected 15 times by the writers vote come up for Veterans Committee election every three years in the present system. Well at least Minoso could still be elected to the HOF as a major leaguer someday.
    Cris Carter put it well just after he was elected to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame this weekend. He said after previous rejections that fans told him "he was in their personal Hall Of Fame" but Carter said that wasn't enough - he wanted to be "a real Hall of Famer" and to be in "The Hall Of Fame's Hall Of Fame". I'm hopeful that the Hall Of Fame will change its policy some day soon and hold other Negro Leagues elections. To deny these star Negro Leaguers who failed to be elected in 2006 a chance to ever be "real Hall Of famers", so that their families can celebrate their careers and lives, clearly seems like a random and unfair decision.
    Last edited by philliesfiend55; 02-04-2013 at 09:27 AM.

  9. #9
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    if you want Negro League standings and other information best is tor go to this website - www.cnlbr.org

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by TerryB View Post
    The Stats for Seamheads were collected independently from those of the baseball Hall-of-Fame and they are more complete, but far from complete in that they don’t include all games against all opponents.

    The Strat-O-Matic game company (which has a presence in the baseball Hall-of-Fame) has also sponsored some more recent research (on-going) on Negro League and “Blackball” stats. In particular, this research has led to upcoming baseball simulation products for the 1920, 1931 and 1942 seasons that will be released February 11th. They are also working on more of these products to come.
    I know that these teams played a variety of barnstorming games against independent black teams as well as various minor league and sometimes major league white teams, and I was wondering if some of the discrepancy comes from seamheads including such stats while the BBR/HOF data does not--a hypothesis triggered by the fewer games accounted for by the BBR/HOF data set relative to seamheads or Macmillan. Hard to tell the specific methodology from the information on each site.

    Strat-o-matic has a tendency to pay a lot of attention to "lore" in doing things like assigning fielding ratings, and as we've seen a lot of the "lore" in Negro League baseball is suspect (I've been doing research on the 1924 Negro Leagues for a different baseball computer simulation, and in researching transactions in Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia I came across three consecutive different players who were each described as "the fastest man in baseball"). Given that I have thousands of dollars of useless Strat computer products resulting from computer crashes and their paranoid delusional copy-protection, I'll never buy another Strat computer product again, but if they ever release those seasons as physical cards, I'd get them. When you receive yours, let us know how well they play out! Right now, my 1924 project-in-process (created using Digital Diamond Baseball, check it out) is pretty accurately simming the pennant races even when forcing all teams to play complete schedules (as opposed to the various team collapses that actually happened).

  11. #11
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    Personally I have more confidence in the Seamhead numbers than those on Baseball reference, but I think it is just a matter of finding box scores and stats for different games. I know they are using just league games to formulate seasons for the Strat-O-Matic game company. All it really takes is some research and deep digging to find box scores etc., from old newspapers from around the country. These things are becoming more and more available.

    Sorry about your computer problems, but I have been playing Strat-O-Matic games on computer for years without a single problem. They talk about digital printing in the future. If they ever start to do that then you will probably be able to buy cards for the cards and dice version of the game. They do have a card set for 103 Negro League All-Stars now.

    I know what you mean by the "lore" of Negro League baseball. There are plenty of wild stories out there that can get mixed with misinformation. I own (and have read) a couple of dozen books on the old "Blackball" leagues myself. The more I learn about the subject the less the "lore" blurs my vision on the subject. More of the pieces begin to come together to tell the true story.

    I am impressed by the new Negro League sets as I was by the first one they sold. I think they pretty accurately reflect real life in that the overall level of play was a step below the major leagues. I also think that the majority of men that played in the Negro Leagues could never have made the grade in the Major Leagues. I also believe that some of the players could have been huge stars in Major League baseball if they had been given the opportunity.

    Your project sounds interesting and I would like to hear more about it.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by TerryB View Post
    Personally I have more confidence in the Seamhead numbers than those on Baseball reference, but I think it is just a matter of finding box scores and stats for different games. I know they are using just league games to formulate seasons for the Strat-O-Matic game company. All it really takes is some research and deep digging to find box scores etc., from old newspapers from around the country. These things are becoming more and more available.

    Sorry about your computer problems, but I have been playing Strat-O-Matic games on computer for years without a single problem. They talk about digital printing in the future. If they ever start to do that then you will probably be able to buy cards for the cards and dice version of the game. They do have a card set for 103 Negro League All-Stars now.
    Yep, I do have the Strat Negro League all-star set--it is a nice set (although I wish they were regular Strat cards, myself). My understanding is that they are normalized and adjusted for play against MLB-caliber opposition; there is some research out there that tries to estimate such adjustments based upon results when NeLg teams would play MLB teams, although there are a lot of arguments around that process as well.

    As far as the Strat computer game, I have 13 versions of the computer baseball game and about 70 season disks that I can use as coasters. Lest you think I haven't paid my Strat dues over the years, I'll offer an example: I have one computer version of Stratomatic baseball working...the first. It came on 5 1/4" floppy, nice powder blue disks, one game disk for the A: drive and one team disk for the B: drive if you had one of them there powerful computers that had two disk drives. I think it came with the 1986 season its first year. I recently, as a fun and nostalgic challenge, got this version of the game working using some tweaking of DOSBOX under Win7. I can even emulate it's printing of reports. However, any subsequent versions of the game that I own won't work and never will work again because of their copy protection.

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryB View Post
    I am impressed by the new Negro League sets as I was by the first one they sold. I think they pretty accurately reflect real life in that the overall level of play was a step below the major leagues. I also think that the majority of men that played in the Negro Leagues could never have made the grade in the Major Leagues. I also believe that some of the players could have been huge stars in Major League baseball if they had been given the opportunity.
    Knowing the Strat game engine, the easiest way to reflect the differences in overall level of play would be through fielding ratings. I guess making other NeLg to MLB adjustments would be possible by normalizing batting against averages somewhat lower than those actually observed, and normalizing pitching against higher averages, which should balance out to allow you to simulate based upon the actual opposition (i.e., Oscar Charleston has to hit around .400 against NeLg opposition). When you mess with your new Strat computer leagues, it would be interesting, if you have the relevant seasons, to run a sim sticking an average NeLg team into the MLB season for that year and see what happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryB View Post
    Your project sounds interesting and I would like to hear more about it.
    I'd post some simulation results but I can't get formatting to work well on this forum. Simulating overall standings and winning percentages have been dead-on, but individual players stats are more problematic because of unbalanced league schedules and usage/fatigue penalities. Do I try to simulate a league "as-played" where the Indy ABCs suspend play after 15 games, when many of its best players abandon the team in a dispute with new management? Or do I simulate a league where they finished out the season with the second-stringers that remained? Personally, the latter is more appealing to me, but doing so alters the league averages by making (for example) bad second-string pitchers into regular starters, raising the league batting statistics significantly. It's an interesting challenge!

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