View Poll Results: Consider 1891-99 Only

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  • Young

    6 27.27%
  • Nichols

    15 68.18%
  • Rusie

    1 4.55%
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Thread: Cy Young, Kid Nichols, Amos Rusie 1891-1899

  1. #1
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    Cy Young, Kid Nichols, Amos Rusie 1891-1899

    Who would you take? Consider these years only.
    Want to see what we think about his first decade.
    I'll do another for Cy v. contemporary top pitcher[s] post-Ban Johnson creation myth too.

    Overall
    Cy Young: 258-144|3.03|395 GS|370 CG|28 SHO|3574 IP|738 BB|1086 K|141 ERA+|1.244 WHIP
    K. Nichols: 270-132|3.06|394 GS|371 CG|29 SHO|3572 IP|889 BB|1262 K|144 ERA+|1.244 WHIP
    A. Rusie..: 205-129|2.95|341 GS|316 CG|25 SHO|2983 IP|1299 BB|1494 K|137 ERA+|1.329 WHIP
    ['91-95, '97, '98]

    Postseason
    Young '92 WS: 0-2, 3.00 ERA, 3 CG, 1 SHO, 26 HA, 9 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO
    Nichols '92 WS: 2-0, 1.00 ERA, 2 CG, 1 SHO, 17 HA, 2 ER, 4 BB, 13 SO
    *I cannot find out if they faced head-to-head in the series.

    Young's teams finished: 5, 2, 3, 6, 2, 2, 5, 5, 5
    Nichols' teams finished: 1, 1 [won WS], 1, 3, 6, 4, 1, 1, 2
    Rusie's teams finished: 3, 8, 5, 2, 9, 7, 3, 7, 10
    "I go all out, and I'm going to bring that to the table everyday. In good times and in bad times." - Eric Byrnes
    "As long as I have fun playing, the stats will take care of themselves." - Ken Griffey Jr.

  2. #2
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    Young by a hair over Nichols. Rusie isn't even close.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJC View Post
    Young by a hair over Nichols.
    What makes you think so?
    "I go all out, and I'm going to bring that to the table everyday. In good times and in bad times." - Eric Byrnes
    "As long as I have fun playing, the stats will take care of themselves." - Ken Griffey Jr.

  4. #4
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    I would probably go with Nichols.
    "(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)

  5. #5
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    Nichols for me.
    “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” – Walter Lippmann

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    Early Wynn

    "My own little rule was two for one. If one of my teammates got knocked down, then I knocked down two on the other team." - Don Drysdale

  6. #6
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    Nichols over Young, but it is close. Post-season was the final pebble in the scale for Nichols.

  7. #7
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    Why the support for Young? I thought it was very very close but Young has a worse record (albeit he did not pitch for a dynasty team and Nichols did) .03 better ERA but 3 pts worse ERA+ IP, Sho, GS and WHIP are almost identical. Young walked less batters. Nichols struck out more batters. Post-season (in admittedly tiny sample size 5 starts combined) Nichols 2-0 1.00 ERA Young 0-2 3.00 ERA. Young pitched for far lesser teams so maybe there is a notion that he did all this with the burden of having to carry his team while Nichols did not. Otherwise I don't understand and am curious as to why.

  8. #8
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    The Boston's played Baltimore in 1897 Temple Cup [World Series] but I can find nothing in the way of information other than the W/L's.
    "I go all out, and I'm going to bring that to the table everyday. In good times and in bad times." - Eric Byrnes
    "As long as I have fun playing, the stats will take care of themselves." - Ken Griffey Jr.

  9. #9
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    I chose Young by a whisker. Kid Nichols had much better teams behind him. The fact that Cy won nearly as many games as Kid is a miracle. Let's take a look at 1894 as a case in point

    Cy Young 408.2 IP, 26-21 record, 3.94 ERA, 138 ERA+
    Kid Nichols 407.0 IP, 32-13 record, 4.75 ERA, 124 ERA+

    Cy Young thrashes Kid in ERA and ERA+, yet wins 6 fewer games and loses 8 more games.

    In 1892,Nichols put up a decent 124 ERA+, yet puts up a whopping 35-16 record
    In 1897, Young put up a decent 123 ERA+, yet puts up a pedestrian 21-19 record

    Kid had two years in which he had a sub 130 ERA+(124,124) and his record was 67-29
    Cy had two years in which he had a sub 130 ERA+(120,123) and his record was 48-41

    Poor Cy loses 19 wins during these two similar years alone.

    I see a case for either pitcher here. But I think Cy on Nichols' team wins more games than Kid did.

  10. #10
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    That's kinda what I thought would be Young's case. He did as much or almost as much with a lot less help. Am I correct that Nichols also benefited from a very good defense?

  11. #11
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    The Boston's had Fred Tenney at first, Bobby Lowe at second, Herman Long at SS and Jimmy Collins at third, maybe the top defensive IF of the 1890's, or Baltimore's was. Plus they had the heavenly twins in the OF and at one point Bill Hamilton.
    "I go all out, and I'm going to bring that to the table everyday. In good times and in bad times." - Eric Byrnes
    "As long as I have fun playing, the stats will take care of themselves." - Ken Griffey Jr.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesky5 View Post
    The Boston's had Fred Tenney at first, Bobby Lowe at second, Herman Long at SS and Jimmy Collins at third, maybe the top defensive IF of the 1890's, or Baltimore's was. Plus they had the heavenly twins in the OF and at one point Bill Hamilton.
    Reputationwise that infield might be all-time material. They are all + or A level: Tenney Collins and Long I have read were spoken of as the best or thereabouts of their times.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PVNICK View Post
    Reputationwise that infield might be all-time material. They are all + or A level: Tenney Collins and Long I have read were spoken of as the best or thereabouts of their times.
    Yea, there have been some good ones though. Tinker, Evers, Chance, Steinfeldt; $100,000...
    "I go all out, and I'm going to bring that to the table everyday. In good times and in bad times." - Eric Byrnes
    "As long as I have fun playing, the stats will take care of themselves." - Ken Griffey Jr.

  14. #14
    A tossup betweek Nichols and Young for me. I went with Nichols, in part because of his team's finishes and his postseason numbers. I normally wouldn't look at those things, but these two guys are so close that I used those things as a tiebreaker.
    Last edited by blade1969; 06-12-2013 at 06:05 AM.

  15. #15
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    Bumper
    "I go all out, and I'm going to bring that to the table everyday. In good times and in bad times." - Eric Byrnes
    "As long as I have fun playing, the stats will take care of themselves." - Ken Griffey Jr.

  16. #16
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    --The point about defenses is a good one. Defense was a much bigger part of run prevention then than now - maybe even equal to or greater than pitching. The Cubs great defense in the their dynasy of the 1900s made pretty much everybody who pitched for them look like an all star. None of them were anywhere near as good before or after their tenure in Chicago. The gap between Nichols and Young is small enough that assuming better defenders behind Kid then Cy would leap ahead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leecemark View Post
    The gap between Nichols and Young is small enough that assuming better defenders behind Kid then Cy would leap ahead.
    This is exactly why Young beats Nichols. Long, Lowe and Nash/Collins were vastly better gloves than McKean, Childs and Tebeau/McGarr. Observers of the day knew this, which is why Cy was quickly elected to the HOF while Kid had to wait for the VC to elect him.

    Frank Selee was the architect of both the Boston defenses of the 1890's and the Cubs' of the 1900's. The man knew what it took to win games in that day. His election to the HOF was disgracefully tardy.
    Last edited by Freakshow; 06-11-2013 at 08:15 AM.
    Eradicate, wipe out and abolish redundancy.

    Free El Duque!(and Mark Mulder) -- discover how the HOF rules are cheating this renowned member of Torre's Yankees dynasty and ask the HOF to include him on the ballot for the next BBWAA election.

  18. #18
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    --I'm not convinced this is why observers of the day elected Young quickly and Nichols so much later. It probably has more to do with Young playing a decade longer and winning 500 games. Most of the original HOF voters probably didn't ever see Nichols pitch and - with information less readily available - many probably were unaware of his achievements. You can argue which had the better peak/prime, but Young obviously had a much better career (maybe the best career of anyone).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by leecemark View Post
    --I'm not convinced this is why observers of the day elected Young quickly and Nichols so much later. It probably has more to do with Young playing a decade longer and winning 500 games. Most of the original HOF voters probably didn't ever see Nichols pitch and - with information less readily available - many probably were unaware of his achievements. You can argue which had the better peak/prime, but Young obviously had a much better career (maybe the best career of anyone).
    Sure, that was a part of it too, although Nichols was still a high quality pitcher as late as 1904, only five years before Young's last good year.

    Bill James explained it thusly:
    Kid Nichols has been excluded from discussions about the greatest pitchers of all time, as much as anything, because of an accident of the calendar,” James wrote. “Baseball exploded in popularity between 1905 and 1910, just as Nichols was leaving the game. Other things happened. Sports coverage by newspapers increased exponentially, and the wire services began to cover and report every game to a national audience. Nichols missed all that; his memory was pushed into baseball’s medieval past almost before he got the clay out of his spikes.
    Eradicate, wipe out and abolish redundancy.

    Free El Duque!(and Mark Mulder) -- discover how the HOF rules are cheating this renowned member of Torre's Yankees dynasty and ask the HOF to include him on the ballot for the next BBWAA election.

  20. #20
    Posted 9/16/09 on this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanExpress30 View Post
    Behind only Young from 1890 to 1905.
    The matchups between Cy Young and Nichols had really were legendary. Accordingly, Young had a ton of respect for Nichols, and many speculated that Kid's fastball was the equal of Amos Rusie, who by all accounts was Nolan Ryan pitching 80 years earlier.

    My stance on Nichols changed drastically when I started to read more about syndicate ball of the 1890's. I was always one of his more ardent supporters back in the days when I used to vote/participate in polls and rankings.

    In his 2000 Abstract Bill James asserted that Nichols was superior to Young during the 1890's. In coming to this conclusion, though, he neglected to take into account the incredible lack of parity in syndicate baseball. I wonder if Nichols was ACTUALLY better than Cy Young while they were in the same league at the same time.

    Being on a dynasty...not only did he have superstars and some of the best defense teams in the league behind him year in and year out, but Nichols was also pitching a large percentage of his games against at 2-3 "second division" teams stock full of scrubs who weren't even remotely close to what we would consider major league caliber today.

    The top teams won nearly 70% of the games in that decade, and the worst teams lost 75%. There were at least five teams in the 1890's that finished 50, 60, and 80 games out of first place. Dreyfuss and Robison-owners of two franchises each, put all their stars on one team and let the other atrophy into bankruptcy. The competitive balance was akin to little league.

    Nichols' teams:
    Code:
    YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB    TITLE
    1890  5th     76   57  .571   12   
    1891  1st     87   51  .630   +3.5   NL CHAMPIONS
    1892  1st     52   22  .703   +2.5   NL CHAMPIONS
    1892  2nd     50   26  .658    3   
    1893  1st     86   43  .667   +5     NL CHAMPIONS
    1894  3rd     83   49  .629    8   
    1895  5th     71   60  .542   16.5 
    1896  4th     74   57  .565   17   
    1897  1st     93   39  .705   +2   
    1898  1st    102   47  .685   +6     NL CHAMPIONS
    1899  2nd     95   57  .625    8   
    1900  4th     66   72  .478   17
    7 times in a decade Kid's teams either led a 12 team league or finished second. Only one losing season and never on a bad team. Was he a huge part of this? Of course. But no more than Young contributed to his team's successes. They had extremely similar IP and ERA totals during these years.

    Compare that with Young's teams:

    Code:
    YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB    TITLE
    1890  7th     44   88  .333   43.5 
    1891  5th     65   74  .468   22.5 
    1892  5th     40   33  .548   11.5 
    1892  1st     53   23  .697   +3   
    1893  3rd     73   55  .570   12.5 
    1894  6th     68   61  .527   21.5 
    1895  2nd     84   46  .646    3     WORLD CHAMPIONS
    1896  2nd     80   48  .625    9.5 
    1897  5th     69   62  .527   23.5 
    1898  5th     81   68  .544   21
    1899  5th     84   67  .556   18.5 
    1900  5th     65   75  .464   19
    Significantly different, I'd say.

    The stats from baseball prospectus also suggest that Nichols' teams had significantly better defenses than Young's. With a much higher percentage of balls put in play then (BB and K were rare) and the incredibly high error rate and percentage of unearned runs, I think defense was significantly more important then than it is today.

    I think Cy was actually a better pitcher during the 1890's.

    Thoughts?

  21. #21

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001 View Post
    Pretty funky, What site did you get that from?

  23. #23
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    Kid Nichols for me.

    Copy/pasting this from the Joe Posnanski thread:

    It’s always fun to play the Player A/Player B game. Here are the first 10 seasons of two pitchers, both right-handed, born about 18 months apart. They started their careers the same year.

    Player A: 267-151, 3.05 ERA, 1,125 Ks, 768 walks, 28 shutouts, 1.242 WHIP, 139 ERA+.
    Player B: 297-151, 2.97 ERA, 1,484 Ks, 1,001 walks, 36 shutouts, 1.234 WHIP, 146 ERA+.

    Both were obviously extraordinary pitchers. But, if you look closely, maybe Player B was just a little bit better. More wins (back when wins has a little more meaning since pitchers completed just about every game they started) More strikeouts. More shutouts. Better ERA, Slightly lower WHIP.

    Player B is Kid Nichols.
    Player A is Cy Young.

    Cy Young conceded that Nichols was the better pitcher those early few years. Of course, Cy Young’s greatness continued intact on for another decade, which is how he won 511 games and why there’s a pretty famous award named for him. Kid Nichols’s career would nose downward after he turned 30, and even though he would end up with 361 victories and was better than Cy Young the first decade of their careers, most baseball fans have never heard of him.
    RIP Bill Burgess - a gentleman and a scholar - Baseball-Fever will never be the same without you.

  24. #24
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    ^ Posnanski totally jacked my stuff.
    "I go all out, and I'm going to bring that to the table everyday. In good times and in bad times." - Eric Byrnes
    "As long as I have fun playing, the stats will take care of themselves." - Ken Griffey Jr.

  25. #25
    Nichols can lay a decent claim to being the most underrated member of the HOF.

    All while looking just like the guy who played Foster in Super Troopers.
    3 6 10 21 29 31 35 41 42 44 47

    "It is not easy to be near your best every single day. Some would even say it’s impossible. We’re all just human beings. But it’s not impossible. Henry Aaron did it." - Joe Posnanski

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