I want to know enough to be comfortable in assessing these players, so I'm with you, TerryB. The stats we are getting these days still aren't for as long a seasons or as complete a stat set as we'd have had for them if they'd played in the majors, to be sure. But they're complete enough that it's nearly random what we're missing (I'd guess that truly memorable league games being missing is rarer than ordinary ones, which would might skew the stats upward a tad for a dominant player), but it shouldn't be a big concern with the amounts of PA we're getting now.
Originally Posted by TerryB
I don't get excited about the single season marks, with 50 or less games often being all that's reported. That's like getting all hyped up over someone's stats in May in the majors. But when you put a guy in several thousand PA context with walks (which to my mind is the most important improvement in the data), you can get a much better picture of them than you could with the data available only a decade or so ago. I'd rather rely on that data than the combination of the fragmentary data at the turn of this century combined with the narratives which often contained flourishes from guys who knew how to tell an entertaining story. In some ways, relying on those narratives without the better data we have now is like relying on the "history" as told by a "based on true events" film or TV show. One other factor is the issue of barnstorming. Josh Gibson undoubtedly pounded pitchers even more than he did in black ball league play, since it seems the average quality of barnstorming opponents wasn't even as good as that in the Negro Leagues. Since Negro Leaguers played almost year round with few days off, Gibson might have hit a thousand homers against all opposition. I think it more telling that in about 2000 recorded PA he hit about 350/400/620 with a homer in less than every 20 PA, despite playing a lot in a terrible HR park like Griffith Stadium.
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Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.