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  • Ross Barnes

    How come Ross Barnes had an MVP type season in 1876 but did horrible for the rest of his career? in '76 he batted .429 and then after that his high was .272? I notice he missed a few ABs in '77. Did he have an injury that caused him not to be as good as he was?
    "I don't like to sound egotistical, but every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the pitcher."
    -Rogers Hornsby-

    "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
    -Rogers Hornsby-

    Just a note to all the active members of BBF, I consider all of you the smartest baseball people I have ever communicated with and love everyday I am on here. Thank you all!

  • #2
    From baseballlibrary:

    "He specialized in "fair-foul" hits, squibbed bunts that landed fair, rolled foul, but remained in play under the rules of the time. When the rules were changed before the 1877 season his BA plummeted."

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    • #3
      He also got older. Barnes was essentially a cricket player, and when the rules were changed to something more like baseball the way we know it, he was left behind.
      Rooting the Reds home.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by FatAngel
        From baseballlibrary:

        "He specialized in "fair-foul" hits, squibbed bunts that landed fair, rolled foul, but remained in play under the rules of the time. When the rules were changed before the 1877 season his BA plummeted."
        I'm sorry, but they're just plain wrong. While Barnes was indeed the master of fair-foul, that was not his entire hitting strength by a long shot. Fair-foul hits are singles, Barnes led the league in slugging and doubles three times each in his first six years, and triples once (but was second two other times). He had a great combo of power and speed, and if you do digging around the net, you'll find that he was recognized by his contemporaries as the best hitter in the game.

        Barnes' career was killed by injuries. He played only 22 games in 1877, and missed the entire seasons of 1878 and 1880- all because of injuries. While there's really no doubt that his average would have declined after the rule change- I doubt he'd have another four .400 seasons- he had more than enough power to compensate if he'd stayed healthy. It's a real shame, because he was also the best fielding second baseman of his day as well, and truly deserves the Hall, both as a player and a pioneer (and if Hack Wilson can make the Hall based primarily on one season, Barnes 1876- 126 runs scored in 66 games, whew)

        By the way, Barnes 1876 season is one of the greatest of all-time (and I like that he started it off by hitting the first homer in NL history), but he also had MVP seasons in 1872, 1873, and 1875.
        "Here's a crazy thought I've always had: if they cut three fingers off each hand, I'd really be a great hitter because then I could level off better." Paul Waner (lifetime .333 hitter, 3,152 lifetime hits.

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        • #5
          Buzzaldrin,

          Much thanks for that info. I was always told that Barnes began out strong just because of fair-foul hits and fell off because the rule against it.

          Freakin Bill James :grouchy

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          • #6
            I'll have to disagree on the Fair-Foul hit being a squib bunt, and it being a single. It's possible to hit the ball very hard and with a fair amount of spin so that the ball leaves the field of play with a good amount of force. The ball was not necessarily dead when it entered a spectator area and the runner was free to make as many bases as he felt he could. I feel I have to note that while this type of hit is almost undefendable, most players did not employ this strategy, and many times it was by mistake. One must keep in mind that through 1864, the ball could be caught on a bound, making it dangerous to hit a fair-foul to the corner bases and especially the catcher. After that a foul ball could still be caught on a bound, making this less dangerous, but still not without risk.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Buzzaldrin
              It's a real shame, because he was also the best fielding second baseman of his day as well,
              Note that Barnes's fielding took a nose dive the same year as his hitting did...

              Hhhmmm...doesn't sound like the effects of a rule change...

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              • #8
                Barnes was a dominant figure in the National Association for five years. His first year in the NL he was a monster, but the remaining three he was just a guy. Unless you give him major credit as a "pioneer" he does not merit HoF consideration.

                Cap Anson did select him on his all-time team over some major luminaries.
                Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KCGHOST
                  the remaining three he was just a guy.
                  just a hurt guy

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KCGHOST
                    Barnes was a dominant figure in the National Association for five years. His first year in the NL he was a monster, but the remaining three he was just a guy. Unless you give him major credit as a "pioneer" he does not merit HoF consideration.

                    Cap Anson did select him on his all-time team over some major luminaries.
                    Baeball did exist before 1871, you know. Barnes's work with Rockford before the NA was phenomenal, and he was one of the first (openly) professional players in the country. Considering partly that, partly his fab work in organized leagues, partly the fact that he was one of the most charismatic of the early stars and responsible for helping spread the game, the fact that he was (primarily) responsible for a major rule change, well, I fail to see your point. The cutoff set by the hall is ten years- and if Kiner, Koufax, and Joss deserve to be in the Hall, then there is no way in Hell Barnes doesn't.
                    "Here's a crazy thought I've always had: if they cut three fingers off each hand, I'd really be a great hitter because then I could level off better." Paul Waner (lifetime .333 hitter, 3,152 lifetime hits.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Buzzaldrin
                      Baeball did exist before 1871, you know. Barnes's work with Rockford before the NA was phenomenal, and he was one of the first (openly) professional players in the country. Considering partly that, partly his fab work in organized leagues, partly the fact that he was one of the most charismatic of the early stars and responsible for helping spread the game, the fact that he was (primarily) responsible for a major rule change, well, I fail to see your point. The cutoff set by the hall is ten years- and if Kiner, Koufax, and Joss deserve to be in the Hall, then there is no way in Hell Barnes doesn't.
                      As I said, and you just agreed with, unless you give him major points for being a pioneer he doesn't belong. Referencing Kiner and Koufax is a non sequitor. They spent their ten+ year careers in a recognized major league. Barnes spent four in the majors. Maybe nine depending how you feel about the NA. The NA is hotly debated as to its status with many/most landing on the "not" square. Anything prior to the NA wasn't much more than semi-pro status. As for Joss he got in because he died. And even he put in nine years in the majors. Maybe if Barnes had been smart enough to die at the top of his game you could compare them.

                      You obviously feel strongly that Barnes belongs in the HoF. That's fine, but don't demean those of us who disagree.
                      Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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                      • #12
                        From the NY Clipper Woodcut 1879 Article:

                        "He was among the first to practically introduce the now well-known "sacrifice hits"...One point of excellence was his shrewd judgment in covering the infield according to his batsman; one time playing almost back of first base, then at short right field, and then back of second base...his sickness in 1877 interfered with his record".

                        The Clipper viewed him as the best hitter in baseball for four straight seasons, and the best fielding 2B for six straight seasons.
                        "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                        "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

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                        • #13
                          http://www.baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=33001

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KCGHOST
                            As I said, and you just agreed with, unless you give him major points for being a pioneer he doesn't belong. Referencing Kiner and Koufax is a non sequitor. They spent their ten+ year careers in a recognized major league. Barnes spent four in the majors. Maybe nine depending how you feel about the NA. The NA is hotly debated as to its status with many/most landing on the "not" square. Anything prior to the NA wasn't much more than semi-pro status. As for Joss he got in because he died. And even he put in nine years in the majors. Maybe if Barnes had been smart enough to die at the top of his game you could compare them.

                            You obviously feel strongly that Barnes belongs in the HoF. That's fine, but don't demean those of us who disagree.
                            The ten-year rule seems to be unfair for those players who were all ready established when the National League was formed. I've studied Brave history for years and every thing said about Barnes is high in praise. He revolutionized the way second base was played. At the very least he should be "considered" for the HoF as a pioneer.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Buzzaldrin
                              He played only 22 games in 1877, and missed the entire seasons of 1878 and 1880- all because of injuries.
                              Actually it was what they called "The Ague," a malaria-like affliction characterized by high fever and chills, along with a marked loss of strength, stamina, and vitality. All this from Robert H. Schaefer's article entitled "The Lost Art of Fair-Foul Hitting."

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