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Your Top 10 19th Century Players:

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  • #16
    1. Ed Delahanty
    ...
    ...
    ...
    2. Dan Brouthers
    ...
    ...
    ...
    3. Everyone else

    The first guys to pop into my head behind Delahanty and Brouthers would be Connor, Barnes, Jennings, and Keeler, but they're all miles behind Delahanty and Brouthers.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

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    • #17
      I added Brouthers to the list..

      I also think that Pete Browning should have been put on the poll..

      As for the best it was a tough choice for me between Brouthers and Anson and I finally decided on Anson...

      Of course, honorable mention goes to my guy Caruthers
      "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
      ~~Al Gallagher


      God Bless America!

      Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

      Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

      sigpic

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      • #18
        Chris,

        You have admirable and wonderful humility. I hope to someday reach your level of humility.

        Negro Leagues/Pre-1900 players have always been among my weakest areas.
        And Japanese, Cuban, Mexican league players don't register at all. A language I never learned. Sadly, a blank page in my head. So I defer to those who are well-read in those areas. Like Jim Albright.

        That is why I have to read so much. But I honestly know very little about Roger Connor, Bid McPhee, Billy Hamilton, Bill Dahlen, Sam Thompson, Ross Barnes, Bob Caruthers, Pete Browning and a lot of the others that most folks know. They are merely vague names to me. I am not familiar with this area at all, I am embarrassed to admit. I spend so much time doing research on my projects, that I seldom get the time to read up on my weaker areas.

        Someday I hope to make up for that.

        Bill Burgess
        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 11-04-2006, 09:31 AM.

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        • #19
          I consider Imapotato & Chancellor the most informed, familiar members on pre-1900 players we have here.

          RuthMayBond & SABR Matt have done stat research on pre-1900 players, but surprisingly don't seem to be well-read about the guys they rate! Most unusual circumstances.

          Jackie42 is probably one of our most informed members on Negro Leagues players.

          BB

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          • #20
            Originally posted by 538280
            Bill,

            No Roger Connor? He was the best slugger ever until Babe Ruth, and I think he held the home run record until Ruth broke it. Why no Roger Connor in your list?
            cap anson had 21 in 1887

            i dont know whether you'd want to classify Conner as a "slugger" though, because looking at the amount of triples he got, I'd take a guess that most of his HRs were inside-the-park, which would make him more of a speedster

            either way, still a pretty good player

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            • #21
              Pitchers had the most value in 19th Century ball just based on their numbers of innings pitched, and some like Bob Caruthers were also fine hitters.

              Setting pitchers aside, I would go with Ed Delahanty by a wide margin. Sure Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor had batting stats that look as good, and guys like Buck Ewing and King Kelly were very effective and versital players, but I think dominating in a single league in the 1890s is far more impressive than putting big numbers in the 1880s.

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              • #22
                I may not know very much about the pre-1900 players, but I do feel one thing very strongly. Their stats from that time period should not be the only thing to go on.

                The real and only experts from that era, were those who played then. They knew each other very well. And they all strongly believed that Buck Ewing was their best player, with Cap Anson his only serious rival.

                Most people today don't remember that in 1936, there were supposed to originally be 5 pre- 1900 players elected along with the Original 5.

                It didn't work out that way. Needing 59 votes to get in, the leading vote getters were Buck Ewing with 40, Cap Anson 40, Keeler 33, Young 32, Ed Delahanty 22, McGraw 17, Herman Long 16, Charlie Radbourn 16, Mike Kelly 16, Amos Rusie 12. So none got elected.

                So, in 1939, Judge Landis, Ford Frick and William Harridge selected Buck Ewing, Cap Anson, Al Spalding, Candy Cummings, Comiskey, Radbourne for inclusion in the Hall. Less desirous way to get in. Apparently, the post 1940 world has forgotten why 40 original voters thought Buck Ewing was fully the equal of Anson, as a player. I plan to remind them.

                Important distinction: Buck Ewing was not merely considered the finest catcher who ever lived, by most who saw him, up until the mid-30's. He was thought of by many as the greatest PLAYER who ever lived, and the greatest PLAYER of the pre-1900 era (but only when he was catching).

                Most well-informed baseball fans now consider Buck Ewing the best all-around player who played pre-1900. So why are members so bashful about acknowledging these simple things.

                Bill Burgess

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by blackout805
                  cap anson had 21 in 1887

                  i dont know whether you'd want to classify Conner as a "slugger" though, because looking at the amount of triples he got, I'd take a guess that most of his HRs were inside-the-park, which would make him more of a speedster

                  either way, still a pretty good player
                  I meant the career record, not the single season record, and anyway, Ed Williamson held the single season record before Ruth. Williamson hit 27 home runs in 1884, which was the record until Ruth hit 29 in 1919.

                  I honestly don't know whether Connor was a true slugger or really a speedster who got inside the park homers. Maybe he was a speedster, but I tend to think he was a pure slugger, just because he was 6'3'' and 220 pounds. My best guess is that he was an immensely strong man who could hit the ball a mile, but I could be wrong.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by ElHalo
                    1. Ed Delahanty
                    ...
                    ...
                    ...
                    2. Dan Brouthers
                    ...
                    ...
                    ...
                    3. Everyone else

                    The first guys to pop into my head behind Delahanty and Brouthers would be Connor, Barnes, Jennings, and Keeler, but they're all miles behind Delahanty and Brouthers.
                    No Cap Anson eh??? Oh thats right......

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by ElHalo
                      1. Ed Delahanty
                      ...
                      ...
                      ...
                      2. Dan Brouthers
                      ...
                      ...
                      ...
                      3. Everyone else

                      The first guys to pop into my head behind Delahanty and Brouthers would be Connor, Barnes, Jennings, and Keeler, but they're all miles behind Delahanty and Brouthers.
                      I can't believe it, but I completely agree with this post. Delahanty and Brouthers were miles ahead of everyone else offensively. Which one to choose is tough, but for me it has to be one of those 2.

                      1. Delahanty
                      2. Brouthers
                      3. Ewing
                      4. Kelly
                      5. Anson
                      6. Conner
                      7. Hamilton
                      8. Browning
                      9. Thompson
                      10. McGraw

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by [email protected]
                        I may not know very much about the pre-1900 players, but I do feel one thing very strongly. Their stats from that time period should not be the only thing to go on.
                        Bill,

                        I'm familiar with the Old Bill James Abstract article on Ewing and many of the quotes and the HOF Old Timers vote. And I do believe that Buck Ewing was a great player. He was a defensive star at a key position and could play everywhere on the field. I'm sure that all those old writers truly believe that he was the best. But they did not have access to all the statistics and metrics that we have today. I'm sure Buck made a lot a great plays, impressive highlight type plays that stuck in peoples minds, kind of like a Ozzie Smith or Ken Griffey in the field. Those types of spectacular plays do a lot for a player's public image. As great a player as Ozzie Smith, no amount of defensive wizardry can compensate for other player's superior offensive skills. I'm sure a guy like Dan Brouthers seemed like a one dimensional, flat flooted, boring slugger versus a versatile defensive wiz like Buck Ewing, but in all likelihood, his 70 points of OBP and 60 points were more valuable.
                        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 11-04-2006, 09:59 AM.

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                        • #27
                          Dodger,

                          Thank you for chatting with me on Buck. Yeah, I agree that it's tough to assess players who played so long ago.

                          Concerning him, the aspect of his play which led his peers to hold him in awe was actually 2-fold.

                          1. Pitch selection - It was said that he was a Ty Cobb behind the plate. He had catalogued every hitter in the league, according to their hitting strengths/weaknesses. He called his game so as to keep the enemy off their game. Because he had the hitters in HIS head, his pitchers could relax and focus all their efforts on their mechanics. This skill awed his peers. He maximized his staff's gifts, and minimized their flaws.

                          2. His arm - He threw from his crouch. Never rose from his squat. He slung it side-arm, using his forearm muscle so well, that he could nail runners better from his crouch, better than others could throw who rose and threw standing upright.

                          So those were the 2 assets which Buck's peers never got over. The fact that he could also run well, and hit and play elsewhere were never the things which made him so great or so famous.

                          Great chatting.

                          Bill

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                          • #28
                            Bill,

                            One thing you do have to understand is that you probably put more emphasis on a catcher's defensive abilities than anyone in recorded history. There's a fairly general consensus that Ray Schalk was about as perfect as you can get at C defense, but you'd probably be laughed at for saying that he's even one of the top 100 players of all time.
                            "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                            Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              But Schalk was a below average hitter with a career OPS+ of 83, while Ewing was 130+ in about the same number of plate appeareances.

                              Both were great defensive catchers and I've always wished that they kept catcher "caught stealing' numbers.

                              Ewing did have 1017 assists in 636 career games at catcher which indicates a great arm while Schalk had 1811 in 1727 games.

                              Some contempories of each:
                              Charlie Bennett, 1048 in 954 games
                              King Kelly, 857 in 583 games
                              Chief Zimmer, 1580 in 1239 games
                              Wilber Robinson 1454 in 1316 games

                              Luke Ferrell, 1084 assists in 1562 games
                              Wally Schang, 1420 in 1435 games
                              Muddy Ruel 1136 in 1410

                              Looks like they both had outstanding arms for their era.

                              Back to the question of the best players of the 19th century, I'd still say that guys like Delahanty, Brouthers and Connor were more valuable during their careers than Buck Ewing, but he was a great and kind of a unique player in baseball history.

                              Another of my favorite 19th century guys is Hughie Jennings, really only had 5 good years but may have been the best player in baseball for a 3 or 4 year span.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                On a related topic, anybody have a suggestion about some 19th century baseball books.

                                I would recommend:

                                The Great Encylopedia of 19th Century ML Baseball by David Nemec
                                Where they Ain't by Burt Solomon

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