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  • Kid Nichols

    Kid Nichols was one of the great pitchers of early baseball history. His win total lies below only Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Christy Mathewson and Warren Spahn’s. Unbelievable by today’s standards, Nichols won his 300th game at age 30. He won 25+ games his first nine seasons and led the Boston Beaneaters to five National League championships. By 1901, Nichols had pitched an incredible 4,538 innings.

    Nichols left the majors after that season to serve as player-manager-owner for his newly purchased Kansas City team in the Western Association for which he won 48 games from 1902-3. Nichols returned to the majors in ‘04 to win 21 games, but pitched only sparingly for two more seasons. The righthander was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1949.

  • #2
    I don't hold Nichols in high favor at all

    He was the late '9-'s equivalent of Andy Pettitte...the product of a dynasty

    He had a superb IF and the hitters to dominate

    When the dynasty ended, Nichols slowly looked like a midtier pitcher and was out rather quickly

    If he was with any other team, he would be forgotten, like Gus Weyhing...lucky for Kid though, he is a HOFer based on things he could not control and he was lucky

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    • #3
      that's how i feel about lefty gomez

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      • #4
        An even better similie then Andy Pettitte

        I concur

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        • #5
          I don't know if I can agree with you guys on this. I mean, while there's no question that playing for Boston inflated his wins total, he posted some great stuff in stats that are, to a large part, independent of teammates and was amazingly consistent throughout his career straddling two (and almost three) eras. His WHIp, his K/BB totals, his (especially his) ERA+ totals, both in and of themselves and also in relation to his league... well, I think he most certainly deserves the hall. He won 30 games seven times- no one else in history has done that. Granted, had he played for, say, Louisville instead of Boston, this most likely would not have happened, but I while I don't feel players should be especially glorified for the luck of playing with a dynasty, they certainly shouldn't be penalized. The Kid reached 300 wins faster than anyone else in history, and had he stuck around in 02 and 03 instead of trying his hand in the Western League, he most likely would have a win total above 400.

          But aside from all this, i have a question as to the Lefty Gomez. What other HOF players do you guys consider coattail riders and not HOFers in their own right? Say, Herb Pennock or Highpockets Kelly.
          "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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          • #6
            Originally posted by Buzzaldrin
            I don't know if I can agree with you guys on this. I mean, while there's no question that playing for Boston inflated his wins total, he posted some great stuff in stats that are, to a large part, independent of teammates and was amazingly consistent throughout his career straddling two (and almost three) eras. His WHIp, his K/BB totals, his (especially his) ERA+ totals, both in and of themselves and also in relation to his league... well, I think he most certainly deserves the hall. He won 30 games seven times- no one else in history has done that. Granted, had he played for, say, Louisville instead of Boston, this most likely would not have happened, but I while I don't feel players should be especially glorified for the luck of playing with a dynasty, they certainly shouldn't be penalized. The Kid reached 300 wins faster than anyone else in history, and had he stuck around in 02 and 03 instead of trying his hand in the Western League, he most likely would have a win total above 400.

            .
            no - i wasn't saying that is how i felt about nichols - just gomez - i think nichols was probably the best pitcher of the 1890s and a definite hall of famer

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Imapotato
              I don't hold Nichols in high favor at all

              He was the late '9-'s equivalent of Andy Pettite...the product of a dynasty

              He had a superb IF and the hitters to dominate

              When the dynasty ended, Nichols slowly looked like a midtier pitcher and was out rather quickly

              If he was with any other team, he would be forgotten, like Gus Weyling...lucky for Kid though, he is a HOFer based on things he could not control and he was lucky
              Huh??? You are joking aren't you? If you look at Kid Nichols stats closely you can see that he was doing just fine all by himself. Go beyond the W-L record and see for yourself. He wasn't just lucky to be on a dynasty...he was a major force OF that dynasty....a major reason they were a dynasty.

              Comparing Nichols to Andy Pettitte and Lefty Gomez is just plain laughable. Absurb actually.

              I think he was the best pitcher of the 1890's, eclipsing Cy Young. Along with Cy he was one of the few good pitchers who were able to make the conversion when the slab was moved back to 60'6". I consider Kid Nichols to be among the 15 greatest pitchers in the history of baseball.

              When he came back he wasn't as dominant as he was in the 90s but when you look at his workload when he was on top that can certainly be understandable.

              He is clearly HOF worthy, close to, if not first tier level.

              Your tagline refers to 'Cynic'....you certainly are cynical.

              Yankees Fan Since 1957

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              • #8
                Kid Nichols may be a bit overrated because many fail to make league quality adjustments and realize that his IP totals are inflated by the era, but saying he was just riding on his teammates is ridiculous. I have no doubts his ERAs are probably a bit inflated because of the defense behind him, but his DIPS elements are all very good, and his defensive independant ERA is as well. He was great before Boston became a dynasty, he was great in the Western Association after he left Boston and great with St.Louis for one year after he returned to the NL. It seems to me like Nichols was more a reason why the Beaneaters were a dynasty rather than the dynasty was what made him good. This isn't Dave McNally or Catfish Hunter we're talking about here.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by yanks0714
                  Huh??? You are joking aren't you? If you look at Kid Nichols stats closely you can see that he was doing just fine all by himself. Go beyond the W-L record and see for yourself. He wasn't just lucky to be on a dynasty...he was a major force OF that dynasty....a major reason they were a dynasty.

                  Comparing Nichols to Andy Pettitte and Left Gomez is just plain laughable. Absurd actually.

                  I think he was the best pitcher of the 1890's, eclipsing Cy Young. Along with Cy he was one of the few good pitchers who were able to make the conversion when the slab was moved back to 60'6". I consider Kid Nichols to be among the 15 greatest pitchers in the history of baseball.

                  When he came back he wasn't as dominant as he was in the 90s but when you look at his workload when he was on top that can certainly be understandable.

                  He is clearly HOF worthy, close to, if not first tier level.
                  Interesting to see a thread that isn't a comparison between two guys, after being away from this site for so long. I've been reading the Cy Young biography while away, and the matchups he 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 was Nolan Ryan pitching 80 years earlier.

                  Although I won't deride Imapotato, I pretty much completely agree with everything you said here, Yanks0714. Nichols was on very good defensive teams, but that was mitigated by the fact that he had lousy run support. It was actually the worst for any alltime great over the course of his career!!

                  In his rookie season, his run support was an atrocious 75 on a team that wasn't very good, and he went 27-19 as a 20 year old, leading the league in shutouts.

                  In fact, just for kicks, here's his run support by year.
                  1890-75
                  1891-96
                  1892-85
                  1893-93
                  1894-104
                  1895-95
                  1896-103
                  1897-106
                  1898-95
                  1899-86
                  1900-105
                  1901-81
                  1904-78 (he went 21-13 on a .500 team with lousy run support, after spending two entire years away from the Bigs as player-manager of the Western Association Kansas City team)
                  1905-87

                  Now to see why the comparison to Lefty Gomez is completely off base, look at his run support:

                  1930-120
                  1931-126
                  1932-145
                  1933-107
                  1934-125
                  1935-96
                  1936-117
                  1937-106
                  1938-107
                  1939-100
                  1940-139
                  1941-128
                  1942-153

                  (career- 117)

                  The point being that there's nothing specious about Kid Nichols' records, and he's one of the 15 greatest pitchers ever, IMO (and in the consensus opinion of the membership of Baseball Fever).

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                  • #10
                    I completely agree with almost everything that has been said here, with the exception of the comments of Imapotato. Kid Nichols was the best pitcher on that Boston dynasty. And, as we all know, you can't have a dynasty without pitching.

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                    • #11
                      Kid Nichols, St. Louis P, 1904-05--------------BB Library bio---BB Reference


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                      • #12
                        This may be of interest. It's from Hello, Everybody, I'm Lindsey Nelson, the announcer's autobiography:

                        And there was the hot summer's night in 1964 when Warren Spahn was pitching for the Mets and was about to win. And if he did, that victory would put him ahead of Kid Nichols in the all-time listing of career victories. In the press box at Shea Stadium, the baseball writers were getting ready to make note of that historic achievement in their stories. But there was a problem. Nobody knew anything at all about Kid Nichols. Who the hell was Kid Nichols? Nobody had a clue. Then someone suggested that a runner be sent down to the dugout to query Casey Stengel. Surely Casey must have heard of Kid Nichols. He probably hadn't ever actually seen him, but he must have heard of him. He must have known whom he played for.

                        When the messenger returned, he was still in a daze. When he had put his query to Casey, the grizzled old veteran had looked at him disbelievingly as though he had said, "Did you ever hear of a fellow named Franklin Roosevelt?"

                        Casey said, "Hear of him? What the hell do you mean, hear of him We lived on the same block in Kansas City and in fact he lived in the house directly across the street from where I lived."

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                        • #13
                          Kid Nichols is one of the elite pitchers in MLB and one of the top 10 greatest pitchers ever. No matter what team he pitched for, he pitched in an extreme offensive era and has an amazing record. The defense behind him wasn't so good. I'm not sure what motivated that comment.
                          Attached Files
                          In the 1920's, Harry Heilmann led the AL with a .364 average. In addition, he averaged 220 hits, 45 doubles, 12 triples, 16 homers, 110 runs, and 130 RBI.

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