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Playoff Hall of Fame project, group 7

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  • #31
    Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post

    Junping to the Federal League probably wasn't a good decision. Not that he would have won a lot of games with the Athletics. But I think we all know he probably would have been sold off with the rest of the valuable players. He chose to stay in the minors despite some (supposedly) major league offers so that he could manage. He likely wouldn't be given a chance to manage in the majors because he was an indian but I don't think jumping to the Federal League helped chances to be signed to pitch. Although he was given a coaching job with the White Sox in '25. Even the lowly Phillies released him after pitching well in 1917. Here are his minor league seasons...
    • Bender went 29-2 with a 1.03 ERA on the 1919 Richmond Colts. He was first in W & RA9 and second in IP & WHIP. The Virginia League (C) had 21 players outside Richmond that once or eventually played in the majors. Rube Oldring being the only one of note.
    • In 1920 managing with New Haven he went 25-12 with a 1.94 ERA. He was first in W, G, IP and second in WHIP & ERA. The 1920 Eastern League (A) had 46 players outside New Haven that once or eventually played in the majors. Big Ed Walsh being the only one of note only pitching 3 games at age 39.
    • In 1921 again managing with New Haven he went 13-7 with a 1.93 ERA in 18 starts and 18 relief appearances. He finished 3rd in ERA and 12th in WHIP. The 1921 Eastern League (A) had 42 players outside New Haven that once or eventually played in the majors. Including 18 year old Lou Gehrig who hit .261 in 46 AB's and 20 year old Gabby Hartnett who hit .264 in 345 AB's.
    • Bender finished second in the International League in ERA while managing the Reading Aces the next year but with an 8-13 record (30th in IP). The 1922 International League (AA) had 75 players outside Reading that once or eventually played in the majors. Among them: Les Bell, Eddie Dyer, (33 year old) Fred Merkle and some young guys you may have heard of in Bob Fothergill, Max Bishop, Joe Boley, Lefty Grove and Jim Bottomley.
    • He didn't pitch a whole lot in '23-24 with Baltimore and New Haven going 6-3, 5.03 in 93 IP and 6-4, 3.07 in 91 IP respectively.
    • In the 1927 Mid-Atlantic League (C) Bender finished 27th out of 39 pitchers with 108 IP but finished first with a 1.33 ERA at age 43 in a league with about ten once or future major leaguers outside the Johnstown club he was managing.

    I've read that MLB teams wanted Bender after WWI, but that he liked being a player/manager or manager/player (he was so in the minors), so he didn't go back to the majors. Perhaps if a MLB team would have offered him a manager job (plenty of player managers back then), he would have come back.

    I wonder if finances came into the issue. Mayhap the minor league team was paying him a managers salary besides a players salary. That kind of money may have been equivalent to MLB money.


    Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post

    He didn't pioneer anything except in golf. He just played baseball. He's an easy HoFer. It isn't even a question.
    I meant being a pioneer (early days) type player/one of the first stars. I'm not speaking of creating something new in the game. He played 300 quality games in the National Association when the game was becoming professional, and he was finished at age 30. I'm still not sure of his true skill level. Contemporaries like Cap Anson (5 years younger) or even a lesser star like Ezra Sutton held onto their skills longer.

    Al Spalding (3 years younger) was voted into the HOF as a pioneer/executive and he was at least as big a star as Wright. Yes, his post playing days were a contributing and large factor, but he's in the HOF partially for his game play. I'd be more supportive if Wright was given that level of credit.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
      I meant being a pioneer (early days) type player/one of the first stars. I'm not speaking of creating something new in the game. He played 300 quality games in the National Association when the game was becoming professional, and he was finished at age 30. I'm still not sure of his true skill level. Contemporaries like Cap Anson (5 years younger) or even a lesser star like Ezra Sutton held onto their skills longer.

      Al Spalding (3 years younger) was voted into the HOF as a pioneer/executive and he was at least as big a star as Wright. Yes, his post playing days were a contributing and large factor, but he's in the HOF partially for his game play. I'd be more supportive if Wright was given that level of credit.
      He didn't "tail off". He did what most people did in those days: followed the money.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wright_(sportsman)
      Last edited by jjpm74; 01-09-2019, 06:03 PM.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post

        He didn't "tail off". He did what most people did in those days: followed the money.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wright_(sportsman)
        They way I'm reading this Wikipedia timeline, Wright went back to his growing sporting goods business in 1880 (age 33), but that was after his game started declining.

        I don't know how much baseball was paying him at the end of the 1870s, but I'm guessing his business would have made him more money.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by dgarza View Post

          They way I'm reading this Wikipedia timeline, Wright went back to his growing sporting goods business in 1880 (age 33), but that was after his game started declining.

          I don't know how much baseball was paying him at the end of the 1870s, but I'm guessing his business would have made him more money.
          He also went back to cricket for a bit.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post

            He also went back to cricket for a bit.
            Right. Probably why his last baseball season was only 40-something games.

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by dgarza View Post

              Right. Probably why his last baseball season was only 40-something games.
              From what I understand, it also had to do with the newly instituted reserve clause.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post

                From what I understand, it also had to do with the newly instituted reserve clause.
                From what I'm piecing together, that's probably not the reason Wright played just 46 game in 1882, his last season. There might have been a combination of reasons, but I don't think the Reserve Clause was the main one. Although I think the Reserve Clause was the reason he played only 1 game in 1880 and just 7 in 1881.

                Here's what I think seems to have happened since the creation of the NL:

                1876-1878 - Wright played for Boston, each season he was declining by noticeable steps.

                1879 - Wright becomes manager of the Providence team and he also plays SS. Providence wrestles the pennant from Boston. Wright plays better this year. His traditional stats (the ones they had at the time) were good, but he would not have been seen as one of the top players at this point of his career. He probably would not have been seen as the top players on his own team. I guess Paul Hines and Jim O'Rourke would have been seen as the team's stars. John Ward, too.

                1879/1980 Off-Season - After the 1879 season, George Wright sees that his sporting goods business is growing, so he decides to go back to Boston to take care of that part of his life. I am guessing he made this move before the Reserve Clause was instituted, so he probably thought he could move back to Boston and maybe also play for his brother on the Boston team in 1880. But then later that off-season, the Reserve Clause was instituted and any possibility of playing for Boston crushed. George Wright was now reserved for the Providence team.

                1880-1881 - George Wright was still reserved for the Providence team, but he played just 1 game in 1880 and just 7 in 1881. Strange thing is that he is listed as playing for Boston these years. I am wondering if he stayed in Boston for his business, but played a few games here and there when Providence came into Boston as the visiting team. That would make sense to me, but then why is he listed as playing for Boston? Did he really play for the Grays and the historical records are just messed up? Where the two Wright brother confused? Did Providence allow George Wright to play for Boston during these Providence/Boston matches in Boston? Were these games just "one offs" in a young league with lax enforcement?

                1882 - Now we see Wright playing for Providence (Again? Or was he always still with them because of the Reserve Clause?). Wright plays 46 games, which is roughly half the season. He doesn't do well, batting .162. Now Harry Wright is the manager for Providence. Is that why George Wright is playing more again? Because he wants to play with his brother? I wonder if George Wright is now settled in Providence (perhaps he moved his business there???) and plays only home games. Wikipedia claims that George Wright took up cricket seriously again in 1882. I don't know when cricket season is, but another option is that George Wright either quit baseball mid-season to move over to cricket or he stayed in Providence and alternated between home baseball games and home cricket matches. Who knows.

                1883 - George Wright is no longer playing professional baseball.

                (The order of events during the 1879/80 off-season are not clear, so some of my chronology there is guess-work.)
                Last edited by dgarza; 01-10-2019, 09:12 AM.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by dgarza View Post

                  From what I'm piecing together, that's probably not the reason Wright played just 46 game in 1882, his last season. There might have been a combination of reasons, but I don't think the Reserve Clause was the main one. Although I think the Reserve Clause was the reason he played only 1 game in 1880 and just 7 in 1881.

                  Here's what I think seems to have happened since the creation of the NL:

                  1876-1878 - Wright played for Boston, each season he was declining by noticeable steps.

                  1879 - Wright becomes manager of the Providence team and he also plays SS. Providence wrestles the pennant from Boston. Wright plays better this year. His traditional stats (the ones they had at the time) were good, but he would not have been seen as one of the top players at this point of his career. He probably would not have been seen as the top players on his own team. I guess Paul Hines and Jim O'Rourke would have been seen as the team's stars. John Ward, too.

                  1879/1980 Off-Season - After the 1879 season, George Wright sees that his sporting goods business is growing, so he decides to go back to Boston to take care of that part of his life. I am guessing he made this move before the Reserve Clause was instituted, so he probably thought he could move back to Boston and maybe also play for his brother on the Boston team in 1880. But then later that off-season, the Reserve Clause was instituted and any possibility of playing for Boston crushed. George Wright was now reserved for the Providence team.

                  1880-1881 - George Wright was still reserved for the Providence team, but he played just 1 game in 1880 and just 7 in 1881. Strange thing is that he is listed as playing for Boston these years. I am wondering if he stayed in Boston for his business, but played a few games here and there when Providence came into Boston as the visiting team. That would make sense to me, but then why is he listed as playing for Boston? Did he really play for the Grays and the historical records are just messed up? Where the two Wright brother confused? Did Providence allow George Wright to play for Boston during these Providence/Boston matches in Boston? Were these games just "one offs" in a young league with lax enforcement?

                  1882 - Now we see Wright playing for Providence (Again? Or was he always still with them because of the Reserve Clause?). Wright plays 46 games, which is roughly half the season. He doesn't do well, batting .162. Now Harry Wright is the manager for Providence. Is that why George Wright is playing more again? Because he wants to play with his brother? I wonder if George Wright is now settled in Providence (perhaps he moved his business there???) and plays only home games. Wikipedia claims that George Wright took up cricket seriously again in 1882. I don't know when cricket season is, but another option is that George Wright either quit baseball mid-season to move over to cricket or he stayed in Providence and alternated between home baseball games and home cricket matches. Who knows.

                  1883 - George Wright is no longer playing professional baseball.

                  (The order of events during the 1879/80 off-season are not clear, so some of my chronology there is guess-work.)
                  That sounds about right, but if Wikipedia is to be believed, his reason for returning to Boston was to expand his growing sporting goods business. Wright lived a long time after baseball and I'd like to learn more about his life after baseball.

                  I know career wise, he was playing at the highest level at the time from 1862-1879 full time and wonder if all the travelling and years, combined with the reserve clause. family interests and a growing business took their toll on him and might have contributed to his decline by age 30. Either way, he was either the best or second best player of his era and for anyone to completely dismiss him, they need to dismiss that entire period of baseball, IMO (nothing wrong with that line of thinking for anyone who is).

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post

                    He didn't "tail off". He did what most people did in those days: followed the money.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wright_(sportsman)
                    To me, his age 30-31 seasons look like he wasn't that good, which is the basis of my tailing off comment.


                    As a side note, let me suggest SABR biographies again. They are one of the finest resources in baseball, with great biographical information on many players. Here is the link for George Wright. SABR biographies also include a list of sources.

                    https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/5468d7c0
                    The definition of a great player is one who helps his team win a lot of games-Bill James

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post

                      To me, his age 30-31 seasons look like he wasn't that good, which is the basis of my tailing off comment.


                      As a side note, let me suggest SABR biographies again. They are one of the finest resources in baseball, with great biographical information on many players. Here is the link for George Wright. SABR biographies also include a list of sources.

                      https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/5468d7c0
                      I linked to this in post 15, but I second the motion on the SABR bios, especially the earlier we date back in baseball history.

                      As to how you feel about Wright, your stance falls in line with your takes on Mauer and Utley, who are peakier/prime candidates without long-careers.
                      For your purposes and all of us, how do we feel about George's pre-NA value, can this be somewhere between a little and considerable, because a few quality years at the beginning of his career would really help out the more career centric voters.

                      Hat tip to good discussions going on in this thread, thanks all.
                      The Chief Bender points are of great insight,it signals that he certainly had value outside of MLB, as he chose to play/manage in league.
                      I feel it's enough that he at least enters the grey area of intriguing candidates, maybe not HOF level, but he's given short shrift without considering the minor league quality performances.
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                      • #41
                        The Fuzzy Bear Memorial Keltner List: George Wright...

                        1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

                        Yes

                        2. Was he the best player on his team?

                        Yes. He was the best player on the 1864 Gothams, 1867 Nationals in D.C., the '69 & '70 Cincinnati Red Stockings, probably the best player on the 1874 Boston Red Stockings being the 2nd best position player to Barnes from '71-74. He was .1 WAR behind Paul Hines for best position player on the '82 Providence Grays.

                        3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

                        Yes, according to thebaseballgauge.com he was the best shortstop from '72-75 & '79.

                        4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

                        Yes, every year he was with power houses in Cincinnati and Boston from '71-78, with Providence in '79 & '82.

                        5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?

                        Probably, he took up cricket after 1882 for at least 9 years with the Lomgwood Cricket Club with whom he dominated.

                        6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

                        N/A

                        7. Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Fame?

                        No, but short seasons make this meaningless...
                        1. Charlie Hollocher (921.1)
                        2. Fred Carroll (897.3)
                        3. Fresco Thompson (896.1)
                        4. Topper Rigney (894.6)
                        5. Heinie Reitz (890.0)
                        6. Mike Grady (887.0)
                        7. Bill Gleason (880.5)
                        8. Billy Sullivan (879.8)
                        9. Jean Segura (874.8)
                        10. Ray Chapman (871.7)
                        8. Do the numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

                        No, see #7...
                        Black Ink
                        Batting - 8 (299), Average HOFer ≈ 27
                        Gray Ink
                        Batting - 130 (141), Average HOFer ≈ 144
                        Hall of Fame Monitor
                        Batting - 17 (962), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
                        Hall of Fame Standards
                        Batting - 13 (1358), Average HOFer ≈ 50
                        JAWS
                        Shortstop (99th):
                        23.2 career WAR / 22.0 7yr-peak WAR / 22.6 JAWS
                        Average HOF SS (out of 22):
                        67.0 career WAR / 42.9 7yr-peak WAR / 55.0 JAWS
                        9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

                        Yes, advanced stats don't encapsulate his era well.

                        10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?

                        N/A

                        11. How many MVP-type season did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

                        Hard to say. I'd say 2-3.

                        12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many games get in?

                        I'd say 7-8 seasons.

                        13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

                        Yes, see the original Reds and '82 Grays.

                        14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? We he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

                        No

                        15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

                        I don't recall him being anything but a consummate professional.
                        Last edited by bluesky5; 01-10-2019, 09:43 PM.
                        "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post

                          14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? We he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

                          No
                          I don't agree with this answer. While Pearce was the first notable short infielder, George Wright was the first true short stop in the modern sense of the term. He deserves at least some credit for his role in establishing that position as one of the primary positions for a team's best non-pitcher to play.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post

                            I don't agree with this answer. While Pearce was the first notable short infielder, George Wright was the first true short stop in the modern sense of the term. He deserves at least some credit for his role in establishing that position as one of the primary positions for a team's best non-pitcher to play.
                            So Doc Adams invented it, Dickey Pearce was the first master it and George Wright made it the most coveted of all fielding positions. He was a catcher before he was a SS as was Joe Leggett, who is 19 years older and was the best pre-N.A. catcher in baseball. I think Ross Barnes was the SS for Forest City with Bob Addy at 2B before he and Spalding signed with Boston. Wright's batting from SS was unprecedented. Unless Dickey Pearce was really ripping it up with Atlantic; which he probably was but I don't even have runs or hands lost numbers on him available at the moment. Wright did earn nationwide fame with Cincinnati that was unprecedented for a ball player. Wish I could find my book with NABBP rosters in the back. I'd like to know who played SS for the 1860's Athletics.
                            "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Moving into the winners bracket are Alexander, Boggs, Wilhelm and Wright. The remaining guys move on to the losers bracket The official results:
                              91 Pete Alexander
                              76 Wade Boggs
                              56 Hoyt Wilhelm
                              47 George Wright
                              40 Sam Thompson
                              24 Jorge Posada
                              21 Chief Bender
                              9 Jack Morris
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