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The top 100 Pitchers Project Round 1: pre-1893

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  • The top 100 Pitchers Project Round 1: pre-1893

    Please read first:

    The 100 best of all time round 1: pre-1893

    The purpose of this project is to ultimately find out who the 100 greatest pitchers are of all time. For round 1: pre-1893, we are looking to vote for 15 pitchers. This does not mean that anyone necessarily supports 15 pitchers from this or any other era. These 15 will be eventually combined with pitchers from other eras and whittled down to 100.

    Ties will be broken using runoff polls.

    Other periods that will be looked at separately:

    pre-1893
    1893-1919
    1920-1946
    1947-1968
    1969-1985
    1986-2008
    The Negro Leagues and Pre Negro Leagues

    Pitching prior to 1893 was much different than today. For starters, the pitching distance was closer. Pitchers also started out throwing underhand before switching to side arm throwing. There were also a lot less pitchers on a given team than there is today and a typical NL season saw 8 teams on average. The rival American Association's teams balooned and other rival leagues like the Player's League and Union Association diluted talent. Here is the breakdown of pitchers who pitched the majority of their careers (more than 66%) between 1871 and 1892. Below is a list of candidates from this era with a minimum of 100 wins.

    The candidates:

    Mark Baldwin
    Tommy Bond
    George Bradley
    Charlie Buffinton
    Bob Caruthers
    Elton Chamberlain
    John Clarkson
    Larry Corcoran
    Jim Creighton
    Candy Cummings
    Dave Foutz
    Pud Galvin
    Kid Gleason
    Fred Goldsmith
    Charlie Getzein
    Ad Gumbert
    Guy Hecker
    Bill Hutchison
    Tim Keefe
    Silver King
    Matt Kilroy
    Jack Lynch
    Bobby Mathews
    Jim McCormick
    Ed Morris
    Dick McBride
    Tony Mullane
    Charley Radbourn
    Toad Ramsey
    Al Spalding
    Harry Staley
    Adonis Terry
    John Montgomery Ward
    Mickey Welch
    Will White
    Stump Wiedman
    Jim Whitney
    George Zettlein

    Each Player’s wiki bio is linked above. In addition, some players have bios at SABR Bio Project and their statistics can be found at Baseball Reference.

    National Association These are pitchers who pitched a minimum of 50 games from 1871-1875 and their wins, losses, era, era+ and WHIP. Some of these players had a couple of years in the NL, but the majority of their play came in the NA. During this era, most teams carried only 1 pitcher with a handful of exceptions. I included both NA and NL stats for these players and ranked them by WHIP. Players who had more seasons in the MLs are listed in the NL/AA/UA/PL list below. # means in the HOF:

    Code:
     Player Wins Losses ERA ERA+ WHIP
    #Al Spalding 253-65 2.14 142 1.186
    Cherokee Fisher 57-84 2.83 107 1.219
    #Candy Cummings 145-94 2.49 120 1.221
    Dick McBride 149-78 2.85 115 1.245
    George Zettlein 129-112 2.78 113 1.306
    Jack Manning 38-27 3.16 82 1.350
    Asa Brainard 24-53 4.84 74 1.696
    Bill Stearns 12-64 4.98 67 1.739
    NL/AA/UA/PL These players played the majority of their careers in the NL/AA/UA/PL and played in a minimum of 150 games as a pitcher. During this period, many teams carried 1-3 primary pitchers and the number of teams hovered between 6 and 8 per league on average until 1892 when the AA disbanded and the NL expanded to 12 teams:

    Code:
    Player Wins Losses ERA ERA+ WHIP
    #John Ward 164-102 2.10 119 1.044
    Jim Devlin 72-76 2.90 142 1.086
    George Bradley 171-151 2.42 106 1.089
    Tommy Bond 234-163 2.31 111 1.093
    Larry Corcoran 177-89 2.90 123 1.105
    Ed Morris 171-152 2.82 115 1.108
    Will White 229-166 2.28 120 1.111
    Charlie Ferguson 99-64 2.67 121 1.117
    Terry Larkin 89-80 2.43 102 1.117
    #Tim Keefe 342-225 2.62 127 1.121
    Jim McCormick 265-214 2.43 118 1.132
    Jim Whitney 191-204 2.97 104 1.147
    #Charley Radbourn 309-195 2.67 119 1.149
    Fred Goldsmith 112-68 2.73 107 1.153
    Bob Caruthers 218-99 2.83 123 1.158
    Guy Hecker 173-146 333 114 1.168
    Dave Foutz 147-66 2.84 124 1.178
    Sam Weaver 70-80 2.86 89 1.180
    #Pud Galvin 364-310 3.07 107 1.191
    Dupee Shaw 83-121 3.08 99 1.195
    Henry Boyle 89-111 3.06 112 1.206
    #John Clarkson 328-158 2.81 134 1.209
    Jack Lynch 110-105 3.69 88 1.218
    Ed Seward 89-72 23.40 108 1.218
    #Mickey Welch 307-210 2.71 114 1.225
    Charley Buffinton 233-152 2.96 115 1.234
    Bobby Mathews 297-248 2.89 107 1.236
    Tony Mullane 284-220 3.05 118 1.237
    Toad Ramsey 114-124 3.86 117 1.243
    Hugh Daily 73-87 2.92 108 1.246
    Silver King 203-154 3.89 123 1.277
    Lee Richmond 75-100 3.06 94 1.284
    Charlie Getzein 145-139 3.46 99 1.288
    Ed Daily 66-70 3.39 97 1.290
    Ben Sanders 80-70 3.25 116 1.295
    Hardy Henderson 81-121 3.50 98 1.298
    Matt Kilroy 141-133 3.47 107 1.313
    Dan Casey 96-90 3.18 112 1.313
    Henry Porter 96-107 3.70 95 1.315
    Stump Weidman 101-156 3.21 89 1.317
    Jesse Duryea 59-67 3.45 109 1.333
    John Healy 78-136 3.84 93 1.343
    Harry Staley 136-119 3.08 106 1.353
    Hank O’Day 73-110 3.74 97 1.354
    Lee Viau 83-77 3.33 105 1.364
    Bob Barr 49-98 3.83 86 1.370
    Adonis Terry 197-197 3.74 103 1.372
    Bill Hutchison 183-163 3.59 112 1.382
    Scott Straton 97-114 3.87 98 1.382
    Jersey Bakeley 76-135 3.47 95 1.387
    Elton Chamberlain 159-120 2.19 112 1.392
    Mark Baldwin 156-165 3.36 113 1.425
    Kid Gleason 138-131 3.93 104 1.447
    Henry Gruber 61-78 3.67 99 1.458
    Frank Foreman 96-93 3.97 100 1.461
    Ad Gumbert 123-102 4.05 95 1.488
    George Haddock 95-87 3.81 94 1.496
    Al Maul 84-80 4.43 96 1.520
    Ed Crane 72-96 3.99 96 1.556
    The Poll will be added 5/28 and run for TWO weeks. Ballots that do not have Fifteen choices selected will not be counted.
    298
    Mark Baldwin
    0.34%
    1
    Tommy Bond
    5.70%
    17
    George Bradley
    0.67%
    2
    Charlie Buffinton
    2.68%
    8
    Bob Caruthers
    5.70%
    17
    Elton Chamberlain
    0.67%
    2
    John Clarkson
    6.71%
    20
    Larry Corcoran
    4.03%
    12
    Jim Creighton
    2.01%
    6
    Candy Cummings
    3.02%
    9
    Dave Foutz
    1.01%
    3
    Pud Galvin
    6.71%
    20
    Kid Gleason
    2.01%
    6
    Fred Goldsmith
    1.34%
    4
    Charlie Getzein
    0.34%
    1
    Ad Gumbert
    0.34%
    1
    Guy Hecker
    1.01%
    3
    Bill Hutchison
    1.34%
    4
    Tim Keefe
    6.38%
    19
    Silver King
    4.70%
    14
    Matt Kilroy
    1.01%
    3
    Jack Lynch
    0.34%
    1
    Bobby Mathews
    3.36%
    10
    Jim McCormick
    4.70%
    14
    Ed Morris
    0.67%
    2
    Dick McBride
    1.34%
    4
    Tony Mullane
    5.37%
    16
    Charlie Radbourn
    6.38%
    19
    Toad Ramsey
    0.34%
    1
    Al Spalding
    5.70%
    17
    Harry Staley
    0.67%
    2
    Adonis Terry
    0.34%
    1
    John Montgomery Ward
    4.03%
    12
    Mickey Welch
    5.03%
    15
    Will White
    2.68%
    8
    Stump Wiedman
    0.34%
    1
    Jim Whitney
    1.01%
    3
    George Zettlein
    0.00%
    0

    The poll is expired.


  • #2
    1.Al Spalding
    2.Charley Radbourn
    3.Pud Galvin
    4.Tommy Bond
    5.Bobby Mathews
    6.Tim Keefe
    7.John Clarkson
    8.Jim McCormick
    9.Mickey Welch
    10.Candy Cummings
    11.Silver King
    12.Larry Corcoran
    13.Tony Mullane
    14.John Ward
    15.Dick McBride
    AL East Champions: 1981 1982
    AL Pennant: 1982
    NL Central Champions: 2011
    NL Wild Card: 2008

    "It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time you don't think much of it; you know, we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, 'Well, there'll be other days.' I didn't realize that that was the only day." - Moonlight Graham

    Comment


    • #3
      Poll added. Feel free to discuss any choices in this thread.

      Comment


      • #4
        I know this is a tough group to look at, but I'm hoping for some more ballots and feedback.

        Comment


        • #5
          The reason for the lack of voting, is that this era, unlike the rest, has a limited supply of good-calibre pitchers that everyone knows about. We all know of the top tier (Obviously those with 100%), but after that and a few more, these guys probably wont make the top 100, at least in my opinion, which draws away from the interest in really discussing these guys. I think in your previous thread about this group of pitchers, the good discussing already took place (Cummings et all).
          AL East Champions: 1981 1982
          AL Pennant: 1982
          NL Central Champions: 2011
          NL Wild Card: 2008

          "It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time you don't think much of it; you know, we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, 'Well, there'll be other days.' I didn't realize that that was the only day." - Moonlight Graham

          Comment


          • #6
            The 22 people with two votes make a good "Top 22" but poor Bill Hutchison was awfully good for his few years at 55'6".

            --
            Do you mean the Tops at pitching or the Top players when they were pitching or the Top players who were primarily pitchers?

            I have already cast a vote supposing the middle interpretation, Top players when they were pitching. So Dave Foutz's batting counts but John Ward's infield play doesn't count.

            "Supposing the middle interpretation" doesn't mean that I applied it consistently. Creighton and Ferguson, two who died very young, were excellent batters like Caruthers and Hecker (better than Foutz). Probably their moments in the sun were long enough that they should be considered "Top players when they were pitching", at least, but I admit that I didn't consider them.

            --
            Dick McBride deserves support at this stage, at least on interpretation two or three. He was captain of the Athletics from 1864? to 1875 and the one fixture on the team. It was one of the best every year, like the Atlantics five or six years earlier with Pearce a fixture at shortstop. I support McBride for the Hall of Fame although with perhaps 2/3 of his career value before 1871 there isn't much occasion for it or much sense in it.
            Last edited by Paul Wendt; 05-28-2008, 12:52 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Not sure how much of their career has to be pre-1893, but I think Jack Stivetts & Sadie McMahon are ahead of the bottom-feeders here
              Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
              Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

              Comment


              • #8
                Maybe I'll be around later, if there are 15 pitchers worth voting for. I have a terrible time working up enthusiasm for more than about 10 of this group (maybe not even that many). Since the rules expressly state that if I want to participate, I must vote for 15, I choose not to participate.
                Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jalbright View Post
                  Maybe I'll be around later, if there are 15 pitchers worth voting for. I have a terrible time working up enthusiasm for more than about 10 of this group (maybe not even that many). Since the rules expressly state that if I want to participate, I must vote for 15, I choose not to participate.
                  The whole point in the preliminary rounds is to come up with a list of the best 15 from each generation. The HOF support candidates come later.

                  Having people only vote for who they actually support would pretty much defeat the entire purpose and be just another redundant project that rehashes many before it as it's pretty obvious which ones actually have the support for HOF election already.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Bond
                    Caruthers
                    Clarkson
                    Corcoran
                    Cummings
                    Galvin
                    Gleason
                    Keefe
                    King
                    Matthews
                    McCormick
                    Mullane
                    Radbourn
                    Spalding
                    Ward

                    I don't support half of these guys (as players) and could easily interchange my bottom five with five others.
                    1955 1959 1963 1965 1981 1988

                    1889 1890 1899 1900 1916 1920
                    1941 1947 1949 1952 1953 1956
                    1966 1974 1977 1978


                    1983 1985 1995 2004 2008 2009
                    2013 2014


                    1996 2006

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
                      The whole point in the preliminary rounds is to come up with a list of the best 15 from each generation. The HOF support candidates come later.

                      Having people only vote for who they actually support would pretty much defeat the entire purpose and be just another redundant project that rehashes many before it as it's pretty obvious which ones actually have the support for HOF election already.
                      The problem I have is simply that I see this class as well short of 15 candidates I can even stomach in the discussion. That being the case, I'll pass.
                      Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jalbright View Post
                        The problem I have is simply that I see this class as well short of 15 candidates I can even stomach in the discussion. That being the case, I'll pass.

                        Which is why in round 2 it will be whittled down to 5 and there will be no set limit for votes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                          Do you mean the Tops at pitching or the Top players when they were pitching or the Top players who were primarily pitchers?

                          I have already cast a vote supposing the middle interpretation, Top players when they were pitching. So Dave Foutz's batting counts but John Ward's infield play doesn't count.

                          "Supposing the middle interpretation" doesn't mean that I applied it consistently. Creighton and Ferguson, two who died very young, were excellent batters like Caruthers and Hecker (better than Foutz). Probably their moments in the sun were long enough that they should be considered "Top players when they were pitching", at least, but I admit that I didn't consider them.
                          Hi, it's lunch break, nap break, whatever
                          I'm still wondering about this. I voted for the top 12 in the standings. Number 13 is John Ward.
                          -1- tops at pitching per se?
                          -2- top player during seasons he was one of his team's primary pitchers?
                          -3- top player for his major league career, among important pitchers?
                          -4- top all around candidate for the Hall of Fame during his major league career? (That is DoubleX in 1904, I think, not jjpm74 on pitchers, I know)
                          -5- top all around candidate for the Hall of Fame? (That is the BBF Hall of Fame project, not appropriate here, I know)

                          On the first interpretation, Ward has a case for top 15 in this group. Moving down the list his case gets stronger. I think he belongs in the Hall of Fame on the third interpretation, not to mention the fourth or fifth. And there are not fifteen of those here, so only the first or second could make him legitimately marginal in this poll. I'm not sure which of the first three interpretations is intended or hoped for.

                          These interpretations make a big difference at least for Caruthers, Creighton (outside the majors), Foutz, Gleason, Hecker, McBride, Spalding, Terry, Ward --mainly up at the first two interpretations where all around play among pitchers is the heart of the matter, mainly batting. Between interpretation three and four is a big difference at least for McBride (captain/manager), Spalding (helping plan the Chicago White Stockings and the National League), and Ward (Players' Brotherhood and Players' League), probably Cummings too.
                          Last edited by Paul Wendt; 05-29-2008, 10:30 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm hoping people focus specifically on the playing careers of these players and discount things like off field antics (yes, Ciccotte will see a poll), managerial careers, umpiring, and other contributing roles. The one exception is the pioneering aspect (invented a specific pitch, revolutionized the position, etc...) as pioneering roles should be considered. Other than that, I'll leave it up to individuals to decide whether they want to focus solely on pitching or the overall picture. I know that a number of these players were both pitchers and position players. For this generation, the roles of players were blurred so I don't see anything wrong with focusing on both their pitching and their position play for the hybrids.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
                              I'm hoping people focus specifically on the playing careers of these players and discount things like off field antics (yes, Ciccotte will see a poll), managerial careers, umpiring, and other contributing roles. The one exception is the pioneering aspect (invented a specific pitch, revolutionized the position, etc...) as pioneering roles should be considered.
                              I would add a caveat to that. If a player's "pioneering aspect" didn't help his own performance on the field, it's not going to get any consideration from me. Curveball or not, for example, Candy Cummings still wasn't as effective as many of the guys in this poll. That other pitchers used the curveball to greater effect is not something, IMHO, that should affect an evaluation of Cummings as a pitcher.
                              "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                              "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                              "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                              "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                              Comment

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