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Kid Nichols - How Good Was He?

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  • jalbright
    Here's something I wrote about Nichols elsewhere on this site:

    Kid Nichols

    This guy is a vastly underappreciated great. He was

    in the top five in ERA 9 times;
    7th in career wins;
    3 time leader and ten times in the top 10 in wins;
    42d in win loss percentage;
    in the top 10 in win-loss percentage 9 times;
    14th in career ERA+;
    led the league in ERA+ twice and was in the top 10 twelve times;
    41st among pitchers in black ink;
    9th among pitchers in gray ink; and
    8th among pitchers in HOF standards.

    If that doesn't convince you, let's look at his win share scores against his top contemporaries:

    Pitcher....	career	best3	5Consecutive
    Radbourn..	391	199	270
    Clarkson..	396	173	248
    Rusieā€¦....	293	137	205
    [COLOR="Red"]Nichols....	479	135	208[/COLOR]
    Young.....	635	127	200
    Willis.......	293	101	138
    Mathewson..	426	115	161
    McGinnity..	269	117	162
    Griffith.....	273	96	143
    Plank......	360	89	133
    Waddell....	240	100	145
    Chesbro....	209	103	143
    Nichols beats everybody but Cy Young on the career level, and gives serious ground to Radbourn and Clarkson on the peak measures (he does get edged by Rusie, but his career advantage is so huge it overcomes that) that you can at least argue for those two over him. That still puts him ahead of HOFers like Willis, Mathewson (!), McGinnity, Griffith (though he has other credits), Plank, Waddell and Chesbro.

    Nichols is difficult to compare, though, because he's one of the rare ones to make it through the transition to the 60 feet, 6 inches pitching distance.

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  • Bothrops Atrox
    Seems to me like Nichols is almost always in the top 13 or so when we do those polls.

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  • CTaka
    started a topic Kid Nichols - How Good Was He?

    Kid Nichols - How Good Was He?

    It seems that in the greatest pitcher threads on Fever, Kid Nichols typically doesn't show up in the top ten....or the top fifteen judging by the most recent thread. I'm guessing that while there are a fair number of posters that have him in the top ten, there are plenty that don't rank him highly at all dropping him down to about #20 overall. Bill James had him at #9 in his 2001 Abstract.

    Granted, 2001 was 8 years ago and I'd expect people like Maddux, Clemens, Pedro and Unit would be higher now than then. But it still seems that Nichols is held in a bit lower regard here than on James' list. I'm wondering why? Perhaps because 19th century pitchers fare well on Win Shares, thus inflating him in James' system? Or a bias against 19th century players in general on Fever?

    How good was the Kid? Any modern-day comps?

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