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How good was Cy Williams?

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  • How good was Cy Williams?

    I never really heard of this guy before, but looking at his stats intrigued me. I imagine he is written off here as a 'Baker Bowl creation', but a closer look at his numbers makes me wonder. He led in home runs 4 times and three times playing in the Baker Bowl..but he also led in 1916, playing in Chicago. He also led in OPS that year( though admittedly, all the great hitters played in the AL during that time). The funny thing is, 1916 was his only season of note until he was 32 years old. From age 32-29 he produced HOF caliber numbers, for a center fielder. But was this merely due to his home park? Looking at the team's numbers it appears that Williams was the ONLY one benefiting from the Baker Bowl: In 1923 he hit 41 home runs, and the next highest team total was 11. It could be that all of his teammates sucked, who knows?

    Did Cy Williams have HOF potential? His OPS+ numbers look solid for his position, and he had some black ink. I really know nothing about him.

  • #2
    To be honest I always mix him up with Ken Williams and forget who is who.

    Anyway, I am surprised that he is not a Hall Of Famer. I had assumed that he was. He was the National League's career home run record holder until he was passed by Rogers Hornsby. He is also one of only 3 players, along with Hornsby and Babe Ruth, who were born before 1900 and hit over 200 career home runs. Had he played his entire career during the live-ball era, his career numbers would be much more impressive to the eye.
    My top 10 players:

    1. Babe Ruth
    2. Barry Bonds
    3. Ty Cobb
    4. Ted Williams
    5. Willie Mays
    6. Alex Rodriguez
    7. Hank Aaron
    8. Honus Wagner
    9. Lou Gehrig
    10. Mickey Mantle

    Comment


    • #3
      Most of Cy's home/road splits when with Philly are heavily lopsided. Many years, over 80% of his HRs were at home. In 1925, Cy hit 13 HRs for the year, 12 at home and only 1 on the road. The difference between his home and road SLG during these seasons are usually significantly over .100, closer to .150. In one year, the difference was over .200.

      I like Cy Williams, but I don't see him as a HOFer. Although I think several years ago I might have supported him. But these days, I think he's well enough below the line to soundly say NO.

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      • #4
        He certainly aged gracefully.Williams is still the oldest player to win a home run crown(39 years old).

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Nimrod View Post
          He certainly aged gracefully.Williams is still the oldest player to win a home run crown(39 years old).
          Yep, he led the NL in 1927 with 30, hitting 15 homers at home and 15 on the road, while some guy named Ruth hit 60 in the AL.
          My top 10 players:

          1. Babe Ruth
          2. Barry Bonds
          3. Ty Cobb
          4. Ted Williams
          5. Willie Mays
          6. Alex Rodriguez
          7. Hank Aaron
          8. Honus Wagner
          9. Lou Gehrig
          10. Mickey Mantle

          Comment


          • #6
            Cy Williams has some interesting stats. With the Phils he lead the league in HR three times - in 1920 he hit 12 at home and only 3 on the road, so maybe credit the Baker Bowl with an assist there. What's strange is the 70-point difference in his home/road BA: .360 at home, .290 away. He lead again in 1923 with 26 HR at home and 15 on the road. However, he still would have lead the league that year if he'd hit no more at home than he did away: Brooklyn's Jack Fournier, in second place, had only 22. That year Williams hit a very solid .322 at home but a ???? .261 away, how'd he do that? His last season leading the league was in 1927, when as GJ pointed out he split his HR evenly, 15/15. He also closed the home/away BA gap: .276/.272.

            Per Fred Lieb & Stan Baumgartner's history of the Phillies in the Putnam series:

            "While Cy had a soft touch in that right field fence, the height of the fence cut off as many homers as Williams got over it. He hit a fierce low line drive which would have gained him many homers at the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium. The ball would bounce back sharply and frequently be held to a single."

            Cy Williams trivia question:
            After leaving the game, he took up a pretty unusual career (for a retired ballplayer). What was it?

            Comment


            • #7
              Interesting stuff. I am interested in guys who played way back then, who didn't really get going until age 30 or so, and still almost put up HOF caliber careers. It just makes you wonder. Cy and Ken Williams are two such players, as was Bob Johnson and Jack Fournier, who appears to have had sort of an Edgar Martinez type career. Are there any other players like that?

              Another question, off topic: Does anyone know why Earl Averill is a HOFer, and not Bob Johnson? They appear to be very similar. Is it because of the batting average?
              Last edited by willshad; 05-11-2012, 04:38 PM.

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              • #8
                I give 70% of a hitter's weight to his road stats.

                Cy Williams, from 1918 on went:

                .332/.414/.575 with 143 HRs in 2579 ab-bats at home
                .279/.343/.423 with 74 HRs in 2498 at-bats on the road, which is 16.3 HRs per 550 at-bats.

                His road stats were pretty decent. I.e, he hit with decent power while hitting at about the league average on the road. That makes him a pretty good hitter, but that's about it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by pheasant View Post
                  I give 70% of a hitter's weight to his road stats.

                  Cy Williams, from 1918 on went:

                  .332/.414/.575 with 143 HRs in 2579 ab-bats at home
                  .279/.343/.423 with 74 HRs in 2498 at-bats on the road, which is 16.3 HRs per 550 at-bats.

                  His road stats were pretty decent. I.e, he hit with decent power while hitting at about the league average on the road. That makes him a pretty good hitter, but that's about it.
                  I just wonder why none of his teammates were able to take advantage of the Baker Bowl at all.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think the Baker Bowl turned a good power hitter into a great one. I don't believe that most of his teammates had great power. The Phillies from back then weren't very good.

                    Obviously, we know Chuck Klein's ridiculous splits. Lefty O'doul was another guy that was a good hitter with decent power.

                    Here are his home/road stats for those two years at Philly

                    1929 home .453/.515/.689 with 19 HRs in 318 AB
                    1929 road .344/.417/.556 with 13 HRs in 320 AB

                    1930 home .406/.482/.664 with 13 HRs in 244 AB
                    1930 road .363/.427/.553 with 9 HRs in 284 AB

                    Career in Baker Bowl: .426/.494/.662 with 39 HRs in 733 AB.

                    This guy was a very good hitter anyway; probably a Sisler type hitter. At the Bakebowl, he made Hornsby blush.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by willshad View Post

                      Another question, off topic: Does anyone know why Earl Averill is a HOFer, and not Bob Johnson? They appear to be very similar. Is it because of the batting average?
                      Probably so.Talk about very similar,check out Bob and his brother Roy`s lifetime batting averages.They are identical(at least to the 4th digit).2964!!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pheasant View Post
                        I give 70% of a hitter's weight to his road stats.

                        Cy Williams, from 1918 on went:

                        .332/.414/.575 with 143 HRs in 2579 ab-bats at home
                        .279/.343/.423 with 74 HRs in 2498 at-bats on the road, which is 16.3 HRs per 550 at-bats.

                        His road stats were pretty decent. I.e, he hit with decent power while hitting at about the league average on the road. That makes him a pretty good hitter, but that's about it.
                        The league went about .326/.367 on the road away from BB over his career. That would mean he was about a 121 OPS+ on the road relative to all hitters on the road so he did not really take THAT much special advantage of his park except that it was overall a higher offensive park. He would have been about 130 at home relative to others at home.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by willshad View Post
                          I just wonder why none of his teammates were able to take advantage of the Baker Bowl at all.
                          Well, I think they did. Let's take a look...

                          Here are the Top 10 Phillie HR hitters of the 20s:
                          Cy Williams - 202 - LH
                          Russ Wrightstone - 59 - LH
                          Chuck Klein - 54 - LH
                          Don Hurst - 50 - LH
                          Freddie Leach - 44 - LH
                          George Harper - 41 - LH
                          Butch Henline 36 - RH
                          Cliff Lee - 33 - RH
                          Lefty O'Doul - 32 - LH
                          Johhny Mokan - 32 - RH

                          Now let's see their Home/Road splits...

                          Cy Williams
                          Home - 146 HRs / 2194 ABs = 15.0 ABs per HR = 48.1% better at Home than Road
                          Road - 72 HRs / 2080 ABs = 28.9 ABs per HR

                          Russ Wrightstone
                          Home - 43 / 1486 = 34.6 ABs per HR = 63.7% better at Home
                          Road - 16 / 1484 = 92.8 ABs per HR

                          Chuck Klein
                          Home - 34 / 454 = 13.4 ABs per HR = 35.6% better at Home
                          Road - 20 / 415 = 20.8 ABs per HR

                          Don Hurst
                          Home - 29 / 517 = 17.8 ABs per HR = 20.2% better at Home
                          Road - 21 / 468 = 22.3 ABs per HR

                          Freddie Leach
                          Home - 29 / 1009 = 34.8 ABs per HR = 49.5% better at Home
                          Road - 15 / 1034 = 68.9 ABs per HR

                          George Harper
                          Home - 28 / 491 = 17.5 ABs per HR = 57.5% better at Home
                          Road - 13 / 535 = 41.2 ABs per HR

                          Butch Henline
                          Home - 28 / 825 = 29.5 ABs per HR = 73.2% better at Home
                          Road - 8 / 881 = 110.1 ABs per HR

                          Cliff Lee
                          Home - 29 / 568 = 19.6 ABs per HR = 85.8% better at Home
                          Road - 4 / 554 = 138.5 ABs per HR

                          Lefty O'Doul
                          Home - 19 / 318 = 16.7 ABs per HR = 32.1% better at Home
                          Road - 13 / 320 = 24.6 ABs per HR

                          Johnny Mokan
                          Home - 22 / 896 = 40.7 ABs per HR = 54.7% better at Home
                          Road - 10 / 899 = 89.9 ABs per HR
                          Last edited by dgarza; 05-11-2012, 08:32 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dgarza View Post

                            Cliff Lee
                            Home - 29 / 568 = 19.6 ABs per HR = 85.8% better at Home
                            Road - 4 / 554 = 138.5 ABs per HR
                            Cliff Lee's 1922 splits are ridiculous :
                            Code:
                                                                                                          
                            I   Split  G  PA  AB  R  H 2B 3B HR RBI   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
                                 Home 68 275 250 47 97 20  2 17  66 .388 .435 .688 1.123  .381   144   188
                                 Away 54 188 172 18 39  9  4  0  11 .227 .281 .326  .607  .257    36    67

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                            • #15
                              Architect.


                              Designed this.
                              Three_lakes_800.jpg
                              Last edited by Ubiquitous; 05-11-2012, 10:48 PM.

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