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  • Smokey Joe Williams thread

    Smokey Joe Williams is reputed to have been better than ole' Satch. My recent delving into the information available seems to back this up. Much like Walter Johnson, he split the gap between the deadball and liveball periods, and his career nearly mirrors Johnson.

    I have recently completed my MLE projections for Williams, and if I believe my own numbers, he has to rate above Paige, and jumps into the 8 or so slot in my all time pitcher ratings. He compared pretty favorably to the Big Train....here are those numbers:
    www.geocities.com/baseball_pap/williams_sj.htm

    So...what do you all know about the "other" Smokey Joe?

  • #2
    Certanly the available statistical evidence points to Smokey Joe being quite a bit better than Paige. It seems to me that Joe was more of the actual great pitcher, while Satch was the outspoken showman who could also pitch really well, but whose reputation was inflated through his showmanship.

    Comment


    • #3
      I love Smokey Joe!

      Those are interesting #'s you provide....

      He once struck out 27 batters in a 12-inning 1-0 game against the Kansas City Monarchs...
      "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
      ~~Al Gallagher


      God Bless America!

      Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

      Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

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      Comment


      • #4
        Here's the projected BBTF stats for Smokey Joe:

        Code:
        Smokey Joe Williams
        Yr     IP    ERA+   W%     W     L    WS     WARP1
        1910   294   118   0.584   20   15   22.1    6.2
        1911   223   134   0.642   17    9   20.9    6.1
        1912   290   108   0.538   18   16   18.8    5.1
        1913   334   137   0.654   25   14   30.4    8.8
        1914   336   154   0.703   28   12   35.5   10.5
        1915   249   161   0.722   21    8   27.4    8.2
        1916   351   171   0.745   31   10   41.4   12.4
        1917   387   155   0.707   33   13   42.4   12.6
        1918   360   182   0.768   32   10   42.9   12.9
        1919   327   179   0.762   29    9   39.0   11.7
        1920   295   120   0.591   21   14   24.1    6.9
        1921   318   141   0.664   25   12   31.4    9.2
        1922   291   164   0.728   25    9   32.9    9.8
        1923   186   137   0.651   14    8   16.8    4.9
        1924   232   168   0.738   20    7   26.5    7.9
        1925   206   121   0.593   14   10   15.9    4.5
        1926   211   142   0.667   17    8   21.2    6.2
        1927   194   147   0.685   16    7   20.3    6.0
        1928   155   128   0.620   11    7   13.0    3.7
        1929   199   155   0.705   16    7   20.5    6.1
        1930   240   111   0.553   15   13   15.9    4.4
        1931   236   120   0.590   17   11   19.7    5.6
        1932   176   117   0.578   12    9   13.2    3.7
        Tot   6090   139   0.660  477  238  592.2  173.7

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't see him pitching 6000+ innings....but no matter how much I adjust the innings down, it doesn't feel right. I actually have him at more IP than they do, but with less decisions. I think thats odd. I'm planning on tinkering with Smokey a little more yet....I'd rather see his innings in the 310-330 range at his peak, and just under 300 for many of the other seasons. 330 would have been top 5 in either league in most if not all seasons....about where I think he'd belong. He might very well have been a better strikeout pitcher than anyone throwing at the time...but I still think maybe I have him with too many there as well(their figures don't list Ks?)

          Comment


          • #6
            "Smokey Joe" Williams

            wikipedia article

            One of the greatest pitchers in baseball’s Negro Leagues, Smokey Joe Williams is one of a handful of Native Americans inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In a career reminiscent of Nolan Ryan’s, Williams used an overpowering fastball to win untold hundreds of games and strike out thousands of opposing batters during a career spanning nearly three decades.

            Although official birth records do not exist, Williams is believed to have been born on 6 April 1886 in Seguin, Texas, to an African American father and Native American mother. (His mother was reported to be a Cherokee, although this has not been confirmed.) Williams began his baseball career on the sandlots of Central Texas, where he played for teams in San Antonio and Austin from 1905-09. In 1910 Williams joined the Chicago Giants, a formidable independent team, and a year later he moved on to the New York Lincoln Giants, a premier African American team of the day, for whom he would pitch more than a decade. The Lincoln Giants compiled impressive won-lost records against other black teams and in exhibitions against “white” major leaguers. Williams is known to have faced the other standout Native American pitcher of the day, Charles “Chief” Bender, at least twice. Williams defeated Bender by scores of 2-1 in 1913 and 11-1 in 1917.

            In thirty-one documented games against major league competition, Williams compiled a 22-7 record. However, two of Williams’ most impressive feats – a no-hitter against the New York Giants and a 1-0 victory over Walter Johnson, both reportedly in 1917 – have yet to be historically documented and survive only in tales passed down from generation to generation.

            A tall, lean man with an extraordinary fastball, Williams claimed to have pitched five no-hit games in his career, including one against ex-teammate Dick Redding on Opening Day 1919. His decade of excellence in New York made him a well-known figure in Harlem, and he developed a reputation as a “stage door johnny” before marrying an ex-showgirl in 1922. In 1924 the Lincoln Giants released Williams because they believed that, at age thirty-eight, his best days were behind him.

            In 1925 Williams signed with the Homestead Grays, a powerful Pittsburgh-based team, where he enjoyed an extraordinary late-career renaissance. On 7 August 1930 Williams pitched perhaps the greatest game in Negro Leagues history. In a night game against the renowned Kansas City Monarchs, he allowed only one hit and struck out twenty-seven batters in a 1-0, twelve inning victory. By this time Williams had become famed as the Methuselah of the Negro Leagues, an image he promoted by claiming to be fifty years old although he was really forty-four.

            Williams retired from baseball in 1932, at age forty-six, after pitching for twenty-eight seasons. He found work as a bartender in New York, where he traded baseball tales with eager customers. In 1950 Williams, then in ill health, was honored before a Sunday afternoon game at the Polo Grounds. He died in New York on 25 February 1951. The next year, a Pittsburgh Courier poll of black baseball officials and sportswriters named Williams the greatest pitcher in the history of the Negro Leagues. Nearly half a century later, on 25 July 1999, he was finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

            BIBLIOGRAPHY
            Holway, John. 1988. Blackball Stars. New York: Carroll & Graf.
            Lester, Larry, and Dick Clark, eds. 1994. The Negro Leagues Book. Cleveland, OH: Society for American Baseball Research.
            Research Files. National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, New York.
            Riley, James. 1994. The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. New York: Carroll & Graf.
            Posted by John (Don't Call Me Grandma) Murphy on August 17, 2004 at 07:56 PM (#802701)
            Nearly half a century later, on 25 July 1999, he was finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

            He should have been elected into the HoF as one of the very first Negro Leaguers, IMO.
            --------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Any possibility that the standard post-death misty-eyed treatment pushed him past Paige in the poll? Not saying he wasn't a great pitcher - he was, but this could be a reason to question the Courier's ranking of him.

            In a related matter, the sentiment over Williams' death did manifest itself in another way: It started the movement to allow black players into the Hall of Fame.

            Sometime in 1951, shortly after Williams died, sportswriter Joe Bostic became the first person (so far as I can tell) ever to publicly advocate for the admission of Negro Leaguers into Cooperstown.

            This was followed by a gradual groundswell of support. Satchel Paige got one renegade write-in vote in the 1953 election, and continued to receive a handful per year annually after that. (Although the Hall declined to keep counting them after that first year.) Eventually this all led up to the activism of Stan Isaacs and Ted Williams, and you all know what happened after that.
            --------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Estimated Win Shares from Baseball Think Factory for Negro Leaguers already in the BBF HOF
            Smokey Joe Williams 492 career WS, 154 for best 5 consecutive, best three of 35, 34, and 33. Estimated at 377-300 record in 5100 IP

            Source: Left: Baseball: The Perfect Game, ed. by Josh Leventhall, 2005, pp. 163.
            Source: Right: Baseball: An Illustrated History, by Geoffrey C. Ward/Ken Burns, 1994, pp. 157.

            --------------------Joe Williams---------------------------------Joe Williams-----Baseball Think Factory--BB Library bio
            ---------------Lincoln Giants, 1911-23------------------------------1911-23
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------1925-32

            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-23-2009, 04:10 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Smokey updated again....less innings, but still more than anyone else ever except Young and Galvin. He still tops Johnson for #3 all time, but is very close to Walter. 390-199 in this my final(I think) projection. ERA of 2.68 would have been good for a 134 ERA+ during this era (Johnson was 146...this feels about right to me), but was drug down at the end as he stretched his career a little too long. Again...that feels about right.

              Of course, all of this is just speculation, but I've done the homework for it, so at least its an educated guess at this point.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think that the projections are overinflated. If he was 40 in 1926 I don't see how BBTF has him for 1,411 innings as a 40+ pitcher. I have his stats at home from Shades of Glory that I will post when I get home. His record in the 1920s in NL play was not very impressive. He was less than a .500 pitcher. They don't have his stats prior to 1920. Had he played in the majors he would not have pitched as long as he had in the NL. But on the front end, maybe he would have started earlier than 1910.

                I also have records from boxscores from his games against major league teams that I will post later. He had an impressive record but they have been over-inflated as well. The supposed 20 K no-hitter versus the Giants and the supposed win over Walter Johnson are pure fiction in my opinion.

                The 27 K 12 inning win in 1927 is phenomenal but to keep it in context that was one of the 1st night games and the lighting was terrible. It was so dark the batters could barely see the ball hence 1 run scored by both teams over 12 innings.

                He is up there with other contemporaries like Johnson, Alexander, Matthewson etc. But I still have him behind Satchel Paige as the top NL pitcher.
                "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

                Rogers Hornsby, 1961

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bench 5-If you want to call the projections inflated that's okay I guess, but they are based off of REAL game data, not fictional myths, and they are generally considered to be VERY conservative. Here's the MLE projection for Paige, BTW (and I don't know why they're broken up, but that's how they did them:

                  Code:
                  Year  Team   IP    W      L  DERA  DERA+ 
                  1927  Bir    130   9.6   5.7 3.46  130
                  1928  Bir    232  19.9   7.4 2.74  164
                  1929  Bir    277  16.8  15.8 4.37  103
                  1930  Bir    203  15.3   8.6 3.36  134
                  1931  Cl/Pgh 240  14.1  14.1 4.50  100
                  1932  Pgh    273  18.8  13.3 3.78  119
                  1933  Pgh    185  12.1   9.7 4.03  112
                  1934  Pgh    277  20.2  12.4 3.52  128
                  1935  Bis    262  20.1  10.7 3.28  137
                  1936  Pgh    310  24.3  12.2 3.19  141
                  1937  S.D.   289  23.5  10.4 3.00  150
                  11yrs*      2678 193.1 121.9 3.56  126
                  
                  1940  KC      77   6.4   2.7 2.94  153
                  1941  KC     223  18.4   7.7 2.94  153
                  1942  KC     281  15.5  17.6 4.66   94
                  1943  KC#    293  11.1  23.4 6.52   69
                  1944  KC     220  11.3  14.6 5.11   88
                  1945  KC     206   6.9  17.3 7.11   63
                  1946  KC     117   8.6   5.2 3.46  130
                  1947  KC      95   6.5   4.7 3.80  118
                  8 yrs.      1512  80.9  97.0 4.93   91
                  After that he pitched in the majors. His total stats, NeL and Majors, with Smokey Joe for a comparison:

                  Satchel: 4666 IP 302-250 .547 pct. 113 DERA+ 336 Win Shares
                  Smokey Joe: 6090 IP, 477-238 .660 pct. 139 ERA+ 592 Win Shares
                  Last edited by 538280; 08-03-2006, 02:53 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That is pretty conservative for Paige, and they have him being sub-par after his injury. What I have read has him coming back for 4-5 years just as good as before, but with somewhat less strikeouts as he had lost some velocity. With several examples from the period of players who did play well into their 40s, I think the only thing needed to look at was whether or not the player kept himself in good enough condition. The fact that both guys did in fact keep pitching at a high level is good enough for me. I did in both projections limit their playing time as they aged....somewhat like Jack Quinn and Ted Lyons from the same time periods.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In January of 1927 Joe Williams and Bill Jackman were teammates in the Palm Beach winter league. The Philly Tribune reported 4 victories for Jackman and one for Williams.

                      In May of 1929 Ted Trent and Bill Jackman were teammates on the Philly Giants touring New England. Jackman was the name player/ace before Trent headed back to St. Louis.

                      In 1938 Johnny Taylor (who in 1937 beat Satchel Paige with a no-hitter in the Polo Grounds and Jackman in a 5-4, 20-inning contest) called Jackman a better pitcher than Paige.

                      Jackman said his biggest thrill in baseball was facing an intact major league squad and fanning 18. While this game has not been confirmed, a boxscore in which Jackman fanned 16 batters, 6 of which had big league time, has.

                      Most recent pickup was two 1931 games in which Jackman faced a "big league all-star" squad which consisted of Del Bissonette, Jack Russell, Milt Gaston, Don Brennan and Danny MacFayden. The teams split two games with Jackman tossing two complete games and the four big league pitchers splitting up the innings. The big leaguers fanned 8 in 18 innings while Jackman fanned 20 in 17 innings.

                      Currently Jackman's documented record is 171-60 with 62 games with 10 or more K's and a 21-3 record when the opposing starter had big league time. This total likely represents only 20-25% of Jackman's career.

                      I do not think it unreasonable to start adding Cannonball Bill Jackman to any discussion regarding the greatest hurlers of all time, black or white.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bench 5
                        The 27 K 12 inning win in 1927 is phenomenal but to keep it in context that was one of the 1st night games and the lighting was terrible. It was so dark the batters could barely see the ball hence 1 run scored by both teams over 12 innings.
                        Also, I vividly recall a Phil Niekro shutout with a low number of hits in his late '40s...let's see (checks Retrosheet) Yes, 10/6/1985, he threw a 4-hit shutout. Granted, the Blue Jays were gearingup for the playoffs, so didn't have their A squad in, but it was still very impressive, probably makes it the equivalent of that bad lighting game. And his 9/15 game, though a loss, against Toronto's A squad was also very impressive. So, Williams, like Niekro, could still come out with some occasional gems at that age, and would have in the majors, too.

                        There, 6/22/86, a 2-hitter, that's the one I was thinking of, but it wasn't a shutout, that's why I missed it first. And Niekro was pitching against some really good big leaguers then, the Twins, in Minnesota.
                        If Baseball Integrated Early - baseball integrated from the beginning - and "Brotherhood and baseball," the U.S. history companion, at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Baseballifsandmore - IBIE updated for 2011.

                        "Full House Chronology" at yahoo group fullhousefreaks & fullhouse4life with help of many fans, thanks for the input

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WJackman
                          In January of 1927 Joe Williams and Bill Jackman were teammates in the Palm Beach winter league. The Philly Tribune reported 4 victories for Jackman and one for Williams.

                          In May of 1929 Ted Trent and Bill Jackman were teammates on the Philly Giants touring New England. Jackman was the name player/ace before Trent headed back to St. Louis.

                          In 1938 Johnny Taylor (who in 1937 beat Satchel Paige with a no-hitter in the Polo Grounds and Jackman in a 5-4, 20-inning contest) called Jackman a better pitcher than Paige.

                          Jackman said his biggest thrill in baseball was facing an intact major league squad and fanning 18. While this game has not been confirmed, a boxscore in which Jackman fanned 16 batters, 6 of which had big league time, has.

                          Most recent pickup was two 1931 games in which Jackman faced a "big league all-star" squad which consisted of Del Bissonette, Jack Russell, Milt Gaston, Don Brennan and Danny MacFayden. The teams split two games with Jackman tossing two complete games and the four big league pitchers splitting up the innings. The big leaguers fanned 8 in 18 innings while Jackman fanned 20 in 17 innings.

                          Currently Jackman's documented record is 171-60 with 62 games with 10 or more K's and a 21-3 record when the opposing starter had big league time. This total likely represents only 20-25% of Jackman's career.

                          I do not think it unreasonable to start adding Cannonball Bill Jackman to any discussion regarding the greatest hurlers of all time, black or white.
                          I have read a little into Mr. Jackman's career...and the raw figures look pretty good. I'm very suspect of his competition however, even moreso than other NeLers. I'm eventually planning to research and project at least 15 NeL pitchers, and Jackman is definately on my short list. At this early date however, I see his projection falling somewhat short of Williams and Paige due to the lack on good competition. Even the so-called major-league all star team featured 4 pitchers I had to look up...not exactly my idea of an all star team.

                          Jackman career is a tough one to pinpoint for my purposes...as will be Frank Grant and some others. The data is sketchy to begin with, then I have to figure in that their best games were probably still against mid-level minor league talent.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by baseballPAP
                            I have read a little into Mr. Jackman's career...

                            Really? Where did you read it?
                            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-19-2006, 01:00 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Was Jackman a NeL pitcher though? I've heard a little about him on this site, i think he primarily pitched for minor leagues and semi-pro teams. I always thought he was white too.

                              Comment

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