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  • Some Negro League player profiles:

    In my attempt to be useful, I'd like to contribute these profiles. May these assist others in the Fever Hall of Fame, our endless polls/surveys.

    John Beckwith
    An undisciplined, mean, and short-tempered player, Beckwith stands with Josh Gibson as the two greatest right-handed batters to play in the Negro Leagues. A dangerous slugger, he crushed mammoth home runs and gathered hits by the bundle. Beckwith began with Frank Leland's Chicago Giants from 1916-23, when his dead-pull hitting led opponents to shift their defense to the left side of the field. Beckwith played with numerous teams in subsequent years, his malignant personality undoubtedly contributing to his short stay in many cases. A defensive liability as well, Beckwith's value as a hitter ranks him among the greatest right-handed hitters of any color, during any era.

    Dave Brown
    The pitching ace of the Chicago American Giants during the early 1920s, Brown had numerous effective pitches and the ability to win with either power or control. Brown was quiet and popular with his teammates in spite of consistently finding himself on the wrong side of the law. In 1925 he killed a man in a barroom fight and dropped out of sight to avoid conviction, cutting short a career that had tremendous promise.

    Rube Foster
    The most important figure in the establishment of the Negro Leagues, Foster is one of the most important figures in all of baseball history. In 25 years of black baseball, he was an excellent administrator, perhaps the greatest manager in black baseball history, and among the best few pitchers in the early part of his career. A crafty pitcher who featured a screwball, Foster was a dominant hurler in the 1900s, starring for a few teams, including the powerhouse Leland Giants from 1907-10. In 1910 he split with owner Frank Leland and formed his own team, the Chicago American Giants. Foster influenced black baseball for decades by building the Giants into a winner relying upon good pitching, excellent defense, and a bunting/free-running offensive attack. In 1920 he founded the Negro National League, the first "true" Negro League, and served as its president while running his own club. Thousands paid their respects after Foster's premature death in 1930.

    Willie Foster
    The younger half-brother of Rube, Willie starred for big brother's American Giants club from 1923-1930. Generally accepted as the best left-handed pitcher in black baseball history, Foster performed at his best when the game was most important. One example: he won the Negro National League pennant for the American Giants in 1926 by starting and winning both ends of a doubleheader to end the season against fellow Hall-of-Famer Bullet Joe Rogan. A power pitcher, Foster had good control and threw five different pitches well. He was likable, well-respected and educated - a dean at Alcorn State College after completing a career that established him as among the greatest pitchers - of any color.

    Pete Hill
    This outfielder began his long association with black baseball in 1899 and starred for the powerhouse Leland Giants and the Chicago American Giants. While existing statistics do not support the claims, many of his contemporaries considered him perhaps the finest hitter, and certainly the finest clutch hitter, of his era. A popular player who served as the team captain with the American Giants, Hill boasted solid defense, tremendous footspeed, and proficiency at the "inside baseball" style of play championed by his manager.

    Grant Johnson
    Nicknamed "Home Run" for his timely-if-infrequent blasts, this middle infielder helped form the Page Fence Giants in 1895 and was still playing nearly 30 years latter. Johnson was a leading hitter and a frequent captain for some of the best teams in the Negro Leagues, including the Brooklyn Royal Giants of the mid-to-late 1900s, the 1910 Leland Giants, and the great New York Lincoln Giants of the early 1910s. A good-natured, paternalistic team player, "Home Run" Johnson was one of the best players of his era.

    John Henry Lloyd
    The Negro Leagues produced a wealth of fine all-around shortstops, strong hitters and fielders both, but none rivaled John Henry Lloyd. "Pop" was the best Negro League player before the Negro National League in 1920. A star defensively who could play any infield position, Lloyd was also a marvelous base runner, a talented and patient hitter, and among the best at applying the "inside baseball" strategies favored in Negro League play. Expert at manufacturing a run, Lloyd competed for more than 10 teams during his storied career, playing for the owner willing to pay him the most. A man of strong moral fiber and particularly wonderful temperament, Pop Lloyd was one of the greatest three position players to play in the Negro Leagues.

    Bill Monroe
    Monroe was the greatest Negro Leaguer of the first decade of the century. Possessing a flare for the dramatic and superior talent, Monroe was particularly valuable in the field, where he flashed great range and avoided costly errors while delighting the fans with his showboating on the easier plays. He was a good contact hitter, on base regularly, with tremendous speed. He started with the Chicago Unions in 1896 and went on to contribute to the success of many of the finest teams of his era: The three-time champion Philadelphia Giants and the Brooklyn Royal Giants of 1907-10, before winding down his career with Rube Foster's first capable Chicago American Giants teams through the mid-1910s. Handsome and popular, Monroe stands with John Henry Lloyd as the finest Negro League players of their generation.

    Bruce Petway
    An intelligent student of the game, "Buddy" possessed numerous skills not typical in the men who have donned the "tools of ignorance" over the years. A switch-hitter, Petway was an excellent bunter, a contact hitter who protected runners well and a frequent threat to steal a base. He had a patient batting eye. However, his greatest strength was his legendary throwing arm. He was best remembered for throwing out Ty Cobb three times in a 1910 Cuban set of games. He spent eight seasons in his prime with the early Chicago American Giants, and seven with the Detroit Stars as a player-manager.

    Spot Poles
    The most prolific leadoff hitter of the early days, Poles was a superior defensive outfielder who hit for high averages, had a sharp batting eye, and ran the bases with singular speed that helped him pilfer many bases and score a lot of runs. Poles spent most of his career with the New York Lincoln Giants, enjoying two extended stints between 1911-23. A World War I hero who was a coach for many years after his playing years, Poles was an intense competitor and an impressive physical specimen and athlete.

    Ted Radcliffe
    Called "Double Duty" for his dual role as starting pitcher and top catcher, Radcliffe is a unique figure in the annals of baseball history. No other pitcher at a Major League level has spent virtually his entire career as a full-time player on his off-days, let alone as a catcher, easily the most demanding position on the diamond. Of course, we can just as easily look at it the opposite way and observe that no starting player, never mind a catcher, has also taken a regular turn in solid pitching rotations for most of a career that spanned past the end of the color line. A superior catcher and solid pitcher, "Duty" played in numerous All-Star contests, as both catcher and a pitcher. He had a steady throwing arm, was quick defensively, and was a solid batter. As a pitcher he enjoyed throwing a variety of illegal pitches to confound the opposition. A ballplayer who always gravitated toward the fattest paycheck, Radcliffe never spent more than two successive seasons with the same team until the very end of his career, retiring as a unique competitor in the rich history of our national pastime.

    Turkey Stearnes
    Best remembered for the tremendous length of his home runs, Norman "Turkey" Stearnes hit for high average with power to all fields. He ran the bases well and had excellent speed (even leading off at times), was among the better defensive outfielders of his era, and was eventually molded into a capable "inside baseball" player, as well. The cozy confines of Detroit's Mack Park might have inflated his numbers, but Stearnes, who played in the high-octane 1920s and 1930s, legitimately stands as one of the most productive sluggers in black baseball history. Turkey was a quiet, private man. He spent 10 of the first 11 years of his career with the Detroit Stars, and later with the Kansas City Monarchs.

    George Stovey
    The "oldest" ballplayer in this set, Stovey was among the black ballplayers competing in the white minor leagues when the color line was put into place in 1887. In fact, Stovey is the pitcher who touched off Cap Anson's well-documented refusal to play the Newark club in 1887. A marvelous hurler who reportedly was considered for signing by Major League clubs, the left-hander pitched for the original Cuban Giants teams. Stovey's statistical accomplishments may have been marred by racial prejudices and the record keeping of the time, but he remains one of the most important baseball players of the 19th Century.

    Ben Taylor
    A star hitter on the solid early entries of the Indianapolis ABC's, Taylor stands as the finest all-around first baseman in the first 40 years of black baseball. He was nimble around the sack and hit to all fields, both able to knock home important runs and protect or advance the baserunner if necessary. Beginning in 1910, Taylor played, managed and coached numerous clubs. In the early years he played for powerhouses like the New York Lincoln Giants and Chicago American Giants. Taylor was a member of the largest ballplaying family in the Negro Leagues.

    Christobal Torriente
    C.I. Taylor famously said, "If I should see Torriente walking up the other side of the street, I would say, 'There walks a ballclub.' " Torriente was one of the finest outfielders in Negro League history, and one of the best overall players. A premiere slugger before home-run hitting took off, Torriente scorched line drives to all fields. Thickly built but light afoot, he was one of the finest defensive center fielders ever. Torriente starred with the Chicago American Giants from 1918-25 when the team was consistently among the best in baseball. A moody and sometimes difficult player, he left the American Giants amidst controversy and spent his final years shuttling between teams. One of the greatest Cuban-born players, Torriente was an inaugural member of the Cuban Hall of Fame.

    Frank Wickware
    A fireballing right hander, Wickware spent the better part of 10 seasons between the Leland Giants and Chicago American Giants during his 14-year career. He was among the best hurlers in the 1910s, but Wickware's freewheeling lifestyle, lackadaisical attitude, and uneven demeanor made him a handful for his various managers and contributed as much to his early decline as much as any erosion of talent.
    Coming in March: Josh Gibson and the mighty Homestead Grays.
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    Bill Burgess
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-22-2007, 09:31 AM.

  • #2
    You might also add that Radcliffe is the oldest living player in the history of professional baseball in Washington. According to the story in the Washington Post, (link below) it sounds like "Double Duty" is still going strong at 102. His batting eye might not be as sharp as it once was but apparently his eye for the ladies is as keen as ever.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2005Apr11.html
    Last edited by zman; 04-23-2005, 06:53 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wagner/Lloyd
      Lloyd was born Aril 15, 1884, and made it to semi-pro by 1905, at age of 21.
      He started as a catcher. He traveled the negro leagues pretty well. In 1907, his manager switched him from 2B to SS. It wasn't unusual for him to go south every winter, ending up playing 12 months a yr. He played the position so well, that they called him the "Black Honus Wagner". Wagner, after watching Lloyd play, switched the compliment to, "It's a privilege to have been compared to hm."

      From 1907-10, he played each winter in Cuba, and in Nov.- Dec., 1910, the Detroit Tigers visited Cuba for a set of 12 games. Initially, Cobb didn't want to go. But when the Cuban promoters offered an additional $1,000. bonus, plus travel expenses. He said, "I decided to break my own rule for a few games."

      Crawford, Mullin and all the starting Tiger pitchers went along. Plus O'Leary,
      Willet, Moriarty, T. Jones, Casey, Stanage, McIntyre, Schaefer went along. Mullen also managed. The Cubans were joined by black US stars, Bruce Petway, Pete Hill, Grant Johnson and Pop Lloyd, sometimes called the black Honus Wagner. Cobb dilly-dallied in Key West before he arrived in Havana, on Nov. 26, by which time, the Tigers had gone 3-3-1 with the black ballplayers. With Cobb they finished, 7-4-1. In the last game, Mendez fanned Ty once, Ty got a single, and Petway threw him out at 2nd when he tried to steal. For 5 games, Ty went 7 x 19= .370. Crawford hit .360 in 12 games, and Lloyd hit .500, Johnson .412, and Petway
      .390, all against top ML pitching.

      So, as a point of comparison, Wagner played a set of 7 games against the 1909 Tigers, basicly the same bunch that Lloyd played a year later. And Wagner managed a .333 BA. against the same pitching Lloyd hit .500 against.

      Lloyd played against McGraws Giants in 1913, McGraw toyed with bringing him into the NL. That's how impressed Little Napoleon was with him. At 5'11, 180, he was acknowleged as one of the campfire legends of the game. By 1918, he started managing/playing, which he continued until he retired in 1931, at age 47. By then he had switched to 1B, but could still hit. He settled in Atlantic City, NJ, married in '44. He continued to fool around with semi-pro until he was 58, playing 1B. Esquire magazine did a story on him in '38, bringing him to the attention of the white fans. He became a janitor in the Atlantic City post office, and in the mid-30's, became school janitor at the Indiana Avenue school. The kids all loved him and called him Pop. He died on March 19, 1965 in Atlantic City at age 80.

      Men like Mack, McGraw and Hughie Jennings all called him among the best players in BB history. In various yrs., he often hit around .450.

      Ultimately, I have to give it to Wagner, since without verifiable stats against qualified opposition, I can't assume Lloyd was better, or even as good. This brief summary was culled from Marty Appel's fantastic book, Baseball's Best, 1980, pp. 413-414.
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Introducing Wilbur "Bullet Joe" Rogan.

      First, a few personal details. A Negro L. star player, he was formost a great pitcher, but also played OF, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, manager, umpire. His playing career extended from 1917-38, and his umpiring days from 1939-46.
      His teams were:
      Kansas City Colored Giants, 1917
      All Nations, 1917
      Kansas City Monarchs, 1920-38
      League: Negro American League; BR, TR; 5'7, 180;
      Born: July 28, 1889, Oklahoma City, OK
      Died: March 4, 1967, Kansas City, MO

      An outstanding pitcher with a tremendous fastball, a fine curve, and good control. "Bullet Joe" Rogan was a star for the Kansas City Monarchs for almost twenty years. The right-hander was a smart pitcher who used a no-windup delivery, a sidearm motion, and always kept the ball down. In addition to his basic pitches, he included a forkball, palmball, and spitter in his repertory.. A durable workhorse averaging 30 starting assignments per year for a decade and rarely being relieved, this versatile player's value to the team was inestimable. He also was a superb fielder and a dangerous hitter with good power.

      He had strong wrists and used a heavy bat, and when not pitching, he played elsewhere to keep his bat in the lineup.

      He showcased his stamina and versatility when he gained two victories in the 1924 World Series against the great Hilldale club, pitching three complete games and relieving in another, and batting .325 while playing in the outfield the other six games. That winter, in his only trip to Cuba, the hard worker continued his winning pace, recording a 9-4 worksheet.

      The following year without Rogan on the mound in the World Series, the Monarchs lost to the same Hilldale club. In 1926, Bullet hit .331 and compiled a 12-4 record on the mound, which was tops for the first-half champion Monarchs, who lost a heartbreaking five-out-of-nine play-off to the second-half champion, Chicago American Giants. In a valiant effort to stave off defeat, Bullet Joe started both ends of a double-header on the last day of the play-off, but to no avail.

      During his twilight years, Rogan served as manager of the Monarchs prior to his retirement in 1938.

      He was known as a good curveball hitter with a smooth swing, often hit cleanup, and led the league with 16 homers in 1922. From 1922-30, he hit .351, .416, .412, .366, .314, .330, .353, .341, .311, while, for the 1st 7 yrs. of those years, he registered these pitching records:

      13-6, 12-8, 16-5, 15-2, 12-4, 15-6, 9-03.

      In exhibitins against MLers, Rogan is credited with a .329 BA, making his last appearance at age 48, when he collected 3 hits against Bob Feller's All-Stars. Jocko Conlon, who often played against black teams before beginning his career as an umpire, regarded Rogan as one of the greats of the Negro L., describing his motion as "a nice, easy delivery" and declaring him to be faster than Satchel Paige.

      On June 29, 1949, both Oscar Charleston and Ed Bolden, chose their all time Negro L. teams for the Sporting News. Both chose Bullet Joe as their 1st starting pitcher and Paige as their 2nd starting pitcher. Charleston's other pitchers were:Leblanc Western, Pat Doherty & William Dismukes. Ed Bolden's other pitchers were: Smokey Joe Williams Cannonball Dick Redding & Rube Foster.

      In 1952, the Pittsburgh Courier, a black newspaper, polled 31 Negro league players, writers, officials and managers and they selected a A & B teams:

      ----A team pitchers-------B team pitchers

      P - Smokey Joe Williams----P - Dave Brown
      P - Satchel Paige-----------P - Cannonball Dick Redding
      P - Bullet Joe Rogan--------P - Nip Winters
      P - John Donaldson--------- P - Dizzy Dismukes
      P - Willie Foster------------P - Don Newcombe

      Later in 1952, the Pittsburgh Courier, a black newspaper, polled its fans as to the greatest Negro leagues players. They chose 5 teams. The first team was as follows.

      First team: (1B) Buck Leonard, (2B) Jackie Robinson, (SS) Pop Lloyd, (3B) Oliver Marcelle, (OF) Monte Irvin, (OF) Oscar Charleston, (OF) Cristobel Torriente, (C) Josh Gibson, (C) Biz Mackey, (P) Joe Williams, (P) Satchel Paige, (P) Bullet Rogan, (P) John Dondaldson, (P) Bill Foster, (Utility) Martin Dihigo, (Utility) Sam Bankhead, (Mgr) Rube Foster, (Coach) Dizzy Dismukes, (Coach) Danny McClellan.
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Introducing "Smokey Joe" Williams.
      Found this thread from another site.
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Who was better during the Deadball Era: Johnson, Alexander or Williams?

      That’s how good Smokey Joe was that he doesn’t look foolish being in that question.

      Posted by John (Don't Call Me Grandma) Murphy on 08/17 at 05:08 PM / (28 comments)
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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      (Page 1 of 1 pages )

      Posted by The definitely immoral Eric Enders on August 17, 2004 at 06:52 PM (#802570)
      Another slam-dunk HOMer. Here's an encyclopedia entry I once wrote on Williams. (It's from the Encyclopedia of Native Americans in Sports, which is the reason for the focus on his matchups with Bender.)
      --------
      WILLIAMS, JOSEPH “SMOKEY JOE”

      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.


      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Nicely written passage, Eric.
      Posted by Chris J. on August 18, 2004 at 01:35 PM (#804301)
      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.

      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.
      Posted by The definitely immoral Eric Enders on August 18, 2004 at 02:07 PM (#804366)
      I've suspected the same thing myself. Alas, there's no way to really know.
      Posted by The definitely immoral Eric Enders on August 18, 2004 at 02:33 PM (#804398)
      Any possibility that the standard post-death misty-eyed treatment pushed him past Paige in the poll?

      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.
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Joshua (Josh) Gibson:
      1929-46; Positions: C, OF, 3B, 1B; Teams: Homestead GHrays ('29-31, '37-'40, '42-'46), Pittsburgh Crawfords ('32-'36), Santo Domingo ('37), Mexican L. ('40-'41); BR/TR; 6'1, 210; Born: Dec. 21, 1911, Buena Vista, GA; Died: Jan. 20, 1947, Pittsburgh, PA

      In black baseball, only Satchel Paige was better known than Joshua Gibson. Hit for both distance/ave. Was aptly titled "the black Babe Ruth", and his charisma electrified the crowd. Like Jimmie Foxx, he rolled up his sleeves to bare his huge arm muscles. Used a semicrouched, flat-footed stance and without striding, he generated a compact swing that lauched so many tape measure shots, that, like Ruth, they came to become expected.

      Black kids idolized him, and he is credited with blasting one out of Yankee Stadium, but, like Ruth's "called shot", it is more folklore than fact.

      Gibson was credited with 962 HRs in his 17 yr. career, although manyh of these wre against nonleague teams. Many of the individual season marks that are accredited to him also are against all levels of opposition.

      In Mexico, he hit 44 HRs in 450 ABs with an .802 SLG. and, in one winter season in Puerto rico, hit 13 HRs in 123 ABs, smashing a HR every 9.5 ABs.

      He compiled a .354 BA in the NL, .373 BA for 2 yrs, in Mexico, .353 BA for 2 winters in Cuba, .412 BA. in exhibitions games against major leaguers.

      Defensively, he had a rifle arm, and worked hard to make himself one of the better receivers in the league. His only flaw in his game was weakness on pop-upsbehind the plate. He was quick, behind the plate & on the bases, & ran the bases well. Both Walter Johnson and Carl Hubbell placed him among the all time great catchers. Johnson assess his value at $200K, twice what he placed on Bill Dickey. His fans voted him to start 9 East-West all star games, in which he hit .483.

      Despite his sucess on the field, by 1942, a dark side began showing itself. By the end of '42, a decline in his physical and mental well-being was obvious.
      In Jan., 1943, he was committed to the hospital afer having a nervous breakdown. From then until his death, he was plagued with personal problems, depression, compounded by his excessive drinking, and possible substance abuse.
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      James Raleigh Clarence (Biz) Mackey:
      1920-47, '50; Positions: C, SS, 3B, 2B, 1B, OF, P, Manager; BB/TR; 6'0, 200; Born: July 27, 1897, Eagle Pass, TX; Died: Sept. 22, 1965, Los Angeles, CA.

      Biz Mackey was an incredibly talented receiver who remained cool under pressure, and his defensive skills were unsurpassed in the history of black baseball. Considered the master of defense, he possessed all the tools necessary behind the plate, but gained the most acclaim for his powerful and deadly accurate throwing arm. He could snap a throw to second from a squatting position and get it there, harder, quicker, and with more accuracy that most catchers can standing up. Mackey delighted in throwing out the best basestealers, and his pegs to the keystone sack were frozen ropes passing the mound belt high and arriving on the bag feather soft.

      Although barely literate, Mackey was intelligent, had a good BB mind, and employed a studious approach to the game. The ballpark was his classroom, and inside BB was his subject of expertise. He relied on meticulous observation and a good memory to match weaknesses of opposing hitters with the strengths of his pitching staff. An expert handler of pitchers, he also studied meople and could direct the temperments of his hurlers as well as he did their repertoires.

      He was also a jokester, and utilized good-natured banter and irrelevant conversation to try to distract a hitter and break his concentration at the plate, and was a master at "stealing" stikes from umpires by framing and funneling pitches. Pitchers recognized his generalship and liked to pitch to the big, husky receiver who, for his size, was surpreisingly agile behind the plate. Hits unexpected quickness, coupled with soft hands, enabled the versatile athlete to play often at SS, 3B, or in the OF, and although lacking noteworthy range, he proved adept at any position. He was also a smart base runner and, while not fast, stole his share of bases.

      In his prime, the swithc-hitting Mackey was one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, with power from both sides of the plate. In his initial season for Hilldale, he hit .423 BA, 20 HRs, and .698. SLG.

      From 1923 on, he hit .337, .350, .327, .315, .327, .337, .400, .376. Biz learned the craft of baseball under his 1st manager C.I. Taylor, a master teacher. In 1923, Mackey was a plum plucked by raiding Hilldale owner Ed Bolden. Initially, with the Hilldale Daisies, he split his playing time between catching and SS, sharing duties behind the plate with aging superstar Louis "Santop" Loftin. But for the '25 season he won the position full time, and for the next decade retained recognition as the premier receiver in black baseball.

      Mackey was in demand for postseason exhibitions and played against ML all star squads. In 1926, Hilldale won 5 of 6 games from the Philadelphia Athletics with Lefty Grove. In balloting for the inaugural East-West All-Star game in 1933, Mackey's all-around skills were preferred over the slugging ability of young Josh Gibson. Mackey was then 36 yrs. old and past his prime, while Gibson was just beginning to hit his stride. However, Mackey's defensive skills were still so far above those of other catchers that he played in 4 of the 1st 6 midsummer classics. Even as late as 1937, he was still considered the best all-around receiver in the Negro Leagues. One of his proteges with the Elites was Roy Campanella, who credits Mackey with teaching him the finer points of catching. Observers say that watching Campanella was like seeing Mackey behind the plate again.

      Biz had enough left to hit .307 in '45. He was a nonsmoker/nondrinker, and served as an exemplary role model for young black kids.

      He hit .335 BA. in league play, .326 against white ML competition.

      Gibson/Mackey:
      Offense/Defense: Depends on how much one values brute power/ good defense over balanced power/master defensive technician. I take Mackey over Gibson.

      Although Gibson supposedly was a good defensive man, in the NL, he was outranked defensively by, at the very least, Mackey, Bruce Petway, Larry Brown, Frank Duncan, Roy Campanella, Ted Radcliffe, Louis "Santop" Loftin.

      If the Negro Leagues had a Top 10 Defensive Catchers list , Josh Gibson might fairly rank at the bottom of the Top 10, but the Top of the Top 10 Catchers Offensively.

      If the Negro Leagues had a Top 10 Offensive Catchers list, Biz Mackey might fairly rank 4th, beneath Gibson, Santop and Campy. There might be a few others, but I'm still studying the Negro Leagues. All told, I'd indeed take Mackey over Gibson. In catchers, I value defense over offense. Same as at SS.
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Introducing John Henry "Pop" Lloyd

      JOHN HENRY "Pop" LLOYD
      Born: April 15, 1884, Florida
      Died: March 19, 1965, Atlantic City, NJ
      Career:1905-1932

      Lloyd was born April 15, 1884, and made it to semi-pro by 1905, at age of 21. John Henry LLoyd was discovered in 1905 on the sandlots of Jacksonville by Rube Foster. He soon joined Foster's team, the Cuban X-Giants. He started as a catcher. In 1907, his manager switched him from 2B to SS. He traveled the Negro leagues pretty well. From his stint with the X-Giants until he became player-manager of the Brooklyn Royal Giants in 1918, he established himself as a winner wherever he went. Between 1906 and 1918, he played with great teams such as the Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, New York, Lincoln Giants, Chicago American Giants, and the New York Lincoln Stars.

      It wasn't unusual for him to go south every winter, ending up playing 12 months a yr. He played the position so well, that they called him the "Black Honus Wagner". Wagner, after watching Lloyd play, switched the compliment to, "It's a privilege to have been compared to him."

      Beginning in 1918 when he became the playing-manager of the Brooklyn Royal Giants, Lloyd jumped from one team to another until he settled with the Hilldale Daisies in 1922. The next year, Lloyd hit a sensational .418, leading Hilldale to its first pennant. He left the team to join the Bacharach Giants after he was fired due to some quarrels with the Daisies owner. John stayed with the Giants for 2 years before returning to New York in 1926 to manage/play with the Lincoln Giants. He stayed with this team until 1930 when he decided to go back to the Bacharach Giants. Lloyd played his final 2 years with the Giants.

      Throughout his career he was praised by many people include the major league players and coaches. Many baseball historians say that he was one of the best black players ever, but the mighty Babe Ruth, disregarding his race, said he was the greatest baseball player of all time! Lloyd died in 1965, 12 years before he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.
      -----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Excerpt from James A Riley's book.

      "Essential to any team'ssuccess during the deeadball era was the presence of John Henry Lloyd, the greatest black baseball player during the first two decades of the century. The tall, rangy superstar was the greatest shortstop of his day, black or white, and with the exception of Honus Wagner in his prime, no major leaguer could compare with him. Wagner is reported to have said that he considered it a privilege to be compared to Lloyd.

      He was a complete ballplayer who could hit, run, field, throw, and hit with power, especially in the clutch. A superior hitter and a dangerous base runner, his knowledge and application of inside baseball as defined in the era allowed him to generate runs with a variety of skills.

      In the field he was a superlative fielder who studied batters and positioned himself wisely, got a good jump on the ball, and possessed exceptional range and sure hands with which he dug balls out of the dirt like a shovel.

      . . . John McGraw assessed the country's sociological climate while appraising his ability: "If we could bleach this Lloyd boy, we would show the National League a new phenomenon." Some of his BA.:

      1907 - .250
      1910 - .417
      1911 - .475
      1912 - .376
      1913 - .363
      1921 - .336
      1922 - .387
      1923 - .418
      1924 - .444 - 2nd base
      1925 - .330 - 2nd base
      1926 - .349 - 2nd base
      1927 - .375 - 2nd base
      1928 - .564 - 1st base
      1929 - .362
      1930 - .312

      12 Winter seasons in Cuba, between 1908-30 resulted in a BA. of .321.
      (The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, by James A. Riley, 2002, pp. 486-489.)

      I have Wagner as my #2 man all-time, and Pop's my #10th. Bill James has Wagner as his #2 also, and Pop is his #22.

      From 1907-10, he played each winter in Cuba, and in Nov.- Dec., 1910, the Detroit Tigers visited Cuba for a set of 12 games. Initially, Cobb didn't want to go. But when the Cuban promoters offered an additional $1,000. bonus, plus travel expenses. He said, "I decided to break my own rule for a few games."

      In the last game, Mendez fanned Ty once, Ty got a single, and Petway threw him out at 2nd when he tried to steal. For 5 games, Ty went 7 x 19= .370. Crawford hit .360 in 12 games, and Lloyd hit .500, Johnson .412, and Petway
      .390, all against top ML pitching.

      So, as a point of comparison, Wagner played a set of 7 games against the 1909 Tigers, in the World Series, basicly the same bunch that Lloyd played a year later. And Wagner managed a .333 BA. against the same pitching Lloyd hit .500 against.

      Lloyd played against McGraws Giants in 1913, McGraw toyed with bringing him into the NL. That's how impressed Little Napoleon was with him. At 5'11, 180, he was acknowleged as one of the campfire legends of the game. By 1918, he started managing/playing, which he continued until he retired in 1931, at age 47. By then he had switched to 1B, but could still hit. He settled in Atlantic City, NJ, married in '44. He continued to fool around with semi-pro until he was 58, playing 1B. Esquire magazine did a story on him in '38, bringing him to the attention of the white fans. He became a janitor in the Atlantic City post office, and in the mid-30's, became school janitor at the Indiana Avenue school. The kids all loved him and called him Pop.

      Lloyd died on March 19, 1965 in Atlantic City at age 80, 12 years before he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.

      Men like Mack, McGraw and Hughie Jennings all called him among the best players in BB history. In various yrs., he often hit around .450.

      This brief summary was culled from Marty Appel's fantastic book, Baseball's Best, 1980, pp. 413-414.
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 06-14-2006, 01:42 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        One guy who is currently being overlooked IMO is Monte Irvin. People look at his MLB career of eight years but forget they start when he's 30 and that he broke his ankle quite badly when he was 33. It's easy to forget he lost about 10 years to the color line and WWII.

        So what would his career have looked like with those 10 years? The best answer I can come up with starts with a APBA simulation of the franchise All-Stars of the Negro leagues prepared by David Lawrence. In the set I'm talking about, he takes the entire career of the player with the franchise he's carded with and translates it to an "average season" for the franchise. Since Irvin spent virtually all his time with the Newark Eagles, that helps. His method also eliminates problems caused by 30 to 50 game data samples. I then took those numbers from the Negro Leagues and translated them to major league numbers by mulitplying runs and RBI by 9 (.9 times 10) and walks all types of hits by 9.5 (.95 times 10) to account for the difference in leagues. The other stats were simply mutliplied by 10. There are no park adjustments in this projection, however. I'll then add that projected data to his actual MLB stats.

        Here's what we get:
        games 2144
        AB 8159
        runs 1506
        hits 2565
        2B 506
        3B 88
        HR 289
        RBI 1703
        BB 1013
        SO 680
        SB 190
        avg .314
        OBP .390
        slg .504

        Compare those numbers to what he did in 1950-1953 in the majors. His marks are as follows, despite losing 100 games in 1952 to a badly broken ankle:

        AB 1502
        R 79
        H 471
        2B 61
        3B 22
        HR 64
        RBI 305
        BB 206
        SB 17
        avg .314
        obp .381
        slg .511

        Those numbers match up quite well with the projection I gave for him. I think it is quite reasonable to think that 10 seasons before this stretch would help him hold the line against his decline phase, which lasted a mere 4 seasons. The biggest difference I see is that he lost his speed (I'd suggest due to a combination of age and the ankle injury.) In fact, I understand he reinjured the ankle badly in a collision at home plate on August 9, 1953. This could well account for his dropoff thereafter.


        I then used a database that ends with the 1998 season to come up with the most similar players using Similarity Scores. The top ten, in order from most similar to least similar are:


        Goose Goslin in Cooperstown, 13 of 34 votes in May for BBFHOF
        Al Simmons in BBFHOF and Cooperstown
        Harry Heilmann in BBFHOF and Cooperstown
        Dave Parker in neither, no votes in May
        Joe Medwick in Cooperstown, 13 of 34 votes in May for BBFHOF
        Bob Johnson in neither, no votes in May
        Jim Rice in neither, 1 of 34 votes in May
        George Brett in BBFHOF and Cooperstown
        Roberto Clemente in BBFHOF and Cooperstown
        Billy Williams in Cooperstown, 21 of 34 votes in May for BBFHOF


        All his top 3 and 7 of his top 10 comparables are in Cooperstown , and 4 of the top ten comparables are in the BBF HOF. The three that are in Cooperstown but not in the BBFHOF have all garnered at least 40% (Goslin and Medwick had 14/34 in April) of the vote, one of them has achieved over 60%.

        Note: In the Negro Leagues, he won 2 home run titles, per William McNeil on page 32 of Cool Papas and Double Duties

        Biography from Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues, page 408:

        He signed with the Newark Eagles in 1937, playing under another name to protect his amateur standing, since he was in college. Irvin was a power hitter who also hit for high average, [winning] two batting titles in the Negro National League. . . . [He spearheaded the Eagles' 1946 victory] in the Negro World Series. . . .

        A versatile player, he played both infield and outfield with the Eagles. . . . In 1939, he hit .403 with good power, and followed with strong seasons of .377 and .400. {A contract hassle led him to go to Mexico in 1942, where he led in average (.397) and home runs (20), finished second in RBIs (79) in only 63 games, and won the MVP award. {Then . . . he was drafted . . . spending three years in military service. . . .

        After his three-year hiatus from baseball, Irvin felt a need for additional winter ball to work back into his prewar condition, and resumed pley in Latin America. Irvin [played on champions in both Cuba and Puerto Rico}. He posted a lifetime .355 average in Puerto Rico.. . .

        Before the war Irvin had been the Negro League owner's choice for the player to be the player to break the color line [but because of the war, Jackie Robinson became the one to do so].
        Also of note are the following: 1) Elected to Cooperstown; 2) 19th place in the SABR poll ranking Negro League greats, and 3) the third best Negro League left-fielder in the opinion of Bill James in his latest Historical Abstract.

        Anyone interested in his career in the majors can conuslt baseballlibrary.com. and/or baseball-reference.com.

        Jim Albright
        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


        • #5
          Ray Dandridge according to Bill James

          From page 184 of the most recent Historical Abstract:

          Really a shortstop in terms of ability, but played third base in some of his best years because he was a teammate of Devil Wells. . . . Fast, an amazing third baseman, and a .350-.370 hitter, he was signed by the Giants when he was ...nearly 36, and was the best player in the American Association the second half of 1949 (hitting .363) and all of 1950 (when he won the league's MVP Award), but the Giants (who needed a third baseman) wouldn't bring him up. Durable, consistent; did everything exceptionally well except that he wasn't a power hitter.
          Jim Albright
          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


          • #6
            Ray Brown

            The only truly notable accolades I found for him is the fact he finished among the top six pitchers in the 1993 poll of Negro League Museum members. He just was recently elected into the Baseball Think Factory "Hall of Merit".

            The Baseball Think Factory guys project him to a major league record of 270-190, which translates to 238 Fibonacci Win Points. They seem to think he would have had 320-330 career win shares, but they didn't break that total down. An earlier estimate put him at 299 career win shares, 134 for his best five consecutive, and a best three of 43, 43 and 30. I think that earlier, more conservative evaluation places him between Joe McGinnity (260 career WS, 162 best 5 consecutive, top 3 of 42, 40 and 35 and 260 Fibonacci) and Early Wynn (308 career, 110 best 5 consecutive, top 3 of 28, 25 and 24 and 221 Fibonacci). I think the projection is credible, especially when you look at what he did everywhere he played (Source: page 96 of Cool Papas and Double Duties by William McNeil):

            League............................................ .won-lost.......pct
            Negro leagues....................................146-55.........726
            Mexican League...................................51-36.........586
            Cuban Winter League............................46-20.........697
            Puerto Rican Winter League....................29- 8.........784
            Total............................................. .272-119........696

            All the above-mentioned leagues had at least some top level talent. Quite a record, even if in the Negro Leagues he played for the Homestead Grays at their dominating best.

            According to Jim Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues, page 124:
            The Homestead Grays ace had a sinker, slider and a fine fastball, but his curveball was his best pitch. So confident was Ray in all of his pitches that he would throw a curve with a 3-0 count . . . . Later in his career, he developed an effective knuckleball, and he had good control of all his pitchers. . . . [He had] a nineteen-year career . . . [highlighted by] a perfect game in a seven inning contest against the Chicago American Giants in 1945.
            William McNeil in Cool Papas and Double Duties, page 96 adds:
            He was a dangerous man at the plate, rapping the ball at a .316 clip. . . .
            He pitched the Grays to nine consecutive Negro National League pennants between 1937 and 1945.
            Jim Albright
            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


            • #7
              Larry Doby

              If anyone needs any reasons beyond his role as the integrator of the American League and excellent performance in the majors and the Negro Leagues to vote for Larry Doby, here are some quotes from page 729 of Bill James' latest Historical Abstract:

              "Doby was one of the five best players in the American League . . . every season between 1950 and 1954" in James' opinion

              Doby was one of those rare five tool players: he did everything well. If you scored Doby on hitting for average, hitting for power, speed, defense, throwing, strike zone judgment, probably his lowest score would be hitting for average--yet he hit as high as .326 [ed. in the majors] and his career average of .283 is hardly a gaping wound.
              Jim Albright
              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


              • #8
                Perucho ("The Bull") Cepeda

                This man is Orlando ("The Baby Bull") Cepeda's father. According to Jim Riley, many observers feel the elder Cepeda was the better ballplayer. This Cepeda never played in the states, as he was a proud man with a temper. He realized a black man with those traits could easily get into serious trouble in the States in those days, so he never came and played here, despite repeated offers. I don't even see that he played in Cuba, which surprises me. Anyway, when the Puerto Rican Winter League started, he was already 32. He played shortstop, and according to William McNeil's Baseball's Other Stars, he was a good fielder. In his first five seasons in the Puerto Rican Winter League, Cepeda did the following despite quality opponents like Satchel Paige, Leon Day, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Tetelo Vargas, Francisco Coimbre and Roy Campanella (I don't know if any of them were there all five years--but there were some very good ballplayers in the PRWL at the time):

                Won two MVPs
                Won two batting titles and finished third twice
                Won three RBI titles and finished second once
                was second in HR once
                Led in triples once and was third once
                was third in runs scored once and fourth twice

                According to a book in Spanish by Jose Crescioni Benitez, Cepeda's totals for his first four years are as follows:

                AB.....713
                H.......293
                2B.......43
                3B.......22
                HR........9
                avg....411
                slg.....571

                That sure impresses me. After those first four years, it looks like he tailed off due to age. Did he play in Cuba, Mexico or the Dominican Republic to anyone's knowledge? It's hard to put him in solely on this, but if we could add a little confirmation to these marks, I'd say he's very interesting to say the least.

                Jim Albright
                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
                  Bullet Joe Rogan

                  Unfortunately, another pitcher/hitter who confounds at least the willingness of the Baseball Think Factory guys to project his data. So I'm stuck with the subjective stuff with Negro League data again. He can point to a lot of support in that realm, though. Consider the following:
                  1) named a first team pitcher in the Pittsburgh Courier poll selecting Negro League greats;
                  2) named to the Baseball Think Factory Hall of Merit;
                  3) inducted into Cooperstown;
                  4) placed 11th in the SABR poll ranking Negro League greats; and
                  5) selected among the top six pitchers in Negro League history in a poll of Negro League Museum members.

                  He was also named the best Negro League pitcher by Bill James for three seasons: 1922, 1924 (tie), and 1925 (tie).

                  Jim Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues has a nice writeup on him. A sizeable excerpt from it follows:
                  An outstanding pitcher with a tremendous fastball, a fine curve and good control, "Bullet" Rogan was a star for the Kansas City Monarchs [ed. one of the greatest of all the Negro League franchises, if not the greatest]. . . The right-hander was a smart pitcher who used a no-windup delivery, a sidearm motion, and always kept the ball down. In addition to his basic pitches, he included a forkball, palmball and spitter in his repertory. A durable workhorse . . . for a decade [who was] rarely . . . releived, this versatile player's value to his team was inestimable. He was also a superb fielder and a dangerous hitter with good power.

                  He had strong wrists and used a heavy bat. . . . [W]hen not performing on the mound, he played in the outfield to keep his big bat in the lineup. . . [H]e often batted in the cleanup position [ed. for a great team, no less!] and was credited with [the] league high [in] homes in 1922. He consistently hit over .300, compiling averages of .351, .416, .412, .366, .314, .330, .353, .341 and .311 for the years 1922-1930. On the mound [remember, in typically 70-90 game seasons] he registered seasons of 13-6, 12-8, 16-5, 15-2, 12-4, 15-6, and 9-3 for the first seven of those years. . .

                  [He joined] the Army in the fall of 1911. He remained in the Army through 1919, captaining baseball teams [with the limited opportunities for an Afro-American to make a living as a baseball player, he found a unique way to do it, as did Dobie Moore]. . . In exhibitions against major leaguers, Rogan is credited with a .329 average.
                  William McNeil on page 205 of Cool Papas and Double Duties added this:
                  [H]e pitched in the California Winter League with great success. [Ed. this league was one of the first integrated leagues in the continental US in the 20th century and could boast many major league players] Box scores uncovered to date credit him with an excellent 42-14 pitching record a .362 batting average and 30 doubles and 19 homers for every 550 at-bats. Bullet Joe could do it all
                  Jim Albright
                  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


                  • #10
                    Mule Suttles

                    This man earned numerous accolades, including:
                    1) placed 14th in the SABR poll ranking Negro League greats;
                    2) selected to the Baseball Think Factory "Hall of Merit";
                    3) selected as the second first baseman in a 1993 poll of members of the Negro League Museum;
                    4) selected as the 43rd best player of all time by Bill James in his latest Historical Abstract;
                    5) selected by Bill James in his latest Historical Abstract as the second best ever left fielder among Negro Leaguers (to Turkey Stearnes),
                    6) named by 70% of Negro League veterans polled by William McNeil for Cool Papas and Double Duties as worthy of Cooperstown; and
                    7) named by 88% of the Negro League historians polled by McNeil for CPDD as worthy of Cooperstown.

                    The guys over at Baseball Think Factory peg him as a career .300 hitter with 30-35 HR in a typical year, a .360 career OBP and .530 career slugging. They project him to get 2791 hits. The combination of that average, that many career hits and slugging is a sure recipe for Cooperstown. Their research shows him with 56 Black Ink points in the Negro Leagues and 145 Gray Ink points in those leagues. They also project him at 370 career WS, 148 best five consecutive and top three of 36, 35 and 29, while Stargell had career win shares at 352, 126 WS in his best five consecutive years, and a best three of 44, 31 and 28. Really, except for the fact the Mule was a righty and Willie a lefty, they're a heck of a match.

                    Those numbers are well under the marks he racked up in the 79 at bats he had against major league pitchers. He got 31 hits for a .392 average--and it was a very loud .392, with 11 homers!

                    I should point out the projection points to a man well worthy of a plaque in Cooperstown. No major leaguer with 2500 career hits and a .500 or better slugging average has failed to be inducted to Cooperstown after getting his chance with the voters. Further, only one man with more than the Mule's projected 2791 career hits has not been enshrined--Harold Baines with 2866. Baines was a fine player, but not in the Mule's class (289/359/465). We could carry it to win shares, where Baines has 307 career, 108 for best five consecutive and a top three of 25, 24 and 22. Again, good, but nearly as good as the Mule.

                    Furthermore, the latest Bill James Historical Abstract lists him as tied for the greatest player of 1926, and as the greatest player of 1931 and 1941. He might well have won more if Josh Gibson hadn't taken five such titles and Buck Leonard two in that period.

                    From Cool Papas and Double Duties by William McNeil, pp. 115-117
                    Suttles . . .[was] 6 ' 4", and packed a solid 230 pounds on his rugged frame. Fortunately for his opponents, he didn't have a mean bone in his body. He was a gentle giant, a good-natured fellow who enjoyed life. . .

                    Mule Suttles brought excitement to the game of baseball, especially to the home fans, who would chant "kick, Mule, kick" whenever he came to bat in a critical situation. And . . . often. . . Mule would respond by "kicking" one out of the park. He was a good low-ball hitter and a good curve ball hitter, who loved nothing more than to extend his arms and cut loose with an all-or nothing swing. . . .

                    Suttles went on to play 18 years in the Negro Leagues, finishing with a .341 battiong average, the fifth-highest average in Negro league history for players with more than 2000 at-bats. . . . He also hit 237 home runs [ed. most in Negro League history], an average of 40 homers for every 550 at-bats. And he didn't stop there. He pounded major-leaue pitchers for a .341 average and 10 home runs in 170 plate appearances in exhibition games. . .

                    Suttles played in the California Winter Leagues [ed the first integrated league in North America in the 20th century--many major leaguers played there, too] several years, where he literally destroyed major league and high minor league pitching. Partial statistics credit him with a .378 bating average and 64 home runs in just 450 at-bats, [which] would equate to 77 home runs for every 550 at-bats
                    Folks, that is one great player, one who clearly deserves a spot in the BBF HOF.

                    Jim Albright
                    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


                    • #11
                      Estimated Win Shares from Baseball Think Factory for Negro Leaguers already in the BBF HOF

                      The prime person doing this over this goes by the name Chris_Cobb. His work is very stat oriented, but well thought out IMO. His last posts (he sometimes tweaks them several times to get what he considers the most accurate possible results) or those he indicates general agreement with are the ones I prefer when available.

                      Unfortunately, he doesn't do it for all of even our HOF candidates. I'll indicate that. Most of them he does, and that gave me enough info to think I can reasonably place the Negro Leaguers all in context to their major league peers. Of course, the Negro League data these estimates are based on is incomplete, and it is possible that with more info, these assessments will change.

                      Anyway, here goes:

                      Satchel Paige: no estimated win shares or on career major league stats. I placed him as the top Negro League pitcher, considering he pitched effectively in the majors the last six years of his professional career when he was in his forties. I placed him just below his contemporary of Lefty Grove.. The reason I went with that is the differing use patterns from deadball days, and Grove is at the top of the post 1920 era pitchers.

                      Martin Dihigo no estimated win shares nor on career major league stats. Guys with his diverse skills as a pitcher and hitter drive the guys making these estimates nuts. They don't think he would have pitched in the majors, which may well be true. They suggest Al Kaline as a comp, which is again reasonable. I gave him a slight boost up from Kaline for his pitching to bump him up over Paul Waner.

                      Oscar Charleston again, no estimated win shares nor an estimate of career major league stats. He has to go below Mays since his peak wasn't as long and he's otherwise a rather comparable player. Except for the switch hitting, so is Mantle--but Mantle's injuries shortenend his career. I have to put Oscar ahead of him, and that's what I did. Is credited with 54 Black Ink points in the Negro Leagues and 174 Gray Ink points

                      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

                      Buck Leonard: 366 career WS, 155 for best 5 consecutive, best three of 32, 32, and 32. Seen as 308/417/476 for his career if in the majors. Credited with 22 Black Ink points and 105 Gray Ink points. Estimated at 2255 career hits.

                      Josh Gibson: 468 career WS, 169 for best 5 consecutive, best three of 41, 40 and 34. Seen as a 327/431/595 hitter in the majors for his career. Estimated at 2164 career hits.

                      Cool Papa Bell: 419 career WS, 116 for best 5 consecutive, best three of 26, 24 and 24. Seen as 297/365/382 for his career if in the majors. Estimated at 2846 career hits.

                      Ray Dandridge: No esitmated win shares or career major league stats. Was a .350 -.360 range hitter for his career in the Negro leagues, and the standard discount is about 6% of average. that puts him in the high .330s. He's reputedly excellent at everything but power, and had a long career. The first third baseman I felt comfortable putting him ahead of was Frank Baker, who had little power, wasn't reknowned for his glove work, and missed a couple of whole seasons in a shorter career--and didn't hit as high as .330 for his career. Yes, Baker did it in a deadball context, but my gut says Dandridge wins that comparison.

                      Cristobal Torriente: Have only win share estimates of 379 for his career, 160 for his best 5 consecutive and top three of 38, 36 and 36.

                      Turkey Stearnes: His estimated stats for the majors are 326/393/537 with 3190 career hits. The suggestion was this is similar to Mel Ott, a contemporary, and I agree. Stearnes also scored 51 Black Ink points and 178 Gray Ink points in the Negro Leagues.

                      Pop Lloyd: His estimated average in the majors is .292, with 3411 career hits. He gets 490 career WS, 150 for his best 5 consecutive, and a best three of 37, 33 and 33.

                      Cristobal Torriente All we have is estimated win shares, which are 379 for his career, 160 for his best 5 consecutive and a best 3 of 38, 36, and 36.

                      Jim Albright
                      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
                        Vic Harris--Negro League contributor

                        From Jim Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball page 361:

                        He was combative with umpires which contrasted with
                        the generally quiet approach he used with his players, never saying too much and preferring to inspire them by example to give their maximum effort. Although he was not noted as a brilliant strategist the players responded to the fiery manager by giving good performances on the baseball diamond.
                        His methods were good enough to lead his Homestead Grays teams to seven pennants, five of them consecutively. He had plenty of talent on hand to help him do that. But one cannot ignore that great talents are often accompanied by significant egos. He was able to keep that talent with those egos focused on the goal of staying on top. He was also a good if not great player. In many ways, Joe Torre is a good analogy.

                        Jim Albright
                        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


                        • #13
                          C. I. Taylor--Negro League contributor

                          From Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues, pages 763-764:

                          Acknowledged with Rube Foster as one of the two greatest managers of all time [in the Negro Leagues], contemporaries said that C. I. trained the players and Rube signed them. On the field, the master builder from Carolina was a strict disciplinarian and great teacher who brought out the best in his players . . . . In 1914, he . . . transferred his team to Indianapolis, where the club was sponsored by the American Brewing Company and called the ABCs. Immediately his baseball acumen was evident as he built and nurtured a team that was recognized as a perennial power . . . . Taylor knew how to handle men . . . . Taylor's brilliant career was abruptly terminated when he died at . . . age 47.
                          Notable accomplishments:
                          Won a championship in 1916
                          Signed Oscar Charleston, Dizzy Dismukes and Biz Mackey among others

                          Jim Albright
                          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


                          • #14
                            Ed Bolden--Negro League contributor

                            From pages 91-92 in Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues:

                            A gentlemanly little man, he worked in the Philadelphia post office, and was the owner of the two best-known Negro League teams in the Philadelphia area, the Hilldale Daisies and the Philadelphia Stars. A shy, quiet and modest man who preferred working in the background instead of in the spotlight, [he] is best known as the owner of the Hilldale team that won the first three Eastern Colored League championships in 1923-1925 and the 1925 [Negro] World Series over the Kansas City Monarchs. As the founder of the Eastern Colored League, he was responsible for player raids by eastern teams on the more established Negro National League.

                            He took over operations for [Hilldale] in 1916, when [it] was a semipro team. The team attained [Negro] major league status the following season and wond a championship in 1921; then came the Eastern Colored League and three straight pennants. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1927, and without his leadership the league folded the following spring.

                            After he recovered, . . . he organized the Philadelphia Stars . . . . Bolden again raided other clubs for players, and entered the Negro National League in 1934, winning the pennant in the first season in the league. In the championship the team defeated the Chicago American Giants. He remained at the head of the Stars until his death in 1950.

                            In addition to contributions to black baseball as a team executive, he also served as an officer in three different leagues: the Eastern Colored League, the American Negro League and the Negro National League.
                            Jim Albright
                            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


                            • #15
                              Frank Warfield--Negro League contributor

                              From page 815 of Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues:

                              He was a talented player with a fiery temperament.
                              [A]s a successful manager, [h]e proved to be a clever strategist, guiding Hilldale to consecutive Eastern Colored League pennants in 1924-1925 including a [Negro] World Series victory in the latter season. He also managed the Baltimore Black Sox to the only American Negro League pennant in 1929. His . . . temper made him quick to engage in arguments with umpires or to castigate a pleyer in view of spectators . . . . Regardless of his management methods, his results were good, and his success extended to Cuba, where he managed the 1924 Santa Clara team to the championship . . . . [One of the key moves he made in Hilldale was to move] Judy Johnson from shortstop to third base and put light-hitting but far-ranging and smooth-fielding Jake Stephens at shortstop.
                              Jim Albright
                              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

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