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Negro Leaguers whose managing should put them in the HOF discussion

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  • Negro Leaguers whose managing should put them in the HOF discussion

    Recently, I posted a HOF contributor piece for Vic Harris, which I will post in this thread shortly. I got a response from Cougar who was surprised he hadn't heard much about Harris, and mentioned Candy Jim Taylor. I had heard of Taylor, but was only vaguely aware that he had managed. Now if I and another person I regard as a fairly astute student of the game don't know much about these guys, it's pretty obvious there was a gap in information. Knowing that since the announcement of the 2006 election for Negro Leaguers was made that there's been a lot of information published, I tried a google search. There's more out there, but the gold on this topic is here, IMHO: http://www.cnlbr.org/Portals/0/RL/Al...e-Managers.pdf Really, the whole site is useful to those wanting to learn more about Negro Leaguers: http://www.cnlbr.org/

    I'll be posting some pieces on Negro League managers shortly, almost always with some reference to the PDF piece on that topic. Some will be updates of previous pieces, some will be totally new. I'm also going to have a parallel thread in the HOF forum eventually.
    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.

  • #2
    One thing that jumped out at me in the first page of the PDF on leading Negro League managers: only two managed more than a dozen years. Now, some of that is due to teams going independent in the Depression out of economic necessity, and some is due to the fact the table on that page is for the organized Negro Leagues, so nothing before 1920 appears. It does include guys who won in the shrinking Negro Leagues after integration, though. I think one reason is simple: managers were generally player/managers. Some played regularly, some were more relief in barnstorming games and occasional pinch hitter or relief pitchers in the league games. Given the economics of the Negro Leagues, paying a full salary for a guy whose only role was managing often didn't make sense. Frankly, I see Candy Jim Taylor's consistent ability to get jobs when he no longer could play very well as evidence he was highly regarded for his ability to manage in the Negro Leagues--or else teams wouldn't have paid another salary to have him on board. There were even times when there was competition for his services. In the context of the Negro League structure, I take this as strong evidence he was highly regarded for his managerial skill.

    Another thing to keep in mind is some teams had the horses and won a lot, and some teams didn't have the horses and couldn't win often against the ones that did. A guy like Candy Jim Taylor who often moved from job to job frequently found himself getting in to the process of building success for the team. He'd have a year or two where he had to build the team up before he could challenge for a championship, and the record in that first year of rebuilding often wasn't very good. This lowers his career winning percentage more than the good years can raise it. That being the case, I'll focus on pennants the most since the Negro League World Series or other playoffs were certainly not a lot better than a 50/50 shot to be played in any given year. Since a guy could rack up a lot of wins in the good years, I want to see an overall winning record but after that, I'm willing to call a lower winning percentage for a guy who moved around a lot great than I would for a guy who soent a lot of time managing one team.

    The brevity of most managing careers makes it hard for most Negro League managers to be considered worthy of the Hall solely for their managing. However, Negro League managers were often star players, and some of those guys either are not quite up to HOF standards as players, or it's at least a tough call to say whether they are or not. However, if they add managerial success in a player/manager role, it can get very hard to say their overall body of work should not be honored by the Hall.

    I do like championships in Winter Leagues and will use that information extensively. One thing I won't get too excited about is championships outside the winter leagues after about 1950. By 1950 or so, the talent was draining away from the Negro Leagues. I don't know that considering a championship after 1950 in the Negro Leagues more like winning a title in the minors is anything less than one more affront from segregation, but the fact is, it's a hard fight to win--and we haven't won for many of the guys without that issue. If we ever get close to the point of satisfactorily honoring Negro League managers without that problem, we can certainly revisit those guys at that point. Until then, the post 1950 summer stuff is mostly a distraction I wish to avoid.

    I think at this point I've at least provided a decent outline of how I will weigh things and why. So now it's time to put it in practice.
    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


    • #3
      I'm going to put some stuff I have already written on these guys. Once I've transferred them here, I'll start to incorporate the info I got from the Negro League managing PDF. I'll put a red DONE at the top of the post to let you know the managing stuff has been added. Once I finish those, I'll let you know that by a post in the thread and then add the posts about new folks.
      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


      • #4
        Oscar Charleston

        DONE

        Years played: 1915-1941 (includes 10 winters in Cuban Winter League)
        Main position: Centerfield, though spent several years at the end of his career as a 1B
        All Star selections: 12 Holway, first actual game
        MVPs: 4 Holway, 4 James and 5 ESPN
        League champions on: 5 American summer, 3 Cuban Winter, one California Winter
        League leading performances: In American summer play he was in the top five in average nine times (led once), in the top five in homers 14 times (led five), in the top three in steals 7 times (led four). In Cuba led in average and steals twice each and once each in homers, runs and hits. All time career leader in average in Cuba.
        Expert rankings: top vote getter as greatest Negro Leaguer and leading vote getter among OF in CPDD historian’s poll; 1st team in Courier poll; 4th in SABR poll (the 2nd OF); 3rd OF in Museum poll; top James Negro Leaguer and ranked 4th overall and also on all time Negro League gold glove team; Clark pick as one of the top three OF; and on Team #1 of the All World picks.


        Clearly, Oscar had a long career and is one of the best ever in blackball. He certainly also played for winners. Shades of Glory has rather complete data from 1920 (when Oscar was 26) on, and has his average in that major slice of his career as .348 with an on base percentage of .426 and slugging of .576 with 23 homers along with 33 steals per 550 AB. The steals particularly impressive given that our source eliminates some of his early years but includes the years after he became a player manager and gained enough weight to change him from a fleet CF to a 1B.

        I can’t quite put him on a par with Mays given the facts of his move to first give him less defensive value than Mays at least after Oscar moved to first and the fact it appears he had a tad less power than Willie. On the other hand, I think Mantle’s career is also rather similar but shorter, so I put Oscar ahead of him. In my opinion, Oscar fits rather neatly between these two superb players, especially since all the evidence I have points to the notion that Oscar had a similar skill set to these two greats.
        In 3000 PA recorded by bbref, he has a career line of 351/414/584

        His projection is:
        Code:
        ab	h	tb	xb	bb
        10534	3418	5349	1931	1280
        which is a 324/398/508 career line.

        His comps for that projection are:

        BRETT, GEORGE
        KALINE, AL
        SPEAKER, TRIS
        WILLIAMS, BILLY
        WINFIELD, DAVE
        SIMMONS, AL
        OTT, MEL
        COBB, TY
        YASTRZEMSKI, CARL
        DAWSON, ANDRE

        For good measure, he was a player manager for the last two thirds of his career, winning three pennants and the one playoff (1935 Crawfords) his team played in.
        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
          Andy Cooper

          DONE

          I’ve looked at the BBTF work on him as well as the current Seamheads.com and BBref.com stats on him, and still don’t have a clear picture of him as a player. He won 2 of every 3 decisions he had in his Negro League career, which indicates a pitcher of quality. However, I don’t get the sense there was a big buzz about him, which begs the question of why. It’s certainly possible I’m the one who’s missing the story here, but I don’t think so. A part of it may be that he played much of his Negro League career in a park I understand was more hitter than pitcher friendly. However, the seamheads OPS+, which as I understand it should account for park effects, isn’t impressive in HOF terms.

          He was also one of the most successful relievers in the history of the Negro Leagues. That’s worth a discussion in itself given the small Negro League rosters. Only a good team like the Monarchs could afford to have a good reliever, but the good teams had plenty of options, and had gotten good for a reason. The Monarchs were consistently a Negro League power, so they knew what they were doing. It’s hard to know how much, if anything, all that adds to Cooper’s HOF allure.

          Even the fact he managed three pennant winners and a Negro League World Series winner before his untimely demise has difficulties. In the Negro League setting, he managed four of his five seasons while a mostly limited time player. He won three pennants in those five years, only failing to play in league play in his last season as manager. He then died, only in his early forties. The limited usage player/full time manager role is awkward in my consideration of him as a player. However, if we shifted to considering him as a contributor, the fact he was a very good to excellent pitcher who then added being a successful manager, his case for a plaque in Cooperstown has probably just gotten pushed over the top in my book. In league games his teams had 108 wins and 50 losses, a .684 winning percentage. It ain't easy to win three pennants or with that frequency over that period of time, and Cooper pulled it off. That's enough for me when added to his play.
          Last edited by jalbright; 02-06-2016, 03:29 PM.
          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
            Foster, Rube

            DONE

            A giant in the Negro Leagues, and unquestionably belongs in for his numerous nonplaying contributions to blackball. He was a brilliant and successful manager, part owner, commissioner in blackball and really the founder of the first organized Negro Leagues, and achieved great things in all those roles. He was also an excellent player.

            As a manager, Foster was tremendously successful. He won the first three Negro National League pennants, but since he was managing before 1920 when he helped form the Negro National League, he had many other championships to point to. He won the "Chicago City League championship" in 1909; the Western Colored Championships in 1910, 1913, 1914, 1917 and 1918 plus being named the "Colored Champions of the World" in 1914. The Center for Negro League baseball research PDF on all-time managers gives his overall managing won-loss record as 928-401 for a .698 winning percentage. Call it at least eight pennants and winning nearly 70% of your games--that's darned successful.
            Last edited by jalbright; 02-06-2016, 06:56 PM.
            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
              Harris, Vic

              DONE

              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.
              The Grays won pennants every year from 1937-1945, and Harris led them to the first six, had to relinquish the head job for wartime work, and returned for the ninth. After two years without a pennant, he led them to another Negro League Series win. 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, appearing in six East-West Negro League all-star games. In many ways, Joe Torre is a good analogy.

              He was chosen to manage the Eastern team in the Negro League all-star team six years, and posted a 377 wins versus 211 losses for a .641 winning percentage in league play. He also won the 1926 and 1927 Florida Hotel League championship for the Royal Poinciana, the 1930-31 and 1931-32 California Winter League championships, and the "San Juan City championship for Santurce in 1947-48 and 1948-49. That’s certainly a successful manager.
              Last edited by jalbright; 02-07-2016, 11:33 AM.
              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
                Pop Lloyd

                DONE

                Years played: 1906-1932 (13 winters in Cuba)
                Main position: shortstop
                All star selections: Holway 13
                MVP selections: Holway 4, ESPN 5, James 1 (remember, James’ season by season picks begin in 1920)
                League champions on: 16 American summer, 1 California Winter, 6 Cuban Winter
                League leading performances: In American summer play, he was in the top two in average three times (led twice) and led in steals once. In California, he led in average once. In Cuba, he has the fourth best career average at .329 and led once in hits and once in homers.
                Expert rankings: top shortstop in CPDD historian’s poll, 1st team shortstop in Courier poll, tied for fifth in SABR poll, third shortstop in Museum poll, James’ best Negro league shortstop, 2d best shortstop of all time and 27th overall, second team shortstop in Clark selections, and on Team #1 in the All World selections.


                He’s frequently compared to Honus Wagner, and while I can’t quite rate him that highly, he probably comes as close as any retired shortstop ever has. Shades of Glory’s data begins when Lloyd was 36, but their data has him with a .343 average, .393 OBP and .450 slugging with 18.9 steals per 550 AB. That’s flat out impressive for someone from that point of his career on. The fragmentary records from 1919 and earlier suggest the Shades of Glory numbers are not out of line with his earlier play. He certainly had a long career toiling for many winners and garners a lot of respect from experts in all star and MVP picks.
                Seamheads.com gives his Negro League career line as 343/393/448 in 3764 PA, The projection I'm using is

                Code:
                ab	h	tb	xb	bb
                11668	3679	4752	1073	893
                which is a 315/367/407 career line. His comps are:

                Appling
                Bell, Buddy
                Brock
                Collins, E
                Dahlen
                Davis, G
                Frisch
                LaJoie
                Trammell
                Wagner

                On top of all that, Lloyd was a player manager in 19 of his seasons. He won an Eastern Colored League pennant and an American Negro League pennant. He was 166-136 for a 55% winning percentage in League play. He was also quite successful in independent play before the organized leagues got going, winning the 1913 and 1915 "Colored Champions of the World" title plus the 1912 and 1920 "Colored Champions of the East" titles. He won over 72% of his indpendent games per the Center for Negro League Baseball Research PDF on the best Negro League managers and is credited with an overall record of 442-342 for a .646 winning percentage. That's a lot of titles for a player/manager and a heck of a winning percentage.
                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
                  I've talked about the table on the PDF. Here it is, with the introductory text:

                  Negro Lg managers.jpg
                  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
                    Dick Lundy

                    DONE

                    He has some key positives, including receiving 75% support for Cooperstown from the players surveyed in Cool Papas and Double Duties, and 96% of the Historians surveyed for that same book. He's listed as the third best shortstop by Bill James in his latest Historical Abstract, and was on the third team of the 1950's Pittsburgh Courier poll setting out the greatest players of the Negro Leagues. He was also in 24th place among the players listed in a SABR poll trying to determine who the Negro League greats were.

                    This is a weird case. It's not unusual to see differences in the career data for Negro Leaguers, but if you're talking about two different record keeping systems that both account for 1500 or more AB, they tend to look like the same player. Not Dick Lundy. The seamheads version is here: http://www.seamheads.com/NegroLgs/pl...p?ID=489&tab=1 and in 1356 AB, they have him with a 317/374/476 career line. That looks like a HOF SS even after we allow for the weaker competition in the Negro Leagues as opposed to the majors. Now bbref's version is here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/nl...d=lundy-000dic They come up with 2127 AB and a line of 305/341/412. The plate discipline has basically disappeared, and the power is greatly diminished. Lower those marks for lesser competition, and we're talking no more than an average bat, if that. It could easily be a below average OBP and an average slugging mark or less. That guy might make it, but he needs to live up to Lundy's fine defensive rep and play long enough to make it all work. It may be there's an explanation like ballpark effects or just the overall reliability of the two collection methods, but I'm not aware of any such explanation. Until or unless I am, I'd rather sit this one out until the picture of who Dick Lundy was as a batter is clearer before I rate him as outside the Hall. If forced to rate him now, I'd rate him with something like a 274/307/371 line--and I know that when the BBTF guys were looking at that kind of picture, they weren't convinced.

                    That said, I don't think anyone at BBTF considered one other issue--Lundy was successful as a player/manager. Fortunately, his winning percentage after he retired was very similar to his career numbers given on the PDF (.617). But his three pennants all came as a player/manager. A manager with three pennants would often get serious attention for the Hall--and Lundy did it as a player. Whether you think he should go as a player or as a contributor is up to you, but I think he should go as one or the other. I think right now I'd choose the contributor path, but that's me.
                    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
                      Mendez, Jose

                      DONE

                      He certainly seems to me to have the kind of case Hughie Jennings would have if he had been a Negro League pitcher rather than a white shortstop. They both were brilliant, for a few years, but maybe not enough to make it to the HOF on that ground alone. Then they both managed with significant success, though that too might be a tad short on its own. But put the two halves together, it's hard to keep him out. Mendez led one of the few organized Negro Leagues of the day in Cuba in wins three times from 1908-13, winning nearly 3/4 of his decisions (74-25). He came to the states and hurt his arm, so he only pitched occasionally thereafter, but generally effectively. He also managed the early Kansas City Monarchs to three consecutive league titles and won a Negro League World Series as a player/manager before he died young of pneumonia.
                      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
                        Taylor, C I

                        DONE

                        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.
                        Brought Oscar Charleston, Dizzy Dismukes, Frank Warfield, Dave Malarcher and Biz Mackey among other Negro League stars into the top level of the Negro Leagues.

                        From BaseballLibrary.com:
                        C. I. Taylor was regarded by many . . . as the finest manager in black baseball history. He was patient and dignified, a strict disciplinarian and a good teacher, scrupulously fair and honest with his players. . . . Taylor's teams were perennial powers . . . . Taylor was also instrumental in the founding of the Negro National League.
                        From The Indianapolis ABCs by Paul Debono, pages 156 and 157:
                        C. I.'s greatest talent was recruiting and developing players. . . . Not only did Taylor develop players, but he developed managers. The list of Negro League managers who benefitted from his guidance at early stages of their careers is impressive: "Candy" Jim Taylor, "Bingo" DeMoss, "Dizzy" Dismukes, Oscar Charleston, Dave Malarcher, "Biz" Mackey, Otto Briggs and Frank Warfield all became noted managers in the Negro Leagues.
                        Now that I have the Negro League manager PDF, I can tell you a little more about his record—and it is as good as advertised, IMHO. They have a record of 333-209, for a winning percentage of .614, and won “Colored Champions of the South” title in both 1907 and 1908, the “Colored Champions of the World” title in 1916, and the Springs Valley League title in 1910.
                        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.

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                        • #13
                          From this point forward, I'll be posting finished manager comments.
                          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
                            Malarcher, Dave

                            The Center for Negro League Baseball Research’s PDF on Negro League managers credits him with a .671 winning percentage over eight seasons. He was a player/manager in those seasons. He managed Negro League World Series winners in 1926 and 1927 plus winning the “Chicago Semipro” championship in 1927 and the Negro Southern League championship in 1932. Three titles in a mere eight years with two different franchises impresses me, anyway, as does the winning percentage. Of note is the fact he never had a losing season, nor did he ever finish lower than third place. All that together is enough to persuade me he belongs.
                            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
                              Salazar, Lazaro

                              The Center for Negro League Baseball Research says that between Mexico, the Dominican, Cuba and Venezuela, he won 1153 games against 898 losses for a .562 winning percentage. That’s pretty good, but what is more impressive is the number of times he managed his teams to their league championships: three in the Cuban Winter League, seven in the Mexican League (three of which were consecutive), three in the Venezuelan league and winning the fabled 1937 Dominican League championship. That haul of titles is impressive, at least to me.
                              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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