Archive for December, 2015

And a Happy 80th

December 30, 2015
Koufax, the only 3-time unanimous Cy Young winner

Koufax, the only 3-time unanimous Cy Young winner

Keith just reminded me that today is Sandy Koufax’s 80th birthday (Thanks, Keith). Considering everything, he could probably still strike out the opposing pitcher.¬†ūüôā
Happy Birthday, Mr. K.

A Pennant for the Twin Cities: A Review

December 30, 2015
A Pennant for the Twin Cities cover

A Pennant for the Twin Cities cover

I haven’t done a book review in a while, so I figured it was both time to do one and a good way to finish up the year. This time I want to look at A Pennant for the Twin Cities edited by Gregory H. Wolf. It’s a SABR Publication that came out this year (2015).

The book is a review of the 1965 Minnesota Twins American League pennant winning team. The book is divided into sections that explore the players, on field managers and coaches, and the front office through a series of short biographies. The first section looks at the owner (Calvin Griffith), the Twins home stadium, spring training, and offers a short look at the 1965 season. The next section is a group of biographies of the players interspersed with looks at individual games, including the pennant clincher. This is followed by biographies of the manager, coaches, broadcasters, primary sportswriters following the Twins, and then a summary of the World Series, which the Twins lost in seven games. The biographies and summaries are very uneven in quality, because they are written by a host of people. Some are very good, others not so much. Overall, the mixed quality doesn’t distract too much from the book because of the sheer amount of material, most done well. Although the biographies are the heart of the book, the various game summaries and the World Series synopsis are worth a look.

All in all I think this is a very good book if you are interested in 1960s baseball. It is available from SABR online as both an e-book and to purchase as a paperback. It’s $9.99 for the e-book and $19.95 for the paperback. You can also pick it up at Amazon for $19.95. The book runs 396 pages including the list of contributors.

 

Finding the Best 19th Century Player not in Cooperstown

December 28, 2015

As I mentioned several years ago I had the great joy of being able for a long time to know that I was smarter than the Hall of Fame’s Veteran’s Committee. For years I argued that Deacon White was the best 19th Century player not in the Hall of Fame. Then the committee agreed with me and White was enshrined. Great for him, lousy for me. I now had to come up with a new choice. Well, I still haven’t quite honed in on the guy, but I’m now down to five guys that get my vote for best 19th Century player not in Cooperstown’s gallery of greats.
Knowing you just can’t wait to find out who they are (still your beating hearts, team) I’ll get to them in a few sentences. But first I want to make clear this is supposed to be the best 19th Century player not in the Hall of Fame, not the best 19th Century player eligible for the Hall of Fame. There’s a difference in those two categories and in makes a great deal of difference when you look at two of my five finalists (Five finalists? Geez, I feel like I’m doing the Miss Universe Pageant and know¬†it’s Phillippines.). And remember this is players, not “contributors,” which to me is a different category. Also be aware that there is much speculation here because statistics for the period prior to 1870 are almost non-existent and it surely colors my choices. So having said all that, here we go (alphabetically).

Ross Barnes

Ross Barnes

Ross Barnes is one of the players who isn’t exactly eligible for the Hall of Fame. Barnes was a star prior to the founding of the National Association in 1871, then was arguably the best player in the Association. When the NA folded after 1875 he moved to the new National League, had a couple of good years then it was over (sources vary on if what happened was age, illness, or a rule change). MLB does not recognize the NA as a “Major League” so Barnes doesn’t have 10 years in the “Major Leagues”, which makes him ineligible for the Hall of Fame. None of that means he wasn’t a heck of a player. He, along with Lip Pike, Cal McVey, and maybe Andy Leonard all have the same problem. They have career too short in the NL to make the Hall of Fame. For my money Barnes is the best of that lot.

Bud Fowler

Bud Fowler

To be absolutely honest I don’t know if Bud Fowler is one of the five best 19th Century players not in the Hall of Fame or not. His stats are almost completely non-existent. I do know that with Frank Grant in the Hall of Fame, Fowler is the best black player of the era (George Stovey and Fleet Walker not withstanding). How good was he? No one really knows, but the stories of his ability are formidable. Some of them are surely exaggerated (but so are some of the stories about the white players). It is reasonable, after noting the quality of black ball players in the 20th Century, to presume that a fairly significant number of black players would be of Hall of Fame quality in the 19th Century. So far the Hall has let in Grant and exactly no one else who plays the bulk of his career in the 19th Century. And with the current Hall of Fame mantra that they’ve got all the Negro League players they should have there’s little chance of him being added to the Hall (Did you see any Negro Leaguers in the last two Segregation Era Veteran’s Committee ballots? Neither did I.). My candidate for best black player left out is Fowler. I wish I could prove he fits in the top five, but frankly it’s just a feeling.

Jack Glasscock

Jack Glasscock

Jack Glasscock is arguably the best shortstop not currently in the Hall of Fame and eligible; with suitable apologies to Bill Dahlen, who spends too much of his career in the 20th Century to make this list. Glasscock played from 1879 through 1895 and died in 1947. He hit .290, had an OPS+ of 112, 61.9 WAR (BBREF version)¬†along with 22.3 dWAR, which is terrific for 19th Century players without gloves. He won a batting title (1890–the Player’s League year) and two hits titles (1889 and 1890), didn’t strikeout much, and led the league in a bunch of fielding categories during his career. So far he’s been totally overlooked by the Hall of Fame (he appeared on the ballot once, in 1936, and garnered all of 2.6% of the vote). The Hall really needs to look at him again.

Dave Orr

Dave Orr

Dave Orr is one of the best first basemen of the 19th Century. He has one significant problem. He doesn’t get 10 years in the Major Leagues. He plays from 1883 through 1890, almost all of it with the American Association (which was generally considered the weaker of the two big leagues), then suffers a stroke and is through. So he’s one of those players I mentioned as being ineligible for the Hall of Fame (the other is, of course, Barnes).¬†He leads the league in hits twice, in triples twice, in RBIs once, wins a batting title, two slugging titles, and lead the league in total bases twice. His OPS+ is 162. In other words, he’s really good, but he doesn’t have the 10 years. It seems to me that a physically disabling thing like a stroke should be considered when a player is up for Hall of Fame consideration. They let Addie Joss in with nine years (although he died rather than be disabled) so there’s nothing sacred about 10 years if the Hall decided to waive it. In Orr’s case they should at least consider a waiver.

Joe Start

Joe Start

Then there’s Joe Start who might actually be the best of the lot. He’s a major player with the Atlantic when they dominated baseball (that’s Civil War era, people), then he plays in the National Association, hits .295, has an OPS of .665, an OPS+ of 110. Then at age 33 he moves to the National League where he hits .300, has an OPS of .699, an OPS+ of 124. His team (Providence) wins two NL pennants and wins the first postseason series against the American Association. He’s 41 when his team wins in 1884 and still a significant force on his team (although no longer the big star). He plays his last game at 43 (when he’s over the hill). His putouts, assists, and range indicate he was also a very good first baseman.

So there they are, the five guys that I’ve decided include the best 19th Century player not in the Hall of Fame (with something of a tip of the hat to Cal McVey as the last guy I eliminated). At this point only Glasscock and Start are strictly eligible (Fowler is technically, I guess, but the Hall doesn’t seem to think so). I suppose that both Barnes and Fowler could be put in as “pioneers” or something and Orr needs the Hall to waive its 10 year rule for an extraordinary circumstance. I’m still trying to put a finger on which of these five is the best. Will let you know when I figure it out.

 

Walter, George, and the Jalopy

December 23, 2015
Walter Johnson

Walter Johnson

Way back in the 1920s a lot of ball players barnstormed during the winter trying to make a few extra buck, trying to keep in shape for the regular season, trying to grow the game, trying to get away from the drudgery of an everyday off-season job. That made it possible for fans in places that had no contact with Major League Baseball except through the radio or local newspaper to meet big leaguers and watch them play baseball at its best level. This is the story of how my Grandfather met Walter Johnson, at least as it was told to me.

During the 1920s Johnson did a barnstorming tour or two. One of those came through Oklahoma close to where my Grandfather and Grandmother lived. They worked on a small farm owned by a man named George (last name left off because he probably still has relatives around). George owned the farm and my Grandfather was a tenant. That could be a bad combination but because both men liked each other a lot it worked out well. They spent a lot of time together, loved baseball, and George owned an old jalopy that he used to take my Grandfather around in when Granddad needed to go somewhere.

He also owned the plot of land where Uncle Joe had his still (see the article “The Moonshiner and the Church League” of 2 October 2013 for details on Uncle Joe, the still, and my Grandfather’s role in the enterprise). Of course George knew about the still and was content to let it stay where it was because he got a Mason Jar full of the “stash” every time Uncle Joe made a new batch. So the relationship between George and my family was close.

Sometime in the 1920s the word came that Walter Johnson was leading a team across country and they were going to stop in Oklahoma (Muskogee, I think, but don’t remember for sure after all these years). Well, Granddad and George wanted to see him pitch, so they decided to take a couple of days off, drive down to Muskogee (again, don’t hold me to the name of the town) and see the game. There were a couple of problems. First, my Grandmother was pregnant and getting her safely to Muskogee and back in George’s jalopy was going to be a problem (apparently she wasn’t near delivery, but was obviously pregnant). Second, Mrs. George didn’t like baseball, didn’t care who was pitching, and thought Muskogee was a long way in an old car. And finally, it wasn’t much of a car.

I never saw the jalopy. By the time I¬†was born, it was gone, buried, and in whatever afterlife exists for things run by the internal combustion engine.¬†But¬†it was legendary in the family. The shocks were shot, the tires weren’t exactly bald, but they weren’t new either. There were no springs in the backseat (another reason my Grandmother couldn’t go) and George had to carry a couple of jugs of water to keep the radiator from exploding. So neither of the women wanted to go to Muskogee in what was just a few bolts short of a deathtrap.

Well, that was OK, because there was always Uncle Joe. And with Uncle Joe came the “stash.” And of course Uncle Joe was more than happy to go along (and bring a few bottles of his finest).

So sometime during the week (it was a weekday, I don’t know which) they said good-bye to the women and headed off in a car that both wives were absolutely sure wouldn’t make it half way to Muskogee, let along make it all the way back (but, of course, you do have to humor the absolutely crazy). They had the jugs of water,¬†enough sandwiches to cover a couple of days, three bottles of Uncle Joe’s finest, a few dollars, a toothbrush, and little else.¬†Other than stopping at every other creek on the way to fill the radiator and refill the jugs, the trip went without incident (somewhere along the line they had to get gas, but I don’t remember any stories about it). Of course the “stash” helped ease the problem of the shocks. When they got to Muskogee they had no money for a hotel room, so it was decided to park at the local fair grounds (which was where the ballpark was) for the night. Apparently they weren’t alone and that created a problem. Who got to sleep with the stash? Somebody had to or it might be stolen in the night. This is a big deal because two of the guys were going to have to sleep under the car while the stash guard got to sleep inside the car. Well, it was an easy choice; it was George’s car so he got the interior (and the stash).

The next morning it dawned on our three intrepid travelers that they couldn’t take Uncle Joe’s best into the ballpark. They also couldn’t leave in the jalopy because the damned thing didn’t lock and everyone around knew what clear liquid you kept in Mason Jars. So the chance of any of the jars (and by this point at least one would have been empty) still being there at the end of the game was tiny. They decided to hide it. I’ve never been quite sure where (the story changed a time or two when I heard it) but it seems they found what they considered a safe place.

The weather was dry, the crowd was big (for Muskogee), and the cost of the game was cheap enough even Granddad, George, and Uncle Joe could afford a ticket (I think I remember hearing “a quarter.”). They got seats part way up the visitors side. The fair grounds ballpark is gone so I have no idea how many rows that was, but it seems, from everything else they said, that it wasn’t too high up the grandstand.

Walter Johnson and his team showed up, took batting practice, signed a few autographs, then the home team took the field. Johnson pitched the first three innings and Granddad told me he’d never forget the way he mowed down the Muskogee team. No one got on base, only a couple of guys even hit the ball, and after three innings Johnson exited the game. That was the cue the crowd needed. Half the fans in the grandstand rushed the field, Granddad included. They clustered around Walter Johnson, patted him on the back, shook his hand. My Granddad managed to reach the front of the mob and got to briefly shake The Big Train’s hand. He told me he was in utter awe of having touched Walter Johnson.

The Johnson team won the game after order was restored (the score changed a time or two in the telling) and Granddad, George, and Uncle Joe started home, after recovering the stash. It was too far to get home in one night. I’ve never been sure if the distance was too far, the headlights didn’t work (or even if there were headlights), or they just wanted one more night on the road, but they stopped about half way home and pulled off into a field. Apparently the evening was taken up with talking about the game, enjoying each other’s company, and sharing the last of the stash with the farmer who owned the field where they stayed. George again got the interior for overnight.

The next morning they took off for home and arrived in the afternoon. For much of my upbringing, my Grandfather told his story. It got a little better with age (but then so do my tales), but it was one of his favorites. I met George later and he told pretty much the same story, so I always believed it was true (more or less). For my Grandfather it was the only time he actually met a big league star and he was sure it was worth every minute of the trip. Both wives were sure they’d wasted value time goofing off.

2016 Spink and Frick Awards

December 21, 2015

Having been ill when the 2016 Spink (writer) and Frick (broadcaster) Awards were announced, I didn’t comment on either. Here’s a quick update in case you didn’t note the announcements.

Graham McNamee

Graham McNamee

Longtime broadcaster Graham McNamee won the Ford Frick Award for 2016. He is probably most famous for broadcasting the 1926 World Series on radio for NBC, but was behind the mike for a number of baseball games into the 1940s. He died in 1942.

Dan Shaughnessy

Dan Shaughnessy

The Boston Globe‘s Dan Shaughnessy won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for sports writing. Writing out of Boston he’s done most of¬† his work covering the Red Sox, but is generally considered an expert on the sport in general (ESPN uses him a lot). He’s also written a biography of former Boston (and current Cleveland) manager Terry Francona.

 

A Dozen Things You Should Know About Morgan Bulkeley

December 18, 2015
Morgan G. Bulkeley, 1st President of the National League

Morgan G. Bulkeley, 1st President of the National League

1. Morgan Gardner Bulkeley was born in Connecticut in 1837. His family was prominent in politics and his father was founder of Aetna Life Insurance Company.

2. He worked as a gopher and salesman for H.P. Morgan and Company of Brooklyn beginning in 1852. Morgan was owned by his uncle.

3. He served as a private in the 13th New York Volunteer Heavy Artillery during the Civil War. He served in the Peninsula Campaign and left the Army shortly after the battle of Antietam (which he may or may not have fought in–sources vary).

4. He returned to Morgan and Company and remained there until his father’s death in 1872. He moved back to Hartford and founded the United States Bank of Hartford, serving as President, and joined the board of directors of Aetna.

5. Interested in baseball he founded the Hartford Dark Blues in 1874. They played in the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players in both 1874 and 1875. They finished next-to-last in ’74 and third in ’75.

6. In 1876 he moved his team to the newly formed National League. Although William Hulbert was the league’s primary mover, he was generally unliked while Bulkeley was well liked by the other owners. Subsequently, Morgan Bulkeley was chosen first President of the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs.

7. After one year as President, Bulkeley refused to serve a second year, but remained owner of the Dark Blues until the team, failing in both the field and at the gate, folded after the 1877 season.

8. In 1874 he became a member of the Hartford, Connecticut City Council, in 1879 became President of Aetna, and in 1880 Mayor of Hartford. He remained Mayor until 1888.

9. In 1888 he was elected Governor of Connecticut, serving two terms of two years each. He was only elected to the first, but remained in office when the 1890 election resulted in a disputed result and no one was declared a winner (and you though 2000 Florida started this kind of nonsense, did you?).

10. He served one term in the U.S. Senate between 1905 and 1911.

11. He was a member of the Mills Commission that declared Abner Doubleday the father of baseball.

12. Morgan G. Bulkeley died in 1922 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.

Bulkeley's grave in Connecticut

Bulkeley’s grave in Connecticut

 

My Own Little Hall of Fame: Locale

December 16, 2015
I need a building. Whattaya think of this design?

I need a building. Whattaya think of this design?

In a comment on an earlier post, the Baseball Bloggess asked where I’d put my Hall of Fame if it were real. Frankly, I hadn’t thought about it at all. But it’s a good question.

First a few parameters have to be set. As only Kansas City, and then only for a little while there, provides a Major League team west of St. Louis, we can rule out any city in the Western half of the country. We have to presume the Hall is going to be placed in a hotbed of baseball and although places like Wichita and Denver and San Francisco may have produced thriving teams, they don’t provide Major League teams and I would think that would disqualify them. We also have to consider traffic patterns of the era. There is no interstate highway racing through the heart of Kansas in 1901. There’s a railroad and it provides most of the long-range transportation in the US. That means we’re looking for a rail hub of some size. Also we need to note the size of the town. The population stats for 1900 show a much different US in terms of population distribution. The nation is heavily tilted toward the eastern half of the country.

My first thought is that there is no earthly reason to put the thing in Cooperstown, New York. The state of New York isn’t a bad choice for the location but Cooperstown isn’t one of the better options. Much of baseball’s early history revolves around New York City and specifically in Brooklyn. So they aren’t bad choices. Neither is Buffalo, interestingly enough. A lot a big early players came through Buffalo. That’s very much true in the 1850s and 1860s and continues through the 19th Century. Also Buffalo is one of the towns that hosts a Major League team for a while. It also maintains an integrated team for much longer than most places. Both Bud Fowler and Frank Grant come through Buffalo a one time or another. But by 1901 Buffalo is no longer associated with Major League baseball.

A second good place to start is Boston. The first great team of the professional leagues, the Red Stockings is in Boston and it utterly dominates the National Association. But other than those teams (and the Player’s League one season winner) Boston doesn’t produce much in the way of winners until the Beaneaters.

There’s Cincinnati. It produced the “first professional team” in baseball history with the Red Stockings of the 1860s. That’s kind of¬†true. There had been professional players well before the Red Stockings, but the Cincy team appears to be the first team that was completely professional. That’s worth a nod to a Hall of Fame location. And it’s also reasonably near the center of US population in 1900.

Then there’s St. Louis. It’s located in the center of the country (well, at least as close to the center as a major town was in 1900) and had a great baseball tradition. It was on a major rail line for ease of travel for Hall visitors and it was the fourth largest city in the country in 1900. Nobody had heard of Houston, now the fourth largest city, in 1900.

All are good choices, each can be justified. But I’m going to build my Hall in Cincinnati. It has a lot of baseball connections and it well located for both ease of visitation and nearness to the most people. Feel free to build your own wherever you want. And don’t ask me to design any of them, I’m sure they’d all fall down (unlike the one in the picture above).

Rose Denied

December 14, 2015

In case anyone hasn’t seen it, today the Commissioner denied Pete Rose reinstatement to baseball. That means Rose will remain ineligible to participate in any MLB related activities except by special permission of the office of the Commissioner. He will also remain ineligible for election to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Without knowing for sure, I presume this means Rose will remain ineligible through the rest of his lifetime unless there is new evidence in his case,¬†he shows genuine remorse, or there is¬†a new Commissioner.

My only comment is “Thank you, Mr. Commissioner.”

 

The Spam Folder

December 10, 2015
the one and only original

the one and only original

Did you ever read your Spam Folder at WordPress? I mean really read the thing, not just glance to make sure everything there was actually spam and then delete it? I have and it makes for some interesting reading and conclusions. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from my very own Spam Folder:

1 Beautiful Russian Brides like my stuff. I get a lot of spam hits from them. Isn’t it great that Russian brides like American baseball enough to read my stuff?

2. Gorgeous¬†Girls of the Ukraine like my stuff. I get a lot of spam hits from them. Isn’t it great that gorgeous Ukrainian girls like American baseball enough to read my stuff?

3. The two above create a certain problem for me. I’ve always been something of a ladies man (What? You thought¬†the¬†babes around here read me for my baseball acumen? ūüôā ) but this particular combination is dangerous. With the Russians and the Ukrainians squaring off in the Eastern Ukraine even as I type this, my charm could be getting me into deep¬†trouble. Russians? Ukrainians? Russians? Ukrainians? Which do I pick? Being deathly afraid of Putin,¬†his arsenal, and his willingness to use it,¬†I’m reluctantly going to go with the Beautiful Russian Brides. Sorry Gorgeous Girls of the Ukraine. Maybe next time, ladies.

4. Triple X porn likes my stuff. I get a lot of spam hits from them. Isn’t it great that porn people like American baseball enough to step away from their photos and flicks long enough to read my stuff? My wife isn’t sure what to think of this, but it seems to be true that I’m a favorite of triple x porn. At least a couple of times a week the porn guys (at least I presume it’s guys) show up in my Spam Folder. I’m not sure what word that I use gets their trolling attention but I seem to keep using it. A lot.

5.¬†The Right Wing Fringe likes my stuff. I get a lot of spam hits from them.¬†In this case I know exactly which word gets their attention.¬†I’m getting a bunch of stuff telling me to stand up for God, country, Mom, apple pie, the girl I left behind (see what I mean about being a ladies man?), guns, and in eternal¬†opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act. I use the word Veteran’s a bunch. Now it’s always in conjunction with the Veteran’s Committee of the Hall of Fame, but it surely triggers these guys. Apparently I don’t use any word that gets the Left Wing Fringe reading me.¬†It seems to me that baseball should be shared equally between Left Wing Fringe and Right Wing Fringe. I wonder what I’m doing wrong?

6. The Jihadi’s like my stuff. I get a lot of spam hits from them. Isn’t it great that Jihadi’s like American baseball enough to stop¬†blowing up themselves and other stuff to read me? I’ve never used Allah or Sharia or Middle East in anything I’ve written (at least I don’t think so) but I keep getting, about once every couple of weeks, stuff wanting me to go to some Jihad website and enlist in the cause. I’m not sure what to think about this; after all baseball is sorta like kite flying and we know what the Taliban did do people who flew kites (apparently not big fans of Disney’s “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”). I do know it’s a symptom that proves the good guys are winning. If these Yahoos are desperate enough to try to enlist someone my age and as out of shape as I am, we have to be winning. Alternatively, they’re crazy (I kinda lean toward this answer.).

7. There’s a Japanese website that likes my stuff. I get a lot of spam hits from them.¬†I can’t read it at all. The only Japanese words I know are banzai (I watch old WWII movies), sushi, Tora Tora Tora (see what I mean about WWII movies), shakuhachi (it’s a flute),¬†samurai, hibachi chicken,¬†Toyota, and¬†Ichiro¬†so I have no idea what’s going on here but I do like Sushi, Ichiro,¬†and hibachi chicken. Don’t care so much for the flute music–not my cup of saki (Ooh, another Japanese word I know).

8. Of course there are a dozen types telling me that my blog page would look better and attract more readers if I’d just give them a ton of money to spiff up my page.¬†How can you top my header, Gionfriddo’s Catch,¬†anyway? Do I look like Mr. Spiffy to you?

9. And finally I’ve gotten some stuff about “enhancement surgery”. It’s unclear what’s being “enhanced”¬† and I’m not at all sure whether it’s male or female enhancement involved. I haven’t tried one of the pages yet so I’m not certain what I’m missing or what I need “enhancing.”

So instead of asking¬†“What’s in your wallet?” let me ask “What’s in your Spam Folder?”

 

 

My Own Little Hall of Fame: 2015 Wrap

December 8, 2015

So year two of my project to see what a Hall of Fame formed in 1901 would look like is done. With one year to go, here’s a wrap of what’s gone on so far and what I’ve learned.

1 I’m actually more conservative than the true Hall. In 22 years Cooperstown added 80 people. I’ve added only 63.

2. I’m also more liberal in that I’ve added four Negro League types while in their first 22 years, the Hall of Fame added none. The added¬†their first black guy (Jackie Robinson) in 1962–27 years after¬†founding the Hall.

3. I’ve been critical of the Hall of Fame for years when they elect no one. I’ve argued that the Hall should enshrine at least one person per year. So I set up my Hall with the idea that at least one person has to be elected each year. I’ve been an idiot. Sometimes (see the 1920 election as an example) I’ve had to put in people I’m not sure really belong because I’m required to elect someone (the football Hall of Fame has a requirement for enshrining members each year). So I apologize to Cooperstown. They got that one right.

4. We almost exclusively elect people to the Hall of Fame based on their statistics. Oh, occasionally a contributor (like an owner or GM or umpire) will get in, but generally players are judged on their stats. We have a thousand different places to look, a thousand different stats to apply, a thousand different people telling us which stats are meaningful. That’s the way we’ve done it for years. You can’t do that in my Hall. Simply put, stats are all over the place. There is no consensus on which are important and which are “well, isn’t that nice”. There is no consensus on what a particular player’s stats actually are. To use one example, Cap Anson’s hit total varies a lot, a whole lot.

5. By 1922 this is beginning to change. I’m beginning to see the guides, the papers, the books all start to show something like consistency on both which stats matter and what¬†are the accepted numbers. The Elias Sports Bureau has helped, but so has the Sporting News¬†and like publications.

6. Also the “important” stats are beginning to stabilize. ERA is now a big deal. It had been a big deal¬†before, but in the 19th Century the stat is almost entirely missing (see my comment on the class of 1922 and¬†Mordecai Brown–it’s comment 2). The main statistical problem is beginning to be the lack of 19th Century stats.

7. The 1901 Hall contains the following position numbers:¬†first base-5, second base-3, shortstop-3, third base-2, outfielders-15, catchers-2, pitchers-16, managers-5, pioneers-3, owners-4, Negro Leagues-4, contributor-1. A total of 63. In several cases (for instance King Kelly and Deacon White) the player did time in several positions.¬†For the above, I took the position he is most associated with today. The “Contributor” is Monte Ward.¬†I simply couldn’t figure out which category he fell into so I left it at contributor. Guys like Henry Chadwick and Doc Adams are listed as pioneers and Charles Comiskey is an owner (rather than a player or manager).

8. I’m still not sure what¬†to do with umpires. I have a pretty good idea of who contemporaries thought the best umps were, but I’m not sure how you actually determine that. Until I do, I think I’ll continue to be short on umpires.

9. The next 12 classes (all the remaining ones for me to choose), are a mix of very good years and very weak years. There are years with Honus Wagner and years with nobody.

10. Negro League information is getting better so expect a decent sized group to enter in the 1920s and early 1930s. Realizing the unrealistic nature of putting black players into a 1920s Hall of Fame, I’m continuing to do so unabashedly.

11. Here’s the list of everyday players available in 1923: Cupid Childs, Sam Crawford, George Davis, Harry Davis, Mike Donlin, Jack Doyle, George Gore, Dummy Hoy, Miller Huggins (as a player only), Hughie Jennings (as a player only), Bill Joyce, Bill Lange, Tommy Leach, Herman Long, Bobby Lowe, Tommy McCarthy, Dave Orr, Hardy Richardson, Wildfire Schulte, Cy Seymour, Roy Thomas, Mike Tiernan, Joe Tinker, George Van Haltren, Honus Wagner. I feel pretty good about the Wagner kid’s chance of making it. With a limit of 20 holdovers, at least five of the above will either make it or disappear from the list.

12. The pitchers available in 1923: Bob Carruthers, Jack Chesbro, Dave Foutz, Clark Griffith, Brickyard Kennedy, Sam Leever, Tony Mullane, Deacon Phillippe, Eddie Plank, Jesse Tannehill, Ed Walsh, Doc White. Again, there are more than the maiximum 10 so somebody is going to get elected or dumped.

13. The contributors: Bill Carrigan, Clark Griffith, Tim Hurst, Hughie Jennings, Pat Moran, George Stallings (All managers and Jennings and Griffith are not considered as either players or owners–except of course a combination of player, manager, owner might be good enough. Also Hurst spent significant time as an umpire,); Cal McVey, Lip Pike, William R. Wheaton (all pioneers); Henry C. Pulliam (NL President); owner Ben Shibe; Sol White (Negro Leagues). That’s 12 and I only allow 10 contributors, so again someone’s off or someone’s in.

14. And then there is 1926. It’s the year the “Black Sox” become eligible. I haven’t yet addressed the issue and haven’t addressed whether a “character clause” exists in a 1901 Hall of Fame. Fortunately I’ve got until April to decide. Frankly, I’m not sure what I’ll decide, but my initial thought is to “throw the bums out,” an attitude that was very common in the 1920s.