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First Base Coach

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Date: Apr 6, 2015
19th Century Players
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I've been analyzing the various years of the 19th century, looking at the outstanding performances of each year. I've completed looking at 1876 through 1889.

I started this looking for players to consider for my future SOM Hall of Fame ballot (and I just have a lot of interest).  Like some of you have commented, I didn't have a strong sense of baseball in the 19th century (I've heard of many of these players, but hadn't spent a lot of time learning about them and analyzing where the stand historically).


Here are the players I feel should receive strong consideration for the SOM Hall of Fame (at some point, I won't be adding any to my ballot at this point)

Players Debuting in the 1870s

  • Cap Anson (1871 with National Association)
  • Jim McCormick (1878)
  • Dan Brouthers (1879)

Players Debuting in the 1880s

  • Roger Connor (1880)
  • Tim Keefe (1880)
  • John Clarkson (1882)
  • Ed Delhanty (1888)

All of these players, except McCormick, are in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I'll be looking at players from the 1890s next.  Still in the preliminary stages of researching the 19th century, although I've spent several hours looking through Baseball Reference, and will add players.

 



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VP of Operations

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Date: Apr 7, 2015
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McCormick should be in, too, according to the JAWS system that I mentioned in the Hall thread.

They have him ranked 19th.

I've mentioned my personal distaste for Anson, whom I believe set the game back by more than a half-century, because he was the leader of the movement that forced Black players out of Organized Ball.

Anson wasn't alone, but he was the ringleader, the biggest name in the game, who forced opposing teams to bow to his will, or he would withhold his (and his team's) participation in games.

Other players' views were as bad (or worse), but none had the effect he did on the game for the next 50 years.

Largely because of his actions, we were deprived of seeing the likes of Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, Rube Foster, and so many others, in Major League uniforms.

I think the others on your list suffer in the same way many early 1900's players suffer, through a general lack of familiarity.  For instance, I've been trying to push Nap Lajoie (ranked third among second basemen, just ahead of Joe Morgan).

He doesn't go back as far as your named players (his Major League career started in 1896), but he is a guy you might have to look up, to get a real feel for how good he really was.



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Just sitting in his basement, with a Strat game underway."



First Base Coach

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Date: Apr 7, 2015
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seajaw wrote:

McCormick should be in, too, according to the JAWS system that I mentioned in the Hall thread.

They have him ranked 19th.

I've mentioned my personal distaste for Anson, whom I believe set the game back by more than a half-century, because he was the leader of the movement that forced Black players out of Organized Ball.

Anson wasn't alone, but he was the ringleader, the biggest name in the game, who forced opposing teams to bow to his will, or he would withhold his (and his team's) participation in games.

Other players' views were as bad (or worse), but none had the effect he did on the game for the next 50 years.

Largely because of his actions, we were deprived of seeing the likes of Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, Rube Foster, and so many others, in Major League uniforms.

I think the others on your list suffer in the same way many early 1900's players suffer, through a general lack of familiarity.  For instance, I've been trying to push Nap Lajoie (ranked third among second basemen, just ahead of Joe Morgan).

He doesn't go back as far as your named players (his Major League career started in 1896), but he is a guy you might have to look up, to get a real feel for how good he really was.


McCormick, whom I had no idea about until 2 weeks ago, should be a strong candidate by some committee to be in the Hall.  He has a better resume than many of the 19th century pitchers that are in the Hall. A big exception being he didn't win 300 games.  Wins, until the last 5-10 years, were often a big determining factor in the minds of voters (both for Cy Young and the Hall). Many now put much less emphasis on that statistic. McCormick ended his career with 265 wins.  As with many 19th century pitchers, he did not have a long career (10 years) and that may also have been a factor.  The Hall pitchers hung on for a few more years (Radbourn 11, Clarkson 12, Welch 13, Keefe 14, Galvin 15) and 3 more years would have probably got him to 300 and made the difference.   For 6 years 1879 - 1884 McCormick was a dominate pitcher.

I agree with Anson, he was a vile human being and led the charge to keep African-American players out of the National League.  However, I have resolved to look at players based upon their play on the field.  The stickiest part is determining how to place players that are obvious PED users, since that moral choice directly impacted how they played (although, you could argue Anson benefited by not facing as talented and deep a pool of players as he would have had African-Americans been allowed to play).  I've yet to vote for Anson, Jackson, Rose, Bonds, and Clemens, but I would strongly consider them all based upon their play on the field.  



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"The players are the same age always, but the man in the crowd is older every season."

 



VIP Season Ticket Holder

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Date: Apr 7, 2015
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Really good discussion, guys. Opening up new decisions for the HOF voting.

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VP of Operations

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Date: Apr 7, 2015
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glewis wrote:
seajaw wrote:

McCormick should be in, too, according to the JAWS system that I mentioned in the Hall thread.

They have him ranked 19th.

I've mentioned my personal distaste for Anson, whom I believe set the game back by more than a half-century, because he was the leader of the movement that forced Black players out of Organized Ball.

Anson wasn't alone, but he was the ringleader, the biggest name in the game, who forced opposing teams to bow to his will, or he would withhold his (and his team's) participation in games.

Other players' views were as bad (or worse), but none had the effect he did on the game for the next 50 years.

Largely because of his actions, we were deprived of seeing the likes of Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, Rube Foster, and so many others, in Major League uniforms.

I think the others on your list suffer in the same way many early 1900's players suffer, through a general lack of familiarity.  For instance, I've been trying to push Nap Lajoie (ranked third among second basemen, just ahead of Joe Morgan).

He doesn't go back as far as your named players (his Major League career started in 1896), but he is a guy you might have to look up, to get a real feel for how good he really was.


McCormick, whom I had no idea about until 2 weeks ago, should be a strong candidate by some committee to be in the Hall.  He has a better resume than many of the 19th century pitchers that are in the Hall. A big exception being he didn't win 300 games.  Wins, until the last 5-10 years, were often a big determining factor in the minds of voters (both for Cy Young and the Hall). Many now put much less emphasis on that statistic. McCormick ended his career with 265 wins.  As with many 19th century pitchers, he did not have a long career (10 years) and that may also have been a factor.  The Hall pitchers hung on for a few more years (Radbourn 11, Clarkson 12, Welch 13, Keefe 14, Galvin 15) and 3 more years would have probably got him to 300 and made the difference.   For 6 years 1879 - 1884 McCormick was a dominate pitcher.

I agree with Anson, he was a vile human being and led the charge to keep African-American players out of the National League.  However, I have resolved to look at players based upon their play on the field.  The stickiest part is determining how to place players that are obvious PED users, since that moral choice directly impacted how they played (although, you could argue Anson benefited by not facing as talented and deep a pool of players as he would have had African-Americans been allowed to play).  I've yet to vote for Anson, Jackson, Rose, Bonds, and Clemens, but I would strongly consider them all based upon their play on the field.  


I understand, regarding Anson and keeping it to what he did on the field.

Let me pose one question in that regard.  We know he threatened to refuse to play in any game that a Black player was also involved.  I'm not sure if he ever did it, or if anyone ever called him on his threat.

What if you knew that he actually had acted on that threat (and, being the manager, had also refused to have his team take the field)?  While it's a different thing, is it any less vile than throwing a game?

Professional baseball was obviously on less-solid footing as an entity in those days.  He was such a big star, that he could call the shots.  Teams needed to be able to collect the gate receipts.

Years later, petitions allegedly made their way through several clubhouses, supposedly signed by players who would refuse to take the field if Jackie Robinson played.  Those petitions never actually materialized, though a number of former players have since admitted to seeing them.

Organizationally, baseball was much stronger, and held the upper hand.  With a commissioner (Chandler) and league president (Frick) who had already given their blessings to Branch Rickey, they were able to quash any potential mutiny.

How would we have viewed those disgruntled players in later years, had we wound up being deprived of the chance to watch Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Jackie, Roy Campanella, Ernie Banks, Larry Doby, Satchel Paige and so many others?

That's what Anson brought on, through his actions.  We can't adequately judge the like of Oscar Charleston, Rube Foster, Josh Gibson and others, because of Cap Anson.



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"No cell, no car, no credit cards, he's sixty-plus and gray...
Just sitting in his basement, with a Strat game underway."



First Base Coach

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Posts: 2666
Date: Apr 7, 2015
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Grey Eagle wrote:

Really good discussion, guys. Opening up new decisions for the HOF voting.


 I was going to put it in with that thread, but concluded it was worthy of its only thread.  My main goal is to raise awareness of 19th century players and their contributions to baseball.



__________________

"The players are the same age always, but the man in the crowd is older every season."

 



VP of Operations

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Posts: 16185
Date: Apr 7, 2015
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glewis wrote:
Grey Eagle wrote:

Really good discussion, guys. Opening up new decisions for the HOF voting.


 I was going to put it in with that thread, but concluded it was worthy of its only thread.  My main goal is to raise awareness of 19th century players and their contributions to baseball.


That's a good thought (now that I'm done ranting about Anson...sorry hmm).

It's such a different era.  It's like trying to compare the modern run-and-gun NBA with the old box-and-one. 



__________________

"No cell, no car, no credit cards, he's sixty-plus and gray...
Just sitting in his basement, with a Strat game underway."



First Base Coach

Status: Offline
Posts: 2666
Date: Apr 7, 2015
Permalink  
 

seajaw wrote:
glewis wrote:
Grey Eagle wrote:

Really good discussion, guys. Opening up new decisions for the HOF voting.


 I was going to put it in with that thread, but concluded it was worthy of its only thread.  My main goal is to raise awareness of 19th century players and their contributions to baseball.


That's a good thought (now that I'm done ranting about Anson...sorry hmm).

It's such a different era.  It's like trying to compare the modern run-and-gun NBA with the old box-and-one. 


 Rant away.  From what I've read the guy was a first class jacka**



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"The players are the same age always, but the man in the crowd is older every season."

 

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