Sunday, October 30, 2005

1937 American Association Roundup

From the 1938 Spalding Baseball Guide:

Completely confounding the league's base ball writing experts, the Columbus Red Birds battled their way to their third league championship in five years when they won the 1937 American Association bunting.

Picked by scribes to finish sixth, the team piloted by Burt Shotton staged a great drive in that last half of the season to pull through after a nip-and-tuck battle with the Toledo Mud Hens and Minneapolis Millers.

The Red Birds did not clinch the flag until the final game of the season, their victory in the curtain dropping contest with Indianapolis enabling them to edge out Fred Haney's Hens by a single game [actually percentage points], while the Kels, piloted by Donie Bush, finished but three games south of the pennant winners...
Frank M. Colley, Columbus

Note: As you can see from the past few days, Gary Fink's work adds much data to the complete record of that season. And much more is needed. My own work on the early Pacific Coast League, apart from seasons I did not recopile from scratch, added shutouts for the seasons not compiled by the league, and saves for every season from its initial season in 1903 through 1957. I used the method similar employed by the ICI Group that compiled the first Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia for the years prior to 1969, when the save became an official statistic. While some may scoff at compiling save for a period when saves were not commonplace, I found many surprises.

I also found some dipressing things: e.g., some seasons the published statistics did not include players who did not finish the season in the league; or, when pitchers played another position they were credited with having pitched in the "G" column. This last problem i have yet to tackle. What I believe has to be done is recompile all the pitching stats from 1910 (where I left off, though I did 1918) at least up to somewhere in the 1930s, any maybe later.

I personally believe that the three top minor leagues should have just as good a statistical record as the major leagues, but that will take a lot more people that Gary Fink and Carlos Bauer.


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