The 1926 New England Stats Compiled by Bob Richardson
My friend Bob Richardson just sent me his 1926 New England League batting and pitching statistics The league stats were originally compiled by Munro Elias, and Bob primarily adding the “less than” data. (Dick Thompson compiled many years of pitching statistics for the New England League in a division of labor with Richardson.)
Richardson is doing the same thing for the New England League as what I endeavoring to do with the California League— compiling the complete statistical record of that league from its origins (1886, or 1885 if you begin with the Eastern New England League), and take it up though the 1930 season, the year when the Great Depression destroyed so much of Organized Baseball.
Like many leagues, the New England League had many incarnations: from 1886 through 1888; 1891-99; 1901-1915; 1919; 1926-1930; 1934; 1946-1949.
In his letter that accompanied his stats, Bob lamented how long it had taken him to compile the averages because “local papers were slow to devote space to the revived NEL, devoting more to the semipro Twilight League…” And then wonder if it would be possible to find sources for the 1927-30 period.
A day after the stats arrived, I found this note in a late 1924 The Sporting News article about reviving the New England League: Steve Flanagan of Lowell is interested in reviving the old New England League. He thinks such cities as Lowell, Lawrence, Lynn, Manchester, N. H., Nashua, N H., and maybe two more can interest themselves in a league. He is doing missionary work and if he gets the proper encouragement he will see what he can do about reorganizing the league. The Eastern League is anxious to see the New England League put on its feet and has promised what help it can…”
The Eastern League, like the PCL out here, viewed these lower classification leagues as feeder leagues. Places where players could get experience before facing the stiffer competition of higher classification leagues.