Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Follow Up Letter from Kevin McCann

A Follow Up Letter from Kevin McCann


Thanks for sharing your views about stats gathering. Working on the 1935 Kitty League over the past few months has given me a greater appreciation for the work you and other minor league researchers do. It's my first attempt at what really is a tedious but ultimately rewarding project. My opinion is similar to yours. It's better to have a few stats for a season than none at all. That's what I've come to realize with the Kitty League seasons that have none. Maybe I'll only be able to gather 30-40 box scores for a 1903 team, but it's better than having none at all, which is where the record now stands.

My ultimate goal is a book about the Kitty League, but first I feel I need to fill in the statistical gaps in its history, and there's lots of them. I've been working on the league for the past eight years, but I'm just getting into the statisticals part of it now. I've spent a lot of my time in the 1935-1955 period, interviewing living players and researching the newspapers.

When I started out researching, I figured partial records weren't worth much. Now I know better, thanks in large part to your blog and the work other researchers are doing. It would be nice if MLB would grant the Minor League Committee similar funds to correct the ML record as they did for the Negro leagues!


I think this is how a lot of minor league researcher start. They want to document the minor league that dominated their region, and consequently produced many memories. Many times they start out— like I did— believing that all the stats must be in the guide for” their league.” How could the guides no include stats for the PCL?I asked myself. It takes only a little delving into the matter to find that baseball statistics evolved— and not always in a straight line.

When I began, I thought I’d just get all the stats from the guides for the Coast League and be done with it. Boy, did I get a surprise! I am nowhere near complete on all I now want to do with the early Coast League. The pitching in the 1920s and part of the 1930s is horrendous, and I would like to redo all the pitching stats for that era. (One thing I noticed is that the league a pitcher a game pitched even if he played another position; i.e., a pitcher is a pitcher is a pitcher, and if he happens to play another position one day they’ll count it as a game played as a pitcher.) But that is a project I’ll be going back to someday. What I am working on now is the complete record of early California Leagues; i.e., leagues that called themselves California League or California State League. Then I plan on working on other, lower leagues here in California. I especially am interested in the central valley leagues. Some seasons they had leagues— judging from the rosters— that were every bit as good as the Coast League.

Then maybe I’ll get back to the Coast League.

Other people began doing minor league research because of the book Daguerreotypes, which attempted to publish the complete record, major and minor, of the great players. Many researchers, on their own, tried do put together records of the near greats and/or other, but finding that a league that the player appeared in didn’t compile stats (this is especially true for the 19th century), and so would attempt to compile that season. Vern Luse did many league seasons from Sporting Life box scores for that purpose. Bob McConnell does individual players in leagues, compiling only the stats for that season for the player he is working on at that moment.


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