Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Final League Averages, 1

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Ron Mrozinski Died in October

I just received the February issuse of the Pacific Coast League Potpourri, and noticed that it contained notice of Ron Mrozinski's passing away last October. He pitched for the Sacramento Solons in 1956, and above is his whole baseball career.

Click on Career Record to Enlarge

An Announcement

An Announcement

I sent the following open letter to L-SABR, announcing a week-long posting of the complete list of final league averages to date that we have managed to collect over the years.  If you have any additions or corrections, please let me know.  One addition already— Bill Williamson just finished the 1902 Intermountain League compilation, and we will post that once we have posted the final league average list.  We know that there are researchers out there that we don’t know about, and maybe they will contact us with their work.  Or maybe some of you have stumbled across some averages published in your local paper— you can send us a copy of those, and we’ll put your name in lights!  And post those averages.

The posting of the list will begin tomorrow, Monday, and will continue until finished.

Final League Averages

Over the course of the next week, Bob McConnell and I will be publishing a list of all the final league averages compiled from box scores of minor league seasons that have never appeared in any of the baseball guides.  Primarily these compilations were the work of SABR members, and should be instructive of the depth of working that has gone on over the decades of SABR’s existence.

Additionally, the list includes official final league average sheets for the minor leagues that SABR member and former official scorer saved from the ashbin of history containing material, though official, never made it into the Sporting News Baseball Guide during the post-World War Two era.  This should be especially instructive for those like Steve Gietschier and Lyle Spatz, who have accused me of some sort of vendetta against the Sporting News, in general, and Steve Gietschier, in particular.

Actually, those of you who take the time to view the work that we have collected and saved, will prove that what we are about is preserving the “complete baseball record,” not just the Major League Record, and attacks against any entity or person couldn’t be further from the truth.  

Therefore, we ask The Sporting News, and Steve Gietschier, to help us in the following manner: Every year, when TSN receives the final official league averages, that they print out one complete copy of those averages, and send them to SABR for preservation purposes.  (I also ask Baseball America to do the same for the independent leagues, and any foreign leagues that they receive stats for.)

We began compiling this list under my tenure as SABR Minor League Committee chair, and I continued it to this day.  Without Bob McConnell it would not have been as complete as it is.  A big thanks to Bob.

Carlos Bauer

Sunday, February 26, 2006

From The Sporting News, February 4, 1899

From The Sporting News, February 4, 1899.

This was sent to me by Davis Barker.  It sure makes you wonder when the term “farm club” really began.


Worcester Will Get the Champions’ Surplus Players in 1899

Worcester, Mass., Jan. 20th— Special Correspondence:— A plan for the farming Boston’s reserved ballplayers is outlined in today’s Telegram: The general impression among Worcester baseball enthusiasts is that the Worcester Eastern League team will be the farm for Boston National League team, should Worcester farm some of Bostons’ utility players and some of its reserve stock, it is believed the team in this city would be at the head of the Eastern League.

I think the term could possibly go back as far as 1884, when the Reserve League played.  I’m not at all sure, but because a number of National League clubs for a league made up of their “reserved players.”  I believe the league lasted over half a season.  After I finish the 1900 California League compilation, I just may compile stats for that league.  And, of course, keep an eye open for the terminology they used back then.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Three Quick Responses on the 1892 Michigan-Wisonsin League from Karl Knickrehm

Three Quick Responses on the 1892 Michigan-Wisconsin League from Karl Knickrehm


What year and what is the name of the league that you are looking for? Minor League Stars vol. 1 has George Hogriever playing for Oshkosh of the Michigan-Wisconsin League in 1892. Minor League Stars vol. 2 has Samuel LaRoque playing for Green Bay of the Wisconsin State League in 1891 and Minor League Stars vol. 3 has Fred Betts
playing for Menominee of the Michigan State League in 1892. At first glance they appear to be 3 different leagues in 2 different years. Are they the same league for both years? I am going to check in my online resources to see if I can access anything....(Shameless plug!! My son's movie In Absentia will be shown at the Egyptian Theater in
Hollywood as part of the Golden Star Short Fest tomorrow at bout 4:00
p.m. and Saturday around 2:00 p.m.)



I have access to the Daily Northwestern fro Oshkosh for 1892. I will try to see what I can find. I did find a box score for the Aug. 14, 1892 game between Oshkosh and Menominee.



The league in question was called the Michigan-Wisconsin League. Both Fred Betts and George Hogriever played in that league in 1892. I found them playing against each other in one of the few box scores that I could find. The final standings as published on 10/1/1892 in the Daily Northwestern are as follows:

Green Bay   29-16
Marisette     26-20
Menominee  23-25
Oshkosh      16-33

The paper reported that Oshkosh has disbanded on Sept. 24, but somehow the team kept playing. The league appears to have finally died when Menominee disbanded on Oct. 2.


Friday, February 24, 2006

A Note From An Old Friend

A Note From An Old Friend

Hi Carlos,I was happy to come across your blog. I really enjoy checking it out on a regular basis. It has inspired me to revisit my research. I found a great source, I recently subscribed to newspaperarchive.com. Hopefully more old newspapers will be added. But they do have several years of the San Mateo Times. So I can research my favorite team...the San Mateo Blues. I talked to you a while back regarding my grandfather— Gene Camozzi. You were kind enough to furnish me with the 1928 stats for the Cal State League. Have you finished anymore years. I would love to see how he compared to other pitchers in the league. I have several on going projects, but always seem to come back to my baseball. I plan to make post my finds on a site I just started. Hope I can keep content flowing:
Good JobKen Camozzi

I wrote Gene back about my plans of compiling stats for every California and California State League up through 1939. So far, I have collected every box score available from my numerous research trips throughout the state, and have compiled stats for every season up to 1900, and several season in the 1903-1915 era.

Ken’s grandfather was one of those local legends around the Bay Area. Another player of that caliber was Jerry Coleman, Sr., that father of the broadcaster and Yankee infielder, who’s career paralleled that of Gene Camozzi. Camozzi pitched year after year in and around San Francisco. In San Diego we had a pitcher named Elmer Hill who became a hero for young Ted Williams. Thousands of people would come out to see him pitch on North Park diamond.

In Chicago they had Lefty Sullivan, who must’ve pitched for over twenty season in the semipro Chicago City League. Bill Weiss, who saw Sullivan pitch when he was a kid, told me that he was one of the best pitchers he had ever seen. The reason he didn’t make it in the Big Leagues was because the pitcher became dizzy every time he bent over too far. In his only season in the Majors, big leaguers quickly found out about his disability, and bunted him out of the American League, and ultimately out of Organized Baseball.

For years in the Chicago City League, every time Lefty Sullivan and Hippo Vaughn would face off, at least 5,000 fans— and sometimes— more than 10,000 would show up for a game. (After his major league career, Vaughn pitched 17 seasons in the Chicago City League and other semipro leagues around Chicago, notching 169 wins in league play.)

Gene Camozzi fits into the above group of local semipro heroes.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

An Almost Unknown League, & A Request for Help

An Almost Unknown League, and A request for Help On this League From Reed Howard

Does anyone have this league: Oshkosh, Menominee, Marinette, Green Bay, Ishpeming, Marquette? This league has about fifty major leaguers and a number of important minor leaguers. Someone must have had access to box scores to do Betts, Hogriever, LaRoque and Letcher for "Minor League Stars". If not the summary do you know how to get any box scores for this league? REED

If anyone would be interested in searching out box scores in Wisconsin, please let me know. This is probably a multi-person project.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Note from Gary Fink, With a Question

A Note from Gary Fink, With a Question

Hi Carlos,
That was quite a bit of information on Orville Kilroy !  Gary came up with a ton of information on the early Coast League pitcher— not only birth and death date material (he died in the Argonne Forest), but every battle he fought in, and everywhere he was stationed
He is not listed in the Web Site— The deadballera.com’s "Those who served.”   I am going to submit that information to that site, along with the other genealogy information I have on him.
In regards to giving a pitcher a Win or a Lost in a game, in the earlier years of baseball (1900s to 1940s?) wasn't it the scorer's decision on who would get the win or lost?  I.e., now a starting pitcher has to pitch 5 IP to get credit for a win, but I believe that in the earlier days of baseball a scorer could give a starting pitcher a win even if he pitched less than 5 IP if he was the better pitcher than the reliever.

Didn't that also apply to who got the lost too?  If there were two or more pitchers for a team that lost, didn't the scorer sometimes or all the time give the lost to the worst pitcher rather than the pitcher (starter or reliever) who was responsible for the run that put the other team in the lead and the other team kept that lead ? 
What was the ruling for 1903 ?

As to the early years, including 1903, the discretion was always that of the scorer until codified.  And that’s why they began listing winning and losing pitchers in the box score summary. The five inning rule never made sense in the early years, for instance.  With small pitching staffs, a team would pull a pitcher after, say, three innings, if his team put up a large lead.  That was in order to not overwork the pitcher, or save him for another day.  In such a case, the starting pitcher was awarded the win.  

In my work, I try to conform to the system in place at the time.  Therefore, I will award a win to the pitcher whom I consider to be the most effective.  And will award a win to the starting pitcher in a blowout who toils less than five innings in the game.

Another thing I found out a little over a year ago is that— at least in the Coast League— pitchers  who appeared in forfeited games were awarded wins and losses.  In compiling the stats for The Coast League Statistical Record, 1903-57, I had to go back and changes pitcher records after I found out that was the case.  And just several days ago, I found out that the statistics for forfeited games of less than five innings are included in the players’ records.  That forced me to go back and plug in the stats for a 1903 game that was three inning in length.  While it didn’t make much difference to the everyday player, it did give Doc Newton another win, making his 1903 record 35-12.

We learn new things every day.

On other topic— Saves.  I compile saves for those long past seasons.  What the Baseball Encyclopedia did was employ the 1969 rule, and take it all the way back to the beginning, which basically gives a save to the last pitcher on the mound in a winning contest if that pitcher doesn’t get the win. That is a pretty easy rule to apply, and probably saves should be compiled whenever a researcher compiles either a season or a pitcher’s record from box scores.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The 1926 New England Stats Compiled by Bob Richardson

The 1926 New England League 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.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Correction to Roy Leslie's Record

Click on Career Record to Enlarge

Robert Morphy brought up a discerepancy regarding Roy Leslie's HR totals for 1924. He had seen it at 18, and I listed it at 16 HR. I could very well have made a typo, so I checked my 1925 Spalding Guide, which listed 16. I didn't have a Reach Guide, so I couldn't check that, but did have a copy of the stats published in the San Francisco Chronicle. It listed 18 Home Runs. That got me to wondering, and I decided to check The Sporting News. TSN listed Leslie with 18 homers. At that, I called a friend who had a Reach Guide, and he looked up Leslie for me, and found thatthey had Leslie with 18 HR in 1924.

The moral of the story: You just can never be sure of the stats in the guides, either.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The 1932 American Association by Gary Fink

Click on Images to Enlarge

Some time ago Gary Fink compiled Shutout and Complete Games for that season of the Association, and decided to add to it Estimated ERAs, which also was not compiled by the league that season. Here is the product of that work.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The New ERA Chart

Click on Image to Enlarge

What to Do About Earned Run Averages, Part 5

What to Do About Earneed Run Averages, Part 5
By Carlos Bauer

A couple of years ago, I decided to update my database with ten or so new seasons contained in the Palmer Encyclopedia.  But additionally, I decided to add 10 seasons’ worth of minor league data.

The first thing I found was that the more data points I added, the smoother the chart line became.  I was able to get data from the lower minors which helped with the lower fielding percentages, which I always assumed to be less accurate because of the smaller number of data points.

What my plans for the future are is to add all the minor league data contained in the guides up until the present.  I believe that will give sufficient data to

The above chart is the latest chart.

How I Use the Chart

Depending on what sources I am working with, I have various ways in which I employ the chart.

When working with pitchers right out of the guide, I use the team fielding percentage to get the percentage of Earned Runs. But sometimes the team fielding percentage is not available.  In that case, I use combine all the individual fielding stats of the starter, plus the pitcher in question himself.  Sometimes even the fielding records are not published, especially for lower leagues.  (Recently, I had the case where all the fielding of all the teams but the club for the pitchers I was working on was published!)  If neither team nor individual stats are published, then I try to find a similar league (Class D league for a pitcher in Class D, and if possible from nearby region), using the league fielding percentage to determine the Earned Run percentage.

When I am compiling stats from box scores, I keep a running tally of  PO, A, and E when each pitcher is on the mound.  This individualized each pitcher on the staff, and no doubt is more accurate than just using the team fielding average for all pitchers.

Originally, I started out giving all the pitchers in the same totals; i.e., if  there were 27 PO, 14 A, and 3 E, I gave all the pitchers that.  Recently, however, I decided to divvy up the putouts, assists and errors.  What I did was base everything on the number of outs each pitcher got.  For instance, say the first pitcher in a game pitched 6 innings of a nine-inning game.  In the above example of 27 PO, 14 A, and 3 E, that would give the first pitcher:  18 PO; 9 A (9.333 rounded off); and 2 E.  The rest to the following pitcher or pitchers.

Tomorrow, I will post the ERAs that Gary Fink came up with for the 1932 American Association for which he used the Estimated Earned Runs Chart.  

Once I finish up a couple of projects, I hope to get back to this on going project, and hopefully by next year, I’ll be able publish a new updated chart.  I don’t believe much will change as far as the higher fielding percentages, but do believe their might be changes at the lower end, primarily because of the dearth of data points for the lower fielding percentages.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What to Do About Earned Run Averages, Part 4

What to Do About Earneed Run Averages, Part 4
By Carlos Bauer

In the ten years or so since I came up with this way a estimating ERAs for pitchers, I have not only used this method consistently throughout my work, but have also learned a lot about Earned Runs.

Originally Earned Runs were just that— runs earned by the batting team.  Later the Earned Run became a pitching statistic, but bore only slight resemblance to what is today considered an earned run.  An earned run, in the 19th Century, not only was a run scored without the benefit of errors— especially late in the century— but without the benifit of walks, sacrifices, fielder choices, and virtually every other type baserunner movement other than hits.

From an 1897 Sporting Life article:

“Under a strict interpretation of the rules, if a batsman tripled with one out and scored on a succeeding put-out to the outfield that run would not be earned unless a hit was subsequently made, but President Young gives a common-sense ruling, and asserts that an E. R. credit is due.  The only radical change therefore, wrought by the amednment is that if a batsman singled and stolen second his run could not be earned unless hits enough were afterward made to put him over the plate had he remained for first.”

A year later Ned Hanlon told the Balitomre Sun: “The present earned run rule is, as you say, an absurdity,” he said yeaterday, “It is absolutely of no use in furnishing a basis by which to judge the relative work of the pitchers, which was the original purpose of the rule.  In fact, it is worse than useless, because I once knew a pitcher who used to give base on balls purposely to some batters to produce the runs against him being ‘earned.’  I suppose some of the pitchers last season watched those things closely and did the same thing as the man I speak of.  I shall try to get the League to pass a rule with some sense in it and that will allow us to ‘get a line’ on the work of the pitchers. Such a rule should make the pitcher responsible for base on balls, batter hit, and wild pitches as much as for base hits.”

The rule, however, was not changed until the next decade.  Knowing the above, and knowing that such researchers as Vern Luse used earned runs given in box scores of that era to calculate ERAs, I questioned whether the Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia had used those “earned runs” given in box scores.  Pete Palmer tried to assure me that the group led by David Neft had compiled earned runs from game stories rather than the earned runs from the box score summaried of the late 19th Century and early 20th.

(I wanted to know this because I wanted my earned run data to be as correct as possible.  If the early data that made it into the Big Mac were flawed, then my correlation would be biased.  If Neft had told me that he had used it, I would have thrown out all my data points from the pre-1914 period.)

I am not as nice— or trusting— a person as Pete Palmer, so I wrote David Neft with the following question: “Did you compile earned runs completely from game stories, or did you use the earned runs given in the box scores of the late 1800s and early 1900s?”

David Neft apparently smelled a rat, but was kind enough to write me back, and really didn’t clarify things, at least to my satisfaction: “We used game stories,” he wrote on my letter, “But we did look at them [earned runs in box scores].”

The response was tantamount to saying: “We compiled batting averages by summing up all the at bats and all the hits— but we also looked at triples.”

But the response was typical of somebody who had spent too many nights drinking beer and talking philosphy at the West End Bar: The only conclusion I can draw from David Neft’s response is— that we don’t know if the earned runs in all the encyclopedias to date are correct or not.

I thought I’d be able to wind this up today, but will have to finish this article tomorrow.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What to Do About Earned Run Averages, Part 3

What to Do About Earneed Run Averages, Part 3
By Carlos Bauer

That’s Nice— But Prove it Works

Next I decided to check it against some pitchers for whom we know how many earned runs they gave up.

First I calculated Joe Pate.  In 1922 Pate gave up 91 ER on way to 24-11 2.71 season for Ft. Worth.  My calculations, using Ft. Worth’s .960 FAVG, give him the same 91 ERs, and the same 2.71 ERA that he had in real life.

Next, Frank Shellenback in 1931.  I give him a 2.67 ERA; his actual was 2.85.

Finally, Fay Thomas in 1934.  2.48 from me against a 2.59 actual ERA.

(What I’m actually doing is calculating an ERA from a mean ER%, and this is what might be characterized as a “Fair Earned Run Average,” or an ERA with all the good and bad breaks taken out.  I use the term “fair” in the same way that fair value is used in the options market. In other words, this tool that was conceived to merely plug in blanks in the records of old-time minor leaguers can be used to check the quality of a current pitcher’s ERA.  For instance, you might suspect a pitcher’s ERA is way too low because he got killed a couple of times, but only a couple of the runs he gave up were earned.)

Next I decided to check my work against some pitchers with great seasons (for all major leaguers, I used The Bill James Electronic Encyclopedia for statistics, so there might be some differences with Total Baseball or The Baseball Encyclopedia:

  1. Bob Gibson in 1968: 1.12 actual, 1.29 estimated.  Great season, but credited with 6 less ERs than would be on average.

  2. Sandy Koufax in 1963:  1.88 actual, 1.69 estimated.  Hard to believe, but his ERA should have been even better than it was.

  3. Bob Welch in 1990: 2.95 actual, 3.13 estimated.  Just about in line.

  4. Lefty Grove in 1931: 2.06 actual, 2.33 estimated.  
All in all, not too bad; all of them very close.  Next I decided to check against some pitchers with horrible records.
  1. Vic Willis in 1905: 3.21 actual, 3.25 estimated.

  2. Paul Derringer in 1933: 3.23 actual, 3.55 estimated.  Figures!

  3. Ben Cantrell in 1935: 4.61 actual, 4.14 estimated.
Next I checked it against the rotation of a team with a low FAVG, in this case Philadelphia NL team in ‘04 (italics are the estimated ERA):
  1. Bill Duggleby, 3.75 and 3.75.

  2. Chick Fraser, 4.50 and 3.92.

  3. Tully Sparks, 2.72 and 2.69.

  4. Fred Mitchell, 4.48 and 4.18.

Finally, I decided to check it against Dick Ellsworth’s career from 1961 through 1968.  (Why I did this only a Cub fan would understand, so I won’t offer any explanation here.)

1961:  3.85 actual, 3.60 estimated.
1962:  5.08 actual, 5.02 estimated.
1963:  2.10 actual, 2.06 estimated.
1964:  3.75 actual, 3.89 estimated.
1965:  3.81 actual, 3.77 estimated.
1966:  3.98 actual, 4.32 estimated.
1967:  4.39 actual, 4.81 estimated.
1968:  3.03 actual, 3.03 estimated.

Not too shabby, even if I say so myself.  

(A Note: In calculating ER% for a pitcher who played for two or more teams, one should try to calculate the pitcher ERs separately for each team he was on.  Many times this is not possible, so some sort of average should be used.)

A Modest Proposal

I propose that we use this method of calculating earned runs for pitchers, teams and leagues for which we don’t have ERAs in much the same manner that was used by the first edition of The Baseball Encyclopedia.  When the editors were not able to account for runs allowed by a pitcher as being either earned and unearned, they used italics.  Thus, when we use estimated figures for earned runs and earned run average, we should also use italicized numbers.

Additionally, I propose that if more that 10% of a pitcher’s years contain estimated ERAs, then his totals should also be italicized.

If we decide to employ this method of calculating ERAs, we will be able to fill in a great number of blanks in the playing records of some of the greatest pitchers who have ever played the game.  Moreover, this will— for the first time— allow us to compare pitchers from the the 19th Century, and the early part of this century, with pitchers who played the game in later years.

In conclusion, I propose that we use this method of calculating ERAs in the following instances:

  1. For pitchers in leagues where they did not calculate ERAs.

  2. For pitchers with less than 45 IP, where no ERAs were calculated by the league for less than’s.

  3. For team statistics, where the league did not calculate ERAs for those teams.

  4. For league statistics, where no ERAs were calculated by the league for the league in question.

I further propose that any future edition of The Minor League Register carry estimated ERAs; that members calculate and include estimated ERAs when disseminating Final League Averages that they have compiled from box scores.  (If we do use estimated ERAs, we would have to affix a note fully explaining what we are doing anytime we used them.)

In conclusion, I’d like to get some feedback from the membership on this, so here’s a ballot that I expect all members will send back.  We have important things to do on this committee, and some things that have to be decided— I’d like to see everybody on the Minor League Committee get their say, and have their ideas have some effect.  I think this is one way to do it.

Also, if any members have comments, suggestions or whatever, I’d like to especially hear from them on a separate sheet of paper.

The following was aproved by the minor league committee by a 35-3 vote.

Tommorrow I will write about what I have learned since this article was published.  Additionally, I will post a new chart that incorporates the research I have done since then.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What to Do About Earned Run Averages, Part 2

What to Do About Earneed Run Averages, Part 2
By Carlos Bauer

Being Stupid for a Long Time
Still Beats Being Stupid For Ever

Finally it occurred to me that, maybe, I didn’t have enough data points with just using the league totals, so I decided to use team totals.  What I did was put down every major league team’s fielding average and what percentage of earned runs they gave up, just like I had done with leagues.
I plotted, averaged the same way as before, and it started to show a marked progressively, but it still wasn’t good enough.  In other words, it was meaningful— but not useful.  There still happened to be what statisticians call “too much noise.”
Then I had an inspiration (or just plain dumb luck).  It occurred to me that the difference between .955 and .956 was minute.  Why, I asked myself, not average all the earned run percentages in 5 point increments, say between .951 and .955, .956 and .960, etc.  
The chart on the following page is the product of that research.  With each increment of fielding average, the percentage of earned runs increased progressively.  (The only place where there was a problem was between .876 and .800, where the percentage turned out to be out of line at 43%.  I plugged in 50% because I only had four data points, and it fit in with the percentages before and after.  I felt that if I had had more data points this figure would move up to the 50%-51% level.)

How It Works & Does It Work

To apply the chart on the following page [below in this case], one needs the following information: Runs Allowed by a specific pitcher; Innings Pitched by that pitcher; the Fielding Percentage of the teams the pitcher pitched for.  
Next, one goes to the chart, looks up the team’s fielding average and finds the estimated Earned Run Percentage (ER%).
Then one has to multiply the ER% by the Runs Allowed by the pitcher to get an estimated number of Earned Runs Allowed.
Finally, one calculates the pitcher’s ERA in the normal way.
Let’s go through a couple of examples taken form The Minor League Register:
In 1904 Charlie Chech had a fine 27 and 8 record for St. Paul in the American Association.  Chech gave up 103 runs in 311 innings; St. Paul fielded at a .954 clip.   Looking on the chart we find that .954 FAVG (all team fielding averages are taken from the guides) gives an ER% of  71%.  Multiplying .71 times 103 R gives us an estimated 73 earned runs.  Calculating the ERA in the normal way we come up with an ERA for Charlie Chech in 1904 of 2.12.  It seems like a logical ERA for a pitcher with a 27-8 record in 1904.
Next I calculated Oscar Graham’s ERA for 1903.  Graham was 28 and 29 for Oakland in the Coast League in ‘03.  His estimated ERA turns out to be a relatively high 3.44, in line with what one would expect from a .500 pitcher in that time frame.
Third, I took Rube Vickers 1911 season.  (I would have loved to use his 1906 season, but there were not any fielding records for that year.)  Rube pitched for Baltimore in the Eastern League that year, and wound up with a fine 32-14 mark.  His estimated ERA comes in at 2.09.  That doesn’t seem to be out of line, either.

Old ERA Chart

Click on Chart to Enlarge

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What to Do About Earned Run Averages, Part 1

What to Do About Earned Run Averages, Part 1

The following is an article I wrote in 1995 about Earned Run Averages, the correlation between earned runs and fielding percentages, and how to calculate ERAs for players who played in years prior to ERAs appearing in baseball guides.

This will be a four-part series, first beginning explaining the problem, followed, tomorrow, by how I stumbled upon a solution, and what the solution was. In the third part I will go into depth with proof that the system works.

Finally, I will expalin what I have learned since 1995, and post a new, revised chart, and conclude with what I am planning to bring this study to an end.

By Carlos Bauer

How many times have you sat down with one of the Minor League Stars volumes, or with The Minor League Register, and wondered about what such and such pitcher’s ERA might have been while staring at the almost blank column underneath the heading ERA? If you’re like me, it’s got to be a million times. What I will propose in this article is a way to deal with those blanks— and even a possible way of evaluating the “quality” of present day pitchers’ ERAs.

As everyone knows the ERA is extremely situation dependent; i. e., if a pitcher gives up six runs before there is an out in an inning, he’s charged with six earned runs, and conversely, if he gives up those same six runs after there are two outs and a man has reached on an error, his ERA will remain as pure as a celestial virgin. These are two extreme cases, yet these are the types of things we have to keep in mind when trying to assign an ERA to a pitchers whose earned runs are not known.

A Short History of Futility

Even before I decided to look for a way to estimated ERAs, I had started using Run Average, which is calculated the same way as ERA, but differs in that it uses Total Runs Allowed rather than Earned Runs. (I believe that both Tom House and Bill James have written about RAVG or R/9 inn as being a much fairer way of evaluating pitchers, especially today.) While this method of rating pitchers was more than adequate for my final league averages projects, it didn’t seem like any would be talking about Bob Gibson’s 1.45 RAVG in 1968. The more I calculated RAVGs, the more I knew I would have to come up with a way to calculate ERAs.

Over the last year or so, I tried several methods to come up with an estimated ERA, none of which turned out to be very useful.

To begin with I thought that it would be very easy to come up a correlation between Team Fielding Average and the percent of Earned Runs Allowed. I figured that that all I would have to do was to put league fielding averages for every league in the history of Major League ball with its corresponding percentage of Earned Runs into a spreadsheet, sort— and that would be that.

Well, about the only thing I found out after spending a few days on that was that .825 FAVG had less earned runs associated with it than a .986 FAVG. The numbers in between, though broadly progressing, jumped all around. It turned out to be useless as a tool, even after I averaged all the percentages at any given fielding average.

After that I started to try weird stuff like use FAVG plus Opponents On Base Average compared to earned runs. (What did Dr. Hunter S. Thompson once write? Was it: “When the going gets weird, the weird get weirder”?) Needless to say, the more things I tried, the further away from my object I got.

Tomorrow I will explain how I stumbled on the solution to my dilemma. I will also post my first chart to use with what I came up with.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Note From Robert Morphy About Coast Leaguer Roy Leslie

A Note From Robert Morphy About Coast Leaguer Roy Leslie

To Carlos Bauer:

Your minor league research website is great. I especially like the articles on players of the past like Merv Connors. On this note I was wondering if you would happen to know some details on the career of Roy Leslie. He played briefly in the majors in the 1920s and for Salt Lake City in the PCL.

I am not sure what happened before or after. If you have any details on his
career, I would appreciate it.

Keep up the good work.

Robert Morphy

I got curious about Roy Leslie, the player who hit so many doubles in the Coast League, and I wondered if he had hit a like number in other leagues. So below you’ll find his complete career record, which Bob McConnell helped me with.  The record turned out to be a lot harder to put together than I thought, and without Bob’s help it wouldn’t have been nearly as complete.

Roy Leslie's Complete Career

Click on Career Record to Enlarge

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Compiling Batters Walks & the 1932 American Association Walks Totals, Part Two by Will Christensen

Compiling  Batters’ Walks & the 1932 American Association Walks Totals, Part Two by Will Christensen

Here are team-by-team listings. Players in bold led the league in one category. Any player not listed had zero walks in 1932.


Name     Walks     HBP
Lew Riggs     57     15
Evar Swanson     55     0
Pat Crawford     54     1
Nick Cullop     48     8
Otto Bluege     46     1
Burgess Whitehead     45     6
Joe Sprinz     41     3
Bevo LeBourveau     39     3
Stewart Clarke     22     1
Hal Anderson     20     1
George Selkirk     17     2
George Rensa     16     1
Joel Hunt     14     0
Ernie Parker     11     0
Fran Healey     9     2
Ken Ash     8     1
Harold King     7     0
Ival Goodman     6     0
Ken O’Dea     6     0
Bill Lee     5     0
Al Grabowski     3     0
Tom Carey     3     0
Paul Dean     3     0
Joe Bilgere     3     0
Pete Fowler     2     0
Harold Wysong     2     1
Sheriff Blake     2     0
Carmen Hill     2     0
Ray Mondron     2     0
Wattie Holm     2     0
Gordon Hinkle     1     0
Phil Weinert     1     0
Earl Webb     1     0
Leroy Parmalee     1     0
Johnny Keane     1     0
Ward Cross     1     0
Perry Moore     1     0
James Lyons     1     0
Tom Moxley     1     0
Unattributed*     1     0

Totals     560     46

*9-11 vs. Ind.: Unable to determine if final walk belonged to Sprinz or O’Dea.


Name     Walks     HBP
Jonah Goldman     73     6
Frank Sigafoos     47     1
Harry Rosenberg     39     1
Doug Taitt     38     0
Ray Fitzgerald     36     2
Tom Angley     32     0
Ernie Wingard     31     5
Pid Purdy     28     0
Sammy Hale     22     2
John Kroner     21     3
Curtis Walker     18     0
John Riddle     18     0
Fuzzy Hufft     16     2
Emmett McCann     15     1
Leo Norris     15     0
John Cooney     11     1
Fred Bedore     8     1
Glenn Chapman     8     0
Bill Burwell     4     0
Stewart Bolen     3     1
Ray White     3     1
Archie Campbell     2     0
Elam Van Gilder     2     1
John Berly     1     0
Les Barnhart     1     0
Bill Thomas     1     0
Ed Lowell     0     1
Pete Daglia     0     1

Unattributed*     1     0

Totals     494     30

*9-24 vs. Lou: Unable to determine if final walk belonged to Goldman or White.


Name     Walks     HBP
Eddie Pick     101     2
Denver Grigsby     78     1
Pat Collins     78     1
Pete Monahan     71     2
Herb Kelly     46     0
Al Marquardt     44     3
Bob Boken     38     2
Jim Mosolf     38     0
Ray Treadaway     33     1
Joe Hassler     22     0
Ed Taylor     21     2
Morgan Snyder     14     0
Bill Dunlap     12     2
Ed Phillips     10     0
Bill Bayne     4     0
Hal Smith     3     0
John Tising     2     0
Lou Fette     2     0
Herb Pember     2     0
Max Thomas     1     0
Joe Dawson     1     0
Harold Carson     1     0
Bob Osborn     1     0
Pete Fowler     1     0
Joe Blackwell     1     0
Frank Gabler     1     0

Unattributed*     4     0

Totals     630     16

*6-5 vs. Minn: Unable to determine if final walk belonged to Collins or Snyder; 6-29 vs. Minn: unable to determine if final walk belonged to Hassler or Mosolf; 7-22 vs. Mil: unable to determine if final walk belonged to Collins or Snyder; 9-6 vs. StP: unable to determine if final walk belonged to Kelly or Hassler.


Name     Walks     HBP
Butch Weis     73     2
Merv Shea     51     1
Herman Layne     50     0
Dud Branom     49     2
Jose Olivares     44     3
Clarence Nachand     37     1
Mel Simons     33     1
Jimmy Adair     32     0
Henry Erickson     24     7
Art Funk     18     4
Claude Jonnard     10     0
John Marcum     9     1
Lester Bell     7     0
Liz Funk     6     0
Fred Maguire     4     0
Ken Penner     3     0
Clyde Hatter     3     1
Joe DeBerry     3     0
Max Kron     3     0
Archie McKain     2     0
William Moore     2     0
Lou Russell     2     0
Phil Weinert     1     0
Roy Wilkinson     1     0
Kola Sharpe     1     0

Unresolved*     2     0
Unattributed**     2     0

Totals     472     23

* 9-18 vs. Col: Box said Columbus pitchers allowed 2 walks. Branom, Erickson and A. Funk each have one plate appearance unaccounted for either in box or game stories in Columbus and Louisville papers.

** 6-16 vs. Mil: Unable to determine if final walk belonged to Layne or Nachand; 7-20 vs. Minn: unable to determine if final walk belonged to Simons or Weis.


Name     Walks     HBP
Jack Tavener     89     1
Alex Metzler     86     7
Bud Connally     75     7
Walt Christensen     51     2
Buck Stanton     50     6
Tedd Gullic     44     0
Pip Koehler     42     0
Russ Young     37     1
Jack Crouch     36     4
Tony Kubek     25     0
Frank O’Rourke     14     1
George Fisher     13     1
Clarence Hoffman     10     3
Fred Stiely     7     0
Jack Knott     6     1
Lou Polli     5     0
Earl Caldwell     5     1
Garland Braxton     4     0
Al Bool     3     1
George Gerken     2     0
Larry Kessenich     2     0
Ash Hillin     1     1

Unresolved*     0     0

Totals     607     37

*8-30 vs. Tol: In the second game of a doubleheader, box said no walks were allowed by Toledo pitchers. Christensen had a plate appearance unaccounted for in either the box or stories in Milwaukee or Toledo papers.


Name     Walks     HBP
Joe Hauser     125     13
Foster Ganzel     99     4
Spencer Harris     82     6
Ernie Smith     74     3
Joe Mowry     64     2
Harry Rice     56     4
Art Ruble     49     3
Ed Sicking     35     1
Wes Griffin     32     2
Paul Richards     25     1
Andy Cohen     18     2
Hugh McMullen     15     0
Ray Fitzgerald     7     1
Jake Flowers     7     1
Bill Rodda     4     1
Rosy Ryan     4     0
Leo Norris     4     0
Rube Benton     4     0
Clyde Day     3     3
John Brillheart     3     0
Hy Vandenburg     3     1
Jess Petty     3     0
Carmen Hill     3     0
Frank Henry     2     0
Ray Phelps     2     0
Phil Hensick     2     0
Elam Van Glider     1     0
Bill Wilson     1     0
Ad Liska     0     1

Unresolved*     0     0
Unattributed**     5     0

Totals     732     49

* 8-11 vs. Lou: Box did not list any walks allowed by Louisville pitching. Ganzel, Rice and Smith each had a plate appearance unaccounted for in the box. The game story in the Minneapolis Tribune mentioned walks taken by both Rice and Smith, and those were included in the players’ totals. But it made no mention of Ganzel’s missing plate appearance. Other Minneapolis and Louisville papers did not clear up the issue.

** 7-10 vs. Col: Unable to determine if final walk belonged to Ruble or Rice; 7-17 vs. Ind: unable to determine if final walk belonged to Griffin or Richards; 8-28 vs. Lou: unable to determine if final walk belonged to Ruble or Fitzgerald; 9-25 (2) vs. KC: unable to determine if final walk belonged to Cohen or Fitzgerald.

Name     Walks     HBP
Marty Hopkins     97     2
Fred Koster     71     6
Bill Norman     56     7
Clyde Beck     46     3
Bob Fenner     38     3
Phil Todt     37     2
Ben Paschal     32     3
Irv Jeffries     29     3
Ced Durst     25     3
Russ Van Atta     13     0
Angelo Giuliani     10     2
Jimmy Reese     9     0
Ed Strelecki     8     1
Frank Snyder     8     0
Paul Wanninger     6     0
Slim Harriss     4     0
Grady Adkins     3     0
Harold Elliot     1     0
Les Munns     1     0
Eugene Trow     1     0
Al Harvin     1     0
Oswald Orwoll     1     0

Unattributed*     3     0

Totals     500     35

* 4-18 vs. Ind: Unable to determine if final walk belonged to Beck or Jeffries; 9-25 (2) vs. Minn: unable to determine if final two walks belonged to Giuliani or Snyder.


Name     Walks     HBP
Mike Powers     58     4
Odell Hale     54     3
John Ward     47     3
Max West     44     0
Bill Knickerbocker     35     8
Pete Turgeon     34     1
Bill Sweeney     33     3
Frankie Pytlak     30     3
Bibb Falk     29     2
Milt Galatzer     26     0
Walt Henline     22     2
Harry White     22     2
Steve O’Neill     22     0
Curtis Walker     19     1
Ralph Winegarner     11     1
Howard Craghead     4     0
Roxie Lawson     3     0
Roy Hudson     3     0
Forrest Twogood     2     0
Lester Burke     2     0
James Moore     2     0
Al DeVormer     1     1
Elam Van Gilder     1     0
Hugh Wise     1     0
Thornton Lee     1     0
Belve Bean     0     1

Unresolved*     1     0

Totals     507     35

* 5-15 vs. Col: Box said Columbus pitcher allowed 1 walk. Henline and Powers each have one plate appearance unaccounted for either in box or game stories in Columbus and Toledo papers.


Name     Walks     HBP
Ray Fitzgerald     43     3
Curtis Walker     37     1
Leo Norris     19     0
Carmen Hill     5     0
Elam Van Glider     4     1
Pete Fowler     3     0
Phil Weinert     1     0
Bob Osborn     1     0
Al Harvin     1     0

     A couple of notes:
     1.) Spencer Harris is now officially the minor-league career walks leader. It had been assumed he was, but it wasn’t known for sure. The highest total is credited to Ray Perry, who played primarily low-level ball on the West Coast during the Forties and Fifties. Perry walked 1,739 times in his career. Harris had 1,690 but with data missing from two seasons -- 1932 and 1938, when he played in the Pacific Coast League, which didn’t keep track of batter walks until 1939. With the 82 walks Harris is credited with in 1932, he moves ahead of Perry, 1,772-1,739, with one season remaining. (Preliminary estimates show Harris will add another 85-95 walks once 1938 PCL data is complete).
     2.) Minneapolis first baseman Joe Hauser was the AA’s best offensive player in 1932 on an unadjusted basis. While Harris led the league in on-base percentage, Hauser was close enough behind that his huge lead in slugging average blew away the field in OPS (on base-plus-slugging), a rudimentary offensive evaluation not possible without walks. Here are the top 10 in each category:

1. Spencer Harris, Minn     .454
2. Joe Hauser, Minn     .448
3. Mike Powers, Tol     .443
4. Eddie Pick, KC     .438
5. Harry Rice, Minn     .432
6. Art Ruble, Minn     .429
7. Evar Swanson, Col     .426
8. Nick Cullop, Col     .422
9. Pat Crawford, Col     .419
10. Alex Metzler, Mil     .415

1. Joe Hauser, Minn     1.103
2. Nick Cullop, Col     1.049
3. Art Ruble, Minn     1.044
4. Spencer Harris, Minn     1.015
5. Tedd Gullic, Mil     1.002
6. Pat Crawford, Col     .997
7. Mike Powers, Tol     .993
8. Evar Swanson, Col     .983
9. Ernie Wingard, Ind     .970
10. Eddie Pick, KC     .928

     That Crawford was chosen the AA’s best first baseman and MVP in light of this information appears curious, but then maybe the scribes 70 years ago were taking into consideration how much Nicollet Field inflated the numbers of left-handed fly-ball hitters such as Hauser. There’s no doubt that infamous bandbox helped. How much is another piece to the puzzle.
     At least the previously missing walks piece finally is in place.

There is a lot of unrecognized work going on in minor league research, and this two-part article shows you the depth of commitment by these dedicated researchers.

One of the things I’ve been working on over the years is “Estimated Earned Runs.”  Because we seem to have gone off on another tangent again, I will be posting sometime this week my article, What to Do About ERA, and posting an updated chart for calculating Earned Runs and Earned Run Averages for the many minor league seasons before earned runs were available.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Compiling Batters Walks & the 1932 American Association Walks Totals, Part One by Will Christensen

Compiling  Batters’ Walks & the 1932 American Association Walks Totals, Part One by Will Christensen

Working with minor-league stats can be like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with kids around -- it’s slow going and invariably pieces end up missing.

Some leagues were diligent at keeping track of information. The American Association was one of them. For example, it kept batter walks consistently back to 1913.

Walks are one of the most important and overlooked categories when it comes to evaluating offense. They’re one of the big four. If you know only a player’s at bats, hits, walks and total bases, you can come up with a reasonably accurate assessment of a player’s offensive contributions.

But the AA didn’t keep, or at least publish, batter walks in 1932. Apparently, there was a problem that year with official scoresheets from my hometown -- Columbus, Ohio -- that led to no earned runs being reported that year for any pitchers. This might have something to do with why no walks were compiled, but I’m not sure anyone knows for sure.
I wondered if there was a way to fill in the gap. There is. It’s hard work, but it can be done.
Let’s say you have culled the following information from a box score:

Name     Pos     AB
Clarke     ss     4
Crawford     1b     4
LeBourveau     lf     5
Swanson     rf     4
Cullop     cf     3
Riggs     3b     3
Rensa     c     4
Whitehead     2b     4
Hill     p     1

Sacrifices -- Hill; Bases on Balls, by Stiely, 6; Braxton, 1;

Could you tell from this which batters drew the seven walks allowed? Yes and with 100 percent accuracy, assuming the data in the box score is accurate. Unfortunately, that’s an assumption that fails on occasion.

The great thing about a box score is it follows the batting order. A batting order isn’t a random thing. Player C always will follow Player B and both always will follow Player A, no matter the game situation. Because of that, Player C cannot bat unless Player B has done so first, and Player B cannot bat until Player A has done so. Of course, Player A cannot bat a second time until the final player in the order has batted. So, if we know Player C has four plate appearances in a game and Player B also has four, we know with absolute certainty that Player A must have at least four and no more than five.

As you all know, a player’s plate appearance will result either in an at bat (with hits and outs calculated accordingly), a walk, a hit-by-pitch, a sacrifice or catcher’s interference.

What we have in the above minibox information, taken from a game May 9, 1932, is an accounting of every plate appearance except walks. We know how many at bats each batter had. We know there was one sacrifice and no batters hit by a pitch. There was no awarding of first on catcher’s interference, and that’s not surprising. I came across two for the entire 1932 AA season.

Because of that, we can figure walks. LeBourveau had five at bats, which means he had at least five plate appearances. That means Clarke and Crawford had to have had at least five plate appearances, too, and everyone below LeBourveau had to have had at least four.

To reach the magic number, we assign one walk apiece to Clarke, Crawford, Cullop and Riggs. Hill was missing three plate appearances, and we know he had a sacrifice, so that takes care of one. He gets two walks. That leaves one unaccounted-for walk. Now, with the plate appearances caught up, we just go down the batting order, and the next player after LeBourveau was Swanson. He gets our final walk. That would give Clarke through Swanson five plate appearances and every one else four.

Occasionally that year, the Ohio State Journal ran a gamelog. This was one of those games, and it showed that Swanson walked in the second inning, Clarke in the third, Riggs and Hill in the fifth, and Cullop, Hill and Crawford in the seventh. That matches exactly what we guessed from the box.

Armed with this common-sense breakthrough and way too much free time, I went through microfilm of the Journal and Columbus Dispatch, which ran box scores for nearly every AA game in 1932. The results are below.

Eighty percent of all games that year were as easy as the above example. Just total up the walks allowed by pitchers on each team and parcel them out accordingly. The remaining games had two issues, one minor, the other not.

The minor issue involved player substitutions. Let’s say Player X replaces Player C in the lineup, and there is a missing plate appearance between the two. How do we know to whom to give the walk? Most of the time that could be determined from the box and the game story.

Pinch-hitters were the easiest to figure. If the box said Player X pinch-hit for Player C and Player X had zero at bats and nothing otherwise covered in the box, well, that HAD to be a walk. Pitchers were the next-easiest because nearly all boxes made mention of innings pitched. If a pitcher lasted into the fifth inning and had no at bats and nothing covered in the box, he HAD to have had at least one walk because at minimum he would’ve come to bat once in the first five innings of a game. That logic also works on fielders, although you need the game story to glean this information. You might find out, for example, that Player C scored a run in the seventh inning, yet he has only two at bats. No matter where he bats in the order, Player C HAD to have come to the plate at least three times if he were playing in the seventh inning, so he gets the walk.

By looking at microfilm of dailies from every other AA city in 1932, I was able to resolve most but not all of those conflicts. The rest probably never will be resolved, and I didn’t want to guess.  [For me, I think Will should have given it his best guess, and then waited for someone to come along to correct that.  Over the course of a season, one walk here or there will not make much difference for most players.  In compiling pitching records, for example, there were times when I couldn’t determine how many outs there were in an inning when a pitching change occurred, so I made a rule for myself that give the first pitcher in an inning ⅓ of inning pitched, and the reliever  ⅔ of an inning.]

The major issue was when the box information was incorrect. This happened less than 5 percent of the time, but when accuracy is the goal, that’s still troubling. For example, the Associated Press box that appeared in the OSJ for the July 17 22-20 slugfest between the Minneapolis Millers and Indianapolis Indians listed Tribe pitchers as having allowed eight walks. The problem was that Foster Ganzel, the fifth batter in the Miller order, had seven at bats, and we needed 10 walks to fill in the missing plate appearances for the four batters above him. So what was incorrect: That Ganzel had seven at bats or that there should’ve been more walks charged to Indians pitchers?

While most similar conflicts were resolved by checking the information against box scores published in The Sporting News, this one required the Minneapolis Tribune. That box score, created presumably by the local writer, had Ganzel with seven at bats but Tribe pitchers charged with 12 walks, which fit with the total of missing plate appearances. The game story also mentioned 12 walks issued by the Indians, so I went with that.

When there were disagreements among sources, my first line of defense was to use gamelog information. The Milwaukee Journal published play-by-play of nearly every 1932 Brewers game in extra editions. The OSJ ran a gamelog about a third of the time. Those took precedence, even over the box scores. After that, I leaned with whatever made sense but typically going with the local-paper box scores and then The Sporting News.

There were four games I was unable to resolve, so those walks are not counted. While compiling walks, I went ahead and kept track of batter HBPs, too, as those were listed in local and wire box scores. I should have made further notations about data changes and pitching logs but didn’t. I apologize.

Tomorrow we’ll finish up this article by Will Christensen, and publish his totals for the 1932 American Association. As I told all of you, this is an amazing piece of research. Difficult, but extremely important.

Friday, February 10, 2006

What's Coming Up

Tomorrow we will begin a two-parter by Will Christensen on his work with determining-- from box scores no less-- batter walks, and his compilation of those for the 1932 American Association.

That will be followed up later in the week by my work on Earned Run Averages, which is a multi-part series.

Bill Williamson has passed along several internet sites of not.

Plus one reader asked me about the career of Roy Leslie, and I may give a shot at putting together a career record for him.

A Nice Note from Another Minor League Researcher

A Nice Note from Another Minor League Researcher

Hi Carlos,

I wanted to thank you for a wonderful blog on minor league baseball research. It's nice to know there are other SABR members toiling away, going blind squinting at faint microfilm to compile statistics for long-gone minor leagues. I appreciate you and other researchers sharing their research on your site.

I myself am working on the 1935 Kitty League, hoping to find statistics left out of the Spalding Guide. It'll be a few months before I have a finished report. When I do, I'll be sure to send you a copy.

Thanks for your efforts!

Kevin McCann

This is another fine site to check out is Jay-Dell Mah’s site dedicated to baseball Western Canada, a site I visit often.  These are real researchers, and not just love fests of nostalgia.


I’m sure there are other sites out there that I don’t know about.  If you stumble across any that might be of interest to researchers, please let me know and I’ll post something on them.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

The 1901 Intermountain League Pitching Record by Bill Williamson

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

1901 Intermountain League Batting Statistics by Bill Williamson

Click on Images to Enlarge

Tomorrow we will present the pitching records of the 1901 Intermountain League.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The 1901 Intermountain League Record by Bill Williamson

Over the next few days, we are going to present one of the finest accomplishments in minor league research, Bill Williamson's compilation of the 1901 Intermountain League. The Intermountain League never had any stats compiled for it, and I thought it might never be compiled. All that exists for the league in The Minor League Encyclopedia is the standings.

Bill Williamson has taken it upon himself to compile stats for O. B. leagues for which we do not have any statistics. Most of the leagues were obscure and feeting. And located far from where most minor league reasearchers live, and so a combination of internet resourches (on rare occasions) and interlibrary loans over the course of months, if not several years give us products like the above.

At the present, Bill is engaged in compiling stats for the 1910 & 1911 Central California League, another league for which we have virtually no information. As a matter of fact, nobody has been able to even come up with a satisfactory set of standings.

Today we'll post the standings of the league, tomorrow the batting, and on Thursday, we'll conclude with pitching.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Texas League in the Depths of the Great Depression

The Texas League in the Depths of the Great Depression

I found the following in the Sporting News, and it give a good feeling for what was happening in a top-flight minor league during the Great Depression. The following is an extract from an article on the Texas League Winter Meeting.

Player Limit of 16 Men Hinted

The salary question was discussed at Dallas [site of the Winter Meeting], one suggestion being to fix the limit at $3,500 a month for 16 players. This would mean a perceptible shrinkage in baseball salaries. No action was taken.

Salary limits are an elastic proposition and easily stretched, especially in these days of baseball farms, so that a player who may be shown to be within the league limit on the club payroll, has another source of revenue from the major league club which operates the farm, it has been pointed out.

There are three clubs in the league which have a source of supply from the major leagues— Houston, which gets its talent from the St. Louis Cardinals; Beaumont, which draws its players from the Detroit Tigers; and Wichita Falls, Longview or Waco, whichever it may be, controlled by the St. Louis Browns, leaving the other five clubs to round up their talent in the open market as best they can.

Frenchy Uhalt Remembered

Frenchy Uhalt Remembered

Howard Owens did an homage to former Coastleaguer Frenchy Uhalt, and wanted me to pass the address on to readers.

I just stumbled across your blog.  It's very cool.
I thought I'd share this ...
Howard Owens

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Greg DeHart Asked Me to Post This

Greg DeHart Asked Me to Post This

Dear Researchers,

I am producing a documentary film on the life of Max Patkin: The Clown Prince of Baseball.  It is both the story of Max's life and of the history of the minor leagues.   A former minor leaguer myself, I was mesmerized at watching Max perform - although his act was a bit distracting when I pitched.  As a documentary film producer who has produced for The History Channel for years, I've always wanted to do a film about the minor leagues, but have not, until now, found a good angle.

For the past year and a half, I have been collecting interviews with the likes of Ron Shelton (Bull Durham), Don Zimmer, Bob Feller, Mike Veeck, Tim Wiles—Director of Research at the Hall of Fame, and the Patkin family, to name a few. Now that I am in the editing process, I am on the search for ANY and ALL film/video/photographs or Max Patkin and the minor leagues.

Respectfully, I write in hopes that anyone who might know of such images contact me.  Any help would go a long way in producing a great film that honors our great past time.

To find out about some of my work as a filmmaker, please google my name,
"Greg DeHart" and the word "documentary".

I thank every you in advance for you time.

Greg DeHart

Saturday, February 04, 2006

This Week in the California League, September 24—September 30, 1900

This Week in the California League, September 24—September 30, 1900

Games this week were played on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30.

Sacramento opened the two-game set with San Francisco at home. The two clubs, separated only by ½ game, battle back and forth for four inning, with San Francisco taking a 7-5 lead at that point. After that the two starters, Tom Fitzpatrick and Demon Doyle, settled down, allowing only won more run the whole game, bringing Sacramento within one run at a final 7 to 6 score. Truck Eagan hit his 8th home run early in the game.

In a battle of also rans, Oakland prevailed over Stockton behind the pitching of Chief Borchers. Both pitchers ran out of gas late in the game, with George Harper running out more, yielding 6 runs in the last four innings. Borchers gave up 3 in the seventh. Final Score 7-3.

On Sunday across the bay, change pitcher George Babbitt beat Doc Moskiman 4-2, as Stockton’s bats score 4 runs in the first, and then remained silent for the rest of the game.

In the afternoon tilt, Oakland turned the tables behind Chief Borchers— winning his second game of the weekend— 3 to 2 over Jimmy Whalen, who tired in the 9th, allowing 2 runs to score.

With San Francisco having edged out in front of Sacramento by five percentage points, the two teams crossed bats at Oak Park in Sacramento on Sunday afternoon. Jay Hughes and former Pittsburg pitcher Phil Knell were the starting pitchers. Sacramento chose to bat first, and scored 4 runs in the opening round behind Truck Eagan’s 9th HR, tying him for the league leadership. Hughes returned to form, giving up only 1 run on 7 hits in the game. Knell gave up two more runs, both in the fifth frame, making the final score 6-1, and that put Sacramento back in the lead by ½ game.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Major League Basebal & Who Owns the Stats

Major League Baseball & Who Owns the Stats


I have been following your discussion on the problems with obtaining accurate minor league stats with interest. I am also aware of a law suit involving MLB and a fantasy league game owner over major league stats that seems to say SOMETHING (I am not sure what yet) about this issue. If you are not aware of this suit, it involves the insistence by MLB that a fantasy game pay it royalties for use of its stats since its statistical records and averages are NOT part of the historical record but rather are intellectual property belonging to MLB. You can find out more details by running a search on Google news. "Baseball statistics intellectual property lawsuit" seems to work. Anyway, this position seems to further your claim that MLB (and, by extension, all those dependent on it including affiliated minor league baseball and TSN) have no interest in preserving the historical record for its own sake. Only if it is to their financial advantage to do so. I would be very interested in your take on this. Thank you for your interesting blog.

eric wunderman

My take is that MLB doesn’t have a chance to prevail, primarily because the Supreme Court has already ruled— and copyright law so states— that facts are not copyrightable.  What I think is going on is that MLB’s lawyers are doing what shyster lawyers do all the time: They file frivolous lawsuit—  even thought they know they can’t win— because it will cost the other side so much to fight it that the other side will either decide to settle— or quit the business.

You will find that they will never sue the Tribune Company or the New York Times because they have deep pockets, and would simply say to MLB: “Make my day!”

The NBA lost their case against STATS; some software company beat one of the phone book companies over their published database that the company put on a CD-ROM.  

One sad fact: The only time MLB cared about the historical record was during the reign of— drumroll— Bowie Kuhn, who gave wholehearted support to the first edition of the Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

More Bad News for Organized Baseball, This Time on the 2005 Stats

More Bad News for Organized Baseball, This Time on the 2005 Stats

Hey Carlos
bad news about the 2005 stats, I've already gotten two instances where they don’t add up— and I’m only checking the games played for the Kane County Cougars
Raul Padron played in 112 games not 113, and Ryan Ruiz played in 94 not 93. This is all according to several scorekeepers at Cougar games that all have the same thing.
David Malamut

It’s just heartbreaking to see what organized baseball is doing to the historical record— which, because of the failures of the MSM, we will never be able to correct.

And going digital means, sadly, loosing our present.  There isn’t— in many cases, I am told— a paper trial for scorers, everything gets keyed in the big computer directly.  And, if you go to minor league game, you are probably the only person in the park scoring the game.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

For All of You Who Believe Bill James Invented the Wheel

For All of You Who Believe Bill James Invented the Wheel

From The Sporting News, November 10, 1932:

Only one Texas League team batted better last season in night games than during the day.  The Galveston club hit .269 at night and .233 by daylight.  The champion Beaumont team batted .290 in the afternoon and slumped to .247 beneath arclights.  Tony Governor, Galveston outfielder, batted .497 in daylight and only .228 at night.  Edgar Carroll, Galveston pitcher, won 13 games and lost six at night, but in the afternoon contests, he scored only two victories against ten defeats.

The more you read, the more you realize that sabrmetrics began in the far, far past.  People were putting numbers together back to the beginning of baseball. Bill James’ range factors revolutionized the way we look at baseball fielding.  But then somebody pointed out that Branch Rickey had done something similar prior to James.

Actually, Rickey first read the theory of rating fielders by Total Chances per Game in an off-season article in The Sporting News in the 1920s.

What happens is that people forget, and are lost to history.  And thus have to be reinvented.  Maybe time after time, in the case of Range Factors.