Seamheads Negro Leagues Database
The Negro Leagues Database Blog

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1924 NNL Fielding & Pitching + 1921 Tesreau Bears

A brief note on an update we made a few weeks ago. We have added:

1) Fielding statistics, full pitching statistics, and batters’ hit by pitch for the 1924 Negro National League, along with games involving one new independent team, Charlie Mills’s St. Louis Giants;

2) 1921 games between Black teams and a very good white semiprofessional team, Jeff Tesreau’s New York Bears. Playing their home games in Harlem’s Dyckman Oval, the Bears featured a number of former or future major leaguers (Tesreau himself, Larry Doyle, Manuel Cueto, Herb Kelly, Curtis Fullerton, Paddy Smith), minor leaguers (Bobby Crowell, Tommy Taguer, Paul Dietz) and well-known New York-area semipros (the brothers Willie & Frank Kelleher, George “Shorty” Page, Cy Curran). The Bears, probably the equivalent of a good minor league team, went 20-17-4 against Black teams in 1921.

Coming up: 1924 ECL fielding & complete pitching stats, 1939 NNL & NAL fielding & complete pitching stats, more games between Negro league teams and white majors & minors, more Mexican League & Cuban League seasons.

Jeff Tesreau’s New York Bears in 1921, from Thomas Smith’s book Paddy Smith: Dexter Park’s Eternal Firebrand (courtesy of Scott Simkus). Top row, L to R: Walter Simpson, Jeff Tesreau, Dan Tierney, Paddy Smith, Willie or Frank Kelleher, Bobby Crowell, Harry Wolters, Tommy Taguer. Bottom row, L to R: Willie or Frank Kelleher, George Page, mascot, Paul Dietz, Manuel Cueto, Curtis Fullerton.

 

 

THE 1942 MEXICAN LEAGUE SEASON

We’ve added data from the 1942 Mexican League, a season of 84-88 games that finished with three teams within two games of first place. Union Laguna de Torreon posted the best record (48-40) thanks to Martin Dihigo, who proved why he’s one of the greatest players in baseball history.

The 37-year-old Dihigo not only led the team in hitting with a 144 OPS+, but he pitched in a career-high 35 games, went 22-7 with a 2.53 ERA, and was the best pitcher in the league. Not surprisingly, another all-time great–Monte Irvin –was the league’s best hitter and enjoyed a season that would have made Ted Williams envious. In 63 games, the young shortstop slashed .397/.502/.772 with 20 homers, 79 RBIs, 74 runs, and 11 stolen bases. Add in his time with the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League and his numbers become even more impressive–.412/.508/.792 with 21 homers, 90 RBIs, and 81 runs in 67 games.

We also see Quincy Trouppe having a very strong season in his prime, perhaps solidifying himself as one of the top 5 Negro League catchers all-time.

In addition we added new box scores and new data for 1938, two box scores for 1928, three for 1933, and as always, additional biographical data uncovered by Seamheads Lead Researcher Gary Ashwill.

Later this year, we plan on adding fielding and various secondary statistics (pitchers’ HRs allowed, HBP for batters, etc.) to Negro League seasons where they are not complete, plus many Latin American seasons (Mexico 1943-1954, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela), as well as the California Winter League, Negro leagues vs. minor league games, the ManDak League, the Negro leagues after 1948, perhaps the Provincial League, and a lot more.

NORMALIZING NEGRO LEAGUE STATISTICS

Most baseball fans are familiar with the concept of ‘normalizing’ statistics. For MLB statistics, the most basic adjustment is to normalize for park effects. The simplest park normalization calculation takes the impact of a team’s park on runs scored then divides that number, either positive or negative, in half, and then that calculation is applied to a player’s OPS, ERA, wRC, etc. to get a normalized performance (usually indicated as OPS+, ERA+, wRC+). If you want to compare players from different leagues or seasons, add an adjustment for the individual league scoring rates and, viola, you have a normalized statistic.

However, the reason simple park calculations ‘work’ for normalization is that there is an underlying assumption that, except for home parks, players within a league all face almost identical conditions under which their teams perform. Those conditions include:

1.     Playing the same number of games as all other teams.
2.     Playing schedules with close to the same difficulty.
3.     Playing an equal number of home and away games (and not
playing any neutral site games).
4.     Playing most or all home games in the same park.

Teams, and within teams, the individual players, do not EXACTLY all meet these conditions. Some teams play more difficult schedules than others. Some batters may, by schedule or just bad luck, face better pitchers on average than other batters, and vice versa for pitchers. Some players may play more or fewer home games. But those are exceptions, and unless there’s a need to make really fine distinctions between very similar players, adjustments are typically not made for strength of competition, or for the fact that players play better at home than on the road, etc.

For the Negro Leagues, those assumed conditions all fall apart. Not just for the ‘pre-league’ 1900-1919 era, but even after formal leagues formed, the following conditions still prevailed in the Negro Leagues:

1.     Teams played varying numbers of total games.
2.     Teams played differing numbers of games against other
league teams.
3.     Teams played an unbalanced number of home and away games.
4.     Teams played in multiple ‘neutral’ parks.

As a result, the simple park calculation won’t work for the Negro Leagues. To do a good enough job of normalization, we need to adjust for frequency of home field advantage, the strength of the opponent’s batters and pitchers, and finally the combination of parks played in, both at home and on the road.

The steps used to normalize Negro League stats on seamheads.com are:

1.     Estimate the Negro Leagues home field advantage in runs per
game.

2.     Calculate each team’s Simple Rating System (SRS) number in
runs per game. SRS uses the run difference in each game
between teams plus an adjustment from #1 above based on the
game being home/away/neutral to come up with a Strength of
Schedule which feeds back into the final SRS rating.
Baseball-reference.com calculates SRS for MLB teams (in 2011
the Yankees led MLB with a 1.4 RPG SRS while Houston had a
-1.2 SRS). For more details on the calculation see the
football example at: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=37

3.     Estimate based on Runs Scored/Allowed the SRS broken down
into offense and defense/pitching for each team. Using 2011
MLB as an example, perhaps the Yankees 1.4 SRS would be 1.3
for Offense and 0.1 for defense/pitching. So if our
team is playing the Yankees, our pitchers are going to get a
lot more ‘credit’ for having faced the Yankee batters than
our batters will for having to face the Yankee
pitchers/defense.

4.     Calculate a park factor adjustment for every park played in. We do this by calculating a ‘lifetime’ park factor for each Negro League park played in, including neutral sites, then we ‘resize’ to each league/season so that all the parks in a league/season average to 1.00.

5.     For each game, apply a run adjustment based on the opponent
SRS (again with batters and pitchers getting separate
adjustments), adjust for whether the game was at home, away
or on a neutral site, apply the specific park adjustment,
then add those all together for final batter and pitcher
difficulty runs adjustments for that game. Finally, all of
the team’s individual game adjustments are then summed and
averaged for the normalizing factor for batters and pitchers
for that team.

 

Today's Birthdays
Player Pos Years Born WAR
Cleveland Clark
CF
1945-1948
1919
1.6
Anderson Pryor
2B
1923-1933
1900
1.0
Henry Gillespie
SP
1921-1932
1896
0.2
Columbus Ewing
RF
1931-1931
1902
-0.1
Guy Ousley
2B
1931-1932
1910
-1.4


Died on This Day
Player Pos Years Died WAR
Nolan Swancy
-
1924-1924
1964
-0.3
Martin Crue
SP
1942-1948
1994
-0.4
Alphonso Gerard
RF
1945-1948
2002
-0.6
Willie Wynn
C
1944-1948
1992
-1.6

If you have any questions regarding Negro Leagues statistical or biographical data, please contact gary@seamheads.com..

All biographical data, copyright 2011-2018 Gary Ashwill.

Playing statistics for 1887-1922 and 1926-1938, as well as all Cuban League games (1902-1928) and Negro League vs. Major League games (1887-1944), copyright 2011-2018 Gary Ashwill.

Playing statistics for 1923 (except Negro League vs. Major League games), copyright 2011-2018 Patrick Rock.

Playing statistics for 1933 and 1943, copyright 2013-2018 Scott Simkus.

Playing statistics for 1924-1925, 1939-1942, and 1944-1946 Negro Leagues (not including Cuban League and Negro League vs. Major League games), copyright 2011-2018 Larry Lester, Wayne Stivers, Gary Ashwill.


Defensive Regression Analysis data used here was obtained with permission from Michael Humphreys, author of Wizardry

Win Shares are calculated using the formula in the book Win Shares by Bill James