Quality of Negro Leagues

craig44craig44 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭
So the ichiro threads got me to thinking a bit about the negro league and the quality of players. I read some research on baseball fever that found that NLers did well against mlbers when there were 0-3 mlb players on the opposite team. However, as the amount of mlbers on the opposition increased, the NL win percentage drops. This seems to insinuate that the NL was probably top heavy tallent wise and had little depth like a mlb team would. I think they most likely had some great stars, but the further down the depth chart you went, the talent probably dropped off pretty steeply, with many players not being of m lb quality. This is probably where you get someone like Josh Gibson hitting 800 homeruns as a catcher. Either, he really didn't hit that many or he hit the vast majority against inferior competition.
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Comments

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 3,399 ✭✭✭
    I wish I could find the book I have, but I seem to remember Bob Feller and some Major league players used to play exhibition games against a black "All-Star" team and the black players won a lot of those games.


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  • perkdogperkdog Posts: 15,746 ✭✭✭
    I believe that a large amount of those Negro League players were a shameful waste of potential Hall of Famers.
  • jay0791jay0791 Posts: 2,096 ✭✭✭
    I totally agree with perkdog. On another thread it was argued Ishiro played in Japan vs inferior competition.

    His hits there wouldn't count as does Josh Gibson's. Maybe in MLB record books that is so.

    It doesn't take away his total hit count. Maybe Gibson doesn't officially have the HR record.

    A small measure to correct the injustice many NLers were inducted into the BB HOF despite never having played in MLB.

    It is my belief that man of the NL players were equal to the MLB players. Many HOFers that played against them have said so.

    I suggest watching Ken Burns film on the negro leagues.

    Now that MLB is fully integrated we will have far more percentage of people of color inducted.

    IMO there is no reason to believe that it wouldn't have been any different 60 years ago as today.

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  • JHS5120JHS5120 Posts: 1,976 ✭✭
    Imagine taking the 2016 MLB rosters and split them up into white players and minorities. Then create two leagues with the minorities in one league and the white players in another. I would venture to guess they would be very comparable leagues.
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  • craig44craig44 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭
    How many "official" home runs is Gibson credited with? On baseball reference, he has 107 homeruns. Not quite sure where the 800 homeruns come from with him. Seems like a case of apocryphal stats.
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  • jay0791jay0791 Posts: 2,096 ✭✭✭
    Craig

    I believe Gibson's HR total is an educated estimate.

    The NL did not keep records like MLB did.

    Although not official the all time HR king is Sadaharu Oh from Japan at 868.

    Look him up...he is the Babe Ruth of Japan.

    It's a point not to compare the different eras to today or even the NL to MLB.

    They played a different style.
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  • craig44craig44 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭
    Jay, I agree, 800 is an estimate. Probably, a number someone came up with, like, "oh Gibson, he must have hit over 800 homeruns." Not realistic, but seems to have stuck. Similar to the 650 foot home runs he and Ruth hit. Fun stories, but not based in reality.
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  • perkdogperkdog Posts: 15,746 ✭✭✭
    We need Dallas or Skin to jump in here and give us their point of view
  • jay0791jay0791 Posts: 2,096 ✭✭✭
    Also keep in mind the Negro Leagues were not just one league but many.

    Gibson played for the Homestead Grays in the league most are familiar with but also

    the Mexican, Cuban and Dominican leagues.

    They played only 60 games a year. Most were "barnstorming" games where the players could make the most money.

    Many of these were vs inferior competition.

    The baseball HOF and many researchers did a in depth study of HOF caliber players. From known schedules and newspaper

    writings of the period they can certainly get a very close estimate of statistics.

    Check out Wikipedia on Gibson

    Link
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  • craig44craig44 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭
    Jay, I had a feeling a lot of these games were barnstorming tours. That would explain a lot.
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  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 1,811 ✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: perkdog
    We need Dallas or Skin to jump in here and give us their point of view

    I don't really have anything to add. The OP summed it up pretty well; if the best NL teams or NL all-star teams competed against makeshift teams including some MLB players they did well, but no NL team could have competed with a good MLB team or certainly an MLB all-star team. Obviously, there were individual NL players who were every bit as good as star MLB players, but there weren't many, at least not nearly enough to elevate the NL to close to MLB level. My guess is that if the best NL team had been dropped into MLB at any point they would have fared about as well as the 1962 Mets; they would have won some games, but a lot fewer than any other team. A NL all-star team, on the other hand, could probably have been competitive (.500 record), but not a title contender. Part of the perception problem, I think, is that we think of NL all-stars like Josh Gibson and Jackie Robinson and it seems like if they played on the same team they would have been great. Problem is, Gibson was an old man by the time Robinson came along; we know all the great NL players but don't consider that at any given time there were only a handful of great players in the entire league.
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  • I'm a bit late coming into this argument (don't hate on the new guy), but the NL was a completely different game, with many great players. NLers had a different mindset back in the day, where it was thought better to go 1-5 with 2 RBIs was better than going 3-5 with 0 RBIs (and missing 2 opportunities with runners on base). It was more about better situational baseball and not necessarily about stats, something that is missing in today's game.

    I understand the argument about the many on the lower levels of the NL may not have played in the MLB. However, many of the lower levels of the MLB wouldn't have played either if NLers had played. Please also consider this: Remember that Latinos weren't present during the times of Ruth. I'm not saying that Ruth's numbers aren't legit. They are (although another argument could be that Yankee Stadium's short porch to right field was another thing not considered when looking at his HR total - not everything was a 500 foot blast - another time for that argument over beers). But how many of his HRs came against the likes of Cy Young/Bob Feller caliber pitchers and how many came against a guy named Joe, who wouldn't have been on the team if Sathel was pitching? The argument goes both ways.

    Just offering a different perspective.

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  • grote15grote15 Posts: 23,781 ✭✭✭
    edited February 17, 2017 6:03AM

    @dallasactuary said:
    Originally posted by: perkdog
    We need Dallas or Skin to jump in here and give us their point of view

    I don't really have anything to add. The OP summed it up pretty well; if the best NL teams or NL all-star teams competed against makeshift teams including some MLB players they did well, but no NL team could have competed with a good MLB team or certainly an MLB all-star team. Obviously, there were individual NL players who were every bit as good as star MLB players, but there weren't many, at least not nearly enough to elevate the NL to close to MLB level. My guess is that if the best NL team had been dropped into MLB at any point they would have fared about as well as the 1962 Mets; they would have won some games, but a lot fewer than any other team. A NL all-star team, on the other hand, could probably have been competitive (.500 record), but not a title contender. Part of the perception problem, I think, is that we think of NL all-stars like Josh Gibson and Jackie Robinson and it seems like if they played on the same team they would have been great. Problem is, Gibson was an old man by the time Robinson came along; we know all the great NL players but don't consider that at any given time there were only a handful of great players in the entire league.

    Dallas,

    I'm curious as to what gauge of NL player talent upon which you are basing these assessments. If the negro leagues were comprised of the same number of teams and players as MLB at that time, do you think the NL would have been more competitive or even better than some of their MLB team counterparts? Or are you saying that the quality of play, if we were to limit the number of teams and roster sizes of the NL to that of MLB at the time, was inferior?



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  • craig44craig44 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭

    I think we may be able to get an idea as to quality of play in the NL by looking at anecdotal evidence. "Stories" are told of Paige winning 2000 games and having 100 nohitters. Also of Gibson hitting 800 home runs as a catcher. Now, I think we all can agree that those type of numbers are completely unprecedented at the major league level. So we are left with a couple of options as I see it. Either those numbers are folktales and not real, or they are based in reality and the quality of play in the NL was significantly lower than that of m lb and great players could put up video game numbers in the NL. Similar to putting mike trout in AA ball and seeking what he could do.

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