1923 – Bob’s Star Trek analogy, Roy Thomas and Dummy Hoy, Dad and the Blarney Stone, unearned runs,

I am not a Trekkie, but I do love me some Star Trek. My ballot sort of reminds me of the “I, Mudd” episode, where Spock tells the two identical androids “I love you, but I hate you”. My ballot seems to be saying:

Sam Leever, I love you, but I hate you, Jack Chesbro, Chief Bender and Ed Reulbach. Fred Tenney, I love you, but I hate you, Lave Cross and Herman Long. Roger Bresnahan, I love you, but I hate you, Johnny Kling and Chief Meyers.

And picking the 4 black players is reminiscent of “Plato’s Step-Children” where Kirk reluctantly kisses Uhuru. I want to….but I don’t want to either.

Roy Thomas and Dummy Hoy

I am not anti-Hoy, I’m just not pro-Hoy. I had anticipated him being elected. He has a number of things going for him. I’m just not convinced it’s enough.

And I am not pro-Thomas either. If we elect him, he will be one of the weakest, if not THE weakest (altho I still say it’s Tommy Bond), selection. The 1918-1921 candidates are some of the weakest we’ll ever see, altho the 1950s are pretty weak as well.

Why Thomas over Hoy? SkeptiSys has it right – it’s all about the environment. I did a quick little study…

I took the number of Runs Scored for a league, divided that by games played, and divided that by 18. What that gives us is an average of the number of runs scored per batting position. For example, in 1899 the NL scored 9672 runs in 923. 9672 divided by 923 divided by 18 is .58216 runs per game that each batting slot averaged. Hoy in 1899 played 155 games, so he should have been expected to score 90.2 runs (.58216 X 155 games). He actually scored 117, which is 26.8 runs better than expected. I did that for each season. Hoy exceeded his expected runs by 283.5 runs over the course of his career, or 25.6 per 162 games.

Thomas exceeded his expected runs by 322.8, or 35.6 per 162.

I did two other lead-off hitters. I did the greatest lead-off hitter of the 19th century, Billy Hamilton, and one of my favorite Dirty Ball Era candidates, George Burns, the Giants’ lead-off hitter of the ’10s and early ’20s. I’ll make a chart, showing Runs Over Expectation and Runs Over Per 162:

283.5 25.6 Dummy Hoy
322.8 35.6 Roy Thomas
678.0 68.9 Billy Hamilton
339.8 29.7 George Burns

Obviously, I only looked at one element, Runs Scored Above Expectation. I didn’t adjust for Park Factors or quality of players coming up behind them. I didn’t look at power. speed, RBIs or fielding. So this puts Thomas (and Hamilton) in the best possible light. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hamilton’s isn’t the highest ever for a lead-off hitter.

Ultimately, the goal of a lead-off hitter is to score lots of runs, and Thomas was better at it than Hoy was.

Just for fun, I did Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines.

Totals for Raines are 384.6 Runs over expectation, or 24.9 over per 162. However, if you delete his seasons (1979-80 & 1999-2002) when he was primarily a pinch hitter/pinch runner, he has 450.5 extra runs, or 32.1 per 162.

Totals for Henderson I cheated on. I compared him to the NL instead of the AL, because of the DH, which I think is fairer. Anyway….Rickey’s numbers 816.9 extra runs, or 43.0 per 162. Deleting his last two seasons as a pinch hitter/pinch runner, he has 820.9 runs, or 44.6 per 162.

Rickey’s quantity of extra runs is greater than Hamilton’s but not the rate.

Well, I’m guessing that Henderson’s gross total is the highest for a lead-off hitter. I ought to check the other great lead-off hitter of my lifetime, Pete Rose….for his career, Pete was 563.8 runs above or 25.6 per 162 for his career. But if you delete 1983-6, when he was chasing Cobb’s hit record and not playing very well, he had 604.4 extra runs or 31.6 per 162.

I’ll wait to do Jeter.

The Blarney Stone and unearned runs

For my dad’s 90th birthday in September, he’s going to Ireland as well. He’s been before with Mom, but his new wife, Loretta, has never been. Do old people really need to kiss the Blarney Stone? Well, maybe they should – it might help them with St. Peter!

The Brown/Cubs Defense is an oddity. However, if Brown had had a 25% Unearned ratio, his ERA would have been 2.22, nearly identical to his 2.20 ERC. It would have changed his ERA+ from 142 to 132. Conversely, if Plank had the same Unearned ratio as Brown, his ERA would have been 2.18, and his ERA+ would have gone from 122 to 132, the same as Brown.

Columns for the ten pitcher on the ’23 ballot are ERA, ERA+, ERC and ERC+
2.46 113 2.42 115 Chief Bender
2.06 142 2.20 133 Miner Brown
2.68 110 2.54 116 Jack Chesbro
2.68 104 2.69 104 Cy Falkenberg
2.47 122 2.53 119 Sam Leever
2.35 122 2.39 120 Eddie Plank
2.97 106 2.92 108 Jack Powell
2.28 123 2.37 118 Ed Reulbach
2.30 119 2.62 104 Jim Scott
1.82 146 1.84 144 Ed Walsh

On my ’23 ballot, I had Brown ahead of Walsh. I think that’ll change on my ’24 ballot.



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