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I don't remember exactly the number, but I think something like 35-40% of Hall of Famers (or maybe players with 60+ WAR) born since 1931 (Mays/Mantle) are players that would have otherwise been banned before Jackie Robinson.  I don't know what that number is decade by decade, but it's a good way to determine the level of barriers to entry, if someone wanted to tackle that. In hockey for example, at some point, something like 50% of first-rounders were Europeans, but we never had 50% of players being Europeans.  Meaning there was other barriers from getting the non-star European players to come over (namely it's easier/cheaper to scout/sign the non-star Canada/US players than Euro players, much as you are pointing out with the minor league structure of the 1940s and 50s).
Asked by: tangotiger

Answered: 6/23/2021
 I see your point now. . .didn't get it yesterday.   But I would point out that in addition to the "level of barriers to entry" there are also issues of population size that complicate this analysis. 

 

Do you agree with Brett Kavanaugh's opinion:  
 
The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America. All of the restaurants in a region cannot come together to cut cooks’ wages on the theory that "customers prefer" to eat food from low-paid cooks. Law firms cannot conspire to cabin lawyers’ salaries in the name of providing legal services out of a "love of the law." Hospitals cannot agree to cap nurses’ income in order to create a "purer" form of helping the sick. News organizations cannot join forces to curtail pay to reporters to preserve a "tradition" of public-minded journalism. Movie studios cannot collude to slash benefits to camera crews to kindle a "spirit of amateurism" in Hollywood.  
 
From  
Asked by: PeteRidges

Answered: 6/23/2021
 That's pretty good writing for a lawyer, I think; most of them favor technical writing.   Yes, of course I agree with it, but there is a point on the opposite side of the fence that needs to be made as well.   There may be a place in the world for amateur competition.  If a group of people get together and decide to organize competitions among, let us say, chess players who are not at the moment being paid to play chess, do they have the right to do that?   It would seem to me that they do, and this would not seem to me to be "flatly illegal", I don' think. 
 
The issue arises in two separate cases.  First, it is an issue when others are making large amounts of money to stage these "amateur" chess competitions, but the chess players themselves--key to the project--are uniquely banned from earning income for participating.  And second, it is an issue when the claim that no one is being "paid" to participate in these competitions is a sham and a fraud, when everyone knows that the chess players ARE being paid and there are all sorts of carve-outs and exceptions to the "no payments" rule.   
 
The issue is whether money is central to the undertaking.   If, let us say, your local Chamber of Commerce wanted to stage a Chess Competition for those who volunteered to play, that would be legal and appropriate, I would think, if:
 
THe Chamber of Commerce was paying the costs of staging the event, 
The rights to televise or cover the event were not sold, and
Tickets to the event either were not sold or were sold for moderate amounts of money.
 
They would be presumptively illegal if:
 
A profit-seeking company was staging the event, 
The rights to televise the event were sold for a million dollars, and
Seats in the auditorium were sold for $100 a seat.  
 
When I was in college (1967-1971), most games were NOT televised.   When they were televised, no one had paid for the "rights" to televise the game or the rights to broadcast the game.   As late as 1965, you might have two or three different radio stations broadcasting the same event, none of them paying for the right to do so.
 
Those things are still the rule today at small colleges with only a local following.   That's a different situation.  Thus, it would seem to me that if those small colleges want to say, "No, we don't WANT to go down the road of paying athletes to compete in our leagues", it would seem to me that they have every right to do so.  The only thing is that if they do that, then they have to adopt rules saying "You can't sell your broadcast rights.   You can't sell tickets for more than $10.  You can't pay your coach or any other involved person more than a reasonable living wage. . .let's say $70,000 a year.  You can't sell advertising in the arena.  If you want to be an amateur, you have to be an amateur on both ends."
 
Too many people are talking about this problem in absolutes.  Too many people are saying things that seem to amount to "You can't run an amateur competition."  I am saying you CAN run an amateur competition; it just needs to be amateur on all sides. 

 

Do you think some players actually hit better (or worse) depending on where they are placed in the batting order?
Asked by: pablo

Answered: 6/23/2021
 I couldn't say with confidence one way or the other.  I have observed, however, that the gains reported or claimed from this strategy seem to me to be transient.  I think I have seen a lot of cases in which someone got red hot after he was moved into the second spot in the order because he would see more fastballs with a base stealer on first, or was moved from 5th to 3rd so that the cleanup hitter would protect him in the lineup.  There is no definitive evidence that these effects could not be real.  But, as they say, it's a game of adjustments.  

 

In 1961 Bud Daley was traded for Deron Johnson.
Asked by: DavidH

Answered: 6/23/2021
 Oh.  That would have been a good trade for the A's had they not given up on Deron Johnson too soon.  

 

Mike Jenkins asked "why the Expos had elb as their logo"?  
 
I enjoyed Bill's answer "Ernie Loves Baseball", but according to Google, there is no "L". The "e" and "b" are meant to frame the "M". (Funny, the Expos were my favorite expansion team of 1969 and I later married a Montrealer, but I never noticed the letters within the M logo before.) Apparently, it stands for "Expos de Montréal Baseball" as well as, perhaps, the original owner's name Edgar M. Bronfman.
Asked by: hotstatrat

Answered: 6/23/2021
 More theories yet to be introduced.  

 

Watching the recent home run surge by Kyle Schwarber, I keep hearing announcers talk about how he has "responded" to being placed in the leadoff position in the batting order. I know you have commented on how little effect batting order has on overall team runs scored, but do you think it actually may have an impact on how individual players perform? In other words, if someone hits .350 as a leadoff hitter but .250 when batting cleanup, or vice versa, do you think that's probably just random, or do you think it's actually possible some hitters do hit better because of where they are in the order? Managers seem to believe it actually means something (or at least they act like it does)
Asked by: pablo

Answered: 6/23/2021
That seems like several questions tied together in a Gordian Knot.   I'd need you to disentangle them for me.  

 

Rhetorical question.  I just walked by someone on the street wearing a Montreal Expos hat.  Was I the only one who spent their childhood wondering why the Expos had elb as their logo?
Asked by: mikejenkins

Answered: 6/23/2021
 It was a sly tribute to Ernie Banks.  Ernie Loves Baseball.  

 

YouTube has a nice little recap of Spahn's 2-hitter in Game 4, with Siebern's misplays shown very clearly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bboVSWCzqHo
Asked by: wovenstrap

Answered: 6/23/2021
 1958 World Series.  Thanks.  

 

I remember in 1961 Charlie Finley vowed that the A'S would never make another trade with the Yankees . In June the A's traded former All Star Bud Daley to the Yankees for Bud Daley . The Yankees got two decent years out of Daley and in the 1961 World Series Daley had to relieve Ralph Terry and got the win in a 13-5  
rout of the Reds . I never heard that story about Maris's bat when he came to New York . I do remember Maris made a terrific throw that kept Mays at third  
with one out in the 1962 World Series  
Best Regards
Asked by: skowron

Answered: 6/23/2021
 OK.  I should go check who Bud Daley was traded for, but. . .fatigue wins.  

 

Hey Bill, not really a question here, but I came across this paragraph in a NY Times article from a few days ago about pitchers doctoring baseballs.  It completely blew my mind:  
 
In the 2016 season, there were 3,294 more hits than strikeouts in the majors. By 2018, strikeouts had narrowly overtaken hits. And if the 2021 numbers continue at the current rates, there will be about 5,200 more strikeouts than hits this season.  
 
If that incredible set of stats has appeared on your site, I apologize for being late to the party...but I still can't get over it.  There's something rotten in Denmark folks!
Asked by: paulw112

Answered: 6/23/2021
 We have more strikeouts than we really need. 

 

Hey Bill. RE: Maris discussion. I'm curious about two things. Just looking at the info on BB Ref it looks like the main return for KC in the trade was Norm Siebern, who played quite well for KC. He wasn't an MVP, but had OPS's of 125, 129, 140 and 110 for the As and was either an All Star or getting MVP votes. His first full year with the Yankees was pretty impressive: 300/388/454, OPS of 136 and a gold glove to boot in the OF. His 2nd year with them wasn't as impressive, but both Maris and Siebern were young, big, lefty hitting outfielders at the time of the trade. Pretty evenly matched. It seems like it could have been just as easily Siebern who won an MVP in NY as opposed to Maris. I'm scratching my head wondering why either team would make this trade. Secondly, what was the park effect in KC? Did the characteristics of the stadiums figure into their subsequent performances? Thanks.
Asked by: RanBricker

Answered: 6/21/2021
 THe trade was NOT wildly imbalanced.  Siebern was an outstanding player, and the A's were not terribly hurt by that particular trade.  
 
Although he had previously been regarded as a good outfielder, Siebern had a disastrous day in left field in the 4th game of the 1958 World Series.  THe game was played in the afternoon and the lights were on for TV.  Siebern lost several balls in the lights/sun, and his misplays set up all three Braves runs (according to Wikipedia.)  I believe he had also had difficulty with a couple of fielding plays earlier in the series (just memory).  Anyway, Casey benched him for the rest of the series, and never regained confidence in him.  
 
Also, although nobody wants to talk about it, Maris' strong increase in power in 1960 probably. . .should say probably.  Maris' increase in power in 1960 may have resulted in large part from the Yankee bat-matkers.  The Yankees of that era knew some guys who could make fix up some really good bats, if you know what I am saying, but they didn't give those to just anybody.   Maris had real power, of course, but he may also have had some talented bats.  

 

I have been looking through Baseball Ref's expanded Black Leagues stuff, and it's a lot of fun learning about Mule Suttles etc.   I'm wondering how good was the average Black League player (in the 20's-30's) as compared to the MLB guys?  Is there a way of finding that out?  I'd guess they're (at least) dead even, others disagree.  
 
Thanks!
Asked by: Manushfan

Answered: 6/21/2021
 The BEST players from the Negro Leagues were certainly on a par with or (more likely) somewhat ahead of their major league contemporaries. . .the top 20%.   As you get further down the toster, I would be less confident that this was true.  The Negro Leagues were absolutely brilliant at finding the best 15-, 18-year old kids anywhere in the country, picking them up and training them, but when you get to the bottom of the roster, the white leagues were supported by a network of minor leagues which did a decent job of sorting the wheat from the chaff.  That tended to protect the quality of the 25th man on a major league roster.  

 

If you can tolerate one more comment on the Maris to KC trade, I thought I'd check the June 25 1958 Sporting News, which had plenty of coverage of the trade deadline deals that year. Supposedly, three other teams were after Maris. The Yankees offered Bobby Richardson; the White Sox Jim Rivera and Billy Goodman, and Detroit was willing to include Bob Shaw, but refused to part with Frank Bolling or Billy Martin.  
 
There was no outrage or editorializing about Maris inevitably going to New York, though, interestingly Frank Lane was quoted as saying he made the deal with KC on condition they not trade him to the Yankees.
Asked by: frankjm

Answered: 6/21/2021
 Interesting.  That might explain why people remember that there was some "Yankee Input" into the deal.
 
We often did that with the Red Sox, by the way.  We made many or at least several deals over the years in which it was a condition of the trade that the player would not be re-traded to the Yankees.  Just a verbal promise from the GM, but it always held.  

 

Bill,  
Regarding when the trade deadline began, this site (http://cliffordblau.000webhostapp.com/trades.htm) says the NL started it in 1917 and the AL picked it up in 1920.
Asked by: W.T.Mons10

Answered: 6/21/2021
 Thank you. 

 

HeyBill:   ever see Babe Ruth's short-movie called "Fancy Curves" ?  Funny and interesting. Babe teaches an all-girl team baseball. May be the only time Ruth asked his wife for permission to spend time with some women (played by his wife or soon to be wife, billed as Claire Merrit Hodgson), its in the movie. Maybe you could add this to you best movies list?  
 
here it is:  
 
 
 
Asked by: FrankD

Answered: 6/21/2021
 Never seen it; thanks. 

 

 
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