SPOTLIGHT: NLB (Black Baseball)

9/17/19: And it begins….(the hiatus, I mean). Don’t expect much in the way of updates (site-wide) until I get my current work out of the way and put the finishing touches on the sprawling Retroplay baseball history replay project. By MLB Opening Day, 2020, I hope to have a definitive set of data and the first publications that result from the many years of time-consuming research, organization, and findings.

Within a day or two, the status of all of my web pages will be changing, as any premium plan features will go away (at least until I renew as a paid subscriber, likely sometime in 2020). Take care, and circle back later…

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8/19/19: Sooo… just what have I been up to lately? Why no posts for 2.5 months? Here’s my straightforward answer: I’ve been concentrating on assembling the most comprehensive listing possible of Negro League Baseball (NLB for short, here and throughout the site) players (1871 through 1960 or so). And if you’ll quickly look below, the impression I’d gathered was that the downloaded lists provided by Wikipedia and seamheads.com (roughly totaling 700 unique players) would get us fairly close to the number of historical participants in organized black baseball for all of that 19th-20th Century range.

Well, I was only off by a factor of about 4 (or more)! So far, by oh-so- painstakingly searching the Negro Leagues Database at the Seamheads site (I’m talking going bit-by-bit through all possible alphabetical combinations in the players’ names, and updating the WAR numbers every time the fine folks there have added new (previously unreleased) seasonal data), I’ve uncovered over 2,000 NLB players for whom there is a sufficient amount of statistical data to warrant inclusion in this study/replay project. In addition, there are (again, so far) another 700 NLB participants who either lacked a first name (an initial only, or just what is apparently a last name) or a minimum of 10 plate appearances or 9 innings pitched (career). Lastly, I’ve run into dozens of still others who have no recorded position (other than PH — for pinch hitter — or only a pinch runner, maybe), which renders them unusable for our purposes here. However, those men did make NLB appearances — even if they were one-offs — and we can’t take that away from them.

All told, then, the “much-less-rough” estimate now is that 2,800-3,000 players made at least one recorded appearance on some NLB playing field. I’d be fooling myself if I thought I could ever nail down the exact number of historical playing participants, but I am really drilling down with dedication into the available data in hopes of identifying each and every player qualified for this study/replay project. I don’t want to miss any, and I have found some omissions/oversights where updates and corrections must be made to get things right (the number of TTL/ERL qualifiers will increase from 458, as was stated below).

Another item worth mentioning: with the “new” seasonal data input by seamheads.com, many NLB players experienced changes in their career WAR data (plus/minus) and/or their WAR average per 162 games figures (greater/lower). That means, in turn, that their Retroplay RE-set Hall of Fame formula numbers were also affected (usually increased, but not always). The upshot — for all of the materials posted earlier — is that revisions will be in order when all of the available numbers are in, so nothing below is in its final form.

Time for me to return to the near-daily slog of data-combing. But the thought that I might be able to be of service — somewhere down the road — to my fellow students of baseball history and fantasy-league/replay enthusiasts is what drives me onward. Do me a favor, though, if you can: please let me know if somebody somewhere has already produced a (nearly) comprehensive — and printable — list/database/spreadsheet of NLB players! Email me about that or simply encourage me here: 1@retroplay.net       Thanks, and we’ll meet here again later.

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6/6/19: The 75th anniversary of “D-Day” is a good day to break out a new Retroplay page. As things develop, content will be added to this page that more specifically relates to players “of color” who were denied access to Major League Baseball before barriers began to come down in 1947 with the entrance of Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, and less-famous others (who had to be tremendously courageous, stoic, and persevering as well).

Our ceremonial first ball on this occasion will be this batch of all 9 pages of my Negro League Baseball (NLB) Register of the 458 players who qualified to be included in the True Test League (TTL), the Expanded Regional League (ERL), or both. I’ve explained elsewhere what it took to qualify for participation in either of those Retroplay custom leagues (see these pages: Retroplay Home and Retroplay RE-set Hall of Fame), but suffice it to say here that not every historical NLB player “made the cut.” Later on, I’ll have a better estimate of just how many players there were (total) who made appearances in black baseball leagues — right now, it looks like around 700, judging by lists at Seamheads.com and Wikipedia — but of that number, only the players listed below had NLB stats that could be counted towards their career WAR numbers in the Retroplay system. Note that 27 of these men played in both the Negro Leagues and the Major Leagues.

QUICK KEY: “BIRTHPLACE”=STATE/NATION (TOWN, IF KNOWN); “YEAR”=BIRTH YEAR, IF KNOWN (ELSE, “N.A.”); “REG”=REGIONAL TEAM (IN THE ERL); “WAR“=WINS ABOVE REPLACEMENT (CAREER, ADDING NLB AND ANY MLB TOTALS); “P162″=PER 162 GAMES WAR CALCULATION; “POS”=PRIMARY POSITION (NEXT COLUMN ADDS OTHER POSITIONS PLAYED IN MLB/NLB); “GRID(S)”=THE GRIDS (SPREADSHEETS) WHERE YOU’LL FIND THE PLAYER’S YEAR-BY-YEAR WAR FIGURES; “MLB?”=DID THE PLAYER COMPETE IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES (IN ADDITION TO NLB)?; “RRHOF PTS.”=RETROPLAY RE-SET HALL OF FAME POINTS (FORMULA=CAREER WAR (__._) X AVERAGE WAR PER 162 GAMES (_._); TOTALS (PRODUCTS) OF 200 OR MORE MERIT NEARLY AUTOMATIC INDUCTION (MLB PLAYERS FROM THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURY REQUIRED TO HAVE 5000 PLATE APPEARANCES (PA) OR 1620 INNINGS PITCHED (IP), AND NLB (OR 19TH C. MLB) PLAYERS NEED 2500 PA (WHERE DOBIE MOORE FALLS SHORT, HENCE THE ASTERISK) OR 810 IP (DUE TO SCANT SUPPLY OF CAREER STATS); RRHOF TOTALS ARE GIVEN ONLY FOR THOSE WHO ARE “IN.”

Without further ado, it’s now time to “Play ball!” Players are in order of career WAR.

NLB REG POST1

NLB REG POST2

NLB REG POST3

NLB REG POST4

NLB REG POST5

NLB REG POST6

NLB REG POST7

NLB REG POST8

NLB REG POST9

This page first published June 6, 2019. Last update: 1:32 PM, 6/6/19.