Category Archives: All-Deadball Team

All-Modern Day Deadball All-Stars pt. II

All-Modern Day Deadball All-Stars–pitching by year

As the old saying goes, there are three ways a pitcher can help himself out:  raise strike outs, lower walks and get more ground balls.  Deadball pitchers must have gotten a lot of ground balls because they didn’t give a s**t about strike outs or walks.

Selecting a Deadball All-Star squad from modern pitchers was slightly more complicated than the hitting team because of philosophical questions.  How do you adjust for HR/9 when the post modern era averaged more than five times as much?  Where do you draw the line for innings pitched?

First, I looked over the Hall of Fame list of deadball era pitchers after the amalgamation of the NL and AL, which is 1901-1919, because we want the best of the group.  The majority of the HoFers had a BB/9 less than 3 and a K/9 less than 6. Getting rid of the outliers, none of those pitched fewer than 240 innings in a season.

So I began to set the parameters:

1.5 < K/BB < 2.5
6 < K/9
3 < BB/9
240 <= IP

and then organized that Deadball era HoFers group by WHIP.  Turns out most of the WHIPs were somewhere between 0.9 and 1.3, so that was added.

Then I put in the function into B-R’s Play Index as following:

WHIP < 1.3
6 < K/9
3 < BB/9
240 <= IP

(Note: doing [3 < BB/9, 1.5 < K/BB < 2.5] pulled up some results we weren’t looking for–some pitchers that had 6.7 K/9.  There were also some deadball HoFers–Christy Mathewson, per se–who had a higher K/BB than 2.5 even though they had a K/9 less than 6, so that was scrapped and the [6 < K/9, 3 < BB/9] worked better anyway, as you’ll see in the results).

And then I organized it by HR/9–since there was no way of a pitcher matching a deadball era pitcher’s HR/9 (most were sub-0.10), the best thing to do was to see who came closest.

So what turned up was interesting.  122 results kicked up, only five pitchers after 1989 came up and none after 1997 (Dave Stewart 1990, Kevin Brown 1992, Bill Wegman 1992, Jack McDowell 1992 and Pat Hentgen 1997).  I originally guessed that was because of the five-man rotation, but it gets weirder, as you’ll see.

Anyway, here’s the team as I see it and with an explanation after the jump.

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All-Modern Day Deadball All-Stars pt. I

All-Modern Day Deadball All-Stars–hitting by year

The last post got me thinking, what players in the modern day would have thrived in the Deadball era.

Deadball era hitters were known for low home run totals, high batting averages, bad Isolated Discipline (on-base percentage – batting average) and low strike out rates.

I went on Baseball-Reference’s Play Index (jeez is that thing fun to play with) and set the first parameters for career: BA >= .315, OBP >=.370, HR <= 400, minimum 3,000 plate appearances.

The list is surprisingly thin and chock full of first basemen of all things. Turns out a number of them were hurt because of late-career declines, so I scrapped that and started looking under single season for the same parameters, with HR <=20, between 1961-2009 (expansion era).

And that’s when the hits just kept coming.

Here’s what came up (slash stats are batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage/no. of home runs):

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Filed under All-Deadball Team, Deadball era, MLB history