No. 24 Negro Leagues Judy Johnson

I had recently joined Bill James Online, and we were voting for a version of the Hall of Fame. I was a recent member so was timid about speaking out. I study as much as possible, but had a young daughter was working and often had troubles getting on the internet when I was traveling. When Judy Johnson became eligible, I had him higher on my ballot then other voters. That didn’t bother me, but what surprised me was a lot of people left Johnson off their ballot completely. Then someone asked why I had Johnson so high, I said he was one of the nine elected by the Negro League committee.

One of our best members then told me Johnson’s stats, which could be found weren’t that great, but he was probably elected because they give him credit for being a member of the election board. This was really nice as he was one of the few Negro League players who got to accept the honor and make a speech. A lot of the others had passed by the time they were elected. Judy Johnson actually broke down crying during his speech. I thinking this was a hell of a nice guy and it is nice to see nice guys finish first sometimes.

I moved Johnson up two spots from my Negro League article. This was due to an early mistake on my part. Bill James one of the people I used their ratings to rate the Negro League players rated Judy Johnson 2nd at third. However, I only gave him points for finishing 3rd. Those two extra points moved him up two spaces. Not that it matters much as these ratings aren’t that objective, as there is a lot of information missing from the Negro League stats.

Something must have happened to Judy at age 33 as Judy wasn’t a good hitter starting at that age and continuing for the last 4 years of his career. This isn’t too good as he had only an 11-year career. He had a negative WAR 3 of 4 of those years despite playing for the best team in the league. One year they didn’t win the first and second half but had the best record overall.

This is where I have a problem with WAR. How can you have a negative value for playing a full season in the majors. It is an accomplishment just playing there. I know many of sabermetric people would disagree with me on this issue.

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