I wasn’t going to do this as I thought there was no way to make it work as there isn’t enough information to do a half way decent job of evaluating Negro League Players. Then I thought of a way to do it. I might be a quarter of the way there, but it is the best I can do. As usual I had to come up with a lot of assumptions.
What I decided to do was give points to all 30 players. I decided to give the lowest player 650 points my minimum for getting selected. However, as I started looking at it closer I changed it to 700. Then I want the first pitcher to have enough points to be in the top 10, so I gave Satchel Page enough points, so he was in the top 10. However, I had to consider that Oscar Charleston was ahead of Paige, so I had to knock two players out of the top 10 Stan Musial and Walter Johnson.
After playing with the formula a bit I developed a formula that worked for me, by giving each player 70 points for each of the 10 points they earned and 3.5 points for all the other points they earned. With this formula I have 2 Negro League Players in the top 10, 3 in the top 15. I have 5 in my inner circle which is now 55 players. There are 10 Negro League players in my top 100 with 18 qualified in my automatic hall of fame total of 825. The other 12 I have in my Hall of Fame as at large players.
This means that 201 players automatically qualified for my Hall of Fame. However, this formula isn’t an accurate representation of how well each player played the game. This is my best guess using numbers of where they belong. Here is an estimate of each player and where they would rank on the list.
Oscar Charleston – 1.716 points which would sixth. Bill James had him fourth. I have Barry Bonds passing him as he played his best years after Bill wrote his books. The other player I have moving in front of him is Hank Aaron. That puts him behind Willie Mays but ahead of Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle.
Satchel Paige – 1,646 points. He is between Ted Williams and Stan Musial. With the addition of Oscar Charleston that makes Paige number 10 on my all-time list and my number one pitcher.
Josh Gibson – 1,576 points. He is behind Stan Musial ahead of Walter Johnson of 12th on the all-time list. The first catcher on the non-Negro League list was Johnny Bench at number 28 which is will behind Gibson.
Turkey Stearnes – 1,210 points He ended up between Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio. That was 36th before I did this experiment. These are two excellent players Stearnes is ranked with. So is Stearnes really as great as DiMaggio. Well to tell the truth I don’t know. Bill James has DiMaggio ahead and has both higher than I do. Stearnes was a great fielder like DiMaggio. Both could really hit the ball. Rating players from two different systems doesn’t always work.
Pop Lloyd – 1,117 points, which is the same as Al Kaline who was in 48th place. It takes 1,111 points to get in the inner circle. This puts Lloyd ahead of Robin Yount.
Mule Suttles – 1,094 points, this ties Bob Feller who was in 54th place. This puts Suttles about 8 spots ahead of Willie McCovey who hit as least as well as Suttles. Suttles probably was a little better fielder.
Cristobal Torriente – 1,019 points. He falls between Rod Carew and Luke Appling in 73rd and 74th place. He is even harder to judge as he spent part of his career playing for Cuban teams.
Smokey Joe Wlliams – 999 points. It figures he ended up between the two great Dodger pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax who were in 77th and 78th place. This may be just right for him.
Buck Leonard – 985 points. This is the same as Gabby Hartnett for 84th place. That is a couple of spots behind Jeff Bagwell, which work out well.
Willie Wells – 973 points. This total is between Pee Wee Reese and Adrian Beltre who were in 89th and 90th place. Beltre would be the new 100 place player in these ratings and Wells would be 99th.
Cool Papa Bell – 957 points. He would be between Ted Simmons and Willie Stargell who were in 97th and 98th place. I always think Bell would have been like Lou Brock but a lot better defensively. I have Brock at 184, so I might have Bell a little high.
Bullet Joe Rogan – 950 points. He would be between Carl Hubbell and Billy Williams who were the number 100th and 101st player on my list. Hubbell and Rogan two great pitchers.
Bill Foster – 893 points. He would be between Bill Dahlin and Joey Votto who were 134th and 135th on my list. He has 7 points less than John Smoltz and I’m alright with that.
Martin Dihigo – 849 points. He would be tied with Vladimir Guerrero number 159th on my list. I wrote earlier that Johnny Mize thought Dihigo was better than him. I’m sure he was a better fielder as well as a great hitter. Bill James as Mize quite a bit ahead of Dihigo. I guess we can’t go off limited games in spring training.
Biz Mackey – 835 points. He and Jud Wilson have 835 points which would be Dan Brothers and Don Drysdale who were in 169th and 170th place. I would consider Mackey a Thurman Munson type and this formula has Mackey ahead of Munson. I can see that.
Jud Wilson – See Biz Mackey.
Monte Irvin – 830 points. I compared Irvin to Larry Doby. Doby finished 909 points. I didn’t consider getting Irvin the same number of points as Doby when developing the formula. However, what I did before was a guess. I have no idea what I done is more accurate, but I feel more comfortable using a formula being a numbers guy. Irvin ties Ed Delahanty who was in 174th place. I would take Irvin.
Ray Brown – 828 points. Ok, He has the same number of points as Roger Connors in 179th place. He is slightly ahead of Eddie Plank which works for me.
Ray Dandridge – 813 points. He is with Trevor Hoffman for 193rd place. This formula has him behind Home Run Baker and in front of Stan Hack, which I can work with.
Hilton Smith – 782 points. Smith is between Gene Tenace and Dale Murphy who were in 217th and 218th place. Smith is a great pitcher but every 3 or 4 years his stats aren’t that impressive and that hurts him in the rankings.
Andy Cooper – 781 points. Well, this is only 1 point less than Smith, so he is the same as Dale Murphy. I am confident that Smith is the better pitcher and have no problem with Andy Cooper being here.
Willard Brown – 769 points. He is between Frank Howard in 234th place and Lance Parrish in 235th place. Brown had a lot of RBIs and was a power hitter. He was not as big as Howard. He probably was a better fielder than Howard but didn’t have as good of an arm. I would give Howard a slight edge.
Ben Taylor – 766 points, which is the same number as Kenny Lofton number 238 has. Ben Taylor finished one point behind Jason Giambi at 237th place.
Judy Johnson – 742 points. Bob Elliot another third baseman is behind Johnson with 741 points. Elliot was at 262nd place.
Louis Santop – 740 points. Santop along with Jose Mendez finished behind Jimmy Sheckard (265th place) and Eppa Rixey (266th place). The nearest catcher to Santop is Darrell Porter who was at 252nd place. That works.
Jose Mendez – See Louis Santop. This puts Mendez ahead of Eppa Rixey which works.
Pete Hill – 733 points. This puts Hill between two shortstops Phil Rizzuto (271st place) and Bert Campaneris (272nd place). This is a couple of places ahead of Bob Johnson (273rd place).
Leon Day – 726 points. This puts Day between two pitchers Tim Hudson (280th place) and Three Fingers Brown (281st place). This looks like a good place for Day.
Frank Grant – It is really hard to place Grant and Fowler as they were both minor league players in the 19th Century. We do know they were really great players to just get to play with white players. The formula ties him with Carlos Delgado in 312th place.
Bud Fowler – See Frank Grant. The formula behind Bobby Mercer (317th place) and in front of Brian McCann 318th place.