June 1, 2020

Negro Leagues Database Update: East-West All-Star Games Added

November 28, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

We have now added 22 new games to the Negro Leagues Database – the 16 East-West All-Star games played annually at Comiskey Park in Chicago from 1933 through 1948, plus 6 ‘second all-star games’ that were played at various eastern ballparks (two at the Polo Grounds, two at Yankee Stadium, one at Griffith Stadium and one at Cleveland Stadium).

Although we’re not talking about a lot of games, these were perhaps the most important games played by Negro Leaguers in the 1933 and beyond time period, and now we can see who the top performers were in these competitions.

Perhaps the top performer overall was Leon Day. Day only participated as a pitcher, and didn’t hit very well in the games, but he pitched in 9 All-Star contests for the East team, always in relief, and he was credited with 1 win and 2 saves. In his 21 1/3 innings, he gave up only 4 runs (3 earned), 13 hits, walked 8 and struck out 22! Another pitcher who did well in the games was Dave Barnhill. Barnhill started 1 game and relieved in 4 others, and in his 14 innings of work allowed only 2 runs.

For position players, CF Neil Robinson may have been the best all star performer. In 10 All-Star games for the West team, Robinson slashed .448/.515/.724, for a 254 OPS+, including a HR and Double in the late innings of the 1939 game when the West came from behind to win 4-2. Mule Suttles also performed extremely well in his career all-star games, going 7 for 21 in 6 games, with a double, a triple and 2 HR’s, which included a 3-run, 11th inning walk-off homer in the 1935 game, for an 11-8 West victory, which may have been the best of all the Negro League All-Star games.

These statistics were derived from contemporary game accounts and box scores out of papers such as the Chicago Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier, the Baltimore African-American, the New York Amsterdam News, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Atlanta Daily World. Friend of Seamheads Eric Chalek was extremely helpful in re-creating play by play for several games. The definitive book on Negro League All-Star games, Larry Lester’s “Black Baseball’s National Showcase”, served as a tremendous source for auditing the data, and for resolving naming/identity issues where there was not clarity in the source documents.

You can see the entire list of 224 East-West All-Stars here: (All STARS), so please feel free to poke around and explore the new data.

Next up for the DB: 1901/02 Cuban League, 1927 Eastern Colored League, 1929 American Negro League, early Mexican League seasons, and more!

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