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Mailbag: Silver King, Fantasy Keepers, and the Hall of Fame

by Keith Glab, BaseballEvolution.com
February, 2007

Long Live the King

Hi Keith,  

I read your article “Was Robin Robbed?” and found it interesting. I am the great great grandson of Silver King and was doing a Google Search of him and came across your article. I think it’s cool that people today are still talking about players who played over 100 years ago. I was on another forum where guys were picking Silver King on their “fantasy” team or something. Who would have thought that people today would care about baseball of yesteryear? My wife can’t understand my fascination or my constant internet searches, forums, card collecting and such that keeps me up until 1:00 AM. Anyway, I enjoy all the old baseball stuff and find it interesting, I’m glad people still write about the old ballplayers.  

By the way, how would I find out if Silver King was ever nominated for the hall of fame? I imagine his name was discussed at some point over the last 100 years and regardless of why he wasn’t inducted, I am wondering if there would be articles or stats or something so that I can add it to my list of other useless Silver King memorabilia to display on my Silver King wall of “what ifs” …..had he continued playing the game.  

Robert Shaw



Robert,

According to The 2005 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, Silver King never was nominated for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I can only assume this is because of rule 3B in their rules for election: "Player must have played in each of ten (10) Major League championship seasons." King spent the 1890 season with the Chicago Pirates of the Player's League. That league may not qualify for this criteria, which would mean that he only played in nine MLC seasons. You might want to contact the National Baseball Hall of Fame for more info.

I am assuming that you have already found a lot of information about Silver online.  He is also mentioned several times in the New Bill James Historical Abstract. James credits King with the second best season ever for a 20-year old player (to Ty Cobb's 1907 season), and even includes a brief quote of King's from The Sporting News.

As for your wife, she should have known what she was getting into when she married baseball royalty.

Take care,

~Keith Glab



Who Has Higher Upside?

Hello Keith,

I am in a keeper baseball league that also has full minor rosters. Which player do you think will have the better pro career Josh Fields or Carlos Gonzalez?

Thanks, Jim



Well, Jim, you can't go wrong with either player, but the consensus among scouts is that Gonzalez has higher upside. Without knowing the specifics of your keeper league, I'd like to offer the following points of consideration:

  • Gonzalez is three years younger than Fields. This means that his potential for growth is still enormous.
  • It also means that Fields will see significant major league action much sooner than Gonzalez, especially since the D'Backs are already laden with young outfield talent.
  • Remember that Gonzalez' numbers from last year were produced in one of the most prolific hitter's ballparks in professional baseball. Both the Sox and the Diamondbacks play in hitter's parks, so there's no edge there.
  • Fields broke out with 28 stolen bases last season, and Ozzie Guillen likes to run. If stolen bases are important in your league, it's hard not to go with Fields.
  • Fields could be both 3B and OF eligible for many years, again increasing his fantasy value. .
I hope this helps,

~Keith Glab



Jim:

Thank you so much for the insight. One thing that you mentioned is an area of question for me. As with the major leagues there are parks that are "hitter" parks and others that are "pitcher" parks. This stands true in the minors as well, but it seems to go a bit further in that it appears that certain divisions are know hitter friendly so it appears to go further than just the ballparks. Is there a list that would identify or is it just something that is learned over time as it was with the MLB parks?



There is a certain ebb and flow in the minors with regards to hitter's league's, but here's a general rule of thumb:

Pitcher's Leagues: Rookie, Low-A, Double-A
Hitter's Leagues: Hi-A, Triple-A

The lowest levels will always serve as pitcher's leagues, as most hitters are still adjusting to wooden bats. Triple-A is traditionally tough on pitching prospects, as there are many major league retread batters who know how to lay off breaking pitches outside the zone. 

In particular, the Southern League (AA) plays to pitchers because the parks are generally in humid climates, while the PCL (AAA) works for hitter's with most parks either being at high altitudes or in dry climates.

Excellent questions,

~Keith



The Scoop on the Hall of Fame

Hello - You have a very interesting site. It's obvious that you and your friends have done much research and clearly know more about baseball than I do.

Two quick points. Good call for Bert Blyleven for the Hall of Fame. I don't know why and how Don Sutton got in when Blyleven was a much better pitcher and pitched well in the post season. Jack Morris is also overlooked as he pitched well in the post season and was always a gamer. For a while there, Dave Steward was the best clutch pitcher in baseball, bar none.

For some reason, Steve Garvey doesn't get the love he deserves (and this coming from a Giants fan). When the game was on the line, much like Will Clark, Garvey always seemed to come through. He was the toughest out on those excellent Dodger teams of the 70's. Defensively, he had a terrible arm but was good with the glove but overall deserves to be in due to his great clutch hitting.

Actually, now having looked at your selections to the Baseball Evolution HofF, perhaps you are being mislead by players numbers. Jack Clark was a disaster on the bases, horrible, and was not a great fielder. He could hit the ball as hard as anyone I have ever seen - line drives that left Candlestick as quickly as humanly possible.

Asher & Keith both gave Darrell Evans 2 points. I don't think Evans ever went with a pitch or hit to the opposite field, ever. He could have been really special but for the fact that he was a pure pull hitter.

Rollie Fingers was the best relieve pitcher in the 70's and early 80's. His numbers may not shine like some others, but he often pitched 2-3 innings a game and was clutch.

I guess that's my point. Unless you are lucky enough to see the players perform, you shouldn't go exclusively by the numbers and clearly if you and/or I am too young to see everyone play, you have to go by what others saw on a daily basis.

Anyway, great site.

Thanks,
Scoop McGuire



Thanks for the note, Scoop. I'm glad you're having fun navigating our site!

Like you say, it's really not fair for us to anecdotally compare Ryne Sandberg to Frankie Frisch, since we've all seen Sandberg play and know how great he was on defense. That is a big part of why we look at stats first.

We definitely do consider first hand accounts of players (so keep 'em coming!), but we are careful when evaluating them. For example, most people today would tell you that Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr. were among the best ever at their respective positions defensively. Having seen them ourselves, we know that this isn't the case, and the numbers back that up.

You mention Dave Stewart and Steve Garvey as clutch performers. Dave Stewart definitely stepped it up in key situations, but it's not clear from the stats that Garvey did. I can see how several GWRBI against the Giants might make it seem that way, though.

Regarding Rollie, we definitely take his 2-3 innings per appearance seriously. It's funny you should mention him, because I feel like I'm a little too biased in favor of Dick Williams' A's. Lots of relievers were dominant for short periods of time like Fingers was. If he gets in, so should John Hiller, Kent Tekulve, and Dick Ratatz, all guys who were used for multiple innings of relief as well. It's just not clear that so many relievers deserve to be enshrined. We'll have a better perspective in a few years.

But how on Earth did Sutter and Fingers get into Cooperstown before Smith and Gossage? I think that distinctive facial hair might have played a part in the voting!

Take care,
~Keith Glab


Do you have a question or comment for Keith? Keith Glab resides in Chicago, Illinois and can be reached at keith@baseballevolution.com.

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