The Baseball Guru - Greatest Pitcher? More Numbers by John B Holway Home Page

Baseball Analysis  John Holway

Also Read: Was Satchel the Best? When Ted and Satch Hooked Up How Many Games Did Satchel Win?

Hats off to Bill James' Negro League100-Best




By John B Holway


          To follow up on the poll for greatest Negro League pitchers, some additional numbers are offered:


                                        TRA*        S0

Ray Brown                    3.32            420             

Bill Byrd                         3.36             502         

Bullet Rogan                 3.35            631   

Satchel Paige                 3.39          1489         

William Bell                     3.41             352         

Bill Foster                     3.48            560         

Leon Day                       3.83            272        

Joe Williams                  3.92            378           

Andy Cooper                  4.17            416               

© 2011 John B Holway   

* Total Run Average


These numbers all have to be double-checked. And they will never have the euclidian perfection that Bill James demands. Box scores didn't always carry complete stats; strikeouts, walks or hits were sometimes missing. And of course they almost never gave earned runs, hence I use Total Runs Per Game.


But except for strikeouts, Paige doesn't stand out above the others.


In addition, Brown, Byrd, and Day were above-average hitters, who often pinch-hit. Brown especially had power. Joe Williams once led the league in wins (9-2) plus batting while playing first base and pitching. Rogan batted .344 lifetime; in 1922 he led all pitchers with 20-11, batted .439, and averaged 48 home runs per 550 at bats. And he wouldn't reach the letters on Babe Ruth’s uniform if he stood on tip-toes.


A word about Day. I like Leon (67-36 .650). He might have won about 112 without World War II. But the reason he was elected to Cooperstown ahead of Brown, Williams, Rogan, and Foster, was because he was Monte Irvin’s teammate at Newark. Monte might argue that he wanted to get living players in first, but Foster and Byrd were still alive at the time. So was Willie Wells,


I hope there will be another round of  Hall of Fame voting so Byrd, Bell, Beckwith, and Bolden (plus Lundy) can get in. Leroy Matlock (82-35-.701) should join them. He won 30-plus straight victories over three seasons.


Anyway, if Rogan or Brown had said, “Never look back, someone  may be gaining on you,” perhaps he, not Satch, would be regarded as the greatest black pitcher of all time.



HomeGuru's Baseball Book StoreLink to UsBraintrust & Mailing ListsEmail the GuruContact InfoBaseball Analysis Home