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September 13, 2011


Patrick Rock

Mischa, while John Holway has been and remains a great researcher and historian of the Negro Leagues, he has never been regarded as a particularly good statistical researcher, setting his own idiomatic methods and criteria for such work.

He has sometimes been known to count the same game two or more times because two different newspapers reported it with different dates. He occasionally took his numbers from newspaper reports that said "Pitcher X had a record of 11-11 this season" without actually corroborating the numbers on a game-by-game basis.

He also did most of his research before any standards had been established among researchers (as if we have a full set of standards at this time:-), and used his own criteria for what qualified a game as "official".

Lastly, Mr. Holway also has never offered a day-by-day list of games, and so has made it impossible for others to
compare their own research to his and resolve discrepancies.

It's hard to say for exactly which reason the Holway stats differ, but I'd trust Gary's first.

Mischa Gelman

What amazes me is not so much the new statistics available, but how different they sometimes are from the old ones. Ex. Holway has Jim Jeffries at 17-18 in 1922, while you have 21-11. I understand finding four "new wins" but how does he lose seven losses?

Gary Ashwill

Well, I think I will go with that smart guy who put the DB together. ;-) A cursory check of the Chicago Defender in 1921 reveals several references to "Joe Williams' boys" and "Joe Williams and his Lincoln Giants" and the like. My understanding is that he was their manager from the mid-1910s through 1923.

Mischa Gelman

The database lists Joe Williams as managing the Lincoln Giants in 1921-1922. John Holway lists Jules Thomas in his book. Which is right?

Gary Ashwill

JR: Yes, we are preparing Patrick's 1923 NNL for addition to the site. He's also got the 1923 ECL, though it's not quite done yet.

Gary Ashwill

JR: Fantastic if you have an obit for String Bean! I don't have it, so would love to see it, when you have a chance. I do have some leads on him, but an obit would trump those (or maybe confirm them?). I had him last sighted in 1929 as groundskeeper at the Catholic Protectory Oval.

Gary Ashwill

Mischa: I have Jeffries's WW1 draft card--unquestionably our man, as he is described as a "Base Ball Player" employed by "C. I. Taylor, owner A.B.C. club. It lists him as born May 18, 1893, in Louisville, Kentucky. There's also census info that corroborates his being born in Kentucky.

Mischa Gelman

I notice that they list Jim Jeffries as being born in Louisville. Riley's Encyclopedia lists him as being born in Nashville. Is this change to Luisville the result of new research or an error?


This is just wonderful. The 1923 NNL cannot be too far behind as it was already compiled by Patrick Rock. Have to go through my notes and see what I can add (only thing I've noticed so far is that Stringbean Williams data is not included, I've got his obit here somewhere).

Gary Ashwill

Funny, I have Buckner's middle name, but didn't get it into the DB either. Harry's brother Bill Buckner, the former White Sox trainer, died on Nov. 18, 1938, in the state hospital for the insane at Elgin, Illinois, just a few months after Harry passed away.

Gary Ashwill

Brian--thanks for the information. I think I knew that Buckner was right-handed, but it didn't make it into the DB for whatever reason. Interesting on Forbes. His WWI card clearly reads "Frank L. Forbes," and I believe there's a census entry that does as well. But Larry Lester maintained that there were examples of Forbes signing his name "Frank Tidwillington Forbes." See also this from Wayne Stivers, who calls him "Franklin Tidwillington Forbes":



Thank you, Gary, Scott, Kevin, and everyone else who helped! This is wonderful news.

Mischa Gelman

Absolutely amazing database - great work on your end of the research, Gary! I plan on using this a lot on my BR Bullpen bios for Cuban Winter League and Negro League players.

Brian McKenna

Sorry forgot - Buckner batted and threw right

Brian McKenna

Gary, Very happy to see this database. Thanks for your work. I just finished 2 bios that will be appearing on my blog soon. Just a little help here: Frank Forbes' middle name was Lindsey, his mother's maiden name. Other nicknames include "Joe" and he also played under "Frank Formita" He died 8/19/1983 in Philadelphia. Harry Buckner's middle name was Edward. He died on a train headed for Chicago (not sure where en route) on March 26, 1938. His place and year of birth are not that clear cut but you have the right idea. His prominent nickname was "Buck."

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