cuban statistics

November 02, 2007

1908/09 cuban league

Here are statistics for the 1908/09 Cuban League.  I was able to find box scores for 63 of 73 known games (86 percent); of the missing ten, nine were the games played in Matanzas, and one was a 2-0 Almendares victory over Habana, José Méndez tossing the shutout.

Download 190809_cuban_league_1.1a.xls

This was the second straight year in which the league experimented with a fourth club from Matanzas.  Rafael Conte, the Matanzas manager, tried to compete by importing several Negro Leaguers and, for the first time in Cuban League history, major league players: the Phillies’ George McQuillan (who had pitched for Habana in 1906/07, before he debuted in the majors), the Athletics’ Biff Schlitzer, and the Cardinals’ infielder Chappy Charles.  Schlitzer had introduced the spitball to Cuba on a previous visit with the “All-Leaguers,” a mixed team of major and minor leaguers, in the fall of 1907; his nickname in Cuba was “El Salivito.”  Matanzas also added first baseman Mert Whitney of the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs, and a couple of white minor leaguers, “W. Chech” (or Schick) and “A. Cuthbert,” whom I haven’t been able to identify. 

As described here, the Matanzas experiment did not work out; McQuillan and Schlitzer clashed with Conte over pay and workload issues, and left the island in a huff.  “Los melancólicos,” as La Lucha called the Matanzas club (January 11, 1909), withdrew from the league soon after.  The Cuban League would remain a three-club, Havana-only circuit until the 1922/23 season.

The season ended in a dispute over the championship, though in truth there was not actually much of a controversy.  Here’s what the English page of La Lucha had to say (April 20, 1909):


The tie game between Habana and Almendares (4 to 4) was played way back on December 28.  The final standings as I have them are:

Habana 28-13-1
Almendares 28-14-1
Fe 12-30-0
Matanzas 4-15-0

Which matches what La Lucha says; a victory in a replay for Almendares would make them 29-14, leaving Habana at 28-14. 

Jorge Figueredo, by the way, has slightly different final standings, which appear to include an extra victory for Habana over Fe:

Habana 29-13
Almendares 28-14
Fe 12-31
Matanzas 4-15

I scoured the newspapers and could not find this extra game.  However, these standings don’t match the description of the state of affairs given above by La Lucha, that another win by Almendares over Habana would hand them the pennant, as that eventuality would leave the two teams tied at 29-14.  So at this point the standings I constructed seem to fit the evidence a little better.

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.  No big deal, but I just realized that there are a few small issues with the stats file: I forgot to include a listing of positions played on the batting tab, and mistakenly left pinch-hitting appearances in the fielding tab (the position “0” denotes pinch-hitter).  A new file will be up sometime this weekend.

UPDATE 11/3/2007 OK, I put up a new file, with cosmetic issues fixed (fielding games on batting tab, pinch-hitting removed from fielding tab).  I also realized that I had Esteban Santa Cruz of Matanzas listed twice; now his stats are combined.  Slightly more importantly, I’ve decided that the “Buckner” who caught for Habana on March 8 was more probably James “Pete” Booker (who appears in one other box score and also on a passenger manifest leaving Cuba in early Cuba along with other Negro Leaguers) than the Harry Buckner who pitched for Fe.

UPDATE 11/4/2007 The file is updated one last time, with “Buckner” and “Booker” combined in Habana catching stats, and a note about batters’ strikeouts (incomplete for individuals).

October 18, 2007

1908 cuban summer league

Here are statistics for the 1908 Premio de Verano, which was played along similar lines to the summer championships of 1904, 1905, and 1906: three teams, each representing one of the three winter league clubs (Azul = Almendares, Carmelita = Fe, Rojo = Habana), each playing a few regulars mixed in with marginal players and rookies.  Several promising young players made their first professional appearances here: Pastor Pareda, Pelayo Chacón, Eusebio González, and Octavio González.

Download 1908_cuban_summer_league_1.0.xls

I’ve found box scores for 14 of 16 known games; again, since no standings were published, it’s hard to know for sure whether I have all the games.  Azul had the best record in known games (6-3-1), just edging Carmelita (7-4-0).

Interest was definitely waning in the summer league by this time, largely because most of the best Cuban players were now spending their summers in the United States.  The previous year, 1907, was an exception to this trend, as no All-Cubans team toured the U.S.*, resulting in summer competitions that approached the winter league in quality.  But 1908 was nothing like that.  And the 1909 summer league would become an amateur circuit, with only a few young prospects mixed in.

UPDATE 10/20/2007 *-Not true: there was a Cuban team touring the U.S. in 1907, though the team, or at least a number of its players—Rafael Almeida, Luis González, Francisco Morán, and Inocencio Pérez —returned in time to participate extensively in the summer series, which were mostly held from mid-August to early October.  Plus Luis Padrón returned from Jacksonville in mid-September, in time to play in two of the series; and a larger number of the good players than usual never left.

September 20, 2007

1907 cuban summer league

Here are statistics for the 1907 Premio de Verano (Cuban Summer League), played from July through early October. 

Download 1907_cuban_summer_league.xls

This version of the summer competition featured more stars than usual, including some of the top pitchers (notably Luis González and Andrés Ortega, both regulars during the previous winter season, plus Carlos Royer).  It was, however, not as tightly organized as usual, consisting of three separate competitions.  First, a three-team league featuring “Almendarista,” “Habanista,” and Columbia (a new team organized by Alberto Azoy) ended prematurely when Columbia fell apart.  Habanista ended with the best record (3-1). 

Azoy then reorganized the old San Francisco club and played a twelve-game series with Almendarista, the two teams splitting 6 to 6.  This was followed by an Azul/Rojo series, Azul winning five games to two, with one tie.

The three series totaled 25 games; I have been able to find box scores for 24 (the exception being an 11-8 win by Rojo over Azul on October 4).  After the standings tab, the next three tabs give batting, fielding, and pitching totals for each individual player (their totals for all three series); then three more tabs divide up the stats by series and team, if you want that kind of detail.

If you haven’t seen them, I’ve also compiled statistics for the 1904, 1905, and 1906 Cuban summer championships.

UPDATE 11:20 p.m.  One small correction: Simón Valdés played 20 games at second base and none at third base.

July 17, 2007

1908 cuban league, v. 1.0

Here are statistics for the 1908 Cuban League (La Liga General de Base Ball de la República de Cuba), which held its championship from January 1 to April 13, 1908.

Download 1908_cuban_league_1.0.xls  

This season saw the debut of José Méndez, as well as the lesser-known great Eustaquio “Bombín” Pedroso.  It was the second season in which black North American players participated, this time mostly for Habana—a club that, like Fe the year before, just lost the pennant to the all-Cuban Almendares.  And, after five consecutive years of a three-team league located in Havana, the league expanded, adding a club in the nearby city of Matanzas.

It’s for this reason that the 1908 and 1908/09 seasons are the only years between 1902 and 1922 for which I lack a significant number of box scores.  The Havana newspapers (at least the ones I have access to) simply did not run box scores for games played outside Havana during these years.  Looking at the standings in Figueredo’s Cuban Baseball, it would appear that the league played 89 games (the wins he lists plus a single tie game I know of).  I’ve found scores for 83 (one Almendares win over Matanzas was reported without a score), and box scores for 58 (70 percent) of those.  All but a handful of the games without box scores were played in Matanzas.

The impact this had on player statistics can be readily appreciated by comparing Figueredo’s numbers to mine.  A few examples:

Luis Padrón hit .195 in 123 at bats in the games I found; Figueredo has him at .279 in 159 at bats.

I have Bill Monroe at .239 in 46 at bats; Figueredo gives him a .319 in 72 at bats.

I’ve found Juan Failde with a 1-5 won-loss record; Figueredo has him at 4-10.

On the other hand, I seem to have located all but one of José Méndez’s decisions, and all of Luis Padrón’s; and most of the regulars’ batting averages in the games I’ve found are actually fairly close to the final figures.  Of course, the stats presented here are also as complete as possible (with batters’ walks, stolen bases, and hit by pitch; pitching statistics beyond won/loss records, and full fielding statistics), so they partly make up in depth what they lack in breadth.

Lastly, a note on player identification: Figueredo has Julián (Fallanca) Pérez as the only Pérez pitching for Habana in 1908, while I’ve found that both Julián (a rookie) and the veteran Inocencio Pérez played for the team.

Inocencio Pérez is clearly identified as the Pérez pitching for Habana against the Philadelphia Giants in two games (October 17 and October 27) the previous fall.  “I. Pérez” appears for Habana in both La Lucha and Diario de la Marina box scores for a league game on January 2.  Another appearance by “Pérez” on January 7 is not given an initial in either paper.

On January 9, Julián Pérez made his debut for Habana, both newspapers commenting on it and clearly identifying him.  “I. Pérez” made two more appearances on the mound for Habana, on January 13 and January 27; then disappears from the box scores.  From then on, beginning with a February 8 game, it’s “J. Pérez” or just “Pérez” for Habana.  So I credited the appearances on January 2 and January 7 to Inocencio, the already-established Habana pitcher; January 9 to Julián; January 13 and 27 to Inocencio; and everything after to Julián.

Interestingly, “Pérez” first appeared as an umpire on February 2, and worked 38 of the remaining 46 games played in Havana.  At this point I can’t say whether or not that’s Inocencio, but it wouldn’t be surprising.

UPDATE 7/20/07 If you’ve looked over the stats, you will have noticed the extreme imbalance of the Cuban League in 1908.  In part, this is because of the addition of the Matanzas club, which consisted mostly of marginal players who had never played in the Cuban League (and never would again).  Only Gonzalo Sánchez, Juan Violá, and Pedro Olave could be considered anything like established players at this point.  But one of the old clubs, Fe, was not much better, having lost all its black North Americans (Foster, Hill, Johnson) to Habana, plus another of its best players from 1907, Carlos Morán, to injury or some other problem that kept him off the field.  The club, in desperation, shuffled a motley aggregation of veterans and youngsters in and out of the lineup with seemingly no governing logic, apparently hoping that someway, somehow they would hit on a winning combination.  This resulted in some suprising feats of versatility.  Ramón Govantes appeared at eight positions in just 29 games; Agustín Parpetti appeared at seven positions.  Fe did come up with at least one gem, their most effective pitcher, Eustaquio Pedroso—though his true quality would not become apparent for another season or two.

May 12, 2007

1915 indianapolis ABCs in cuba, updated

One of the libraries I use recently acquired Diario de la Marina on microfilm for the years 1909 through 1930.  This will give me an easily-accessed second newspaper source for those years—and, from what I’ve seen so far, its baseball coverage was much more lavish than La Lucha’s during 1915-1920 or so.

Here’s the first result: I’ve been able to finish off the 1915 Indianapolis ABCs series by adding the one game that had been missing (an 8 to 1 win by Almendares).  There are also a few other minor corrections.

Download 1915_indianapolis_abcs_in_cuba_2.0.xls

Next up (for the week after next): the 1914 Lincoln Stars series, where there are some discrepancies between the scores I found in La Lucha and those in Figueredo’s Cuban Baseball.

December 20, 2006

1905 cuban league

Here are statistics for the 1905 Cuban League, known officially as La Liga Habanera de Base-Ball (or Havana Baseball League), which played from January 29 through May 14, 1905. 

Download 1905_cuban_league.xls

This is, I believe, complete (Almendares also lost a game by forfeit to Habana); there are some interesting discrepancies between these statistics and those published in Figueredo’s Cuban Baseball.  Most notably, perhaps, the box scores show Julián Castillo with the highest batting average, at .308, beating out Regino García (.281), which would interrupt García’s string of four straight batting titles.

December 14, 2006

1906 cuban league

Here are statistics for the 1906 Cuban League season, officially called La Liga General de Base-Ball de la República de Cuba, played from January 1 to April 29, 1906. 

Download 1906_cuban_league_1.0.xls

I’ve had this done for some time, but have held back from posting it because one game is missing.  The reporter who served as official scorer and who supplied box scores to both La Lucha and Diario de la Marina, Ramón Mendoza, was absent from the game.  I’m hoping that eventually I’ll find a box printed in another of the several Havana newspapers.  In the meantime, if anyone has access to other Cuban newspapers from this period, the game was played on April 15, Fe defeating Habana 7 to 3.  By comparing the stats I’ve compiled with those in Figueredo’s Cuban Baseball, it would appear that Luis González defeated Pedro Medina.

December 07, 2006

1906 cuban summer league

Here are statistics for the 1906 Premio de Verano, or Cuban Summer League:

Download 1906_cuban_summer_league.xls

Also see the league rosters posted earlier.  It’s the same three-team setup we saw in 1904 and 1905.  This time the league got off to a late start, commencing play in early August, only to see political unrest cut the season short.  The last game of the short season was played on September 9 as a rebellion neared the capital.  Shortly thereafter U.S. troops occupied the island per the Platt Amendment, American federal legislation that reserved to the U.S. the right to intervene militarily in Cuban affairs (and also allowed for the acquisition of Guantánamo Bay).

Again, the lack of published schedules or standings makes it uncertain whether I’ve got all the games.

November 21, 2006

1904 cuban summer league

Here are statistics for the 1904 Premio de Verano, or Cuban Summer League, which was similar to the 1905 Cuban Summer League: a mix of Cuban League regulars (including several stars) and fringe players, with none of the regular league pitchers.  The three teams were run by the three regular Cuban League teams: Azul (Almendares), Carmelita (Fe), and Punzó (Habana; “punzó” is a shade of dark red).  The league is clearly inferior to the winter league, but still gives us useful data on the stars who did play, such as Regino García, Julián Castillo, and Carlos Morán.

Download 1904_cuban_summer_league.xls

The final standings show a slightly unbalanced schedule:

Azul 13-6
Punzó 12-7
Carmelita 3-15

The season, which lasted from July 10 until October 12, was divided into two parts, with Punzó winning the first, and apparently Azul the second.  Unfortunately, no standings or schedules were published in either La Lucha or Diario de la Marina, so I can’t be altogether certain I’ve got every game, nor is it clear when the first series ended and the second began.

The summer championship ended in controversy.  Punzó protested the next-to-last game of the season, an 11-to-8 loss to Azul, due to some improper action taken by one of the umpires.  The protest was upheld by the league and the game thrown out, along with the individual statistics.  Unfortunately, Punzó’s Julián Castillo had gone 3 for 5 (with 3 doubles) in that game.  When it was disallowed, his batting average dipped below that of Carmelita catcher Regino García, who was duly acclaimed the batting champion.

In these stats, I’ve included the disputed game.  If you subtract the 3-for-5 from Castillo’s stats, he does end up at .356, just below García’s .359.

May 22, 2006

1905 cuban summer league

Today I am posting statistics I compiled for the 1905 Premio de Verano (Summer Championship), a.k.a. the Cuban Summer League.

This league has occasionally been mentioned in English-language publications on Cuban baseball, but to my knowledge nobody has ever published statistics for it.  The Cuban League, of course, held its main championship season in the fall and winter, usually from November or December through March or April, though the schedule varied greatly from year to year.  During the years 1904 to 1906 (the only years I’ve looked at so far, but the summer league definitely operated in other years, going back at least to the 1890s), the Cuban League’s three clubs each entered a team in the summer championship. 

Since at this time the summer usually saw the Almendares club tour the United States under the name “All-Cubans,” Almendares had to hire virtually a whole new team from the provinces or the amateur league.  The other two clubs, Habana and Fe, fielded mostly their regular lineups, with the exception of one or two of their top pitchers.  So the summer league was an interesting mix, sort of a minor league that also featured many of the “major leaguers” from the regular season.

In 1905, the Almendares summer squad was known as “Azul”; the team organized by Fe was known as “Alerta” (it was also referred to as “Carmelita,” Fe’s nickname); and the Habana club was called “Eminencia.”  Eminencia was a cigar brand; it’s possible the cigar company was the team’s sponsor, though I don’t know that for certain.

The summer league meant that Cuban baseball was truly a year-round affair in those years.  The summer season ran from July 9, less than two months after the 1904/05 winter season had concluded (May 14), to October 19, only four days before the Cuban X-Giants arrived to inaugurate the 1905/06 winter season.  The schedule was only 20 games per team.  All games (as far as I know) were played in Almendares Park.

Alerta took the pennant easily, winning their last 10 games to finish 15-5.  A rookie pitcher named Luis González went 11-0 for Alerta; in the following winter season, he led Fe to the championship with a league-leading 10 wins.

The file I’ve posted is pretty much the same as other files, with one exception: a new tab, called simply “Games,” which contains all the game data I enter from the box scores.  This is what I call the “source” file, from which I then compile statistics.  Since this season is short, the file’s not prohibitively large; and I thought it might be interesting for people to see the games in detail.  About the only thing that’s not here is the inning by inning line score.

Download 1905_cuban_summer_league.xls

May 18, 2006

1907 cuban league statistics

Tonight I’m posting the batting, fielding, and pitching statistics for the 1907 Cuban League, a three-team league that played from January 1 to April 14, 1907.

Download 1907_cuban_league_1.1b.xls

This season is historically significant because it represents the first time North American black players participated in a regular Cuban League season.  The Negro Leaguers include Hall of Famers Rube Foster, John Henry Lloyd, and Pete Hill, as well as other well-known players like Grant Johnson, Bill Monroe, and Chappie Johnson.

I love compiling these early Cuban leagues, for several reasons:

1) The seasons are always complete, or nearly complete.

2) The seasons are short enough to compile quickly (sometimes taking less than a week), yet long enough to provide a significant look at players’ performances.

3) The schedules are balanced.

4) The box scores are excellent, almost always balancing perfectly, with sacrifice hits and hit batsmen, and pitcher breakdowns—as well as a unique feature: fielding breakdowns.  That is, the box scores break down fielding statistics for players who play more than one position in a game.

5) During most early seasons, all games were played at a single park—Almendares Park in Havana.  There are no complicated park factors to deal with.

For those of you I’ve sent these stats to before: this is version 1.1, and may represent a slight advance on what you have, as in the earliest versions I was still missing one game.  The compilation is now complete.

For all but a small handful of games, I have two box scores for each game, from two newspapers: La Lucha and Diario de la Marina.

If you happen to own Jorge Figueredo’s recent books on Cuban baseball, you will notice some small discrepancies between the numbers I have compiled and his, in most cases a matter of an at bat here, a hit there.  This could result from differences between the box scores and the official scoring, from errors in the official totals, or mistakes by me. 

Of more import are discrepancies in pitchers’ won/loss records: for example, Figueredo has Rube Foster going 10-5, whereas I have him at 9-6.  Foster started and completed 15 games; his team’s record in those games was 9-6.  He relieved in a sixteenth game that his team lost.  The only conclusion I can draw is that the 10-5 record is mistaken.

UPDATE 12/2/2006  See this post for the true identity of Habana’s Bill Mack (I’ll correct the stats file itself soon FINALLY CORRECTED 2/14/2007).

UPDATE 1/15/2008  “Ray Wilson” has been corrected to “George H. Wilson.”  See this post for the full story.

May 02, 2006

josé méndez vs. major league teams, 1908-1913

He's one of the recent batch of Hall of Famers inducted by the special Negro League committee. Here are his starts vs. major league teams in Cuba, 1908 to 1913.


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May 01, 2006

cuban pitchers vs. major league teams, 1908-1913

Here (finally) are the statistics for Cuban League pitchers (with 20 or more innings pitched) against major league teams in Cuba, 1908 to 1913.  I don't have earned runs for all games, so presented here is "TRA," or Total Run Average, instead of Earned Run Average.


                        (click to enlarge)

March 16, 2006

cuban hitters vs. major league teams, 1908-1913

Major league teams visited Cuba nine times from 1908-13, each time in the fall following the regular season’s end:

1908 Cincinnati Reds went 6-7-1 against Cuban teams.
1909 AL champion Detroit Tigers (minus Cobb and Crawford) went 4-8.
1909 “All Stars,” composed of all major league players: 2-3.
1910 Detroit Tigers (full strength): 7-4-1
1910 World Series champion Philadelphia Athletics (minus Collins and Baker): 4-6.
1911 Philadelphia Phillies: 5-4.
1911 NL champion New York Giants: 9-3.
1912 World Series champion Philadelphia Athletics (full strength): 10-2.
1913 Brooklyn Dodgers (minus Zack Wheat): 10-5.

Overall major league teams were 57-42-2 in Cuba during this period, for a .585 winning percentage. Their winning percentage in the preceding regular season was a collective .569, so the Cuban teams appear surprisingly strong. Of course, you have to account for the major league teams not always bringing a full-strength roster to Cuba: certain star players didn’t accompany their teams, and generally only three pitchers were taken. This last didn’t have as much effect as you might think; pitchers were generally expected to finish their games in those days, and the usual schedule in Cuba was three games a week, meaning each pitcher started once a week.

Below are the (almost) complete batting statistics for players on Cuban teams (including African-American players) vs. major league teams, 1908-13 (including players with 50 or more plate appearances). Three games from the Athletics’ series in 1910 are missing from this compilation, because I don’t have box scores for them. The A’s lost two of these, so their absence probably hurts the Cubans and African Americans.


                     (click to enlarge)

The “OPS+” for these hitters is normalized to the overall averages of each series the player participated in, with pitchers removed. I used the formula from (OPS+ = 100*(OBA/lgOBA + SLG/lgSLG -1), with series averages replacing league averages. Aside from my posting of these same stats on the Hall of Merit site a few months ago, this is the first time (to my knowledge) that comprehensive statistics on these series have been published.

That “23” in the stolen bases column for Ricardo Hernández is not a typo.

A future post will have more on Carlos “Chino” Morán, a Cuban of Chinese descent who is one of the overlooked stars of this period.