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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ty Cobb or Nap Lajoie: highest 1910 BA? Shades of Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera in 2012?

Ty Cobb and Napoleon Lajoie, photograph taken in 1910 during the Chalmers Award controversy. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Ty Cobb:


Blank ink: 1910 BA .383

Batting Average
1906 AL  .316 (6th) 
1907 AL  .350 (1st) 
1908 AL  .324 (1st) 
1909 AL  .377 (1st) 
1910 AL  .383 (2nd)

AL leaders:


Batting Average
1.Lajoie (CLE).384
2.Cobb (DET).383
3.Speaker (BOS).340
4.Collins (PHA).324
5.Knight (NYY).312
6.Oldring (PHA).308
7.Easterly (CLE).306
8.Murphy (PHA).300
9.Delahanty (DET).294
10.Chase (NYY).290

Yearly League Leaders & Records for Batting Average


So why does baseball-reference.com show blank ink for Cobb for 1910 in his personal stats?

Note this nonsense:

Melky and Buster, an odd couple. And is that TV money guaranteed? Monday, April 1, 2013

Lest we forget that in 2012 Melky Cabrera had the highest batting average (BA) (.346) in the Major Baseball League (MBL).  This despite being suspended for the remainder of the season for violating MBL drug rules.  The two official leaders of the conferences, Buster Posey in the National and Miguel Cabrera (no relation to Melky) in the American, have their BA darkened by bold type in baseball-reference.com, which is complicit in this deceit.  Bold type in print had been called by  black ink by baseball fans.  Babe Ruth had lots of black ink.  Melky Cabrera has none thanks to pressures brought by the MBL establishment and its media

enablers.  Melky's agent last season, to mitigate Melky's suspension on his free agent status, had Melky issue a statement asking not be considered for the honor of leadership in BA.  It's not an honor, it's a stat.  What, you forgot how moronic it was?

That post contains an ad hoc query I ran for 2012 in baseball-reference.com, which shows Buster Posey with BA black ink and Melky Cabrera without.  The same is true for 1910:

1 Nap Lajoie .384 1910 35 CLE AL 159 677 591 94 227 51 7 4 76 60 18 5 21 26 .445 .514 .960 *43
2 Ty Cobb .383 1910 23 DET AL 140 590 506 106 194 35 13 8 91 64 46 4 16 65 .456 .551 1.008 *89
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/30/2015.

There is, of course, a story to the 1910 discrepancy but you'd never know it from baseball-reference.com.

Ty Cobb
A Terrible Beauty
Charles Leerhsen
Simon & Schuster 2015
Chapter Nineteen pages 229-245

Page 244: (Ban) Johnson ... "their respective batting averages are as follows: Cobb ... .384944; Lajoie ... .3840948 ... [Cobb's number should have been .385069.]  Cobb thus had a clear title to the leadership of the American League batsmen for 1910 and is therefore entitled to the Chalmers trophy."

There's a ton of junk in that chapter, including the possible influence of gambling on how Lajoie piled up eight hits in the final day doubleheader and a manager being blackballed by Johnson.  Read the messy details for yourself (and remember them the next time you feel sappy about Pete Rose).

What concerns me is that a reputable website like baseball-reference.com at least twice has been compromised by establishment officials.


The Elias Sports Bureau is, of course, mute on this as it does not present any of the data that it maintains as the official statistician for Major League Baseball.  However, hidden in the bowels of the mlb.com website:


1 Cobb, TDETOF140509106196361389164-65-.385.458.5541.012
2 Lajoie, NCLE2B1595919422751747660-26-.384.445.514.960

Cobb is first with data from a phantom game discovered by Ban Johnson back in 1910.  The Elias Sports Bureau does not include RBI for Babe Ruth before 1920, which is why Alex Rodriguez is officially listed by MLB as being number two all time in career RBI behind only Hank Aaron.

Elias Sports Bureau, Inc. v. reality. Friday, May 29, 2015

During Yankee games we are told that the Elias Sports Bureau keeps the official MLB records and that data before about 1920 does not count and that therefor Alex Rodriguez has passed Babe Ruth in RBI even though everyone knows this is not correct.

What's the deal?


1910 Chalmers Award

Before the 1910 Major League Baseball season, Hugh Chalmers of the Chalmers Automobile Company announced a promotion in which a Chalmers Model 30 automobile would be given to the batting champions for Major League Baseball's American and National Leagues...

The Chalmers people ... awarded automobiles to both Cobb and Lajoie (essentially declaring a tie)...

The ensuing mathematical mess was described by one writer as follows: "It could be said that 1910 produced two bogus leading batting averages, and one questionable champion."


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