The Best Season Series Overview is about the two book series that I have written (the second book to be published sometime 2017). I go into a little detail about what they are all about. Baseball fans, ages ten to ninety are enjoying The Best Season – The First Ninety Games . Are you a baseball fan? You need to read this book! This two book series, The Best Season – The First Ninety Games and The Best Season – The Challenging Finish provides a unique perspective on the players of the Black Ball Era (Negro Leagues or segregated baseball).
I have read some wonderful historical books on Negro League Baseball as well as fascinating biographies and significant events, such as the East-West Negro League All Star Game which began in 1933 (same as Major League All Star Game). Yet, none of these books will give you what this historical fiction two-book series gives you. This is a “What if?” Book Series. “What if Satchel Paige could face Hall of Famer, Stan Musial with his stats from his 1948 Best Season?
In 1993, when I was President of Pursue the Pennant Baseball Game Company, we decided to create a special 416 player set, 716 player card set for our customers (see Appendix Two). The stats for 300 players would be done on two cards/player (their average stats/year over their career and their Best Season stats). For the other 100 plus players, it would be their Best Season, only. These players had short careers or average careers with one outstanding season.
This set of cards represents players from 1881 through 1987. Why the two version of cards (average season stats and Best Season stats)? One of the key factors is my heritage as a Bostonian. I was born in Stoneham MA (12 miles north of Boston) in 1941. Ted Williams won the American League Batting Title with an average of .406, the year I was born. No Major League ballplayer over the last seventy-five seasons has won a batting title with a .400+ average!
Since our first criteria to be included in this card set was induction as a player into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Ted Williams was one of nearly two hundred Hall of Fame baseball players as of year end, 1992, therefore in the card set. As an avid Red Sox fan, I wanted two cards of stats for Ted Williams, 1) his average stats/year (b.avg – .344, for example) and 2) his Best Season stats (b. avg – .406, year – 1941).
With the HOF criteria, eleven Negro League ballplayers would have to be included in set, also. Note – Ted Williams’ comments during his Hall of Fame induction speech in 1966 were very influential in Negro League ballplayers being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Satchel Paige was first, inducted in 1971. As of 2016, there are thirty-nine former Negro League Players in the Hall of Fame.
Seventeen years later (2010), I asked myself, why have I never set up a tournament of former Negro League players (21 former Negro League Stars ended up in that 1993 set, 19 0f the 21 are currently in National Baseball HOF)? I really believe this desire to pit the Negro League players against the greatest players in history was a nudge from God. I had this vision – I am standing near home plate and the twenty-one Negro League ballplayers are standing between me and the pitcher’s mound. Satchel Paige, as their spokesman says “Bob, let us put on the uniforms and spikes one more time, you line up nearly 400 of the greatest baseball players over 100 years of Major League Baseball History and we play them a full season of baseball, 165 games +. You write about it and talk about it. We will show all of you how good we were!” I said “yes” to Satchel, the other Black Ball Stars and God!
The Best Season cards for the 21 Negro League players would not be used in the competition. For example, in 1941, Hilton Smith went 10-0 for the KC Monarchs in League play giving up on average 3.5 hits/9 innings. This was not against Major League competition. Using the average incomplete Negro League stats that we had in 1993, I realized that could equate to their prime time or what could have been their Best Season if they had been allowed to play in the Major Leagues. I decided to set up a small thirty game tournament using the Major League vs. the Negro League with the average season stats for all players. The Major League competition, I set up by decades (1880s, 1890s, 1900s, etc). It would be ten decades of three games/decade or thirty games. The results did not surprise me. The Black Ball (Negro League) Stars dominated, winning 21 out of 30 by an average score of 7-3.
I then decided to take the average season card for the BB Stars (which I equate to their possible Best Season in the Major Leagues and had them play the Best Season of the 375 + Major League players. The Best Season stats for the Major Leaguers would be 18-25% better than there career average stats. The results you will see starting with Book One, The Best Season – The First Ninety Games.
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Bob, The Baseball Man