Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Simulated 1919 World Series

The Sun - September 28, 1919
image from
I was able to attend the most excellent SABR Black Sox Scandal Centennial Symposium last month in Chicago.  I was able to meet researchers that I've corresponded with over the years, met some (new to me) SABR members, and had a blast learning about the teams involved in the scandalous 1919 World Series.

I've been pondering what might have happened if both teams tried their hardest to win the series.  No dumping of games.  I know that there are many baseball simulators on the market.  Years ago I spent some time playing with Strategic Baseball Simulation, a now defunct (but still free) sim.

I figured I should have some sort of method that was consistent.  I decided to use the starting lineups as described in the RetroSheet box scores.  Would a one game simulation work?  10?  100?  I decided on 1,000 games.  A big enough sample size to satisfy me.

I set the lineups and starting pitchers and let the program make in-game changes. 

Executive Summary: Chicago takes the Series in five games straight.


Team W Avg Sim
Sim Notes
Real Notes
1 visiting Chicago AL 594 4 (3.995) Chic leads Series 1-0
1 home Cincy NL 406 3 (2.965)

9 Cincy leads Series 1-0

2 visiting Chicago AL 559 4 (3.683) Chic leads Series 2-0
2 home Cincy NL 441 3 (3.011)

4 Cincy leads Series 2-0

3 visiting Cincy NL 462 4 (4.034)

0 Cincy leads Series 2-1
3 home Chicago AL 538 4 (4.024) Chic leads Series 3-0

4 visiting Cincy NL 330 3 (2.990)

2 Cincy leads Series 3-1
4 home Chicago AL 670 4 (4.322) Chic leads Series 4-0

5 visiting Cincy NL 377 4 (3.513)

5 Cincy leads Series 4-1
5 home Chicago AL 623 4 (4.182) Chic wins Series 5-0

6 visiting Chicago AL

6 home Cincy NL

0 Cincy leads Series 4-2

7 visiting Chicago AL

7 home Cincy NL

1 Cincy leads Series 4-3

8 visiting Cincy NL

10 Cincy wins Series 5-3
8 home Chicago AL


I asked Jacob Pomrenke, the All Knowing High Priest the Black Sox Scandal, if he knew of any other simulated the Series.  He responded that Mike Lynch, of, wrote a book about 10 years ago: It Ain't So: A Might Have Been History of the White Sox in 1919 and Beyond.  Mike used the Out of the Park simulator to cover the Series and beyond.

Jacob also pointed me to Kenn Tomasch, a Phoenix based sports writer who, just yesterday published an APBA simulation that he ran of the 1919 World Series on his personal blog at

There's one other paper that Jacob pointed me towards.  David Shiner published a paper (a pdf stored at dropbox) using Bill James's Brock2 projection method to show how the Black Sox players would have fared statistically if they had continued playing in MLB. Note that this does not cover the 1919 World Series itself, however.

My notes: I wanted a quick and easy sim.  I might have been able to tweak the SBS data files a bit more, perhaps by not allowing any player that didn't play in a specific game to be played in that game, but this was for fun, not purely hardcore stats.  I did not include cumulative historical stats for any of the games beyond game one.  I did not take into account rest days, travel days, etc.  Each series of simulated games was run as if the players were fresh, using their regular season (1919) stats.  Each 1,000 game run took about 35 seconds to complete.  Much more time getting the data files prepped and then making a results table.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Citing Tim Keefe

This showed up on Twitter Wednesday:

It kicked off a bit of discussion, mostly around Tim Keefe.  Charlie Bevis wrote an excellent biography of Keefe for the SABR BioProject.

Charlie has some solid sources and citations.  I thought I'd expand that a bit, giving links to the census (and other) records.  I'm presenting these in chronological order.

1860 US Census:
"United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2017), Tim Keefe in entry for Pat Keefe, 1860.

1865 Massachusetts State Census:
"Massachusetts State Census, 1865", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 1 June 2018), Timo Keef in entry for Patk Keef, 1865.

1870 US Census:
"United States Census, 1870", database with images, FamilySearch( : 12 June 2019), Timothy Keef in entry for Patrick Keef, 1870.

1880 US Census:
"United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 29 August 2017), Timothy Keefe in entry for E O Brown, 1880; citing enumeration district ED 13, sheet 344A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d), roll 0805; FHL microfilm 1,254,805.

First Major League Game (August 6, 1880):

The Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) - August 7, 1880

1889 Marriage:
"Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 May 2018), Timothy J. Keefe and Clara A. Gibson Helm, 19 Aug 1889; citing Worcester, Massachusetts, United States, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1,415,227.

Last Major League Game (August 15, 1893):

The Chicago Record (Chicago, Illinois) - August 16, 1893

1900 US Census:
not found in 1900 US Census

1910 US Census:
"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 August 2019), Timothy J Keefe, Cambridge Ward 8, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 771, sheet 6A, family 112, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 596; FHL microfilm 1,374,609.

1920 US Census:
"United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 August 2019), Timothy J Keefe in household of Kathernie Keefe, Cambridge Ward 8, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing ED 79, sheet 16A, line 20, family 341, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 707; FHL microfilm 1,820,707.

1930 US Census:
"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 August 2019), Timothy J Keefe, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 53, sheet 8B, line 66, family 210, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 916; FHL microfilm 2,340,651.

The Boston Herald (Boston, Massachusetts) - April 24, 1933
Funeral Notice:

The Boston Herald (Boston, Massachusetts) - April 27, 1933

"Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch ( : 26 July 2019), Timothy John Keefe, 1933; Burial, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States of America, Cambridge Cemetery; citing record ID 3640, Find a Grave,

There are a few more avenues of research to be shown regarding Tim Keefe.  Some background on his wife, Clara Gibson Helm, his sporting goods venture with William Becannon, and city directories galore.  I'll save those for another post.

In the original Twitter conversation I said (referring to the lawsuit between Keefe and Becannon):
Why am I going down this rabbit hole? Because on some level it is part of the real life story of Keefe. He was more than just base ball stats and census records.
Sometimes, though, you need to start with baseball stats and census records.