Talk:Billy Sunday

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1891 base-stealing?

Two baseball sites, Baseball Almanac, give his baseball career as lasting only from 1883 to 1890. I haven't yet figured out how to reconcile this with the statements on the timeline at "1891: Sunday sets record of 90 bases stolen in 116 games." Dpbsmith 08:49, 13 June 2007 (EDT)

I cannot figure out where some of the dates in the "timeline" came from; some just aren't correct, by every other Billy Sunday source. The first online source you used, the "Fundamentalism" one, contradicts the "timeline" also. So, I deleted the references to the "timeline"--hope you don't mind. I did put in other references, so readers aren't left hanging.--Leansleft 10:59, 1 July 2007 (EDT)
Sunday quit baseball after the 1890 season; by the start of the 1891 season, he was working for the Chicago YMCA. Sunday's letter to the Philadelphia baseball team asking to be released from his contract was published in the baseball newspaper Sporting Life on March 28, 1891; the letter was dated March 21. He was working for the Chicago YMCA when he wrote the letter. (He had been working for them during the baseball off-seasons for a couple of years.)--Leansleft 09:15, 1 July 2007 (EDT)
As for the stolen bases numbers, they are a little problematic. Stolen bases weren't recorded until 1887, and even then there wasn't an immediate consensus on the criteria for what constituted a steal. Sunday's best number in a season (1890) was 84; the all-time record for stolen bases in a single season is 138. His standing all-time is insignificant, That having been said, however, it's really not all that useful to compare players from different eras with just the numbers, since conditions in the 1880s were vastly different from, say, post WWII. For 19th century players, it seems to me to be most useful to compare players to their peers. In his own era, Sunday never ranked higher than 3rd in the National League. For the record, once SBs began being recorded, Sunday stole 34 bases in 1887, 71 in 1888 (3rd in NL), 47 in 1888 (8th in NL), and 84 in 1890 (3rd in NL). He lost parts of some seasons due to injuries, and I have no doubt that he could have been the league leader in one of those seasons if he hadn't gotten hurt. But that's the way it goes. As an aside, the early Sunday biographies are generally inaccurate about his baseball career. You'd be better off using baseball sources if you want to be accurate here.--Leansleft 10:19, 29 June 2007 (EDT)
OK, I confess. Most of that previous comment was copied from the discussion of Billy Sunday over on Wikipedia, so I guess I should have put it in quotes. I took it because it it gave the numbers, which you can find in any of the baseball encyclopedias. I'm old-fashioned, meaning I like printed stuff, so I'll refer you to the Baseball Encyclopedia, or Total Baseball, or Bill James's stat books, or the Great Encyclopedia of 19th Century Major League Baseball. Point is, the numbers are out there. In the 1920s someone compared Sunday to Ty Cobb when Sunday was a star preacher and Cobb was a star player, and somehow that stuck, but it wasn't a good comparison then and it's a worse one now. (Plus, Ty Cobb was a jerk.) If you're REALLY interested, there is a book on Sunday's baseball career ("Sunday at the Ballpark") that has lots of quotes from the newspapers of the time, and you can find out more than you want to know about his baseball career.--Leansleft 17:55, 29 June 2007 (EDT)

Would you say my characterization of him as "a well-known and notable player (though not stellar)" is about right? He was a pro, he played in the big leagues, he wasn't an obscure big leaguer, but he was no Hall of Famer? Dpbsmith 12:23, 1 July 2007 (EDT)

Yes. He was also popular, with fans and his teammates and other players, but his career stats are about the middle for his era. Leansleft 12:48, 1 July 2007 (EDT)

Missing reference in Criticism section

In the third paragraph of the Criticism section there is a broken reference tag. Attempted to fix but the fix was undone by an Administrator. So I figure the best course of action was to just let the creator of this article know here. --BMcP 22:07, 19 June 2009 (EDT)

Fixed the broken link after talking to the Administrator who inquired about my previous attempt. --BMcP 8:52, 20 June 2009 (EDT)