Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Doc" Newton vs. "Schoolboy" Tugerson

Greg, over at the Night Owl Cards blog shared some of the cards that he received in the mail.  One of these cards was of Eustace "Doc" Newton.

2010 TriStar OBAK, Newton (card #38) 

Greg said,
This isn't a Dodger. It's the all-time minor league, single-season wins leader. He pitched with Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League. I don't think he wore a derby during his games. But he WAS a dentist at one time.
Which made me wonder, who was this man?  And how many games did he win?  A bit of poking around led me to find that he was Eustace Jame Newton, also known as "Doc".

In 1904, playing for the Los Angeles Angels, he won 39 games.  Since 1900, the most wins in the Major Leagues was 35, by Joe McGinnity in 1904.  Sure, Old Hoss Radbourn won 59 in 1884 for the Providence Grays, but steroids weren't in vogue, yet.

Newton did it in the minor leagues.  The 1904 Los Angeles Angels won 119 games that season.  And lost 97 (216 total games).  So "Doc" Newton won 18.05% of the Angels' total games or 32.77% of all their wins.

Newton's W-L record was 39-17 (.696) and he batted .194 in 175 at bats.

James Clarence Tugerson only won 29 games in 1953 for the Knoxville Smokies of the Class D Mountain States League.  The Smokies won 70 games and lost 55 (122 games total).

So "Schoolboy" Tugerson won 23.77% of the Smokies' regular season games or 41.42% of all their regular season wins.  He also won 4 games in the playoffs, including the championship game.

Tugerson's W-L record was 29-11 (.725) and he batted .308 in 182 at bats with 5 HR.

So, let's do some prorating.  What if the 1904 Los Angeles Angels only had 122 games to play that season?  How would "Doc" Newton have done?  Simple math says that if he kept the same win percentage (18.05%), he'd only have won 22 games (22 / 122 = 18.03%).

And let's take it the other way.  What if the 1953 Knoxville Smokies had a 216 game season?  How would "Schoolboy" Tugerson done?  Simple math says that if he kept the same win percentage (23.77%), he'd have won 51 games (51 / 216 = 23.61%).

And, if you factor in the issues that Jim Tugerson was having in 1953, it is very amazing that he did as well as he did.

In 1904 the Angels lost their league championship.  The 1953 Smokies won their league championship.

Yes, I understand you can't do a specific comparison between the two, but this was mostly an exercise in "what if".

Greg says that Eustace Newton was a dentist.  The nickname makes sense.  Jim Tugerson was a police officer.  I'd trust a police officer more than I would a dentist.  Have you seen The Little Shop of Horrors?

So, technically, Greg is correct.  But I like Jim Tugerson more.

For further information on Jim Tugerson, take a look at R. S. Allen's book, Schoolboy.

Tugerson photo credit: Knoxville News Sentinel

1 comment:

  1. You have far more time on your hands than I do ... on Saturdays anyway.

    Some of what you mentioned was on the back of Newton's card, I just didn't want to reveal it all, in hopes that others would go digging around to find the real Doc Newton.

    Mission accomplished.