As I said on the Roger Conner article, he and Dan Brouthers were very similar. I have read a few books about 19th Century baseball, but not as much as 20th Century baseball. So, to be completely honest I didn’t really any difference between Brouthers and Conners. My thought was to make this a primer on the difference between Brouthers and Conners.
Brouthers was the better hitter and Conners the better fielder. The main difference is both were great hitters. Both played first base, but Conners fielding was more of an edge then Brouthers hitting was an edge. While using it in the formula I distrust fielding statistics more the further back we go. So, if you think Brouthers was the better player I can’t say he wasn’t. Just a side note. In the 19th Century a lot more small ball was played. In these days there was a lot more bunting and stolen bases. The fielding of the first baseman was more important. Also, there were gloves when both played, but they weren’t that great, and it must have taken more for a first baseman just to catch a throw from the other players. So that is an argument for Conners.
Brouthers was the best hitter of the 1880s. He was the OPS and OPS+ leader from 1882 to 1887 six straight years. He also won these titles a couple times in the 1890s. Conners only won these titles one year. Even before that Brouthers led the league in more categories, thus more black ink. If I added in black ink scores Brouthers would have passed Conners.
Brouthers traveled from team to team more. He played for 10 teams. His longest stay was Buffalo for 8 years. Conners played for five teams with 10 years with the New York Giants, his second team. He did leave the Giants for a year to play in the Players League. Brouthers’ 10th team was the New York Giants. He came back at age 46 and went 0 for 5. All I could find was he took tickets at the gate for the Giants at the time. I don’t know why he played a couple of games.
I’m glad that Brouthers made my Hall of Fame. Otherwise, people would say why Conners and not Brouthers and I couldn’t blame them.