Hall of Fame: George Sisler (1939)

Gorgeous George.

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG *OPS+  TB   SH
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
1915 22 SLB AL 81 274 28 78 10 2 3 29 10 9 7 27 .285 .307 .369 106 101 12
1916 23 SLB AL 151 580 83 177 21 11 4 76 34 26 40 37 .305 .355 .400 132 232 19
1917 24 SLB AL 135 539 60 190 30 9 2 52 37 30 19 .353 .390 .453 161 244 15
1918 25 SLB AL 114 452 69 154 21 9 2 41 45 40 17 .341 .400 .440 157 199 9
1919 26 SLB AL 132 511 96 180 31 15 10 83 28 27 20 .352 .390 .530 155 271 18
1920 27 SLB AL 154 631 137 257 49 18 19 122 42 17 46 19 .407 .449 .632 181 399 13
1921 28 SLB AL 138 582 125 216 38 18 12 104 35 11 34 27 .371 .411 .560 140 326 14
1922 29 SLB AL 142 586 134 246 42 18 8 105 51 19 49 14 .420 .467 .594 172 348 16
1924 31 SLB AL 151 636 94 194 27 10 9 74 19 17 31 29 .305 .340 .421 91 268 14
1925 32 SLB AL 150 649 100 224 21 15 12 105 11 12 27 24 .345 .371 .479 110 311 12
1926 33 SLB AL 150 613 78 178 21 12 7 71 12 8 30 30 .290 .327 .398 85 244 16
1927 34 SLB AL 149 614 87 201 32 8 5 97 27 7 24 15 .327 .357 .430 101 264 19
1928 35 TOT 138 540 72 179 27 4 4 70 11 1 31 17 .331 .370 .419 110 226 15
WSH AL 20 49 1 12 1 0 0 2 0 1 1 2 .245 .260 .265 39 13 1
BSN NL 118 491 71 167 26 4 4 68 11 30 15 .340 .380 .434 117 213 14
1929 36 BSN NL 154 629 67 205 40 8 2 79 6 33 17 .326 .363 .424 98 267 20
1930 37 BSN NL 116 431 54 133 15 7 3 67 7 23 15 .309 .346 .397 81 171 14
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---
15 Seasons 8267 2812 164 1175 127 327 .340 .379 .468 124 226
2055 1284 425 102 375 472 3871

1 MVP award (1922)

George Harold Sisler was born March 24, 1893 near Akron, Ohio. He played college baseball at the University of Michigan for baseball legend Branch Rickey, but he did it as a pitcher. In fact, he came to the St. Louis Browns in 1915 as a pitcher. Just like Babe Ruth, however, he moved to first base when the team learned that he was too good of a hitter to leave on the bench. They moved him to first base.

Sisler was a pretty good pitcher by going 4-4 with a 2.35 ERA and throwing two complete games to beat Walter Johnson, but as his 2 .400 seasons demonstrate, he was equally excellent if not superior as a hitter. In 1920, he set the major-league record for hits in a season with 257, which was broken by Ichiro Suzuki in 2004, but he did it in 154 games as opposed to Ichiro’s 161. He even had the longest hitting streak at 41 games (1922) for 19 years when Joe DiMaggio added a couple weeks worth of games to it. Even though he was a first baseman, he was a legitimate base-stealing threat and had 51 in a season while leading the league in two other seasons.

Unfortunately, a bout with sinusitis in 1923 caused him to miss an entire season, and it prematurely started his decline. He would continue to hit over .300 in 5 of his next 6 seasons, but he never fully regained the level of excellence he had before the illness. In 1928, he was sold to the Washington Senators and subsequently sold to the Boston Braves a short while later. He played a couple more seasons before retiring after the 1930. Without the sinusitis, he may have been able to play years longer and, in all likelihood, broken the 3,000 hit barrier quite easily. Still, his career was fantastic, and he would have two sons, Dick and Dave, that would play in the majors in the ’50’s.

The Hall of Fame welcomed Sisler in the 1939 class when Sisler received 235 of 274 (86%) of the votes.

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