Hall of Fame: Jimmie Foxx (1951)

Babe Ruth and “the right-handed Babe Ruth”.

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG *OPS+  TB   SH
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
1925 17 PHA AL 10 9 2 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .667 .667 .778 255 7 0
1926 18 PHA AL 26 32 8 10 2 1 0 5 1 0 1 6 .313 .333 .438 95 14 2
1927 19 PHA AL 61 130 23 42 6 5 3 20 2 1 14 11 .323 .393 .515 129 67 1
1928 20 PHA AL 118 400 85 131 29 10 13 79 3 8 60 43 .328 .416 .548 148 219 12
1929 21 PHA AL 149 517 123 183 23 9 33 118 9 7 103 70 .354 .463 .625 173 323 16
1930 22 PHA AL 153 562 127 188 33 13 37 156 7 7 93 66 .335 .429 .637 162 358 18
1931 23 PHA AL 139 515 93 150 32 10 30 120 4 3 73 84 .291 .380 .567 140 292 4
1932 24 PHA AL 154 585 151 213 33 9 58 169 3 7 116 96 .364 .469 .749 205 438 0
1933 25 PHA AL 149 573 125 204 37 9 48 163 2 2 96 93 .356 .449 .703 200 403 0
1934 26 PHA AL 150 539 120 180 28 6 44 130 11 2 111 75 .334 .449 .653 186 352 1
1935 27 PHA AL 147 535 118 185 33 7 36 115 6 4 114 99 .346 .461 .636 182 340 0
1936 28 BOS AL 155 585 130 198 32 8 41 143 13 4 105 119 .338 .440 .631 155 369 2
1937 29 BOS AL 150 569 111 162 24 6 36 127 10 8 99 96 .285 .392 .538 128 306 4
1938 30 BOS AL 149 565 139 197 33 9 50 175 5 4 119 76 .349 .462 .704 182 398 1
1939 31 BOS AL 124 467 130 168 31 10 35 105 4 3 89 72 .360 .464 .694 188 324 5
1940 32 BOS AL 144 515 106 153 30 4 36 119 4 7 101 87 .297 .412 .581 150 299 2
1941 33 BOS AL 135 487 87 146 27 8 19 105 2 5 93 103 .300 .412 .505 139 246 2
1942 34 TOT 100 305 43 69 12 0 8 33 1 0 40 70 .226 .320 .344 93 105 0
BOS AL 30 100 18 27 4 0 5 14 0 0 18 15 .270 .392 .460 136 46 0
CHC NL 70 205 25 42 8 0 3 19 1 22 55 .205 .282 .288 70 59 0
1944 36 CHC NL 15 20 0 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 5 .050 .136 .100 -33 2 0
1945 37 PHI NL 89 224 30 60 11 1 7 38 0 23 39 .268 .336 .420 112 94 1
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
20 Seasons 8134 2646 125 1922 72 1311 .325 .428 .609 163 71
2317 1751 458 534 87 1452 4956

3 MVP awards (1932, 1933, 1938)
9 All-Star games (1933-1941)
1 Triple Crown (1933)

James Emory Foxx was born on October 22, 1907 in Sudlersville, Maryland. Working on a farm, he gained his legendary strength, but at age 10 (10!), he decided to enlist in the military to escape farm chores (really?). The military rejected him, so Foxx went back to school and began running track. In high school, he became more well-known for his prodigious blasts on the diamond. Legendary scout Frank “Home Run” Baker noticed his talent and sent him on to Connie Mack. Mack liked the young man, but he moved Foxx to first base because Mickey Cochrane was the young, promising catcher at the time for the Philadelphia Athletics.

Foxx spent his first three years on the bench, but he still made his debut in 1928 as a 20-year old. He immediately showed promise but only played in 118 games. The next season, he broke out with a line of .354/.463/.625 with 33 HR and 118 RBI. That would pretty much be the story of Foxx’s career — great lines and lots of home runs and RBI’s (and strikeouts, but that’s okay; we’ll forgive him). At Yankee Stadium, he hit a ball into the third deck in left-field (which is pretty much impossible), and Lefty Gomez, the pitcher who gave up the titanic shot, remarked, “He has muscles in his hair.” When asked about the home run, he responded, “I don’t know how far it went, but it took someone 45 minutes to go get it”. Foxx would build a reputation as the greatest slugger of his era and maxed out at 58 HR and 169 RBI, but when the Depression took effect, Mack had to sell off a lot of his players.

The Red Sox bought Foxx for $150,000 in 1936, and he would play six excellent seasons. However, by the end of his stay (at age 34), he was mostly sapped of his power, but he could still hit. When he was moved to the Chicago Cubs in 1942, he was a bench player. He sat out the 1943 season, but he came back and played 15 games in 1944. Foxx made one more go of it for the Phillies in 1945, but while respectable, he was no longer Jimmie Foxx. Why the sudden decline from 36 to 29 to 8 HR and basically finished? There are two theories. One, he had a drinking problem, and two, he had sever sinus issues. My guess is that alcohol had more to do with it, but when journalists reported about it, they made up another excuse.

After his playing career, he made a series of bad investments and was basically broke. He managed a few times for different minor league and college teams, but he never stuck anywhere. At the age of 59, he supposedly died while choking on a bone.

Regardless, he will always be remembered as one of the greatest first baseman of all-time, and he would be enshrined in the Hall in 1951 with 179 of 226 votes (79.2%). Okay, seriously, someone explain to me why he wasn’t voted in from 1947 to 1950. 1947 I’ll give you as acceptable considering 4 people were inducted and one (Pie Traynor) was about two votes shy, but no one was elected in 1949 or 1950. I shrug and walk away from this.

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