Archive for the ‘Hall of Fame’ Category

Hall of Fame: Bob Feller (1962)

August 20, 2009
He may be controversial, but he was one of the best pitchers of all-time.

Year Team     G  GS  CG SHO  GF  SV   IP      H   BFP  HR    R   ER   BB   SO  SH  WP HBP  BK   W   L   ERA
1936 CLE A 14 8 5 0 5 1 62 52 279 1 29 23 47 76 1 8 4 3 5 3 3.34
1937 CLE A 26 19 9 0 4 1 148.2 116 651 4 68 56 106 150 12 5 2 2 9 7 3.39
1938 CLE A 39 36 20 2 3 1 277.2 225 1248 13 136 126 208 240 11 5 7 1 17 11 4.08
1939 CLE A 39 35 24 4 3 1 296.2 227 1243 13 105 94 142 246 17 14 3 1 24 9 2.85
1940 CLE A 43 37 31 4 5 4 320.1 245 1304 13 102 93 118 261 13 8 5 0 27 11 2.61
1941 CLE A 44 40 28 6 4 2 343 284 1466 15 129 120 194 260 13 6 5 0 25 13 3.15
1945 CLE A 9 9 7 1 0 0 72 50 300 1 21 20 35 59 3 1 2 0 5 3 2.50
1946 CLE A 48 42 36 10 5 4 371.1 277 1512 11 101 90 153 348 25 3 3 0 26 15 2.18
1947 CLE A 42 37 20 5 4 3 299 230 1218 17 97 89 127 196 15 7 4 2 20 11 2.68
1948 CLE A 44 38 18 2 3 3 280.1 255 1186 20 123 111 116 164 11 2 2 0 19 15 3.56
1949 CLE A 36 28 15 0 6 0 211 198 894 18 104 88 84 108 9 3 1 1 15 14 3.75
1950 CLE A 35 34 16 3 0 0 247 230 1055 20 105 94 103 119 14 3 5 0 16 11 3.43
1951 CLE A 33 32 16 4 1 0 249.2 239 1061 22 105 97 95 111 13 2 7 0 22 8 3.50
1952 CLE A 30 30 11 0 0 0 191.2 219 869 13 124 101 83 81 22 1 3 1 9 13 4.74
1953 CLE A 25 25 10 1 0 0 175.2 163 721 16 78 70 60 60 8 1 3 1 10 7 3.59
1954 CLE A 19 19 9 1 0 0 140 127 580 13 53 48 39 59 2 0 3 0 13 3 3.09
1955 CLE A 25 11 2 1 4 0 83 71 340 7 43 32 31 25 2 0 1 0 4 4 3.47
1956 CLE A 19 4 2 0 5 1 58 63 253 7 34 32 23 18 3 0 0 1 0 4 4.97
Total(18 y) 570 484 279 44 52 21 3827 3271 16180 224 1557 1384 1764 2581 194 69 60 13 266 162 3.25

8 All-Star Games (1938-1941, 1946-1948, 1950)

Robert William Andrew Feller was born on November 3, 1918 in Van Meter, Iowa. The son of a farmer and avid baseball fan, Feller grew up doing farm chores, but he also had a healthy love for the game of baseball. His father would create a “field of dreams” on their farm, but it was a full stadium with seats and a scoreboard. Bill Feller, Bob’s father, recruited people to play, and his son was the star. The younger Feller went on to play for his high school, where he became a local sensation. Scout Cy Slapnicka signed the young flamethrower for $1 and an autographed baseball.

But like many things in regard to Feller, his career began in controversy. Slapnicka was made GM of the Indians before Feller ever played a minor-league game, and Slapnicka transferred Feller’s contract through some minor-league teams before bringing him up. This broke league rules, and Kenesaw Landis was on it. However, he awarded Feller to the Indians after testimony from Feller and his father substantiated Slapnicka’s claimes, but Landis never really believed them. In his first major-league start in 1936, he struck out 15 St. Louis Browns, and not too long after, he struck out 17 Philadelphia Athletics (both of which were the worst teams in the AL that season, but it was still impressive). Feller’s arm was legendary from the beginning, and he did nothing to keep it from growing. He pitched his entire career with Cleveland. He won 266 games, and he may have won more if World War II hadn’t taken 4 years from him (Feller was legendary even on the battlefield as he won 8 battle stars and 5 campaign ribbons). In addition, Feller led the league in wins and strikeouts 6 times, though he also led it 4 times in walks (he was notoriously wild, making comparisons to Nolan Ryan acceptable), but he only led the league in ERA once.

There’s an interesting story about Feller’s arm. Supposedly, he learned how to throw by throwing against his barn in Iowa, and all the farmwork made him very strong. Some people believe he has thrown the hardest fastball ever, even better than Nolan Ryan’s. Nolan Ryan hit 102 on the radar gun, but some players who hit against both said that Feller threw harder. Now, you really have to take that with a grain of salt — Feller could have been more deceptive, etc. –, but that would mean that Feller threw at least 103. One day, someone brought Feller to some army equipment designed to measure the velocity of artillery shells, but he only threw 98. However, that was at the end of his career, and there were a couple instances where radar guns read 104 and 107 earlier in his career. Can you believe it? Regardless of how fast it actually went, it’s interesting to note that Feller usually gives credit to his curveball and slider for all those strikeouts.

By 1951, Feller’s career was winding down, but his 22-win 1951 was still very impressive. His ERA jumped more than a point the next season to 4.74, and he became an effective spot-starter for the next 3 seasons. At age 37 in 1956, his arm had enough. Five years later in 1962, he became the first player since Walter Johnson to be elected in his first year of eligibility, and he was the first player voted in by the BBWAA since 1956.

Hall of Fame: Joe Cronin (1956)

August 4, 2009
His number 4 has been retired by the Red Sox.

Year Team    G    AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI   BB   SO HBP  SH GDP   SB  CS   AVG   OBP   SLG
1926 PIT N 38 83 9 22 2 2 0 11 6 15 0 3 0 0 .265 .315 .337
1927 PIT N 12 22 2 5 1 0 0 3 2 3 0 0 0 0 .227 .292 .273
1928 WAS A 63 227 23 55 10 4 0 25 22 27 0 10 4 0 .242 .309 .322
1929 WAS A 145 494 72 139 29 8 8 61 85 37 1 21 5 9 .281 .388 .421
1930 WAS A 154 587 127 203 41 9 13 126 72 36 5 22 17 10 .346 .422 .513
1931 WAS A 156 611 103 187 44 13 12 126 81 52 4 4 10 9 .306 .391 .480
1932 WAS A 143 557 95 177 43 18 6 116 66 45 3 3 7 5 .318 .393 .492
1933 WAS A 152 602 89 186 45 11 5 118 87 49 2 5 5 4 .309 .398 .445
1934 WAS A 127 504 68 143 30 9 7 101 53 28 1 9 8 0 .284 .353 .421
1935 BOS A 144 556 70 164 37 14 9 95 63 40 3 8 3 3 .295 .370 .460
1936 BOS A 81 295 36 83 22 4 2 43 32 21 1 6 1 3 .281 .354 .403
1937 BOS A 148 570 102 175 40 4 18 110 84 73 6 11 5 3 .307 .402 .486
1938 BOS A 143 530 98 172 51 5 17 94 91 60 5 11 7 5 .325 .428 .536
1939 BOS A 143 520 97 160 33 3 19 107 87 48 0 20 18 6 6 .308 .407 .492
1940 BOS A 149 548 104 156 35 6 24 111 83 65 1 13 6 7 5 .285 .380 .502
1941 BOS A 143 518 98 161 38 8 16 95 82 55 1 14 20 1 4 .311 .406 .508
1942 BOS A 45 79 7 24 3 0 4 24 15 21 0 1 3 0 1 .304 .415 .494
1943 BOS A 59 77 8 24 4 0 5 29 11 4 0 0 3 0 0 .312 .398 .558
1944 BOS A 76 191 24 46 7 0 5 28 34 19 1 5 7 1 4 .241 .358 .356
1945 BOS A 3 8 1 3 0 0 0 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 .375 .545 .375
20 Years) 2124 7579 1233 2285 515 118 170 1424 1059 700 34 166 57i 87 71 .301 .390 .468

7 All-Star Games (1933-1935, 1937-1939, 1941)

Joseph Edward Cronin was born on October 12, 1906 in San Francisco, California. He was signed before the 1925 season by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he wasn’t a particularly impressive shortstop prospect. In his brief time with the Pirates in 1926 and 1927, he didn’t play all that much or well when he did play, but he did enough to catch the eye of Joe Engel, a scout for the Washington Senators. Engel bought Cronin away from the Pirates for $7,500 and brought him to Washington. Owner Clark Griffith wasn’t amused and threatened to fire Engel.

Cronin’s 1928 season wasn’t really an indication that his career was going to turn around, but when he received a full season’s worth of at-bats in 1929, he took full advantage. Cronin really broke out a season later with career-highs in RBI (126) and batting average (.346), and he won the Sporting News Player of the Year Award (sadly, the recognized MVP’s of today weren’t started until 1931 — more on that in November). He continued to hit over the next few seasons, gaining the favor of fans and Griffith. Griffith introduced Cronin to his niece, and the two were soon married in 1934. In 1933, he had become the player-manager of the Senators and led them to a World Series, but his career and life in Washington weren’t to be.

Griffith sold his star player and nephew-in-law (is there such a term?) to the Boston Red Sox after the 1934 season, but he ensured that Cronin received a 5-year/$250,000 contract when he did. His Boston career began a bit inauspiciously, but the years from 1938-1941 were some of Cronin’s best. The career shortstop would continue to lead the Red Sox as player-manager in his time there, but in 1942, he began taking over as primarily the manager. A youngster by the name of Johnny Pesky was making a name for himself, and Cronin took himself out of the lineup. Cronin played until 1945, and though Pesky went off to World War II, Cronin’s last 4 seasons were still spent primarily as a pinch-hitter.

Cronin went on to become GM of the Red Sox in 1947, where he somewhat infamously never brought up an African-American player to play for his team, and he became the American League President in 1959 (the year Pumpsie Green made his debut). Three years before that, the BBWAA saw fit to elect Cronin to the Hall of Fame with 152 of 196 votes (78.8%).

Hall of Fame: Hank Greenberg (1956)

June 23, 2009

It has often been wondered, “What might have been …”
Year Team     G    AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI   BB   SO HBP  SH GDP   SB  CS   AVG   OBP   SLG
1930 DET A 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
1933 DET A 117 449 59 135 33 3 12 87 46 78 1 2 6 2 .301 .367 .468
1934 DET A 153 593 118 201 63 7 26 139 63 93 2 9 9 5 .339 .404 .600
1935 DET A 152 619 121 203 46 16 36 170 87 91 0 4 4 3 .328 .411 .628
1936 DET A 12 46 10 16 6 2 1 16 9 6 0 0 1 0 .348 .455 .630
1937 DET A 154 594 137 200 49 14 40 183 102 101 3 2 8 3 .337 .436 .668
1938 DET A 155 556 144 175 23 4 58 146 119 92 3 3 7 5 .315 .438 .683
1939 DET A 138 500 112 156 42 7 33 112 91 95 2 11 8 8 3 .312 .420 .622
1940 DET A 148 573 129 195 50 8 41 150 93 75 1 3 15 6 3 .340 .433 .670
1941 DET A 19 67 12 18 5 1 2 12 16 12 0 0 1 1 0 .269 .410 .463
1945 DET A 78 270 47 84 20 2 13 60 42 40 0 0 9 3 1 .311 .404 .544
1946 DET A 142 523 91 145 29 5 44 127 80 88 0 1 17 5 1 .277 .373 .604
1947 PIT N 125 402 71 100 13 2 25 74 104 73 4 0 16 0 .249 .408 .478
Total NL 125 402 71 100 13 2 25 74 104 73 4 0 16 0 .249 .408 .478
Total AL 1269 4791 980 1528 366 69 306 1202 748 771 12 35 50i 58 26 .319 .412 .616
Total 1394 5193 1051 1628 379 71 331 1276 852 844 16 35 66i 58 26i .313 .412 .605

2 MVP Awards (1935, 1940)
4 All-Star Games (1937-1940)

The first “Hammerin’ Hank” was born on January 1, 1911 in the Bronx. Henry Benjamin Greenberg was a physical specimen at 6’4″ and 215 lbs. while in high school, but his coordination was actually quite poor. His high school coach would later recall that Greenberg worked so hard because he was afraid of being embarassed. Overcoming his possible physical shortcomings (or tallcomings?), Greenberg was a two-sport star in baseball and, you guessed it, basketball, but Greenberg was always more interested in baseball. The Giants came calling, but McGraw eventually deemed him too awkward. The Yankees came next (a devout Jew, the Yankees saw the possible draw of a Jewish star in New York), but with Lou Gehrig seemingly cemented at first, Greenberg said no. In January of 1930, he finally signed with the Detroit Tigers.

Greenberg spent 3 seasons in the minors, but after nailing 32 dingers in 1932, the Tigers found a spot for him in 1933. He made an instant impact, lacing 33 doubles and 12 homers while hitting .301. Playing 153 games in 1934, Greenberg broke out. 63 doubles, 26 home runs, 139 RBI’s and a 1.005 OPS later (.339 batting average), Greenberg was a star, but his most famous game was one he didn’t play, sitting out Yom Kippur during a pennant race. A season later, he was an MVP, but it didn’t end well. During the regular season, he hit .328 with 46 doubles, 36 home runs, and an astounding 170 RBI’s, but he wasn’t an All-Star (he had 103 RBI’s by the break!! What happened?). However, once he led the Tigers to a World Series they would ultimately win, he broke his wrist in the second game of the World Series. When the next season rolled around, he broke the same wrist again, 12 games into the season. It appeared that his career was over.

But Greenberg was used to overcoming the odds. His 1937 campaign was a masterpiece. He hit .337/.436/.668 with 49 doubles and 40 home runs, and he made a run at Hack Wilson’s RBI record when he posted 183. Greenberg belted 58 more home runs, nearing Ruth’s record and tying Jimmie Foxx’s for righties, a year later. 1939 was okay, but he did something truly remarkable for a man of his stature — moved to left field to accomodate a younger player, Rudy York. It worked as the Tigers won the pennant. In 1941, he was inducted into service to be discharged a little later, but after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he re-enlisted, this time to the Air Corps. He served in the Pacific Arena with distinction, but he missed out on 4 and a half seasons of his prime. When he came back, he acted as if nothing had happened, hitting a home run in his first game. 1946 was another great season, but after a salary dispute with the Tigers owner, he was sent to Pittsburgh. Greenberg threatened to retire, but the Pirates convinced him to come back for one more season. Though he didn’t hit all that great, his biggest contribution was mentoring Ralph Kiner, who would lead a Hall of Fame career.

Greenberg retired to the Cleveland Indians front office after the season. He would become general manager and was an advocate of bringing African-Americans into the game (I wonder if that had to do with his military service or empathy due to the Anti-Semitism he faced). In 1956, he finally became a member of the Hall of Fame when he garned 164 of 193 votes (85%).

Hall of Fame: Gabby Hartnett (1955)

June 1, 2009

Year Team    G    AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI   BB IBB   SO HBP  SH SB  CS   AVG   OBP   SLG
1922 CHI N 31 72 4 14 1 1 0 4 6 0i 8 0 4 1 0 .194 .256 .236
1923 CHI N 85 231 28 62 12 2 8 39 25 22 3 4 4 0 .268 .347 .442
1924 CHI N 111 354 56 106 17 7 16 67 39 37 5 9 10 2 .299 .377 .523
1925 CHI N 117 398 61 115 28 3 24 67 36 77 2 7 1 5 .289 .351 .555
1926 CHI N 93 284 35 78 25 3 8 41 32 37 2 7 0 0 .275 .352 .468
1927 CHI N 127 449 56 132 32 5 10 80 44 42 3 13 2 0 .294 .361 .454
1928 CHI N 120 388 61 117 26 9 14 57 65 32 2 9 3 0 .302 .404 .523
1929 CHI N 25 22 2 6 2 1 1 9 5 5 0 1 1 0 .273 .407 .591
1930 CHI N 141 508 84 172 31 3 37 122 55 62 1 14 0 .339 .404 .630
1931 CHI N 116 380 53 107 32 1 8 70 52 48 1 5 3 .282 .370 .434
1932 CHI N 121 406 52 110 25 3 12 52 51 59 1 4 0 .271 .354 .436
1933 CHI N 140 490 55 135 21 4 16 88 37 51 0 8 1 .276 .326 .433
1934 CHI N 130 438 58 131 21 1 22 90 37 46 3 9 0 .299 .358 .502
1935 CHI N 116 413 67 142 32 6 13 91 41 46 1 6 1 .344 .404 .545
1936 CHI N 121 424 49 130 25 6 7 64 30 36 6 8 0 .307 .361 .443
1937 CHI N 110 356 47 126 21 6 12 82 43 19 0 6 0 .354 .424 .548
1938 CHI N 88 299 40 82 19 1 10 59 48 17 3 3 1 .274 .380 .445
1939 CHI N 97 306 36 85 18 2 12 59 37 32 1 7 0 .278 .358 .467
1940 CHI N 37 64 3 17 3 0 1 12 8 7 0 1 0 .266 .347 .359
1941 NY N 64 150 20 45 5 0 5 26 12 14 1 2 0 .300 .356 .433
Total 1990 6432 867 1912 396 64 236 1179 703 0i 697 35 127 28 7i .297 .370 .489

1 MVP Award (1935)
6 All-Star Games (1933-1938)

Born on December 20, 1900, Charles Leo Hartnett would die exactly 72 years later (something I’d like to do). His father was a great defensive catcher for a semi-pro team, and he would teach his four sons the skills for the “tools of ignorance”. As a child, Hartnett broke his arm, and when it didn’t heal properly, his mother forced him to carry things with his right arm in order to exercise it, leading to a very strong arm. Harnett went on to play for any team he could find, and his break came in 1921 when the Chicago Cubs signed him.

He would play sparingly in his first season in 1922 and double his games the following season, and the most noteworthy thing he did was not talk (he was shy), which led to his nickname. When he finally got his shot in 1924, he made it count, coming in 15th in the MVP voting, with a .299/.377/.523 line, though he led the league in strikeouts. Hartnett followed that up by coming in second in the league the following season with 24 home runs. Four years later, he had a mysterious injury to his arm. With his new bride, he came to bring training, and his arm was pronounced “dead”. He would only catch one game that year.

After the birth of his son, his arm was better, and he had a terrific 1930 campaign. He belted a career-high (and then record for catchers) 27 home runs and 122 RBI with an amazing 1.034 OPS. In 1932, he was behind the plate when Babe Ruth called his home run. Three years later, Hartnett won his only MVP Award by hitting .344 and leading in several defensive categories. His most famous moment came in 1928 when he hit his “Homer in the Gloamin'” to help the Cubbies win the pennant. By the end of his career in 1941 (his only season not as a Cub — with the Giants), he held many of the offensive records for catchers, and his mask and bat were sent to the Hall of Fame.

Hartnett waited 14 years to find himself in the Hall of Fame. In 1955, he received 195 of 251 (77.7%) of the vote for his enshrinement.

Hall of Fame: Ted Lyons (1955)

April 2, 2009
I think it’s impressive how he had to switch his pitching strategy and stayed effective.

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  W   L   G   GS  CG SHO  GF SV   IP     H    R   ER   HR  BB   SO  HBP  ERA *lgERA *ERA+ WHIP
+--------------+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+------+----+----+----+---+----+----+---+-----+-----+----+-----+
1923 22 CHW AL 2 1 9 1 0 0 5 0 22.7 30 21 16 2 15 6 1 6.35 3.94 62 1.985
1924 23 CHW AL 12 11 41 22 12 0 15 3 216.3 279 143 117 10 72 52 2 4.87 4.10 84 1.622
1925 24 CHW AL 21 11 43 32 19 5 8 3 262.7 274 111 95 7 83 45 2 3.26 4.17 128 1.359
1926 25 CHW AL 18 16 39 31 24 3 8 2 283.7 268 108 95 6 106 51 1 3.01 3.86 128 1.318
1927 26 CHW AL 22 14 39 34 30 2 4 2 307.7 291 125 97 7 67 71 0 2.84 4.05 143 1.164
1928 27 CHW AL 15 14 39 27 21 0 12 6 240.0 276 133 106 11 68 60 2 3.98 4.04 102 1.433
1929 28 CHW AL 14 20 37 31 21 1 6 2 259.3 276 136 118 11 76 57 2 4.10 4.28 105 1.357
1930 29 CHW AL 22 15 42 36 29 1 6 1 297.7 331 160 125 12 57 69 2 3.78 4.60 122 1.303
1931 30 CHW AL 4 6 22 12 7 0 8 0 101.0 117 50 45 6 33 16 0 4.01 4.25 106 1.485
1932 31 CHW AL 10 15 33 26 19 1 4 2 230.7 243 104 84 10 71 58 3 3.28 4.34 133 1.361
1933 32 CHW AL 10 21 36 27 14 2 9 1 228.0 260 142 111 10 74 74 0 4.38 4.24 97 1.465
1934 33 CHW AL 11 13 30 24 21 0 4 1 205.3 249 138 111 15 66 53 2 4.87 4.72 97 1.534
1935 34 CHW AL 15 8 23 22 19 3 1 0 190.7 194 79 64 15 56 54 3 3.02 4.63 153 1.311
1936 35 CHW AL 10 13 26 24 15 1 2 0 182.0 227 115 104 21 45 48 3 5.14 5.19 101 1.495
1937 36 CHW AL 12 7 22 22 11 0 0 0 169.3 182 86 78 21 45 45 1 4.15 4.62 112 1.341
1938 37 CHW AL 9 11 23 23 17 1 0 0 194.7 238 93 80 13 52 54 0 3.70 4.89 132 1.490
1939 38 CHW AL 14 6 21 21 16 0 0 0 172.7 162 71 53 7 26 65 1 2.76 4.71 171 1.089
1940 39 CHW AL 12 8 22 22 17 4 0 0 186.3 188 85 67 17 37 72 0 3.24 4.42 137 1.208
1941 40 CHW AL 12 10 22 22 19 2 0 0 187.3 199 87 77 9 37 63 4 3.70 4.11 111 1.260
1942 41 CHW AL 14 6 20 20 20 1 0 0 180.3 167 52 42 11 26 50 2 2.10 3.62 173 1.070
1946 45 CHW AL 1 4 5 5 5 0 0 0 42.7 38 17 11 2 9 10 0 2.32 3.40 146 1.102
+--------------+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+------+----+----+----+---+----+----+---+-----+-----+----+-----+
21 Yr WL% .531 260 230 594 484 356 27 92 23 4161.0 4489 2056 1696 223 1121 1073 31 3.67 4.32 118 1.348

1 All-Star Game (1939)

Theodore Amar Lyons was born on December 28, 1900 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Originally, Lyons wanted to be a lawyer, but his pitching would give him another career. As he pitched more, more scouts came to see him, and as more scouts came, they began to drool over the righty. After his graduation in 1923, the Oakland A’s gave him the biggest offer, but he decided to take the White Sox offer of $1,000. Lyons would never pitch in the minors, and he would make his debut on July 2nd as a reliever.

At the start of 1924, Lyons would become a full-time starter. His first season was just a decent one, but he picked it up in 1925 by leading the AL in victories with 21 even though he played on the fifth-place White Sox. Joe McCarthy once said that if Lyons had pitched for the Yankees he would have won 400 games, but because he played for such a bad team, he only won 260. His record of 260-230 really doesn’t reflect his 118 ERA+. From 1925 to 1930, he would average nearly 19 victories each season, which was pretty good considering his team never won a pennant. Things would change for Lyons, however, in 1931 when he blew his elbow out.

Lyons had lost his fastball, but determined to still pitch, he developed a knuckleball. Without his fastball, Lyons wasn’t as effective, but he could still contribute. In 1935, he found some luck going 15-8 with a 3.02 ERA, but the next season, he dramatically declined. Unable to sustainably pitch as he had before, manager Jimmy Dykes turned Lyons into a Sunday pitcher because Lyons was still a popular player. Nicknamed “Sunday Teddy” because of this strategy, Lyons was extremely effective over the next four seasons. In 1942, he even completed all 20 of his starts. Later in 1942, he joined the Marines and served for three years. He tried a comeback in 1946, but it was short-lived.

Over his career, he never played in a postseason game, but he would still find his way to Cooperstown. The writers elected Lyons to Cooperstown in 1955 with 86.5% (217 of 252) of the vote.

Hall of Fame: Joe DiMaggio (1955)

March 31, 2009
What could have been if WWII hadn’t come.

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG *OPS+  TB   SH
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
1936 21 NYY AL 138 637 132 206 44 15 29 125 4 0 24 39 .323 .352 .576 128 367 3
1937 22 NYY AL 151 621 151 215 35 15 46 167 3 0 64 37 .346 .412 .673 168 418 2
1938 23 NYY AL 145 599 129 194 32 13 32 140 6 1 59 21 .324 .386 .581 139 348 0
1939 24 NYY AL 120 462 108 176 32 6 30 126 3 0 52 20 .381 .448 .671 184 310 6
1940 25 NYY AL 132 508 93 179 28 9 31 133 1 2 61 30 .352 .425 .626 173 318 0
1941 26 NYY AL 139 541 122 193 43 11 30 125 4 2 76 13 .357 .440 .643 184 348 0
1942 27 NYY AL 154 610 123 186 29 13 21 114 4 2 68 36 .305 .376 .498 147 304 0
1946 31 NYY AL 132 503 81 146 20 8 25 95 1 0 59 24 .290 .367 .511 142 257 3
1947 32 NYY AL 141 534 97 168 31 10 20 97 3 0 64 32 .315 .391 .522 154 279 0
1948 33 NYY AL 153 594 110 190 26 11 39 155 1 1 67 30 .320 .396 .598 163 355 0
1949 34 NYY AL 76 272 58 94 14 6 14 67 0 1 55 18 .346 .459 .596 178 162 0
1950 35 NYY AL 139 525 114 158 33 10 32 122 0 0 80 33 .301 .394 .585 151 307 0
1951 36 NYY AL 116 415 72 109 22 4 12 71 0 0 61 36 .263 .365 .422 116 175 0
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
13 Seasons 6821 2214 131 1537 9 369 .325 .398 .579 155 14
1736 1390 389 361 30 790 3948

3 MVP Awards (1939, 1941, 1947)
13 All-Star Games (1936-1942, 1946-1951)

Joseph Paul DiMaggio was born on Novermber 25, 1914 in Martinez, California. Though his father wanted him to be a fisherman like himself, the smell of fish made Joe nauseous, and he would often do whatever he could do get out of working on his father’s boat. In 1933, his older brother Vince convinced the manager of the San Francisco Seals to give Joe a try. Later that season, DiMaggio recorded a hit in 61 consecutive games. His legend was growing and the scouts were drooling, but then, DiMaggio tore the ligaments in his knee while at his aunt’s house. The injury scared teams away, but the Yankees still saw his potential. They bought him but allowed him to play for the Seals for another season in which he hit .398 with 34 HR and 154 RBI, making him the MVP of the league.

In 1936, the highly-touted DiMaggio didn’t disappoint, hitting .323 (though with a poor OBP in comparison, but I’m just nit-picking) with 29 HR and 125 RBI while setting rookie records in runs (132) and triples (15). He followed that season with an even better one. 46 HR and 167 RBI later, DiMaggio was the hit of the party. In his first four seasons, the Yankees won the World Series. Over his first five seasons, DiMaggio continued his brilliant play, getting close to hitting .400 (.381), hitting over 30 home runs in 3 of those seasons, and driving in over 100 in 4 of those seasons. In 1941, he had his unbelievable run of 56 consecutive games with a hit. Then, the Second World War hit, and DiMaggio enlisted in the army. Oddly enough, his parents, of Italian descent, were listed as enemy aliens and not allowed to travel and, worst of all, not fish in the San Francisco Bay as his father always had.

It’s impossible to know what DiMaggio could have done in the three seasons between his military service, but they were all his “prime” years, thus losing a lot of production. Regardless, he came back with a bang, hitting 25 HR and driving in 95. The next season, he brought back up his batting average and he won his third MVP Award. After another great season in 1948, he signed a record $100,000 contract, but injuries kept him from producing. Two seasons later, DiMaggio couldn’t take a step without pain, and after a Dodger scouting report accidentally became public, DiMaggio decided it was, indeed, time to retire. The once splendid center fielder could no longer tolerate the pain and his lack of contribution to his team.

Though he retired after the 1951 season, he wasn’t elected into the Hall of Fame until 1955 with 223 of the 251 votes (88.8%). I can’t fathom why it took them so long (he missed in 1954), especially considering he was such a fan-favorite.

An interesting side note: he was once traded with Yogi Berra for Ted Williams, but the deal fell through because the Yankees decided Berra was too much to give up.

Hall of Fame: Bill Terry (1954)

March 30, 2009
Go ahead, ask him for his number. What’s the worst that could happen?

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG *OPS+  TB   SH
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
1923 24 NYG NL 3 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 .143 .333 .143 30 1 0
1924 25 NYG NL 77 163 26 39 7 2 5 24 1 1 17 18 .239 .311 .399 91 65 0
1925 26 NYG NL 133 489 75 156 31 6 11 70 4 5 42 52 .319 .374 .474 119 232 4
1926 27 NYG NL 98 225 26 65 12 5 5 43 3 22 17 .289 .352 .453 116 102 8
1927 28 NYG NL 150 580 101 189 32 13 20 121 1 46 53 .326 .377 .529 141 307 19
1928 29 NYG NL 149 568 100 185 36 11 17 101 7 64 36 .326 .394 .518 135 294 17
1929 30 NYG NL 150 607 103 226 39 5 14 117 10 48 35 .372 .418 .522 131 317 18
1930 31 NYG NL 154 633 139 254 39 15 23 129 8 57 33 .401 .452 .619 158 392 19
1931 32 NYG NL 153 611 121 213 43 20 9 112 8 47 36 .349 .397 .529 149 323 2
1932 33 NYG NL 154 643 124 225 42 11 28 117 4 32 23 .350 .382 .580 156 373 1
1933 34 NYG NL 123 475 68 153 20 5 6 58 3 40 23 .322 .375 .423 128 201 9
1934 35 NYG NL 153 602 109 213 30 6 8 83 0 60 47 .354 .414 .463 137 279 19
1935 36 NYG NL 145 596 91 203 32 8 6 64 7 41 55 .341 .383 .451 125 269 16
1936 37 NYG NL 79 229 36 71 10 5 2 39 0 19 19 .310 .363 .424 112 97 5
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
14 Seasons 6428 2193 112 1078 6 449 .341 .393 .506 136 137
1721 1120 373 154 56 537 3252

3 All-Star Games (1933-1935)

Born on October 30, 1898 in Atlanta, Georgia, William Harold Terry would become one of the best first basemen ever. Unlike so many of the previous Hall of Famers in this series, Terry was relatively old, 25, when he began to play regularly, but he would make his 14 seasons in the major leagues count.

His first season in 1924 wasn’t his best work, but he quickly started turning things around the following season. From 1927 to 1933, Terry was an exceptional first baseman, both offensively and defensively. Playing at the Polo Grounds for the New York Giants, the field was big and kept him from hitting as many home runs, but he instead rattled off a bunch of doubles and triples. Terry also hit for a very high average, and his .341 career mark is the best for a National League left-handed hitter. He hit his peak in a spectacular 1930 season. In that season, he became the last National Leaguer to hit .401 (Ted Williams is the last major leaguer and American Leaguer eleven years later). He smacked 23 home runs and 123 RBI’s while scoring himself 139 times. Oddly enough, he was sixth in the league in runs (Chuck Klein had 158).

Defensively, he was really good. Part of the reason that it took a while for Terry to get to the majors, Terry had to oust future Hall of Famer George Kelly. After he took the reigns, he was constantly a league-leader in putouts, assists, and fielding average (yeah, I know fielding percentage isn’t the greatest measurement, but all of these indicate he was pretty good).

But it took a while to get into the Hall of Fame. Terry, who had a career OPS+ of 136 and a reputation as a great defender, wouldn’t be elected until 1954 although his career ended after the 1936 season. Why? He didn’t get along with the writers. Known for wanting to keep his life private, Terry was often blunt and difficult to approach. He didn’t think anyone needed to know his business, and when he was asked for his personal phone number, Terry declined, saying he was already available for 16 hours a day and was done when he got home. Regardless, the writers eventually elected him in 1954 with 77.4% (195 of 252) of the vote. Not holding a grudge, Terry was a popular and constant sight during induction ceremonies for numerous years.

Hall of Fame: Bill Dickey (1954)

March 26, 2009
Another great Yankee catcher.

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG *OPS+  TB   SH
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
1928 21 NYY AL 10 15 1 3 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 2 .200 .200 .400 56 6 0
1929 22 NYY AL 130 447 60 145 30 6 10 65 5 3 14 16 .324 .346 .485 117 217 11
1930 23 NYY AL 109 366 55 124 25 7 5 65 7 1 21 14 .339 .375 .486 120 178 9
1931 24 NYY AL 130 477 65 156 17 10 6 78 2 1 39 20 .327 .378 .442 120 211 7
1932 25 NYY AL 108 423 66 131 20 4 15 84 2 4 34 13 .310 .361 .482 121 204 2
1933 26 NYY AL 130 478 58 152 24 8 14 97 3 4 47 14 .318 .381 .490 135 234 5
1934 27 NYY AL 104 395 56 127 24 4 12 72 0 3 38 18 .322 .384 .494 132 195 3
1935 28 NYY AL 120 448 54 125 26 6 14 81 1 1 35 11 .279 .339 .458 109 205 2
1936 29 NYY AL 112 423 99 153 26 8 22 107 0 2 46 16 .362 .428 .617 158 261 0
1937 30 NYY AL 140 530 87 176 35 2 29 133 3 2 73 22 .332 .417 .570 145 302 1
1938 31 NYY AL 132 454 84 142 27 4 27 115 3 0 75 22 .313 .412 .568 143 258 1
1939 32 NYY AL 128 480 98 145 23 3 24 105 5 0 77 37 .302 .403 .513 133 246 4
1940 33 NYY AL 106 372 45 92 11 1 9 54 0 3 48 32 .247 .336 .355 82 132 2
1941 34 NYY AL 109 348 35 99 15 5 7 71 2 1 45 17 .284 .371 .417 109 145 1
1942 35 NYY AL 82 268 28 79 13 1 2 37 2 2 26 11 .295 .359 .373 108 100 0
1943 36 NYY AL 85 242 29 85 18 2 4 33 2 1 41 12 .351 .445 .492 173 119 1
1946 39 NYY AL 54 134 10 35 8 0 2 10 0 1 19 12 .261 .357 .366 101 49 2
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
17 Seasons 1789 6300 930 1969 343 72 202 1209 37 29 678 289 .313 .382 .486 127 3062 51

11 All-Star Games (1933, 1934, 1936-1943, 1946)

William Malcolm Dickey was born on June 5, 1907 in Bastrop, Louisiana. It didn’t take him long to make it to the majors, doing so at age 21, but he wouldn’t be the full-time catcher until the next season.

From that moment in 1929, Dickey would have one of the greatest careers ever for a catcher. He rattled off six consecutive seasons of hitting over .300, and over his first 13 seasons, he would play over 100 games every season, a major-league record that still stands today. At the beginning of his career, he was overshadowed by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio. He would continue to put up solid numbers until 1935 when his averaged dropped below .300 for the first time. Upset over such a travesty, Dickey took no prisoners over the next four seasons as his average and power jumped, and he would not post an OPS+ under 130. The demands of catching for so many seasons, however, started to take their toll. His power and average would dramatically drop from 24 to 9 home runs and .302 to .247. Two years later, his string of 100+ games played would end. After the 1943 season, he enlisted in the army, but he came back for one more try in 1946, but Dickey only played 54 games.

Obviously a great hitter, Dickey was also a great backstop. He was an excellent handler of pitchers, and his tutelage and guidance helped Lefty Gomez settle down. If base runners tried to steal, he gunned them down. The one negative about Dickey could have been his competitive nature. Usually a good thing, he could get carried away. In 1932, Washington Senator Carl Reynolds ran over him at home plate. A furious Dickey whaled on Reynolds. One punch and a broken jaw later, Dickey had himself a 30-day suspension and a $1,000 fine. Dickey did have a softer side. He was Gehrig’s best friend and the first to know about his debilitating disease.

Dickey would go on to be a coach in 1949. He would be essential to Yogi Berra’s career, even though the young catcher had stolen his number (Dickey would wear 33; actually, Dickey, who’s number was retired in 1972 in a joint ceremony with Berra, would not wear the number at the beginning or end of his career as a Yankee). Five years later, Dickey was elected to the Hall of Fame with 202 of the 252 (80.2%) votes.

Fun fact, well kind of depressing I guess: Dickey is the only Yankee with a retired number who has not been featured by YES Network’s Yankeeography. Travesty.

Hall of Fame: Rabbit Maranville (1954)

March 26, 2009
In one of his famous poses.

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG *OPS+  TB   SH
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
1912 20 BSN NL 26 86 8 18 2 0 0 8 1 9 14 .209 .292 .233 44 20 5
1913 21 BSN NL 143 571 68 141 13 8 2 48 25 68 62 .247 .330 .308 83 176 17
1914 22 BSN NL 156 586 74 144 23 6 4 78 28 45 56 .246 .306 .326 85 191 27
1915 23 BSN NL 149 509 51 124 23 6 2 43 18 12 45 65 .244 .308 .324 93 165 23
1916 24 BSN NL 155 604 79 142 16 13 4 38 32 15 50 69 .235 .296 .325 94 196 24
1917 25 BSN NL 142 561 69 146 19 13 3 43 27 40 47 .260 .312 .357 110 200 10
1918 26 BSN NL 11 38 3 12 0 1 0 3 0 4 0 .316 .381 .368 133 14 0
1919 27 BSN NL 131 480 44 128 18 10 5 43 12 36 23 .267 .319 .377 112 181 12
1920 28 BSN NL 134 493 48 131 19 15 1 43 14 11 28 24 .266 .305 .371 97 183 13
1921 29 PIT NL 153 612 90 180 25 12 1 70 25 12 47 38 .294 .347 .379 90 232 23
1922 30 PIT NL 155 672 115 198 26 15 0 63 24 13 61 43 .295 .355 .378 88 254 12
1923 31 PIT NL 141 581 78 161 19 9 1 41 14 11 42 34 .277 .327 .346 76 201 9
1924 32 PIT NL 152 594 62 158 33 20 2 71 18 14 35 53 .266 .307 .399 86 237 11
1925 33 CHC NL 75 266 37 62 10 3 0 23 6 5 29 20 .233 .308 .293 53 78 10
1926 34 BRO NL 78 234 32 55 8 5 0 24 7 26 24 .235 .312 .312 69 73 6
1927 35 STL NL 9 29 0 7 1 0 0 0 0 2 2 .241 .290 .276 50 8 0
1928 36 STL NL 112 366 40 88 14 10 1 34 3 36 27 .240 .310 .342 69 125 9
1929 37 BSN NL 146 560 87 159 26 10 0 55 13 47 33 .284 .344 .366 79 205 23
1930 38 BSN NL 142 558 85 157 26 8 2 43 9 48 23 .281 .344 .367 74 205 17
1931 39 BSN NL 145 562 69 146 22 5 0 33 9 56 34 .260 .329 .317 77 178 16
1932 40 BSN NL 149 571 67 134 20 4 0 37 4 46 28 .235 .295 .284 59 162 15
1933 41 BSN NL 143 478 46 104 15 4 0 38 2 36 34 .218 .274 .266 60 127 17
1935 43 BSN NL 23 67 3 10 2 0 0 5 0 3 3 .149 .186 .179 2 12 1
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
23 Seasons 10078 2605 177 884 93 756 .258 .318 .340 82 300
2670 1255 380 28 291 839 3423

Walter James Vincent Maranville was born on November 11, 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. His nickname “Rabbit” was apt. First, he was small and would only reach 5’5″. Second, he was fast and superior jumping ability allowed him to be a first-rate defender, end his career with a record 5,139 put-outs for a shortstop, and run out 22 inside the park home runs.

Maranville was known for being a clown and practical joker, and at the beginning, he was much appreciated for it. He would bring an umpire a pair of glasses, mock slow pitchers, and frequently jump into the arms of his biggest teammates for the camera. On the field, he was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball for the Boston Braves, and oddly enough, he would hit fourth for the 1914 Miracle Braves. In that 1914 season, Maranville would finish second in the MVP voting, the closest he would get to the award. Over the next five seasons, he would lead the league in most defensive categories, cementing his status as one of the game’s stars.

However, Maranville was also known for drinking, and it would cause the vertically-challenged shortstop to be shipped around the league. For a while, his antics were comedic relief, but when his drinking became too much of a problem, the Braves sent him to Pittsburgh in 1921, where he still played a great shortstop. Glenn Wright came up in 1924, and Maranville shifted to second, where he again was a defensive whiz. The following off-season, Maranville was traded to the Cubs, but his alcohol problems became worse. After 53 games, the Cubs released him. In 1926, the Cardinals grabbed him and sent him to Rochester of the International League, where Maranville finally controlled his alcoholism. However, Maranville would be sent back to the Braves in 1929.

Maranville continued to play well, but in 1934, he broke his leg while sliding into home during Spring Training and was never the same. His 23 seasons in the majors would be the most ever until Pete Rose played 24. Finally after 13 tries, Maranville was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1954 with 82.9% (209 of 252) of the vote.

I don’t know if he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but if he does, then doesn’t Omar Vizquel?

Hall of Fame: Al Simmons (1953)

March 25, 2009
It may have been. I think he’s the fifth or sixth A from that team that has been in this series.

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG *OPS+  TB   SH
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
1924 22 PHA AL 152 594 69 183 31 9 8 102 16 15 30 60 .308 .343 .431 98 256 18
1925 23 PHA AL 153 654 122 253 43 12 24 129 7 14 35 41 .387 .419 .599 149 392 6
1926 24 PHA AL 147 583 90 199 53 10 19 109 11 3 48 49 .341 .392 .564 142 329 10
1927 25 PHA AL 106 406 86 159 36 11 15 108 10 2 31 30 .392 .436 .645 171 262 20
1928 26 PHA AL 119 464 78 163 33 9 15 107 1 4 31 30 .351 .396 .558 145 259 11
1929 27 PHA AL 143 581 114 212 41 9 34 157 4 2 31 38 .365 .398 .642 159 373 16
1930 28 PHA AL 138 554 152 211 41 16 36 165 9 2 39 34 .381 .423 .708 176 392 17
1931 29 PHA AL 128 513 105 200 37 13 22 128 3 3 47 45 .390 .444 .641 176 329 0
1932 30 PHA AL 154 670 144 216 28 9 35 151 4 2 47 76 .322 .368 .548 130 367 0
1933 31 CHW AL 146 605 85 200 29 10 14 119 5 1 39 49 .331 .373 .481 129 291 2
1934 32 CHW AL 138 558 102 192 36 7 18 104 3 2 53 58 .344 .403 .530 136 296 0
1935 33 CHW AL 128 525 68 140 22 7 16 79 4 6 33 43 .267 .313 .427 88 224 1
1936 34 DET AL 143 568 96 186 38 6 13 112 6 4 49 35 .327 .383 .484 113 275 1
1937 35 WSH AL 103 419 60 117 21 10 8 84 3 2 27 35 .279 .329 .434 94 182 3
1938 36 WSH AL 125 470 79 142 23 6 21 95 2 1 38 40 .302 .357 .511 121 240 2
1939 37 TOT NL 102 351 39 96 17 5 7 44 0 24 43 .274 .324 .410 102 144 4
BSN NL 93 330 39 93 17 5 7 43 0 22 40 .282 .331 .427 108 141 4
CIN NL 9 21 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 3 .143 .217 .143 -2 3 0
1940 38 PHA AL 37 81 7 25 4 0 1 19 0 0 4 8 .309 .341 .395 92 32 0
1941 39 PHA AL 9 24 1 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 .125 .160 .167 -13 4 0
1943 41 BOS AL 40 133 9 27 5 0 1 12 0 1 8 21 .203 .248 .263 48 35 0
1944 42 PHA AL 4 6 1 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 187 3 0
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+
20 Seasons 8759 2927 149 1827 64 737 .334 .380 .535 132 111
2215 1507 539 307 88 615 4685

3 All-Star Games (1933-1935)

Aloisius Szymanski was born on May 22, 1902 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For whatever reason, he supposedly changed his name to Aloysius Harry Simmons after seeing an ad in a newspaper, but I can’t figure out what that was or why. With his unusual unorthodox swing, his received the nickname Bucketfoot Al because he strode toward third base when he swung (a lot like Jeff Francoeur except with a lot more success).

He was signed by the Philadelphia Athletics and would be a part of some of the best teams ever put together. Simmons came out of the gate swinging in his rookie season as a 22-year old in 1924, but his power (8 HR) hadn’t quite arrived yet. It came the next season with 24 HR, but it would dip over the next few seasons due to injury. From 1929-1932, his best seasons also coincided with the success of the Athletics, who won two World Series and played in another. Like his other teammates, that 1932 season would be the last of his as an Athletic, and he was sold to the Chicago White Sox for $75,000. While successful over the next few seasons with the White Sox, he wasn’t quite the same threat and wouldn’t really be for the rest of his career except for blips in 1936 and 1938 when he stayed moderately healthy.

In fact, Simmons held on, by his own admission, a little too long. You’ll note he was annoyingly close to 3,000 hits, and he wanted to reach that milestone badly. He, however, failed and regretted the hangovers and leaving blowouts early to have a fun nightlife. In order to repay his sins to the baseball gods, Simmons told aa young player to never give up an at bat or live to regret it. That player was Stan Musial. Regardless, his unusual batting style was effective, and Connie Mack yelled at anyone who pointed out the technical flaw.

In 1953, Simmons got as close as possible to not getting in but still getting in when he received 75.4% (199 of 264) of the vote. It’s a good thing he got in when he did as he died three years later at the age of 54.