Five HOFers join the ranks. It’ll be interesting to see how they compare to the 11 we already have on the ballot and the 20 or so who could be.

Ken Williams dropped from the ballot. This election ends Saturday.

9 Babe Adams
6 Dave Bancroft 10th
1 Larry Benton
1 Max Bishop
3 Lu Blue
11 George Burns
2 Tank Carr
1 Earle Combs
9 Wilber Cooper
1 Hughie Critz
6 Bingo DeMoss
3 Red Faber 6th
2 George Grantham
2 Burleigh Grimes 9th
9 Heinie Groh 7th
10 Harry Hooper
1 Sam Jones
1 Willie Kamm
1 Dolph Luque
1 Rabbit Maranville
2 Ollie Marcelle
2 Dave Malacher
7 Carl Mays 8th
9 Dobie Moore
2 Lefty O’Doul
1 Bob O’Farrell
1 Alejando Oms
2 Herb Pennock
1 George Pipgras
3 Jack Quinn
2 Sam Rice 5th
3 Eppa Rixey
4 Eddie Rommel
5 Edd Roush 4th
1 Babe Ruth
3 Joe Sewell 3rd
8 Urban Shocker
5 Chino Smith 10th
2 Riggs Stephenson
1 Lefty Stewart
1 Zach Taylor
1 Dazzy Vance
15 Hippo Vaughn
2 Hack Wilson 10th
6 Cy Williams
1 Glenn Wright
11 Ross Youngs

Bob’s ballot:

1. Ruth
2. Sewell
3. Groh
4. Rice
5. Roush
6. Vance
7. Bancroft
8. Faber
9. Maranville
10. Wilson

Terry’s ballot:


1: Babe Ruth- One of just three players ever to steal over a hundred bases and hit seven hundred homeruns.
2: Dazzy Vance– I’d forgotten that he came within two outs of back to back no-hitters in 1925. His sore arm, according to his SABR bio, came after pitching four games in six days back in 1915. It didn’t go away until he was operated on in late 1920. He won 21 games in the minors in 1921, and then 197 in the majors between 1922 and 1935; all after his 31st birthday.
3: Rabbit Maranville– Career defensive WAR of 30.8 is 7th all time, not that I think much of defensive WAR (see Wright, Glenn). Career MVP award shares of 2.13 is 81st all time, though, despite several missing years when there was no MVP. He was voted in by the BBWAA right after he died, to which I cast a skeptical eye, but he received over 60% of the vote the year before, and he had received significant support for many years. To sum up: He was a superior defender statistically as well as by reputation, his peers considered him valuable, and his peers considered him a Hall of Famer. That’s good enough for me.
4: Dave Bancroft
5: Joe Sewell
6: Edd Roush
7: Harry Hooper
8: Sam Rice
9: Heinie Groh
10: Burleigh Grimes

Honorable Mention

Earle Combs– A classy, self effacing gentleman and a valuable part of a great team. Honestly he’s not a strong pick for the Hall of Fame, but if he was still on the outside looking in he would be talked about as much as anyone as a candidate. Wikipedia mentions that he taught school in a one room schoolhouse before he became a ballplayer. How cool is that? His doppleganger, writer Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, is also from the Louisville area. I wonder if they are related?

Dolph Luque– I think his name was pronounced “Luke-ee”, because players used to heckle him by shouting “Lucky Luque”. I had always assumed it was pronounced “Luke”. He was the same basic model as Faber and Rixey, of about the same quality. Unlike many of his peers, he actually struck out a few here and there on purpose.

Other Stuff

Larry Benton– His 1928 season is a testament to plain, dumb luck. He didn’t do much of anything different, he just got luckier. He pitched more innings, completed more games, but again that was probably due mostly to an appearance of effectiveness, not an increase in actual effectiveness. He was lucky in 1923 as well (130 era+), but then again he also walked 70 and struck out 49 that year.

It was almost as if baseball in the 1920’s reverted back several decades, to a place where a good many pitchers were more like tees in tee ball than an important factor in the defense. Not all of them, of course, but many pitchers of the time struck out well under 3 men per 9 innings. Benton, who came in at 2.6 per 9, was a good example of the type. His career 127-128 record, despite twice leading the league in winning percentage, is a terrific illustration of his “relative irrelevance”.

Max Bishop– He couldn’t run (40 for 91 career stolen bases, no range at second base), had no power (career ISO was under .100), and while he didn’t make a ton of errors his other defensive statistics were terrible. The only thing he did well at the major league level was work a pitcher. Despite the paucity of skills, though, the value of his one skill raised him up from a poor man’s Duane Kuiper to a valuable part of multiple championship teams. He either walked or was hit by a pitch in over 20% of his career plate appearances. The only other 1000 walk players I could find who did this were Barry Bonds and Ted Williams.

Hughie Critz– His middle name was Melville… he was born, raised and died in Mississippi. I would bet a week’s pay that he owned a still. Take a look at his picture on BBR; he looked like he coulda been in “Deliverance”. I’ll reserve my opinion on whether he would have been in the canoe or shooting at it.

Sam Jones– 22 years of the same kind of fairly irrelevant pitching as Larry Benton. He struck out more than he walked 3 times in those 22 years. That’s not to say that someone like me could do what he did, not at all; but he was basically your generic league average pitcher, and over 22 years he didn’t peak or valley. He was just there, being average, while random chance and luck gave his career a shape.

Willie Kamm– His double play to error numbers would look good today. Not a good enough hitter to be a serious Hall candidate, but with his defense and a decent bat, he was a valuable member of a…. a…. well, some not very good teams, but it sure wasn’t his fault. Wikipedia reports that he completed a triple play by using the hidden ball trick in 1929. As webgems go, where would something like that rank?

Bob O’Farrell- Is he the catcher on the “weakest MVP’s” all star team? Hmm…. Quickly, with no more research than looking at a list of MVPs:

C- Bob O’Farrell
1b- Frank McCormick
2b- Johnny Evers
3b- Ken Boyer
ss- Roger Peckinpaugh
lf- Jeff Burroughs
cf- Robin Yount
rf- Hank Sauer
sp- Spud Chandler
rp- Willie Hernandez

I don’t mean to denigrate anyone, and at least a couple of these were good picks. Who did I miss?

Alejandro Oms– He was certainly a good player, but I’m not sold that he was special enough to be a real GOR candidate. He hit for average and he would take a walk, but his power was limited, he had no apparent speed, and he played left field. Was he just a glorified Riggs Stephenson? One of his nicknames was Walla Walla. I live about a hundred miles from the real Walla Walla, where they grow sweet onions and house maximum security prisoners. I have no idea which of these, if either, helped give Oms his nickname.

George Pipgras– His minor league record doesn’t show his strikeouts, but it does show his walks. In 1921-22 he walked 114, then 113. After a couple of years in the majors, he returned to the minors for 1925 and 1926. He walked 114, then 113 again.

Lefty Stewart– Another interchangeable pitcher; his era+ was all over the place, but his peripherals were fairly consistent. There was pretty much an entire generation of pitchers lost to the spit ball; the kids born between the early 1890’s until close to 1910 didn’t learn how to pitch with clean baseballs, and as a result there were precious few who made a real difference in the 1920’s. If you didn’t have a blazer of a fastball, or were allowed to throw the spitball, you were little more than a glorified tee.

Zack Taylor– I told him not to eat those cherries….

Glenn Wright– Before I looked his statistics up I expected to find a hidden gem, especially after I read his Wikipedia page and learned about a severe shoulder injury that happened in 1929. Once I took a look, though, I have to say that the truth is just about the opposite. His defensive statistics are below average pretty much across the board, other than one season with a major league record number of assists. His overall defensive numbers, even when he set the record, weren’t all that great. The shoulder injury didn’t affect his defense much, since he was already a poor defender.

As a hitter he put up raw RBI numbers that might seem impressive to the modern eye, but honestly he was no more than an average hitter who got to hit in a great lineup for driving in runs. He hit .294 career, but he never made the top ten in batting average in an eight team league. He was a good hitter, but miles from historically special.

Wright was a solid, contributing player, but he wasn’t a hidden gem; he was a hidden Roy Smalley. No offense to Smalley, he was a good player, but neither of them are a serious candidate for any but the most inclusive of Halls of Fame.

Oh, and just as an aside, his career defensive WAR of +9.8 is a joke. He had below average range, and a below average fielding percentage. The fact that BBR’s WAR would give him a positive rating, in and of itself, should have told them that their formula was flawed.

13 ballots, the rather unsurprising results:

182 Babe Ruth
104 Dazzy Vance
72 Joe Sewell
60 Edd Roush
51 Sam Rice
38 Heinie Groh
36 Red Faber
34 Carl Mays
28 Rabbit Maranville
18 Dave Bancroft
18 Bingo DeMoss
17 Chino Smith
16 Hack Wilson
14 Burleigh Grimes
13 Babe Adams
13 Earle Combs
13 Urban Shocker
13 Hippo Vaughn
11 Max Bishop
10 Cy Williams
9 Eddie Rommel
6 Ollie Marcelle
5 Herb Pennock
4 Harry Hooper
4 Ross Yongs
2 Wilbur Cooper
1 George Burns
1 Eppa Rixey

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