1926

We’re about to find out how forgiving we are. This ballot ends Sunday.

4 Chief Bender 10th
6 Roger Bresnahan 6th
1 Ray Chapman
12 Jack Chesbro
1 Eddie Cicotte
1 Jack Coombs
1 Gavvy Cravath
14 Lave Cross
4 Harry Davis
7 Mike Donlin
1 Larry Doyle
1 Happy Felsch
3 Bud Fowler
7 Frank Grant 8th
1 Claude Hendrix
1 Buck Herzog
1 Bill Hinchman
1 Joe Jackson
2 Chappie Johnson
3 Grant Johnson
1 Benny Kauff
8 Johnny Kling
3 Tommy Leach
11 Sam Leever
1 Lefty Leifield
1 Fred Luderus
1 Lee Magee
2 Sherry Magee 3rd
1 George McBride
1 Bill McKechnie
15 John McGraw 8th
9 Deacon McGuire
4 Chief Meyers
7 Bill Monroe 4th
9 Jack Powell
1 Bill Rariden
1 Morrie Rath
4 Ed Reulbach
8 Cy Seymour
7 George Stovey
10 Fred Tenney
10 Roy Thomas
5 Joe Tinker 6th
3 Bobby Wallace 5th
1 Buck Weaver
3 Sol White
3 Billy Whyte

Bob’s ballot:

1. Magee
2. Tinker
3. Wallace
4. Doyle
5. Chapman
6. Leach
7. Cravath
8. Grant
9. Fowler
10. Monroe

Terry’s ballot:

1: Sherry Magee
2: Roger Bresnahan
3: Larry Doyle– His defensive statistics are awful, but his double play numbers are actually really good for his time, and pretty good even if you move into the 1920’s when everything changed. As a hitter he was a misfit; a player with obvious power in a game that didn’t reward power, yet he compiled strong offensive numbers anyway. If I had to come up with a reasonable comp, Robbie Alomar would be my choice. Alomar won something like 40 Gold Gloves, but his defensive stats weren’t all that impressive either. Lou Whitaker was never as good as this guy was, and I loved Lou Whitaker.
4: Joe Tinker
5: Chief Bender
6: John McGraw
7: Bobby Wallace
8: Cy Seymour
9: Grant Johnson
10: Roy Thomas

Honorable Mention
Mike Donlin
Jack Chesbro

Other stuff

Eddie Cicotte– He had a few years when he was as dominant as anyone has ever been, and a few others when he was just another guy. I noticed that all the normal things we look at to explain the wild fluctuations didn’t change all that much, other than his BABIP. I guess that would be normal for those days, since they didn’t strike out a ton or hit a lot of homers.

Jack Coombs- He sort of ruined his arm in 1910, I think. His era nearly tripled in 1911, yet he won 28 games. Go figure. 5-0 in the World Series, including 3-0 in 1910 after going 31-9 with an era of 1.30 in the regular season. Is that the best season ever for a non Hall of Fame pitcher? I’d comp it to Herschiser’s 1988.

Gavvy Cravath– He might have been the biggest misfit of all; these power guys in a no power era. He didn’t get to play in the majors until he was 27; he put up an ops+ of 137 as a rookie, then he had to wait four more years to get another chance to play regularly. He was a terrible defender and probably one of the slowest players in the league, but the man could hit. Even if you discount the homers because of the park, he hit for a good average with extra base power and plenty of walks. He was a cross between Chuck Klein and Hank Sauer; his stats are inflated like Klein’s, but keep in mind that he was 32 when he won the first of his six homerun titles.

In his 32 year old season Gavy hit .341, led the league in hits and finished second in the MVP race. The guy who won (Jake Daubert, we’ll see him in a few years) was a firstbaseman who hit .350 with 2 homers, 52 rbi (Gavy’s hr-rbi were 19-128). It looks like the writers were idiots. Looking at their splits, though, I kind of think that they were smarter than we give them credit for. Daubert’s oba, ba, total hits and runs scored were almost identical to Gavy’s, and even though he was a firstbaseman he was a far superior defensive player. He stole 25 bases to Gavy’s 10, which (in those days) means that Daubert could run a little, and Gavy ran like his feet hurt. Gavy hit all his homers at home, and in every other way they were even as hitters. Daubert was the far superior player outside of the batters’ box. 2-52 compared to 19-128, even with a Herculean park adjustment, seems insane, but I kind of think that they got it right.

Happy Felsch– He could-a been maybe even Harry Heilmann, but he ended up being Leslie Van Houten. I feel for the guy, having his psychic weaknesses exposed like that (Thank God my own psychic weaknesses have never been that harshly tested), but facts is facts. He is no more than an historical footnote now. I can’t conjure up any anger at him; he just makes me feel sad. How can anyone really be angry at a guy whose nickname was “Happy”, and who by all accounts lived up to his moniker?

Something I didn’t know: Felsch only made it to the sixth grade, leaving school to play baseball. He was slow to accept the decision to throw the series, but the older players talked him into it. There is no doubt that he played poorly on purpose in the series. After they were caught he said that, in hindsight, it was a really dumb decision (he said that he got 5000 dollars, not much more than he could have gotten had they won). He later ran several bars, and eventually died of liver disease. My take? He was a man of limited intelligence and education but positive nature, who lost his career because he didn’t have the smarts or the experience to say no. Our streets are full of guys just like him, and unfortunately so are our prisons and morgues.

Claude Hendrix– One of the poster boys for greed in the teens. He was one of the best players to jump to the Federal League; several years later his alleged offer to throw a game led to the Black Sox scandal.

Bill Hinchman– Played like a Hall of Famer for a couple of years in his early thirties, after being out of the league for several years. Other than that, I know nothing about him.

Joe Jackson- The Manny Ramirez of the teens. Will either one of them ever make it into the Hall of Fame?

Benny Kauff- He died in 1961, a few months after Ty Cobb. Career ops+ of 136 in the National League in just over 2000 atbats; had he been healthy and not kicked out of baseball, he might have put up some fun numbers in the 20s and maybe made himself a legitimate Hall candidate.

Lefty Leifield– He was a spitting image of Neidermeyer from Animal House…

Fred Luderus– Hit .438 and drove in 6 of the Phillies’ 10 runs in the 1915 World Series.

Lee Magee– Bounced around a lot, playing for seven different teams in his last six years. Even his BBR picture looks shifty.

George McBride– He must have been one heck of a fielder… he got votes in each of the 1911-1914 MVP elections despite being possibly the weakest hitter ever to have a long career. He never hit over .235 or slugged over .288, and his career ops+ was 65. Looking at his stats you would think he was a little guy, but he was actually fairly big for that era; 5-11 and 170 pounds.

Bill McKechnie- Less than 2000 atbats outside the FL (exactly 2000 plate appearances), and honestly not much better than McBride as a hitter. We’ll deal with him again when his managerial career comes up in 30 years.

Morrie Rath– He was only hit by one very famous pitch in 1919, in over 650 plate appearances. They shoulda known something was fishy…

Buck Weaver– He didn’t look anything like John Cusack. He looked more like Jim Varney. Ya know what I mean, Vern?

Results:

With 9 ballots, the results:

82 Sherry Magee
50 Joe Tinker
***************
45 Roger Bresnahan
41 Larry Doyle
37 Bill Monroe
35 Bobby Wallace
31 Joe Jackson
27 Chief Bender
27 John McGraw
24 Frank Grant
21 Tommy Leach
18 Bud Fowler
16 Gavy Cravath
16 Roy Thomas
11 Ed Reulbach
8 Mike Donlin
8 Deacon McGuire
8 Sol White
7 Eddie Cicotte
7 Cy Seymour
6 Ray Chapman
6 Chief Meyers
5 Jack Chesbro
5 Jack Powell
4 Grant Johnson
3 Benny Kauff
1 Buck Weaver

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