1938 – Bob Shilling for Schang (try schaying that three times fascht)

I thought I might do a little shilling for Wally Schang (“Shilling For Schang” – sounds like a game show). The window of opportunity for the guys on the ’38 ballot is closing pretty soon. Starting with the ’41 election, it’s going to get really crowded with a bunch of A, B and C Grade HOFers. So only the ’39 and ’40 seem open for snatching, and I assume Heilmann will get one of the slots in ’39.

So far, we’ve only elected five catchers; and one of them, Santop, was a Negro Leaguer, and another, Deacon White, was a pre-1880 catcher, when the position was just totally different. So from 1880 to 1930, a fifty year period, we’ve chosen three, Ewing, Bennett and Bresnahan. I’d say we’ve been a bit remiss. And yet, the five strongest also-rans, Meyers, Kling, Zimmer, McGuire and Schalk, really aren’t in the same class as the GORers. Or Schang.

The nine ranked by Win Shares:
1. 245 Schang
2. 241 Ewing
3. 231 Bresnahan
4. 191 Schalk
5. 189 McGuire
6. 157 Bennett
7. 155 Kling
8. 153 Zimmer
9. 129 Meyers

By Linear Weights:
1. 31.2 Ewing
2. 24.6 Schang
3. 24.3 Bresnahan
4. 15.0 Bennett
5. 11.6 Zimmer
6. 10.3 McGuire
7. 10.0 Meyers
8. 07.6 Kling
9. 04.0 Schalk

And by WAR:
1. 45.7 Ewing
2. 41.4 Schang
3. 39.1 Bresnahan
4. 37.2 Bennett
5. 27.9 McGuire
6. 25.0 Schalk
7. 23.1 Meyers
8. 22.9 Kling
9. 20.7 Zimmer

Who besides Schang on this ballot is one of the All-Time Top 5 at his position thru 1930? Groh, maybe. Heilmann, probably. Schang is my favorite from the 1900-1930 era “not in the Hall but who I think should be”. Has been for 40 years (Deacon White, by the way, is my favorite from the 19th century, NOT Bobby Mathews, as you might have guessed, who is probably not in my Top 5 from those years; White, Barnes, Creighton and McBride definitely rank above Mathews to me, with another 10ish that I’d endorse, Mathews being one of the 10ish). I’ve never really understood his exclusion, but I’d assume that part of it is that, just as he was retiring, there were 4 catchers who could legitimately (well, reasonably, if not legitimately) be argued for as the “Greatest Catcher Of All Time”, Cochrane, Dickey, Hartnett and Gibson. And Schang does come across as an after-thought compared to these four.

Still, when making out your ’39 ballot (or ’40 ballot, if need be), don’t forget about Schang. He seems very deserving to me.

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