1944

Two long time candidates dropped from the rolls from lack of support: Wilbur Cooper and George Burns. And Harry Hooper held on with just a write-in.

One last chance to talk about Burns. He is probably my favorite non-HOFer from the teens, Burns or Ed Konechy. I’m not sure that he is a legitimate HOFer, but I sure as shootin’ know he’s better than some of the “stars” from the ’20s and ’30s that Frankie Frisch put in. Burns is a good example of how the GOR is different from the HOF, at least how the voting is done. The real Hall often has people start slow and end big. Jack Morris is one example who sees his voting numbers grow. Burns, however, came in third his first two years on the GOR ballot, and has dropped steadily since. I can’t imagine that happening in the BBWAA voting. I suppose I should look that up. I can’t find any BBWAA vote where a player starts off well and collapses. I found 5 cases where a player starts off okay and doesn’t build on it, slowly dropping until their eligibility ends, Garvey, Minoso, Pinson, Tiant and Wills. But nothing like Burns. There have been a couple of times in the GOR that a player reached #3 (or #2 in the 1890 elections) and not made it in, but it has been rare. And to start out #3, and sink like a stone until no one votes for him, is unprecedented. I doubt we see it’s like again. Altho with the ballot being so crowded now, we just might.

This election ends Thursday night.

12 Babe Adams
1 Ethan Allen
9 Dave Bancroft
1 John Beckwith
1 Ray Benge
4 Max Bishop
2 Jim Bottomley
1 Ed Brandt
1 Guy Bush
4 Earle Combs
1 Kiki Cuyler
9 Bingo DeMoss
1 Woody English
6 Red Faber 10th
1 Bill Foster
2 Frankie Frisch 3rd
1 Goose Goslin
5 Burleigh Grimes
12 Heinie Groh 9th
1 Mule Haas
2 Chick Hafey
1 Bill Hallahan
2 Babe Herman
13 Harry Hooper
1 Waite Hoyt
2 Judy Johnson 4th
1 Roy Johnson
1 Red Lucas
4 Rabbit Maranville 7th
3 Firpo Marberry
5 Ollie Marcelle
10 Carl Mays
5 Lefty O’Doul
5 Herb Pennock
5 Sam Rice 6th
6 Eppa Rixey
1 Bullet Rogan
7 Eddie Rommel
8 Edd Roush 5th
11 Urban Shocker
8 Chino Smith
1 John Stone
1 Joe Stripp
1 Tommy Thevenow
1 Clint Thomas
2 Pie Traynor 8th
5 Hack Wilson

Bob’s ballot:

1. Frisch
2. Goslin
3. Johnson
4. Rogan
5. Foster
6. Beckwith
7. Thomas
8. Groh
9. Faber
10. Traynor

I am totally unimpressed with my ballot, as far as to whether I have the right guys, and in the right order. I’d blow it up and start over, except that I’ve already done that a dozen times, and I’m not sure that doing so again would make my ballot any better.

Terry’s ballot:

1: Goose Goslin– Average out his BABIP between 1928 and 1929, figure out what to do with the 37 homers he hit in 1930, and Goslin might have had the closest thing to a perfect career arc. He built to his peak at a slow, steady rate, and he declined at a slow, steady rate. He hit his triples when he was young, drew his walks when he was old. Even his range factors were consistent. He was a player so consistent that you could practically write his numbers with a pen, before the season started.
2: Bullet Rogan
3: Rabbit Maranville
4: Dave Bancroft
5: Edd Roush
6: Pie Traynor
7: Sam Rice
8: Judy Johnson– The more I looked the less “whelmed” I was. I’m not sure if I have him a little low, or way too high.
9: Kiki Cuyler– Where does he rank on the all time best leadoff men list?

I always thought that he started young and ended early like a Dick Allen, who I always sort of compared him to personality-wise. I always assumed, without bothering to check, that he was only 24 or 25 when the benching incident in Pittsburgh happened. Actually, he was 28 years old. Kiki’s effective career covered only 11 years (with a 12th added on in a comeback later), and he was already 25 years old before he got a job. He and Sam Rice are the only Hall of Famers who didn’t become regular position players before they were 25 years old. I knew about Rice, but I had no idea about Cuyler.

He was an effective player in the majors until he was nearly 40, and when the majors lost interest he went to the minors and played few more years. He didn’t hang it up for good until 1945, when he was 46 years old. No wonder he gave his kid so much crap about wanting to play ball. Kiki still wanted to play ball himself, and he couldn’t. He wasn’t wasted potential like I thought; he was almost the opposite in many ways. He got there the hard way, had it hard once he got there, made it hard to get rid of him, then he took it hard when it was over.

10: Heinie Groh– Honestly I thought he’d do a lot better than this, but he is what he is; a really good player, but not quite a great one.


Honorable Mention

Hack Wilson– The Giants traded him to a minor league team for Earl Webb (the Giants included a ptbnl) in 1925. The Cubs picked him up in the rule 5 draft after the season, for a few bucks and the price of a telegram. Wilson rewarded them with a 160 ops+ between 1926 and 1930, with over 600 plate appearances every year. He led the NL in homers 4 times, rbi twice, finished in the top 12 in the MVP voting every year except for Hack’s historic 1930, when there wasn’t an official vote. Not bad for a scrap heap claim, huh?

The Dodgers got him in 1932 for a few bucks and a bagel, after the Cubs and the Cardinals lost interest in him. He went .297-23-123, helping them towards their surprising pennant run, and finished 13th in the MVP voting. Wilson had his issues, but you can’t say he didn’t help anyone like Dick Allen, can you? He helped just about every team he played for except the last one, but for some reason that’s the one that we remember; mostly because of the Boom Boom Beck story.

Bill Foster– I don’t know who to compare him to, but I doubt that he was a top shelf superstar. He seemed to be one of those guys who, had he been white, would have won 150-200 games in the majors, maybe 250 if he played for the Yankees during his peak.

Not so fast, Batman


Frankie Frisch– He’s getting in and I have no problem with that, but I’m not voting for him. It’s not just the Hall of Fame crap he pulled, it’s everything. Frisch is, in my opinion, the most overpraised, overrated, overbearing, arrogant figure the game has ever had. He was every bit the jackass Rogers Hornsby was, and nowhere near the player. He was every bit the blowhard Cap Anson was, but nowhere near the leader of men. He made a mockery of the Hall of Fame voting process, and had more to do with the public’s confusion over what constitutes a Hall of Famer than anyone. Why, exactly, should I vote for him over so many qualified candidates who don’t carry his baggage? I’ll pass.

Other Stuff

Babe Herman– I was surprised how little he dominated the league’s leaderboards. During his 1929-30 seasons, when he hit .381 and .393 with funhouse mirror numbers of hits and extra base hits, he had no black ink. He finished his career with 1 point of black ink, for leading the league in triples in 1932.

Ethan Allen– I used to play allstar baseball; anyone else play it? It’s a bummer that he didn’t tell the firstbaseman for his 1948 Yalies not to marry into Franklin Pierce’s gene pool. Well, at least he coulda told him to adopt rather than reproduce…

John Beckwith– Had he been on the ballot a few years ago he might have had a chance. Joe Sewell got in just in time, didn’t he?

Woody English- The 1930 Cubs’ offensive numbers are insane, and fun to look at. They had 11 pitchers who got an atbat, all of them at least 5 atbats, 10 of them at least 10 atbats. Only one of them hit under .200. They scored 998 runs in 156 games, 6.4 runs per game, with very little production from three positions. Rogers Hornsby missed most of the season after putting up some of his best numbers ever in 1929, including 156 runs scored. His replacement had a 65 ops+, and scored 97 runs anyway. Jolly Cholly and the leftover husk of HighPockets Kelly covered first base, and a small group of mediocrities covered short. Had Hornsby been healthy, they might still be batting.

Mule Haas
– He was sort of an old timer version of Rick Manning, if you stipulate that Manning would bunt 80-100 times a year. He led the league in sacrifices 6 times. Does anybody watch that show, “Impractical Jokers”? I don’t recommend it, it’s pretty stupid, but I’ve seen it a few times. One of the guys on that show, Murray, looks exactly like Haas’ picture on BBR.

Bill Hallahan– There is a man named Bill Hanrahan, who is a regional manager for a textiles company in the southwestern part of the United States. He is in no way remarkable, other than the fact that he is the only man of Irish descent named William who has never been called “Wild Bill”.

Waite Hoyt- 80-84 with an era+ below league average when not pitching for the Yankees.

Roy Johnson– He used to hold a ton of rookie records, and he still holds a couple of team rookie records… He and brother Roy were ¼ Cherokee, born in Oklahoma but raised and lived the rest of their lives in Tacoma, Washington. Tacoma itself is an armpit, but there are some really nice outlying areas.

Red Lucas– Nicknamed “The Nashville Narcissus” for some reason. Led the league in complete games three times, and that was what he was. He was an innings eater. He struck out 2.1 batters per 9 innings over his career.

Tommy Thevenow– Both of his career regular season homeruns were inside the park, both in 1926; he finished his career with a major league record 3,347 consecutive atbats without a homerun. He hit another inside the park homerun in the 1926 World Series.

Results:

10 ballots; the results

124 Bullet Rogan
88 Goose Goslin
*************
85 Frankie Frisch
70 Bill Foster
42 Judy Johnson
27 Edd Roush
22 Sam Rice
18 Rabbit Maranville
16 Red Faber
15 Pie Traynor
14 Kiki Cuyler
14 Heinie Groh
13 John Beckwith
10 Urban Shocker
9 Bingo DeMoss
9 Carl Mays
8 Dave Bancroft
8 Chico Smith
4 Firpo Marberry
4 Clint Thomas
3 Burleigh Grimes
3 Eddie Rommel
2 Babe Adams
1 Max Bishop
1 Jim Bottomley

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