1945

This election will end Monday night. I don’t anticipate much debate on the #1 candidate, but the other 30+ guys….?

Harry Hooper, Eppa Rixey and Ollie Marcelle drop from the rolls from lack of support.

13 Babe Adams
10 Dave Bancroft
2 John Beckwith
5 Max Bishop
1 Ossie Bluege
3 Jim Bottonley
5 Earle Combs
2 Kiki Cuyler
10 Bingo DeMoss
1 Jimmy Dykes
7 Red Faber 9th
2 Bill Foster 4th
1 Fred Frankhouse
3 Frankie Frisch 3rd
1 Lou Gehrig
1 George Giles
6 Burleigh Grimes
13 Heinie Groh
3 Chick Hafey
3 Judy Johnson 5th
1 Tony Lazzeri
1 Dick Lundy
1 Heinie Manush
5 Rabbit Maranville 8th
4 Firpo Marberry
11 Carl Mays
6 Lefty O’Doul
6 Herb Pennock
1 Carl Reynolds
6 Sam Rice 7th
8 Eddie Rommel
9 Edd Roush 6th
12 Urban Shocker
9 Chino Smith
2 Clint Thomas
3 Pie Traynor 10th
1 Earl Whitehill
1 Pinky Whitney
6 Hack Wilson

Bob’s ballot:

Kind of a goofy ballot on my part. Consider it an “agenda”. The top spot is obvious, but no other first baseman, pitcher or outfielder floats my boat. So I’m filling it with infielders. And in all honesty, it’s still not an unreasonable list.

1. Gehrig
2. Frisch
3. Lundy
4. Johnson
5. Traynor
6. Maranville
7. Groh
8. Bancroft
9. Beckwith
10. Lazzeri

Terry’s ballot:

1: Lou Gehrig- He. Is. The. Most. Qualified. Man. On. The. Face. Of. The. Current. Thread…..

Seriously, has anyone done a Brock2 on him? Once you have your own wing in the hospital, I guess whether you ended up with 580 or 590 homers doesn’t matter much.

2: Frankie Frisch– I ranked him up here just to get it over with. The most overrated player in baseball history, and it ain’t close.

3: Rabbit Maranville
4: Dave Bancroft
5: Edd Roush
6: Pie Traynor
7: Sam Rice
8: Judy Johnson
9: Kiki Cuyler
10: Heinie Groh

Honorable Mention

Hack Wilson
Bill Foster

Other Stuff

John Beckwith– Chuck, thanks for the info. Based on Chuck’s info, I see him falling into the group with Wilson and Cravvath, which is sort of damming with faint praise in this group, but it is what it is. Heilmann only compares to them because, frankly, Heilmann’s importance is underrated by the formulas. Formulas don’t care about things like hitting .400 three times. Win 3 pennants in 6 years, who cares where you finished the other years? Hit .400 3 times and you can be a crab, be a psychotic, whatever.

Jimmy Dykes– I wasn’t aware that he held the record for most major league teams managed (6); I just knew that he got around. His SABR bio recounts a story about Zeke Bonura, I’ll copy it below:

A colorful member of the team was Zeke Bonura, a slugger stationed at first base who was not known for either high intellect or fielding grace. Zeke had a problem understanding signs-Dykes recalled that one game got him so flustered that he yelled out, “Bunt, you meathead. Bunt! Bunt! B-U-N-T.” It didn’t work-no bunt from Zeke that day.

After Zeke was traded to Washington in 1938, Dykes did not bother to change the signs because Bonura couldn’t remember them anyway. Nevertheless, a surprise was in store when the teams did meet that season. After Zeke advanced to third base, he saw Dykes in the dugout swat at a mosquito. Recalling (for once in his career) that a swat meant a steal, Bonura took off for home, knocked the ball away from the catcher, and scored. Considering that he stole only 19 bases in his career, this was quite a shocking event! Bonura explained later, “I saw Dykes give the sign to steal, but forgot I wasn’t on his team anymore.”

Dykes first saw Jackie Robinson in 1938, when Jackie was just out of high school, and said that he would sign him on the spot if he were white. He worked Jackie out in 1942 along with another black player (Nate Moreland, a journeyman Negro League pitcher at the time, who spent 10 years catching in the Mexican League after the War), but the White Sox didn’t make an offer after the tryout. I wasn’t there so I’m speculating, but I think Dykes really wanted Jackie Robinson on his team but he was afraid to sign him.

There are people who want to say that he only worked them out to deflect criticism, but that’s just revisionist history from the PC Nazis. It was 1942. He almost certainly got exponentially more criticism for giving the workouts than he would have gotten for denying them.

I find I hard to believe that Landis alone kept the color line intact for 20 years, but I do sort of think his opinion on the subject delayed it’s natural progress a bit. Dykes, had he been able to get ahead of the curve like the Dodgers and Indians, might have ended up in the Hall of Fame as a manager. At the time he worked Robinson out, he was a semi successful manager who had never been fired, after a 22 year career as a player with the highest reputation as a gamer. Give him his fair advantage for being ahead of the curve, and who knows? Maybe the White Sox would have dominated the 1950s.

George Giles– Giles is the first Negro League ballplayer Bob has listed who didn’t have a wikipedia page. If he was Babe Ruth, someone is going to have to show me the evidence.

Tony Lazzeri- He still holds the AL record for RBI in a game, with 11. Isn’t that one of those records that we all used to know? I am normally pretty good at that sort of trivia, records and such, but I had forgotten that. The 60 homers for Salt Lake in 1925, the RBI record, his awesome nickname, his record with the Yankees… To me he is a solid Hall of Famer, one of the good D level guys.

He ain’t got a chance in hell of getting in the GOR, but you can make one hell of a team with the GOR’s rejects already. Is Poosh ‘Em Up the starting second baseman on the “GOR Rejects” all star team? Is there a GOR rejects all star team? If you ask me, there should be. Should it be a running thing, kept track of as we go, or something we deal with at the end? Anyone? I won’t keep track, but I’ll weigh in if someone else works it up.

Dick Lundy– He might be the hardest player to figure out from this entire group. There is enough evidence that he was a very good hitter and fielder out there that I’ll buy it without worrying that I’ll embarrass myself later, when more evidence comes out. The 64 dollar question is whether he was great, or just really good? Tony Lazzeri was really good, and he won’t crack the top ten. We know that Rabbit and Bancroft were great fielders. Do we know that Lundy was?

The available statistics don’t help his cause; they paint him as a poor fielder. The anecdotal evidence is positive, I guess, but then again of course it is. Who keeps track of negative reviews from 80 years ago? No self respecting biographer would write about the manager who told him, “man, he was terrible”. Since the history of people is mostly written by biographers, most of it is positive unless it’s historically negative. Being a mediocre fielder isn’t historically interesting, and being a good fielder isn’t historically interesting. McGraw said “great”, so they went with it. An historian who buys that without at least a small grain of salt isn’t much of a historian.

Lundy was, even with the most negative spin, a good bit better hitter than either Bancroft or Maranville. His best comp according to his contemporaries was Joe Cronin. I can’t quite give him that much credit, but I do believe that he was a poor man’s Cronin at the very least. If I were ranking him as a shortstop, I’d probably have him in the 18-25 range. If I am honoring him, giving him a plaque, though; honestly I wouldn’t in this format. To honor him over the Bancrofts and Maranvilles might be the proper conclusion, but those guys aren’t getting anywhere near the GOR either. Much like the Cravvath versus Hack Wilson argument, this fight isn’t a main event. It’s one of the undercards.

I personally have Bancroft and Maranville way up on my ballots, and I would rank Lundy right behind them – if anyone else took them seriously. Ranking Lundy high while ignoring Bancroft and Maranville stinks of Affirmative Action. I’ll give Lundy his due as soon as his comps get theirs.

Heinie Manush– His top BBR comp after his rookie year was Goose Goslin, with a similarity score of 971. Goslin beat him out for the 1928 batting title in an epic battle that got even the umpires involved. Manush and Goslin made a bet after that season (50 dollars and a new suit) that carried over for the rest of their careers, based on who would have the highest batting average. Neither of them won another batting title, but they became life long friends. Goslin died three days after Manush, in 1971. Manush beat him to the Hall of Fame by four years. Who was better? Goose is in the GOR, having gotten elected last year. Manush is a longshot to even be on the ballot in three years. Paul Waner was the third wheel of the bunch, and Manush’s weekly golf partner until he passed away in 1965. Manush was Waner’s most similar player between ages 29 and 37.

Carl Reynolds– He was either the sixth or seventh best player in the AL in 1930, but he didn’t finish in the top ten in runs or rbi even though he (barely) went over 100 in each. At first I wanted to completely dismiss him for it because it was, well, 1930…. But he actually was the sixth or seventh best player in a league populated by a couple dozen grade A Hall of Famers. His BBR picture could be Aaron Harang’s, or a bad shot of Stewart Cink. Cink is a nice guy, so I always feel guilty when I want him to burn in hell for making a 40 foot putt to deny 59 year old Tom Watson a British Open title.

Earl Whitehill– Is it impolite to comment on a ballplayer’s looks? His BBR page… it looks like he waxed his eyebrows and put on mascara. Whitehill has the highest era in history for a 200 game winner, and he gave up at least 100 runs in 15 consecutive seasons (that has to be a record, right?). He retired having given up 1431 career bases on balls, the most of any pitcher in the 20th century until Bump Hadley passed him in 1941.

Most of his signposts are negative, but I would put him a bit above the run of the mill innings eaters of the post dirty ball era. He made more of a difference, and he did win 218 games. He ain’t top 30 in this group, but I respect his mascara wearing, Tony Curtis lookalike memory.

Pinky Whitney– Pink Slippz (I just made that up) was a poor man’s Jeff Cirillo.

Results:

The Top 2 were easy; below that – what a mishmash!

11 ballots, the results:

154 Lou Gehrig
104 Frankie Frisch
***************
43 Judy Johnson
37 Red Faber
36 Bill Foster
34 Edd Roush
31 Rabbit Maranville
24 Dick Lundy
24 Sam Rice
21 Dave Bancroft
20 Pie Traynor
19 Heinie Groh
19 Carl Mays
18 John Beckwith
17 Kiki Cuyler
16 Tony Lazzeri
15 Urban Shocker
8 Burleigh Grimes
7 Babe Adams
7 Bingo DeMoss
7 Heinie Manush
4 Hack Wilson
3 Firpo Marberry
2 Chino Smith
1 Eddie Rommel

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