1946

This election will end Friday. I said Friday. That’s Friday, jimgus.

Max Bishop and Lefty O’Doul drop from the ballot.

14 Babe Adams
11 Dave Bancroft 10th
3 John Beckwith
1 Wally Berger
1 Zeke Bonura
4 Jim Bottomley
1 Lloyd Brown
1 Tex Carston
6 Earle Combs
3 Kiki Cuyler
11 Bingo DeMoss
8 Red Faber 4th
3 Bill Foster 5th
7 Burleigh Grimes
14 Heinie Groh
4 Chick Hafey
1 Jackie Hayes
1 Fat Jenkins
4 Judy Johnson 3rd
1 Syl Johnson
1 Lyn Lary
2 Tony Lazzeri
2 Dick Lundy 8th
2 Heinie Manush
6 Rabbit Maranville 7th
5 Firpo Marberry
12 Carl Mays
1 Marv Owen
7 Herb Pennock
1 Dick Redding
7 Sam Rice 9th
1 Billy Rogell
9 Eddie Rommel
10 Edd Roush 6th
13 Urban Shocker
10 Chino Smith
1 Gus Suhr
1 Ben Taylor
4 Pie Traynor
1 Rabbit Warstler
7 Hack Wilson
1 Jimmie Wilson

Bob’s ballot:

I don’t usually explain my ballot, but I think I will this time.

1. John Beckwith – NeL stats are so hard to decipher, but the more I look at his, the more impressed I get. At his best, he was probably Frank Baker; at his worst, he was Heinie Groh or Pie Traynor. His personality may have been overblown
2. Dick Lundy – His legend is the most convoluted of any of the NeL stars. Some say he was the greatest fielding shortstop; some say he was average. Some say he was a great hitter; some say he was average. Basically he was either Ozzie Smith or Derek Jeter. How confusing is that? And then it dawned on me. If your two comps are Ozzie and Derek, you’re probably a HOFer.
3. Heinie Groh – I put a lot of stock in “at the time” fame. Pie and Judy were a lot more famous (understanding that NeL got less renown that their white contemporaries), but looking at their stats, I have to conclude that Groh was a smidge better.
4. Pie Traynor – I don’t know that Traynor was the “Greatest Third Baseman” prior to 1950, but all the books at the time said he was. One has to give him a little credit for that.
5. Judy Johnson – He’s ranked somewhere between Brooks Robinson and Doug Rader. I have to admit his BBR stats aren’t overly impressive, but then again I’m not convinced that BBR’s stats are accurate enough – there are a lot of gaping holes. I liken NeL stats to the National Association stats: a lot of non-league games, which were just as important as league games, aren’t counted. I don’t know how one would count them, but they probably should be in some way or other. When one plays 30 league games and 100 non-league games, really, which are more important? And Johnson’s rep as the greatest NeL third baseman are on those uncounted games. What sways me to rank him this high is he was the 6th NeL to be elected to the Hall, before Charleston, before either Foster brother, before Lloyd, before Hilton Smith, before Stearnes, Wells, or Smokey Joe, before a bunch of well qualified players.
6. Dave Bancroft – Dave had a higher peak than Rabbit. Dave had a longer peak than Rabbit. His induction speech, like his career, would be shorter,
7. Rabbit Maranville – If only Ray Oyler had gotten to play in the same era.
8. Red Faber – I can definitely see a scenario where he’d’ve been a 300 game winner.
9. Bill Foster – Seems to be, at best, in the Vance/Coveleski group, and at worst in the Adams/Mays group. Since I voted Coveleski 6th in ’34, 6th in ’35, and Vance 6th in ’41, this ranking seems appropriate.
10. Carl Mays – Because Blueron says I have to.

Terry’s ballot:

1: Rabbit Maranville
2: Dave Bancroft
3: Heinie Groh
4: Edd Roush
5: Pie Traynor
6: Sam Rice
7: Judy Johnson
8: Kiki Cuyler
9: John Beckwith
10: Wally Berger– A fairly good defensive centerfielder with his offensive numbers rates out pretty dammed good against this group if you are making lists and ranking them, but not so much for honoring them. His sabr bio paints a similar picture of Berger’s personality to the way Jim Bouton paints Roger Maris in Ball Four. There are certainly different views of Maris, and I won’t assume that Berger was as abrasive and selfish as he was painted in that bio either. Charlie Keller isn’t the worst comp you can find. Keller was a bit better with the bat, Berger more valuable with the glove.

Honorable Mention


Hack Wilson
Bill Foster

Other Stuff

Zeke Bonura– His major league career ended with WWII, but he returned to the minors in 1946 and played on. According to BBR he hit .367 with 62 homers in just over 1200 atbats, from age 37 to age 43.

Lloyd Brown– Brown won over 200 games in the minor leagues, and worked as a scout nearly up to his death in 1974. He scouted for the Seattle Pilots, and for some reason I think he was mentioned in Ball Four but I can’t remember for sure.

Tex Carleton (?)- Won exactly 100 games in the majors, 100 in the minors.

Marv Owen– There seems to have been a lot of guys from this era who grew up in California – and didn’t show up in the organized minors until they were well into their 20s. In most cases they began where they should have ended, in the PCL. There were some strong semipro leagues going, and they paid better than the low minors by giving their “ringers” jobs with their sponsoring company. Wally Berger, for example, took a cut from 275 to 200 dollars a month to join a team in the organized minors.

Dick Redding– Redding, it can be argued, is a Hall of Fame oversight; I won’t argue against you if you believe that to be the case. The fact that a man who was as hyped as Cannonball Redding has yet to be enshrined, though; that gives me pause. Some compared him to Walter Johnson, and that’s silly based on the statistical evidence we have. He had one season where he was, on the surface, similar to Walter Johnson. He had many others where he wasn’t. He may have thrown really hard when he was young, and the evidence is that he did. My guess is that the comparison was based on stuff, not body of work. He wasn’t someone who should be compared to Walter Johnson, or even Dazzy Vance. I’d compare him to the Eppa Rixey/Dolph Luque class first, and even there I might be giving him too much benefit of the doubt. His era’s weren’t all that good other than a couple of years, and while the level of play in those old leagues was good, it wasn’t the majors. I think it’s premature, based on what we know, to call him an all-time great. He was one hell of a lot better than Bingo DeMoss, though.

Billy Rogell- According to BBR he led the AL in defensive WAR three years in a row. His range factors were below league average in all three years, and below league average for his career. What, exactly, are they measuring? Where are the guys who were above league average ranked? I know range factor isn’t a perfect stat, but are you going to give the batting title to a guy who hits .240 because he plays his home games in the Astrodome? Seriously, somebody needs to rework defensive WAR.

Gus Suhr– Hit 86 triples and 32 homeruns at home, 28 triples and 52 homeruns on the road.

Jimmie Wilson– He was a professional soccer player for several years, predating his baseball career.

Results:

One of our more interesting races, but frankly I can’t think of anything relevant to say about it.

12 ballots, the results:

73 Heinie Groh
72 Bill Foster
************
63 Judy Johnson
58 Edd Roush
56 Dick Lundy
53 John Beckwith
40 Dave Bancroft
39 Red Faber
37 Rabbit Maranville
33 Pie Traynor
28 Carl Mays
27 Kiki Cuyler
24 Sam Rice
20 Dick Redding
17 Tony Lazzeri
15 Urban Shocker
13 Wally Berger
13 Burleigh Grimes
12 Heinie Manush
11 Ben Taylor
9 Bingo DeMoss
8 Hack Wilson
7 Babe Adams
2 Firpo Marberry
1 Jim Bottomley
1 Eddie Rommel

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