1948

Looks like it’s going to be a three-horse horse race. Speaking of horse races, a poem I learned as a three year old:

1 1 was a race horse
2 2 was 1 2
1 1 1 1 horse race
2 2 1 1 2

Babe Adams, Fat Jenkins, and Chino Smith are scratched from the race.

This race (keeping with a theme) ends Saturday night.

1 Elden Auker
2 Earl Averill 4th
13 Dave Bancroft
5 John Beckwith 5th
6 Jim Bottomley
2 Wally Berger
1 Clint Brown
1 Bruce Campbell
8 Earle Combs
2 Andy Cooper
5 Kiki Cuyler
2 Dizzy Dean 7th
13 Bingo DeMoss
10 Red Faber 5th
2 Wes Ferrell
1 Larry French
1 Charlie Gehringer
9 Burleigh Grimes
6 Chick Hafey
2 Gabby Hartnett 3rd
6 Judy Johnson 8th
4 Tony Lazzeri
4 Dick Lundy 9th
4 Heinie Manush
8 Rabbit Maranville
7 Firpo Marberry
14 Carl Mays
1 Eric McNair
2 Buddy Myer
9 Herb Pennock
3 Dick Redding
9 Sam Rice
1 Red Rolfe
11 Eddie Rommel
12 Edd Roush 10th
1 George Selkirk
1 Luke Sewell
15 Urban Shocker
1 Turkey Stearnes
3 Ben Taylor
6 Pie Traynor
1 Billy Werber
1 Sam West
9 Hack Wilson

Just in case you didn’t get the poem above:

Won-One was a race horse
TuTu was one too
Won-One won one horse race
TuTu won one too.

Well, it was funny to a three year old Bob. (And a 56-year old one as well.)

Ah, what the heck, another poem I learned as a three-year old:

One dark morning in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys stood up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
Came to kill those two dead boys.
If you don’t believe my story’s true,
Ask the blind man: he saw it too

Bob’s ballot:

1. Hartnett
2. Gehringer
3. Stearnes
4. Beckwith
5. Bancroft
6. Faber
7. Cooper
8. Rice
9. Roush
10. Ferrell

I asked some SABR friends of mine who are NeL fans who they think are deserving of HOF enshrinement. The four who responded had only one name they each mentioned: John Beckwith. Lundy and Redding were named by three.

I picked up John Holway’s book. Beckwith is #1 on his ballot.

Terry’s ballot:

1: Turkey Stearnes– If you ask me he is clearly the best player from this group. He was, to me, a reasonable comp to Henry Aaron, and even though it’s nuts to comp anyone to Aaron straight across, I don’t see “poor man’s” Henry Aaron. I see a similar player, who had a similar career once you adjust for context.

2: Dizzy Dean– Top 10 pitchers in career MVP voting shares:

1. Carl Hubbell- 2.82
2. Dizzy Dean- 2.80
3. Walter Johnson- 2.54
4. Bob Feller- 2.49
5. Warren Spahn 2.44
6. Sandy Koufax- 2.27
7. Roger Clemens- 2.20
8. Hal Newhouser- 2.13
9. Lefty Grove- 1.94
10. Robin Roberts- 1.93

3: Charlie Gehringer
4: Gabby Hartnett– Higher than fifth in stolen bases allowed just once in his career, higher than fifth in runners caught stealing twelve times. He is second to Roy Campanella in career caught stealing percentage.

5: John Beckwith– I’ll go along, Chuck, but I’m always skeptical of the “he was a good hitter for a” sort of arguments. Dick Allen and Harmon Killebrew spent significant time at third base. 300 pound Miggy Cabrera is manning third right now. Gene Tenace couldn’t play any position but catcher, and neither could Ernie Lombardi. That doesn’t make them valuable fielders unless they were good catchers; which they weren’t. I’m not dismissing the argument completely, just trying to keep the horse on the correct end of the cart. I would prefer to see some evidence that Beckwith wasn’t just a poor man’s Dick Allen, who didn’t get moved because it wasn’t done back there, back then.

6: Rabbit Maranville
7: Wes Ferrell– I don’t give nearly as much credence to his hitting as I maybe should. It’s another example of the “he’s good for his position” argument, and I am not sure it’s the best argument. He had 1176 career atbats, and an ops+ of 100. Was it valuable, that he could hit that well as a pitcher? Of course it was. Is it something to be honored for? I don’t know that it is.

8: Dave Bancroft
9: Edd Roush
10: Pie Traynor

Honorable Mention


Kiki Cuyler
Wally Berger

Other Stuff

Larry French– He has to be the swingman on the “all- last year of his career” team, doesn’t he? 15-4, 1.83 era in 1942, then off to War. He never returned, even to the minors. Between 1930 and 1940 he was about as consistent as anyone could be, posting era+ numbers between 114 and 133 in 9 of the 11 seasons. The other 2 were 99 and 101. Who was that guy, won 300 games in the 19th century with 1 point of black ink? Mickey Welch, that was the guy. Larry French and Mickey Welch were, for all intents and purposes, the same pitcher. Welch is in the Hall because he won 300 games, and that’s fair. French won’t make the Hall or the GOR because he only won 197 games, but he was as good as many who did, and many more who will down the road.

Bruce Campbell– Loved him on Burn Notice.

Eric McNair– Born in Meridian, Mississippi. Died in Meridian, Mississippi, of a heart attack at age 39. Nickname was Boob. I spent a decade one month in Meridian, Mississippi. I’ve seen flying cockroaches in two places: Subic Bay, Philippines, and Meridian, Mississippi. If I were black and I found myself stuck in Meridian, Mississippi; even as late as 1985 (when I was there), I would buy my own rope. Just to be clear, I didn’t care for Meridian, Mississippi. I find myself strangely enjoying the act of typing Meridian, Mississippi. That’s Meridian, Mississippi. Please, someone, anyone; slap my hand away from my keyboard so I can stop typing Meridian, Mississippi. Thank you.

Red Rolfe– If you have ever played Strat or APBA or one of those games, you’ve probably put together a team of the best players in the league, just to see how many runs they would score against an average team. With the advent of computer games it’s easy to do now; not at all like the months of concentrated life waste that it used to take. Anyway, we all have players who are favorites, even though they aren’t really stars. They are guys like David Freese, David Bell, guys like that, basically average guys who we just loved to watch play. We’d put a lineup together with Rickey Henderson, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, so on…. With our guy playing with them and getting a full season of stats.

Red Rolfe was a real life Strat guy. In 1936 he hit .276 with 4 homers and 90 walks – and scored 143 runs. His career ops+ was 99, and he scored 130 runs for every 162 games he played. For more on this subject see Crosetti, Frank; Stephens, Vern; and… hell, anyone from the late 1930’s Yankees or the late 1940’s Red Sox.

Taking the thought to its natural destination – Dick Allen’s 1972, in the context of the late 1930’s, would be something like .360-58-170. I know, that’s insane, but I feel like I have to err towards the lower end, just to be safe. He might have hit .400, broke the 60 homer level, and driven in 200 runs. Of course he might have gotten drunk and forgot to show up for work, too.

George Selkirk– The JD Drew of the 1930s, and it’s an amazing fit. I’m talking about on the field only; they were very different people.

Luke Sewell– He picked up a few MVP votes in four different years, including a 5th place finish in 1937. He didn’t get any MVP votes for 1933, a year in which he:

– Was traded to a team that didn’t win in 1932
– Set a career high in atbats
– Set a career high in several offensive categories, including some of the ratios
– Won the pennant

Doesn’t it seem weird that he didn’t get even a single 10th place vote?

Billy Werber– He might have been the least likeable player ever. I read his SABR bio. It made me want to cut him off in traffic while I flipped him off, sue him for divorce while I cheated on him with his best friend, and punch him in the face right after his wife miscarried the child I put in her while he was feeding sick orphans in Africa. Just saying, he was not a likeable man. George Costanza on Red Bull with a toothache unlikeable.

That said, without the bucket kicking injury Werber would have been a Hall (and GOR) candidate in just about any era but his own. He was a misfit; a speed guy in the era of giant sluggers. He was Frankie Frisch, but without John McGraw to legitimize him right before he dumped him.

Sam West– We occasionally get a serious Hall candidate who only played in six or seven all star games. Sammy West is the opposite; a six time all star who never led the league in anything, and barely finished in the top ten in anything either, even in an eight team league. 20 points of black ink would be low for a serious candidate, but if the cat had 200 points of gray, it’s forgivable. Sammy West had 20 points of gray ink, no points of black ink.

Results:

The disparity between 3rd and 4th place is HUGE. I don’t recall: have we ever had a 3rd place finisher with 100 points?

11 ballots; the results:

130 Turkey Stearnes
121 Charlie Gehringer
*****************
100 Gabby Hartnett
35 John Beckwith
27 Earl Averill
26 Dizzy Dean
25 Dick Lundy
21 Edd Roush
20 Dave Bancroft
20 Red Faber
20 Wes Ferrell
17 Sam Rice
15 Judy Johnson
14 Rabbit Maranville
12 Carl Mays
9 Wally Berger
8 Kiki Cuyler
8 Tony Lazzeri
7 Heinie Manush
6 Ben Taylor
6 Pie Traynor
4 Andy Cooper
4 Bingo DeMoss
4 Buddy Myer
4 Dick Redding
3 Burleigh Grimes
2 Firpo Marberry
2 Urban Shocker
1 Eddie Rommel

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