1954

Only one player of note, Red Faber, drops from the ballot, having used up his time.

This election ends Monday.

2 Newt Allen
10 Earl Averill
11 John Beckwith
3 Cool Papa Bell 5th
8 Wally Berger
3 Tommy Bridges
1 Ray Brown
4 Dolf Camilli
2 Spud Chandler
8 Andy Cooper
1 Doc Cramer
4 Joe Cronin 4th
1 Frank Crosetti
2 Roy Cullenbine
11 Kiki Cuyler
8 Dizzy Dean 10th
3 Bill Dickey 3th
1 Bill Dietrich
8 Wes Ferrell 8th
1 Lonnie Frey
6 Lefty Gomez
1 Joe Greene
15 Burleigh Grimes
1 Don Guttridge
2 Stan Hack 7th
2 Billy Herman 9th
4 Bob Johnson
12 Judy Johnson
5 Chuck Klein
10 Tony Lazzeri
1 Thornton Lee
2 Ernie Lombardi
2 Al Lopez
10 Dick Lundy
3 Ted Lyons
10 Heinie Manush
14 Rabbit Maranville
13 Firpo Marberry
1 Frank McCormick
1 George McQuinn
1 Joe Medwick
1 Terry Moore
1 Fritz Ostermueller
14 Sam Rice
2 Red Ruffing
1 George Scales
1 Hilton Smith
1 Ted Strong
12 Pie Traynor
1 Arky Vaughn
4 Lon Warneke
4 Jud “Boojum” Wilson 6th
1 Rudy York

Bob’s ballot:

1. Dickey
2. Bell
3. Cronin
4. Wilson
5. Vaughn
6. Hack
7. Brown
8. Beckwith
9. Lundy
10. Herman

I’m feeling a little guilty. Joe Medwick was my father’s favorite player, and I really tried to put him on my ballot, but try as I might, I couldn’t get him any higher than 15th. I think he has a good shot to eventually get into the GOR, but like a lot of these guys, it’s going to take a goodly amount of time.

Terry’s ballot:

1: Cool Papa Bell– Ops+ is a nice tool, and I use it as much as anyone, but it doesn’t work for speed guys. Speed is, maybe even more than defense, a frontier in the world of SABR exploration. We count their stolen bases, their caught stealing, figure out speed scores, range factors, count doubles and triples, how many times they go from first to third, but so far nobody has come up with a way to put those numbers as a gestalt in context with ops+. The guy who does will be as famous as McCracken.

Cool Papa Bell, much like Lou Brock, in large part contributed to the lore of the game by using his baserunning talents to do things that other human beings marveled at. Those kinds of things don’t always show up in the numbers, but they count. If every Negro Leaguer ever interviewed said that Cool Papa Bell was one of the best players ever, I think it’s safe to assume that they knew what they were talking about.

2: Arky Vaughn– He was a good enough hitter to be a Hall of Fame quality first baseman, and probably a better defender than his reputation would lead you to believe. Bell is clearly the better museum piece, but Vaughn is the best player of this group. Well, him or Jud Wilson.
3: Jud Wilson
4: Dizzy Dean- Played his home games in Sportsman Park, but his splits were normal.
5: Joe Cronin
6: Bill Dickey
7: Billy Herman
8: Stan Hack
9: Joe Medwick- Career home/road ops split was .920-.817; in 1937 it was 1.123-.988. His ops+, between 1933 and 1939, was 145.

10: Wes Ferrell– My opinion: If I’m choosing sides he would rank higher than this, about even with Dizzy Dean, but we aren’t choosing sides here. We are handing out awards.

When handing out awards, to me “really good hitter for a pitcher” ranks with “really good fielder for a first baseman” as hooks for a museum plaque. What his era might have been is interesting, but what his era WAS is what counts. Was he a better player than his numbers? Yep. Does this make him a better Hall candidate than Dizzy Dean? To me the answer is of course not, don’t be silly. Dean was category A++ famous, won game 7 of a World Series, won an MVP, and even casual fans remember him today. Wes Ferrell’s name is only well known to people like us.

Comparing Wes Ferrell to Dizzy Dean isn’t fair to either one of them. In my opinion both of them belong in the Hall of Fame, but if they stand next to each other the vote would be a slaughter, and Ferrell would be needlessly embarrassed. Dizzy Dean was an important historical figure in the game. Ferrell was merely a great ballplayer.

Honorable Mention

Hilton Smith– Man, is he hard to figure. A good portion of his career happened off the grid; he was 30 years old in 1937, when his sustained run in the Negro Leagues began. He was part of a semi-pro team in 1935-36, with teammates like Double Duty Radcliffe, Quincy Trouppe and Satchel Paige. To me he was sort of a cross between Wes Ferrell (Hilton was a very good hitter, and a better pitcher than his records when you remember that he cleaned up for Paige so much, pitching tons of uncredited innings) and Dazzy Vance (didn’t really get started statistically until he was in his 30s). His strikeout rates were impressive for the times he played in. He might not have the career volume “above the table” that Martin Dihigo had, but I would argue that he was a far better player.

Other Stuff

Ted Strong– Not a serious Gor Candidate, but I bet he was really fun to follow. He was a huge, hard drinking womanizer who played for the Harlem Globetrotters. I found a picture, and he looks like he would fit perfectly in “Harlem Nights” or “Coming to America”. He might have given Wilt a run for his money, at least in one category.

Rudy York– Looking at his picture, I immediately thought of Mongo from Blazing Saddles. He grew up in the rough and tumble South as a mixed breed, one eighth Cherokee. Would you be surprised if he used to deck the occasional horse?

Results:

12 ballots; the results:

140 Arky Vaughn
103 Bill Dickey
*************
88 Cool Papa Bell
81 Joe Cronin
51 Jud “Boojum” Wilson
42 Stan Hack
32 Wes Ferrell
28 Ray Brown
24 Dizzy Dean
22 Joe Medwick
21 Billy Herman
17 John Beckwith
13 Hilton Smith
11 Chuck Klein
10 Ted Lyons
7 Newt Allen
6 Judy Johnson
6 Dicky Lundy
5 Bob Johnson
4 Earl Averill
4 Burleigh Grimes
4 Red Ruffing
3 Heinie Manush
3 Rabbit Maranville
2 Sam Rice
2 Pie Traynor
1 Tony Lazzeri
1 Ernie Lombardi
1 Firpo Marberry

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