Each election there will be a number of players who we agree won’t ever receive our vote for the HoME. To pay tribute to them and to make our next round of voting easier, we’re going to remove them from intellectual consideration, though not actual consideration. They’ll receive a brief write-up in this column along with a little trivia about their careers or lives.
We started this HoME project with 778 players to consider. After our 1901 and 1906 elections, we’ve inducted 6 players and have put to rest 29 others, as you’ll note here and below. That leaves us with 743 players for our remaining 203 spots in the HoME. In other words, we can only elect 28% of the remaining players we’re considering.
And after each election, I’ll offer the following chart to keep you apprised of our progress.
|Year||Carried Over||NewNominees||Considered This Election||Elected||Obituaries||Continuing to Next Election|
In an 1888 game against the Kansas City Cowboys, Ice Box Chamberlain, normally a right handed pitcher, gave up no runs in the last two innings of the game pitching as a lefty. Less flatteringly, he allowed Bobby Lowe to become the first player in Major League history to hit four home runs in a game when he served up all four shots while going the distance in a 20-11 defeat at the hands of Lowe’s Boston Beaneaters.
Some may say that political correctness has gone too far today, others not far enough. Let me just offer that in the last decade of the 19th century, political correctness and morality lagged a bit behind where we might want them. In a land today where the NBA team in Washington can no longer be known as the Bullets, Frank Dwyer pitched for the Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers in 1891. While the team name had more to do with catcher King Kelly than actual murder, it still wouldn’t be allowed today. Also not allowed today would be the conflict of interest resultant in both playing games for the Cincinnati Reds of the National League in 1899 and umpiring games in that league.
Prior to the NL and AL getting together for autumn games that really meant something, there were exhibitions in the latter part of the 19th century that were sort of similar to the World Series. One such year was 1890 when the Brooklyn Bridegrooms of the National League took on the American Association’s Louisville Colonels. Hurler Red Ehret participated in that series, but I’m not going to tell you how he did. See, it didn’t matter. The World Series that year ended in a tie. I wonder how Bud Selig’s legacy would have been affected had he been Commissioner then?
By Similarity Score, there’s no pitcher in the game’s history more like Dave Foutz than Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean. You might think that such a comparison would make Foutz at least a candidate to remain in intellectual consideration for the HoME. But with 147 wins in his career and only two seasons with over 2.6 pitching WAR, Foutz was an easy player to drop. We’ll address Dean’s case in the 1946 election.
In one of the most amazing feats in baseball history, Frank Killen led the National League in wins in both 1893 and 1896. Okay, not that amazing, I know. Killen was a bit of a star when he was quite young, began his decline phase at age 26 and was out of the game before he hit 30.
Nolan Ryan has nothing on Matt Kilroy, aside from 180 or so wins and over 4000 strikeouts. But one thing Kilroy has that Ryan doesn’t is the single-season strikeout record. As a 20-year-old rookie for the Baltimore Orioles in 1886, Kilroy fanned 513 batters in 583 innings despite a 29-34 record. Something must have happened because the next season, in one more start, Kilroy managed “only” 217 strikeouts – and a 46-19 mark. At that point, Kilroy flamed out, whiffing as many as 50 only two more times.
Bill Lange played only seven seasons in the majors, all for the Chicago Colts, later the Chicago Orphans, of the National League. He left the sport after his age-28 season, never to return. Rather, he took up a career in real estate and married Grace Anna Giselman. That marriage didn’t last. Neither did his next. And he never returned to the game. To be fair, he never would have gotten into the HoME had he stayed around for another 5-8 seasons.
Tommy McCarthy has little more claim to a spot in Cooperstown than you or I. In fact his 16.2 career WAR isn’t in the top 1000 all time. It’s not even close. John Valentin had roughly twice the value of Tommy McCarthy. Mike Trout will have more career value by the end of the season. Babe Ruth had more value as a pitcher for the Red Sox. And separately, he had more value as a hitter for them too. The HoME got this right our first time out. McCarthy won’t be getting in.
Among players whose careers ended at age 30 or before, Sadie McMahon is the winningest pitcher, aside from Bob Caruthers, in baseball history. Charles F. Faber‘s excellent biography over at the SABR Bio Project tells one of those great old baseball stories about McMahon’s heroics as his Baltimore Orioles fought the Cleveland Spiders for the 1895 pennant and is worth a read.
Fact number one – no player in the history of Major League Baseball committed more errors at second base than Fred Pfeffer. Fact number two – Cap Anson considered Pfeffer the best defensive second baseman of all time. I think that likely says something about errors, Anson, and time. For what it’s worth, Michael Humphries’ DRA puts Pfeffer second on the ballot to Bid McPhee defensively. And interestingly enough, McPhee is second in history in errors at 2B.
Adonis Terry was to Ed Delahanty what Ice Box Chamberlain was to Bobby Lowe, the pitcher who allowed him to hit four home runs in a single game. But Terry did Chamberlain one better in the game he pitched; he came out of it with the win.
Rest in peace, all. Please visit our Honorees page to see the plaques of those who have made it into the HoME, and check back here after the 1911 election for more obituaries.