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1911, RIP, Obituaries of Players We're No Longer Considering

RIP, Players Falling Off the 1911 Ballot

After each election Eric and I will agree on a number of players who 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.

There were 778 players we considered for the HoME as we began. Three elections into our journey, we’ve elected 11 and put to rest 36 others, as you’ll note by looking at our RIP category and reading below. That leaves us with 731 players for our remaining 198 spots in the HoME. In other words, we can elect less than 27.5% 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 New Nominees Considered This Election Elected Obituaries Continuing to Next Election
1911 47 20 67 5 9 53
1906 33 28 61 3 11 47
1901 first election 54 54 3 18 33

Let’s pay tribute to those falling from intellectual consideration, and let the obscure trivia begin.

Nig Cuppy is the only pitcher in National League history to score five runs in a nine inning game. That was more than 3% of his career total and about 14% of the total of the best hitting season of his career. As players like Cuppy die off, so do players who were once Spiders, Perfectos, Beaneaters, and Americans. Sad.

Pink Hawley is a guy without too much of a place in baseball history. Sure, he won 167 games, the same total as Bret Saberhagen. And he lost the same number as Dolf Luque, 179, in half as many seasons. But there’s not really even marginally meaningful trivia related to those facts. I suppose Hawley’s claim to fame is that he’s third on the all-time hit batsmen list.

William Hoy was deaf. And at a time when players like George Cuppy (see above) were given racist nicknames, it should come as no surprise that Dummy Hoy was given the name he was. As the apocryphal story goes, Hoy is credited with the inspiration for umpires using hand signals to show ball and strike calls. Of course, if Bill Klem’s Hall of Fame plaque is to be trusted, that’s not possible. Klem introduced these signals, and he began his career after Hoy ended his. Oh well. One more thing – Hoy trails only Tom Brown on the all-time error list for outfielders.

A google search for Silver King tells me about a refrigeration company, a professional wrestler, a resort, a boiler compound company, a cleaning systems company, and then a baseball player. Charles Frederick King won 45 games in 1888 and totaled 179 in over 2700 innings by the time he was 24. The first sidearm pitcher in the game’s history, he won only 32 more games in his career. Who needs stinkin’ pitch counts?

Through age 30, the most similar player in baseball history to big Dave Orr was Hall of Famer and HoMEr Dan Brouthers. Brouthers went on to come to the plate nearly 3800 more times and establish himself as one of the best players ever. Orr didn’t. He left baseball after suffering a stroke. The man with the 11th best batting average and 14th best Adjusted OPS+ in history played only eight years in the majors and falls from intellectual consideration.

Elected to Cooperstown as a manager, Wilbert Robinson won just one game more than he lost in that capacity. As a player, he owns a seven-hit game. And Robinson once tried to set a world record, I suppose, by catching a baseball dropped from a plane at 525 feet. As some tell it, in a practical joke gone wrong, Casey Stengel convinced the aviatrix, Ruth Law, to replace the baseball with a grapefruit. As grapefruits are wont to do when dropped from 525 feet, it exploded upon impact, and Robinson lost an eye. Perhaps that’s the origin of the expression, “it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.”

Germany Smith, if you’re looking for a more recent comparison, was Mark Belanger – outstanding with the glove and hopeless at the plate. In only four of his big league seasons did he contribute as much oWAR as dWAR. And for an even more recent comparison, his 8.4 oWAR for his career is less than Mike Trout contributed last season. Even great defenders made loads of errors in the 19th century. Smith trails only Herman Long and Bill Dahlen in errors all-time at shortstop. Auf wiedersehen, Germany.

Over the first six years of his career, Gus Weyhing was pretty terrific. He won 177 games and lost only 124 over 2600+ innings. Then he turned 26. Old man. Next thing you know, the arm of the man they called Rubber-Winged Gus fell off. Not literally. But he did go 87-108 in his final 1700+ innings. Even rubber has a shelf life. I think they should have called him “Wild Gus”. He’s tenth in career walks, fifth in career wild pitches, and hit more batters than any man in baseball history. In fact, his record of 277 hit batsmen is 26% more than that of runner-up, Chick Fraser.

In 1938 Chief Zimmer received exactly one vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame. For comparison, the top candidate, Pete Alexander, received 212 votes that year. And aside from Zimmer there were forty more men who received exactly one vote. Six of them eventually gained enough support to be elected. Not Zimmer. A fine defender, Zimmer is fourth in stolen bases allowed but second in runners caught stealing by a catcher.

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 1916 election for more obituaries.

Miller

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