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1921, Results

1921 HoME Election Results

Congratulations to our fifth class of inductees: Cy Young, Fred Clarke, Bobby Wallace, and Ed Walsh for gaining entrance to the Hall of Miller and Eric with our 1921 election.

The HoME is now populated with 20 of the greatest players in the game’s history.

Per our rules, all four had to be named on both ballots for induction. Let’s look to see how we voted.

Rank

Miller Eric

1

Cy Young Cy Young

2

Bobby Wallace Fred Clarke

3

Fred Clarke Bobby Wallace

4

Ed Walsh Ed Walsh

5

Jesse Burkett

6

Paul Hines

7

Charlie Bennett

8

Elmer Flick

9

George Wright

10

Ross Barnes

You may have heard of Cy Young. They named an award after him. With 511 wins, it’s clear that he’s one of the very best pitchers ever to play the game and certainly the best we’ve encountered so far. He led his league in WAR six times and pitcher WAR on seven occasions. He won the pitching triple crown in the American League’s inaugural season of 1901 and is without a doubt one of baseball’s best control pitchers all-time, allowing the fewest walks per nine innings an amazing 14 times in his career. In addition to the all-time wins title, he also owns the most starts, innings, and complete games in history. He has more career WAR than any pitcher in history and trails only Babe Ruth on the list among all players.

You may not be as familiar with left fielder Fred Clarke. Players like Clarke, Eddie Mathews, and Jerry Koosman tend to get lost to history a bit when they play with inner circle guys like Honus Wagner, Hank Aaron, and Tom Seaver. But that fact doesn’t mean Clarke isn’t a worthy inductee. He perennially performed at an All-Star level, and all systems love his fielding. Among left fielders, he’s tenth all-time in WAR, far ahead of Hall of Famers Willie Stargell, Jim Rice, and Lou Brock.

You really may not have heard of Bobby Wallace, but the best player no one’s ever heard of is an easy call for induction into the HoME. Wallace was a slick fielding shortstop and third baseman who began his career with the 1894 Cleveland Spiders, moved to the St. Louis Cardinals, the St. Louis Browns, and ended it back with the 1918 St. Louis Cardinals. If you put him on a continuum where the left side represented defensive acumen and the right side batting prowess, he would fall in between Ozzie Smith and Alan Trammell.

Big Ed Walsh didn’t have a long major league career, pitching regularly for only seven seasons. But what a seven – think Sandy Koufax but possibly a little better! From 1906-1912, while pitching for the White Sox, he finished in the top three in pitcher WAR six times. He won a pair of ERA and strikeout titles, and he won 40 games in 1908. And among pitchers with at least 1000 innings, Walsh has the best ERA in the history of major league baseball. In the one World Series in which he pitched, Walsh dominated to the tune of two wins and just one earned run as his White Sox beat the 1906 Chicago Cubs, the best regular season team in the game’s history, for the title.

Each season, some guys are elected, while others receive votes from only one of us. Below we’ll explain our reasons for such votes

Miller: With all of my votes being seconded this election, I don’t need to lobby for any candidates going forward.

Eric:
JESSE BURKETT: The Billy Williams of his era, a year-in and year-out rock solid near All-Star contributor with occasional great seasons and enough career value to push him into the middle third of his position in the HoME. Even this early in the process, it’s safe to commit to players not near the HoME borderline at their positions.

PAUL HINES: Could rank higher, actually. I need to do a little more work on my center fielders. He’s Deacon White in the outfield and the best CF before Billy Hamilton. The impressiveness of his longevity and performance is masked by the length of the schedules in his day. And perhaps it’s overshadowed by the extreme longevity of Cap Anson and Jim O’Rourke.

CHARLIE BENNETT: Probably the second best catcher before Gabby Hartnett. His greatness is often overlooked due to what appears to be a paucity of games played. However, catcher really beat a guy up back then, and he routinely was among the league leaders in games caught. He was a gifted receiver and mobile fielder and thrower who racked up tremendous defensive value and who hit enough to be a middle-of-the-order hitter.

ELMER FLICK: Yep, I pulled the trigger on Flick. I went back and looked most/all of the great right fielders in history (who have been eligible for the Hall), and this guy is, like Burkett, smack dab in that middle third. He dominated his position in the early aughts, and just because Lajoie is better than he is doesn’t constitute a knock against him. Sad that he got whatever disease he had because he was really special.

GEORGE WRIGHT: Sliding down my ballot a little only because with so many shortstops coming along, I’m rethinking where he might fit in at that position. Still, he was the world’s best player by contemporary and historical acclimation before the National Association, second only to Barnes during the NA, and continued along a couple more years into the NL.

JIMMY COLLINS: This is going to sound very twisty, but here goes. I can’t get Jimmy Collins any higher than 14th all-time among third basemen based solely on my interpretation value stats. But I also can’t get him any lower than that. And when I take the broader historical context of his era and position into account, the argument becomes clearer. Among all-time 3Bs ahead of him (who will be eligible by our 2013 election), Collins is immediately beneath a clutch of 1970s guys: Darrell Evans, Buddy Bell, Graig Nettles. When you consider that George Brett and Mike Schmidt also came out of that era (and Sal Bando and Toby Harrah for that matter), but that pretty much nobody but Collins had even a moderately long career as a full-time third baseman in his time, there’s something contextual going on. Collins is the best third baseman between Deacon White and Home Run Baker, and the second best third baseman between White and Eddie Mathews. Or the third best third baseman from 1871 to 1950. That’s 80 years. I don’t like to dive into the bullshit dump very often, but after studying this a bit, I believe that there’s something about that era and third base and the amazing lack of durability showed that isn’t well captured by the numbers. When I combine that with the fact that Collins was the best third baseman of his time, and the fact that the stats stick him squarely within the HoME, I’m comfortable voting for him, even though he isn’t a slam dunk.

ROSS BARNES: I love dominant players, and he dominated six years and had two or three years as a league average player beyond that. It’s enough for me. The short career is not ideal, but he remained an average player after his salad days, so he obviously was able to come down a long way to stay productive.

Please visit our Honorees page to see the plaques of those elected and to see more information about the HoME.

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  1. Pingback: The Slog to 300 Wins | the Hall of Miller and Eric - August 19, 2013

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