Congratulations to our most recent pair of inductees, Home Run Baker and Joe McGinnity, for gaining entrance to the Hall of Miller and Eric with our 1931 election.
The HoME is now populated with 31 of the greatest players in the game’s history.
Per our rules, players have to be named on both ballots for induction. Here’s how we voted.
Miller Eric 1 Pud Galvin Home Run Baker 2 Home Run Baker Charlie Bennett 3 Joe McGinnity Paul Hines 4 Monte Ward Elmer Flick 5 George Wright 6 Jimmy Collins 7 Joe McGinnity 8 Vic Willis 9 Jim McCormick
Home Run Baker: Frank Baker was basically the Ron Santo of his era. He won every AL home run title from 1911-1914. But it was before the last three that he gained his famous nickname. In a tied game two of the 1911 World Series, Baker took Giant hurler Rube Marquard deep to give the A’s a 3-1 lead and eventual victory, evening the series at a game apiece. Then in the next game, with his A’s trailing Christy Mathewson and the Giants 1-0 in the ninth inning, Baker took another Hall of Fame hurler deep to tie it. The A’s went on to win the game 3-2 and the series 4-2. Home Run Baker was born. So was the best 3B in the game before the arrival of Eddie Mathews, an easy selection for the HoME.
Joe McGinnity: The “Iron Man” may have only pitched in the majors for ten seasons, but they were ten incredibly productive seasons that put him at the upper end of the lower third of the pitchers destined for the HoME. During his time in the bigs, only Cy Young produced more WAR on the mound, and McGinnity was tops in the NL in both 1903 and 1904. He also led the NL in wins five times, added an ERA title, and won a total of 246 games. As far as his nickname goes, it came from his off-season iron foundry work, not his durability. He did lead the league in innings four times and games six times though, and he makes a very solid addition to the HoME.
Each season, some guys are elected, while others receive votes from only one of us. Below we’ll explain our reasons for such votes.
Pud Galvin: Over baseball’s first 19 seasons with officially recorded history, from 1871-1889, nobody recorded more WAR on the mound than Galvin. If we take it to 50 years, through 1920, he’s eighth. With the fifth most wins and the second most innings ever, he’s an easy call for me.
Monte Ward: In 1878, Ward was the third best pitcher in baseball. In 1887, he was the game’s best position player. He compiled more career WAR than either of our HoMErs this year, and he tops such greats as Bob Feller and Jackie Robinson as well. He’s still not qualified as a pitcher or as a shortstop, but he’s in for me as a player.
Charlie Bennett: After re-examination, I still find his case compelling. He’s a top-half of the HoME level catcher who combined three things during a tough time for catching. a) Good bat, b) Great defense, and c) Durability. Somewhat unique in this regard as the elite-hitting catchers (Kelly and Ewing) played RF to save their bats, while the elite defenders either got hurt or hung around a while but never developed as hitters.
Paul Hines: Long career, moderate peak. He’s a very similar candidate to Deacon White in terms of career shape and value and very similar relative to their respective positions.
Elmer Flick: Great player for ten years when he was the best RF in the game. It’s plenty enough for a guy inclined to support peak-oriented cases.
George Wright: The best SS before Jack Glasscock. The stats we see on the various reference sites only include part of his career. Before the NL he was the best player in the country by acclimation.
Jimmy Collins: Whatever the reason was, third base was really hard to have a long career at during the aggressive base running eras of the 1890s and the deadball era. Collins managed to combine a decent peak with enough longevity to push past his contemporaries and become the second best 3B between Deacon White and Eddie Mathews.
Vic Willis: There’s not enough difference between him and Joe McGinnity/Rube Waddell that I thought I could vote for those two and not for him.
Here are their eqWAR scores, from best to worst. Waddell | 8.2 | 7.5 | 7.5 | 6.3 | 4.5 | 2.9 | 1.9 | 1.7 | 1.2 | 0.3 | -0.2 McGinnity | 8.8 | 7.4 | 6.6 | 6.2 | 5.6 | 4.0 | 2.4 | 2.1 | 1.6 | 0.5 | Willis | 8.1 | 6.8 | 6.5 | 6.3 | 4.5 | 3.5 | 3.4 | 2.8 | 2.5 | 2.2 | 0.4
They had roughly the same effective career lengths with slightly more or slightly less graceful declines from their absolute peaks. There are differences, but they aren’t so significant that one belongs and the others don’t.
Jim McCormick: Here’s my surprise guy. He fits right into the table above with a very similar looking career pattern. This vote accounts for the UA, with a discount deeper than that suggested by bb-ref’s WAR. Basically, he’s Radbourn-lite or Willis/McGinnity/Waddell’s slight superior.
Please visit our Honorees page to see their plaques and to see more information about the HoME and those who have been elected.