Congratulations to the newest members of the Hall of Miller and Eric. Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, Charlie Gehringer, Paul Waner, Gabby Hartnett, Carl Hubbell, Joe Cronin, Ted Lyons, and George Sisler bring our total to 61 of the greatest players in the game’s history now in the HoME. We’re well over a quarter full, and we’re pretty confident our next 148 players should be as exciting as the first 61.
Per our rules, players have to be named on both ballots for induction. Here’s how we voted.
Miller Eric 1 Lefty Grove Lefty Grove 2 Jimmie Foxx Jimmie Foxx 3 Charlie Gehringer Charlie Gehringer 4 Paul Waner Paul Waner 5 Gabby Hartnett Gabby Hartnett 6 Carl Hubbell Joe Cronin 7 Ted Lyons Carl Hubbell 8 Joe Cronin Wes Ferrell 9 Pud Galvin Elmer Flick 10 George Sisler Ted Lyons 11 Red Faber Bill Terry 12 Mordecai Brown George Sisler 13 Bid McPhee Vic Willis
Lefty Grove: He battles Randy Johnson and Warren Spahn for the title of best left handed pitcher ever. Back-to-back pitching triple crowns in 1930 and 1931 highlight an incredible career. He has four win titles among his eight twenty-win seasons. He won nine ERA titles and seven consecutive strikeout titles to start his career. He won exactly 300 games, and is one of three pitchers (Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan are the other two) to strike out the side on nine pitches twice in a career. Grove did it twice in 1928 alone. The accolades go on and on, as well they should. Grove can now HoME membership to his list.
Jimmie Foxx: The man known as “Double X” had tremendous power, hitting 534 home runs in his career and retiring second only to Babe Ruth on the career list. His four home run titles are impressive; his 12 consecutive seasons with 30 or more may be more so. Similarly, his three RBI titles are impressive; his 13 consecutive seasons with at least 100 may be more so. He won three MVP Awards and a 1933 triple crown. He’s one of the half-dozen best 1B ever to play the game and an easy first ballot HoMEr.
Charlie Gehringer: Known as “The Mechanical Man” due to his robot-like consistency, Gehringer was a great hitting 2B who spent his entire career in Detroit. A sign of both his greatness and the way he was viewed during his career is that no other second baseman played an All-Star inning until the game’s seventh edition in 1939. He won a batting title in 1937 and an MVP Award the same year. He also possessed enough consistency and longevity to rank second in 2B assists behind only Eddie Collins. One of his most interesting seasons statistically was 1929 when he displayed his speed, leading the AL in hits, runs, doubles, triples, and steals. As one of the best half-dozen ever at his position, he’s an easy HoME entry.
Paul Waner: Similar in value to Reggie Jackson and Al Kaline, “Big Poison” was as much of an inner circle guy as little brother Lloyd was a mistake. The lefty swinging Pirate, mainly, was one of the great hitters ever to play, totaling 3152 hits and taking home an NL MVP in 1927. Three batting titles and eight seasons with at least 200 hits highlight his résumé, as do placements high on the career doubles (#11) and triples (#10) charts. Though Roberto Clemente fans may argue to the contrary, of all NL right fielders, it’s possible Waner only trails Hank Aaron and Mel Ott in terms of value at the plate.
Gabby Hartnett: One of the great offensive forces we’ve seen behind the plate, Hartnett trails only Yankee greats Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey in value by catchers in baseball’s first 100 years. He won the 1935 NL MVP and represented his league in each of the first six All-Star Games. He was there for some of baseball’s most historic moments too. Hartnett was the catcher when Grover Cleveland Alexander won his 300th game, when Babe Ruth hit his called shot, when Carl Hubbell whiffed five consecutive all-time greats in the 1934 All-Star Game, and when Dizzy Dean suffered a career-altering injury three years later. When he retired, no catcher played in as many games or had as many homers, ribbies, or hits. Hartnett remains second on the all-time caught stealing percentage list too.
Carl Hubbell: Hubbell’s greatest contribution to the game, and one of its most significant by anyone, came in the 1934 All-Star Game when he struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin consecutively. That was the highlight in a career of many highlights. Hubbell was on eight other All-Star teams and was NL MVP in 1933 and 1936. He led the NL in wins and ERA three times each in a career that saw him put up 253 victories in total. He also became the first National Leaguer to have his number retired when the Giants forever hung up his number 11 in 1944.
Joe Cronin: To be one of the greats at the historically stacked position of shortstop may say more than at other positions. He’s quite similar to Robin Yount and Alan Trammell in both peak and career value. The differences lay in how spread out their value was across their careers and stylistically – Yount and Trammell having more home run power, Cronin with more triples and more walks. The seven-time All Star had a tremendous career after his playing days ended too. He still has more wins than any manager in Red Sox history, and he was American League President for fifteen years.
Ted Lyons: In a group of inner circle guys, Ted Lyons stands out. But we’re electing 209 players, not 75. Lyons has just enough peak and just enough career value that we can’t say no. In his 21 seasons with the White Sox, the righty won 260 games, including two wins titles and three seasons winning 20 or more. He was so popular in Chicago that toward the end of his career, both to preserve the aging hurler and sell tickets, he pitched only on Sunday afternoons and gained the nickname, “Sunday Teddy”. And in a sign of the times, the no-hitter he threw in 1926 took only 67 minutes.
George Sisler: Eric has been making his case for weeks, and my Saberhagen analysis of a few days ago put me over the top. Sisler had an incredible peak – at the level of Cap Anson and Dan Brouthers. While he fell off some later, we’re looking at four seasons of MVP-level play and three more when he was as good as an All-Star. He won the MVP in 1922, a year in which he led the AL in hits, runs, steals, and batting average. And that year, he topped .400 for the second time, hitting a blistering .420.
Each season, some guys are elected, while others receive votes from only one of us. Below we’ll explain our reasons for such votes. But first, since the last election, Eric has retracted one of his votes.
Jim McCormick: I’ve run some numbers on how “tough” leagues were for pitching, just as I did for hitting. Those numbers deal a blow to 19th century pitchers in general, and specifically to McCormick. We’ve got the right guys from his era, I think, and I’m not supporting any more of them until I fully complete my research.
Pud Galvin: 24-7-365. The first two numbers don’t really mean anything in this case. It’s the third that I care about – Pud Galvin’s win total.
Red Faber: For my money, he’s similar to 1951 HoME electee, Ted Lyons. Wins, innings, and ERA+ are all about the same. Faber has a better peak too. Of course, Lyons does have more value in his career, and I’d take Lyons if I could only have one. I think I can have both.
Mordecai Brown: In terms of career value, he’s right around Dave Stieb, which I think is a positive thing. And he’s similar to Whitey Ford too, but with a stronger peak.
Bid McPhee: As with all of our picks, they’re informed by the current membership of the HoME and by those coming in future elections. I must admit that I’m wavering on McPhee. Eric’s decision to withdraw his support for Jim McCormick may make it easier for me to reverse on McPhee in future elections. While I don’t see his career differently, I worry that the HoME might be over-filling with 19th century players. I’ll take a close look at this before the 1956 election.
Elmer Flick: Here’s a comparison of corner OFs that my own eqWAR suggests are similar:
Elmer Harry Sherry Not Elmer Flick Heilmann Magee Flick 62.7 67.9 67.0 62.7 9.1 7.8 7.8 7.0 7.0 6.8 7.3 6.7 6.7 6.6 5.9 6.6 6.6 6.4 5.8 6.3 6.3 5.7 5.7 6.3 6.3 5.2 5.3 6.1 6.0 5.0 5.1 6.0 5.1 4.7 3.9 5.1 5.0 4.2 3.6 5.0 4.0 4.1 3.3 4.0 0.3 3.6 3.2 1.5 0.2 2.4 3.1 1.0 0.1 2.2 2.2 0.5 1.8 2.1 0.3 1.7 1.5 0.2 0.0 1.1 0.1 0.0 -0.1 -0.3
For me, an extra four to five career eqWAR off the end don’t break Flick’s case, not when balanced against his superior performance before that. He had 62 eqWAR in 10 seasons compared to 57 for Heilmann and 54 for Magee. If Flick’s career looked like the last column above, he would, in my opinion, be less attractive a candidate.
Wes Ferrell: Not Rick! Sans the bat, he’s right on the borderline, with several really excellent pitching-alone seasons a couple okay ones and not much else. But once his bat gets rolled in, he’s well across the finish line.
Bill Terry: Terry and Sisler, Sisler and Terry. I currently have Terry a smidge over Sisler, could go either way. Terry’s leagues were tougher to stand out in, and Sisler had a higher absolute peak but was crappier more often.
Vic Willis: Another year on the ballot for Victor Gazaway. Same old song: fully vested member of the Waddell/McGinnity/Coveleski group.
Please visit our Honorees page to see their plaques and to see more information about the HoME and those who have been elected.