With 2012 comes our fourth to final election until we catch up with the Hall of Fame. But this year really didn’t have a lot of superstars eligible. So it was very much a backlog election. We thought through the cases of George Gore, Pud Galvin, Jim McCormick, Clark Griffith, and Wilbur Cooper as closely as we could. And we concluded that we wanted one hitter and one pitcher. George Gore didn’t make the cut among hitters. And for the pitcher, well, I’ll let you wait for a bit on him. (Or just look to the right).
Only three elections remain, and today we induct just one player, making it 199 of the greatest players ever in our HoME. That means there are 16 more to elect over the 2013-2015 elections. And because there are only 33 players left to review, chances are nearly 50/50 that you’re getting in if we’re still to review your case.
Here’s how we voted in 2012.
Miller Eric 1 Pud Galvin Pud Galvin
The Class of 2012
Pud Galvin: That’s right. He’s in! It may have taken 52 elections, but the first pitcher in history with 300 wins is now a member of the Hall of Miller and Eric. Galvin now ranks fifth all-time in wins with 365, including a pair of no-hitters. Add to that the second most innings and the second most complete games in history, and you have one of the game’s most important pitchers. When you pitch so many innings, it’s not hard to lose a lot of games, and Galvin lost 310 of them, also second all time. A look at his 1883 and 1884 seasons will show an insane 92 wins in 147 starts and nearly 1300 innings. Those seasons alone were good for more than 31 WAR, roughly the career of someone like Rick Sutcliffe or Andres Galarraga.
Miller has covered Galvin in vast depth and detail. As we worked our way toward the end of this project, it became a three-horse pitching race for Eric among Galvin, Wilbur Cooper, and Clark Griffith. In the end, Eric decided to trust Miller since he sees the three as equals without enough distance between them to make any sort of definitive differentiation. Galvin has, by far, the single best year among them and several standout years plus there’s his incredible durability, but his overall career line is more mediocre, and he may be history’s worst hitting pitcher. Griffith has the best career ERA+, and he could hit a little, but he wasn’t all that durable for pitcher of his generation…and that generation is, in Eric’s opinion, more overpopulated in the HoME than even Galvin’s. Cooper’s times are underrepresented by us, his pitching performance is kind of in between Galvin and Griffith, and Coop could really hit, but when he wasn’t good, he was terrible. IF Galvin could have been even an average hitter, he’d have been a slam dunk. IF Griffith had pitched more, he’d have been like a Don Drysdale or Juan Marichal. IF Cooper hadn’t had those awful seasons at the beginning and end of his career, he’d have been elected long ago. None of those happened, so here we are. The upshot is that we can still elect Griffith and/or Cooper as Hall electoral history marches on. And they, like Heinie Groh, Sam Rice, George Gore, Bernie Williams, Cupid Childs, Jake Beckley, Roger Bresnahan, Ernie Lombardi, and everyone else in big league history will continue to compete for our votes. The only question is this: Will the BBWAA and the VC elect enough men to accommodate them. If they insist on giving plaques to the likes of Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Jack Morris, Omar Vizquel, Trevor Hoffman, and other poor but popular candidates, then maybe there’s room, provided that they also get off the dime on Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, and Mike Mussina as well as quickly recognize Vlad Guerrero, Jim Thome, Roy Halladay, and others.
Since we’re not optimists in regards to their ability to spot candidates with any kind of subtlety, who knows what the future holds for our backlog.
No solo votes this election! First time ever!
That’s it for 2012 and for Pud Galvin. Just three elections now remain. Please check out our Honorees page to see the plaques of those elected and to see plenty more information about the HoME.