View Poll Results: Does Tommy Bond Belong in the HOF?

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  • Yes

    7 38.89%
  • No

    6 33.33%
  • It's irrelevant because he'll never get consideration, he retired 120+ years ago

    5 27.78%
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Thread: Tommy Bond

  1. #21
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    Actually, I like the "manifesto" type post- and yours are especially well-written, so you may as well continue. I, at least, will read them. As to history, folklore, myth, and legend- most of recorded history is built on folklore, myth, and legend. Oddly enough (the first of two times I'll write that in this post) I was thinking of this just when I read your post. Long before I became a Swedish rock star, I was a medieval and Renaissance historian (well, a masters degree, but that's something at least, talk about your weird career twists) and for the large part of my teens and 20s, history and historical research was the large part of my life, and the only focus for that love that I now have, turning 40 this year, is baseball.

    I do not confuse fact with myth (well, not more than I can help, and I hope I have at least a modicum of analytical skills), but there is a fundamental difference between Cartwright and Hobbs (or the mighty Casey). Cartwright was not a fictional character (as you say). Knowing the truth about what his grandson did (and let's not talk about cousin Mary, perhaps you know whether or not she even existed, I haven't looked into it) and the less than overwhelming reality behind Cartwright's direct and actual influence on the sport does not prevent me from seeing the incredible and massive impact his supposed and (perhaps) exaggerated effect on the sport has had, from the man in the stands to heroes like Ruth and co. visiting his grave. Anyone who has had that sort of impact on the sport, and perhaps it was more than accidental with Cartwright, but so be it, deserves to be in the hall.

    To you and I (and I would imagine everyone here), the reality of what happened is where the real satisfaction lies, but you and I are not the world, nor even the mass of casual baseball lovers, nor, unfortunately are we on any of the Hall committees (well, I'm not, at any rate). To be elected as a pioneer, one must have had a massive impact on the development of the sport. The Cartwright stories, whether or not they're true (and that could go either way, really) have had that kind of effect; that is unquestionable. You wanna call it the Hall of Unverified Claims and very talented baseball players? Go ahead, but the purpose of the hall is to preserve the memories of the sport, yes? What better memories stick in mind 150 years later than the Cartwright tales?

    PS- oddly enough, I was thinking about Willard Hershberger this afternoon. Any relation?

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzaldrin
    To be elected as a pioneer, one must have had a massive impact on the development of the sport. The Cartwright stories, whether or not they're true (and that could go either way, really) have had that kind of effect; that is unquestionable.
    I'll question it: No one but a few old-timers and eccentrics had ever heard of Alexander Cartwright until well into the 20th century. By that time the sport was developed. It didn't stop developing, of course--it is still developing today. But baseball's place in American culture was firmly established.[1]

    There arose out of this establishment a desire for a creation story for baseball. The Doubleday story was created to fill this niche, and the Cartwright story as the less-implausible response to the Doubleday story. There were other candidates. I have a copy of an article claiming that modern baseball arose out of the game the Olympics of Philadelphia played. That version didn't catch on.

    The point is that the creation myths didn't impact the development of baseball. This has the causality reversed. The development of baseball caused creation myths to arise. Cartwright had a good publicist and the story a veneer of plausibility, but if it hadn't been Cartwright it would have been someone else.

    I don't see a useful distinction between the Cartwright or the Doubleday of myth and Roy Hobbs. None of them were real people. Does the existance or absence of a historical King Arthur affect how you read Thomas Mallory? It doesn't to me. It may be an interesting question in its own right, but it has nothing to do with anything Mallory wrote. I see the mythical Cartwright the same way: that it is based on a historical person is perhaps interesting, but the myth is so removed from the reality that the one is irrelevant to the other.

    Is the purpose of a Hall of Fame to educate or to confirm? If a visitor is confronted by a plaque honoring someone he has never heard of, is this evidence that this honoree shouldn't be there, or that the visitor might want to learn more about this honoree? This is an ideological question and reasonable persons can differ. Personally, I wonder why I would want to make a special trip to be told stuff I already know. The idea bores me.

    Oh, and as for Willard Hershberger, so far as I know he is no relation. He came from, as I recall, Ohio. My people are from Pennsylvania. "Hershberger" is one of those tricky names that you would think to be very uncommon, when in fact it is only moderately uncommon.

    Richard Hershberger

    [1] I was recently looking for an obituary from 1904. One of the Philadelphia newspapers devoted almost the entire front page to the results of the two opening day games of the Philly teams. This is an impressive statement of baseball's place in American culture of the day even if you don't know that one of those games was cancelled due to rain.

  3. #23
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    I'm sorry I haven't written back- I will within the next day or two. haven't forgotten you, señor Hershberger, just have no time to write you a decent response.

  4. #24
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    I had a hell of a time hunting down this thread, which hasn't been contributed to for years, but I'm hoping to revive it. As a journalist who's written for an Irish-American newspaper for the last dozen years or so, this guy's a personal cause for me. I recently found out, through my research of the Irish in baseball, about Bond, who was Irish born (like MANY other 19th Century players and almost none after about 1919). I can't be unbiased, but I think he should be in. He was the first great major league pitcher, pitched his team to two pennants, and as unfortunate as it was that his peak was so short, he sure made the most of it.

    For said paper (The Irish Herald, based in San Francisco), I interviewed David Fleitz, who wrote a book called The Irish in Baseball: An Early History. Here's what he answered when asked which Irish players he thought belonged in the hall:

    Tommy Bond definitely belongs; though he barely qualifies by playing only 10 seasons. He was the first man to win 40 games three years in a row, and pitched Boston to pennants in 1877 and 1878. His strikeout to walk ratio is the best of all time, and his record is better than many, despite his short career.

    I would [also] support Andy Leonard, the first great Irish-born player. He was a power hitter for the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings and was a mainstay on Boston ’s six pennant winners in the 1870s.

    Tony Mullane might belong also, though his career was checkered with his racial attitudes (he made unflattering quotes about Moses Walker, his African-American catcher for Toledo in 1884) and an 1885 suspension for contract jumping. Still, Mullane has a better record than many in the Hall. If I had to choose one, it would be Bond. If Bond had won 300 to 350 games, he would be much better remembered today. So would Leonard, had he come along a decade later.
    Especially with Mullane's nomination, I thought it was interesting that he mentioned Bond first. Don't know if we've had a discussion about Leonard, but being that Bond was active later, once the leagues became more organized, he seems like the best choice for an Irish-born player, and an easier one to root for than Mullane, who was not well-liked.

    I mostly just wanted to revive the thread, since Irish baseball players fascinate me. Any further thoughts on him?
    Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."

    1955 1959 1963 1965 1981 1988 2017?

  5. #25
    Thanks for reviving this, not only for the discussion on Tommy Bond, but for the more general ones towards the end about early bb history. I wish the 19th century forum were still thriving. I hope some of the posters on this thread who are still around will give it some more momentum. I should go look through the 19th century archives, but a live thread is a better teacher. It's fascinating, especially to see baseball materialize out of the primordial mists.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackaroo Dave View Post
    Thanks for reviving this, not only for the discussion on Tommy Bond, but for the more general ones towards the end about early bb history. I wish the 19th century forum were still thriving. I hope some of the posters on this thread who are still around will give it some more momentum. I should go look through the 19th century archives, but a live thread is a better teacher. It's fascinating, especially to see baseball materialize out of the primordial mists.
    Thank you for reviving this thread.

    http://stevegallanter.wordpress.com

  7. #27
    My go-to guy for Irish-Americans in early baseball is Dr. Jerry Casway. He is a history professor at Howard Community College in Maryland. He wrote a biography of Ed Delahanty: "Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball". I don't feel comfortable putting his email address in a public forum, but I have given you ample information to track him down, if you are interested. If you do, tell him I am still waiting to hear when he wants to do lunch.

    Richard Hershberger

  8. #28
    I have that book. It's a very workmanlike work. Thorough, detailed, clearly-written, thoughtful. I hope he does more.

  9. #29
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    David Fleitz's other book is Shoeless: The Life and Times of Joe Jackson. Has anyone here read it? I haven't. Perhaps I will.
    Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."

    1955 1959 1963 1965 1981 1988 2017?

  10. #30
    I'm also pretty interested in Bond based on how well he does with the Hall of Stats. Many 19th century pitchers have bloated Hall Ratings, though. I wrote about it here:

    Here's what I specifically wrote about Bond: http://www.hallofstats.com/articles/...-pitchers-wwar

    While Rusie is the first player on the list who is not a slam dunk, Tommy Bond is the first who is not in the Hall of Fame. Bond won 234 games with a .589 percentage. In fact, he is one of only two pitchers with three consecutive 40-win seasons (Al Spalding had four). Bond is also one of only two pitchers with five 10-WAR seasons (Walter Johnson had six).

    So, what’s wrong with Bond? He was worth 60.8 WAR as a pitcher, but he was essentially through by age 23. After the mound was moved back to 50 feet (from 45) in 1881, Bond pitched in only 33 games, winning 13 with an ERA+ of 84. He was gone long before the mound would move back to 60 feet, 6 inches.

    Bond had five amazing seasons when baseball was in its infancy. Are five incredible seasons—and nothing else—enough to get you in?
    The Hall of Stats: An alternate Hall of Fame populated by a mathematical formula.

  11. #31
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    Tommie Bond had a mastery of breaking balls or in-curves and out-shoots, mixed with perhaps the most feared fast ball of the 1870's. He played 8 seasons in the majors. He also played two seasons in the National Association that some people think was a major league, which if accepted makes him a ten-year major league player. He also played for Memphis in the Southern League and Brockton of the New England League. He also Umpired in 1875, 1883, 1884, and 1885.

  12. #32
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    Grerat stuff by Hershburger. Does he still post here. I love baseball historical prose.

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