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Tommy Bond

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  • #16
    I voted no, because his career is just too short. I voted strictly on his playing days. I don't know enough about baseball history to vote on him as a pioneer, so I generally stay out of pioneer conversations

    Comment


    • #17
      Doc Adams should of course also be in the hall. While the claims about Cartwright being baseball's father are patently untrue (since the game in some variant was being played before his birth), and the claims about which rules were directly attributable to him personally are unverified- when a ball was foul, the distance between the bases, and that a runner is out if touched with the ball (what's written on his plaque is just plain untrue)- and probably unverifiable, there is no question that he was a huge driving force behind the early game. There is no question that 20 rules were adopted by the Knickerbocker club, of which Cartwright was a member, on September 23rd, 1845, and no question that he spent the fall playing with them as the first team formally organized under our "modern" set of written rules.

      Cartwright's grandson did indeed embellish Alexander's diaries, but those diaries were later judged not to have been written by Cartwright in the first place by handwriting experts.

      While his grandson's transcription of what was later proven to NOT have been written by Cartwright doesn't really count for much, I frankly incline to my near religious belief that he did play baseball both out west and in Hawaii. There is certainly no evidence whatsoever that he did NOT play ball. The real shame is that we don't know what he did between 1846 and leaving for California in 1850. If he was still playing with the Knickerbockers when he left, then circumstantially at least, he would have continued playing- at least in my view of the world (I also believe that Scooby Doo is a documentary, though).

      The sheer volume of knowledge of Catwright's "involvement" in the game merits his induction as a pioneer (the Knickerbockers should actually be inducted as a whole and Adams separately IMO)- I would also induct Doubleday- we all know that his story is a complete fabrication long long after the fact- but isn't baseball all about myth? Ty Cobb, for all his achievments, is a mythical figure. When I talk about Billy Hamilton or Indian Bob, I speak as if these guys are my personal friends- and it's true, I feel that they are. Why do you think Sultan gets angry on this website if someone disses Babe Ruth? Cause he's his pal. If you tell me that Duke Snider was a better and more valuable center fielder than Sliding Billy, I'll argue not just because I think the stats are in my favor, but because Billy's a better pal of mine than the Duke (nothing against Duke, by the way).

      Take the legend, folklore, and myth out of baseball and what are you left with? Would this forum even exist?
      "Here's a crazy thought I've always had: if they cut three fingers off each hand, I'd really be a great hitter because then I could level off better." Paul Waner (lifetime .333 hitter, 3,152 lifetime hits.

      Comment


      • #18
        It seems to me you are conflating two fundamentally different types of argument.

        You have an ideological argument that someone ought to be memorialized due to the myths about him. I don't personally agree (take the logic a step further and induct Roy Hobbs: so what if he was a fictional character?) but it is a position one can take. This is entirely different from the position of basing these things on the factual evidence, which is my preference.

        So we get "there is no question that [Cartwright] was a huge driving force behind the early game" but the evidence for this is that he was a member of the Knickerbockers, and the Knickerbockers were important. So why hold Cartwright up above the other Knickerbockers? The only reason I see is that he had a good posthumous public relations agent: relevent to a myth-based argument, but hardly supporting the assertion that he was a huge driving force.

        Then we get the article of faith of his continued importance to the game. If the best argument for this is that there is no evidence against it, this is a pretty good clue that we are once again in the realm of myth.

        "Take the legend, folklore, and myth out of baseball and what are you left with?" History, for one thing. I'm not saying that we should ignore legend, folklore, and myth. But we should not confuse them with history. The thing is, history is interesting, too. In my personal opinion, it is more interesting to figure out what really happened than what stories have been made up about it. If your interests differ, that's fine. I'm just saying we should keep straight which is which.

        If the Hall of Fame were to open up a "great figure from myth" category then by all means Al and Abner should be among the first to be inducted. Roy Hobbs should be right behind them, and I would cast a vote for Henry Wiggen as well.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose
          Bulkeley has long been discounted on this site.
          I actually think Bulkeley gets a bad rap (which is not at all the same as saying I think he should be in the Hall). He executed the office of President as he understood it, which was much as the office had been in the old National Association: preside over the annual convention, and that was about it. The President didn't have any day-to-day duties. There was no league office as we understand it today. What business there was to be done was largely routine, and perfomed by the Secretary.

          This changed under Hulbert, who became League President at the December 1876 meeting and held the office until his death in 1882. He reinvented the office as a strong position with the authority to make decisions throughout the year. This was partly due to his strong personality, but also because the country was in a depression and attendance and profits were down. Chicago was the exception. A team could count on making a profit in its Chicago games (the visitors took one third of the gate) and the Chicago club was in a better financial position than anyone else. Put baldly, the League needed Chicago more than Chicago needed the League, so Hulbert got to call the shots.

          The modern conception of the office of league president derives from this. We ought not blame Bulkeley for not doing a job that no one told him he should do.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose
            There is a dearth of information on baseball in the 19th Century, where many well-educated baseball folk here pretty much avoid it for that reason.
            (Sorry for the multiple responses.)

            This dearth of information is what attracts me to the subject. It is an area where an amateur historian can do real, original research. There is a body of academic historical work on the subject, and some of it is very good. (Melvin Adelman, Warren Goldstein, Steven Riess, to name the first few to spring to mind.) But they have just scratched the surface, and a lot of good work is done by amateurs (William Ryczek, for example).

            It's not that the information isn't out there, but it is still in the wild. Research in this context doesn't mean buying a book from Amazon. It means driving to a library to scroll through microfilm. It's not everybody's idea of a good time--my wife thinks I'm nuts--but I spend many a happy hour taking notes at a microfilm reader.

            A big part of this is also being willing to toss out old Received Wisdom. The Received Wisdom of early baseball history developed in the early 20th century through several books. Most were by journalists (Spink, Richter, etc.) with the strengths and limitations that implies, and the 500 pound gorilla is the book by Spalding. The thing is, Spalding was hardly a disinterested observer. Much of the Received Wisdom is naive or, not to put too fine a point on it, propaganda.

            A quick example: to this day people will tell you that baseball spread via Civil War soldiers. This is pure Spalding: his book has an illustration with baseball bats and flags and bunting that makes you want to stand up and place your hand on your heart right then and there. Baseball and patriotism are made for one another. When you look at the actual evidence, it turns out to be pretty thin and often ambiguous, and anyway, baseball was spreading before the war ever began (something to think about: the NABBP convention in late 1859 had a delegate from Detroit).

            If I come across as a wild-eyed revisionist, well, perhaps I am. But I'm not a revisionist for revisionism's sake. It is that I have chosen a fairly narrow area of study (ask me about the Player's League and I will stare at you blankly: I stop about about 1884 or so), and approached the primary sources with a cheerful willingness to disregard the secondary sources. If I make an assertion that seems outre, by all means call me on it. But an "everyone knows" argument won't impress me.

            Oh, my. I hadn't planned on writing a manifesto. I wonder if I will actually post this? Only one way to find out...

            Richard Hershberger

            Comment


            • #21
              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?
              "Here's a crazy thought I've always had: if they cut three fingers off each hand, I'd really be a great hitter because then I could level off better." Paul Waner (lifetime .333 hitter, 3,152 lifetime hits.

              Comment


              • #22
                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.

                Comment


                • #23
                  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.
                  "Here's a crazy thought I've always had: if they cut three fingers off each hand, I'd really be a great hitter because then I could level off better." Paul Waner (lifetime .333 hitter, 3,152 lifetime hits.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    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?

                    Comment


                    • #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.
                      Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        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

                        Comment


                        • #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

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I have that book. It's a very workmanlike work. Thorough, detailed, clearly-written, thoughtful. I hope he does more.
                            Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              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?

                              Comment


                              • #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.

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