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  • Ross Barnes HOF?

    Is Ross Barnes HOF worthy. Yes, he did only play 9 seasons but was probably the most dominant player in the early years of baseball. From 1871-75 he scored 462 runs in only 266 games. That ratio is staggering. But also a thing against him is the rule change that killed his career. So he may not be in as a player but at least as a pioneer. He helped form the National Association and the National leauge. He was the top player for those begining years of major league baseball. So do you think he deserves to get in the HOF or is there a reason he isnt in the HOF.
    58
    Yes as a player
    32.76%
    19
    No not good enough
    27.59%
    16
    Yes as a pioneer
    17.24%
    10
    No wasnt instrumental enough
    22.41%
    13
    go sox.

    Pigskin-Fever

  • #2
    I don't think the ten-year rule should apply in the case of Barnes. He had played for Rockford for five years before the National Association and league play were founded. On the other hand, I'm not sure we can give much credit to Ross for helping form the NA, or at least no more than any other player/member. I still regard George Wright as the finest player of the Association, but that's debatable. Nevertheless, I think his contributions to the art of fielding at second base and his extraordinary batting skills warrent his inclusion to the Hall of Fame.
    Last edited by SABR Steve; 03-11-2006, 09:27 AM.

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    • #3
      Barnes shouldn't be anywhere near the HOF. He wasn't even really a dominant hitter. What he did is he mastered the art of dropping a bunt down so that it would bounce once in fair territory then roll all the way to the backstop, and he'd get a hit nearly every time with that. That was when there was no rule that the ball needed to remain fair past first/third base. They changed the rules in 1877 to the way it is now, and Barnes never again could hit. So, his "hitting dominance" is entirely based on something that was just basically cheap trickery. If he makes the HOF, it would be a direct result of the VC not doing their homework (of course that's nothing new).

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      • #4
        He led the leauge in triples once ,doubles 3 times and walks twice I don't think he could have done that just by bunting the ball foul. Not to mention being a great fielder.
        the main reason he stopped playing as well after the swich was he got injured then

        and even if he did dominate the NA soley because of the foul rule evrey one else could have done the same thing

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        • #5
          I think he was a very, very good hitter but a big problem I have, besides the 9 years is the # of games and AB's he has.. He only played in 499 games and had 2392 AB's... Both #'s IMO, are too low for HOF entry...

          One of the things he has going for him is that gaudy career average, but if you look at the league he played in, while impressive, others were doing the same thing...

          He hit over .400 4 times and 2 of the 4 times there were other players that hit over .400 the same years (1872 and 1871) Heck, in 1871, Barnes hit .401 and that was 3rd in the league.. Levi Meyerle hit .492 that season!

          You let him in, then you should consider other players that put up similar #'s during that period like: Cal McVey, Dave Orr and Pete Browning...
          "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
          ~~Al Gallagher


          God Bless America!

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          • #6
            Look at the ten most similar to him in baseball-reference.com:

            Cal McVey (898)
            George Wright (856) *
            Bill Keister (856)
            Fresco Thompson (829)
            Levi Meyerle (827)
            Fred Carroll (827)
            Lip Pike (821)
            Johnny Hodapp (817)
            Michael Young (810)
            Heinie Reitz (806)

            Only one HOFer in the bunch, and Wright had six or seven fine years before the National Association got going--so that comparison simply isn't a very good one. IMO, Wright's the only one who deserves the honor.

            Let's look at a thumbnail sketch of Ross Barnes' career:

            1) He was an everyday player (Note: pitchers with short careers still might pitch 2500 innings, especially in the 19th century, while everyday guys might get 320 games, 1700 AB in six seasons like Barnes) with a

            2) short career containing a

            3) moderate (6 year) period of excellence

            4) against competition weaker than than in a normal 20th century major league season

            5) while playing an unbalanced, abbreviated schedule.

            6) Furthermore, his excellence in those years was in some part due to exploiting a rule (fair-foul hits) which his contemporaries deemed unworthy to allow to continue.

            7) Coincidentally or not, when the aforementioned rule changed, his excellent performance evaporated.

            8) In fairness, he had injury/illness issues after 1876.

            9) The fact remains that after the rule change, he played only three seasons

            10) in which he was mediocre at best.

            I think it is fair to say that the sum of the argument for his greatness rests on 320 or so games, about 1700 at bats over six years in a fledgling major league with an unbalanced schedule. Give him more games and AB or even more years or a stronger, more organized league, I might be willing to listen. As it is, I feel there is too little evidence to support the argument that he is a truly great player. One has to project too much based on too little data in the face of too many questions to see him as a great player, at least in my book.
            Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
            Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
            A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

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            • #7
              A player who never gets any HOF support (Lip Pike) would be a much better HOF candidate for an NA player than Barnes. Pike was supposed to be the fastest player in his day, a great fielder, and he got his hits the real way, not like Barnes. He has been elected to the BTF Hall of Merit.

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              • #8
                I was looking at baseball-databank's entry about Ross Barnes in the fielding category and it doesn't seem he was such a great fielder. In 1881 he had 7 E's in 7 games. He had around 1 E a game in other years also.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Spieluhr
                  I was looking at baseball-databank's entry about Ross Barnes in the fielding category and it doesn't seem he was such a great fielder. In 1881 he had 7 E's in 7 games. He had around 1 E a game in other years also.
                  Barnes was actually an excellent fielder, one of the league's best, his error output throughout his career was consistent with his era, which was one of zero equipment and lousy balls and fields. After his career was derailed by injuries his fielding went the same way as his hitting (after 1876).
                  "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.

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                  • #10
                    Barnes didn't even remotely come close to the playing career of Pete Browning. The Gladiator played in twice as many games and had twice the PA's as Barnes and produced at a far higher level.

                    If one was to generate an argument for Barnes enshrinement it has to be as some kind of mega-pioneer.
                    Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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                    • #11
                      Ah, that makes sense. I was thinking something was wrong with a great fielder having an error per game.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Baseball Guru
                        He hit over .400 4 times and 2 of the 4 times there were other players that hit over .400 the same years (1872 and 1871) Heck, in 1871, Barnes hit .401 and that was 3rd in the league.. Levi Meyerle hit .492 that season!
                        It's not like there were a ton of players hitting .400+. In fact, only 4 others did it in the NA: Meyerle (only once), McVey (only once), Force (only once), and Anson (only once). Barnes did so 3 times and also once in the NL. Tony Gwynn wasn't the only player batting .350+ at times, but that shouldn't discount Gwynn's batting.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 538280
                          He wasn't even really a dominant hitter.
                          Not dominant? He compiled 59 Black Ink numbers (twice+ the "HOF average") within a 6 year period. Player just cannot do that without being a dominant hitter. If he was not a dominant hitter, which player was dominant then?

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                          • #14
                            He was dominant in a league where there were about 3 competitive teams. And many of his doubles were in fact due to the fair foul rule...he was good enough at it that he could nick the ball with the bottom of his bat, letting it strike in front of home plate, but still moving backward. It would then roll until the catcher got to it...many times those stadiums had no backstops, or at least not what we're used to. He was a pioneer of sorts, revolutionizing second base play, and he was truly the master of the fair/foul bunt, as well as something that was akin to a swinging bunt, where he dropped the ball over the head of the 3rd baseman who was trying to stop the F/F play.

                            The source for all of the above is from an old book I used to have....talked a lot about strategies pre-1900, and made King Kelly out to be a god. Also the source for my love of Billy Hamilton

                            I don't feel like the NA should even be considered as far as statistics. It really was much closer to slow-pitch softball than baseball as we know it. I have no problem with its stars being honored, but Barnes' health made his career too short IMO. I'd rather see Joe Start go in, by far.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by baseballPAP
                              I don't feel like the NA should even be considered as far as statistics. It really was much closer to slow-pitch softball than baseball as we know it. I have no problem with its stars being honored, but Barnes' health made his career too short IMO. I'd rather see Joe Start go in, by far.
                              Slow pitch softball? Are you kiddin' me? Christ, it must have been HELL to hit. The pitcher was only 45 feet away, throwing underhanded at God knows what speed (and if you don't think you can't get velocity underhanded, than you've never met Carl Mays or Eddie Feigner- hell, Feigner is possibly the fastest pitcher ever). The pitcher had a 6 foot square box that he could move about freely in and was AT NO TIME REQUIRED TO FACE THE BATTER before pitching to him.

                              If you have a 90 MPH ball coming from down below from God knows what angle and God knows when, you are going to have a tough time hitting it. That's just the plain truth. And even if you are allowed the luxury of calling for a high or low pitch, that doesn't do you too much good when the pitcher has 8 or 9 balls to a walk and can waste as many close ones as he feels like.

                              The league average in the NA hovered in the .280s until 1874 before sinking, and Barnes' magic season in 1876 came at a league average of .265. It was NOT easy to hit back then.
                              "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.

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