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  • The "Original" Hall of Fame - 50 Players

    Months before plans for a Baseball Hall of Fame were publicly announced, the original idea had been for the National Baseball Museum to open its doors during the 1939 centennial celebration with 50 inductees - the 50 greatest stars of the game's first 100 years. (Additional selections could be made in the future.) Fans (not the BBWAA) were to make these selections via a publicity campaign conducted over the radio. These plans were scrapped and changed to the 10 "moderns" chosen by the BBWAA and 5 "old-timers" selected by, well, baseball lifers, which we're familiar with now, but according to James Vlasich in his 1990 book, A Legend for the Legendary, the first draft of what the Hall should look like was the top 50 players of its first 100 years.

    To wit, here would be my choices, though I'll stick with the roughly 70 years of professional baseball. I'm not comfortable leaving some of these players off in exchange for Jim Creighton, Joe Leggett or Dickey Pearce, for example. While active players (in the winter of 1935-36) were eligible, none of these selections were made with the knowledge of what those players would do in subsequent seasons.

    Here are my top 50::

    Grover Cleveland Alexander
    Cap Anson
    Home Run Baker
    Ross Barnes
    Dan Brouthers
    Fred Clarke
    John Clarkson
    Ty Cobb
    Mickey Cochrane
    Eddie Collins
    Jimmy Collins
    Roger Connor
    Sam Crawford
    Bill Dahlen
    George Davis
    Ed Delahanty
    Buck Ewing
    Elmer Flick
    Jimmie Foxx
    Frankie Frisch
    Lou Gehrig
    Jack Glasscock
    Goose Goslin
    Lefty Grove
    Billy Hamilton
    Gabby Hartnett
    Harry Heilmann
    Paul Hines
    Rogers Hornsby
    Walter Johnson
    Tim Keefe
    Wee Willie Keeler
    King Kelly
    Nap Lajoie
    Christy Mathewson
    Kid Nichols
    Jim O'Rourke
    Eddie Plank
    Charley Radbourn
    Amos Rusie
    Babe Ruth
    Al Simmons
    George Sisler
    Tris Speaker
    Dazzy Vance
    Honus Wagner
    Ed Walsh
    Deacon White
    George Wright
    Cy Young

    This was a tough list to cull in more than a few places. I'd be interested in reading other people's lists if you want to give it a try.
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

  • #2
    Mostly splitting hairs, so great list, my 6 adds:
    Bobby Wallace
    Charlie Bennett
    Jesse Burkett
    Joe Start
    Mel Ott - enough peak value through this time frame
    Rube Waddell

    6 outed:
    Charley Radbourn
    Elmer Flick
    George Sisler
    Jimmy Collins
    Jim O'Rourke
    Wee Willie Keeler


    Grover Cleveland Alexander
    Cap Anson
    Home Run Baker
    Ross Barnes
    Charlie Bennett
    Dan Brouthers
    Jesse Burkett
    Fred Clarke
    John Clarkson
    Ty Cobb
    Mickey Cochrane
    Eddie Collins
    Roger Connor
    Sam Crawford
    Bill Dahlen
    George Davis
    Ed Delahanty
    Buck Ewing
    Jimmie Foxx
    Frankie Frisch
    Lou Gehrig
    Jack Glasscock
    Goose Goslin
    Lefty Grove
    Billy Hamilton
    Gabby Hartnett
    Harry Heilmann
    Paul Hines
    Rogers Hornsby
    Walter Johnson
    Tim Keefe
    King Kelly
    Nap Lajoie
    Christy Mathewson
    Kid Nichols
    Mel Ott
    Eddie Plank
    Amos Rusie
    Babe Ruth
    Al Simmons
    Tris Speaker
    Joe Start
    Dazzy Vance
    Rube Waddell
    Honus Wagner
    Bobby Wallace
    Ed Walsh
    Deacon White
    George Wright
    Cy Young
    Last edited by Jar of Flies; 06-30-2020, 07:44 AM.
    Jacquelyn Eva Marchand (1983-2017)
    http://www.tezakfuneralhome.com/noti...uelyn-Marchand

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jar of Flies View Post
      Mostly splitting hairs, so great list, my 6 adds:
      Bobby Wallace
      Charlie Bennett
      Jesse Burkett
      Joe Start
      Mel Ott - enough peak value through this time frame
      Rube Waddell

      6 outed:
      Charley Radbourn
      Elmer Flick
      George Sisler
      Jimmy Collins
      Jim O'Rourke
      Wee Willie Keeler

      Grover Cleveland Alexander
      Cap Anson
      Home Run Baker
      Ross Barnes
      Charlie Bennett
      Dan Brouthers
      Jesse Burkett
      Fred Clarke
      John Clarkson
      Ty Cobb
      Mickey Cochrane
      Eddie Collins
      Roger Connor
      Sam Crawford
      Bill Dahlen
      George Davis
      Ed Delahanty
      Buck Ewing
      Jimmie Foxx
      Frankie Frisch
      Lou Gehrig
      Jack Glasscock
      Goose Goslin
      Lefty Grove
      Billy Hamilton
      Gabby Hartnett
      Harry Heilmann
      Paul Hines
      Rogers Hornsby
      Walter Johnson
      Tim Keefe
      King Kelly
      Nap Lajoie
      Christy Mathewson
      Kid Nichols
      Mel Ott
      Eddie Plank
      Amos Rusie
      Babe Ruth
      Al Simmons
      Tris Speaker
      Joe Start
      Dazzy Vance
      Rube Waddell
      Honus Wagner
      Bobby Wallace
      Ed Walsh
      Deacon White
      George Wright
      Cy Young
      You would out Radbourn and Keeler. Lucky Radbourn isn't alive to see you say that. Dude was an 'onry cuss.
      “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Walter Lippmann

      "Fill in any figure you want for that boy (Mantle). Whatever the figure, it's a deal." - Branch Rickey

      Comment


      • #4
        JoF, your changes were all individuals I debated back-and-forth on. No quibbles with your choices.
        "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
        "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
        "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
        "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jar of Flies View Post
          Mostly splitting hairs, so great list, my 6 adds:
          Bobby Wallace
          Charlie Bennett
          Jesse Burkett
          Joe Start
          Mel Ott - enough peak value through this time frame
          Rube Waddell

          6 outed:
          Charley Radbourn
          Elmer Flick
          George Sisler
          Jimmy Collins
          Jim O'Rourke
          Wee Willie Keeler
          Nice original list, Chadwick and nice subbing suggestions, JoF. I especially like the inclusion of Joe Start as he is that link from those old timers Chadwick mentioned having a hard time leaving out and the first truly modern MLB stars like Anson.

          My one hair to split us putting Waddell there and booting O'Rourke. O'Rourke's role in early MLB lore is understated. In 1936, he would have been one of the most popular figures from his era and in terms of history of the game, was the first player to get a hit in the history of MLB. Just a fun fact and not a factor in his HOF resume.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post

            Nice original list, Chadwick and nice subbing suggestions, JoF. I especially like the inclusion of Joe Start as he is that link from those old timers Chadwick mentioned having a hard time leaving out and the first truly modern MLB stars like Anson.

            My one hair to split us putting Waddell there and booting O'Rourke. O'Rourke's role in early MLB lore is understated. In 1936, he would have been one of the most popular figures from his era and in terms of history of the game, was the first player to get a hit in the history of MLB. Just a fun fact and not a factor in his HOF resume.
            The earliest (actual) inductees from the 19th century:

            1937 - John McGraw (as a manager)
            1937 - George Wright (as a pioneer/executive)
            1939 - Cap Anson
            1939 - Charles Comiskey (as a pioneer/executive)
            1939 - Candy Cummings (as a pioneer/executive)
            1939 - Buck Ewing
            1939 - Charley Radbourn
            1939 - A.G. Spalding (as a pioneer/executive)

            The first three 19th century players elected as players were Anson, Ewing and Radbourn.

            When 1945 rolled around and the Hall elected 9 players whose careers began in the 19th century, only Dan Brouthers, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Duffy, Hughie Jennings, King Kelly and Jim O'Rourke played at least the vast majority of their career before the new century.

            So early Hall voters elected 19th century players in 1939 for the first time and when they repeated the feat in 1945, Jim O'Rourke was in that very next class of inductees.

            Thought that would help shed some light on how O'Rourke was viewed by the voters of the period.
            "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
            "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
            "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
            "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

            Comment


            • #7
              The pioneer category has been a lost cause for 19th century players. The Hall missed the boat from the beginning and has never addressed the era properly.

              Comment


              • #8
                That's true, though had the Hall been more active about pioneers in its early decades, Abner Doubleday may well have a bronze plaque.
                "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                Comment


                • #9
                  This was very very difficult to whittle down. Listed by pos then era

                  Pitchers (19)
                  1. Cy Young 2. Kid Nichols 3. Tim Keefe 4. Pud Galvin 5. John Clarkson 6. Mickey Welch 7. Charles Radbourn 8. Walter Johnson 9. Christy Mathewson 10. Eddie Plank 11. Mordecai Brown 12. Ed Walsh 13. Chief Bender 14. Vic Willis 15. Rube Waddel 16. Pete Alexander 17. Burleigh Grimes 18. Herb Pennock 19. Dazzy Vance.

                  C (1) (20)
                  1. Buck Ewing

                  1B (4) (24)
                  1. Cap Anson 2. Roger Connor 3. Dan Brouthers 4. Jake Beckley

                  2B (4) (28)
                  1. Nap LaJoie 2. Eddie Collins 3. Rogers Hornsby 4. Frankie Frisch

                  SS (3) (31)
                  1. George Davis 2. Honus Wagner 3. Bill Dahlen

                  3B (2) (33)
                  1. Frank "Home Run" Baker 2. Pie Traynor

                  LF (5) (38)
                  1. Ed Delahanty 2. Goose Goslin 3. Zack Wheat 4. Jesse Burkett 5. Sherry Magee

                  CF (4) (42)
                  1. Jim O'Rourke 2. Tris Speaker 3. Ty Cobb 4. Max Carrey

                  RF (8) (50)
                  1. King Kelly 2. Sam Thompson 3. Sam Crawford 4. Wee Willie Keeler 5. Babe Ruth 6. Harry Heilmann 7. Sam Rice 8. Harry Hooper

                  That list put me at 17 OF's, 19 Pitchers and 14 IF's/C. I'm not sure if that's fair, and perhaps I should get another catcher and lose a RF.

                  What a tough exercise! Thanks Chadwick!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by henrich View Post
                    This was very very difficult to whittle down. Listed by pos then era

                    Pitchers (19)
                    1. Cy Young 2. Kid Nichols 3. Tim Keefe 4. Pud Galvin 5. John Clarkson 6. Mickey Welch 7. Charles Radbourn 8. Walter Johnson 9. Christy Mathewson 10. Eddie Plank 11. Mordecai Brown 12. Ed Walsh 13. Chief Bender 14. Vic Willis 15. Rube Waddel 16. Pete Alexander 17. Burleigh Grimes 18. Herb Pennock 19. Dazzy Vance.

                    C (1) (20)
                    1. Buck Ewing

                    1B (4) (24)
                    1. Cap Anson 2. Roger Connor 3. Dan Brouthers 4. Jake Beckley

                    2B (4) (28)
                    1. Nap LaJoie 2. Eddie Collins 3. Rogers Hornsby 4. Frankie Frisch

                    SS (3) (31)
                    1. George Davis 2. Honus Wagner 3. Bill Dahlen

                    3B (2) (33)
                    1. Frank "Home Run" Baker 2. Pie Traynor

                    LF (5) (38)
                    1. Ed Delahanty 2. Goose Goslin 3. Zack Wheat 4. Jesse Burkett 5. Sherry Magee

                    CF (4) (42)
                    1. Jim O'Rourke 2. Tris Speaker 3. Ty Cobb 4. Max Carrey

                    RF (8) (50)
                    1. King Kelly 2. Sam Thompson 3. Sam Crawford 4. Wee Willie Keeler 5. Babe Ruth 6. Harry Heilmann 7. Sam Rice 8. Harry Hooper

                    That list put me at 17 OF's, 19 Pitchers and 14 IF's/C. I'm not sure if that's fair, and perhaps I should get another catcher and lose a RF.

                    What a tough exercise! Thanks Chadwick!!
                    You have a second catcher there in King Kelly.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by henrich View Post
                      What a tough exercise! Thanks Chadwick!!
                      Glad you enjoyed it. A few rebuttals to your list.

                      1. Where's Jimmy Collins? Collins was widely held as the greatest third baseman in history in the mid-1930s. Even retroactively applying what we now know, he's got to rate higher than Pie Traynor, surely? If you want to keep Traynor on your list, there are weaker candidates at other positions whom I would argue weren't as good as Collins. Was Collins an oversight or do you really see him outside the top 50?

                      2. I'd argue for Joe Start > Jake Beckley until I'm blue in the face. Start was a 19th century Eddie Murray where Jake Beckley was a 19th century Steve Garvey (minus the star power). It's a shame that we don't have the same statistical record for the 1860s that we do for the following decades, or that baseball seasons in those years (and the next two decades) saw remarkably fewer games played than those of the 1890s and later. It does Start a disservice.

                      3. I don't think Carey is good enough for the top 50, personally, but I like that you include him. He's a underrated all-time great.

                      4. IMO, Bender, Pennock and Welch don't belong with the above group. Coveleski, Shocker, Adams, Rucker, Hahn and others have a better case. That is, unless "fame" is part of your evaluation criteria.

                      5. I notice there's no early stars here (which might explain Start), including George Wright, Ross Barnes, Al Spalding, etc.

                      6. No Pebbly Jack Glasscock? Surely he's a better candidate than some of the lesser-light right fielders on your list? He's probably a better candidate than Bill Dahlen (as has been argued on these boards).

                      7. One catcher is interesting. The first HOF election took place in January 1936. By that time, Mickey Cochrane was through as a full-time player. He would insert himself into the lineup just 71 times over the next two years before finally hanging up his mitt. With only one catcher on the board, you wouldn't put Cochrane in there even though 95% of his career was in the books?

                      Not criticisms, just observations. Fun list.

                      As you said, it was a tough exercise and if I re-did my list from scratch today, as many as 10 names could easily be different.
                      "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                      "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                      "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                      "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
                        Glad you enjoyed it. A few rebuttals to your list.

                        1. Where's Jimmy Collins? Collins was widely held as the greatest third baseman in history in the mid-1930s. Even retroactively applying what we now know, he's got to rate higher than Pie Traynor, surely? If you want to keep Traynor on your list, there are weaker candidates at other positions whom I would argue weren't as good as Collins. Was Collins an oversight or do you really see him outside the top 50?

                        Collins doesn't rate well for me. Traynor 90th percentile 9423 to Collins 70th percentile 7780.

                        2. I'd argue for Joe Start > Jake Beckley until I'm blue in the face. Start was a 19th century Eddie Murray where Jake Beckley was a 19th century Steve Garvey (minus the star power). It's a shame that we don't have the same statistical record for the 1860s that we do for the following decades, or that baseball seasons in those years (and the next two decades) saw remarkably fewer games played than those of the 1890s and later. It does Start a disservice.

                        I can't weigh in on the early guys...too much uncertainty and rule differences. I think pioneers need their own wing, but the game is just too different to equate to the modern game. Maybe one day I'll figure it out.

                        3. I don't think Carey is good enough for the top 50, personally, but I like that you include him. He's a underrated all-time great.

                        4. IMO, Bender, Pennock and Welch don't belong with the above group. Coveleski, Shocker, Adams, Rucker, Hahn and others have a better case. That is, unless "fame" is part of your evaluation criteria.

                        Hahn I didn't include because he didn't play 10 years. Your list is mostly pretty close to mine. They are in the same ballpark with shocker and rucker being the exceptions.

                        Bender-11681, Welch 11560, Pennock 10812...

                        in the conversation for sure:
                        Adams 9581, Coveleski 9571,

                        not close for me
                        Rucker 7737, Shocker 7698

                        5. I notice there's no early stars here (which might explain Start), including George Wright, Ross Barnes, Al Spalding, etc.

                        *see #2 answer

                        6. No Pebbly Jack Glasscock? Surely he's a better candidate than some of the lesser-light right fielders on your list? He's probably a better candidate than Bill Dahlen (as has been argued on these boards).

                        Se #2 but I rate Dahlen pretty high for a SS during era 1-3 (not including era 0/pioneer). He's 3rd behind Wagner and Davis.

                        7. One catcher is interesting. The first HOF election took place in January 1936. By that time, Mickey Cochrane was through as a full-time player. He would insert himself into the lineup just 71 times over the next two years before finally hanging up his mitt. With only one catcher on the board, you wouldn't put Cochrane in there even though 95% of his career was in the books?

                        JJPM mentioned king kelly as a catcher so I guess you could make it 2 catchers-I have him with more games in RF, but he did play more than 500 games at catcher if memory serves which then gives them credit for multi-position eligibility in my criterion.

                        Cochrane I didn't include as eligible as he's in era 4 and not yet done with his playing career. Cochrane would definitely make it for me if eligible. I'd have Dickey over Cochrane though.

                        Not criticisms, just observations. Fun list.

                        As you said, it was a tough exercise and if I re-did my list from scratch today, as many as 10 names could easily be different.
                        Yes it was painful cutting some guys and rationalizing why player A over player B and the always fun game of if this guy then why not this one?

                        I put my answers within the quotes at the bottom of your itemized list. sorry it doesn't show up like I meant for it to.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My Top 50 list, alphabetical order:

                          Grover Cleveland Alexander
                          Cap Anson
                          Frank "Home Run" Baker
                          Dan Brouthers
                          Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown
                          Frank Chance
                          Fred Clarke
                          John Clarkson
                          Ty Cobb
                          Eddie Collins
                          Roger Connor
                          Stan Covelski
                          Sam Crawford
                          Bill Dahlen
                          George Davis
                          Ed Delahanty
                          Elmer Flick
                          Jimmie Foxx
                          Frankie Frisch
                          Lou Gehrig
                          Charlie Gehringer
                          Goose Goslin
                          Lefty Grove
                          Billy Hamilton
                          Gabby Hartnett
                          Rogers Hornsby
                          Walter Johnson
                          Tim Keefe
                          Napoleon Lajoie
                          Sherry Magee
                          Christy Mathewson
                          Jim McCormick
                          John McGraw
                          Kid Nichols
                          Mel Ott
                          Eddie Plank
                          Old Hoss Radbourne
                          Amos Rusie
                          Babe Ruth
                          Urban Shocker
                          Al Simmons
                          Tris Speaker
                          Bill Terry
                          Dazzy Vance
                          Honus Wagner
                          Bobby Wallace
                          Ed Walsh
                          Zach Wheat
                          Vic Willis
                          Cy Young

                          Based on the 50 best players, regardless of position. League quality is also a factor.
                          Last edited by NJRob65; 07-04-2020, 02:10 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Some lists that may be helpful:

                            First, Pitchers with over 30 PWAA by 1936:
                            Code:
                             
                            Rk Player WAA/pitch
                            1 Cy Young\youngcy01 101.3
                            2 Walter Johnson\johnswa01 96.6
                            3 Pete Alexander\alexape01 75.8
                            4 Kid Nichols\nichoki01 74.2
                            5 Christy Mathewson\mathech01 62.6
                            6 Lefty Grove\grovele01 56.5
                            7 Tim Keefe\keefeti01 51.3
                            8 Eddie Plank\planked01 48.2
                            9 John Clarkson\clarkjo01 47.2
                            10 Jim McCormick\mccorji01 43.1
                            11 Dazzy Vance\vanceda01 38.7
                            12 Old Hoss Radbourn\radboch01 37.2
                            13 Ed Walsh\walshed01 36.8
                            14 Pud Galvin\galvipu01 36.6
                            15 Stan Coveleski\covelst01 36.5
                            16 Vic Willis\willivi01 35.3
                            17 Charlie Buffinton\buffich01 34.8
                            18 Rube Waddell\wadderu01 34.7
                            19 Tommy Bond\bondto01 34.3
                            20 Mordecai Brown\brownmo01 34.1
                            21 Tony Mullane\mullato01 34
                            22 Amos Rusie\rusieam01 33.2
                            23 Carl Hubbell\hubbeca01 32.5
                            24 Joe McGinnity\mcginjo01 32.3
                            25 Al Spalding\spaldal01 31.4
                            26 Clark Griffith\griffcl01 30.2
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This list is more about celebrating and honoring the earlier players than figuring out specifically who were the 50 greatest players of all-time in 1939.
                              Tough omissions were Rusie, Brown, Hubbell, Goslin, Terry, Carey, Wheat, Sheckard, Bennett, McPhee, and Stovey. Tough to leave any one of these off.


                              Babe Ruth
                              Ty Cobb
                              Honus Wagner
                              Lou Gehrig
                              Tris Speaker
                              Rogers Hornsby
                              Eddie Collins
                              Jimmie Foxx
                              Nap Lajoie
                              Frankie Frisch
                              Ed Delahanty
                              Dan Brouthers
                              Cap Anson
                              Roger Connor
                              Fred Clarke
                              Al Simmons
                              ​​​Mickey Cochrane
                              Sam Crawford
                              Gabby Hartnett
                              Harry Heilmann
                              Buck Ewing
                              Billy Hamilton
                              George Davis
                              Bill Dahlen
                              Willie Keeler
                              George Sisler
                              Jack Glasscock
                              Bobby Wallace
                              Jesse Burkett
                              King Kelly
                              Jimmy Collins
                              Home Run Baker
                              Ross Barnes
                              Jim O'Rourke
                              George Wright
                              Deacon White

                              John Ward
                              Walter Johnson
                              Lefty Grove
                              Cy Young
                              Grover Cleveland Alexander
                              Christy Mathewson
                              Kid Nichols
                              Eddie Plank
                              Ed Walsh
                              John Clarkson
                              Tim Keefe
                              Rube Waddell
                              Old Hoss Radbourn
                              Al Spalding

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