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Hippo Vaughn

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  • Hippo Vaughn

    In 13 years in the big leagues, Hippo Vaughn posted a 178-137 record with a 2.49 ERA.

    He posted 20 or more wins five times - most impressive, perhaps, is he won 20 games five times in six seasons.

    His 2.49 ERA in 39th all-time, and he led the league in ERA with a 1.74 mark in 1918. He also posted post 2.00 ERAs in 1910 (1.83) and 1919 (1.79). In 1918, he also led the league in WHIP, lowest hits allowed per nine innings, K/9IP, innings, Ks, games started, shutouts and adjusted ERA. Obviously, 1918 was his best year, leaderboard-wise at least.

    He also led the league in innings, strikeouts and games started in 1919.

    His 41 shutouts are 41st all-time. Only Hooks Wiltse, Doc White, Tommy Bond and himself rank within 39th all-time in ERA and 41st all-time in shutouts and are not in the Hall of Fame.

    He has respectable black and grey ink, at 27 and 155, respectively. He is statistically similar to two Hall of Famers: Jack Chesbro and Rube Waddell.

    So, should Hippo Vaughn be in the Hall of Fame?

  • #2
    I wonder what happened to him in his 2nd and 3rd full seasons?
    His 1st full season with the Yankees was very promising, and then he followed it with 3 poor showings before he eventually found himself in full swing again.


    • #3
      Vaughn was a great pitcher who's career ended prematurely thanks to some rather colorful exchanges between him and Evers. Whether or not he deserves induction depends partly on how heavily one measures his horrific 1921 season and whether or not he should be credited for his post major league pitching or punished for his suspension from baseball. Read here for more on his 1921 antics:


      • #4
        I suppose I'd vote "no", but Vaughn is a guy I wish I could support.

        Bill James, in his 1991 Baseball Book, described Bob Welch as a guy that had the "nuts and bolts" of a HOF career, but none of the "chrome and leather" until his Cy Young Award and 27 win season in 1990. Vaughn is the opposite; he has much of the chrome and leather, but many of the nuts and bolts are lacking. He's sort of like the little girl with the curl; when he was good, he was very, very good, but when he was bad, he was horrid. (Well, not really horrid, but 1910 was Vaughn's only "good" season; he was either great or just barely hanging on, for the most part.)

        There's some question as to whether or not Vaughn could have still pitched in the bigs were it not for his falling out with Evers. His many years in minor, outlaw, and semi-pro leagues after he left the majors in 1921 are indicators that he could have, but I don't believe that. He was a fat pitcher who logged a whole lotta innings, and while they were in the deadball era, he was still a mega-workhorse. There's a chance that if Vaughn had gotten on with a different club, he might have settled into a lesser role where he could have pushed his win total closer to 200. Had Vaughn made it to 200 wins, and had he won one more game in 1920 (giving him six 20-win seasons) his candidacy would have been much stronger; even if he had made it to 190 wins, he STILL might have made it in by the VC. But he didn't do enough OUTSIDE his top seasons to push himself over the top. Vaughn had a high peak, but his career, in the end, didn't really have enough value.

        P. S.

        Vaughn despite not having the longest career, holds the record for most fielding errors by a pitcher in his career, with 64. It's not surprising that a guy nicknamed "Hippo" has this distinction. One must wonder how many UNEARNED runs this cost him, and what his ERA vs. league would be if those UNEARNED runs were counted as EARNED runs. This unfortunate distinction is another reason I'm not willing to elevate Vaughn over a number of candidates.
        "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

        NL President Ford Frick, 1947


        • #5
          Naw, why would you put him in while leaving out George Mullin, Luis Tiant or Mel Harder? Don't see it.


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