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HOF Contributors as Players

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  • Chadwick
    replied
    Originally posted by rsuriyop View Post
    Seeing as how there are a number of contributors already enshrined in the Baseball HOF, I was just wondering how many of them do you suppose could have gotten in based entirely on their playing record alone?
    Of the 58 individuals enshrined in Cooperstown as a "contributor" (i.e. manager, umpire or executive/pioneer), there are only four I would unreservedly support for enshrinement solely on the basis of their playing careers: Rube Foster, Clark Griffith, Al Spalding and George Wright. Not having spent a great deal of time studying the issue (since they're enshrined regardless), I'd be willing to give John McGraw and Sol White closer looks. McGraw is a strong "maybe" candidate for me and White is some I know precious little about in terms of his playing career.

    I can't see inducting Alexander Cartwright, Candy Cummings or Harry Wright without the "pioneer" credit (i.e. as players-only) without some form of proof demonstrating they were the best players of their day. To my knowledge, no such evidence exists, as it does for guys like Jim Creighton or Dickey Pearce.
    "Contributors" in Cooperstown
    Walter Alston
    Sparky Anderson
    Al Barlick
    Ed Barrow
    Morgan Bulkeley
    Alexander Cartwright
    Henry Chadwick
    Happy Chandler
    Nestor Chylak
    Charlie Comiskey
    Jocko Conlan
    Tom Connolly
    Candy Cummings
    Barney Dreyfuss
    Leo Durocher
    Billy Evans
    Rube Foster
    Ford Frick
    Warren Giles
    Clark Griffith
    Ned Hanlon
    Will Harridge
    Bucky Harris
    Cal Hubbard
    Miller Huggins
    William Hulbert
    Ban Johnson
    Bill Klem
    Bowie Kuhn
    Judge Kenesaw M. Landis
    Tommy Lasorda
    Al Lopez
    Connie Mack
    Larry MacPhail
    Lee MacPhail
    Effa Manley
    Joe McCarthy
    Bill McGowan
    John McGraw
    Bill McKechnie
    Walter O'Malley
    Alex Pompez
    Cum Posey
    Branch Rickey
    Wilbert Robinson
    Frank Selee
    Billy Southworth
    Al Spalding
    Casey Stengel
    Bill Veeck
    Earl Weaver
    George Weiss
    Sol White
    J.L. Wilkinson
    Dick Williams
    George Wright
    Harry Wright
    Tom Yawkey
    With individuals like Frank Chance, Fred Clarke and Hughie Jennings, it is impossible to know how much their managing careers influenced the voters when they were elected. Whether or not these guys are worthy as "players only" isn't what you asked, however, as they weren't enshrined as "contributors."
    Last edited by Chadwick; 03-11-2008, 01:46 PM.

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  • Paul Wendt
    replied
    Originally posted by rsuriyop View Post
    how many of them do you suppose could have gotten in based entirely on their playing record alone? Off the top of my head, I could only think of a handful of candidates that might have a decent case:
    [emphasis mine. The list is R.Foster, Griffith, McGraw, Jennings]
    . . .
    Anyone else that I missed?
    That depends what you mean by keywords that I have highlighted above.
    Here is one list whose entries may be appropriate under one version.

    George Wright - certainly "could have". shoulda. coulda. woulda?
    Spalding - probably
    Cummings - maybe
    Harry Wright - no

    Lopez - probably
    Comiskey, Robinson, Huggins - maybe
    Hanlon, Mack, McKechnie, Stengel, Harris - no
    Rickey - no
    Conlan - no

    Sol White - maybe, and maybe probably after further research

    That is all the significant major playing careers, I think.
    And for the future,
    Torre - maybe

    From our perspective Comiskey seems to be a poor player but I say maybe because he was a famous player and the famous captain of a multiple champion like Clarke and Chance.

    --
    Returning to the middle of the quotation,
    Hughie Jennings - the best SS before Wagner. But career probably ended a bit too prematurely. Not sure whether he got inducted for his playing career or his managerial.
    Neither.
    The latter three were elected before the modern classified membership.

    Griffith and Jennings were simply elected, like Fred Clarke and Frank Chance (famous player-managers) and Tinker and Evers, too.

    McGraw was selected prior to the Grand Opening, one of five builders of baseball. There is some analogy to the 1936 election of five modern players: Cobb and others. But it was a committee. In the 1936 election of old time players, no one tallied 75% support.

    The classified membership was in place before Foster was elected but I don't know that it covered the Negro Leaguers. There was some charge to select persons from black baseball under segregation. I have never looked at the wording. I do know that the members from blackball were commonly called Negro Leaguers rather than players, managers, etc. Total Baseball 3 (1993) still groups "From the Negro Leagues" alongside "Catchers" (which is unofficial) , "Managers" (official), and so on.

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  • Gee Walker
    replied
    Al Lopez was a fine defensive catcher - for many years he held the record for most games played at catcher. He wasn't much of a hitter, but made enough of an impact to be on top-30 MVP ballots 7 times. He doesn't look too far off Ray Schalk or Rick Ferrell as a player. If he never managed a game, he'd probably be in the Hall of Fame, and we'd all be griping about it.

    Al Spalding was an utterly dominant pitcher in baseball's earliest years. He only played seven years, ending at age 26, including a season where he only pitched one game. If he had continued to pitch, there is no question that he'd be a Hall of Famer.

    Wilbert Robinson has a weaker case than Lopez as a catcher, but playing as a catcher in the 1880's and 1890's he just couldn't get enough games in to build up some good counting stats. He might have gotten some support for the HOF if he would have stayed active as one of McGraw's coaches.

    Miller Huggins was a terrific OBP guy and an excellent defensive second baseman. I'd rate his offense better than Bill Mazeroski's, but his defense not at Maz' level. His career is a bit short for a HOF player, though.

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  • rsuriyop
    started a topic HOF Contributors as Players

    HOF Contributors as Players

    Seeing as how there are a number of contributors already enshrined in the Baseball HOF, I was just wondering how many of them do you suppose could have gotten in based entirely on their playing record alone? Off the top of my head, I could only think of a handful of candidates that might have a decent case:

    Rube Foster - dominant Negro League pitcher at the turn of the century and probably the most worthy candidate on the list.

    Clark Griffith
    - had nice peak years, but was it good enough?

    John McGraw - arguably the best 3B at the end of the 19th century, but has consistency issues to contend with.

    Hughie Jennings
    - the best SS before Wagner. But career probably ended a bit too prematurely. Not sure whether he got inducted for his playing career or his managerial.

    Anyone else that I missed?
    Last edited by rsuriyop; 03-10-2008, 11:46 AM.

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