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Why not Cecil Travis for the HOF

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  • Why not Cecil Travis for the HOF

    Cecil Travis was a shortstop-third baseman for the Washington Senators from 1933-1947 who was cut short by WW2. He batted .359 with 218 hits in 1941 second to Ted Williams .406 and Ted Williams would one day recall Cecil's play and say that he was as great of an all-around player as he ever played against. Here is a player who at 28 years old enter the military in 1941 and 4 years later in 1945 would return and not be able to regain the tremendous talents he had before the war. I think Cecil who is still alive at 92 years old should get some credit for his Military and be considered for the HOF. He average .326 before entering the Army and came out of the military after 4 years with most of his talents diminished so much so he averaged .241 in 2 years after.
    Lets support Gil Hodges for The Hall of Fame, a true Hall of Famer.

  • #2
    Cecil Travis was a fine player. He played his career in old Griffith Stadium which was pitchers haven. That should be taken into account.

    If I recall, Travis suffered frostbite on his toes during the Battle of the Bulge. That, combined with his time off, rendered his career pretty much ovre with.

    We can give him some war credit but I'm not too sure how much we can give him.

    His case gets hurt, unfairly it seems, by the fact that he was a very good player on some dreadful Washington teams. It seems voters alsmot naturally discount these type players.

    Yankees Fan Since 1957

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    • #3
      Originally posted by yanks0714
      His case gets hurt, unfairly it seems, by the fact that he was a very good player on some dreadful Washington teams. It seems voters alsmot naturally discount these type players.
      Just ask Bob Johnson or Wally Berger.


      There's no shortage of support for guys like Allie Reynolds, Pete Reiser or Marty Marion, however.
      "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


      • #4
        Originally posted by Chancellor
        Just ask Bob Johnson or Wally Berger.


        There's no shortage of support for guys like Allie Reynolds, Pete Reiser or Marty Marion, however.
        How true! You could also add Lefty O'Doul to the mix along with Johnson, Berger & Travis. Brownie31

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        • #5
          Cecil was a good player 1933 to 1941. But it just is not good enough for the hall of fame. He led the leaugue in hits once and never led in any major catagory besides that. Was in the top ten of batting average only 4 times. He was not dominant during his playing days and wasnt alll that great defensivley.Neither did he have good power or have speed on the bases. So he was pretty much one dimensional. Sure he should get some reconition but getting in to the hall would be too much. There are much more deserving canidates that should get into the hall before Cecil Travis.
          Last edited by RedSoxVT92; 03-18-2006, 11:04 AM.
          go sox.

          Pigskin-Fever

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RedSoxVT92
            Cecil was a good player 1933 to 1941. But it just is not good enough for the hall of fame. He led the leaugue in hits once and never led in any major catagory besides that. Was in the top ten of batting average only 4 times. He was not dominant during his playing days and wasnt alll that great defensivley.Neither did he have good power or have speed on the bases. So he was pretty much one dimensional. Sure he should get some reconition but getting in to the hall would be too much. There are much more deserving canidates that should get into the hall before Cecil Travis.
            Travis may or may not belong in the HOF, but Bruce Sutter certainly doesn't! Brownie31

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            • #7
              To make a case for Cecil Travis, you have to argue he would have had three outstanding seasons during WWII and would have stayed a dominant player a few years even after that. I'm all for giving players war credit, but when you have to give a player lots of war credit to even make him a marginal candidate, you're taking it too far. Travis's career as is is well below Hall standards.

              You could probably make a pretty good case along the lines of "If Rizzuto then why not Travis?", but that's a bad premise to begin with. Most people don't think Rizzuto belongs in, so comparing Travis to him would probably convince more people that he really isn't HOF caliber.
              Last edited by 538280; 03-18-2006, 12:19 PM.

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              • #8
                --I also give war credit, but basically I assume the war years to be of a quality between the players last two years before and first two years after the war*. That doesn't get Travis very far. Its certainly possible that his poor play after the war was directly related to his service, but maybe he was just a guy who was going to decline earlier anyway. Anything else is pure speculation. BTW, Travis denied the frost bite story. He said he just wasn't able to get back in the groove after the long layoff.
                --*Actually, that is true only if I'm trying to come up with "what if" numbers. My rating system actually doesn't consider counting stats at all, just rate X longevity (in terms of PA/IP). I don't worry about what numbers a player might have achieved in the missed years. I simply give an additional 500 PA/200 IP credit for the missed years on the longevity end.

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                • #9
                  Why not Cecil Travis for the HOF

                  Cecil batted over .300 every full season but one before he went in the service in 1941, he lost almost 4 years to the military and got injured, Ted's .406 was the only thing between his .359 and a batting title. He was really coming into his own that year at 27 years old, he was starting his prime, he had 218 hits,101rbi,106 runs and a .410 oba. Here is what he batted and his oba for the years before the war. Cecil was only 19 years old when he came up in 1933 for 43 ab and hit .302, he was a very good player from 20-27.
                  1934- 20 years old-.319 .361
                  1935 .318 .377
                  1936 .317 .366
                  1937 .344 .395
                  1938 .335 .401
                  1939 .292 .342
                  1940 .322 .381
                  1941- 27 years old-.359 .410
                  Lets support Gil Hodges for The Hall of Fame, a true Hall of Famer.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    --Cecil Travis was a very good player and may well have gone on to a Hall of fame career, if not for WWII. With WWII and his steep drop off after returning from the war he falls pretty clearly short. It is unfortunate for him that he might have lost his chance due to the War, but not nearly as unfortunate as it might have been. Lots of guys didn't make it back at all.
                    --BTW Kramer its nice to see you expanding your horizons. All Hodges all the time makes Kramer a dull boy .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kramer_47
                      Cecil batted over .300 every full season but one before he went in the service in 1941, he lost almost 4 years to the military and got injured, Ted's .406 was the only thing between his .359 and a batting title. He was really coming into his own that year at 27 years old, he was starting his prime, he had 218 hits,101rbi,106 runs and a .410 oba. Here is what he batted and his oba for the years before the war. Cecil was only 19 years old when he came up in 1933 for 43 ab and hit .302, he was a very good player from 20-27.
                      1934- 20 years old-.319 .361
                      1935 .318 .377
                      1936 .317 .366
                      1937 .344 .395
                      1938 .335 .401
                      1939 .292 .342
                      1940 .322 .381
                      1941- 27 years old-.359 .410
                      Travis was playing in THE era for batting averages. The fact he hit .300 many times isn't a very good reason he should be in the HOF. He didn't have much power, didn't walk that much, was only an okay fielder, and wasn't really a great hitter except for 1941. He's a nice player, but nowhere near the HOF.

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                      • #12
                        I'm a Travis supporter.

                        Travis was an excellent shortstop and third baseman. Most of the games he played at third base were early in his career, when third base was still considered to be to the right of second base on the defensive spectrum. He was a shortstop who hit for a good BA and drew some walks in Griffith Stadium, a tough hitters' park.

                        Travis was an early inductee into the military during WWII. 1941 was his last season before the war, and it was his best, by far. Travis' 1941 season was a wee bit out of context with the rest of his career, but may not have appeared to be if WWII hadn't come; he was young enough to have had another similar season, and it DOES represent a "peak" season more than a "fluke" season.

                        I have read that Travis contracted severe frostbite while in the service, and was never the same, physically, after that. He was not the same player when he returned. I believe that his decline was very much a result of the lasting effects of the frostbite, and that Travis would have had a HOF-caliber career if not for WWII.

                        WWII was something beyond Travis' control. Travis' early decline was not a result of on-field injuries or something to do with him; it was caused by factors beyond his control. I think that Travis was clearly on a HOF path, and his career through 1941 was very much a HOF career by the standards of shortstops.
                        "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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          --I am a strong believer in war credit, but its hard to know what Travis should receive. Guys who were great before and after I'm willing to assume would have been great during. Guys who who just need a little more weight and saw their careers end early or start late due to the war(s) I'll give some consideration.
                          ---A guy like Travis who was maybe half way there and added nothing after the war its hard to say if he would have finished the journey. Lots of players have half a HoF career. It is also my understanding that Travis denied the frost bite story. It wasn't an injury that kept he from making a compelling case, just a simple failure to be able to pick up near where he left off.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by leecemark View Post
                            --I am a strong believer in war credit, but its hard to know what Travis should receive. Guys who were great before and after I'm willing to assume would have been great during. Guys who who just need a little more weight and saw their careers end early or start late due to the war(s) I'll give some consideration.
                            ---A guy like Travis who was maybe half way there and added nothing after the war its hard to say if he would have finished the journey. Lots of players have half a HoF career. It is also my understanding that Travis denied the frost bite story. It wasn't an injury that kept he from making a compelling case, just a simple failure to be able to pick up near where he left off.
                            Travis acknowledged having frostbite, but stated that he didn't think that was the cause for his decline.

                            In late 1941 Travis was drafted into the U.S. Army, and he reported to Fort McPherson on January 7, 1942, soon after the United States entered World War II (1941-45). Later that year he married Helen Hubbard, with whom he had three sons: Cecil Anthony, Michael, and Ricky. During the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, Travis suffered severe frostbite on the toes of both feet. Discharged from the army in 1945, he returned to the Senators late in the season but struggled to achieve his previous level of success. He retired from baseball after batting .216 for the 1947 season.

                            Travis denied that the frostbite caused the decline in his ability and believed instead that his absence from baseball for nearly four seasons robbed him of his quickness and agility. Many baseball historians believe that Travis's military service cost him election into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame; had he continued to perform as he had prior to the war, he may well have reached 3,000 hits, a milestone that guarantees election.
                            This may or may not be an accurate assessment on Cecil Travis. Hank Greenberg spent as much time in the Army as Travis, and Greenberg, too, was not the same player. DiMaggio was not the same player, and he spent only 3 years (although he was still the top CF in baseball). Williams was as good as ever when he came back, but Williams was also younger. Then, too, these other guys only missed 3 seasons; Travis missed almost 4 seasons, playing 15 games at the end of 1945.

                            Also, that Travis denied that the frostbite had an effect does not make that so.

                            Travis had all the earmarks of a HOFer. He was a star, and a top hitter at a key defensive position at age 20, going on 21. He left for the war at his peak, and missed more time than most other players. The time he spent at war (ages 27-31) represented the heart of Travis' career; the years in which he would have added the most to his already impressive resume.

                            Travis had eight years as a star in his career. He was the best SS in the AL along with Joe Cronin. Cronin's a HOFer, but one could easily argue that Travis was his equal during that time. The Senators put Travis on 3B because Cronin was their incumbent SS in 1934, then traded Cronin to Boston to make room for Travis at SS. Cronin hit for much more power than Travis in the years they were active together, but Cronin played in Fenway, while Travis played in Griffith Stadium, and Travis hit for a higher average.

                            Travis has 8 years as a star. He had NO off years prior to going into the Army; he was just beginning to move into the heart of his career. Fate took that away from him, but Travis was, for the time he played, a great shortstop, and should be in the HOF.
                            "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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              --Travis was probably the 3rd best SS in an 8 team league (Cronin and Appling) and no better than 4th in baseball (Vaughan). The guys clearly ahead of him are all Hall of Famers so that isn't a huge strike against him, but it sure rules out the "best at his position" argument.
                              --I would dispute that Travis was a great defensive SS as well. The Senators didn't move Cronin so much to open up SS for Travis as to raise some cash, which Boston gave them plenty of for Cronin. Travis moved back to third for most of 1940 and played 16 games there in 1941 so I doubt he was dazzling anyone with his glove.
                              --Finally, 1941 was Travis only really special season. His record up to then was one that might have gotten him to the Hall of Fame, but only if he sustained it for a VERY long time. To support him now you almost have to assume that 1941 was not a career year, but Travis elevating his game to a new level that he would have maintained in his lost years. I can't assume a player would repeat his best season in assigning war credit.
                              --In summary, I agree that Travis lost out on an very good chance he could have played his way into Cooperstown. I can't, however, give him quite enough war credit to actually support his case. If he did get in though he wouldn't be the worst SS with a plaque hanging there.

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