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  • Larry French

    Larry French pitched in the big leagues from 1929 to 1942, going 197-171 with 198 complete games, 40 shutouts, 40 WAR, a 3.44 ERA and 114 ERA+. An All-Star once, French received MVP votes twice, finishing as high as 15th in the balloting.

    The lefty, who won at least 15 games in nine of his 14 seasons, led the league in games once, games started once, shutouts twice, batters faced twice and, defensively, pitcher putouts once. He is 44th all-time in shutouts, tied with Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax, Chief Bender and Jim Bunning. A decent postseason performer, he had a 3.00 ERA in seven games, including a 2.70 ERA in the 1938 World Series and a 0.00 ERA in the 1941 Fall Classic.

    Statistically, he is similar to two Hall of Famers: Rube Marquard and Jesse Haines. He is also similar to Dolf Luque, Larry Jackson, Dutch Leonard, Lee Meadows, Charlie Root, George Uhle, Wilbur Cooper and Curt Simmons. He is ranked #166 on the Fan EloRater, ahead of Eddie Lopat, Mike Cuellar and Larry Dierker, but behind Doc White, Roy Oswalt and Joe Niekro.

    He didn't receive any votes in the real Hall of Fame voting, however he received one in the 1947 BBF Progressive Hall of Fame election.

    Due to World War II, his career was stunted slightly--he stopped playing baseball after the 1942 season, in which he went 15-4 with a 1.83 ERA in 147 2/3 innings. On wonders what he may have done had the war not interrupted his career - would he have won 230 games? 250?

    Anyway, what do you think about Larry French? Should he be in the Hall of Fame? Did he have Hall of Fame potential?
    14
    Yes
    7.14%
    1
    No
    64.29%
    9
    Maybe
    14.29%
    2
    Not a Hall of Famer, but he had Hall of Fame potential
    14.29%
    2

  • #2
    I think he was a very good pitcher but like his comps falls short of the line, not by tons but short nonetheless. If I am remembering my stats correctly he may have been the best pitcher or thereabouts in the NL between Hubbell and the breakthrough of Bucky Walters, but right now I am too lazy, busy at work to do a more thorough review.

    Comment


    • #3
      I voted maybe. He did lose 3 years to military service and maybe more if you factor in possible decline time. Does anyone know what he did after his career as a pitcher ended?

      Comment


      • #4
        Pitchers with 34-46 pitching WAR, ERA+ 108-120, 2750+ IP, since 1891
        Code:
        Rk             Player  WAR ERA+     IP From   To   Age SHO   W   L
        1        Steve Rogers 45.8  116 2837.2 1973 1985 23-35  37 158 152
        2       Dutch Leonard 45.6  119 3218.1 1933 1953 24-44  30 191 181
        3         Milt Pappas 45.3  110 3186.0 1957 1973 18-34  43 209 164
        4          Babe Adams 45.2  118 2995.1 1906 1926 24-44  44 194 140
        5         Frank Viola 43.9  112 2836.1 1982 1996 22-36  16 176 150
        6           Vida Blue 43.8  108 3343.1 1969 1986 19-36  37 209 161
        7       Wilbur Cooper 43.7  116 3480.0 1912 1926 20-34  35 216 178
        8        Curt Simmons 42.6  111 3348.1 1947 1967 18-38  36 193 183
        9          Mel Harder 42.5  113 3426.1 1928 1947 18-37  25 223 186
        10          Bob Lemon 42.4  119 2850.0 1946 1958 25-37  31 207 128 H
        11        Bob Shawkey 40.4  114 2937.0 1913 1927 22-36  33 195 150
        12        Lon Warneke 40.4  119 2782.1 1930 1945 21-36  30 192 121
        13         Dolf Luque 40.2  118 3220.1 1914 1935 23-44  26 194 179
        14       Larry French 40.0  114 3152.0 1929 1942 21-34  40 197 171
        15          Carl Mays 39.6  120 3021.1 1915 1929 23-37  29 208 126
        16   Ted Breitenstein 39.1  110 2973.1 1891 1901 22-32  12 160 170
        17      Murry Dickson 38.9  110 3052.1 1939 1959 22-42  27 172 181
        18       Chief Bender 38.5  112 3017.0 1903 1925 19-41  40 212 127 H
        19      Bucky Walters 38.2  116 3104.2 1934 1950 25-41  42 198 160
        20       Charlie Root 37.9  110 3197.1 1923 1941 24-42  21 201 160
        21          Doc White 35.7  113 3041.0 1901 1913 22-34  45 189 156
        22    Jesse Tannehill 34.0  114 2759.1 1894 1911 19-36  34 197 117
        Last edited by Freakshow; 03-19-2012, 07:43 AM.
        Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

        Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
          Does anyone know what he did after his career as a pitcher ended?
          Seems he decided to make the military his career until 1969.

          http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2006/12/20/54032/783

          Comment


          • #6
            "The lefty, who won at least 15 games in nine of his 14 seasons, led the league in games once, games started once, shutouts twice, batters faced twice and, defensively, pitcher putouts once." He led the league in shutouts 2x with 4, losses once and Hits 3x would be my description of his league leadership. He never won more than 18. He was 4-9th in ERA five times including 4x from 1932-1936. He was 5-8 in ERA+ 4x including 3x between 1932-1936. He was a little better in WAR for pitchers being 3-9th 7x from 1930-1942 topping out at 3rd in 1942. I misstated things when I described him as the best pitcher or thereabouts between Hubbell and Walters. This is a good pitcher, one any team would love to have on it's staff but that is a far cry from being a HOFer.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hall of Famers Rube Marquard and Jesse Haines are both on French's most similar comps list on Baseball-Reference. Was French better or worse than those two?

              Comment


              • #8
                “NO” to French. He never won 20 games in a season, and that suggests he was never considered to be a #1 starter. He was a Dennis Martinez kind of guy, and Martinez never won 20 either.

                I have problems with ranking French ahead of Cuellar, who had a higher peak. Cuellar won 20 games 4 times, and won a Cy Young Award. Cuellar was a great pitcher with a late start who pitched for some crummy Astro teams before he was traded to the O’s. If Cuellar isn’t a HOFer, I’m not even willing to consider French.
                "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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
                  “NO” to French. He never won 20 games in a season, and that suggests he was never considered to be a #1 starter. He was a Dennis Martinez kind of guy, and Martinez never won 20 either.

                  I have problems with ranking French ahead of Cuellar, who had a higher peak. Cuellar won 20 games 4 times, and won a Cy Young Award. Cuellar was a great pitcher with a late start who pitched for some crummy Astro teams before he was traded to the O’s. If Cuellar isn’t a HOFer, I’m not even willing to consider French.
                  You may be right, Fuzzy, but I wonder how French would have done with the likes of Belanger, Brooks, and Blair vacuuming up anything the other team put in play. He probably would have won 20 a few times too.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Good to see Steve Rogers make the board. He was tough, and not all of his teams were good. Some, sure.
                    Your Second Base Coach
                    Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. That’s equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

                    Comment

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