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Johnny Kling

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  • Johnny Kling

    Catcher Johnny Kling spent 13 years in the big leagues, hitting .272 with 1,154 hits, 124 stolen bases and 515 RBI. Excellent defensively, he led the league in catcher putouts six years in a row, games at catcher three times, catcher assists twice, runners caught stealing twice, caught stealing percentage once and catcher fielding percentage twice.

    He received votes for the Hall of Fame eight times, with a high of 10% of support in 1937 and in one of Baseball Fever's own projects, the Progressive Hall of Fame, he remained on the ballot all 15 years and received a high of 26.92% of the vote. He was an "All-Star" seven times, according to the Retrospective All-Star Game project.

    Statistically, he is similar to Joe Girardi, Heinie Peitz, Frank Snyder, Ivey Wingo, Chief Zimmer, Hank Severeid, Birdie Tebbetts, Muddy Ruel, Bob O'Farrell and Gus Mancuso.

    What do you think about Johnny Kling? Should he be in the Hall of Fame? Did he have Hall of Fame potential?
    Not a Hall of Famer, but he had Hall of Fame potential

  • #2
    I say he had potential.
    "The first draft of anything is crap." - Ernest Hemingway

    There's no such thing as an ultimate stat.


    • #3
      Yes. He should be in the HOF.


      • #4
        Someone give me the pitch for Kling. I don't see it, but many smart folks do. What am I missing?
        The Hall of Stats: An alternate Hall of Fame populated by a mathematical formula.


        • #5
          Originally posted by adarowski View Post
          Someone give me the pitch for Kling. I don't see it, but many smart folks do. What am I missing?
          I don't know what the smart folks see, but he was a league-average hitter, 6th all time in assists, 5th in caught stealing, as opposed to 38th in errors and 93rd in passed balls. He started late, and after he held out for a year, didn't do much after age 32, but from 1902 to 08 he was a very good player on a historically great team. How much of it was due to Kling's catching, I don't know, but the Cubs pitchers were terrific when they played for the Cubs; elsewhere not so much. So if I squint and hold my head just so, I can see the possibilities; maybe others can see more.
          Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce


          • #6
            The argument centers around him being perhaps the best catcher in the NL for much of the 00s, the Cubs dynasty and his defensive prowess. The PA are light but back then catchers did not catch nearly every day. From 1902 -1908 he played in between 104 and 132 games, usually in the teens. The next leg is he usually gets support in retrospective "games" when it could have been argued after Ewing, Bennett and a handful of others he was among the very best to have ever caught and as such would have been a strong HOF candidate if there was voting back then.


            • #7
              From 1900-1913, very few catchers caught as many games as Kling did. Only 3 caught 1000+ games : Kling, Billy Sullivan, and Red Dooin. Of those 3 Kling was clearly the best overall catcher. And he played on the Cubs' dynasty. But that's all the credit I can give him.

              Kling had 2-3 seasons in which he was maybe the best catcher in the NL, but over the course of his career, from 1900-1913, not only was he not the best catcher in baseball, I don't think he was the best catcher in the NL alone, neither offensively nor defensively.

              1900-1913, NL, 500 Games, C 50%

              Rk               Player WAR/pos
              1       Roger Bresnahan    35.4
              [B]2          Johnny Kling    22.9[/B]
              3          Chief Meyers    15.7
              4            Mike Grady    12.1
              5    Ossee Schrecongost    10.8
              WAR Runs Fielding
              Rk              Player Rfield
              1       Billy Sullivan     24
              2          Jack Warner     20
              3           Lou Criger     18
              4        George Gibson     16
              5          Bill Bergen     15
              6    Malachi Kittridge     13
              [B]7         Johnny Kling     11[/B]
              Rk            Player OPS+
              1    Roger Bresnahan  130
              2       Chief Meyers  128
              [B]3       Johnny Kling  100[/B]
              4       Ed McFarland  100
              5       Heinie Peitz   94
              Jack Clements, who played a decade before Kling, also played over 1000 games as catcher in the NL, but had a better career. Neither belong in the Hall, as I see it.


              • #8
                Okay, thanks. My catcher rankings have him 40th all time—

                These are strictly sabermetrically focused, though. No adjustments made for subjective purposes. So, I was wondering if there was something else that would cause his stock to rise. I see Charlie Bennett as a better (but still borderline) candidate. I also like Jack Clements more. Clements has the whole "last lefty" thing going for him, too. I have Clements 24th all time.
                The Hall of Stats: An alternate Hall of Fame populated by a mathematical formula.


                • #9
                  Mr. Kling was a major part of the early Cubs dynasty but his numbers do not add up to the legend.


                  • #10
                    I voted no, I feel theres enough catchers from that time frame already in.
                    "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

                    "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)


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