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  • Schang/Shalk

    Any thoughts on why Ray Shalk is in the Hall and Wally Schang isn't?

  • #2
    Not really thoughts so much as definitive reasons. I for one think Schang should be included, and that he tends to be wildly underrated by most contemporary baseball history fans.

    However, Schalk had something that Schang didn't: A reputation as being absolutely phenomenal on defense. Schang was an indifferent defender who was very good, but not great, at offense. Schalk was a poor hitter who was considered by many (up to today, even) to be the single greatest defensive catcher in baseball history by a wide margin. Apparently, everybody who watched Schalk play was blown away by his defense to the point that they oftentimes considered him to be the all around superior of guys like Cochrane, Hartnett, and Dickey.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with EH the choice is Ray Shalk and Wally Schang is very underrated today.

      Comment


      • #4
        Main reason Cracker is in is that he was "clean" in 1919.

        Otherwise, although he was certainly a great-fielding catcher, he wouldn't have made it. (How often does a player get into the HOF on fielding?)

        Schang is arguably better (Bill James is one who would make that argument).

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the feedback guys. I was wondering if I had missed something or not.. Apparently not..

          Comment


          • #6
            Schang was the better overall player. Miles ahead of Schalk as a hitter. Schalk was legitimately great in one noteable aspect - his defense - and gained fame as one of the "clean" Sox (along with teammate Eddie Collins.)

            Schang easily exceeds the minimum standard for catchers in Cooperstown. He's probably better than Schalk and Ernie Lombardi. He's much better than Rick Ferrell.
            "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


            • #7
              I'd never heard much about Schang's defense before...I was under the impression it was at least OK.

              Catchers back then tended not to play very long if they couldn't field, and with Schang's stick if he were a liability they'd have moved him to an easier position, no?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cougar
                I'd never heard much about Schang's defense before...I was under the impression it was at least OK.

                Catchers back then tended not to play very long if they couldn't field, and with Schang's stick if he were a liability they'd have moved him to an easier position, no?

                They did, to LF or 3b, or anywhere

                I think that is the main reason he is not in the Hall, he was pretty bad defensivly as a C, but as we know now...sometimes a big bat makes that moot.

                Comment


                • #9
                  http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/schanwa01.shtml

                  I looked at the numbers:

                  He played 1435 games at C, 86% of his games in the field.

                  He played 97 games in LF, 65 in CF, 60 at 3b, 5 in RF, 1 at SS. We can dismiss RF and SS as fluke appearances.

                  Debuts in 1913 for Connie Mack's A's. Splits catching duties (as was the custom at the time) in 1913 and 1914 for pennant winners. Looks like in 1914 Schang had a problem with passed balls, but otherwise the defensive stats don't look bad. (Of course, defensive stats are famously bad for catcher evaluation.)

                  Then again, the entire team was in tumult as Mack sold off all his stars and the team lost 100+ games. Anyway, in 1915 Schang auditioned at 3b and in the OF, splitting time evenly between LF and CF; also caught about once a week. He was a lousy 3b and a lousier OF.

                  In 1916 Mack decided to play him in LF -- which makes sense if you consider LF is the position on the field where you'll often try to hide an iron glove. He still caught too, more often than the year before.

                  1917 -- Despite some apparent improvement as an OF, Schang had also regained Mack's confidence as a catcher (or he was showcasing him). He caught every other game, with only spot duty in the OF and at 3b.

                  1918 -- Traded to Boston -- World Series winner. Schang shared the catching and had spot duty in the OF and IF.

                  1919 -- Full time catcher. Defensive stats don't look great -- PB up again. But he also had a career high in DP.

                  1920 -- An apparent experiment to make him a CF at age 30 -- 39 games (plus one in RF). He acquitted himself well in CF, but his PB also were back down at C, where he spent 73 games.

                  1921-1931: Exclusively a catcher from here on out. (OK, three meaningless games in LF in 1926.) His defensive stats seem noticeably better in this decade than in the preceding one. It could be he learned to be a better catcher over time (as is often the case at that position). It could also be that the lively ball cut down on baserunning and bunting and made a catcher's job easier.

                  I don't get from the statistics that he was any worse than average defensively, and in some seasons he was a plus.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The write-up at Baseball Library says Schang's defense was well regarded:

                    One of baseball's best catchers throughout most of his 18-year ML career, Schang played for top teams and caught most of the leading AL pitchers of his time, including Hall of Famers Herb Pennock, Eddie Plank, Chief Bender, Babe Ruth, Waite Hoyt, and Lefty Grove. A strong hitter (six seasons over .300) and good baserunner (one of the few catchers to steal more than 100 bases), his defensive work was also outstanding, although he holds the AL career record for most errors by a catcher, 218. When not catching, managers sometimes played him in the outfield or at third base to keep his bat in the lineup.

                    Schang broke in as a rookie with Connie Mack's champions of 1913-14. He was traded to the Red Sox in 1918 and helped them to a World Championship. He was the Yankees' regular catcher when they won their first three pennants in 1921-23. He was a reserve for the 1930 Athletics, his seventh pennant-winning team. He is the only player to be on three different World Championship clubs. On May 12, 1915, catching for the Athletics, he threw out six Browns runners attempting to steal; on the same date in 1920 he had eight assists for the Red Sox in a game against the Indians. Both feats are AL records. His older brother Bobby caught briefly in the NL before WWI. (JK)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Imapotato
                      They did, to LF or 3b, or anywhere

                      I think that is the main reason he is not in the Hall, he was pretty bad defensivly as a C, but as we know now...sometimes a big bat makes that moot.
                      The reason that Schang was moved around early in his career was because Connie Mack was shuffling his stars out of Philadelphia and he wanted to keep Schang in the lineup while trying to bring along new, young (ie. cheap) players. Schang wasn't shuffled around because he stank as a catcher. He was shuffled around because he could play elsewhere competently as well as handle catcher duties.

                      Schang was not "pretty bad defensively as a [catcher]" either.

                      James gives him a C+ in Win Shares. Granted, as win shares sees it Ray Schalk deserved 9 gold gloves. Other "C+" defenders include Jason Kendall, Mike McFarlane, Manny Sanguillen, Ed Bailey, Roger Bresnahan, Pat Borders, Deacon McGuire, Jimmy Wilson and Ozzie Virgil. (By way of comparison.)

                      That's far from "pretty bad."

                      Furthermore, when Schang retired only Ray Schalk and Deacon McGuire had accumulated more career innings behind the plate.

                      As an overall player, Schang's 245 career win shares rank his 14th all-time among catchers.

                      Even more impressive, at the time of Schang's retirement, here's the career leaders at catcher:

                      245 Wally Schang
                      241 Buck Ewing
                      231 Roger Bresnahan
                      191 Ray Schalk
                      190 Deacon White
                      189 Deacon McGuire

                      It seems to me that Schang's biggest problem is that of a Barry Larkin. He's a great player at his position that got squeezed between generations. He looks much better compared to Schalk, Bresnahan, etc. But once the 1920-1940's catching stars began slug their way towards Hall of Fame careers, Schang's accomplishments began to look smaller by comparison. Just as A-Rod and Jeter and Tejada are making Larkin (and Alan Trammell) look less impressive, so too did Hartnett, Dickey and Cochrane make Schang look less impressive in their time. Considering the Hall of Fame began voting in 1936, in those players' heyday, I think this may well be the very reason Schang was never elected, moreso than the others we've discussed.
                      "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


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chancellor
                        Schang was the better overall player. Miles ahead of Schalk as a hitter. Schalk was legitimately great in one noteable aspect - his defense - and gained fame as one of the "clean" Sox (along with teammate Eddie Collins.)

                        Schang easily exceeds the minimum standard for catchers in Cooperstown. He's probably better than Schalk and Ernie Lombardi. He's much better than Rick Ferrell.
                        I'll agree with you that anybody and everybody is better than Rick Ferrell. My "worst" HoF catchers list goes:

                        1. Ferrell
                        2. Carter
                        3. Lombardi
                        4. Shalk


                        However.

                        I tend to rate catchers at about 50% offense, 50% defense. Shalk gets a perfect 50 for me from defense, and maybe a 5 from offense. Schang gets maybe a 15 on defense, and about a 30 on offense. It's close, and they're both better than Ferrell, but I give the edge to Shalk.
                        "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                        Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by westsidegrounds
                          (How often does a player get into the HOF on fielding?)
                          Off the top of my head...

                          Schalk
                          Ozzie Smith
                          Bill Mazeroski
                          Rabbit Maranville
                          Luis Aparicio
                          Max Carey
                          Brooks Robinson
                          Bid McPhee

                          Yes, Brooks had his MVP season, Maz had his '60 HR, Rabbit had his lovable drunken antics. But with the possible exception of Carey (who's in the Hall on about equal parts defense and baserunning), every one of these guys is a HoF'er almost solely on defense.
                          "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                          Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ElHalo
                            Off the top of my head...

                            Schalk
                            Ozzie Smith
                            Bill Mazeroski
                            Rabbit Maranville
                            Luis Aparicio
                            Max Carey
                            Brooks Robinson
                            Bid McPhee

                            Yes, Brooks had his MVP season, Maz had his '60 HR, Rabbit had his lovable drunken antics. But with the possible exception of Carey (who's in the Hall on about equal parts defense and baserunning), every one of these guys is a HoF'er almost solely on defense.
                            Exactly. Approximately 8 guys out of the ~215 players in the HOF (depending on which guys one thinks of as players rather than mgrs or execs (or umps ...)).

                            Not sure Carey belongs here, actually - he was a great fielder, and an outstanding base stealer, but he was a way better hitter than the rest of these guys - 32 Black Ink points (HOF avg. 27), 148 Grey Ink points (HOF avg 144).
                            Last edited by westsidegrounds; 06-28-2005, 06:19 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cougar
                              http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/schanwa01.shtml

                              I looked at the numbers:

                              He played 1435 games at C, 86% of his games in the field.

                              He played 97 games in LF, 65 in CF, 60 at 3b, 5 in RF, 1 at SS. We can dismiss RF and SS as fluke appearances.

                              Debuts in 1913 for Connie Mack's A's. Splits catching duties (as was the custom at the time) in 1913 and 1914 for pennant winners. Looks like in 1914 Schang had a problem with passed balls, but otherwise the defensive stats don't look bad. (Of course, defensive stats are famously bad for catcher evaluation.)

                              Then again, the entire team was in tumult as Mack sold off all his stars and the team lost 100+ games. Anyway, in 1915 Schang auditioned at 3b and in the OF, splitting time evenly between LF and CF; also caught about once a week. He was a lousy 3b and a lousier OF.

                              In 1916 Mack decided to play him in LF -- which makes sense if you consider LF is the position on the field where you'll often try to hide an iron glove. He still caught too, more often than the year before.

                              1917 -- Despite some apparent improvement as an OF, Schang had also regained Mack's confidence as a catcher (or he was showcasing him). He caught every other game, with only spot duty in the OF and at 3b.

                              1918 -- Traded to Boston -- World Series winner. Schang shared the catching and had spot duty in the OF and IF.

                              1919 -- Full time catcher. Defensive stats don't look great -- PB up again. But he also had a career high in DP.

                              1920 -- An apparent experiment to make him a CF at age 30 -- 39 games (plus one in RF). He acquitted himself well in CF, but his PB also were back down at C, where he spent 73 games.

                              1921-1931: Exclusively a catcher from here on out. (OK, three meaningless games in LF in 1926.) His defensive stats seem noticeably better in this decade than in the preceding one. It could be he learned to be a better catcher over time (as is often the case at that position). It could also be that the lively ball cut down on baserunning and bunting and made a catcher's job easier.

                              I don't get from the statistics that he was any worse than average defensively, and in some seasons he was a plus.
                              great post

                              Maybe that is why he flew under the radar
                              That he was spotty until those 10 years, mainly as a Yankee
                              and that the 1st impression is lasting, but that he grew into an average C with a very good bat

                              Then again, Hartnett, Dickey and Cochrane came around and he looked pale in comparison

                              Maybe a case of bad timing in his career and development?

                              Comment

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