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The Veteran’s Committee Hall of Fame nominees are out

Nov 2, 2012, 10:31 AM EDT

Jacob Rupert

If you’ll recall, the Veteran’s Committee for the Hall of Fame now votes on nominees on a rotating basis, with each year covering a different era. This year it’s the “pre-Integration” era, consisting of players, managers, umpires and executives whose greatest contributions to the game were realized from the 1876-1946.

This year’s nominees have been announced. There are ten:

  • Marty Marion: Played from 1940-50, took a break for the Korean War and then played in 1952-53, batting .263 with 36 home runs. A slick fielding shortstop. His best years where during WWII when all of the best players were gone. Seems like a poor candidate.
  • Bucky Walters: Pitched from 1934-1950 compiling a 198-160 lifetime record, with a 3.30 era. Three FANTASTIC seasons in 1939, 1940 and 1944 (though that was a war year) with a lot of filler surrounding. Won the 1939 MVP.
  • Jacob Ruppert: Owner of the New York Yankees from 1915 through 1939 which, if you weren’t aware, was when they became THE NEW YORK YANKEES. I’m rather shocked he’s not already in the Hall.
  • Bill Dahlen: Played from 1891-1911, mostly as a shortstop. He retired in 1911 as the active home run leader with 84. Some old timer probably called him “the REAL home run king” for a long damn time after Home Run Baker and Babe Ruth and those guys came along.
  • Wes Ferrell: A 193-128 record with a 4.04 career ERA (116 ERA+) from 1927-1941. He won 20 games four times to kick of his career and did it two more times later, which gives him some curiosity points, but he flamed out young and was quite ordinary for much of his career. A nice career, but really, if this guy gets in, do we really have standards for pitchers anymore? How is he different from any number of very good but not necessarily great pitchers like Dennis Martinez and the like?
  • Tony Mullane: Won 284 games in 13 major league seasons from 1881-1894. 468 of his 504 games were complete games. Old Hoss Radbourn used to mock his stamina.
  • Deacon White: Played from 1871-1890. The Hall of Fame website calls him “one of the finest barehanded catchers of his time.” Ouch.
  • Samuel Breadon: Long time owner of the Cardinals, who hired Branch Rickey and helped form the modern minor league system. The Cardinals won nine pennants and six World Series on his watch.
  • Alfred Reach: Player, sporting goods mogul and the publisher of the Reach Guides, which published statistics and stories and things and which now serve as great historical documents from the deadball era.
  • Hank O’Day: An umpire from 1888 through 1927. He also played and managed, often in some of the years covering that umpire stretch. I have no idea how that worked. I also have no idea what the standards are for a Hall of Fame umpire. Pioneers notwithstanding, the best ones should be the ones you don’t hear about, right?

The inductees will be announced on December 3 during the Winter Meetings.

  1. dondada10 - Nov 2, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Deacon White, “one of the finest barehanded catchers of his time.”

    That’s intense.

  2. historiophiliac - Nov 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    “helped form the modern minor league system”

    That gets you a Hall of Fame bid rather than a level of hell?

    • paperlions - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      No offense to Breadon, but the idea and drive to create minor league teams was 100% Rickey’s idea. The fact that the owner went along with the idea isn’t really a reason to put him in the HOF.

      There are already too many old owners in the HOF, who did nothing more than treat players like shit, collude to keep salaries low, and collude to exclude minorities from all levels of baseball (on and off the field). Baseball is a great game and MLB history is great largely in spite of the owners, not because of them.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        Agreed, Paper — and not just because I’m a bitter descendant of a minor league player.

      • natstowngreg - Nov 2, 2012 at 4:27 PM

        Agree in general, but I agree with Craig about Ruppert. He took over a team that was an afterthought in New York, and helped make it the most successful organization in its sport, ever. Also, he left an organization that continued the success for another quarter-century.

  3. pmcenroe - Nov 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    I wonder if Bad Bill Dahlen will get in. I’m sure his mediocre BA is what kept him out originally but BBref has him at a 70 WAR which would warrant inclusion. Interesting case..

  4. largebill - Nov 2, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    I’m kind of inclined to vote for none of the above.

    • pjmitch - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:02 PM


      •Tony Mullane: Won 284 games in 13 major league seasons from 1881-1894. 468 of his 504 games were complete games. Old Hoss Radbourn used to mock his stamina.

      • paperlions - Nov 2, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        Yes, really. Within the context of the era, he wasn’t anything special.

  5. Paul White - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    I think Dahlen should be in, and has been overlooked for way too long. And if Ruppert isn’t in, I really don’t see why any other owners are in, other than maybe Connie Mack since he managed too.

    I think the rest don’t have much of a case.

  6. hushbrother - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Colonel Jake Ruppert should definitely be in. Hard to get worked up arguing for any of those other guys.

  7. theonlynolan - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Wes Ferrell deserves some extra credit for being the best hitting pitcher to ever live. His ERA looks high but it was 16% better than league average over the course of his career. Fun fact about Ferrell is that his brother Rick is one of the worst players ever inducted and Wes was actually the better player. I’d vote for Wes.

    • tmohr - Nov 2, 2012 at 3:14 PM

      Ferrell, according to his SABR bio, had elbow surgery after the 1938 season, which pretty much ended his pitching career.

      It didn’t stop him from hitting .332 in 1941 and .361 in 1942 as an outfielder in the minors, though.

  8. contraryguy - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Bucky! Bucky! Bucky!

    He spent a long time playing the infield w/ Philly before the Reds moved him to full-time pitching after which he had 3 seasons of 300+ IP (was Dusty Baker managing back then?). That has to be taken into account. We’re talking Vets Committee picks here, there will be no ‘pretty’ stat lines in the bunch.

  9. royalsfaninfargo - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Marty Marion, “took a break for the Korean war”? Really? Im sure anyone who fought in Korea would not describe it as taking a break from anything.

    • deepstblu - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Actually Marion retired after the 1950 season to become the Cardinals’ manager. He was fired after one year, was lured out of retirement by the Browns (Bill Veeck was stocking up on ex-Cardinals, hoping that they would boost attendance) and wound up as their player-manager when Rogers Hornsby wore out his welcome almost instantly.

  10. Carl Hancock - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    It’s nominees like this that contribute to watering down the HOF into the Hall of Okay and not even the Hall of Very Good.

    • theonlynolan - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:49 PM

      Comments like this show a complete lack of understanding of what the Hall of Fame is. Wes Ferrell’s brother is in the hall and Wes was the better player. Tom Yawkey was a racist who never won a championship and he made it to Cooperstown. Rupert is surely more deserving than Yawkey. Dahlen was a contemporary of possibly the worst Hall of Famer of all time, a guy named Tommy McCarthy who nobody even knows why was inducted. The Hall of Fame is full of players who probably didn’t deserve induction. Those who romanticize Cooperstown are foolish. Mistakes have been made and worthy players have been left out. I see three of them on this list.

      • albertmn - Nov 2, 2012 at 4:14 PM

        Just because Player/Manager/Owner A was better than some other player/manager/owner that you don’t think deserves to be in does not mean that Player/Manager/Owner A should be in. By that logic, one bad inductee would allow in 30-40% of players that ever played to get in.

  11. raysfan1 - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    I’d like to see 3-4 of these guys in, particularly Rupert and Dahlen. It’s the Vet Committee, though, so I’m not holding my breath.

  12. kountryking - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    After all these years, not even a mention of Gil Hodges. Damned shame! He should have been in the Hall decades ago.

    • pmcenroe - Nov 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      that’s because Hodges’ first full season was 1948…

      • kountryking - Nov 5, 2012 at 6:25 PM

        He’s always a few votes shy. No justice. I refuse to die until he’s enshrined alongside Jackie, Pee Wee, and the Duke.

    • Dan McCloskey - Nov 2, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      Hodges was on last year’s Vets Committee ballot, which covered the era he played in. He received 9 of 16 votes, 3 short of induction.

      • kountryking - Nov 5, 2012 at 6:23 PM

        He’s had the most votes of anyone not selected. I just can’t understand why he’s not been a winner. There aren’t many of us left who saw him play or remember his legacy.

  13. tmohr - Nov 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Mullane’s good looks earned him the nickname “The Apollo Of The Box,” so his stamina may have been of a different kind.

  14. natsattack - Nov 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Wes Ferrell had the most HRs as a pitcher, ever, with 38.

  15. larryfitzgerald4mvp - Nov 2, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    While i don’t think he should be a HOFer, i think you misrepresented Marion’s career. Marty Marion was an 8x All Star and an MVP who also won 3 WS with the Cardinals in the 40’s. His offensive numbers are bad, but his defensive numbers are pretty fantastic. Probably not a HOFer, but certainly well-regarded in his day.

  16. mrfloydpink - Nov 2, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Dahlen seems pretty worthy. BR has him 75th all time in WAR, ahead of Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Tony Gwynn, Manny Ramirez, and Willie McCovey, among others. The only people ahead of him on the list who are NOT in the HOF are either (a) not eligible, (b) being kept out because of steroids, or (c) Lou Whitaker. Fangraphs has it about the same, though it’s harder to tell because they separate pitchers from hitters on their all-time charts.

  17. simon94022 - Nov 2, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Hank O’Day was revered for his integrity and definitely belongs in the Hall.

  18. simon94022 - Nov 2, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    O’Day is also famous for calling Fred Merkle out in1908, leading to the greatest late season collapse in Giants history. And setting up the Cubs’ second and last World Championship.

  19. izzy2112 - Nov 4, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    Wes Ferrell would be a fine choice for the HOF. You forget his value as a pitcher. His career WAR is borderline, but his top 7 seasons put him in a class with the top tier HOFers.

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