Thursday, July 25, 2013

Personal Hall of Fame, Part 2: Deadball Era

This is the second in a series of six posts where I'm revealing my personal Hall of Fame one era at a time.

I've determined era based on when each player's star shined the brightest—although in marginal cases, I've assigned some players based on where they fit best due to the all-era teams format—but their entire careers provide the basis for selection, rather than just time spent in a specific era.

My personal Hall consists exclusively of players (no managers, executives, pioneers or umpires) based on their careers in Major League Baseball only.

For a more complete explanation of this series and for my 19th century inductees, please see Part 1.

An * denotes an actual Hall of Famer.

All-Deadball Era Team/Personal Hall Inductees (1900-1919)

C - Roger Bresnahan* (1897, 1900-1915)
1B - George Sisler* (1915-1922, 1924-1930)
2B - Eddie Collins* (1906-1930)
SS - Honus Wagner* (1897-1917)
3B - Frank Baker* (1908-1914, 1916-1919, 1921-1922)
LF - Joe Jackson (1908-1920)
CF - Ty Cobb* (1905-1928)
RF - Sam Crawford* (1899-1917)
P - Walter Johnson* (1907-1927)
P - Christy Mathewson* (1900-1916)
P - Pete Alexander* (1911-1930)
P - Eddie Plank* (1901-1917)

C - Wally Schang (1913-1931)
1B - Frank Chance* (1898-1914)
2B - Nap Lajoie* (1896-1916)
SS - Bobby Wallace* (1894-1918)
SS - Bill Dahlen (1891-1911)
SS - Joe Tinker* (1902-1916)
3B - Jimmy Collins* (1895-1908)
3B - Heinie Groh (1912-1927)
LF - Fred Clarke* (1894-1911, 1913-1915)
LF - Zack Wheat* (1909-1927)
LF - Sherry Magee (1904-1919)
CF - Tris Speaker* (1907-1928)
CF - Max Carey* (1910-1929)
RF - Elmer Flick* (1898-1910)
P - Ed Walsh* (1904-1917)
P - Vic Willis* (1898-1910)
P - Rube Waddell* (1897, 1899-1910)
P - Mordecai Brown* (1903-1916)
P - Addie Joss* (1902-1910)
P - Joe McGinnity* (1899-1908)
P - Eddie Cicotte (1905, 1908-1920)

While seven of my 30 19th-century inductees were players not in the actual Hall, only five of 32 here fit that description. Another thing worth noting is 30 is not necessarily my magic number per era. I'm simply trying to check myself to see that there's some balance across eras and positions, but I have no intention of making things completely equitable. In fact, this era only represents 20 years compared to 29 for the 19th century, so relatively speaking the latter period is perhaps a little underrepresented. 

I don't think I need to make much of a case for Joe Jackson. He's not in the real Hall because he's ineligible. Since I don't care about such things, he's a slam dunk.

Eddie Cicotte, also banned from baseball along with Jackson as a result of the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal is not quite as cut and dried. In fact, he's about as close to a borderline yes for me as there is. The fact he was enjoying a late-career prime when he was banned by a judge-turned-commissioner who completely ignored a court decision in making his own is definitely a factor.

There are many who believe Wally Schang was the best catcher of his era, but it's hard for me to say with certainty that he was better than Roger Bresnahan. Still, considering he was arguably as good, and that makes him at worst second best among his contemporaries, there's a place for him in my personal Hall. 

Bill Dahlen is one of the first examples of players on the borderline of eras. He could have just as easily been on the 19th century team. There's really nothing to read into that, although it does remind me basing this on retirement year might have been an interesting idea. Oh well, no turning back now. Until the recent slew of "controversial" (we'll just leave it at that) candidates came on the ballot, Dahlen ranked first all-time in WAR among eligible non-Hall of Fame position players. 

Heinie Groh is another non-Hall of Famer who many historians consider among the best of his era at his position. In Groh's SABR bio, Sean Lahman says so with certainty, citing historian Greg Gajus' suggestion he would have won 1-3 MVPs, at least a half-dozen Gold Gloves, and been named to perhaps eight all-star teams. I probably place a little more emphasis on being the best (or among the best) at one's position in one's era, but I tend to agree with this assessment.

I've written about Sherry Magee several times here, but the bottom line is I rank him among the top 15 all-time at a pretty loaded (and important to this blog) position, left field. There are at least 15 players at each position in my personal Hall, so he's a pretty easy call, in my book.

Hall of Famers from this era who didn't make my cut are Ray Schalk, Rube Marquard, Rabbit Maranville, Jack Chesbro, Harry Hooper, Johnny Evers and Chief Bender.

Next Up: Part 3 - Live Ball Era


  1. Among those that you cut, I only had Tinker. Among those I cut, you kept Chance. We both cut Evers. Not much to read into that. Tinker was among the bottom few in my Hall while Chance was among the top guys I left out. If you feel strongly about him, maybe it'll push me over the edge. I'd certainly support him for a combined role.

    I think the only player I included that you didn't was Smoky Joe Wood. I can definitely see where you'd keep him out. I gave a LOT of credit to what could have been there.

    Back to the combined role thing, the only players we disagree on are:
    Hughie Jennings (you have him)
    Joe Tinker (I have him)
    Joe Start (I have him)
    Paul Hines (I have him)
    Monte Ward (I have him)
    Bob Caruthers (I have him)
    Clark Griffith (I have him)
    Smoky Joe Wood (I have him)

    Jennings, Start, Ward, and Griffith all certainly have secondary roles that help their cases. Tinker was a successful manager for the Feds, too. I still struggle with how this should affect placement in my personal Hall.

  2. Sherry Magee died in 1929. I wonder if he would have made the real Hall if he were alive in '45 and '46, when the VC floodgates opened and so many lesser players went in.