WGOM Half-Baked Hall: 1897-1899

I don't know about you, but I felt the last ballot was a huge success. Not only did we elect two new members (including our first hitter!), it seems the voters are getting a bit more confident with their voting. We were able to drop plenty of also-rans and are able to add 14 new players to the ballot without topping 30! There are only five players remaining from the original ballot (White, McCormick, Cummings, Orr, Jones). That's a great turnover and should keep things fresh.

Half of the new crop (including most of the superstars) comes from 1897 alone. Had they had a Hall of Fame back then, 1902 would have been an interesting year for the BBWAA.  This ballot is lopsided towards the hitters with 20 to choose from.


Returning Players to the Ballot

Voting History

Player Spreadsheet

New Pitchers
Frank Dwyer
Bill Hutchinson
Silver King
Sadie McMahon
Jack Stivetts

New Hitters
Cap Anson
Roger Connor
Buck Ewing
Mike Griffin
Bill Joyce
Denny Lyons
Ed McKean
Bid McPhee
Mike Tiernan


23 thoughts on “WGOM Half-Baked Hall: 1897-1899”

  1. Couple of thoughts on returning players before I research the new people:

    Jack Glasscock: If Dave Orr is the Prince Fielder of his day, Glasscock is the Ozzie Smith of his day. A competent hitter, whose stats as a batter would have landed him on the ballot. What excites me is his brilliance at shortstop, which is well-documented, not just by WAR, but also by sportswriters at the time. The Sporting News said that his contemporaries considered him the best shortstop ever.

    John Clarkson: His numbers are extremely similar to Tim Keefe, and Keefe went in first-ballot. Clarkson had about 500 fewer innings, but had a slightly better ERA.

    Lip Pike: I've voted maybe two ballots in a row, and I'm considering a yes vote. His hitting was as strong as Ross Barnes, and he had reportedly several great years before 1871. He also played shortstop, second, and center. He played them to a draw at best, but he played them. I'd be curious to hear others' thoughts.

    1. I thought Clarkson was a slam dunk yes.

      I'll stump for King Kelly. A catcher/outfielder who could hit and run (in fact, he's credited with inventing the hit and run). Here's the SABR bio of the man, he sounds like a character and a huge influence on the early game, skill-wise and innovation-wise.

        1. “All of the Chicago players dress well off the field but Clarkson is the bright particular dude of the team. He is very scrupulous about his dress, and there is considerable of the English in his style.” The Detroit Free Press said, “His uniform was always immaculate, his linen always possessed the fresh-from-the-laundry touch, he was always smoothly shaved, his manners were always faultless.” He also wore a silk handkerchief on the outside of his uniform.

          Who is the bright particular dude of the WGOM?

    2. I was persuaded on Glasscock. I voted in favor of Clarkson, and switched from "Maybe" to "Yes" on Pike this last ballot.

      FWIW, my "yes" votes this last ballot included:

      hitters: Barnes, Browning, Glasscock, Jones, Kelly, O'Neill, Orr, Pike, Stovey, and Ward
      pitchers: Caruthers and Clarkson.

      My rough rules of thumb:
      for hitters, a career OPS+ better than Tony Perez and enough longevity to matter, or an astronomical career OPS+ in shorter time and extenuating circumstances.
      for pitchers, a career ERA+ north of 120 and enough longevity to matter, or a ridiculous ERA+ in shorter time and extenuating circumstances.

      Arbitrary, I know. But there are 125 pitchers (with sufficient career innings) in MLB history with a career ERA+ of 120 or better. That's a LOT of pitchers. And there are over 300 players (with sufficient career PA) with OPS+ marks above Tony Perez's 122.

      Guys like Ol' Hoss and Jim McCormick and (much worse) Pud Galvin were accumulators. I don't see the argument for inclusion. Will we include Jim Kaat when the time comes? I loved Kaat, but just because he hung around (as an effective pitcher) until age 44 is not sufficient reason to enshrine him, even in our half-bakef exercise.

      I guess what we need in the stats sheet is a JAWS score....

      on JAWS,
      Caruthers ranks 38th all-time for starting pitchers) with 58.6 (HOF average for 59 starting pitchers is 61.8). He's a credible candidate.
      Clarkson ranks 11th with 79.4. He should have gone in on the first ballot.
      Radbourn ranks 18th with 72.1. Maybe I should reconsider my opposition.
      McCormick ranks 19th with 72.0. Likewise. Although with all of these late-19th century pitchers, I have a hard time evaluating because of the dramatic rules changes.

      Pete Browning ranks 45th all-time for CFers with 36.0 JAWS (HOF average for 18 CFs is 57.2). Browning had a very short, lesss-impressive-than-I_realized peak. I probably won't support in the future.
      Glasscock: 18th all-time for SSs (51.4; HOF average for 21 SSs is 54.7)
      Charley Jones 78th for LFers (24.6; HOF average for 19 is 53.3)
      King Kelly 42nd for RFers (37.7; HOF average for 24 is 58.1)
      Tip O'Neill 65th for LFers (26.9; HOF average for 19 is 53.3)
      Dave Orr 72nd for 1b (27.7; HOF average for 19 is 54.2)
      Harry Stovey 35th for LFers (38.1; HOF average for 19 is 53.3)
      Monte Ward 57th for SSs (30.1; HOF average for 21 is 54.7 -- but this does not include his pitching, where he was good for another 28.4 WAR for pitchers over his first seven seasons)

      1. King Kelly as RF is a little bit misleading since he played less than half of his career games (46%) in the outfield. 36% at catcher, 17% at infield positions.

        (what? I said I'd stump for him.)

  2. On Silver King, who used a pitching approach I tried in sandlot games as a kid:

    Speaking of the changes in the pitching distance', said Captain Tebeau, 'I can remember a 16 to 15 game under the old rules. Silver King was one of the pitchers. You could hide the ball then, and he used to come, whirling around like a serpent up to the 45 foot mark, and let go.' " - Patsy Tebeau, recalling Silver King's pitching style, in Sporting Life, March 2, 1895

  3. beau: on the appropriate spreadsheets at the appropriate places, would you freeze rows/columns, please?

          1. Aye. Thanks. Much easier to read when you can see the column/row headings all the way.

  4. Mike Tiernan:

    A quiet, amiable man, Tiernan was well liked by teammates, fans, and the baseball press. But he was not without aspects of a contrary streak. On a team where sporting a prominent moustache was virtually de rigueur, Tiernan remained resolutely clean-shaven. In an era when verbal abuse of opponents and noisy disagreement with umpires were ballpark norms, Tiernan was a gentleman, a player who spoke so infrequently on the field that he was dubbed Silent Mike. And at a time when discontent with management ran so deep that the players formed their own league, Tiernan was one of the few to spurn the movement and remain with his old team. Indeed, Mike Tiernan was one of only a handful of 19th century players to spend his entire major league career in a single city.

    His Giants' teammates were really perturbed with him for not leaving for the Player's League, so when they came back after it folded, he was kind of an outcast. He would have had to take a 20 pay cut to leave, and was rewarded with a raise for staying (up to $4,000!).

    Other trivia: The late 80's Giants had six hall-of-famers on their team at one point. That doesn't include Tiernan.

  5. Bid McPhee, inducted into the hall in 2000, is a hell of an interesting player. He was the last player to give in and get that new-fangled glove thing. Despite not playing with a glove for most of his career, he led the league in fielding percentage seven times, not to mention range factor and double plays turned. When he finally used a glove (after injuring a finger), his fielding percentage skyrocketed even further and he held the record for many years.

    "No, I never use a glove on either hand in a game. I have never seen the necessity of wearing one; and besides, I cannot hold a thrown ball if there is anything on my hands. The glove business has gone a little too far. It is all wrong to suppose that your hands will get battered out of shape if you don't use them. True, hot-hit balls do sting a little at the opening of the season, but after you get used to it there is no trouble on that score."

    He had a long career, often attributed to his good health thanks to avoiding smoking and drinking. He was considered a gentleman, despite the following account.

    After tagging him out McPhee stepped on
    his face cutting him ear to lip, breaking out several teeth.
    The incident gave McPhee a little needed notoriety and the
    Reds, after a gruesome 30-minute game delay, won the first
    of 10 straight that propelled them into the lead for keeps.

    Another time he spiked the catcher, and both of them missed the rest of the season. He was known for fantastic head-first slides, until he hurt his leg so badly on a slide he nearly had to get his leg amputated. He recovered, and then slid feet first only after that.

  6. Did a little reading on Roger Connor. He was the opposite of the Dos Equis man. An account from a newspaper during his playing days:

    Connor’s honorable and straightforward conduct and affable and courteous demeanor towards all with whom he is brought into conduct have won him deserved popularity both on and off the ball-field.

    And one from a few years ago:

    A quiet, dignified man both on and off the diamond, Connor was rarely involved in the kind of incident that spawned press attention or gave rise to the memorable anecdote.

    He was really good at baseball though.

    Also, after his major league career was over, he continued to play in the minor leagues and townball until he finally retired for good at the age of 53.

  7. Cap Anson is considered to be the father of segregation in baseball. He took the lead in a couple of highly publicized incidents in which he wouldn't send his team onto the field against black players. Less than a decade after the first time Anson did this, black players were completely shutout of the professional ranks. I forgot about that.

    1. I know it's apples and oranges, but I think this hurt baseball more than Pete Rose did. That said, still voting for him. Anson helped make baseball popular as well in addition to the gaudy numbers.

Comments are closed.