Half-Baked Hall: 1951-1956

So you may have heard recently about this guy in the news named Jackie Robinson. As it turns out, he was a pretty decent player and shows up on this ballot. And philosofer was randomly assigned to finding something to write about the guy. Good luck, dude.

Also, last chance to vote for...

Final Ballot

Bill Terry

Returning Players

Wes Ferrell (4th), Gabby Hartnett (4th), Bob Johnson (3rd), Ted Lyons (2nd), Joe Medwick (2nd), Dizzy Dean (2nd), Red Ruffing (2nd), Joe Gordon (2nd), Ernie Lombardi (2nd), Lefty Gomez (2nd), Stan Hack (2nd)

New Hitters

Lou Boudreau (Beau)
Joe Dimaggio (daneekasghost)
Bobby Doerr (CanofCorn)
Bob Elliott (DPWY)
Charlie Keller (CanofCorn)
Ralph Kiner (freealonzo)
Johnny Mize (yickit)
Bill Nicholson (nibbish)
Phil Rizzuto (yickit)
Jackie Robinson (philosofer)
Eddie Stanky (daneekasghost)
Vern Stephens (Beau)

New Pitchers

Harry Breechen (Scot)
Bob Feller (freealonzo)
Dutch Leonard (nibbish)
Hal Newhouser (bhiggum)
Bobo Newsom (New Britain Bo)


34 thoughts on “Half-Baked Hall: 1951-1956”

          1. The fact that you had to talk through any subtlety is very inkarnitesque. (I kid... but man does he struggle with that)

    1. I should be able to make that work.

      Heck, here is my submission:

      Jackie Robinson: Probably the most essential baseball player ever. He did good. He did well, too, but more importantly, he did good.

        1. Ya know, his career WAR is a little low... but look at that peak! Probably pushes him over.

          1. I don't know. His #1 comp is George Grantham and I don't recall anyone making a case for him. And really, just five years where he was a real MVP candidate.

            Also, the BBWAA only voted him in at 77.5%.

  1. Louis Norman Bobo Newsom fun facts:

    Born in Hartsville, SoCar (where Aziz Ansari went to school).
    Referred to everyone in the 3rd person (including himself, "Bobo").
    Batted and threw right-handed, 1.91m tall, weighed 91 kg.
    One of 29 players to have appeared in Major League games in four decades.
    One of the 100 winningest pitchers of all time.
    4-time All Star, '47 World Series champ, made Wheaties.
    Played for Dodgers, Cubs, Browns, Senators, Red Sox, Browns, Tigers, Senators, Yankees, Giants, Senators, A's.
    Mentioned in the Ogden Nash poem: Line-Up for Yesterday (the only player mentioned still not in the HOF as of 2016:
    N is for Newsom,
    Bobo's favorite kin.
    You ask how he's here,
    He talked himself in.

    SABR Bobo Anecdote:
    On May 28, 1935, a third-inning line drive by Cleveland’s Earl Averill broke his left kneecap. When Washington manager Bucky Harris reached the mound, Newsom said, "I think it's broke." Harris asked Bobo if he should take him out of the game. "You kidding me? I said it was broke, I didn't say I was dead." Bobo continued to pitch and after every inning would say, "It's broke" His teammates laughed at him, assuming it couldn't be broken because he wouldn't be able to stand up if it was. Following the Senators 5–4 loss, Newsom was hobbling around the lobby of the hotel, still insisting his kneecap was broken. Finally he went to get an x-ray, and it was indeed "broke."

  2. Bobby Doerr
    1937-51; Second Baseman
    Inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1986. Previous high by the writers was 25% of the Votes in 1970, his 11th year on the ballot.

    It was Ted Williams who dubbed Bobby Doerr "the silent captain of the Red Sox" and a more down-to-earth Hall of Famer might be hard to find.

    Spent his whole career (1,865 games, 7,100 AB's) with Boston - missed 1945 for military service.

    When he left the defense job to play the 1944 season, he received his draft orders and was told to report at the beginning of September. By the time September came around, the Red Sox were in the thick of the pennant race, just four games out of first place - and both Doerr (.325 at the time, his .528 slugging average led the league) and Hughson (18-5, 2.26 ERA) had to leave. The team couldn't sustain those two losses and their hopes sputtered out. SABR Bio

    Career .288/.362/.461, 115 OPS+, 51.2 WAR (5 seasons in top 10), 43.8 JAWS, 9x All-star, Finished in the top-25 MVP voting 8x

    Part of only 1 postseason - losing to the Cardinals in the World Series in 1946 - but not his fault. In 6 games, Bobby slashed .409/.458/.591 in 22 at-bats.

    Babe Ruth, asked who was the MVP of the American League, said, “Doerr, and not Ted Williams, is the No. 1 player on the team.”

  3. Charlie Keller
    'King Kong'

    1939-52; Leftfielder

    Yankee for 11 years, spent 1950-51 with the Tigers. (1,170 games, 3,790 AB's). Missed 1944 for military service with the Merchant Marines (same as my grandfather).

    Career .286/.410/.518, 152 OPS+, 43 WAR (5 seasons in Top 10), 40.8 JAWS, 5x All-star, Finished in the top-25 MVP voting 4x, including 5th in 1941.

    Had 5 seasons of 5+ WAR between 1940-46, but didn't play more than 83 games in a season from '47-'52 and didn't earn even 1 WAR that entire span.

    On July 18 [1947] doctors removed a slipped disk from Keller’s spine. The club said he might return in September. Instead, Keller’s career was essentially finished.

    Won the World Series three times with the Yankees (as a rookie) in '39, again in '40 and a third (and final) time in 1943. Upped his game in the post season in '39 (.438/.471/1.188) and '41 (.389/.476/.500).

    ...after two evening workouts at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park, Keller sufficiently impressed manager Casey Stengel for New York to re-sign the slugger as a pinch-hitter. After only one at-bat in two games (a strikeout), Keller was released by the Yankees on October 13, 1952. It was a testament to the Yankees’ respect for him that although he’d been with the team only two weeks in 1952, he was awarded a $1,000 World Series share. SABR Bio

  4. Ralph Kiner

    Stats: .279 average, 369 HR, 1,015 RBIs; 49.3 WAR, .949 OPS, 146 OPS+

    Ralph Kiner played for 10 seasons from 1946 to 1955, mostly for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was one of the first post WWII big homerun hitters, hitting 51 in 1947 and 54 in 1949, the highest total in the National League until 1997. Kiner is also known for the quote “home run hitters drive Cadillacs, single hitters drive Fords.” Which is probably just a 40’s version of “chicks love the long ball.”

    Kiner is also famous for announcing Mets games from their inception in 1961 to his death in 2014 and was beloved by fans and players alike. He apparently was known for his malapropisms but the examples given were pretty lame.

    Kiner also liked the ladies as he was married 4 times and was at one time or another linked to such stars as Ava Gardner and Janet Leigh.

    Kiner played in 6 consecutive All-Star games from 1948-1953 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.

  5. Lou Boudreau is the only player to win the World Series as a manager and MVP as a player in the same season. His 1948 Indians won the World Series while he sported a 165 OPS+ and collected an outstanding 10.4 WAR, the best season of his career (and the 5th best season every by a shortstop). All while playing for his job as a manager as he was under constant fire from Veeck.

    Despite being slow due to severe arthritis in his ankles, Boudreau was a great fielding shortstop and never had a season where he was a liability in the field (at least according to WAR). He finished his career with 63.0 WAR. But if you're on the fence about him, know that he personally helped Larry Doby become the first black player in the AL and integrate as smoothly as possible with his team. And, in his first full season, Doby was one of Cleveland's best players and helped them win the World Series with an .875 OPS against the Braves.

  6. I see Bob Elliott is on the ballot. I don't know anything about him as a player, but I love his comedy routines with Ray Goulding.

    1. as soon as I saw "Bob Elliot" in your comment on the sidebar, I knew where this was going. Well played.

  7. Harold "Prince Hal" Newhouser

    Hal pitched for 15 seasons with the Detroit Tigers and 2 more with the Cleveland Indians. He won AL MVP in both 1944 and 1945, when he won a pitching Triple Crown with a 1.81 ERA, 212 strikeouts and a 25-9 record and the Tigers won the World Series.
    In 1950 he injured his arm, and his effectiveness dropped precipitously. A move to Cleveland and into the bullpen gave him one rebound season at age 33, but then he was done in 1955.

    Cumulative stats, peak stats and advanced stats all agree- Newhouser was a heck of a pitcher.
    He pitched 212 complete games out of 374 starts.
    W/L record of 207-150
    1796 strikeouts to 1249 walks
    Career ERA+ of 130, with his two peak years at 195 and 190

    His career WAR is 63, quite a bit behind the average HOF pitcher at 73.9. His 7-year peak was 52.4, which fits in with HOF'ers numbers, but Hal's peak was 1942-1949... which brings us to the main question mark on Newhouser- his success was clearly tied to the diluted talent pool due to wartime. There were plenty of players who couldn't join the armed forces- Hal was ineligible for the draft (leaky heart valve), but attempted to join the service multiple times anyways- and I don't know that I can penalize them for circumstances beyond their control. I think Prince Hal is worthy of a vote.

    1. That's an interesting dilemma. I would say that his elite 1946 season is similar to his elite 1945 season, so one could argue he wasn't great just because of wartime.

      1. Oh, good point about 1946- and Hal came in second in MVP voting to Ted Williams. Hal was clearly very talented, regardless of the state of the league.

  8. Harry Brecheen seemed overmatched in the minor leagues. At only 5'10" and 160 lbs, Harry's was described as a fastball-curveball artist with poor control. In 1937, at the age of 23, he learned the screwball, and spent the next six years perfecting the pitch while the St. Louis Cardinals stashed him in their overflowing minor league system. In 1943, the Cardinals were out of options, so Brecheen made the team.

    He put together a solid career, including two All Star seasons with the Cardinals, but his late start made it relatively short and a "no" for HOF consideration.

    1. If he had a couple more years like 1948 I'd consider him, or if he had a lot more 3-5 WAR seasons. I always wonder when players get stashed in the minor league for too long if it negatively impacts their career (e.g. Edgar Martinez) or if they end up retiring later than they would have had they been called up earlier.

  9. Vern Stephens

    A solid offensive shortstop. At the time, many writers considered him better than Phil Rizzuto. But bizarrely, those same writers didn't give him a single vote for the Hall of Fame. Some say it was because they felt playing during the war and at Fenway inflated his stats. Some say his reputation as a partier hurt him. And some say his death at 48 of a heart attack didn't allow for him to tell stories about his hey day on the Browns, and being that he was on the Browns, people forgot about him.

    Holds the record for RBI by a shortstop in one season (159). Hall of Very Good for me.

  10. Sorry for being super late...

    Bob Elliott

    Terry Ryan Stuff: .289/.375/.440, 2,061 hits, 170 HR's, 1947 NL MVP, 6-time All Star, led league in walks in 1948

    Derek Falvey Stuff: 50.4 WAR, 5th in NL in WAR in 1947 and 1948

    Random Bio Stuff: He first arrived in the majors as an outfielder with Pittsburgh, then transitioned to third base, before making his way back to the outfield. In that way, he was like a reverse Chipper Jones.

    The Pirates traded him to the Boston Braves after the 1946 season. He quickly developed a reputation as the clutch hitter for the post-war Boston Braves, so much so that his own teammates nicknamed him "Mr. Team." Keep in mind that this was in 1947, so sarcasm did not yet exist. He was the first third-basemen to ever win the NL MVP that year.

    His career fizzled out in the early 1950s, and he spent one season as manager of the Kansas City Athletics going 58-96 in 1960.

    I don't plan to vote for him.

  11. Bill Nicholson

    Baseball Card Stats: .268/.365/.465, 1484 hits, 235 HR, led league in HR and RBI in both 1943 and 1944
    New Fangled Stuff: 41.8 rWAR, 37.8 JAWS - 41st amongst RF

    Fun Facts:
    Led the Cubs in HR eight years in a row
    Was a member of the last Cubs team to win an NL pennant until 2016.
    Was once intentionally walked with the bases loaded (he had hit a home run in each of his last four at bats)

    Closest BB-Ref Comp:
    Ben Ogilvie

    Half Baked Verdict:
    Hall of Pretty Good

  12. Emil "Dutch" Leonard

    Baseball Card Stats: 191-181, 3.25 ERA (119 ERA+), 5-time all star,
    New Fangled Stuff: 51.4 rWAR, 40.7 JAWS - 141st amongst SP

    Fun Facts:
    Has the same given first name as my grandpa
    Pitched until he was 44
    Threw a knuckleball
    Was the second pretty good pitcher named Dutch Leonard (the first holds the single season ERA title

    Closest BB-Ref Comp:
    Dolf Luque

    Half Baked Verdict:
    Hall of Very Good, probably a "maybe" vote for me

  13. Beau - And by "...shoot for next weekend for voting." you obviously meant the weekend after the "holiday" weekend, right?
    okay, good - Submitted!

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