HOF: Freddie Lindstrom, actually? – by G. Scott Thomas

Freddie Lindstrom was well-known in his day. Type of.

Let’s set the scene. The 1924 World Collection. The New York Giants and Washington Senators tied at three wins apiece. Recreation Seven to find out the champion.

New York’s common third baseman, Heinie Groh, had injured his knee late within the common season. He was changed within the Giants’ lineup by the 18-year-old Lindstrom, to at the present time the youngest participant to look in a World Collection.

Lindstrom performed effectively within the first six video games, going nine-for-25. He even rapped 4 hits off of Washington ace Walter Johnson in Recreation 5.

Recreation Seven was a unique matter. The Giants held a two-run lead when the Senators loaded the bases within the eighth inning. A floor ball struck one thing — perhaps a pebble or a clod of filth — and bounded over Lindstrom’s head. Recreation tied.

On to the twelfth inning. Washington had two runners on base when the identical factor occurred. A grounder skipped previous Lindstrom, and the Senators gained the one world championship of their benighted historical past.

Lindstrom grew to become a fixture at third base for the Giants all through the remainder of the Nineteen Twenties, then bounced round to different positions (heart and left area) and different groups (two years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, a season apiece with the Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers) earlier than retiring in 1936.

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Lindstrom loved some excellent seasons — a league-leading 231 hits in 1928, a .379 batting common in 1930 — however he was all the time adopted by a cloud. It was unfair, however he would all the time be remembered in the beginning because the goat of the 1924 sequence. These sad floor balls have been prominently talked about, in fact, in his obituaries in 1981.

Right here’s the essential level. Lindstrom’s profession numbers have been good, particularly his 1,747 hits, however no person considered him as a Corridor of Famer.

How do I do know? Think about this: Lindstrom was eligible for the primary 20 Corridor of Fame elections, which have been carried out by the Baseball Writers’ Affiliation of America (BBWAA) between 1936 and 1962. The voters fully ignored him on 15 of these events. These have been the 5 instances that he acquired any assist:

  • 1949: 1 vote (0.65%)

  • 1956: 3 votes (1.55%)

  • 1958: 5 votes (1.88%)

  • 1960: 6 votes (2.23%)

  • 1962: 7 votes (4.38%)

That’s a grand complete of twenty-two votes in 20 elections. Not precisely a mandate for induction, particularly when you think about that the BBWAA’s threshold has all the time been 75 %. Lindstrom completed greater than 70 factors beneath that normal in his finest yr, 1962.

I’m not criticizing the voters. I developed a separate indicator of Corridor of Fame worthiness, the standard rating (QS), which is plotted on a 100-point scale. Anyone with at the least 60 factors is a rock-solid selection for Cooperstown, whereas anybody beneath 30 is a poor candidate.

Lindstrom’s QS was 4 factors. The BBWAA was fully justified in turning away his candidacy.

However there’s a second path to baseball immortality, identified in these days because the Veterans Committee. The 12-man panel was dominated within the early Nineteen Seventies by a pair of Lindstrom’s former teammates, Frankie Frisch and Invoice Terry.

The committee made some really terrible Corridor of Fame picks throughout their tenure, together with Jesse Haines (QS of 11 factors) in 1970, Dave Bancroft (16) and Chick Hafey (13) in 1971, Ross Youngs (12) in 1972, and George Kelly (5) in 1973. None had attracted a lot curiosity from the corridor’s gatekeepers, the BBWAA, however all had performed with one of many committee’s two ringleaders, typically each.

Frisch was useless by 1976, however previous habits are onerous to shake. The Veterans Committee elected Freddie Lindstrom to Cooperstown that yr — by a unanimous vote of the 12 members.

It was a pleasant current for a 70-year-old man, a pleasant method to dispel the ghosts of 1924 and ensure that, sure certainly, Lindstrom had been a ballplayer of top of the range in his time.

He simply hadn’t been of Corridor of Fame high quality.

  • Profession: 1924-1936

  • Groups: Brooklyn (Nationwide League), Chicago (NL), New York (NL), Pittsburgh (NL)

  • Main place: 3B

  • Profession stats: G 1,438, HR 103, RBI 779, BA .311

  • League chief: H as soon as, CS as soon as

  • High quality rating: 4 factors (poor)

  • Chosen to HOF: 1976

  • Chosen by: Veterans Committee