HOF: Three catchers – by G. Scott Thomas

You can make a stronger Corridor of Fame case for Wes Ferrell than for his older brother. Not an awesome case, thoughts you, however undoubtedly a greater one.

Wes pitched 15 seasons (1927-1941) for six golf equipment, primarily the Cleveland Indians. Rick caught for 3 groups between 1929 and 1947, spending eight years apiece with the St. Louis Browns and Washington Senators. Right here’s how they stacked up:

  • Wes was a workhorse who topped the American League in full video games 4 occasions and innings pitched 3 times. His 25 wins in 1935 additionally led the league. Rick by no means ranked first within the AL in any offensive class.

  • Wes positioned eighth in balloting for 1934’s Most Beneficial Participant Award, then completed second to Hank Greenberg within the subsequent MVP contest. The latter trophy rightfully ought to have been his. Wes piled up 10.6 wins above alternative in 1935. No different AL participant exceeded 8.8 WAR, and Greenberg ranked sixth at 7.5. Rick by no means landed among the many high 10 vote-getters in any season.

  • Wes ranked within the high 20 p.c of all American League pitchers between 1931 and 1935, as decided by my five-year statistical rankings. Rick didn’t even make it as excessive as the highest 60 p.c of the league’s batters in any half-decade.

  • The Baseball Writers’ Affiliation of America wasn’t overly impressed with both sibling, although it gave an edge to the youthful brother. Wes picked up a grand complete of 27 Corridor of Fame votes from the writers between 1948 and 1962. Rick obtained three votes in all — single tallies in 1956, 1958, and 1960.

So what did the corridor’s Veterans Committee do in 1984? It ignored Wes and elected Rick Ferrell to Cooperstown.

Sportswriters had been surprised by the announcement. “He had not been rumored as a robust candidate,” wrote Jack Lang within the Sporting Information. “However he’s a person who exudes class, and his inclusion within the Cooperstown shrine can be greeted warmly by everybody in baseball.”

A brand new installment will arrive in your electronic mail every weekday morning

Did Rick Ferrell deserve such an effusive welcome in Cooperstown? After all not. His high quality rating of 9 factors was clearly inadequate. Anyone with a QS lower than 30 is a poor candidate for induction.

But the Veterans Committee — 12 outdated guys in a tiny room — ignored reams of statistics, the BBWAA’s earlier verdicts, and customary sense. Its election of Ferrell was the newest in its string of weird selections.

However let’s not cease there.

Rick Ferrell isn’t the one catcher with a microscopic QS to be enshrined within the Corridor of Fame’s plaque gallery. Nor was he the primary.

The latter distinction belongs to Roger Bresnahan, who performed from 1897 to 1915 for 5 golf equipment, primarily the New York Giants.

Bresnahan wasn’t probably the most sturdy participant — he appeared in additional than 120 video games solely twice in his profession — nor was he notably efficient on the plate. He led the Nationwide League in simply two offensive classes, one season apiece for walks and being hit by pitches. His QS was 12 factors.

Sympathy performed a task in his induction. The Previous-Timers Committee — the equally inept predecessor to the Veterans Committee — met simply 4 months after Bresnahan died in December 1944. The corridor has all the time had a mushy spot for the lately deceased.

Uncommon elements additionally proved to be instrumental. The very first thing talked about on Bresnahan’s plaque was that he caught the immortal Christy Mathewson. (John Roseboro caught a pair of Corridor of Famers, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, but he by no means obtained a vote from the BBWAA. The Bresnahan precedent means that he deserves one other probability.) Committee members additionally made a lot of Bresnahan’s 1907 invention of shinguards for catchers, no matter that was price.

After which there’s the case of Ray Schalk.

Schalk hit solely .253 in his 18-year profession as a catcher, principally with the Chicago White Sox. His batting common was the bottom for any place participant within the corridor — then or now — and his high quality rating of 10 factors was second-lowest on the time of his induction to Tommy McCarthy’s single level.

Cynics urged that Schalk was chosen in 1955 as a reward for being one of many Clear Sox who steered away from the fixing of the 1919 World Collection. May that presumably have been the explanation? No one on the Veterans Committee ever defined.

Schalk was gratified, but he acknowledged the incongruity of his election. He reacted in shock when he obtained the cellphone name of notification, uttering a single sentence. “You’ve taken my breath away,” he mentioned.

  • Profession: 1929-1947

  • Groups: Boston (American League), St. Louis (AL), Washington (AL)

  • Main place: C

  • Profession stats: G 1,884, HR 28, RBI 734, BA .281

  • League chief: (none)

  • High quality rating: 9 factors (poor)

  • Chosen to HOF: 1984

  • Chosen by: Veterans Committee

  • Profession: 1897-1915

  • Groups: Baltimore (American League), Chicago (Nationwide League), New York (NL), St. Louis (NL), Washington (NL)

  • Main place: C

  • Profession stats: G 1,446, HR 26, RBI 530, BA .279

  • League chief: BB as soon as, HBP as soon as

  • High quality rating: 12 factors (poor)

  • Chosen to HOF: 1945

  • Chosen by: Previous-Timers Committee

  • Profession: 1912-1929

  • Groups: Chicago (American League), New York (Nationwide League)

  • Main place: C

  • Profession stats: G 1,762, HR 11, RBI 593, BA .253

  • League chief: (none)

  • High quality rating: 10 factors (poor)

  • Chosen to HOF: 1955

  • Chosen by: Veterans Committee