Pre-Integration Era Hall Of Fame Ballot: Who Should Get In?

Mandatory Credit: baseballhall.org

Mandatory Credit: baseballhall.org

Three years ago, the National Baseball Hall Of Fame created a committee to look at players, managers, umpires, and executives who used their brains, talents, and experience to have great on-field careers or change the game in another way. This particular committee is extremely important because they vote on those who made their mark in baseball before 1947, when the game integrated. Hence the name Pre-Integration Era ballot.

This year, the ballot is comprised of ten names: Doc Adams, Sam Breadon, Bill Dahlen, Wes Ferrell, August Herrmann, Marty Marion, Frank McCormick, Harry Stovey, Chris von der Ahe, and Bucky Walters.

In 2013, only three from the first ballot got the amount of votes necessary (75% of the vote) to be inducted (former New York Yankees owner Jacob Rupert, former umpire Hank O’day, and former catcher Deacon White.)

Here are the people on this ballot who the committee should elect to the Hall Of Fame:

Harry Stovey: Outfielder/First Baseman, 1880-1893

Most players of his era were speedsters who fit the bill of “hit em where they ain’t” and while Stovey was very fast, he also possessed serious power for that time period.

His quick and powerful style turned him into one of the greatest offensive players of the “dead ball era.”

Stovey began his big league career in 1880 with the Worchester Ruby Legs of the National League. Though he hit only .265 as a rookie, he still made his mark with 21 doubles, 14 triples (led the league), 6 home runs (also led the league), and 28 RBIs.

Over the next two seasons with Worchester, Stovey’s batting average increased, reaching .289 in 1882. However, the Ruby Legs disbanded after that season, so Stovey joined the Philadelphia Athletics of the newly formed American Association.

The next seven seasons were the best of Stovey’s career, as he hit .302/.370/.483 and led the league in several different offensive categories such as runs scored (1883,1884,1885, and 1889), doubles (1883), triples (1884 and 1888), home runs (1883, 1885, and 1889), and RBIs (1889).

He would play for another four seasons after leaving Philadelphia.

Stovey ended his career with a .289/.361/.461 slash line as well as 122 home runs and 908 RBIs in the “dead ball era.” The most impressive part is that stolen bases didn’t become an official statistic until 1886, but over the next eight years, he’d steal 509 bases.

Sam Breadon: Owner of St. Louis Cardinals, 1917-1947

Branch Rickey created what would come to be known as the modern day farm system while working as the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. That’s a pretty well known fact among many people who have spent any solid amount of time studying baseball history. However, what isn’t as well known, is the owner who hired him and gave him the necessary resources to create a sustainable flow of talent that would help the Cardinals become perennial pennant contenders and give the rest of baseball a resource that would create some of the greatest teams in the game’s history. That man was Sam Breadon.

Born in New York City in 1876, Breadon moved to St. Louis to work as a popcorn vendor at the 1904 World’s Fair. Over the next thirteen years, he’d make his fortune as the owner of the Pierce-Arrow automobile dealership.

In 1917, he bought a minority stake in the St. Louis Cardinals for only $200 and bought a majority stake in 1920.

From 1901 through 1920, the Cardinals had only finished with an above .500 record four times, and never placed higher than third in the National League. However, over the next five seasons, the Cardinals would post a winning record four times.

In 1925, Breadon hired Branch Rickey as the team’s general manager, and it paid off almost immediately as the Cardinals would defeat the New York Yankees to win the 1926 World Series.

However, after that season, Breadon and Rickey made one of the most famous trades in baseball history, dealing their manager and second baseman Rogers Hornsby, who was only a season removed from winning the National League triple crown, to the New York Giants for future Hall Of Fame infielder Frankie Frisch, who would be a mainstay during four pennant-winning teams and two World Series winners (1931 and 1934) in St. Louis known as the “Gas House Gang.”

During Breadon and Rickey’s years together, the newly formed minor league system would allow the Cardinals to develop homegrown talent such as Joe Medwick and Dizzy Dean.

The Cardinals would win another four pennants (1942, 1943, 1944, and 1946) and three championships (1942, 1944, and 1946) during Breadon’s tenure as owner.

He would sell the team in 1947. Only two years before his death.

The Rest Of The Candidates

Doc Adams: Helped set the foundation for the shortstop position and was a leader in creating many of baseball’s rules.

Bill Dahlen: A Major League shortstop between 1891 and 1911. Though he was known for his fielding, he hit .272/.358/.382 with 84 home runs and 1234 RBIs.

Wes Ferrell: A two-time All-Star starting pitcher who finished his career with 193 wins and a 4.04 ERA. He pitched from 1927-1941.

August “Gary” Herrmann: The former owner of the Cincinnati Reds who helped broker the “National Agreement” to help bring the National and American League together for a series between the best team in each league. This would go on to be known as the World Series.

Marty Marion: A former shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns who was best known for his defense. He was a seven-time All-Star and the 1944 National League MVP.

Frank McCormick: An eight-time All-Star first baseman, who spent the majority of his career with the Cincinnati Reds. He slashed .299/.348/.434 with 954 RBIs.

Chris von der Ahe: Owner of the St. Louis Browns from 1881-1899.

Bucky Walters: A six-time All-Star starter between 1931-1950, Walters won 198 games in his career while posting a 3.30 ERA. He also was awarded the 1940 National League MVP for winning the pitching triple crown.

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2 thoughts on “Pre-Integration Era Hall Of Fame Ballot: Who Should Get In?

  1. He most likely will not be considered by the decision makers but Chris Von Der Ahe in his short tenure as owner of the St Louis Browns actually saved baseball by pioneering Sunday games and making the games accessible to the masses-not to mention creating a love affair between beer and baseball. A true founding father of baseball as we know it today.

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  2. Wes Ferrell. He had four 20-game seasons, pitching in the high-batting average era of the 1930s. He also had an astounding lifetime batting average of .280 and hit 38 home runs.

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