My Own Little Hall of Fame: Class of 1931

This class of My Own Little Hall of Fame marks the start of a “final four” of this project. The last class will be the Class of 1934. The true Hall of Fame began inducting members with the Class of 1936 so 1934 seemed like a good place to stop. I’ll end this project with the end of the calendar year and that will leave a gap for 1935, but I have no desire to carry this over into next year for the sake of a single Class.
So here’s the Class of 1931. This time we take a decided turn to the defense.

Harry Hooper

Harry Hooper

Primary Right Fielder for the Boston American League team through four championship seasons, Harry Hooper was a superb defender. As the team’s leadoff hitter he was prolific at getting on base and scoring runs. As a defender he led the American League in assists, double plays, and fielding on numerous occasions.

Joe Tinker

Joe Tinker

Joseph Tinker was the primary shortstop for the Chicago National League team from 1902 through 1913. In that period the team won four pennants and two championships. Leading the league in assists, putouts, double plays, and fielding several times, he solidified an infield that helped lead to those championships. Never a power hitter, he was known for his clutch hitting, especially against the rival Giants.

And the commentary:

1. Hooper? He was at the time well-known as part of what was sometimes called “the greatest outfield of all time.” A couple of places he’s called the second best center fielder of his time, always behind Tris Speaker who played for the same team (causing Hooper to move to right). One thing interesting about him is how often it is brought up that he is a college graduate (St. Mary’s in California with a degree in engineering). It was certainly unusual for the era, but not unheard of by any means. A number of players had attended college, but Hooper was one of the few who actually graduated.

2. Tinker to Evers to Chance rearing its ugly head is it? No. In the 1920s and 1930 Joe Tinker was both well-known and seemingly well liked. He was recognized as a superior shortstop and there’s more comment than I anticipated on his ability to be a “Giant Killer” against John McGraw’s early teams (it seems he hit Mathewson especially well). All that made it seem possible that he would make a 1930s Hall of Fame. And to be honest, the poem didn’t hurt. He had a stint as manager and player in the Federal League, his team winning one pennant. As MLB in the 1930s tried desperately to ignore the Feds, I decided it best not to mention Tinker’s association with them.

3. Last time I mentioned the onslaught of players arriving on the retired for 5 years list who are considered today as marginal Hall of Famers or as mistakes by the Hall (either letting them in or leaving them out). I mentioned Ross Youngs last time and Hooper and Tinker are also examples. Other guys coming up include Stan Coveleski (in), Babe Adams (out), Bob Shawkey (out), Urban Shocker (out) Chief Bender (in). Guys like that. Just be advised.

4. And now, as usual, the new list for 1932 everyday players: George Burns, Cupid Childs, Jake Daubert, Jack Doyle, Johnny Evers, Art Fletcher, Larry Gardner, Tommy Leach, Herman Long, Bobby Lowe, Tommy McCarty, Clyde Milan, Del Pratt, Hardy Richardson, Wildfire Schulte, Cy Seymour, Roy Thomas, Mike Tiernan, George Van Haltren, Bobby Veeach, Ross Youngs (a total of 21 with 20 being the maximum).

5. The pitchers: Babe Adams, Chief Bender, Jack Chesbro, Wilbur Cooper, Hooks Dauss, Brickyard Kennedy, Sam Leever, Rube Marquard, Tony Mullane, Deacon Phillippe, Jesse Tannehill, Doc White, Joe Wood (a total of 13 with 10 being the maximum).

6. And the contributors: umpires-Bob Emslie, Tim Hurst; manager-George Stallings; owners-Charles Ebbets, August Herrmann, Ben Shibe; Negro Leagues-Pete Hill, Jose Mendez, Dobie Moore, Spottswood Poles, Louis Santop, Candy Jim Taylor; and pioneer William R. Wheaton (a total of 13 with 10 being the maximum).





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3 Responses to “My Own Little Hall of Fame: Class of 1931”

  1. Precious Sanders Says:

    I often wish I could go back and watch these guys play in person. Still working on that time machine…

  2. Miller Says:

    For my money, Tinker is the best of those Cubs. And I love the Hooper selection. Some with a present-day set of criteria don’t include him, though I think they should. Given your criteria, i think he’s a pretty easy call. Good stuff!

  3. wkkortas Says:

    I’m far from sold on Hooper the player, and only somewhat more on Tinker, but they certainly both qualify on the fame standard.

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