My Own Little Hall of Fame: Class of 1933

We come now to the penultimate (don’t you just love $50 words like penultimate?) class of the My Little Hall of Fame project. This time a broad selection of people, including one of the more obvious choices possible.

Barney Dreyfuss

Barney Dreyfuss

Longtime National League owner Barney Dreyfuss entered baseball in the 1890s. He served as President and owner of the Louisville Colonels and later the Pittsburgh Pirates. During his tenure his Pirates team won six pennants, two prior to the creation of the World Series, then won the World Series twice. He was instrumental in bringing to a close the “Baseball War” of 1901-1903 between the National League and the American League and is the man who first proposed a “World’s Series” between the two Major League pennant winners. His team participated in the first one.

Walter Johnson

Walter Johnson

Walter Johnson, the “Big Train,” pitched for the Washington American League team from the early 20th Century through 1927. Over his career he amassed more than 400 wins, became the first pitcher to record 3000 strikeouts, and led the league in wins six times, in strikeouts 12 times, in ERA five times, and helped his team win the 1924 World Series. He is the only player to win both a Chalmers Award and a League Award.

Jose Mendez

Jose Mendez

One of the greatest Negro League pitchers, Jose Mendez came from Cuba to star for the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1920s. He led them to a Negro World Series championship in 1924 before retiring after the 1926 season.

Zack Wheat

Zack Wheat

Star outfielder for Brooklyn in the National League he led his team to World Series appearances in both 1916 and 1920. He won the 1918 batting title and in the pennant winning season of 1916 led the league in extra base hits. He also led the National League in fielding twice.

And the commentary:

1. Dreyfuss was an easy choice as a contributor. He was an early advocate of the World Series, of gaining a “peace” between the warring American and National Leagues, and of contracting the National League to eight teams from the unwieldy 12 team league that existed most of the 1890s. Unfortunately, he was also an early advocate of syndicate baseball. I’m surprised it took quite so long for Cooperstown to come calling.

2. You knew Johnson was getting in, right? The only question was his win total. I noted a couple of differences in the final number, so left it at “more than 400 wins.”

3. Mendez is one of the truly outstanding pitchers of the early Negro Leagues. I suppose I might have put in another (although George Stovey did make it several classes ago), but his work with the Monarchs, a premier team in the 1920s, made him an easier choice.

4. Wheat has the kind of numbers that impressed 1930s writers. There are lots of hits, a high average, and he’s a good outfielder. One thing I noticed is that there’s praise for his later work (the years in the 1920s) that talks about him getting better with age. Of course we know that he covers that transition from the “Deadball” era to the “Lively ball” era so much of that later work is influenced by the change in eras. I don’t see anything that leads me to believe that the writers of the era paid attention to that.

5. Here’s the list of everyday players eligible for the final ballot in this project: George Burns, Cupid Childs, Ty Cobb, Jake Daubert, Jack Fornier, Larry Gardner, Heinie Groh, Baby Doll Jacobson, Tommy Leach, Herman Long, Bobby Lowe, Tommy McCarthy, Stuffy McInnis, Clyde Milan, Wildfire Schulte, Cy Seymour, Tris Speaker, Roy Thomas, Mike Tiernan, George Van Haltren, Ross Youngs (a total of 21 with 20 a maximum).

6. Now the same list for pitchers: Babe Adams, Chief Bender, Jack Chesbro, Wilbur Cooper, Stan Coveleski, Sam Leever, Rube Marquard, Tony Mullane, Deacon Phillippe, Urban Shocker, Jesse Tannehill, Doc White (a total of 12 with 10 a maximum).

7. Finishing with the contributors: umpires-Bob Emslie, Tim Hurst; manager-George Stallings; owners-Charles Ebbets, August Herrmann; Negro Leagues-Pete Hill, Oliver Marcell, Dobie Moore, Spottswood Poles, Ben Taylor, Christobal Torriente; and 19th Century pioneer William R. Wheaton (a total of 12 with a maximum of 10).

8. Without giving anything away I think the Cobb and Speaker kids have a pretty good chance of making it.




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7 Responses to “My Own Little Hall of Fame: Class of 1933”

  1. glen715 Says:

    I looked up the meaning of “penultimate”. It means “next to last”. Does this mean that the Class of 1934 will be your last entry in “My Own Little Hall of Fame”? If so, why?


    • verdun2 Says:

      Yes. When I started this project, I decided to go until the real Hall opened its doors to it’s first class (1936). After all, they get to build on my work 🙂
      Then I realized that December 2016 would be 1934. So I decided to end it with the end of 2016 rather than carry on into 2017. There’s a one year slippage there, but I’ll live with it.

      • glen715 Says:

        I might sound stupid asking this, but I don’t understand why, if the first class of the Hall of Fame was 1936, and you decided to have the series go until then, then why wouldn’t you include 1935, the year before the Hal of Fame inducted its first inductees?

        Is it because the first inductees (1936) were actually voted on in 1935, or something like that?


      • verdun2 Says:

        No. Just didn’t want to carry it over into the new year. Simple as that.

  2. wkkortas Says:

    I think you encapsulated the Zack Wheat candidacy perfectly–actually, I’m surprised he never got much traction in Hall voting. He’s clearly in the “There are worse guys in Cooperstown” purgatory as far as being actually deserving of enshrinement, which sounds like damning with faint praise, but it’s better than being Andy Kosco or Brant Alyea.

  3. Miller Says:

    While I don’t want to propagate the myth that players improve with age (those of use who aren’t 23 know that things don’t get easier as we age), at least by WAR, Wheat did have his best two offensive seasons at ages 36 and 37. Because his defense trailed off some, I’d call them only two of his best four best years. But the guy was baseball old, so that’s still pretty impressive.

  4. Precious Sanders Says:

    Penultimate is definitely one of my favorite words. Also, I just love every pic of Walter Johnson I’ve seen. Something about that face.

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