Posts Tagged ‘Alfred Reach’

2012 Veteran’s Committee Ballot: the Owners

November 7, 2012

Now that we’ve gotten that silly trivial other election out of the way, we can get on with assessing the really important election, the Veteran’s Committee Hall of Fame election in December. Four men made the Veteran’s Committee ballot as contributors to the game. Three of them were team owners.  They are (alphabetically): Samuel Breadon, Alfred Reach, and Jacob Ruppert. Here are a few comments on each.

Samuel Breadon

Sam Breadon was an automobile dealer who liked baseball. He bought a minority share in the St. Louis Cardinals in 1917 and by 1920 became principal owner. He remained owner through the 1947 season. On his watch, the Cardinals went from being a yearly second division team to a model franchise. Among other accomplishments, he moved manager Branch Rickey to the front office. Rickey devised the “farm system” for the Cardinals and Breadon immediately saw the advantage of the system. He used it, along with smart trades to make St. Louis the most successful National League franchise of the era. Prior to Breadon taking control of the Cards, they had not (in the 20th Century) won anything. By the time he sold the team they had won pennants in 1926, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1943, 1944, and 1946. They won the World Series six of those years (’26, ’31, ’34, ’42, ’44, and ’46).  He died in 1949.

Al Reach

Alfred Reach was born in 1840 in London and moved to the US. He played ball for Eckfords (Brooklyn) in the early 1860s, moved to Philadelphia and played for the Athletics in the late 1860s. He played for the A’s from 1871-1875 in the National Association, helping them to a pennant in 1871. He spent most of his time as a left-handed outfielder, but as was usual for the era, played a lot of time at another position. In his case second base (making him a left-handed second baseman).  He wasn’t all that good, hitting .247 for a career with no home runs. He hit above .220 in 1871 (.353), the only time he did so (except for a three game stint in 1875). Through as a player after 1875, he stayed around baseball, becoming one of the founders of the Phillies in 1883 (with partner John Rogers). He remained president through 1899 when he sold out to Rogers. He founded a sporting goods company, which he later sold to Al Spaulding, In 1883 he began publishing (but not writing) the “Reach Guide” which became the primary baseball guide of the latter part of the 19th Century. It lasted well into the 20th Century. Copies are hard to find, but it’s a treasure trove of information on early baseball and, if you can get around the florid style of the era, a fun read. Reach died in 1928.

Jacob Ruppert

Jacob Ruppert (it’s actually Ruppert, Junior) invented the Yankees. OK, he didn’t found the team, but he took over a moderately successful New York Yankees team (they’d been the Highlanders until 1913) and began creating the greatest of all American sports dynasties. Between 1915 and his death in January 1939, the Yankees won pennants in 1921 through 1923, 1926 through 1928, 1932, and 1936 through 1938 (and would win again in 1939 with what was essentially a team he’d helped put together). They picked up seven World Championships (1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, and 1938). He brought Babe Ruth and Red Ruffing to the Yanks and brought  Tony Lazzeri, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Bill Dickey, among others to the Major Leagues.  After his death, the team he put together maintained its winning ways into the mid-1960s (obviously with new players).

Next time I want to look at the nominated umpire, Hank O’Day and make some general observations about the Veteran’s Committee vote.

2012 Veteran’s Committee Ballot

November 2, 2012

Just got a first look at the 2012 Veteran’s Committee ballot. It contains 10 names and covers the period 1876-1946. Here (alphabetically) are the names on the ballot:

1. Sam Breadon–Cardinals owner who hired Branch Rickey

2. Bill Dahlen–Deadball Era shortstop

3. Wes Ferrell–1930s AL pitcher

4. Marty Marion–1940s Cardinals shortstop and MVP

5. Tony Mullane–1880s American Association pitcher and later sports writer

6. Hank O’Day–Deadball Era umpire

7. Alfred Reach–“Reach Guide” founder and sporting goods magnate

8. Jacob Ruppert–owner of the New York Yankees 1920s and 1930s

9. Bucky Walters–1930s-40s National League pitcher who won both an MVP and 1940 World Series

10. Deacon White–19th Century bare handed catcher and third baseman.

That’s the list. Will comment on it later. Election day is 3 December.