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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
Let’s discuss token appearances here, I’ll lead off with DanG’s post . . .
While researching token appearances for upcoming elections, I ran across a few players that the “ballot committee” may have to pass judgement as to their eligibility.
The next election has one minor case, Joe Mulvey. After playing 55 games in 1893, he played none in 1894, then retired for good after playing just 13 games in 1895. Is he now eligible?
A more interesting case is Matt Kilroy. An outstanding pitcher for Baltimore in the late 1880’s, he pitched in 8 games in 1894 before disappearing. He resurfaced one last time in 1898, playing 26 games (13 as pitcher). When is he eligible?
Bill Hutchison is similar to Mulvey. He was done after pitching 38 games in 1895. After not pitching in 1896, he ducked back in for his final 6 games pitched in 1897. When is he eligible?
The first superstar the committee should assess is Sam Thompson. He played 119 games in 1896 before succumbing to injuries. He played only 3 in 1897 and 14 in 1898 (plus 8 G in 1906). When is he eligible?
Jack Clements is similar to Thompson. After 99 games in 1898, he played only 4 in 1899 and 16 in 1900. When is he eligible?
Finally, Hugh Duffy might deserve earlier eligibility. Retiring after 79 games in 1901, the Phillies made him manager in 1904. He proceeded to play 18 games that year and 15 in 1905. Also one more in 1906. When is he eligible?
Personally, I favor early eligibility for all these players.
BTW, the record books credit Duffy with 13 walks in 59 PA in 1904. That doesn’t seem right, it’s WAY out of line with anything else in his career. Is there some way to verify that?
I made a list of other upcoming candidates who ended their career with token appearances, but I don’t have it with me. Maybe tomorrow. One that I recall for 1894 retirement is 157-game winner Elton “Icebox” Chamberlain, who didn’t play in 1895, then finished with 2 games in 1896
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