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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Neyer: Great owners top latest Hall of Fame ballot

The Baseball Hall of Fame has released the new “Pre-Integration” ballot for old-timers who have been passed up, and it includes a couple of long-time owners who deserve plaques in Cooperstown, along with a number of players who probably do not.

~ Marty Marion ~ (come on you fossilized SABR-dude from NY…I’ll be waiting at Bickford’s!)

Jacob Ruppert - Owner or co-owner of the New York Yankees from 1915 through 1939. During that span the Yankees won nine American League pennant and six World Series. Yes

Bill Dahlen - According to the modern methodology, he’s one of the best eligible players who hasn’t been enshrined. A decent hitter and an outstanding defensive shortstop, Dahlen scores 71 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball-Reference.com, which places him in the top five, all-time. Even if you discount his accomplishments because he played his entire career before the Great War, he still seems well-deserving. Yes

Marty Marion - Frankly, Marion’s got no business on this ballot. He was an outstanding fielder but a lousy hitter, and finished his career with only 1,448 hits. His best seasons came during World War II, when he was one of the few good players who didn’t have to serve in the military. Case is similar to Phil Rizzuto’s, except Rizzuto did miss three war years ... which means Marion, even with all those great nicknames—Slats and The Octopus and Mr. Shortstop—has no good case at all. No

 

Repoz Posted: November 01, 2012 at 07:57 PM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. ajnrules Posted: November 01, 2012 at 09:31 PM (#4290517)
I'm surprised I actually agree with Neyer on all of his choices. Jacob Ruppert deserves it, and the fact he's not in already is evidence that there is no Yankees bias when it comes to Hall of Fame voting. Dahlen deserves it but I have a feeling he's not going to get it thanks to his .272 batting average. :\
   2. Gamingboy Posted: November 01, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4290522)
Pete Browning snubbed again!
   3. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: November 01, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4290523)
If the committee is open-minded, I can see Dahlen getting in. Blyleven should help in that regard. The voting committee, per Wiki:

Hall of Famers: Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton
Executives: Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gary Hughes, Bob Watson
Media: Jim Henneman, Steve Hirdt, Peter Morris, Phil Pepe, Tom Simon, Claire Smith, T.R. Sullivan, Mark Whicker
   4. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 01, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4290532)
A decent hitter and an outstanding defensive shortstop, Dahlen scores 71 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball-Reference.com, which places him in the top five, all-time.

The top five what? 71 WAR is clearly not in the top five overall. Even among primary shortstops, it's behind Wagner, A-Rod, Ripken, George Davis, Ozzie, and Yount; some of those guys had time at other positions, but then, so did Dahlen (albeit a little less, but enough to drop him behind Appling at least, and probably Jeter as well).

71 WAR is, however, in the top 50 overall among position players, so I'm really splitting hairs here. Dahlen should clearly be in unless you're just about ignoring the 1890s altogether.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 01, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4290540)
How come Ruppert has never been inducted before this? Seems like a no-doubter.
   6. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:02 PM (#4290544)
Deacon White - 19th-century catcher, and it's always hard to know what to do with 19th-century catchers, because the demands of the position at that time -- no real mitt, no shin guards, no mask -- meant that catchers didn't play many games, or last many seasons.


And yet, from 1873-76, White played in basically every game for his teams, and caught most of them. His teams were playing only 70-80 games a year, but he was playing the fullest seasons available to him. In '77, he played every game, but only caught in seven, but in '78 and '79, he played every game again, and caught about 3/4 of them.

After that, he did indeed move to third, where he continued to play well, if not as spectacularly as in the first several years of his career. White is kind of similar to Dahlen, I think; if you're taking anyone from his decade, you take him. His decade is arguably weaker, though.
   7. TerpNats Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:25 PM (#4290568)
Without Jacob Ruppert, the Yankees eventually have some success in the American League, albeit not overwhelming; maybe they even build their own middling ballpark somewhere in Queens or the Bronx. But they remain poor cousin to the NL Giants (sort of the baseball equivalent of the N.Y. Jets), Joe DiMaggio likely ends up on the Chicago Cubs (who win a World Series or two during his tenure), and a young shipbuilding executive named George Steinbrenner buys the Cleveland Indians and winds up the next generation's Charles O. Finley (in both good and bad ways).
   8. WahooSam Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:28 PM (#4290570)
How about Jack Glasscock?
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:43 PM (#4290582)
How about Jack Glasscock?

There'd be too much sophomoric giggling at the announcement ceremony.
   10. Chris Fluit Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4290590)
As I recall, Dahlen was 5th among shortstops on the old WAR before bb ref's revision a couple of months ago. After the revision, Ozzie, Yount and Bobby Wallace snuck ahead of him. Neyer was probably working by memory. Still, Dahlen is a top ten shortstop according to WAR, and within a stone's throw of obvious Hall of Famers like Ozzie and Yount. That's a pretty good profile whether it's technically 5th or 8th.
   11. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:54 PM (#4290593)
As I recall, Dahlen was 5th among shortstops on the old WAR before bb ref's revision a couple of months ago. After the revision, Ozzie, Yount and Bobby Wallace snuck ahead of him. Neyer was probably working by memory.

That would make sense - or he could have just copied a Dahlen capsule from last time this balloting group came around.

Still, Dahlen is a top ten shortstop according to WAR, and within a stone's throw of obvious Hall of Famers like Ozzie and Yount. That's a pretty good profile whether it's technically 5th or 8th.

Agreed.
   12. WahooSam Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:57 PM (#4290597)
I think White is about comparable in value to Tommy Leach
   13. DL from MN Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:30 PM (#4290617)
Dahlen and White are easily the class of this ballot and both are comfortably above HoF average. Ferrell is just below average. Mullane and Walters would not decrease the standards of the Hall of Fame but are not in the Hall of Merit.

Any chance we can get Rich Lederer to lobby Blyleven on behalf of Dahlen and White?
   14. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:59 PM (#4290638)
I think White is about comparable in value to Tommy Leach

Not that one season should be the be all and end all but when did Leach ever have a season like White's 1877?

Caught 48 games basically naked, 192 OPS+, led the league in hits, RBI, BA, SLG, OPS/OPS+ and triples! And that wasn't even his best season by WAR -- those were 1875 and 1884. I'm not seeing that they're at all comparable if you consider the circumstances of catching in the 1870s and 1880s and peak.

Oh, and about time on Dahlen.
   15. something like a train wreck Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:35 AM (#4290655)
I've never studied it, but i have always attributed the success of the cardinals to branch rickey what is breeden's claim to the hof sorry about the lower case, but suddenly caps don't work on my phone
   16. Walt Davis Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:43 AM (#4290673)
some of those guys had time at other positions, but then, so did Dahlen (albeit a little less, but enough to drop him behind Appling at least, and probably Jeter as well).

Hmmm ... that seems to overstate that. Dahlen had over 2100 games at SS which is a lot even by today's standards ... and only 300 games elsewhere. He's only half a season behind Appling. Yount had fewer than 1500 (another 1200 in the OF) and ARod less than 1300 (he'll likely have more games at 3B by the end of 2013) so if we're doing SS playing time adjustments, he moves well ahead of Yount.

Interestingly most of Dahlen's non-SS time came early in his career when he split time between SS and (mainly) 3B. Given he played 144 games at SS at 38 (and had nearly 900 chances so probably no slouch with the glove), it's probably safe to assume he could have easily played SS his entire career ... compared to Yount and Banks who could not play it as they aged (due to injury ... could include Ripken and possibly ARod here as well). (I've got no particular qualms about Appling or Jeter moving ahead of him as a SS, looks like it's close though ... see below).

Some crude time at SS adjustments to career WAR. For those where there's a pretty clear break, it's just a sum of their SS seasons; for others it's just a proportion based on games at SS relative to total games which is not ideal although I pretty much ignored it if they didn't play at least 100 games elsewhere:

Ripken 85
Wagner 84 (from 126)
Ozzie 73
Jeter 69
Larkin 67
Trammell 67
Vaughan 65
Appling 64
Dahlen 63
ARod 62
Reese 60
Boudreau 59
Cronin 55
Banks 52
Yount 48

Obviously all the folks who are real close to each other shouldn't be considered real differences ... and Wagner probably comes out much better if it's done more carefully. Anyway, Dahlen probably still lower than 5th.

But that's a career list. Now you need to balance it with peak which COMPLETELY OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD probably goes something like this:

Wagner
ARod
Vaughan
Banks
pick'em
   17. AndrewJ Posted: November 02, 2012 at 04:28 AM (#4290693)
I haven't taken the time to figure out what the standards are for a Hall of Fame umpire. It does seem strange that O'Day, if he were highly regarded, wouldn't have already been elected.


1. Hank O'Day ruled Fred Merkle out in the September 23rd, 1908 Giants/Cubs game.

2. The Veterans Committee was for many years bursting with ex-Giants loyal to the memory of John McGraw.

3. Do the math.
   18. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: November 02, 2012 at 07:07 AM (#4290697)
No love for Bob Caruthers?
   19. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 02, 2012 at 08:45 AM (#4290712)
Agree with Neyer of Dahlen and Ruppert.

I don't know what to make of Beardon. Where does Branch Rickey end and Beardon begin? Beardon was the guy who took Rickey out of the dugout and into the front office full-time - a move Rickey didn't appreciate at the time, so there is that. Still, I'd like a bit more clarification on Beardon's role before moving on. I know an internal front office dispute between Beardon and Rickey led to the Cardinals to fire Bill McKechnie right after he won a pennant for the Cards. McKechnie is a Hall of Famer himself and one of the greatest managers in history, so firing him speaks poorly of the situation.
   20. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 02, 2012 at 08:46 AM (#4290714)
If anyone cares, here's an article I wrote on Wes Ferrell, it's one of my first pieces ever for THT.
   21. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:08 AM (#4290721)
I don't know what to make of Breadon. Where does Branch Rickey end and Breadon begin?


Well, Breadon forced Rickey out in St. Louis at the end of 1942. Rickey moved to Brooklyn and within 5 years the Dodgers overtook the Cardinals as the NL's premier franchise. The Cardinals didn't get back to the top until the 60s.

I can't see putting Breadon in.

It does seem strange that O'Day, if he were highly regarded, wouldn't have already been elected.


AndrewJ covers the main reasons in #17. O'Day was also a bit of a loner and while his ability was respected, his personality wasn't, even among his umpiring peers. That probably worked against him as well. As noted, there really aren't any standards for umpires, but I suspect that if one rated NL umpires of that period based on what we have in the historical record he'd certainly be behind Klem and possibly behind Jim Johnstone and Bob Emslie as well.

-- MWE
   22. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4290742)
I'm seeing an enormous opportunity to influence that committee. Blyleven owes his induction to the SABR types and will probably read an e-mail from Rich Lederer. TR Sullivan ANNOUNCES HIS HALL OF FAME BALLOTS HERE FIRST. He LIKES us.
   23. BDC Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4290849)
How about Jack Glasscock?

One of my favorite 19th-century ballplayers since, years ago, I was wandering through the Macmillan Encyclopedia trying to determine who the top old-time players were over various spans at various positions. Offhand and without looking either of them up, I'd estimate that Glasscock was every bit as good a ballplayer as Bid McPhee, who was eventually elected to the HOF. Am I right? Who the hell asks such a question? :) Probably McPhee had a slightly longer career and thus more overall value, is my WAG. But Glasscock was very, very good.
   24. robneyer Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4290925)
Great comments, everyone. I just want to mention that I don't really count Yount or Banks or A-Rod as shortstops, because they spent SO much time at other positions. That's how I sorta got Dahlen into the top five. But as noted, top five or top ten, he's still got a good case. Thanks.
   25. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4290932)
I've called for the election of Dahlen and Ruppert in previous year's threads so - no change there. No on the others, though White gives me pause.
   26. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4290947)
Jack Glasscock is HoM, he's probably a better pick than Wes Ferrell. From the era considered Charley Jones, Pete Browning, Heinie Groh, Joe Start, Stan Hack, Charlie Bennett, Charlie Keller, Bob Caruthers, Dickey Pearce, Sherry Magee, Jimmy Sheckard, Harry Stovey, Hardy Richardson, Cal McVey, Cupid Childs, George Gore, Ezra Sutton, Ross Barnes, Lip Pike and Paul Hines are also HoM.

I guess the best analogy I can get for Deacon White is White is to his era as Mickey Cochrane and Buck Ewing were to theirs. He is as clear of an oversight as Dahlen.

It is interesting that the Hall of Fame committee players were all pitchers.
   27. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4290954)
An interesting way to look at the unelected players comparing them to the guys on the committee

Better than Niekro: None
Better than Blyleven: Dahlen (some HoM voters would also say White)
Better than Sutton: Dahlen, White, Glasscock, Barnes, Groh, Start, Ferrell and eleven others.
   28. Steve N Posted: November 02, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4290966)
I remember reading the article on Tony Mullane in the Neyer/James Book of Pitchers. My memory is that at root Mullane was a jerk. I guess that shouldn't affect his chances but it might have in the 30 and 40s before his competitors died off.
   29. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4290998)
I think Mullane was actually a racist jerk.
   30. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 02, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4291018)
Tony Mullane is the reason why Ladies Day was established. He was a handsome man.

He would've won 300 games had he not sat out a season due to a contract dispute, but he did sit out the season.

That's why he's not in the Hall, not what people were thinking in the 1930s/40s. By the 1930s/40s, even most Old Timers had trouble remembering 1880s players, unless they had something really overwhelming going for them, like King Kelly's star status, Anson's longevity, or Old Hoss Radbourn's huge season.

The pitchers that got in from the 1880s are the 300 game winners, and that's why they got in. Many didn't get in for decades - Galvin, Keefe, Welch not until the 1960s/70s (that's from memory). If Mullane had 300, he'd go on then, but he didn't so he isn't in.
   31. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 02, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4291022)
Oh, and DL is right. Fleet Walker was Mullane's catcher and Mullane would intentionally throw wrong pitches to cross him up because Mullane didn't want a black catcher.
   32. bachslunch Posted: November 02, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4291028)
I'm fine with Deacon White, Bill Dahlen, and Jacob Ruppert being elected from this group. I guess I could be talked into Samuel Breeden and Al Reach if there's a good enough case. No idea why Marty Marion is on this list.

Too bad Wally Schang, Paul Hines, and Vern Stephens didn't make the cut this time (Stephens's career started before 1946 so I assume he was eligible). I'm fine with all three being elected. Sherry Magee, Indian Bob Johnson, Gavvy Cravath, and Tommy Bridges wouldn't be the worst choices, either. Bridges arguably would be a better nominee than either Walters or Ferrell:

Bridges: 2826.1 innings, 126 ERA+, 48.1 WAR (194-138 W-L)
Walters: 3104.2 innings, 116 ERA+, 44.3 WAR (198-160 W-L)
Ferrell: 2623.0 innings, 116 ERA+, 45.1 WAR (193-128 W-L)
   33. DL from MN Posted: November 02, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4291080)
Good to see another Tommy Bridges fan. Do you want to vote for the HoM?
   34. Ron J2 Posted: November 02, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4291096)
As I've mentioned before, Dahlen may well have been the first player hit by the character clause. Articles of the day focused more on his temper and attitude than his play. To quote from a review of Bad Bill Dahlen, "He was often nonchalant and unfocused, showing up minutes before a game. He was rumored to get himself ejected so he could get to the racetrack. He was feisty, and abusive towards umpires even by today's standards." (Another advocacy article calls him

"anti-social" -- I think it's easy to substantiate this, but there's another side to the story. He was the go to guy for charitable events as well. Assuming it didn't conflict with his time at the track.)

He got ejected an awful lot. I believe the 65 that's generally quoted just counts his total as manager but I'm not sure. "Bad Bill Dahlen" notes that he was "frequently accused of not having his head completely in the game" and one example that was a series in which Dahlen got caught by the hidden ball trick (and was ejected arguing the play), next game he made 4 errors and ... well you can call it a baserunning error I guess. He was tripped rounding third and tagged out (ah, 1890s baseball). There were stories that he was talking to his wife (trying to reconcile) rather than paying attention to the game.

He actually picked up a team suspension when he had a clump of ejections (seemingly not all his fault. He had a lot of problems with one ump in particular and that guy was fired at the end of the year)

That said, frequent ejections hurt the team. Fighting with the manager? Reputation for goofing off during the game? Reputation for being more interested in getting to the track than in the game? Well none of that is positive, that's for sure. His rep was a mixture of Milton Bradley and ... I don't know maybe Hanley Ramirez, with a seasoning of Rogers Hornsby or Dick Allen.

I'm personally not that big on adding 19th century players -- I thing the field was weak enough that only the absolute inner circle should qualify. But that's a personal taste thing and Dahlen's easily qualified by the standards in actual use. Provided you don't ding him significantly for the story.
   35. AndrewJ Posted: November 02, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4291267)
Ferrell's best known as perhaps the best-hitting pitcher in major-league history. In his best five-year stretch, he batted .294/.361/.493, which was less impressive than you might think, since that was a hitter's era.

The late SABR member Dick Thompson wrote a book on Wes Ferrell and his two brothers, and went back and studied the box scores for Wesley's 1931 season, when he went .319/.373./621 at the plate with 9 home runs and 30 RBI. Turns out he hit more homers during his starts than anyone else on the Indians, and none of his teammates put up hitting totals in those games as good as his. (And he drove in 29 of those 30 runs during his 35 starts... batting ninth.) Thompson probably went overboard in selling Wes Ferrell's HOF case, but it has merit.
   36. TR_Sullivan Posted: November 02, 2012 at 08:28 PM (#4291279)
Yes, I am on the committee and I consider it one of the biggest honors of my career, right behind inducting Peter Gammons in 2005. I have been following this thread. I have done some preliminary research and at some point before I go to Nashville, I'm going to spend a day or two going over each of these candidates very carefully. Obviously will not be able to divulge anything before Nashville and not sure what the Hall of Fame's policy after the results are announced.
   37. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:13 PM (#4291306)
Thompson probably went overboard in selling Wes Ferrell's HOF case, but it has merit.


As Chris points out in his linked article above (#20), Wes Ferrell's HoF case is based almost entirely on his years in Cleveland. In his good years in Boston, he was leveraged "away" from facing the good teams much of the time. In 1935, when he was 25-14, he was 6-6, 3.91 in 12 starts against the three good teams (Tigers, Yankees, Indians) but 19-7, 3.16 in 26 starts against the weaker teams. (One of his losses came in relief against the Browns.) In 1936, his last productive season, Ferrell started six games combined against the Yankees and Senators, two of the three best teams, and he was 2-4, 4.62 in those six starts.

-- MWE
   38. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:25 PM (#4291314)
Better than Sutton

Ezra or Don?
   39. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:30 PM (#4291316)
Better than Sutton

Ezra or Don?

Willie.
   40. AndrewJ Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4291332)
Wes Ferrell's HoF case is based almost entirely on his years in Cleveland. In his good years in Boston, he was leveraged "away" from facing the good teams much of the time.

Though in fairness, Ferrell's rival Lefty Grove started less against the 1930-31 Yankees than the six other AL teams. He racked up much of that gaudy 59-9 record those two seasons against mediocre competition.
   41. Steve N Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:56 PM (#4291339)
Well, of course he has a worse record against the good teams. Everybody was.
   42. DanG Posted: November 03, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4291451)
Bridges arguably would be a better nominee than either Walters or Ferrell:
The reason that Ferrell would be a much better choice for the Hall than Bridges is due to two things: 1) Ferrell was a vastly better hitter and 2) Ferrell had a lot more value in his peak seasons due to better durability.

Yes they have similar career pitching lines, but compare their offense:

Player          WAR/pos OPSFrom   PA
Wes Ferrell        12.1  100 1927 1345
Bucky Walters       7.7   69 1931 2149
Tommy Bridges      
-1.5   19 1930 1142 

Ferrell has more total career WAR (57.2) than Bridges (46.6), despite a slightly shorter career.

Looking at their best seasons, Ferrell was the league's best player once and top six in four other years. Bridges' best WAR finish was 8th place. Their top 6 seasons:

10.4, 8.7, 7.7, 7.6, 6.8, 6.1 Ferrell
5.9, 5.0, 4.6, 4.5, 4.4, 4.1 Bridges
   43. bachslunch Posted: November 05, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4293132)
DanG, good points to make re Ferrell vs. Bridges. A couple thoughts:

--I'm not a fan of giving "war credit" to players, but if one is so inclined, Bridges lost almost two years to WW2 at the tail end of his career (1944-1945). While it's tough to speculate how he might have pitched, he did have a solid year in 1943 -- and two more years like that 1943 (especially over diminished competition level) would have helped his HoF argument further. It certainly helped Bucky Walters, and likely is what got Hal Newhauser in. Give Bridges even 24 more wins and he's got more than Newhauser, for what it's worth.

--one might argue that folks who prefer a consistent and somewhat longer production over a higher peak surrounded by poor years might prefer Bridges over Ferrell. Clearly, Ferrell had a better peak, but he burned out in his late 20s after an eight year run. Bridges doesn't have this kind of peak, but he was consistently excellent over his career (he never had an ERA+ under 111 in the twelve years from 1932 to 1943, eight of those year at 133 or better) after a rocky rookie season.

--no question Ferrell was a staggeringly good hitter for a pitcher (perhaps the best ever if you ignore Babe Ruth). But I'm unsure how much hitting (or lack thereof) has mattered in HoF arguments for pitchers. I suspect not much, or someone like Sandy Koufax would have received serious demerits for his poor hitting. Maybe it should make a difference.
   44. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4293360)
I agree with point 1 - Ferrell was a great hitter. I'm not a peak voter so point 2 doesn't resonate. Bridges has the postseason heroics on his side. They're pretty darned close if you give Bridges WWII credit.

Since we know we have TR Sullivan's attention I'm going to focus more on why Deacon White is a terrific candidate.

Here's how we voted the eligible players when we did a mock-election before Joe Gordon was elected:
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit/discussion/2009_pre_wwii_players_results_19th_century_stars_white_and_dahlen_get_our_v/

White and Dahlen were nearly unanimous at the top.

Deacon White was discussed quite a bit in the 1898 election thread: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit/discussion/1898_ballot_discussion

He was elected in the 1898 election, which was the first HoM election.

The SABR biography is here: http://sabr.org/research/deacon-white-overlooked-19th-century-legend

In contrast with "Bad" Bill Dahlen, "Deacon" White is helped quite a bit by the character clause. As one of the first catchers to position himself directly behind the plate he deserves "pioneer" credit. He was considered by some observers the best defensive catcher who ever had to catch without a glove.
   45. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4293372)
Ezra or Don?


Don Sutton is on the committee, though some of the players listed are Better Than Ezra.
   46. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4293419)
Worth mentioning, since it hasn't been brought up yet: Deacon White had a LOT of historical impact, above and beyond his playing career, particularly in the history of labor within the game. His attempt (with Jack Rowe) to purchase the Buffalo Bisons and thus escape from the reserve clause is pretty much what kick-started the creation of the Players' League.
   47. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4293433)
Good point Vlad - for multiple reasons it is difficult to tell the story of early baseball without mentioning Deacon White. Whether it's getting the first major league hit, changing how the position of catcher was played, his involvement with championship teams or his role in player/owner relationships.

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