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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Herman Long

The original “Flying Dutchman!”

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 07, 2004 at 09:47 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. BDC Posted: September 07, 2004 at 11:44 PM (#841411)
Herman Long has always interested me because he's arguably the best shortstop that the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta franchise has had to this day. I guess it's not wildly unusual that the Braves haven't found a better shortstop in over a century, but it's a bit odd -- especially considering that Long was no superstar ...

Other candidates might be Rabbit Maranville and Johnny Logan. (The NBJHBA has Long 34th, Maranville 38th, Logan 39th.) Jeff Blauser wasn't terrible, either, but he was not of Herman Long calibre ...
   2. jimd Posted: September 08, 2004 at 12:12 AM (#841534)
Herman Long ... arguably the best shortstop that the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta franchise has had to this day.

George Wright excepted, I'd agree with that.
   3. Dag Nabbit at Posted: September 08, 2004 at 12:32 AM (#841608)
Turn-of-the-century Boston Braves: Greatest. Defense. Ever.
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 08, 2004 at 12:38 AM (#841640)
Wright and Long were probably equal as shortstops on total value for that franchise.
   5. EricC Posted: September 08, 2004 at 12:45 AM (#841674)
In 1936, there were two initial elections for the Hall of Fame: a BBWAA election and a "Veterans" election. Although nobody in the Veteran's election received enough votes to be elected in 1936, the top 10 were:

1T: Cap Anson
1T: Buck Ewing
3: Willie Keeler
4. Cy Young
5. Ed Delahanty
6. John McGraw
7. Charlie Radbourn
8. Herman Long
9. Mike "King" Kelly
10. Amos Rusie

Why did Herman Long, who last played in 1904, and died in 1909, receive so many votes?
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 08, 2004 at 01:04 AM (#841765)
Why did Herman Long, who last played in 1904, and died in 1909, receive so many votes?

Another question is: what happened to his support?
   7. jimd Posted: September 08, 2004 at 02:32 AM (#842083)
That was the only election conducted by that original "Veteran's" committee, which IIRC was a group of senior writers. It was replaced by a small group of executives (Landis and the two league presidents?) who selected Bulkeley, Ban Johnson, Mack, McGraw, and George Wright.
   8. Paul Wendt Posted: September 10, 2004 at 03:27 PM (#846976)
Herman Long was a big star. OK, not a superstar, but there are many of 128 {ballclubs, fielding positions} without a superstar in 100 years.

Yes, the BBWAA voted for old-timers only once.

Germany Long was briefly the active home run leader, during his final offseason, before Hugh Duffy returned to the majors as a player-manager.

Long is the victim in the recent non-murder mystery by G.S. Rowe, Best Bet in Beantown.
   9. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 20, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4866027)
Good article on Long and the 1936 Hall of Fame vote, in which he did very well.
   10. The District Attorney Posted: December 20, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4866041)
Interesting that Bill James called him Herman "Why On Earth Aren't You In the Hall of Fame" Long... and made an argument for Buck Ewing very similar to the one implied in #9, i.e., if your contemporaries thought you were the greatest ever, you had to have been great... but never fleshed out that argument for Long.

And the post in #9, unfortunately, doesn't explain much of anything. It offers a theory for the 1936 HOF vote -- Long's ex-teammate Clark Griffith influenced the vote -- which is shaky to say the least, considering that a) the committee had 78 members and b) we don't even know Griffith was on it. Then it offers some more evidence that Long was well-respected by his peers... which, if anything, works against the notion that Griffith was the main reason he did well in '36... and still fails to explain why he dropped off the map after that.

So, yeah, I'd be curious to see if anyone can give us details about why Long's contemporaries thought he was so great, as was done for Ewing. (I ultimately found the argument quite convincing with respect to Ewing.)
   11. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 21, 2014 at 09:22 PM (#4866459)
Long's prime was basically 1890-1897. So by 1935 anyone who saw Long play in his prime was getting old. Especially in an era where people didn't live as long. And writers were typically older than players. Think about the contemporary writers of guys who peaked from 1969-76 vs. guys who peaked 1959-66 at this point. The latter are dying off like crazy. By 1945 the guys who remembered Long were dying or dead and the statistical record is just good not great. Ewing, despite catching, and playing part of his career in an era with short schedules, has 25-30% more WAR than Long (47.7-37.0).

Obviously no one knew what WAR was. But WAR does a decent job of describing how great a player was. So it seems reasonable that Ewing's legend would have been much more able to withstand contemporaries dying off.

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