The Franchise 2003 (Part 1)

September 17, 2014

Manager: Ron Gardenhire 2nd season (2nd with Minnesota 184-139)
90 W 72 L 801 RS 758 RA 1st AL Central 4.0 GA (Chicago 86-76)
4.94 RPG (AL = 4.86) 4.41 ERA (AL = 4.52)
.698 DER (7th AL)

All Stars (1) Eddie Guardado

Franchise (1901-2003) 7600-8299-111; 32-38 Post Season; 19-21 WS
Washington (1901-1960) 4214-4864-104; 8-11 WS
Minnesota (1961-2003) 3386-3435-7; 24-27 Post Season; 11-10 WS

At the 2003 All Star break, the Twins had lost eight games in a row and had a 44-49 record. The defending division champs were in third place, 7.5 game out of first. It wasn’t looking good.

The day after the break, the Twins traded Bobby Kielty to Toronto for Shannon Stewart.

Stewart was 29 years old and had played his entire career in Toronto. He had been an above average offensive player with suspect range in the outfield. the first half of 2003 was shaping up to be a good season, but by Stewart’s standards the numbers were a little down. A change of scenery did him and the Twins well.

The team swept a four game series against the A’s right out of the break. They went 18-11 in August, an surged to a 19-7 record in September, finally taking over the division lead for good on September 15.

Shannon Stewart earned a fourth-place finish for MVP honors based almost entirely on his role with the Twins down the stretch.

Half-Baked Hall Profile: George Davis

September 14, 2014


George Davis 1870-1940

SS, 3B, CF

Cleveland Spiders 1890-1892
New York Giants 1893-1901; 1903
Chicago White Sox 1902; 1904-1909

Nickname: Gorgeous George

HOF Facial Hair: He grew his handlebars so he could look like his mentor, John Montgomery Ward.

Career WAR: 84.7

Best Season: 1897 .353/.410/.509/.918 144 OPS+ 31 2B 10 3B 10 HR 135 RBI 23 K

Known For: A well rounded player. He batted .300 or better in every season from 1893-1901. He was also very steady in the field.

The Bad: Was the subject of a lengthy and somewhat ugly court battle between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants. After both Davis and Giants management ignored the reserve clause so Davis could sign with Chicago in 1902, John McGraw took over for the decided he wanted the star player back. From Davis’ SABR Bio:

The move threatened to destroy the new peace treaty which had been forged between the two leagues that winter. White Sox owner Charles Comiskey threatened legal action. Davis went to Ward who argued, rather disingenuously, considering that he had helped Davis jump his New York contract the previous year, that the reserve clause in Davis’s 1901 Giants contract constituted a legal hold on the ballplayer’s services for the 1902 season, thus overruling any claim the White Sox had on his services. Ward declared Davis was entitled to rejoin the Giants per the new contract. Comiskey counter-attacked by first securing an injunction from an Illinois court, which prevented Davis from playing baseball for any team other than the White Sox in that state. In July, Comiskey obtained another injunction, this one from the U.S. Court of Appeals, which prohibited Davis from playing for any team anywhere other than the White Sox. The National League owners, weary of the dispute, instructed Giants owner John Brush to give up his rights to Davis. In all, the shortstop played only four games for New York that year, and none for Chicago.

Disappearing Act: George Davis was not inducted into the other Hall of Fame until 1998, almost a century after he played. Part of the reason it took so long is that Davis disappeared, not only from the minds of baseball fans, but almost from the face of the earth. Between 1918, when his name was used in a car ad, and 1968 there was no sign of George. It wasn’t until 28 years after Davis’ death that the circumstances of his death were discovered by a historian from the baseball Hall of Fame. It turns out he died in a mental hospital at the age of 70, and his wife had him buried 24 hours later in an unmarked grave.

Enigmatic Relationship: His relationship with his wife and the mysterious circumstances surrounding their marriage/living arrangements was enough to merit its own SABR bio.

WGOM Voter Comments:

“George Davis one day, on his way to the ballpark, saved some kids who were trapped in a burning building, then went on to play in that day’s game afterwards.” – Beau



-hungry joe

WGOM Results Page

Actual HOF Page





Half-Baked Hall Profile: Jack Glasscock

September 11, 2014


Jack Glasscock 1857-1947

Shortstop, Second Base

Cleveland Blues 1879-1884
Cincinnati Outlaw Reds 1884St. Louis Maroons 1885-1886
Indianapolis Hoosiers 1887-1889
New York Giants 1890-1891
St. Louis Browns 1892-1893
Pittsburgh Pirates 1893-1894
Louisville Colonels 1895
Washington Senators 1895

Quote: “…one of the greatest players from a fielding standpoint the game has ever known” – Al Spink

Nickname: Pebbly Jack

Real Name: John Wesley Glasscock

HOF Facial Hair: Yes

Career WAR: 61.9

Best Season: 1890 .336/.395/.439/.834 137 OPS+ 172 H 32 2B 9 3B 8 K

Known For: The “King of the Shortstops” was one of the best defenders of his era, and possibly should be in the conversation of greatest ever. Difficult to strikeout.

The Bad: Could be belligerent to umpires, particularly during his short stint as player-manager with Indianapolis.

In my day we used our bare hands: Played most of his career during the bare-handed era. Had significant trouble adjusting to the glove he used later in his career.

Pebbly Jack: Earned his nickname by keeping an immaculate field around the shortstop position. He would inspect the field carefully for pebbles, and would generally pocket those he found, helping to avoid some of the bad hops that caused errors for other fielders.

Rewriting the defensive record book: Glasscock ended his career as the major league leader for shortstops in putouts, assists, total chances, double plays, and fielding percentage.

WGOM Voter Comments:

“If Dave Orr is the Prince Fielder of his day, Glasscock is the Ozzie Smith of his day. A competent hitter, whose stats as a batter would have landed him on the ballot. What excites me is his brilliance at shortstop, which is well-documented, not just by WAR, but also by sportswriters at the time. The Sporting News said that his contemporaries considered him the best shortstop ever.” – Beau

“From the August 1, 1896 Saint Paul Globe:

Tuesday Jack Glasscock, who was on the coaching line, informed Umpire Strouthers that he thought he was rotten. “That will cost you five,” replied the umpire. “I said you were rotten,” said Glasscock. “I said ten,” retorted Strouthers. Glasscock expressed his contempt for the umpire by a liberal use of his fingers applied to the end of his nose, and the fine was raised to $25. Jack sat down, a sadder but wiser man.”” – The Dread Pirate

WGOM Results Page



Half-Baked Hall Profile: Kid Nichols

September 9, 2014


Kid Nichols 1869-1953

Boston Beaneaters 1890-1901
St. Louis Cardinals 1904-1905
Philadelphia Phillies 1905-1906

Real Name: Charles Augustus Nichols

Career WAR: 116.6

Best Season: 1890 27-19 2.23 ERA 2.98 FIP 1.146 WHIP 222 K 7 ShO 170 ERA+ 13.1 WAR


“In my day, the ’90s, if you won only 20 games, the club owner would say ‘You didn’t do so good this year, we’re going to cut your salary next season.”

Known For: Was the winning pitcher in 300 baseball games by the time he turned 30. Finished his career with 360 pitching wins. He completed 532 of the 562 games he started. Was a star from his rookie season, when the 20-year old may have had his best season. Relied primarily on the fastball.

The Bad: Was often mistaken for the bat boy in his first few major league seasons because he looked so young. This is also how he got his nickname.

Ty Cobb Stumped For Him: The deadball star may be one of the main reasons that Nichols finally got his due with induction into the real Hall of Fame. JoePos explains:

Cobb did not face Nichols’ best — their careers barely overlapped — but in the 1940s Cobb would rant to anyone who would listen about Nichols greatness.

“You’re a bit too young to remember,” Cobb told one reporter in 1948 — this was a pitch he repeated often, “but I knew a pitcher who was a real pitcher. His name was Kid Nichols. He was with the Boston Nationals early in the century.”

And then, as proof, he would pull out Kid Nichols statistics that he carried around with him. Yeah, he walked around with Kid Nichols’ stats. This was a committed man.

“How can they possibly keep Kid Nichols out of the Hall of Fame?” he asked.

Laying the Groundwork: Nichols, in a precurser to MLB At Bat, held a patent on an electronic scoreboard system that he developed around 1907. It was a way to deliver baseball to fans not at the ballpark in the pre-radio era, and it is said that he would have crowds of a couple thousand gathered to watch the World Series.

Not Just Baseball: Kid was also fond of bowling. He was good at that too. Nichols won the Kansas City bowling championship at the age of 63.

Voter Comments:

“Kid Nichols is an obvious yes.” – AMR

WGOM Election Results Page


Actual HOF Page



Half-Baked Hall Profile: Ed Delahanty

September 7, 2014


Ed Delahanty 1867-1903

LF, 1B, 2B
Philadelphia Quakers/Phillies 1888-1889; 1891-1901
Cleveland Infants 1890
Washington Nationals 1901-1903

Nicknames: Big Ed, The King of Swat


“…the hardest man in the league for pitchers to puzzle.” – Cincinnati Reds pitcher Red Ehret

Career WAR: 69.5

Best Season: 1896 .397/.472/.631/1.103 190 OPS+ 44 2B 13 HR 126 RBI 62 BB 22 K

Known For: Primarily the way he died.

Hoping to get back into the National League and hoping to see his estranged wife, he took a train bound for New York. It was a long train ride from Detroit to NYC, and Big Ed decided to down five shots of whiskey. The liquor made him uncontrollable. He pulled a woman by her ankles out of her berth, then began threatening passengers with a razor. Finally, the conductor decided to stop the train near Niagara Falls before crossing into the US. He told Delahanty to not make trouble because he was still in Canada. The drunken Delahanty slurred, “I don’t care whether I’m in Canada or dead.” It was a prescient reply. The conductor kicked him off the train, and a few minutes later Delahanty, trying to cross the train bridge into the United States, fell to his death below. There are some people who believe he was murdered and some who think he committed suicide. But most people think that one of the greatest ballplayers of all time simply made a bad drunken decision, and his body was found a week later at the base of Niagara Falls.

He Played Some Ball Too: Batted better than .400 three times, led the league in slugging percentage four times. He was also known as a “fleet-footed, rifle-armed” left fielder.

Double Agent: Served as an agent for the new American League in 1901 by helping to  facilitate the defection of at least nine Philadelphia Phillies to the new league. As a result he (and the other jumpers) were banned from playing organized baseball in the state of Pennsylvania.

A HBT Meme A Century Before The Internet: Delahanty was not a stand out, or even a very good, player prior to 1892. It was reported that he came to the team “in the best shape of his life” that year. It must have been true, because the 24-year-old posted an OPS+ of 150 or above 10 of the next 11 seasons.

Immortalized By The Baseball Project:

Sometimes, hungover, he might lose a pop fly in the glare of the Washington sun.
And yes, he swung at bad pitches, and let the Irish in him sharpen up and boozy-bloat his tongue.
Nights on the road he led a bachelor’s life, with the bright short blaze of a shooting star.
But he soaked some homers-yeah, four in one game–when the ball was dead and the fences far.

WGOM Voter Comments:

“Delahanty is the first player on the ballot who played for franchise that is currently the Minnesota Twins. Not that we’re homers here”. – Scot

“He had four brothers, every single one of them playing in the majors, though only Jim was any good.” – Beau


Actual HOF Page

WGOM Election Results Page



Half-Baked Hall Profile: Dan Brouthers

September 4, 2014


Dan Brouthers 1858-1932

First Baseman
Troy Trojans 1879-1880
Buffalo Bisons 1881-1885
Detroit Wolverines 1886-1888
Boston Beaneaters 1889
Boston Reds 1890-1891
Brooklyn Grooms 1892-1893
Baltimore Orioles 1894-1895
Louisville Cardinals 1895
Philadelphia Phillies 1896
New York Giants 1904


Brouthers really was a great hitter, one of the most powerful batters of all time. Big Dan in his prime, against the present-day pitching and the modern lively ball, would have hit as many home runs as anybody. I don’t think I ever saw a longer hitter. – John McGraw

Career WAR: 79.4

Best Season: 1886 .370/.445/.581/1.026 208 OPS+ 284 TB 40 2B 15 3B 11 HR

Nickname: Big Dan

HOF Facial Hair: Borderline

Known For: A dominating hitter of his era, he was among the league leaders in most offensive categories during his prime. Held the major league record for slugging percentage (.519) for players with at least 4,000 at bats until Ty Cobb passed him in 1922. Played in four different decades. Won five batting titles.

The Bad: Literally killed an opposing catcher in a collision at home plate in a semi-professional game in 1877. The 19-year-old Brouthers was cleared of wrongdoing by the police.

Connection to the Twins: Made Bill James’ list of players most like Kent Hrbek by decade.

Respected by his peers: Brouthers was elected vice president of the first organized player’s union.

Intangibiles: Brought his Irish Setter “Kelly” to games when he was a member of the Baltimore Orioles. The dog would sit in the player’s area and watch the game.

Voter Comments:

I think he should get voted in. And his plaque can say something like “We’re kind of dog people.” – Philosopher

WGOM Election Results Page

Actual HOF Page

Half-Baked Hall Profile: Billy Hamilton

September 2, 2014


Billy Hamilton 1866-1940

Kansas City Cowboys 1888-1889
Philadelphia Phillies 1890-1895
Boston Beaneaters 1896-1901

Career WAR: 63.3

Best Season: 1894 .403/.521/.523/1.004 157 OPS+ 198 R 100 SB 128 BB 292 TB 8.2 WAR

Quote: “I never saw a runner get a lead off first base like Billy” – Jack Carney

Nickname: Sliding Billy

Known For: Stolen bases and runs. Perhaps the prototype lead off hitter. Was baseball’s career stolen base leader until Lou Brock broke his record in 1979. One of only three players in baseball history to average more than one run scored per game played. Fourth on the career on-base percentage list behind Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and John McGraw.

Total Number of Steals?: Depending on the source, its somewhere between 912 and 937. Hamilton was extremely protective of his base-stealing legacy, and even wrote at least one letter to the editor claiming that he was short changed in total stolen bases. If he were still alive, he would very likely argue that he should rightfully be second on the list (Brock retired with 938 SB).

Trivia: One of four major league hitters to lead off a game with a home run and end the game with a walk-off home run (Vic Power, Darin Erstad, Reed Johnson, Ian Kinsler).

More Rare Air: Hamilton’s 198 runs scored in 1894 is still a record for runs in a single season. The modern record belongs to Babe Ruth, who scored 177 runs in 1921. Nobody else has come any closer than that.

Half-Baked Hall is right: Hamilton’s induction was controversial. In a scandal that is right up there with Dan LeBatard’s vote-loan, a certain WGOM corny voter engaged in ballot-stuffing that was responsible for Hamilton’s election.

WGOM Election Results Page

Real HOF Page



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