Half-Baked Hall Profile: Kid Nichols

September 9, 2014

nicholscharlesbio

Kid Nichols 1869-1953

Pitcher
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

Quote:

“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

SABR Bio

Actual HOF Page

 

 


Half-Baked Hall Profile: Ed Delahanty

September 7, 2014

Edward-Delahanty

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

Quote:

“…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

SABR Bio

Actual HOF Page

WGOM Election Results Page

 

 


Half-Baked Hall Profile: Dan Brouthers

September 4, 2014

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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

Quote:

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-Phillies

Billy Hamilton 1866-1940

Outfielder
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

 


Half-Baked Hall Profile: Roger Connor

August 31, 2014

Roger-Connor2

Roger Connor 1857-1931

First Base, Third Base
Troy Trojans 1880-1882
New York Gothams/Giants 1883-1889; 1891; 1893-1894
New York Giants (Players) 1890
Philadelphia Phillies 1892
St. Louis Brown 1894-1897

Career WAR: 84.1

Best Season: 1885 .371/.435/.495/.929 200 OPS+ 225 TB 51 BB 8 K 1 HR

Known For: One of the first sluggers in baseball, he held the major league career home run record (138) prior to Babe Ruth.

The Bad: Kind of a boring figure, he was considered a very good ballplayer but uninteresting in his day, and was often overshadowed in the press by his more colorful teammates. In Connor’s mind, the worst thing he did was marry a non-Catholic outside of the Church, and actually felt that his first daughter Lulu died before her first birthday as divine retribution for that sin.

That nickname will never last: It is suggested that the New York baseball club took the name Giants in part because of their 6’3″ 220 lb slugger, who stood out among his contemporaries.

A True Gentleman: Connor played in 1,998 major league baseball games without being ejected once. His only professional ejection came in a 1906 in a Connecticut State League game. The 45-year old Connor pummeled Tommy Tucker after Tucker threw Roger’s brother and teammate Joe to the ground. Among the reasons Connor hated his short stint as a manager in St. Louis: he was uncomfortable challenging umpires.

Home Run King: Among the positives that came from Hank Aaron’s chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record in the 1970’s – Roger Connor started to get noticed. People started to ask the question “whose record did Babe Ruth break?” and Connor, who had been largely forgotten by baseball, became a part of the Hall of Fame conversation. He was inducted in 1976.

Not sure if this is true, but: The BBHOF page gives him credit for hitting the first grand slam in big league history on September 10, 1881.

Voter comments:

* Roger Connor
Pros:
One of the very few people in MLB history to have played an entire season at third as a lefty.
84 Career rWAR
5th Place All time in JAWS Among First Basemen (ahead of people like Bagwell, the Big Hurt, and McCovey)
Nice ‘stache
Lots of Triples (5th all time) – I like to reward triples
He once hit a home run clear out of Polo Grounds off of Old Hoss Radbourn that prompted a sportswriter to write:

“He met it squarely and it soared up with the speed of a carrier pigeon. All eyes were turned on the tiny sphere as it soared over the head of Charlie Buffinton in right field.”

Not as amazing as the quadruple spin in the outfield, but impressive.

Cons:
Not immortal
Didn’t live up to the power hitting levels of later first basemen (though he was generally in the top ten in at bats per home run for his era, he never approached the home run totals of, say, Frank Thomas).

-Nibbish

WGOM Election Results Page

SABR Bio

Real HOF Page

 

 

 

 


Half-Baked Hall Profile: John Clarkson

August 29, 2014

John Clarkson pitching for Boston.

John Clarkson 1861-1909

 

Pitcher
Worcester Ruby Legs 1882
Chicago White Stockings 1884-1887
Boston Beaneaters 1888-1892
Cleveland Spiders 1892-1894

Career WAR: 85.7

Best Season: 1889 73 G 49-19 2.73 ERA 150 ERA+ 3.49 FIP 1.27 WHIP 16.7 WAR

Quotes: “(Clarkson) could put more turns and twists into a ball than any pitcher I ever saw.” – Billy Sunday

“In knowing exactly what kind of a ball a batter could not hit and in his ability to serve up just that kind of ball, I don’t think I have ever seen the equal of Clarkson.” – Cap Anson

Known For: Right handed pitcher who relied heavily on his curve ball. Won 30 or more games in six seasons, and retired with a total of 327 NL wins. Liked to keep his pitch count low so he pitched so the batter would hit it and the fielders would do their jobs.  Got into a year-long dispute with Al Spalding. Spent the last five years of his life in various asylums due to a nervous breakdown, depression, paranoia, and possibly various other mental disorders exacerbated by excessive drinking.

The Bad: Was blacklisted by many of his fellow players when he backtracked on his agreement with the brotherhood of players and negotiated a contract with the National League Boston club. Many thought he was sitting in on the early union meeting simply to report back to the NL owners.

Not that Bad, however: For a time, the rumor that Clarkson murdered his wife Ella during the last few years of his life was reported as fact. It is not true. She outlived him.

At least he looked good: Clarkson was known for his style and fashion. He was once called the “bright particular dude” of the Chicago White Stockings by Sporting Life.

That might pay for an inning decent pitching in 2014: When he joined the Beaneaters in 1888, he and catcher King Kelly were hyped as the “$20,000 battery”

Voter Comments:

“His numbers are extremely similar to Tim Keefe, and Keefe went in first-ballot. Clarkson had about 500 fewer innings, but had a slightly better ERA” – Beau

“I thought Clarkson was a slam dunk yes” – Daneekas Ghost

WGOM Election Results Page

SABR Bio

Actual HOF Page

 

 

 


2002 ALCS Game 5

August 26, 2014

October 13, 2002

Where the hell’s everybody at? Must be watching the celebration. Couldn’t stop them today. Just got down to that. They’re on a roll. We threw everything we had at them. We took a lead and feel pretty good about it. Those guys are, they just keep playing.

And they keep swinging, and goodness gracious, I don’t know I’ve ever seen an inning like that. We couldn’t get anybody out. They were hitting balls through holes, over, bullets. You tip your hat to those guys. They were playing the game. They were really getting after it.

We played pretty hard and we did it all year long like that. But they’re playing the game over there. That’s a great baseball team. I tip my hat to Mike (Scioscia) and his staff. Great job.

-Ron Gardenhire

The Angels used a 10-run seventh inning to win their fourth straight game over the Twins and advanced to the World Series after a 13-5 win at Edison Field.

The Angels’ big inning came just after the Twins had taken a 5-3 lead with three runs in the top half of the inning. Mienkiewicz, Mohr, and Pierzynski hit consecutive one-out singles and all three eventually scored.

The Angels responded with a monster inning in which the Twins were not able to record their first out until the eighth batter of the inning. All told, the home team had nine singles, a home run, a walk, a hit batter, and a wild pitch in the seventh inning. The Twins used four pitchers in the inning.

Top WPA

1. Adam Kennedy 0.63
2. Scott Spezio 0.21
3. AJ Pierzynski 0.18

A couple of future stars provided the worst WPA of the game

1. Johan Santana -0.47
2. Francisco Rodoriguez -0.27

Box

 


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