April 6, 2012 by Matt Musico
Dave Bancroft: Shortstop, Philadelphia Phillies
.279 average, 1048 runs scored, 2004 hits, 32 home runs, 434 RBI, 145 stolen bases
Dave Bancroft is not your typical Hall of Famer. He was voted in by the veterans committee in 1971 and even though he did have some good years with the bat, the shortstop is considered to be one of the top fielders in Major League Baseball history. He played for 16 years in professional baseball with four different teams. He won two National League pennants and back-to-back World Series Championships with the Giants in 1921 and 1922. Bancroft enjoyed five seasons of hitting over .300 and three seasons of 100+ runs scored during his career, but like I said before, his biggest impact was with his glove at the shortstop position. He ranks 28th all-time in games played at shortstop (1,873), is 3rd all-time in putouts at the position (4,623), and his 6,561 assists at shortstop rank 11th all-time. Bancroft was a player-manager with the Boston Braves for three seasons towards the end of his career, but he also managed in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1948-1950.
Jake Beckley: First Baseman, Pittsburgh Pirates
.308 average, 1602 runs scored, 2934 hits, 87 home runs, 1578 RBI, 315 stolen bases
Beckley had a solid reputation for being a great fielder at first base and also being a great hitter. During his 20-year professional career, he hit over .300 on 13 different occasions, is 33rd all-time in hits (2,934), 70th all-time in total bases (4,156), 77th most doubles (473), and his 244 triples are 4th most in MLB history. In addition to his 804 extra base hits (102nd all-time) and 3,733 times on base (70th all-time), Beckley holds the Major League record for most putouts by a first baseman with 23,731, ranks 2nd most ever in games played at the position with 2,380 games played, and his 1,316 hits assists rank 19th on the all-time list at the first base position. At the time of his retirement in 1907, Beckley’s 2,930 hits trailed only Cap Anson for the all-time lead.
Chick Hafey: Left Fielder, St. Louis Cardinals
.317 average, 777 runs scored, 1466 hits, 164 home runs, 833 RBI, 70 stolen bases
Even though he had many things going against him during his 13-year MLB career, such as weak eyes, severe sinus problems, and several beanings, Chick Hafey was able to establish himself as a premier hitter back in the 1920s and 1930s. The 1933 All-Star is a two-time World Series champion, won the NL batting title in 1931, and had six straight years of hitting .329 or better. When Hafey broke into the Major Leagues, he was originally a pitching prospect, but Branch Rickey felt it was best to have him in the field after he saw what he could do with the bat. He was usually at odds with management, especially in St. Louis, when his 1931 and 1932 seasons started late because of salary disputes. These disagreements eventually led him to getting traded to the Reds, where he would end his career. Hafey’s claim to fame is that he still holds the National League record for collecting 10 consecutive hits over three games in July 1929.
Harry Hooper: Right Fielder, Boston Red Sox
.281 average, 1429 runs scored, 2466 hits, 75 home runs, 817 RBI, 375 stolen bases
Harry Hooper earned an engineering degree before he became a professional baseball player, but is considered one of the best lead-off hitters in Red Sox history. Known for being steady at the top of the lineup, he had three seasons of 100+ runs scored and hit over .300 in a season four times. He was a part of the Boston dynasty in the 1910s, being the only Red Sox in the history of the organization to win four World Series titles with the team. Hooper ranks within the top-100 all-time in numerous offensive categories, some of which include: walks, total bases, hits, games played, runs scored, doubles, triples, singles, and stolen bases. He still has the most triples and stolen bases in the Red Sox organization. Hooper was never known as a home run hitter (never hit more than 11 in a season), but he was the first player to ever hit two round trippers in a game in 1915, and in 1913 he led off both games of a doubleheader with a home run, something that only Rickey Henderson was able to match 80 years later.
Joe Kelley: Left Fielder, Baltimore Orioles
.321 average, 1425 runs scored, 2220 hits, 65 home runs, 1194 RBI, 443 stolen bases
Joe Kelley’s MLB career spanned 17 seasons, and even though he spent it with six different teams, all but one of his seasons was spent in the National League. He was known for both his hitting and fielding; Kelley hit over .300 in 11 consecutive seasons, had five years of 100+ RBI, 7 seasons of 100+ runs scored, has the ninth most triples in MLB history (194), ranks 52nd all-time with 443 stolen bases, and won six National League pennants. As his playing career was dying down, he also managed the Reds for four seasons and Boston Doves for one, compiling a 338-321 record. Kelley also tied a record by going 9-for-9 in a doubleheader. My favorite fact about Joe Kelley is that he helped the Brooklyn Superbras win the NL pennant in 1900. There’s no particular reason why I like that, I just think the name is ridiculous.
Rube Marquard: Pitcher, New York Giants
201-177 record, 3.08 ERA, 3309 innings pitched, 1593 strikeouts
Rube Marquard started his 18-year career with a bang, when the New York Giants paid $11,000 for rights to the minor league southpaw back in 1908. Before he was traded to the Brooklyn Robins, Marquard made the investment worth their while, helping the team win three straight pennants and winning 20+ games each of those years. He won five pennants throughout his entire career, threw a no-hitter in 1915, and led the league in wins and strikeouts once apiece. Baseball analysts who are into sabermetrics feel that Marquard shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame because his adjusted ERA+ was only a little bit better than the league average. Bill James, the founder of sabermetrics, stated that Marquard is “probably the worst pitcher in the Hall of Fame.” That’s a bold statement. However, I’d rather be the worst pitcher in the Hall of Fame than not in the Hall of Fame at all.
Satchel Paige: Pitcher, Kansas City Monarchs
28-31 record, 3.29 ERA, 476 innings pitched, 288 strikeouts, 32 saves
Satchel Paige is one of my favorite baseball players of all-time. He was well known as one of the most entertaining pitchers while up on the mound. He spent most of his career in the Negro Leagues and barnstorming around America. Paige was elected to five Negro League All-Star games and won a championship with the Kansas City Monarchs. In 1948, he was sold to the Cleveland Indians at the age of 42, which made him the oldest player to ever make his MLB debut. Once that history was made, he then helped the Indians win the World Series that year, which coincidentally is the last team to win it all for the organization. Paige was also elected to two MLB All-Star games and played six years overall. After a 12-year absence from the game, he came back and pitched three innings of scoreless, one-hit ball for Kansas City, at the tender age of 58. Jamie Moyer still has some work to do. He threw a 1-0 shutout against the White Sox in 1948 in front of 78,382 people, a night-time game attendance that has yet to be broken.
Category Sports | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Bill James, Boston Red Sox, Chick Hafey, Dave Bancroft, featured, Harry Hooper, Jake Beckley, Joe Kelley, Kansas City Monarchs, MLB Hall of Fame class of 1971, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, popular, Rube Marquard, Sabermetrics, Satchel Paige, St. Louis Cardinals