Huggins Beats Bresnahan in Centennial Sweepstakes

This article was written by Stanley Fleming

This article was published in the 1979 Baseball Research Journal


    Miller Huggins, the mighty mite who managed the New York Yankees to six pennants and three world championships, decisively defeated Roger Bresnahan in the Society for American Baseball Research survey to determine the person born in 1879 who contributed the most to baseball. With a total of 236 ballots returned, Huggins had 135 first place votes to 55 for Bresnahan and 22 for Rube Foster, Negro League player, manager, and executive.

    The margin Huggins held over Bresnahan came as a surprise considering the New York Giant catcher had been elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945, fully 19 years before Huggins. The latter, only five feet, four inches in height, was a good fielding second baseman and leadoff hitter who used his diminutive stature to get on base. He led in walks four times and also stole 324 bases.

    The year 1879 was a good birth year for managers. Not only was it Huggins’ natal year, but Bresnahan, Pants Rowland, Red Doom, Jake Stahl, Rube Foster, great Negro League manager, and Jake Atz, one of the top minor league managers. And there was even Jimmy Austin, the St. Louis Browns player, coach, and Sunday manager for Branch Rickey, who did not go to the ball park on the Sabbath. Of these 1879 natives, Rowland got to be the oldest, passing away in 1969 at age 90. Huggins got to the half-way mark, passing away at age 50 in 1929. His achievements are still remembered, however, as reflected by the vote total.

    Those baseball personalities born in 1879 whose names were placed on three or more ballots are carried below in order of rank. A first place vote garnered three points; second, two points; and third, one point. 

Person             

First    

Second    

Third    

Total Points

 

 

 

 

 

Miller Huggins         

135        

62      

13½        

542½

Roger Bresnahan            

55         

80  

62         

387

Rube Foster             

22        

27      

32

152        

Pants Rowland                

15    

29      

45½       

148½

Doc White                 

4       

10 

     36  

68

Noodles Hahn                   

 7       

11   

 34

Charlie Moran                   

8       

12          

31

Red Dooin                         

0

3        

1

  7

Jimmy Austin                    

1

 0        

2           

5

Nig Smith                        

0

 0        

3           

3

 

© SABR. All Rights Reserved