This article was written by L. Robert Davids
This article was published in the 1972 Baseball Research Journal
Results of a 1972 survey conducted by SABR to determine which of the old-timers who retired prior to 1952 merit admission to the Hall of Fame.
The title above was meant for an article to appear here about Sam Thompson being long overdue for admission to the Hall of Fame. The article was not completed in time but the headline can be used because it appropriately sums up the results of the survey conducted by the Society for American Baseball Research on which, if any, of the old-timers who retired prior to 1952, merit admission to the Hall of Fame.
The Society includes among its membership a goodly number of baseball historians. Some, as free-thinking Americans will do, have questioned the merits of players already in the Hall of Fame as compared to some not (yet) enshrined. SABR made apace on its ballot for five players and asked that the names be listed in order of selection. Ten points were awarded for a first place vote, nine for a second place vote, etc.
The survey was completed on December 20, at which time 42 ballots were received from SABR members. Ten ballots had fewer than five names listed, an indication that some feel that the Hall has already enshrined nearly all the old-timers who deserve to be so honored. A total of 66 eligible names were listed, another possible indication that members feel only a few big names remain. Of course, selecting players from a 75-year period is another factor. Four big names did show up quickly in the balloting, and then there was a definite drop-off to the next group. To support use of the headline shove, Sam Thompson had the most first-place votes and was on the most ballots. Earl Averill was the living player to receive the most points.
The top dozen, with points computed as stated above:
- Sam Thompson, 136
- Chuck Klein, 115
- Roger Connor, 95
- Michael Welch, 91
- Arky Vaughan, 56
- Earl Averill, 55
- Amos Rusie, 51
- Ernie Lombardi, 47
- Jim Bottomley, 44
- Hack Wilson, 40
- Carl Mays, 37
- Harry Stovey, 29
The results of this survey were transmitted to the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee which selects the old timers. SABR would also like to conduct a survey on deserving stars of the old Negro Leagues. Unfortunately, the Society at this time has only about 6-7 members who are acknowledged authorities in this field.
This article originally appeared in the 1972 “Baseball Research Journal.”