Survey of Old-Timers for the Hall of Fame

This article was written by L. Robert Davids

This article was published in the 1977 Baseball Research Journal


Amos Rusie and Addie Joss, two short-service but highly effective hurlers, scored high in different parts of a survey of old-time candidates for the Hall of Fame conducted in December by the Society for American Baseball Research. Rusie was subsequently elected to the Hall.

The primary purpose of the survey was to determine if there were additional players of the 1871-1911 period, which is not in the memory range of most members of the Veterans Committee, deserving of enshrinement. Society members were asked to vote for up to five players in order of rank who they thought should be elected.

There also were two other parts of the ballot: One, to indicate a belief that “there already are enough players selected from this period (1871-1911)”; two, a place to indicate a preference for Addie Joss if he were eligible; and three, a place also to indicate a preference for some other ineligible player of the period.

There were 162 ballots returned. Seventeen members did not vote for any players and indicated their feelings that enough players had already been selected from this period. There were 122 ballots checked to indicate that “If Addie Joss were eligible, I would have voted for him.” Among the other ineligible players mentioned, Bill Lange and Ross Barnes each received five votes. Neither had 10 years in the majors, including the National Association, 1871-75.

Among the many eligible performers of the 1871-1911 period, 54 different players received at least one vote. Rusie was on 74 ballots and Pete Browning on 47. A first place vote counted 10 points; second 9 points, etc. On that basis, here are the rankings for the first 36 players.

 

1

Amos Rusie

622

19

George Mullin

96

2

Pete Browning

415

20

Jim McCormick

90

3

Geo. Van Haltren

301

21

Herman Long

84

4

Tony Mullane

233

22

Fred Tenney

84

5

Harry Stovey

207

23

Tommy Leach

84

6

Vic Willis

198

24

Sam Leever

77

7

Johnny Kling

183

25

Mike Tiernan

73

8

Jimmy Ryan

177

26

Doc White

70

9

Deacon White

141

27

Bobby Mathews

61

10

George Davis

137

28

Cy Seymour

56

11

Tip O’Neill

134

29

Deacon McGuire

52

12

Deacon Phillippe

129

30

Jess Tannehil

50

13

Bill Dahlen

125

31

Ed McKean

48

14

Mike Dorilin

122

32

George Gore

46

15

Biddy McPhee

120

33

Bill Bradley

45

16

Lave Cross

115

34

Gus Weyhing

43

17

Bobby Caruthers

111

35

Tommy Bond

41

18

Ginger Beaumont

99

36

Cupid Childs

37

 

The outpouring of votes for Rusie, above, and the sentiment expressed for Joss highlight an interesting situation regarding the 10-year rule on eligibility. Rusie just barely qualified for 10 years when he came back in 1901 after a 2-year layoff. He pitched in only three games for the Reds in his 10th year. He had lost his stuff and that was the end of his career. In 1911 Joss was preparing for his 10th campaign but got sick just before the season opened. He died on April 14. Rusie is eligible because of three poorly pitched games in 1901, but Joss is ineligible because he did not make it into a regulation contest in his final year. Obviously, SABR members were not adversely influenced by Rusie’s short career, and also feel that Joss belongs in the Hall of Fame.

© SABR. All Rights Reserved