The State Survey of Players

This article was written by L. Robert Davids

This article was published in the 1975 Baseball Research Journal


In this piece, L. Robert Davids disucusses a survey of the greatest baseball players born in different states before 1975.Is Henry Aaron a greater player than Willie Mays? Was Joe DiMaggio better than Ted Williams? Those were just two of the tough decisions members of the Society for American Baseball Research were asked to make in a survey of the greatest baseball players born in the different states.

Aaron and Mays were matched because they both were born in Alabama. Of course, other great players were born there, including Heinie Manush, Satchel Paige, Billy Williams, and Early Wynn, but as expected, it was a two-way race. Aaron rode the crest of his home run popularity to a victory of 39 votes to 30 for Mays.

It was another two-way race in California where Ted Williams beat out Joltin’ Joe by 38 to 34. It was even closer in Pennsylvania where Honus Wagner edged Stan Musial 31-1/2 to 29-1/2, with Christy Mathewson coming in third.

The survey was conducted in the Spring of 1974, so performance for that season had no bearing on the vote. The Society is assessing the contribution that baseball has made in this Country and the review is keyed to the coming centennial observance of the National League and the 75th anniversary of the American League in the Nation’s bicentennial year of 1976. Last year the Society voted on the greatest foreign-born players, with Juan Marichal of the Dominican Republic winning over Luis Aparicio of Venezuela in a very close vote.

Major league baseball players have been born in all 50 states, including one in Alaska. But in several states the representation was so small that an automatic selection was made of Roger Mans in North Dakota, Dave McNally in Montana, etc. However, ballots were issued covering 44 states.

The ballot included names of the top players in each of those states, including Maryland where Babe Ruth was born, and Georgia, birthplace of Ty Cobb. As it happened, Jimmy Foxx, Lefty Grove, and Al Kaline got a vote or two in Maryland, and Jackie Robinson and Bill Terry kept Cobb from sweeping the bases in Georgia. Only in Kansas did Walter Johnson get all 77 votes cast for that state, and he didn’t have very much competition.

On the other hand, members voted for 11 different players in Illinois and in Indiana. In each case a player not then in the Hall of Fame — Robin Roberts in Illinois, and Chuck Klein in Indiana — was selected over five players already enshrined at Cooperstown. There may be a message there.

Did the voters favor modern players over the old-timers? Not necessarily. Roger Connor, 19th Century slugger, won in Connecticut. In Ohio Cy Young and George Sisler snowed under Pete Rose; and Rogers Hornsby and Tris Speaker didn’t leave many votes for Frank Robinson and Ernie Banks in Texas.

Here are the full voting results:

SURVEY OF BEST BASEBALL PLAYERS BY STATES

ALABAMA — Henry Aaron 39; Willie Mays 30; Satchel Paige 4; Heinie Manush 2; Joe Sewell 1; Billy Williams 1; Early Wynn 1.

ARIZONA — Hank Leiber 42; Solly Hemus 19; Alex Kellner 12.

ARKANSAS — Brooks Robinson 38-1/2; Arky Vaughan 15; Dizzy Dean 13-1/2; Lou Brock 6; George Kell 2; Lon Warneke 1.

CALIFORNIA-   Ted Williams 38; Joe DiMaggio 34; Harry Heilmann 3; Bobby Bonds 1; Joe Cronin 1;   Tom Seaver 1/2; Duke Snider 1/2.

COLORADO —   Johnny Lindell 47; Roy Hartzell 13; Tom L. Hughes 8; Gene Packard 3.

CONNECTICUT Roger Connor 46; Jim O’Rourke 14; Jimmy Piersall 12; Tom Corcoran 4.

DELAWARE —   Vic Willis 40; Hans Lobert 25; Chris Short 7; Sadie McMahon 2.

  1. C. — Maury Wills 56; Paul Hines 10-1/2; Doc White 8; Lu Blue 2-1/2.

FLORIDA —   Al Lopez 38-1/2; Bill White 16-1/2; Steve Canton 16; Boog Powell 5; Dave Johnson 1.

GEORGIA — Ty Cobb 75; Jackie Robinson 2; Bill Terry 1.

HAWAII — Mike Lum 64; Matt Wilcox 2; Prince Oana 1.

IDAHO —   Harmon Killebrew 72; Vernon Law 4; Larry Jackson 1.

ILLINOIS — Robin Roberts 25-1/2: Lou Boudreau 12; Joe McGinnity 9-1/2; Jim Bottomley 8-1/2; Red

  Ruffing 8; Fred Lindstrom 4; Ray Schalk 2-1/2; Phil Cavarretta 2; Larry Doyle 2; Red   Schoendienst 2; Ted Kluszewskji1.

INDIANA — Chuck Klein 16-1/2; Sam Rice 13-1/2; Sam Thompson 13-1/2; Mordecai Brown 7-1/2; Edd Roush 7; Amos Rusie 5-1/2; Max Carey 4-1/2; Gil Hodges 3; Babe Adams 2; Billy Herman 2; Fred Fitzsimmons 1.

IOWA —   Bob Feller 40-1/2; Cap Anson 33; Dazzy Vance 1-1/2; Fred Clarke 1; Red Faber 1.

KANSAS — Walter Johnson 77.

KENTUCKY — Earle Combs 26-1/2; Pee Wee Reese 16-1/2; Jim Bunning 13-1/2; Pete Browning 12; Bobby Veach 3-1/2; Carl Mays 3; Gus Weyhing 2.

LOUISIANA–   Melvin Ott 44-1/2; Bill Dickey 25-1/2; Ted Lyons 7.

MAINE — George Gore 37; Fred Parent 18; Bill Carrigan 15.

MARYLAND —   Babe Ruth 71-1/2; Jimmy Foxx 3; Al Kaline 2; Lefty Grove 1-1/2.

MASSACHUSETTS Pie Traynor 34-1/2; Mickey Cochrane 26-1/2; John Clarkson 7-1/2; Tim Keefe 3; Joe Kelley 1-1/2; Jack Chesbro 1; Wilbert Robinson 1; Jimmy Ryan 1; Wilbur Wood 1.

MICHIGAN —   Charlie Gehringer 62; Kiki Cuyler 5; Ed Cicotte 4; Hal Newhouser 3; Jack Fournier 1; Ed Reulbach 1.

MINNESOTA–   Chief Bender 68; Joe Bush 5; Gene DeMontreville 1; Jerry Koosman 1; Wes Westruin 1.

MISSISSIPPI Buddy Myer 28; Guy Bush 21; Claude Passeau 7; George Scott 7; Hugh Critz 4; Gee   Walker 4.

MISSOURI —   Carl Hubbell 29; Yogi Berra 20-1/2; Zack Wheat 13; Jim Galvin 4-1/2; Casey Stengel 4;   Jake Beckley 2; Clark Griffith 1; Charlie Grimm 1; Elston Howard 1; George Van Haltren 1.

MONTANA — Dave McNally (no contest)

NEBRASKA —   Grover Alexander 61-1/2; Sam Crawford 8; Bob Gibson 6-1/2; Richie Ashburn 1.

NEVADA —   Jim Nash (no contest)

NEW JERSEY-   Joe Medwick 28; Goose Goslin 27; Billy Hamilton 13; Don Newcombe 3; Johnny Vander Meer 2; George Case 1; Kid Gleason 1; Mike Tiernan 1.

NEW HAMPSHIRE Red Rolfe 58; Arlie Latham 15; George Tyler 1; Stan Williams 1.

NEW MEXICO- Ralph Kiner 62; Vern Stephens 15.

NEW YORK —   Lou Gehrig 56-1/2; Eddie Collins 6; Warren Spahn 5; Sandy Koufax 4-1/2; Dan Brouthers 2; Hank Greenberg 1-1/2; Waite Hoyt 1; Charles Radbourn 1; Frank Frisch 1/2.

NORTH —- Luke Appling 53; Hoyt Wilhelm 10-1/2; Enos Slaughter 7; Wes Ferrell 2-1/2;

CAROLINA —   Gaylord Perry 2; Jim Hunter 1.

NORTH DAKOTA   Roger Mans (no contest)

OHIO — Cy Young 39-1/2; George Sisler 29; Pete Rose 4; Ed Delahanty 3-1/2; Buck Ewing 1.

OKLAHOMA — Mickey Mantle 52; Paul Waner 21-1/2; Johnny Bench 2; Willie Stargell 1; Lloyd Waner 1/2.

OREGON  —   Ken Williams 41; Mickey Lolich 23; Johnny Pesky 8; Larry Jansen 2.

PENNSYLVANIA   Honus Wagner 31-1/2; Stan Musial 29-1/2; Christy Mathewson 10; Hack Wilson 3; Richie Allen 1; Roy Campanella 1; Eddie Plank 1.

RHODE ISLAND Nap Lajoie 65-1/2; Gabby Hartnett 9-1/2; Hugh Duffy 2.

SOUTH —-   Joe Jackson 67; Larry Doby 3; Bobo Newsom 3; Van Mungo 2; Marty Marion 1-1/2; CAROLINA —   Al Rosen 1/2.

SOUTH DAKOTA James Scott (no contest)

TENNESSEE–   Vada Pinson 17-1/2; Tommy Bridges 16; Bobby Caruthers 14; Ben Chapman 11-1/2; Clyde Milan 7; Red Lucas 4; Jim Gilliam 2; Tim McCarver 1; Claude Osteen 1.

TEXAS — Rogers Hornsby 43; Tris Speaker 24-1/2; Frank Robinson 4; Ernie Banks 3-1/2; Eddie   Mathews 2.

UTAH —   Duke Sims 37; Fred Sanford 19; Gordon Rhodes 10; Ed Heusser 5.

VERMONT —   Larry Gardner 37; Birdie Tebbetts 34; Ray Collins 2; Ernie Johnson 2.

VIRGINIA — Eppa Rixey 53; Deacon Phillippe 10-1/2; Willie Horton 5; Granny Hamner 3; George McQuinn 3; Steve Brodie 1-1/2.

WASHINGTON-   Earl Averill 56-1/2; Ron Santo 17-1/2; Earl Torgeson 1; Rube Walberg 1.

WEST —-   Jess Burkett 40; Bill Mazeroski 18; Lew Bundette 15; Arlie Cooper 3; Andy Seminick 1.

VIRGINIA —

WISCONSIN–   Al Simmons 48-1/2; Kid Nichols 12-1/2; Burleigh Grimes 8-1/2; Addie Joss 4-1/2; Ken   Keltner 1; Andy Pafko 1.

WYOMING —   Dick Ellsworth (no contest)

SURVEY OF BEST ALL-STAR TEAM BY STATE

In the second part of the survey, Society members were asked to pick the state that could put forth the best all-star team over the last century. New York edged out Pennsylvania and California, while Ohio trailed in fourth place. Texas finished fifth and would have received more votes except that its battery was weak. If Nolan Ryan has a few more good seasons, that would help remedy that situation. Here are the state all-star teams.

Rank

New York

371 Points

 

Rank

Pennsylvania

342 Points

1st

lB

Lou Gehrig

 

2nd

lB

Mickey Vernon

 

2B

Eddie Collins

   

2B

Nelson Fox

 

3B

Jimmy Collins

   

3B

Richie Allen

 

SS

Phil Rizzuto

   

SS

Honus Wagner

 

OF

Willie Keeler

   

OF

Stan Musial

 

OF

Carl Yastrzemski

   

OF

Hack Wilson

 

OF

King Kelly

   

OF

Harry Stovey

 

C

Joe Torre

   

C

Roy Campanella

 

P

Warren Spahn

   

P

Christy Mathewson

 

P

Sandy Koufax

   

P

Eddie Plank

             

Rank

California

338 Points

 

Rank

Ohio

226 Points

3rd

lB

Hal Chase

 

4th

lB

George Sisler

 

2B

Bobby Doerr

   

2B

Pete Rose

 

3B

Stan Hack

   

3B

Sal Bando

 

SS

Joe Cronin

   

SS

Roger Peckinpaugh

 

OF

Ted Williams

   

OF

Ed Delahanty

 

OF

Joe DiHaggio

   

OF

Elmer Flick

 

OF

Harry Heilmann

   

OF

Frank Howard

 

C

Ernie Lombardi

   

C

Roger Bresnahan

 

P

Bob Lemon

   

P

Cy Young

 

P

Vernon Gomez

   

P

Rube Marquard

             

Rank

Texas

31 Points*

       

5th

lB

Norm Cash

       
 

2B

Rogers Hornsby

       
 

3B

Eddie Mathews

       
 

SS

Ernie Banks

       
 

OF

Frank Robinson

       
 

OF

Tris Speaker

       
 

OF

Ross Youngs

       
 

C

Gus Mancuso

       
 

P

Jim Vaughn

       
   

Schoolboy Rowe

       

*Points are based on 6 for a first place vote; 5 for 2nd; 4 for 3rd, etc. Other states receiving 10 or fewer points include Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Some voters substituted players, such as Jake Daubert for Mickey Vernon; Tom Seaver for Lefty Gomez, etc.

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