Jaffe: The curious case of Freddie Lindstrom

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at Baseball Prospectus on March 6, 2013:

Several months ago, I received an email concerning Hall of Fame third baseman Freddie Lindstrom, whose career spanned from 1924 to 1936, who was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1976, and who passed away in 1981. The email was from Andy Lindstrom, one of his three sons, who took issue with something I had written back in 2010 about his father’s route to Cooperstown in the context of my discussion of the latest round of changes to the Veterans Committee. Specifically, I wrote:

Cronyism was an even more glaring problem; Frankie Frisch, who was on the VC from 1967-73, ran something of an underground railroad between the Polo Grounds and Cooperstown, helping former teammates Jesse Haines (1970), Dave Bancroft (1971), Chick Hafey (1971), Ross Youngs (1972), George Kelly (1973), Jim Bottomley (1974), and Fred Lindstrom (1976) gain entry. All of those players rate below the JAWS positional standards, and over the years, some have ranked as the single worst enshrined player at their positions…

The younger Lindstrom complained that given that Frisch died in 1973, he couldn’t have had a hand in his father’s election. “I wonder if you could give me evidence that he reached back from the grave to make such a remarkable impact on the committee,” he wrote.

I have no such evidence, of course. A Hall of Fame second baseman himself, Frisch may have been an immortal in the baseball sense, but he’s not known to have voted as a member of the Veterans Committee once he passed away. In retracing my steps, it appears that I’m guilty of imprecision in what I wrote, which was a quick distillation of a sequence of events from Bill James’ Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame (originally published as The Politics of Glory), which I’ll outline below.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19799

Originally published: March 6, 2013. Last Updated: March 6, 2013.