McCurdy: Doc Tally, a House of David great

From SABR member Bill McCurdy at The Pecan Park Eagle on February 26, 2015:

Jesse Lee “Doc” Tally of Sumner, Mississippi was a BL/TR pitcher/outfielder for the famously bearded House of David barnstorming baseball club, incredibly in itself,  from 1914 until 1950. As the back of the later shown card here says, Tally quickly found himself billed as “The Bearded Babe Ruth” – a clear “knock off” attempt to steal some gate thunder from The Bambino, but also apparently pretty well earned at his level of play. As the same card says, Tally hit 29 home runs in the 44 games that the House of David played during the 1922 season.

29 HR in a 44 game season works out to a percentage HR rate of .659 over the club’s much shorter season. Still, transposition of statistical performance for the same result at the big league level is always fun, even if flawed by too many intervening variables to even list in a brief column. The gross result is still a mind spinner. Had Babe Ruth homered in 65.9% of the 154 games of his American League season, he would have had 102 homers on the season, if we round off the last one to help him make that reach.

Clearly, there’s little to no chance that a player with that kind of potential would have been left to get lost on the back roads of America for thirty-six years, if he actually possessed that kind of insane talent.

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Originally published: February 26, 2015. Last Updated: February 26, 2015.