Hall of Fame

Do you know how hard it is for a pitcher to win 300 Major League Baseball games?  Just the math alone can explain how amazing the feat actually is.  In order to win 300 games, a pitcher must win at least 20 games over 15 seasons or conversely have 15 wins in 20 seasons.  This analysis brings into context the accomplishments of the 24 pitchers who have reached that incredible milestone since 1876.

The 300 Win Club | Dan Schlossberg | Baseballisms.comHave we seen the last of the 300 game winner?  Author Dan Schlossberg thinks so, but before we get to the reasons why, he gives us a profile of every pitcher in the exclusive club in his book The 300 Club: Have We Seen the Last of Baseball’s 300-Game Winners?

Dan sat down to put his book together as Randy Johnson achieved his 300th victory for the San Fransisco Giants in 2009.  It was the realization that there are more players in the 3000 hit club (27) and the 500 homer club (25), with those clubs continuing to grow in number, while the pitchers mark would become untouchable.  Dan set out to speak with as many living members of this fraternity as he could.

It is also impressive to consider the Hall of Fame pitchers who did not approach the 300 win mark in their careers including Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Bob Feller, and Juan Marichal.

The book is segmented into chapters on each pitcher, including career statistics, plus the box score of the game in which the pitcher achieved the 300th win.  It is interesting to note the players who were on the field, as well as re-living some of the accounts of those games.

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Hall of Fame careers like that of Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pie Traynor can often be overlooked.  The lack of video imagery, demonstrating the skill and style by which the player performed tends to relegate the career to historical archives.  It is the diligence and hard work of biographers such as James Forr and his co-author David Proctor that allow us to fully appreciate a player’s place in history, and to provide some context by which to compare to more familiar names.

We were delighted to have a chance to speak with James on this episode of the Cover the Bases podcast, to discuss his recent book Pie Traynor: A Baseball Biography.  The book was published in January of 2010 by McFarland.

It took a moment of serendipity and great timing that connected us for this discussion. While perusing the baseball card files for the daily Cards from the Diamond, this particular card jumped out.  Appearing in its allocated sleeve, on a page with the rest of the All Time Greats, it was begging for a more in depth understanding of why he was chosen as the All Time third baseman.  As luck or fate would have it, an email from James awaited, introducing himself and the latest edition to the baseball book library.

What better way to get an in depth account of one of the greatest players the game has ever known, than to dig into a well written biography?

There was one person in particular who did a great job of preserving and correcting the accounts of Pie’s career, and that was his wife Eve.  As a way to understand the type of player Pie was, we point to an anecdote in the book about her following up a newspaper article that appeared in the Boston Globe.  Globe columnist Harold Kaese made the statement that “Pie Traynor was the Brooks Robinson of another day”. Eve corrected him by phoning the paper and insisting that “Pie wasn’t the Brooks Robinson of his day.  Brooks Robinson is the Pie Traynor of his day”.

Pie played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Pirates, starting with a cup of coffee in 1920 & 1921 and finally finding a permanent position starting in 1923.  He proceeded to put up a very consistent career at the plate (using a 42 ounce piece of begged, borrowed or shared lumber btw), and superior defensive seasons, until perpetual shoulder injuries robbed him of the ability to make accurate throws to first.  To this day, he appears in the top ten of many all time statistical categories for the Pirates. [click to continue…]

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We recieved a nice email from a fan Cliff Zeke Zier, a contributor on the Baseballisms Facebook Fan page, who very generously sent us some cool baseball images he has collected over the years.  He acquired these very early pieces of baseball memorabilia at The Baseball Hall of Fame.

Here is a Cap Anson Cap Anson Baseball Card | Baseballisms.comimage. It’s interesting to see that the card used the “t” for Capt., which is the original origin of the nickname for Adrian Constantine Anson.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939, he was the first to achieve the 3000 hit milestone while playing for the Chicago Cubs franchise (at the time the White Stockings).

Anson managed the Cubs beginning in 1888, and briefly returned to the bench in 1898 as the skipper of the New York Giants.

Check out the Hall of Fame’s Inductee Biography Page for Cap Anson.

Next in Zeke’s collection is this image of Ed Delahanty from the Philadelphia Quakers / Phillies.  Delahanty’s career ran from 1888 through 1903.  The 1887 copyright listed on the photo initially confused me as to the identity of the player, as I wondered if it might be a different Delahanty.

The career details presented on the back of the image state that in 1899 he lead the league in hitting with a mark of .408. He also had a 4 homer game (amazing in that era), and had 6 hits in 6 at bats twice in his career.

Inducted in 1945, here is the Hall of Fame’s Inductee Biography Page on Ed Delahanty.

Mike Kelly Baseball Photography | Baseballisms.comMike “King” Kelly played for a number of teams during a career that ran from 1878 through 1893.  This picture dated 1887 for Boston chronicles his stint as the Beaneaters player-manager.  He had 156 hits with a .322 batting average and stole 84 bases, while accumulating a 49-43 record as manager…. but check out the lumber he was using, amazing to consider how hard it must have been to make contact!

King played in the important Players League, founded by John Montgomery Ward (and discussed on Cover the Bases episodes with Lee Lowenfish as well as Dan Fost).  He was the catcher for the Boston Reds who were the Season Champs with a .628 winning percentage.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945, here is the Inductee Biography Page for Mike “King” Kelly.

Do you have any baseball memorabilia you would like to share like Zeke has?  We would love to profile your collection and the stories behind your passion!  You can send us an email to wisdom@baseballisms.com or if the timing is right we can schedule a segment on our latest effort, Down the Line.

Again, a big thanks to Cliff “Zeke” Zier for sharing his memorabilia with the Baseballisms community.  You can hear his Baseball Memories podcast on Blogtalk Radio for NDB Media.

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In the first of a new Baseballisms collection called Down the Line, we are grateful to Michael Hoffman for inviting us into his home to discuss his personal story about growing up a Yankee fan.  He also shares tales of his annual pilgrimage to Cooperstown to attend the induction ceremonies at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

We invite you to share your personal baseball story … Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We are looking to develop more of the Down the Line videos, as an archive of conversations with baseball fans about their passion for the game.

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Baseball Fan Michael Hoffman’s submission to Baseballisms.com reprinted with permission.  There was one common thread amongst all of the discussion upon the passing of  Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, and that was how nice of a person he was.  A friend of Baseballisms journeys to the Hall every year and has this first hand account of this legendary player ….

We lost a Hall of Famer recently and the impact was more painful than usual. I visit Cooperstown every year and would say hi to Robin always with a warm response. He was always there to support the Hall after his induction. He had great stories of people he faced during his Hall of Fame career. My special thing was his Home Runs as a pitcher. Robin was very proud of the feat and would let me know each year when I saw him. I will treasure the stories and the time I spent with him.  BTW, Robin hit 5 home runs!

Michael

Do you have a story like Michael’s?  We invite you to share your personal baseball story … Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We look forward to continuing to grow a community of fans interested in Wisdom from the Diamond!

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