Year Inducted: 1972 (Veterans Committee)
In the early 1970’s, several players were inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee that led to the Committee having their powers reduced. This is because, as was mentioned in the Chick Hafey and George Kelly posts, they inducted many players from the Giants and Cardinals who were seen by the general populace as being substandard. Ross Youngs, who played all 10 of his years for the New York Giants, was one of those. Unlike Kelly, who was never really dominant, Youngs showed some dominance in his short career.
Before his career ended, Youngs was on his way to a Hall of Fame career. Youngs slashed an impressive .322/.399/.441 for a wRC+ of 135, providing a consistent offensive force for the NY Giants. He may have only hit 42 home runs at a time when home run rates were going up (thanks in no small part to the other right fielder playing in New York at the time.), but he supplemented that by hitting 236 doubles and 93 triples. He also scored over 800 runs in his brief career.
The problem is that because it was so short, he’d have to be Koufax-like dominant. And, his career numbers just aren’t there. A right fielder only hitting 42 home runs would have needed well over 2000 hits in such a short time to be considered great, or star defensively (he wasn’t) or steal a lot of bases (he didn’t).
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to extend his career beyond 10 years. In 1926, Youngs contracted Bright’s disease, which was what the 1920’s called kidney inflammation. He passed away from the disease at the age of 30, after the 1927 season. His former manager, John McGraw, along with former teammates, championed his cause for the Hall of Fame, but the BBWAA never gave him more than 22% of the vote.
And then, Bill Terry and Frankie Frisch became heads of the Veterans Committee and voted in a bunch of their teammates. And, like Hafey and Kelly, Youngs was one of those teammates. And this is why it is a good thing that the Veterans Committee has been changed since then. Obviously Youngs was talented and he had a high average, but he just didn’t do enough. Had he not passed away when he did, he probably would have had a Hall of Fame worthy career, or at least a better case than what he currently has. However, the voters shouldn’t vote based off of what “probably” would have happened; they should only consider what did occur. Youngs was talented, very good, taken before his time. Sadly, he just didn’t do enough in that time to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Stay tuned for the next update for the candidate that was initially responsible for this entire system. Updates will now occur daily in order to post the entire ranking before the next BBWAA election results are announced in January.
On deck 7/7/16 this Hall of Fame second baseman was famed for his heroics in the 1960 World Series.