Second basemen tend to be the smaller, less powerful players on a team. Most are good base runners, and most hit for a high average. Like at first base, there are twenty second basemen inducted in the Hall of Fame, ranging from Rogers Hornsby to Johnny Evers. Second basemen check in with a median score of 24104, ranking between Ryne Sandberg and Joe Gordon. Let’s see where a few outside players rank: Continue reading
Year Inducted: 1942 (BBWAA, ballot #5, 182/233)
In 1921, the hit movie The Sheik debuted. It became such a hit that certain segments of the country became enthusiastic about things that sounded “Arabian”. The enthusiasm soon permeated baseball, where the top two hitters soon gained nicknames based on what was perceived as Arabian culture. One was, fairly obviously, Babe Ruth’s monicker the “Sultan of Swat”. However, over in the National League, the top slugger was nicknamed the “Rajah of Swat” was about to win the Triple Crown in 1922 with what was probably the best season ever experienced by a second baseman. That player was Rogers Hornsby.
Year Inducted: 1939 (BBWAA, ballot #4, 213/274)
The Dead Ball Era was not necessarily a point of terrible offense for Major League Baseball, just a point in time when there was relatively little power. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t some great hitters of that era, rather the great hitters of that time were some of the best ever. Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker were the greatest hitters of that time, but both finished with more than 100 career homers. The one player that best epitomized that era, where slap hitting, line drives and excellent base running were the keys to winning, was Eddie Collins.
Year Inducted: 1949 (BBWAA, ballot #6, 159/187, runoff)
Consistency is something that is a valuable commodity in baseball. When it comes to the Hall of Fame, consistency can sometimes be overvalued. A consistently average pitcher over 20 seasons, while being fairly remarkable, will sometimes put up numbers that make him look greater than he really was. The same is true of hitters. However, what makes a player like Eddie Murray or Hank Aaron amazing was that they were consistently great. Both players were constantly among the top players in their leagues, and could do that for a long time. Power hitters tend to be the more consistent hitters, but it isn’t always the case. One player that was a consistent hitter without a lot of power (in a classic sense) was Detroit second baseman, Charlie Gehringer.
Year Inducted: 1937 (BBWAA, ballot #2, 168/201)
In 1901, two future Hall of Famers jumped ship from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Athletics when the new American League was formed. Both players were technically under contract with the Phillies at the time, so the team got the state of Pennsylvania to pass an injunction to prevent both players from playing baseball in the state for a team other than the Phillies. To get around this, both players were flipped in 1902 to the Indians, where both became instant successes. One player was Elmer Flick. The other was Nap Lajoie, who became a such cultural sensation that they decided to rename the team the Cleveland Naps while he was playing there.
Year Inducted: 1990 (BBWAA, ballot #1, 363/444)
The Big Red Machine was one of the greatest assemblies of talent ever on a baseball roster. Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, George Foster, Dan Driessen, Dave Concepcion, Senior Griffey, Cesar Geronimo, what an imposing and deep lineup. But, while many of those players were together for a couple of years, it wasn’t until 1972 that the team gelled and began its dominance. It was this season that the Reds acquired someone to man the keystone position that proved to be the key to them exploding. That was when they got future Hall of Famer, Joe Morgan.
Year Inducted: 1947 (BBWAA, ballot #6, 136/161)
After winning the World Series in 1926, the Cardinals and Rogers Hornsby (their player-manager and best player) were in contract disputes. Hornsby wanted a new three year deal, while Sam Breedon and Branch Rickey wanted a one year deal to prove himself after an injury plagued season (and off field issues). At the same time, manager John McGraw of the Giants had a bitter falling out with his second baseman, so the teams agreed to a swap. That’s how the disgruntled Hornsby left St Louis. The player the Cardinals got for the best right handed hitter of all-time? Well, he just happened to do pretty well, too.