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Mazeroski


Birds08

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There are 5 2nd basemen in the HOF with a career OPS below league average. I was surprised to observe that all of them were inducted many years after they played -- presumably by the veterans committee -- and that none of them were inducted prior to 1954.

      Player         From  To  Inducted  G    AB    R    H   2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO    BA   OBP   SLG   SB   CS  OPS+ Rabbit Maranville*  1912-1935   1954   2670 10078 1255 2605 380 177  28  884  839  756  .258  .318  .340  291  93   82John Ward*          1878-1894   1964   1825  7647 1408 2104 231  96  26  867  420  326  .275  .314  .341  540   -   93Red Schoendienst*   1945-1963   1989   2216  8479 1223 2449 427  78  84  773  606  346  .289  .337  .387   89  27   93Nellie Fox*         1947-1965   1997   2367  9232 1279 2663 355 112  35  790  719  216  .288  .348  .363   76  80   94Bill Mazeroski*     1956-1972   2001   2163  7755  769 2016 294  62 138  853  447  706  .260  .299  .367   27  23   84

I don't know when the veterans committee was established, although I assume that Jon Wilts probably has the answer. :) I would hypothesize that players assigned greater importance to defensive skills than the BBWA voters did.

Which doesn't explain how John Ward got elected, since he played before the turn of the century and no one who voted for him in 1964 would have seen him play, even in newsreels. I assume that he was selected based upon reputation, as documented by the reporters covering the games and in memoirs of his fellow players.

I was going to offer up a theory about the confluence of better gloves and improved groundskeeping might have created impressions of greatly improved defensive play, but I don't have any idea when the greatest advances were made in gloves and infield preparation. It might have occurred before or after Mazeroski's era.

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In Pittsburgh, the one original piece of the fence from Forbes Field, that they left standing (home plate is two stories up in a U. of Pitt hallway...) the piece of fence Maz hit THE hr over, is still standing. One wild and crazy night we relieved ourselves on it. :P

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Which doesn't explain how John Ward got elected, since he played before the turn of the century and no one who voted for him in 1964 would have seen him play, even in newsreels. I assume that he was selected based upon reputation, as documented by the reporters covering the games and in memoirs of his fellow players.

Didn't John Montgomery Ward go in at least partly as a "pioneer"? I seem to vaguely recall that, although I can't rember what he pioneered in particular.

EDIT: OK, the wikipedia entry on him doesn't really back that up, but its pretty interesting reading. He was also a pretty decent pitcher (and threw the second perfect game ever), formed the first baseball players union with Ned Hanlon, helped form the Player's League, managed for several years and served as an executive. He is also apparently one of the credited inventors of the curveball.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Montgomery_Ward

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