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DonRocks

Baseball Hall of Fame 1939 Photo - Featuring Ten Inductees from 1936-1939

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To any hardcore baseball fan (which is short for "fanatic"), this photo will emblaze a permanent memory. If you're not sitting down, sit down before you read any further - to fully understand the level of royalty in this photo, scroll down to read the fact list about each player.

Standing, L to R: Honus Wager, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, George Sisler, Walter Johnson

Sitting, L to R: Eddie Collins, Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, Cy Young

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Kudos to Don for posting this. Every time I see a photo like this one, I'm reminded of how great our national pastime is, and how much history of our country is embedded into baseball -- like no other sport in no other country.

There have been other great baseball pictures -- Babe Ruth's final farewell, with his #3 Yankee uniform barely draped over his cancer-riddled frame -- won a Pulitzer, and Lou Gehrig, humbly giving one of the great speeches in American history, still makes tears well up in my eyes.

Thanks for posting this.

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I created this fact sheet so non-baseball fans can realize the level of royalty depicted in this photo. Click on the player's name for his Wikipedia entry, and on "Stats" for his career statistics:

 

Honus Wagner ("The Flying Dutchman") - Stats

In 2007 a T206 Wagner baseball card sold for $2.8 million.

In 14 consecutive years, Wagner batted .341, .381, .353, .330, .355, .349, .363, .339, .359, .354, .339, .320, .334, and .324.

Wagner is ranked #7 on the all-time hits list, #9 on the all-time doubles list, #3 on the all-time triples list, #10 on the all-time stolen bases list, and won the NL batting title 8 times.

Legendary manager John McGraw called Wagner "The greatest ball player of all-time."

 

Grover Cleveland Alexander ("Old Pete") - Stats

Alexander was portrayed by Ronald Reagan in the 1952 film, "The Winning Team."

In 4 consecutive years, Alexander averaged 30.25 wins per season, and his 6th-highest win total was 27 games.

Alexander is ranked #3 (tie) on the all-time wins list, #2 on the all-time shutouts list, #10 on the all-time innings list, and won the pitching Triple Crown 3 times.

In the 7th game of the 1926 World Series, with Alexander's Cardinals up 3-2, he struck out the Yankees' Tony Lazzeri with 2 outs and the bases loaded.

 

Tris Speaker ("The Grey Eagle") - Stats

Known primarily for his offense, Speaker, due to playing so shallow in center field, is ranked #1 all-time for outfielders in assists, double plays, and unassisted double plays.

In 8 consecutive years, Speaker batted .340, .334, .383, .363, .338, .322, .386, and .352. Later, in 6 consecutive years, he batted .388, .362, .378, .380, .344, and .389.

Speaker is ranked #6 on the all-time batting-average list, #5 on the all-time hits list, #9 on the all-time singles list, #1 on the all-time doubles list, and #6 on the all-time triples list.

John McGraw said, "Ty Cobb would have to play center field on my all-time team, but where would that put Tris Speaker? In left ... I would certainly play them that way." 

 

Nap Lajoie ("The Frenchman") - Stats

Lajoie recorded the highest single-season batting average since 1900, hitting an inhuman .426, and also leading the AL in runs, hits, doubles, home runs, and RBIs.

Spread out over 3 different decades, Lajoie batted over .360 in 9 separate seasons, throwing in .355, .337, .335, .329, .326, .324, and .324 for good measure.

Lajoie is ranked #7 on the all-time doubles list, won the AL batting title 5 times, led the league in putouts 5 times, and was only the 3rd player to record 3,000 career hits,

When a newspaper conducted a fan write-in naming contest, the Cleveland team was renamed the Cleveland Naps, to honor their beloved team captain, for 9 seasons.

 

George Sisler ("Gentleman George") - Stats

Sisler was the first AL MVP in history, and holds the record for most hits (257) in a 154-game season - his record was broken by Ichiro Suzuki in the 160th game of 2004.

In 5 consecutive years, Sisler batted .353, .341, .352, .407, and .371. Then, in year #6, he had what is possibly the single greatest year in major-league history.

That 6th season, Sisler batted .420, led the AL in hits (246), stolen bases (51), triples (18), had a 41-game hitting streak, and was considered the best fielding 1st baseman.

Sisler was instrumental in scouting for Branch Rickey to find black players for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and his work contributed to the signing of Jackie Robinson.

 

Walter Johnson ("The Big Train") - Stats

In 10 consecutive years, Johnson won an incredible 25, 25, 33, 36, 28, 27, 26, 23, 23, and 20 games - 1 of only 2 players after 1900 to accomplish this amazing feat.

Johnson is ranked #1 on the all-time shutouts list (3 of the top 4 are in this photo), #2 on the all-time wins list, and #4 on the all-time complete games list.

For over 50 years, Johnson was the only pitcher to throw 3,000 strikeouts - Bob Gibson matched the achievement in 1974 - and led the AL in strikeouts a record 12 times.

Ty Cobb recalled his first meeting against Johnson: "We couldn't touch him ... every one of us knew we'd met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park."

 

Eddie Collins ("Cocky") - Stats

During a 25-year career, Collins batted at least .344 in 10 different seasons, and is 1 of only 4 players in modern history with a .400 on-base percentage and 500 steals.

Collins is ranked #3 on the all-time singles list, #8 on the all-time stolen bases list, #10 on the all-time on-base list, #1 on the all-time sacrifices list, and #7 on the all-time assists list.

Collins is the only player in major-league history to steal 6 bases in a single game ... and after he did it, he turned around and did it again 11 days later. Really.

Connie Mack said of Collins, "He was the greatest second baseman who ever lived," and John McGraw said Collins was "the greatest second baseman of all time."

 

Babe Ruth ("The Bambino", "The Sultan of Swat") - Stats

Before becoming an outfielder, Ruth was one of the best pitchers in the major leagues, winning 23+ games twice, and having a career W-L record of 94-46 and a 2.28 ERA.

Ruth is ranked #10 on the all-time batting average list, #2 on the all-time on-base percentage list, #1 on the all-time slugging list, and #4 on the all-time runs list.

Ruth is also ranked #6 on the all-time total bases list, #3 on the all-time home-runs list, #2 on the all-time RBIs list, #3 on the all-time walks list, and I've run out of room.

Along with Muhammad Ali, and perhaps Wilt Chamberlain and Jim Thorpe, Ruth is the greatest American sports icon in history without much if any serious debate.

 

Connie Mack ("The Tall Tactician") - Stats

Mack is the longest-serving manager in baseball history, with an unearthly total of 7,755 games managed - the equivalent of more than 50 full seasons of managing every game.

Surprisingly, Mack played in the major leagues for 11 seasons, with 659 hits, 265 RBIs, and 127 stolen bases - leaving people to wonder how to fit all this in during one lifetime.

Mack has a career record of 3,731-3,948, giving him over 1,000 more wins than any other manager in history, and over twice as many losses as any other manager in history.

Ogden Nash wrote about Mack in one verse of his 1949 poem, "Line-Up for Yesterday": "Q is for Don Quixote, Cornelius Mack; Neither Yankees nor years, Can halt his attack."

 

Cy Young ("Cyclone") - Stats

Holding the major-league record in both wins (by 94 games) *and* losses, Young's records for games started (815) and especially complete games (749) are secure.

Young is ranked #1 on the all-time wins list, #6 on the all-time hits/nine-innings list, #2 on the all-time strikeouts/nine-innings list, and #1 on the all-time innings-pitched list.

Young is also ranked #1 on the all-time games-started list, #1 on the all-time complete-games list, #4 on the all-time shutouts list, and #1 on the all-time assists list.

The year after Young's passing, the Cy Young Award debuted, and next to the Most Valuable Player award, is now the most prestigious individual award in baseball.

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Ty Cobb would have been in this too but he didn't show up for the induction ceremony. Babe Ruth forgot his tie.

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Legendary manager Jim Thorpe, Ruth is the greatest American sports icon in history without much if any serious debate.

McGraw hated Babe Ruth. McGraw was a great proponent of "Scientific Baseball" which he capitalized on to create the great Giants dynasty of the first two decades of the 20th century. Babe Ruth blew away "Scientific Baseball" by adding power to the game, instead of McGraw's 'small ball' and McGraw also hated him for taking the attention of New York (and the rest of the country) away from McGraw's Giants. I am reading the book about the 1923 season by Robert Weintraub that details the transfer of power from the Giants to the Yankees.

It has been said by many knowledgeable observers of the American way of life that Babe Ruth, along with Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley, were probably the only three people who couldn't walk down any American street in any city and not be mobbed by fans.

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Ty Cobb would have been in this too but he didn't show up for the induction ceremony. Babe Ruth forgot his tie.

Notable absences are also Rogers Hornsby who *averaged over .400* over the course of 5 seasons, and Christy Mathewson who won 22+ games in 12 straight seasons, *averaging 27.25 wins* those years.

As incredible as this roster of players is, Ty Cobb had stats that look like something out of a video game. Go to this link and look at his year-to-year batting average: He won the AL batting title 12 out of 13 years (the year he didn't, he batted .371), his *9th* best season was .382, his *14th* best season was .368, and his *23rd* best season was .316. How do you bat .366 over the course of an entire career?

u-bet, when I first read this, I thought you were probably taking a swat at Cobb, but now I'm wondering if you were serious: Was Cobb invited, and just didn't show up? If so, can you find an article?

And I also noticed at the time hat Ruth was the only one without a tie, and thought were you making a joke, but now I'm wondering: Did he really forget his tie?

McGraw hated Babe Ruth. McGraw was a great proponent of "Scientific Baseball" which he capitalized on to create the great Giants dynasty of the first two decades of the 20th century. Babe Ruth blew away "Scientific Baseball" by adding power to the game, instead of McGraw's 'small ball' and McGraw also hated him for taking the attention of New York (and the rest of the country) away from McGraw's Giants. I am reading the book about the 1923 season by Robert Weintraub that details the transfer of power from the Giants to the Yankees.

It has been said by many knowledgeable observers of the American way of life that Babe Ruth, along with Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley, were probably the only three people who couldn't walk down any American street in any city and not be mobbed by fans.

It's pretty obvious from some of McGraw's quotes that he valued "small ball" - he raved about Eddie Collins, who was awesome, but he was no Babe Ruth.

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Ty Cobb would have been in this too but he didn't show up for the induction ceremony. Babe Ruth forgot his tie.

Thanks. I wondered why Cobb was not in the picture.

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u-bet, when I first read this, I thought you were probably taking a swat at Cobb, but now I'm wondering if you were serious: Was Cobb invited, and just didn't show up? If so, can you find an article?

I was going by my recollection of the account of this in Ken Burns' "Baseball" documentary series (which I don't think I will ever tire of watching over and over again; best iTunes purchase I ever made). However, I did find this, which says more specifically that he and his son actually showed up late due to "poor travel planning".

And I also noticed at the time hat Ruth was the only one without a tie, and thought were you making a joke, but now I'm wondering: Did he really forget his tie?

I couldn't find anything more on this, but it's also from Ken Burns' Baseball; simply a line spoken by narrator John Chancellor: "Babe Ruth forgot his tie".

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On 6/14/2015 at 2:27 PM, DonRocks said:

I created this fact sheet so non-baseball fans can realize the level of royalty depicted in this photo. Click on the player's name for his Wikipedia entry, and on "Stats" for his career statistics:

Jim Thorpe, Ruth is the greatest American sports icon in history without much if any serious debate.

Connie Mack ("The Tall Tactician") - Stats

Mack is the longest-serving manager in baseball history, with an unearthly total of 7,755 games managed - the equivalent of more than 50 full seasons of managing every game.

Surprisingly, Mack played in the major leagues for 11 seasons, with 659 hits, 265 RBIs, and 127 stolen bases - leaving people to wonder how to fit all this in during one lifetime.

Mack has a career record of 3,731-3,948, giving him over 1,000 more wins than any other manager in history, and over twice as many losses as any other manager in history.

Ogden Nash wrote about Mack in one verse of his 1949 poem, "Line-Up for Yesterday": "Q is for Don Quixote, Cornelius Mack; Neither Yankees nor years, Can halt his attack."

Cy Young ("Cyclone") - Stats

Holding the major-league record in both wins (by 94 games) *and* losses, Young's records for games started (815) and especially complete games (749) are secure.

Young is ranked #1 on the all-time wins list, #6 on the all-time hits/nine-innings list, #2 on the all-time strikeouts/nine-innings list, and #1 on the all-time innings-pitched list.

Young is also ranked #1 on the all-time games-started list, #1 on the all-time complete-games list, #4 on the all-time shutouts list, and #1 on the all-time assists list.

The year after Young's passing, the Cy Young Award debuted, and next to the Most Valuable Player award, is now the most prestigious individual award in baseball.

Where. The Fuck. Did. My Post. Go ?!?!?!?!?!?!

I spent 20-30 hours writing this post about every player in the photo - only the above remains, and I'm just now finding this out.

:angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry:

---

WELL, THANK *GOODNESS* FOR THE WAYBACK MACHINE. They've saved me yet again. 

Please at least read the post to see how much work I put into it. I'll fix the links later, but at least the general organization has been preserved.

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