By Glen Sparks
The man who developed the shortstop position, the pitcher who won an MVP award in 1935, and eight other early baseball executives and players may be enshrined this summer in the Baseball Hall of Fame. They comprise the Pre-Integration Committee candidates.
A candidate needs 75 percent of the vote for induction. The Pre-Integration Committee is made up of 16 Hall of Fame members, plus an assortment of executives, media members and historians. The Hall of Famers include Bert Blyleven, Bobby Cox, Pat Gillick and Phil Niekro. Results of the Dec. 7 vote will be made public on Jan. 6, 2016. Enshrinement will be July 24 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
The Pre-Integration candidates were selected from a group of managers, umpires, executives and players who made an impact on the game from its origins through 1946.
The Pre-Integration Era ballot by the Historical Overview Committee, comprised of 11 veteran historians: Dave Van Dyck (Chicago Tribune); Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun); Jim Henneman (formerly Baltimore Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (formerly New York Daily News); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA secretary/treasurer); Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Tracy Ringolsby (MLB.com); Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).
Here is a brief bio of each Hall of Fame candidate:
Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams (1814-1899) – One of the game’s pioneers, Adams created the shortstop position and led many of the early rules committees. A long-time player, he also served as president of the New York Knickerbocker Base Ball club. The New Hampshire native oversaw baseball and bat production for many area teams. John Thorn, MLB’s official historian, has called Adams “first among the Fathers of Baseball.” (My two-part interview with Marjorie Adams, Doc’s great-granddaughter, will be posted Thursday and Friday. You can learn much more about Doc Adams and his contributions to early baseball.)
Sam Breadon (1876-1949) – Breadon served as president and majority owner of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1920 through 1947. Under his tenure, the Redbirds were transformed from a perennial also-ran into a National League powerhouse. St. Louis won nine pennants and six World Series with Breadon as owner. Players such as Rogers Hornsby, Frankie Frisch, Dizzy Dean, Pepper Martin, Johnny Mize, Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst and Stan Musial prospered in the Breadon era.
Bill Dahlen (1870-1950) – Dahlen played 21 seasons (1891-1911) in the majors. The shortstop batted .272 lifetime with 84 home runs. He also stole 548 bases. Following his retirement, Dahlen stood first on the all-time list in games played (2,443) and in the top 10 in RBI (1,234), walks (1,064), doubles (414), runs (1,589) and extra-base hits (661) and several other categories. He played for the Chicago Orphans, Brooklyn Superbas, New York Giants and Boston Doves.
Wes Ferrell (1908-76) – The right-hander pitched 15 seasons and for six teams (most notably, the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox). He compiled a 193-128 lifetime won-loss record with a 4.04 ERA. A six-time 20-game winner, Ferrell led the American League in complete games four times. Ferrell threw a no-hitter in 1931 and was runner-up in the MVP race in 1935.
August “Garry” Herrmann (1859-31) – The president of the Cincinnati Reds from 1902-27, Hermann also led the game’s National Commission from 1903-20, in effect making him the game’s commissioner. He also led efforts to start the modern World Series between the National and American leagues.
Marty Marion (1916-1911) — A tall (6-foot-2), lanky shortstop, Marion played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1940-50 and the Browns from 1952-53. An eight-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion, Marion batted .263 lifetime and won the 1944 N.L. MVP. Marion also managed the Cardinals in 1951, the Browns in 1952-53 and the Chicago White Sox from 1954-56.
Frank McCormick (1911-82) — McCormick won the 1940 N.L. MVP for the Cincinnati Reds. The first baseman made nine All-Star teams and led the league in RBI in 1939. McCormick batted .299 over his 15-year career and topped the N.L. in hits from 1938-40.
Harry Stovey (1856-1937) – Stovey played 14 seasons as an outfielder in the National League and American Association. One of the game’s early power hitters, he led his league in homers five times. He belted 174 home runs and swiped 549 bases. Stovey broke in with the Worcester, Mass., Ruby Legs and saw action with five other teams.
Chris von der Ahe (1851-1913) – Von der Ahe founded the original St. Louis Browns—now, the St. Louis Cardinals—and owned the club from 1881-99. His team won American Association championships from 1885 through 1888. The Prussian-born owner built a statue outside Sportsman’s Park, not of a player, but of himself. Von der Ahe called himself a “millionaire sportsman.”
Bucky Walters (1909-1991) – The right-hander’s 198-160 lifetime won-loss record belies his many accomplishments. Walters went 27-9 for the 1939 Cincinnati Reds and won the N.L. MVP. He was a six-time All-Star, who led the league in wins three times, ERA twice and strikeouts once. Walters had a 3.30 career ERA.