HOF: Freddie Lindstrom, actually? – by G. Scott Thomas

Freddie Lindstrom was well-known in his day. Type of.

Let’s set the scene. The 1924 World Collection. The New York Giants and Washington Senators tied at three wins apiece. Sport Seven to find out the champion.

New York’s common third baseman, Heinie Groh, had injured his knee late within the common season. He was changed within the Giants’ lineup by the 18-year-old Lindstrom, to today the youngest participant to seem in a World Collection.

Lindstrom performed properly within the first six video games, going nine-for-25. He even rapped 4 hits off of Washington ace Walter Johnson in Sport 5.

Sport Seven was a unique matter. The Giants held a two-run lead when the Senators loaded the bases within the eighth inning. A floor ball struck one thing — possibly a pebble or a clod of dust — and bounded over Lindstrom’s head. Sport tied.

On to the twelfth inning. Washington had two runners on base when the identical factor occurred. A grounder skipped previous Lindstrom, and the Senators received the one world championship of their benighted historical past.

Lindstrom turned a fixture at third base for the Giants all through the remainder of the Twenties, then bounced round to different positions (heart and left subject) and different groups (two years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, a season apiece with the Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers) earlier than retiring in 1936.

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Lindstrom loved some superb seasons — a league-leading 231 hits in 1928, a .379 batting common in 1930 — however he was all the time adopted by a cloud. It was unfair, however he would all the time be remembered at the start because the goat of the 1924 collection. These sad floor balls have been prominently talked about, in fact, in his obituaries in 1981.

Right here’s the essential level. Lindstrom’s profession numbers have been good, particularly his 1,747 hits, however no one considered him as a Corridor of Famer.

How do I do know? Take into account this: Lindstrom was eligible for the primary 20 Corridor of Fame elections, which have been performed by the Baseball Writers’ Affiliation of America (BBWAA) between 1936 and 1962. The voters utterly ignored him on 15 of these events. These have been the 5 instances that he obtained any assist:

  • 1949: 1 vote (0.65%)

  • 1956: 3 votes (1.55%)

  • 1958: 5 votes (1.88%)

  • 1960: 6 votes (2.23%)

  • 1962: 7 votes (4.38%)

That’s a grand complete of twenty-two votes in 20 elections. Not precisely a mandate for induction, particularly when you think about that the BBWAA’s threshold has all the time been 75 p.c. Lindstrom completed greater than 70 factors under that customary in his finest 12 months, 1962.

I’m not criticizing the voters. I developed a separate indicator of Corridor of Fame worthiness, the standard rating (QS), which is plotted on a 100-point scale. Anyone with a minimum of 60 factors is a rock-solid alternative for Cooperstown, whereas anybody under 30 is a poor candidate.

Lindstrom’s QS was 4 factors. The BBWAA was utterly justified in turning away his candidacy.

However there’s a second path to baseball immortality, identified in these days because the Veterans Committee. The 12-man panel was dominated within the early Nineteen Seventies by a pair of Lindstrom’s former teammates, Frankie Frisch and Invoice Terry.

The committee made some actually terrible Corridor of Fame picks throughout their tenure, together with Jesse Haines (QS of 11 factors) in 1970, Dave Bancroft (16) and Chick Hafey (13) in 1971, Ross Youngs (12) in 1972, and George Kelly (5) in 1973. None had attracted a lot curiosity from the corridor’s gatekeepers, the BBWAA, however all had performed with one of many committee’s two ringleaders, typically each.

Frisch was lifeless by 1976, however previous habits are arduous to shake. The Veterans Committee elected Freddie Lindstrom to Cooperstown that 12 months — by a unanimous vote of the 12 members.

It was a pleasant current for a 70-year-old man, a pleasant strategy to dispel the ghosts of 1924 and ensure that, sure certainly, Lindstrom had been a ballplayer of top quality in his time.

He simply hadn’t been of Corridor of Fame high quality.

  • Profession: 1924-1936

  • Groups: Brooklyn (Nationwide League), Chicago (NL), New York (NL), Pittsburgh (NL)

  • Major place: 3B

  • Profession stats: G 1,438, HR 103, RBI 779, BA .311

  • League chief: H as soon as, CS as soon as

  • High quality rating: 4 factors (poor)

  • Chosen to HOF: 1976

  • Chosen by: Veterans Committee