HOF: Why Tommy McCarthy? – by G. Scott Thomas

I wrote a e book final yr concerning the Nationwide Baseball Corridor of Fame. Cooperstown at the Crossroads applauded the corridor’s excellent honorees — dozens and dozens of them — and bemoaned its occasional clunkers.

My last chapter provided a nine-point plan to reinvigorate the Corridor of Fame. I really helpful a number of main changes to the corridor’s election course of and its bodily format, although I finished wanting advocating the elimination of any of its 342 plaques.

“Each participant, supervisor, govt, and umpire who was admitted to the Corridor of Fame was assured of everlasting enshrinement,” I wrote. “There is no such thing as a provision within the corridor’s guidelines for the reconsideration of previous election outcomes or the elimination of members. The accolade was meant to be perpetual. How might such a promise be damaged?”

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Others haven’t been so circumspect.

John Leo, a syndicated newspaper columnist, wrote a great article for the New York Occasions in 1988. He recommended that the Corridor of Fame ought to observe the lead of artwork museums that “deaccession” — a well mannered phrase for “unload” — work and sculptures they now not need. Leo put it this fashion: “Who wouldn’t wish to deaccession gamers like Sunny Jim Bottomley, Zack Wheat, Jesse Haines, Chick Hafey, or George Kell, who was mistakenly accessioned just a few years in the past by the perennially woeful Committee on Veterans?”

He had a degree. It is generally agreed that a number of unworthy candidates have made their method to Cooperstown because the corridor’s first election in 1936. Leo was prepared to share his nominees, and sure, regardless of my sentiments above, I’ve just a few of my very own.

I intend to look at just a few of those borderline immortals over the Fridays to return, and I suggest to start out with the weakest of all of them, Tommy McCarthy.

I developed a 100-point indicator, which I name a high quality rating (QS), to evaluate the relative deserves of the corridor’s present and potential honorees. A participant with a QS equal to or better than 60 factors is nearly sure of election to the Corridor of Fame. Anyone between 45 and 59 factors has a superb chance of constructing it to Cooperstown, whereas a candidate between 30 and 44 factors has a marginal likelihood.

And if a participant has a rating decrease than 30 factors? He may make it, although the percentages are closely stacked towards him.

Tommy McCarthy, an outfielder for a number of golf equipment in the course of the late 1800s, has the excellence of possessing the bottom QS amongst all 270 gamers within the corridor. (The opposite 72 honorees had been chosen for excellence off the sector.)

McCarthy was undeniably quick — stealing as many as 93 bases in a season — although he in any other case failed to differentiate himself. The QS for his total profession amounted to at least one level on the size of 100. A single level!

Maury Wills topped McCarthy’s thievery on two events, memorably peaking at 104 stolen bases in 1962. His QS of 13 factors was low, although clearly higher than McCarthy’s one measly level. But Wills by no means acquired greater than 41 p.c of the votes in any Corridor of Fame election, far beneath the required 75 p.c.

So why was McCarthy enshrined and Wills repudiated?

Cynics have lengthy pinned the blame on chauvinism. McCarthy was elected in 1946, not by the nation’s baseball writers (the standard route for top-flight gamers), however by a small panel referred to as the Previous-Timers Committee.

The committee’s strongest member, Connie Mack, had been born Cornelius McGillicuddy. It was maybe no coincidence that the corridor’s lessons of 1945 and 1946 abounded with Irish surnames: Bresnahan, Collins, Delahanty, Duffy, Kelly, McGinnity, O’Rourke, Walsh, and sure, McCarthy. “The brand new immortals appeared like a roll name at a gathering of the Historic Order of Hibernians,” creator Zev Chafets complained.

McCarthy’s plaque in Cooperstown credit him with 109 steals in a single season — a quantity now recognized to be inflated — and heralds him as a “pioneer in trapping fly balls within the outfield.” That’s a mighty skinny basis for any Corridor of Fame resumé.

If Cooperstown ever considers deaccessioning a few of its plaques, Tommy McCarthy can be pretty much as good a beginning place as any.

  • Profession: 1884-1896

  • Groups: Boston (Nationwide League), Boston (Union Affiliation), Brooklyn (NL), Philadelphia (NL), St. Louis (American Affiliation)

  • Main positions: RF, LF

  • Profession stats: G 1,273, HR 44, RBI 732, BA .292

  • League chief: PA twice, AB as soon as, SB as soon as

  • High quality rating: 1 level (poor)

  • Chosen to HOF: 1946

  • Chosen by: Previous-Timers Committee