The National Baseball Hall of Fame has hopped into the way-back machine in search for potential candidates for the 2013 Induction class.
Ten men — Samuel Breadon, Bill Dahlen, Wes Ferrell, Marty Marion, Tony Mullane, Hank O’Day, Alfred Reach, Jacob Ruppert, Bucky Walters and Deacon White are up for consideration on the Pre-Integration Era ballot. All are deceased.
They built their resumes largely before 1946.
Candidates must receive at least 12 votes from the 16-member, Pre-Integration Era Committee to earn election. The voting will occur during Baseball’s Winter Meetings on Dec. 2 and 3. Those elected will join anyone who emerges from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting Jan. 9 in the 2013 Induction class. The Induction Ceremony will be July 28 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown.
The finalists were selected by the BBWAA-appointed Historical Overview Committee from candidates among managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players. Eligible candidates include players who played at least 10 major league seasons, who are not on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list, and have been retired for 21 or more seasons; and managers, umpires and executives with 10 or more years in baseball.
The Historical Overview Committee was composed of 11 historians: Dave Van Dyck (Chicago Tribune); Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (New York Daily News); Ken Nigro (formerly Baltimore Sun); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA secretary/treasurer); Tracy Ringolsby (FSN Rocky Mountain); Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); Claire Smith (ESPN); and Mark Whicker (Orange County Register).
Those voting on the candidates include Hall of Famers Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick, Phil Niekro and Don Sutton. Others on the panel are major league executives Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gary Hughes and Bob Watson, and historians/journalists Jim Hennegan, Hirdt, Peter Morris, Phil Pepe, Tom Simon, Smith, T.R. Sullivan and Whicker.
The following is a capsule look at the candidates:
He purchased interest in the St. Louis Cardinals in 1917 and took control of the club in 1920. Breadon hired Branch Rickey and created the blueprint for the modern farm system with minor league clubs owned or controlled by the parent club. The Cardinals won nine pennant and six World Series titles, include the Gashouse Gang teams of the 1930s and the dynasty teams of the 1940s, during his tenure. St. Louis went 2,470-1,830 during Breadon’s time as principle owner.
He spent 21 seasons in the majors from 1891 to 1911, playing almost 90 percent of his games at shortstop. He had a .272 batting average with 84 home runs and 1,234 RBI. He scored 100 or more runs in each of his first six seasons and had 120 hits or more 15 times. He retired in 1911 as the active home run leader with 84 and as the all-time leader in games played (2,444).
Ferrell’s 15-year career ended in 1941. He went 193-128 with a 4.04 ERA. Six times, he won 20 games and is the only pitcher from the 20th century to win at least 20 games in each of his first four full-big league seasons. He led the league in complete games four times and was runner-up for the AL MVP in 1935.
He played 13 seasons in the majors, 1940 to 1950, 1952 and 1953, batting .263 with 36 home runs and 624 RBI at shortstop. Marion was named the 1944 NL MVP and twice finished in the top 10 in MVP voting. He was considered one of the best fielding shortstops of his era.
Mullane won 284 games in 13 major league seasons from 1881 to 1894, completing 468 of his 504 career starts. He won 30 or more games in each of his first five full seasons and finished with a lifetime ERA of 3.05.
O’Day umpired in the major leagues for 30 years, retiring in 1927. He worked 10 World Series, tied for second most in history, including the first in 1903. O’Day also pitched in the big leagues from 1884 to 1890 and manager the Reds in 1912 and the Cubs in 1914.
Reach served as an executive with the Philadelphia club of the National League from 1883 to 1903, following a five-year playing career from 1871 to 1875 with the Athletics. He established the A.J. Reach Company to produce baseballs and other sporting equipment, including the official baseball of the American League. From 1883 to 1989, he published “Reach’s Official Base Ball Guide,” providing readers with statistics and stories, which served as the official publication of the American Association and American League.
Ruppert owned the Yankees from 1915 to 1939 — a span in which New York won nine AL pennants and six World Series. During his tenure, more than a dozen future Hall of Famers donned pinstripes, including Babe Ruth, whose contract Ruppert purchased from the Red Sox for $125,000. In 1923, Ruppert led the construction of Yankee Stadium, the same year the club captured its first World Series title.
Walters pitched in the major leagues from 1934 to 1950, compiling a 198-160 lifetime record, with a 3.30 era in 428 games — 398 starts. He earned NL MVP honors in 1939, going 27-11 with a 2.29 ERA and 137 strikeouts to earn the pitching Triple Crown. Walters was named to five All-Star teams. He spent his first four big league seasons as an infielder.
White compiled a .312 average during a 20-year career that spanned from 1871 to 1890. He played all nine positions and is remembered as being one of the finest barehanded catchers of his time.
For more information on the candidates, visit baseballhall.org/2013-Pre-Integration-Ballot.