A Biography in 1,000 Players No. 100 Frankie Frisch (Number 11 Second Base)

I remember one reader on Bill James said he would never vote for Frankie Frisch as a hall of famer and I have to say I disagree. The man was a darn good fielding second baseman, a solid baserunner who stole 419 bases (63rd all time) and was an above average hitter for his era. He easily in every rating system I’ve seen. Are they mad at him for supposedly bringing in a lot of friends and opposing players with questionable qualifications into the hall of fame? Probably, but remember Frisch was not the only one voting. I think you also have to put some blame on the guys who were voting with him. However, to me Frisch’s stats qualifications are impeccable.

For his career he hit well above .300. He was 10 percent better than the average player. He scored 100 runs 7 times and drove in over 100 runs 3 times. The only thing he didn’t do was hit for a lot of power, but he did his for some power.

He always seemed to be in the pennant race and was a starter on 8 World Series teams. His team won 4 of them. He was also hit fairly well in the post season.

Now about electing his buddies. Their record probably looked better when elected then they do know. His SABR (Society of Baseball Research) biography said he got six Giants or Cardinals elected. That was the two teams he played for. He is given credit for Dave Bancroft, George Kelly and Jesse Haines. Let me see if I can find the other three. Ok there is Chick Hafey, Rube Marquard and Ross Youngs. Let us look at them one at a time.

Dave Bancroft: I have him 30th at shortstop and 322nd overall. That puts him on my borderline. He had some good offensive seasons and was a good fielder. He stole 185 bases but didn’t have that good of percentage in the years available. He played 17 years. He was a good solid shortstop who played on four pennant winners. He meets the minimum standards, but I think there are a lot of players better than him not in the hall. However, I can’t be too hard as he has hit my 600 level.

George Kelly: I have 93rd at first base and 945th on my list. Bill James call him the worst player in the hall of fame. That could be right. He was a solid hitter and a good fielding first baseman. However, he wasn’t that great of a hitter. He was 9 percent above the average hitter while Frisch was 10 percent above for a longer time. He didn’t hit .300, didn’t walk that much and only had fair power. He was not a hall of fame player, not even close.

Jesse Haines: I have him the 204th greatest starting pitcher and the 752nd greatest player. He was better than George Kelly. Ironically, he is credited with 210 wins. Except for a one game showcase in 1918 Haines pitched for the Cardinals. He won 20 three times not bad. He led once in complete games and shutouts but had only 23 career shutouts. He did win two games in the 1926 World Series, including game 7. However, that was the game Alexander relieved him with the bases loaded and pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief for the one run victory. Alexander won the other two games for the Cardinals in the series and would have been named MVP over Haines. Not really close but a real good player when he did play.

Chick Hafey: He was a solid hitter but had a short career. Apparently, he could hardly see but still hit 300 in the majors. He could still swing the bat but retired when he was 34.  He was average base runner and average fielder for a left fielder so his main strength was hitting. I have him as the 83rd best left fielder and the 863rd player of all time. Nothing to write home about. I like Haines better than him.

Rube Marquard: He did better than Haines. I have him in 186th place for pitchers and 695th for all players. He won 201 games, 9 less that Haines. He never played on the same team as Frisch as he was traded from the Giants before Frisch started playing in the big leagues. He did pitch in 5 World Series but was never on the winning side even though he was 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA in the 1912 World Series. He had 3 great seasons for the Giants when the won 3 pennants in a row from 1911 to 1913. However, he was an average pitcher for the rest of his career. However, those seasons weren’t that great, like Sandy Koufax, and he didn’t have enough of them to justify being in the hall of fame.

Ross Youngs: He was a darn good hitter for his short career. He played only 10 years and didn’t play 100 games in two of those years. After his last year in 1926 he was diagnosed with Bright’s Disease. It killed him in October 1927 at the age of 30. Something seemed to affect him in 1925 and 1926. His fielding and hitting went down significantly starting in 1925 and he was only 28. Some say his career was so good he deserved to be a hall of famer despite his short career. However, he led the league in only two categories in his career. He led in doubles in 1919 and in runs in 1923. I have him as the 69th best right fielder and the 668th best player. I do believe if he had kept on normal career path he would have had a hall of fame career, but he didn’t do enough to qualify in the 10 years he played. Bill James higher in right field in 46th place, but I have more emphasis on career plus there are some players who have passed him in the last 20 years.

So, the only player I can say that was a borderline hall of famer at best was Dave Bancroft.



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