No. 243 Bobby Wallace (Number 19 Shortstop)

I know less about Bobby Wallace than any player so far and probably those quite a bit behind him. I know he was a great fielding shortstop who pitched some. Bill James said he was hall of fame qualified using his win-loss shares he never finished. The first thing I decided to do is look him up in Bill James Historical Abstract which I haven’t done in a while.

Bill rated Wallace 36th at shortstop which is a lot lower than I have rated him. He used just two quotes in his writeup which doesn’t help much. 

Wallace played 25 years, but only in 16 of them did he play 100 games. One thing was he was an above average hitter in his career.

I found a writeup that Bill has about Wallace on his online site, and it says he knows less about Wallace than any other hall of famer. So, I’m not the only one. He started as a pitcher, won a big number of games for a couple of years, had an arm injury and moved to short.

His SABR biography said he was the greatest defensive shortstop of his era. Since Joe Tinker played in that era and has better fielding records in both WAR and win shares I don’t think that is necessarily true. Wallace was a better hitter than Tinker, so I have him rated ahead of Tinker.

According to his SABR biography Wallace was a good, smart player. So much that he was asked to manage his team, the St. Louis Browns, when the previous manager was kicked out of baseball when he allowed Nap Lajoie to get 7 hits in 8 at bats in the 1910 batting race with Ty Cobb. This was a big scandal, so the Browns decided to hire Wallace as a player manager. Wallace was reluctant, as he didn’t feel he had the personality to manage. Also, he didn’t think he had the players to have a decent team.

Unfortunately, he was right on both counts, but that was about the only area on the field where Bobby Wallace failed.

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