today's special Hall of Fame election for Negro Leaguers

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In case you haven't heard, there may be 10 to 20 new members announced today... including the first woman. (Debate over Buck O'Neil's qualifications -- a merely good player benefits from the Ken Burns Effect? -- has been raging for a week on the SABR list.)

A Special Election for Rediscovered Players

The population of the Hall of Fame is about to grow in a historic way. With an announcement tomorrow, the Hall may gain 10 to 20 members. In the Hall's 70-year history, the largest induction class in any year was the 11 the veterans committee elected in 1946.

At a meeting today in Tampa, Fla., a committee of 12 scholars and historians will vote on a list of 39 Negro leagues and pre-Negro leagues players, managers, executives and owners to determine if any merit inclusion in the Hall of Fame.

As with other Hall elections, a candidate will need 75 percent of the votes to be elected, and no one knows how many of the 39 candidates will receive at least nine votes. But the feeling among people who are familiar with the list is that 10 to 20 could be elected.

Most intriguing among that number is Effa Manley, who would be the first woman elected to the Hall. Co-owner with her husband of the Newark Eagles, Manley operated the team on a daily basis from 1936 to 1947. Cum Posey, the principal owner of the legendary Homestead Grays, once said that the league as a whole could learn from Manley.

Posey is also a strong candidate for election, as are catcher Biz Mackey, pitcher John Donaldson, first baseman-outfielder Mule Suttles and J. L. Wilkinson, the white longtime owner of the Kansas City Monarchs.

Others given a good chance of election are pitchers Ray Brown, Chet Brewer and José Méndez; Sol White, infielder, manager, owner (and writer); Dick Redding, pitcher, outfielder and manager; shortstop Dick Lundy; and Alex Pompez, executive and owner.

Minnie Minoso, an outfielder who also played in the major leagues, and Buck O'Neil, a first baseman who later coached in the majors, are the only living candidates on the list. If one or both are elected, they would represent the new group of Hall of Famers at the induction ceremony July 30 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

"This is an effort that is 30 years too late," said Fay Vincent, the former baseball commissioner and nonvoting chairman of the committee. "This should have been done when a lot of them were alive."

Vincent credited Joe Garagiola Sr. with the genesis of the idea: a Cooperstown weekend in 1991 when 75 Negro leaguers were welcomed to the Hall and given special medals.

"Until then," said Vincent, who as commissioner aided living Negro leaguers, "there was little focus on the old Negro leagues players. It was a great weekend."

During that weekend, Vincent apologized for baseball's exclusion of black players. No one had ever apologized to them.

Eighteen players among the 26 in the Hall of Fame gained entry on their Negro leagues credentials, 10 elected by a special committee and 8 by the veterans committee. The group includes Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Monte Irvin and Buck Leonard.

About five years ago, Vincent said, the Hall initiated a study to find out more about old black players who were not enshrined, wanting to learn if others should be. Vincent saluted Bud Selig, the current commissioner, for giving $250,000 of baseball's money to finance a statistical study

But, Vincent said, "The statistical data was very meager." So the Hall established a committee of experts to determine whether any players had been overlooked. Unlike the writers' annual vote, the committee members will not be limited to 10 players.

Frank Robinson, manager of the Washington Nationals and a Hall of Famer, will speak to the committee today on standards for election. He didn't have much to say the other day about his appearance and the committee's job.

"I think it's a good thing," he said. But he said he had no idea how many candidates might be elected, would not speculate about which ones would be elected and wouldn't say how he thought the Hall of Famers would feel about the election of a large number of old players.

"I'd rather not get into that before the vote," Robinson said. "I don't think that would be fair to the voters."

Vincent avoided predictions, too, but he related a story about one of the players he believes would be elected: Donaldson, an early 20th century left-handed pitcher, who had a career record of 262-94 for a .736 winning percentage.

According to Vincent, John McGraw once said of Donaldson, "If I could dunk him in calamine lotion, I'd sign him."

Vincent did not hear McGraw make that comment, but he did have a conversation about Donaldson with Elden Auker, a former major league pitcher now 95 years old.

"I played against Donaldson in 1929," Vincent quoted Auker as saying. "I was in college and we played at an Arapaho Indian reservation in Kansas. I pitched against Paige and I won, 2-1. Donaldson played center field."

Before their games, Auker said, the Monarchs enjoyed showing off their skills. "Donaldson got out in center field and squatted like a catcher," Auker related. "The Monarchs had a catcher named Young, and he squatted behind home plate and they played catch from 300 feet. They threw the ball on a line. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it."

That baseball is aware of Donaldson and all black players from the Negro leagues era and earlier is largely the result of Robert W. Peterson's seminal work "Only the Ball Was White," the book that put a spotlight on the forgotten black players. Peterson was a member of the committee but was dying of lung cancer and knew he would not be able to attend the Tampa meeting.

Jeff Idelson, a Hall official, said Peterson mailed his ballot. The envelope was postmarked Feb. 10, Peterson died the next day. The envelope arrived at the Hall on Feb. 13.

"When we tally the votes at the end of the meeting, we'll open his ballot and include it," Idelson said.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Monday, 27 February 2006 14:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Just b-cuz u wer opressed does not make you grebt.

Jimmy Mod: The Prettiest Flower In The Pond (The Famous Jimmy Mod), Monday, 27 February 2006 15:18 (fourteen years ago) link

??? There were dozens of players who would have been recognized as legit HOFers if Jim Crow had not existed. It's mostly the statistical fog surrounding the Negro Leagues that has made analyzing who the greatest were so difficult.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Monday, 27 February 2006 15:39 (fourteen years ago) link

Seems to me this is along the lines of the cronyisim that polluted the veteran's committee a few years ago. This is close to becoming the soft bigotry of white guilt.

Jimmy Mod: The Prettiest Flower In The Pond (The Famous Jimmy Mod), Monday, 27 February 2006 15:47 (fourteen years ago) link

A few, as in 30-40 years ago? The elction results will tell, but there's been a reasonable attempt to organize research around this election (including involvement of SABR's Negro Leagues Committee). How the voters approach the responsibility, we'll see.

Candidate bios, etc, here:

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Monday, 27 February 2006 15:53 (fourteen years ago) link

Well let me flex one way and then the other on this:

Current members of the BBHoF who were Negro Leaguers.

# Satchel Paige, pitcher
# Josh Gibson, catcher
# Buck Leonard, first baseman
# Martin Dihigo, second baseman
# Judy Johnson, third baseman
# Pop Lloyd, shortstop
# Cool Papa Bell, leftfield
# Oscar Charleston, centerfield
# Monte Irvin, rightfield

White HoFers Elected betwen 1935 (start of the HoF) and 1945 (The yeah Jackie Robinson broke in and the effective end of the HoF-caliber NL player). There are executives in this list, that I didn't bother to delete.

Ty Cobb
Walter Johnson
Christy Mathewson
Babe Ruth
Honus Wagner
Morgan Bulkeley
Ban Johnson
Nap Lajoie
Connie Mack
John McGraw
Tris Speaker
George Wright
Cy Young
Pete Alexander
Alexander Cartwright
Henry Chadwick
Cap Anson
Eddie Collins
Charlie Comiskey
Candy Cummings
Buck Ewing
Lou Gehrig
Willie Keeler
Charles Radbourn
George Sisler
Al Spalding
Rogers Hornsby
Kenesaw Mountain Landis
Roger Bresnahan
Dan Brouthers
Fred Clarke
Jimmy Collins
Ed Delahanty
Hugh Duffy
Hughie Jennings
King Kelly
Jim O'Rourke
Wilbert Robinson

If we acccept the pretense that the BBHoF should only include the 1-2% of all MLB/NL players of a given time frame, then it seems doubtful that there would be some 20-odd NL players that would make it in when taking into account the diluted skill level wrt pitching and etc. Now, granted, this is basically the same argument that ppl will be making for sluggers of the 1990's.

So in summation, with a maximum of 20 players (the VAST majority of them from the NL)... baseball has probably capped out it's HoF-worthy NLers for all time... before they all pass on, which is admirable.

Jimmy Mod: The Prettiest Flower In The Pond (The Famous Jimmy Mod), Monday, 27 February 2006 16:02 (fourteen years ago) link

Seventeen in -- Effa yes, Buck no.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Monday, 27 February 2006 19:28 (fourteen years ago) link

I didn't know there weren't any women in the HOF (until now). I figured someone like Jean Yawkey would have made it.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Monday, 27 February 2006 19:43 (fourteen years ago) link

No guys named Mule til now either.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Monday, 27 February 2006 20:02 (fourteen years ago) link

I hadn't realized til I read a couple columns this morning that Effa Manley was a white woman who "lived as" a black woman.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 28 February 2006 14:56 (fourteen years ago) link

five months pass...
I didn't see any footage of the induction -- how did they handle the 17 posthumous pioneer inductees? Did relatives of all of them get to speak, or just Rachel Robinson and Buck O'Neil?

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 2 August 2006 17:19 (fourteen years ago) link

three years pass...
two months pass...

Torii dropping THE TRUTH

In the report, Hunter was quoted as saying: “People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African-American. They’re not us. They’re impostors. Even people I know come up and say: ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero(notes)? Is he a black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not black.’ …

“As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’ … I’m telling you, it’s sad,” he said.

Black players accounted for 10.2 percent of major leaguers in 2008, the most since the 1995 season, according to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.

i'm now curious what the og american born african-american percentage might be

sanskrit, Thursday, 11 March 2010 05:16 (ten years ago) link

"I keep saying a lot of times, in 10 more years American people are going to need a visa to play this game because we're going to take over. We're going to," Guillen said.


Andy K, Thursday, 11 March 2010 13:42 (ten years ago) link

one year passes...

new: the Negro Leagues Database

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 24 September 2011 23:02 (nine years ago) link

six months pass...

No Jackie Robinson thread (better here than the John Rocker thread with Jackie's name in the title)...Sixty-fifth anniversary of his debut; I knew the Jays had a JR day planned, but I hadn't given any thought as to why (nor did I realize his debut coincided with the anniversary of Lincoln's death).

clemenza, Sunday, 15 April 2012 17:01 (eight years ago) link

six months pass...

Seamheads has added 1924 to their Negro Leagues database.

Heavy Johnson is new to me.

crazy uncle in the attic (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 21 October 2012 20:40 (eight years ago) link

Yeah I feel like I'd remember that name.

One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Sunday, 21 October 2012 20:53 (eight years ago) link

three months pass...

Never knew that there were "best available information" Negro League stats on Baseball Reference. Josh Gibson's career box isn't too bad:

.907 slugging average in 1937--must have been into the PEDs.

clemenza, Monday, 28 January 2013 04:09 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

The other 15 men who integrated the MLB teams of the '40s and '50s... like the 1955 Yankees and the 1959 Red Sox.

images of war violence and historical smoking (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 15 April 2014 19:51 (six years ago) link

nine months pass...

Nice to see my old 'pal' Monte Irvin (I was on a Cuba baseball tour with him 11 years ago) is still sharp and giving interviews. He'll be 96 in a couple weeks.

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 10 February 2015 20:59 (five years ago) link

two weeks pass...

today, even

mookieproof, Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:22 (five years ago) link

a month younger than Jackie R.

We were at a night game in Havana at the big stadium, where Monte had played in '47, and he grabbed his crutch midgame, stood up, and took his stance with it.

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 25 February 2015 20:23 (five years ago) link

four years pass...

Ahead of this weekend's back-to-back Detroit dates with his band the Raconteurs, rock star Jack White played a charity baseball game at the historic Hamtramck Stadium. The event benefited the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium, a group raising money to rehab the historic grounds, which are one of the few remaining Negro League ballparks in the country.

Andy K, Friday, 12 July 2019 15:50 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Because of a prejudiced decision made more than 50 years ago, the segregation-era circuits that featured Black players have never been counted among the official major leagues. For the first time, MLB is considering righting that wrong.

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Monday, 17 August 2020 15:22 (two months ago) link

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