Wednesday, January 7, 2015

HALL OF FAME #4: DAVE BANCROFT: CLASS OF 1971

Here's the next Hall of Fame inductee on the chronological list of 1970's honorees, former shortstop Dave Bancroft, inducted by the Veteran's Committee in 1971:


I decided to keep the elements from my 1970-inductees and carry them over to the rest of the "Hall of Fame" subjects through the decade to keep some continuity for the virtual-set, since I do think of them as a constant of sorts even though they would have been spread over ten years.
As for Bancroft, he was definitely one of the "questionable" picks by the Veteran's Committee (along with Jesse Haines) at the turn of the decade that are still hotly debated to this day.
A Major League standout for 16 years, he played for the Phillies, Giants, Braves and Dodgers between 1915 and 1930, and totaled over 1000 runs scored, 2000 hits, and a .279 batting average.
The high point of his career was easily 1922 while with the New York Giants when he batted .321 with 209 hits, 117 runs scored, 41 doubles, five triples and four homers on his way to a World Championship over the New York Yankees.
He even set the Major League record for chances at shortstop that year with 984, while also leading the league in putouts.
Nevertheless, by the time he was eligible for Hall of Fame induction in 1937, he never garnered more than 16.2% of the vote (1958), before falling off the ballot until his name came up through selection by the Veteran's Committee.
Some say conveniently enough, the Committee at the time had Frankie Frisch and Bill Terry on board, and in a period of a few years managed to persuade induction for a number of former teammates, most of whom are considered the "weakest" Hall members to this day: Haines, Chick Hafey, Ross Youngs, George Kelly, Jim Bottomley and Freddie Lindstrom.
Interesting read for anyone interested in the subject would be Bill James' book "Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame".

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