Sunday, May 17, 2015

HALL OF FAME #20: GEORGE KELLY: CLASS OF 1973

Time for another one of those questionable Hall of Fame inductees, courtesy of Frankie Frisch and crew: George "High Pockets" Kelly, inducted in 1973 by the Veteran's Committee.
First, my card design:


Kelly did in fact have some nice seasons in the Majors, but when you really go over the extent of his career, it does leave you scratching your head.
Over the course of his 16-years, he led the National League in home runs once with 23 in 1921 and runs batted in twice with 94 in 1920 and 136 in 1924.
He topped 100 runs batted in five times and hit over .300 seven times, while being a member of two championship teams, the 1921 and 1922 New York Giants.
Besides his solid bat-work, Kelly was also known as a premier fielding first baseman , given credit as creating what eventually became the textbook way to field the bag.
He'd lead the league in putouts three times, as well as assists three times, and double-plays turned twice with a fielding title in 1926.
But with all of that positive stuff, at the end of it all his "Hall of Fame" status is still questionable when compared to contemporaries and other Hall members, especially first basemen.
When he was eligible for BBWA induction, he never garnered more than 1.9% support (1960).
So when his name came up in 1973, especially in light of other former teammates who were questionably inducted (Stonewall Jackson, Ross Youngs, etc), you can see where the cronyism claims get some support.
His 16-year totals in the Majors do feed into the argument as well: 1778 hits, 819 runs scored, 148 homers, 1020 runs batted in and a .297 batting average.
You make the call….

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps the most important number is one that didn't exist at the time: his career WAR was 25.2. That's a fairly decent player, not a Hall of Famer.

    And his most similar player according to Baseball Reference (using Bill James' methodology, pretty much) is Bob Watson. Bob Watson was good player, I liked him (and, incidentally, I think he never gets enough credit for his role in putting that great late-90s Yankees team together), but he ain't no Hall of Famer.

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