Monday, June 15, 2015

HALL OF FAME #24: JIM BOTTOMLEY: CLASS OF 1974

Next up on the Hall of Fame Inductee parade for the decade is former St. Louis Cardinals great, Jim Bottomley, who was selected by the Veteran's Committee in 1974.
Take a look at my card:


Now, although the man put up some serious numbers in the prime of his career, I can't really say if I'm "for" a Hall of Fame branding for Bottomley, or not.
During his 16-year career he took home an MVP Award in 1928 after leading the Senior Circuit in triples (20), homers (31), RBI's (136 and total bases (362), while hitting .325 and scoring 123 runs, while also putting in another five 100+ RBI seasons and another seven seasons of .300+ averages.
Besides his 1928 season, he also led the National League in RBI's in 1926 with 120, as well as hits in 1925 (with 227), doubles in 1925 and 1926 (44,40 respectively), and total bases with 305 in 1926.
But go ahead and take a look at his career. Perhaps, as blog reader Tony once stated, you have to appreciate the player for what he did, and left the game with, for that era.
Could be. However I wonder why he never got the support of the BBWA during his initial eligibility between 1948 and 1962.
During that span he never garnered more than 33.1% of support (1960), before waiting until 1974 to enter Cooperstown's hallowed halls.
For his career, Bottomley tallied 2313 hits, with 465 doubles, 151 triples, 219 homers and 1422 runs batted in along with a .310 lifetime average.
Solid numbers no doubt, but I wonder if the old Veteran's Committee cronyism was at play yet again, as we have seen so much of already from the early years of the 1970's.

1 comment:

  1. I had always known of Jim because the 12 RBI in a game record. He seems like a guy that really tore it up in his 20's but then slowed down and didn't really compile in his 30's (like Vada Pinson) as opposed to someone that really did compile in their 30's (like Yaz - who is a no-brainer HOF).

    But the thing Jim had going for him was his years from 1926 thru 1931 where he really cranked AND the Cardinals appeared in 4 World Series in 6 years (bookended by 2 Championships). If you look at the other players on the team over that time, just Frankie Frisch and Chick Hafey had a better WAR and only Hafey had a better OPS+. Note: Hornsby played in 1926 and Fritsch started in 1927 so Jim was always within the top 3 batters on a really good team (the pitching was led by Jesse Haines and an aging Pete Alexander over that time, both of whom had a lower WAR than Bottomly). Note: All of the players discussed above are in the Hall of Fame. Note2: I use the WAR stat here just for information, not because I am a huge believer in it (I have a lot of trouble with the fielding components and I really am not a fan of comparing pitchers and batters with it...but it is available so I mention it).

    The 1926-31 pre-"Gashouse Gang" Cardinals are actually a very underrated team in the History of baseball (they are over shadowed by the teams they played in the WS AND the 1934 Cards, with Leo Durocher, Dizzy Dean, Ducky Medwick, etc.) - in the 4 World Series appearances in 6 years, they beat (and lost to) 2 of the greatest teams ever to play baseball (the 1926-28 Yankees AND the 1929-1931 A's). So honestly it does not bother me that this team has a bunch of HOFers (although admittedly, I am a "Big Hall" guy).

    So I guess what it boils down to is that I agree it is probably Cronyism for Jim getting in (mostly because of his not getting voted in by the wirters), but I also don't have a problem with it (in his case). I actually have a much bigger problem with Hafey being in the Hall than I do Bottomley. Jim had career stats where you could at least make an argument for HOF, and if you add in the MVP the respectable "Black-ink" and the cool (to me) single game RBI record, I think he should be in.

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