Forgotten Heroes of the Dead-Ball Era
The hall of fame remembers those who were great and it finds a way to remember many who were great only once, or maybe even twice, and some who were never great at all, but still did something great for the game of all.
at his National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Most casual baseball fans know that Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson stand as some of the dead-ball era's greatest players. As in any era, however, there are many other players who have been overlooked or forgotten. You may not be familiar with these forgotten legends of the dead-ball era, but most of them are enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Napoleon Lajoie swung a magical bat during his long career (1896-1916), hitting over .300 sixteen times and topping out at . 426 in 1901. One of the game's most popular players, Lajoie was the first star of the fledgling American League; the Cleveland team was called the "Naps" in his honor.
Entered the Hall of Fame in 1937 by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).
The great Zack Wheat was Brooklyn's undisputed star during the second half of the dead-ball era, leading the team to World Series appearances in 1916 and 1920. All-around-nice-guy Wheat batted over .300 in thirteen big league seasons, and was never ejected from a game during his career.
Entered the Hall of Fame in 1959 by the Veterans Committee.
Elmer Flick was one of the great all-around players at the turn of the century (1898-1910). A speedy high-average hitter, Flick was once offered even-up for the temperamental Ty Cobb by Hughie Jennings after the 1907 season.
Entered the Hall of Fame in 1963 by the Veterans Committee.
Bobby Wallace played for twenty-five years (1894-1918) and enjoyed a long career in baseball thereafter. Breaking in as a pitcher, Wallace was eventually moved to shortstop, a position at which he excelled, establishing numerous fielding records.
Entered the Hall of Fame in 1953 by the Veterans Committee.
Shortstop George Davis was one of the game's greatest players, yet still unrecognized by most fans despite his recent induction into the Hall of Fame. Davis played twenty seasons (1890-1909) and was considered one of the finest players in the game by his contemporaries. Late in his career, he led the 1906 "Hitless Wonder" Chicago White Sox to a World Series victory over their crosstown National League rivals, the Cubs.
Entered the Hall of Fame in 1998 by the Veterans Committee.
Sherry Magee is considered by some historians as one of the very best players of the dead-ball era. The vitriolic Magee played primarily for the Philadelphia Phillies, leading the National League in RBI five times. His star would have shone brighter if not for an unfortunate coincidence: He has frequently been mistaken for Lee Magee, another player who was expelled from baseball for his role in game-fixing.
Has not entered the Hall of Fame.
Addie Joss, star hurler for the Cleveland Naps, authored one of the greatest clutch pitching performances ever when, during the final days of the thrilling American League pennant race, he twirled a perfect game victory over Ed Walsh and the Chicago White Sox. His sudden death in 1911 from tubercular meningitis shocked the baseball world. Top American League stars of the day, in an unprecedented gesture, appeared in an All-Star game benefit to raise funds for Joss' widow.
Entered the Hall of Fame in 1978 by the Veterans Committee.