Sunday, July 28, 2013

Paying homage to Hall class

While it's unlikely baseball fans were flocking in droves Sunday to this year's Baseball Hall of Fame induction, there was a class honored. Deacon White, Hank O'Day and Jacob Ruppert are newly minted in Cooperstown.

They certainly won't have the name power a class of, say, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and the like would have had if PEDs weren't in the discussion, but here they are nonetheless.

This year's inductees took varying paths to the Hall.

White was a 19th century player for nine different teams during a 20-year professional career, primarily as a third baseman and catcher. He led his league in RBI three times, including a career-high 77 in 1873 and 49 in 59 games in 1877, both for the Boston Red Stockings.  He was a .312 hitter in his career, which began as a member of the old Cleveland Forest Citys in the National Association in 1871 and 1872. White, who passed away in 1939 at age 91, made his largest salary in baseball during his final campaign in 1891 for the Pittsburgh Alleghenys - $3,500 base and a $1,500 bonus for accepting a trade.

The lives of Hank O'Day and Jacob Ruppert are well chronicled by SABR at the links provided.

Ruppert's biggest claim to fame today is being owner of the Yankees and sending $100,000 cash along with a $300,000 personal loan to the owner of the Red Sox ... in exchange for Babe Ruth.

That worked out pretty well.

So it's not the most glamorous Hall of Fame class in history, but for better or for worse all three men are part of the fabric of the national pastime.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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