Bring Me The Head of Eppa Rixey

Duane WinnCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2009


Here's a suggestion.

To make room for players who truly belong in the Hall of Fame, like Bert Blyleven, Tommy John, and Andre Dawson, let's toss out the members who, unaccountably, inexplicably, mysteriously, achieved "immortality."

How's that for a neat piece of revisionist history?

No need for comparisons between players from different eras.

No need to adjust earned runs averages or batting averages.

No need to employ a laundry list of sabermetrics to quantify a player's worthiness.

Just employ a little common sense.


Every organization needs to scrutinize its motives and decisions every so often. Otherwise, it will continue making the same mistakes.

Are you listening, Cooperstown?

The soul-searching is way overdue.

Does Eppa Rixey deserve a place in the Hall of Fame?

The same Rixey who won 265 and lost 251 games in a 21-year career with the Philadelpha Athletics and the Cincinnati Reds?

An innings-eater to be sure (4,497 and two-thirds, to be exact) but he led the league twice in games lost.

Red Ruffing?

Another pitcher with amazing durability, Ruffing pitched 21 years in the majors for the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox. He won 273 and lost 225 games. He only fanned 446 more batters than he walked.

He was a Yankee during the franchise's golden era (1931-1946). Ruffing won 19 and 20 games in seasons during that span in which his ERA came to rest just below 4.00.

Could it be that the bats of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri, and Joe Gordon had something to do with Ruffing's success.

Herb Pennock?

By all accounts, a crafty and stylish lefthander who fashioned a lifetime mark of 240-162 for the Philadelphia A's, the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Yankees between 1912 and 1934.

This wasn't enough to get him inducted into the Hall of Fame right off the bat, though. As late as 1946, Pennock only attracted 16 percent of the Hall of Fame ballots.

In 1948, Pennock died. His teammate, Babe Ruth, eulogized him as a "honey of a pitcher who never made an enemy."

How are you going to buck the tide with that kind of endorsement?

Pennock was enshrined the same year in the Hall of Fame on 82 percent of the ballots.

I also admit to chips on my shoulder put there by the induction of Luke Appling and Max Carey when Del Ennis doesn't have a plaque. Appling (.310, 2,749 hits) and Carey (.285, 738 stolen bases) were nice players, but doesn't Ennis (.284, 288 HRs) deserve some love for knocking in 105 or more runs in seven different seasons?

Clearly, the Hall of Fame has some explaining to do.

Especially to Blyleven, John, and Dawson.