MY EARLY 20TH CENTURY (1900-1945) MLB ALL STARS

TY COBB (L) AND SHOELESS JOE JACKSON WERE EASY CHOICES FOR ME.

That Post World War II (1946-1960) MLB all-star exercise of a couple of days ago was so much fun that I thought I’d do another, and this one goes back into an era of even more pristine clear choices among players that few, if any of us, ever saw play in person. In spit of anything you might think, I am not among the personal witness crowd. Even us baseball Methuselahs don’t go back that far. I’m talking about an all-star team that covers the early 20th century, starting with the 19th century 1900 formation of the American League through the last year of World War II, 1945.

Any advantage on selection-making among us members of the older group here is that we have two resources to draw upon for making our picks: (1) the vast bibliography and statistical analysis sites available to all; and (2) the childhood stories we heard about these men from our father and grandfathers.

I did learn something from all of you who wrote me or The Pecan Park Eagle about your own choices for the Post WW II all-star group: (1) your preponderant choice of Warren Spahn over my Bob Feller choice convinced me that we need the freedom to pick one righty and one lefty as our preferred pitcher. If I had to do it over again I’d still pick Feller as my righty because of my long since-childhood affection for him, but I too would add Warren Spahn as my lefty guy for that era. (2) It’s better to not repeat the Feller pass on this earlier all-star group. With Feller, I took him as my starter for the post-war era in spite of the fact that most of his great years came earlier. That really wasn’t fair. The new suggested rule on this one is: Try to pick players who did most of their best work during the era in focus. That rule will keep me from picking Sy Young as a pitcher since he  won 367 of his 511 wins prior to 1900. Had the rule been in mind-place earlier, I would have chosen Robin Roberts as the righty on my post war group.

Here, without further comment, are my starting ten for the early 20th century team (1900-1945). If you need statistical/literary support for these, those materials are easily a mere Google away from your fingertips as you read:

Pitcher (R): Walter Johnson

Pitcher (L): Lefty Grove

Catcher: Mickey Cochrane

1st Base: Lou Gehrig

2B: Rogers Hornsby

3B: Pie Traynor

SS: Honus Wagner

LF: Shoeless Joe Jackson

CF: Ty Cobb

RF: Babe Ruth

As you did the last time, please register your agreement or disagreement with my choices in the comment section below. There’s not as much room for variance here as there was on the post war squad, but some does exist. To make my picks, for example, I had to pass over a few guys named Christy Mathewson & Grover Cleveland Alexander (RHP), Rube Waddell (LHP), Bill Dickey (C), George Sisler (!B),  Nap Lajoie, Eddie Collins, & Frankie Frisch (2B), Jimmie Foxx & Jimmy Collins (3B), Rabbit Maranville (SS), and Tris Speaker, Harry Heilmann, & Al Simmons (OF).

Every player on my club (except for the banned Joe Jackson), as well as the others of reference, are members of the Hall of Fame. That “HOF” status is the universal thread that unites all, but Shoeless Joe. The reason Joe Jackson isn’t there in the HOF is because of his expulsion from baseball as a result of his alleged participation in the 1919 World Series fix. Most of the time, I think of Joe as a Hall of Famer, anyway. My tendency to do that even influenced me to first write here that all of my all-stars were Hall of Fames. Then I heard from good SABR friend Bill Hickman with the reminder that Joe is not really an official member and I made the correction I am recording here. Still, in my own mind, Joe Jackson is innocent of all charges in the White Sox scandal until proven guilty – and also a Hall of Famer based on his game day production over the years he played through 1920.

Your picks don’t have to be Hall of Famers, but they probably will be, anyway, unless you also choose Shoeless Joe or one his also banned seven Black Sox brothers for your own lineup. In the early 20th century, the Hall of Fame did a pretty good job of picking up the people who deserved the honor.

I know it’s only four days until Christmas Eve, but happy early baseball all star hunting, anyway!

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3 Responses to “MY EARLY 20TH CENTURY (1900-1945) MLB ALL STARS”

  1. Cliff Blau Says:

    I’d go with Eddie Collins at second, Frank Baker at third, and Al Simmons in LF. Or move Babe Ruth to LF, which he played nearly as much as RF, and put Mel Ott in RF. Ott was much better than any regular LF, and Baker was vastly superior to Traynor.

  2. gary Says:

    That looks pretty good to me. I might also go with Baker at third.

  3. Video Live Says:

    Video Live…

    […]MY EARLY 20TH CENTURY (1900-1945) MLB ALL STARS « The Pecan Park Eagle[…]…

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