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Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame - 1935 Elections

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Answer this question for me.

What would happen today if an owner of a team was the acting commissioner of the league and intentionally kept his payroll low, at the cost of winning games, just to make a buck.....

Sorry, but as far as I can tell Navin was the original Bud Selig.

I'm not trying to bash on Navin, I just want people to look at all the facts. I plan on voting the guy in, but at least I'll know why.

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The only point I am trying to make is that Frank Navin wasn't the reason the Tigers were great in the early years, the players were. Navin did a lot for the American League, and built Tiger Stadium as we know it.

He was a tightwad and treated his players like employees lucky to have a job. Just my opinion but just because he built a stadium doesn't make him great.

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The only point I am trying to make is that Frank Navin wasn't the reason the Tigers were great in the early years, the players were.

Can't you say about that any successful era?

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but back then a dumb and ineffective owner had a lot more room for error since there was no free agency. They could hide behind their staff a lot more than one could today.

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but back then a dumb and ineffective owner had a lot more room for error since there was no free agency. They could hide behind their staff a lot more than one could today.

This is true. However you still need players to have success no matter the era.

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The only point I am trying to make is that Frank Navin wasn't the reason the Tigers were great in the early years, the players were.

So it's Navin's fault when he doesn't bring in certain players, but he doesn't get credit when the players he did bring in win pennants?

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First thing is first:

I can't believe Navin isn't in the Basball Biographical Encyclopedia. Luckily he's detailed greatly in our Detroit media packages of books and newspapers.

Navin had other interests - mainly gambling on the ponies - however, as far as I can see the Tigers were his first love. He rooted this team in many key capacities from almost its start until the Tigers won their first World Championship. He helped create a stadum that remained until 1999 and was well loved by many of us here. If I could only vote for one owner with all of them listed, he'd be it. He was the roots of this organization in many many ways.

He will be on my ballot.

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Was Navin considered to be a "tightwad", compared to his contemporaries, though? Back then there was no free-agency, and owners could basically name your salary. A player's only recourse was to hold out.

Navin contributed toward making Detroit a permanent baseball town, so he gets my vote.

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Everyone was a tight-wad at that time as well. Heck, Commiskey was such a tightwad some of his players tried to throw WS games to enhance their income.

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I'm looking forward to voting for the first time!

Out of the new candidates, I'd probably only take a look at Whitehill, but I'd need to be convinced. He doesn't strike me as an automatic.

Out of the carryovers, I'd vote for Bush. I think he's probably the most deserving eligible player who isn't in yet. Some of the others like Blue, Bassler and Fothergill were good players, but I don't know if they did enough to be HOF-worthy. Maybe if they were guys that contributed to a championship team? I've been reading some of the posts about them here, and will re-read them to see if my mind changes. I love the research that is taking place. Manush would probably be an automatic to me had he stuck around in Detroit longer. Trading him away wasn't one of the Tigers' best deals (Blue was also sent away in that deal).

The Navin pro-con discussions are interesting. While we may not always agree with the way he ran things, he certainly helped lay the foundation for Detroit baseball.

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Pretty much to the era of free agency salaries were kept in check reasonably. I remember the talk about the Tigers actually getting Darrell Evans between the 1983 and 1984 seasons as though that was a big deal.

About the only example of "excess" spending that could be looked like it is today were the baby boomer signings that started in the 1950s. A few players when they signed with an organization essentially got a large signing bonus. Dick Warfield was a good example for the Tigers.

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I'm looking forward to voting for the first time!

Out of the new candidates, I'd probably only take a look at Whitehill, but I'd need to be convinced. He doesn't strike me as an automatic.

Out of the carryovers, I'd vote for Bush. I think he's probably the most deserving eligible player who isn't in yet. Some of the others like Blue, Bassler and Fothergill were good players, but I don't know if they did enough to be HOF-worthy. Maybe if they were guys that contributed to a championship team? I've been reading some of the posts about them here, and will re-read them to see if my mind changes. I love the research that is taking place. Manush would probably be an automatic to me had he stuck around in Detroit longer. Trading him away wasn't one of the Tigers' best deals (Blue was also sent away in that deal).

The Navin pro-con discussions are interesting. While we may not always agree with the way he ran things, he certainly helped lay the foundation for Detroit baseball.

Don't take this as an attempt to strongarm you, but I hope you can find five worthy candidates (six including Navin) in this election. I feel like it's a pretty strong group of candidates all around.

As for Whitehill, 2,200 better-than-league-average innings in a Tigers uniform is no small feat in my mind. I think his career compares favorably with that of Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Bill Donovan.

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As for Whitehill, 2,200 better-than-league-average innings in a Tigers uniform is no small feat in my mind. I think his career compares favorably with that of Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Bill Donovan.

Agreed. Its important to consider the length of his career and the fact that he was actually better than average for the time period.

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Whitehill was a knuckler.

Here is an article on Whitehill:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19630324/SPORTS11/50711008

Earl Whitehill

BERT McGRANE

Register Staff Writer

March 24, 1963

Earl Whitehill was a rugged and fiery southpaw -- a man who earned the right to be mentioned with Bob Feller and Red Faber when the all-time great pitchers of Iowa come up for discussion.

On a list of Iowa natives that includes Dazzy Vance, Jack Coombs, Bill Hoffer, Bill Zuber and others, only Faber and Feller pitched more major league games than Whitehill and only Feller and Faber won more games.

Today, 24 years after he walked off a big league mound for the last time, he moves to the front once more to assume his place in The Des Moines Register's Iowa Sports Hall of Fame.

He would have been 64 now, had he lived, but an automobile that ignored a stop sign and crashed into Whitehill's car at an Omaha intersection cost him his life more than eight years ago.

17-Year Career

He had been a big-time pitcher for 17 years and a coach for big league clubs for four more years before he withdrew from baseball to represent the A.G. Spalding Company. He still represented that company at the time of his death on Oct. 22, 1954.

To the last, Whitehill was vibrant and aggressive. He refused to go to the hospital the night he was injured, but he had no choice the following day. Physicians found that he was suffering from a fractured skull. He lived about a week after the discovery of the injury.

Started at 21.

Whitehill was born in Cedar Rapids and he called that city his home throughout his life. Born there Feb. 7, 1889, he began the climb in organized baseball at 21 when he reported to Birmingham in the Southern league in 1920.

Arriving in late season, he pitched only one game, lost it, and was sent to Columbia in the South Atlantic league. It was a different story there, as his 20-10 record for the season testified, and Birmingham promptly took action to bring him back.

He won 54 games for Birmingham in the next three seasons, losing 41. he was ready for the big time and Detroit signed him.

For 10 years Whitehill sore a Detroit uniform. He won 133 games for the Tigers while losing 120. Control was a feature of his game and few pitchers boasted a better record in the matter of limiting free passes.

Too Soon

Detroit may have let him go a little too soon. On Dec. 14, 1932, the Tigers traded him to Washington for pitchers Fred Marberry and Carl Fischer. Whitehill responded by hanging up a spectacular 22-8 record for the Senators. It was his best season and it was a big factor in putting Washington into the World Series against the Giants.

New York had a 2-0 lead in games when Whitehill got the call to start the third game. He went all the way, shut out the Giants, and allowed five hits. It was his only World Series appearance.

3-Way Deal

Whitehill had three more winning seasons for Washington. In December of 1936 he figured in a three-cornered deal that sent him to Cleveland. He won 17 and lost 16 for the Indians in the 1937-38 seasons and in February, 1939, was given his unconditional release by Cleveland. The Chicago Cubs signed him for the 1939 season and he finished with a 4-7 record.

His all-time major league record, compared with those of Feller and Faber: Feller, 570 games, 266 victories, 162 defeats; Faber, 662 games, 255 victories, 211 losses; Whitehill, 541 games, 218 victories, 186 losses. Whitehill pitched 3.562 innings of big league baseball.

With his playing days behind him, he was signed by Cleveland as a coach in 1940 and released in 1941. His last stop in the majors was as coach of the Philadelphia Phils in 1943.

He was a physically powerful 185-pounder, 5 feet 10 inches tall. His hobbies included hunting and golf.

Jack Illian of Cedar Rapids, with whom he often played golf at Indian Creek in Marion, says he was as fiery on the golf course as he was on the diamond and more than once he cracked up a few clubs, stalked off the course, and rejoined his foursome with a new set of clubs a couple of holes farther along.

No Decree.

There was a divorce petition on file, Cedar Rapids friends inform us, but never a decree. Whitehill's death intervened.

He had a daughter, Earlinda, whose last reported address was Kansas City. A sister, Mrs. Edna Campbell, resided in Detroit at last resort, and a brother, George E. Whitehill, was listed as a resident of Petersborough, Ontario.

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Also on Whitehill:

(from Detroit Tigers Encyclopedia) http://books.google.com/books?id=UJVas2JMjLUC&pg=PA182&lpg=PA182&dq=earl+whitehill&source=web&ots=MrOvPSZAaG&sig=JbeI4T0LqQhrxL56UaBj32PVKyo#PPA182,M1

"...Whitehill was a dashing figure with a with a volatile temper that even Ty Cobb feared on occasion. It was Cobb as the player/manager, who promoted Whitehill to the Tigers at the end of the 1923 season.
...After developing arm trouble in the spring of 1925, Whitehill was told by Cobb to throw more curves and off-speed pitches. When Whitehill, following orders, managed to win only 11 games, Cobb blamed the lefty for Detroit's failure to the pennant as he had predicted. The two rarely communicated after that...

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Don't take this as an attempt to strongarm you, but I hope you can find five worthy candidates (six including Navin) in this election. I feel like it's a pretty strong group of candidates all around.

As for Whitehill, 2,200 better-than-league-average innings in a Tigers uniform is no small feat in my mind. I think his career compares favorably with that of Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Bill Donovan.

Oh no, I don't feel strongarmed. I don't think this is as strong a class as some of those that have come up or some that will come up. For the most part, that era after Cobb left and before the 1934/35 teams came up, I think this is an era of Tigers history that just isn't going to be as familiar to most.

Whitehill was definitely one of the best of that era (an era where the Tigers didn't really have much pitching to speak of), but I guess I need to dig a little deeper (haven't had a chance yet) to see how he stacks up against some of the other guys regarded as the best of the Tigers pitchers. His longevity does have me thinking of voting for him more than voting against him.

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Oh no, I don't feel strongarmed. I don't think this is as strong a class as some of those that have come up or some that will come up. For the most part, that era after Cobb left and before the 1934/35 teams came up, I think this is an era of Tigers history that just isn't going to be as familiar to most.

Yeah this was probably the weakest era of Tiger teams that we have looked at. Although Gehringer was in his prime during this time and was quite a hitter already. The big deal about the 1934/35 team was Greenberg coming into his own. I know people always seem to give a ton of credit to Cochrane and Goslin. But if you look over it the big thing for that 34 team was Gehringer and Greenberg coming into their own.

Greenberg .339/.404/.600

Gehringer .356/.450/.517

Cochrane hitting .320/.428/.412 certainly didn't hurt... neither did Goslin hitting .305/.373/.453... but I really feel like the leaders of that team in terms of offensive production were Gehringer and Greenberg. Of course its interesting to note that Schoolboy Rowe hit .303/.339/.450...

1935 they hit:

Greenberg .328/.411/.628

Gehringer .330/.409/.502

Cochrane .319/.452/.450

Goslin .292/.355/.415

Fox .321/.382/.513

Rowe .312/.380/.459

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I have always thought this of Whitehill. I figure he's either the best average pitcher the Tigers have ever had or he's the worst above average pitcher the Tigers have had. He's kind of like a poor boy's Jack Morris - poor boy meaning he's not at that same level but at the same arguement just at a lesser level.

I don't think I will be voting for Whitehill. I'll be making my decision within the next 48 hours, but if someone asked me 5 years ago if I would want Whitehill in a Tiger HOF I would've said no. With this format he looks a bit better than he really was because his class was so poor. Still, I don't think I've have the ammo to be giving him my vote. If you want me to start shooting some cannonballs to make me change my mind.

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There is a very good chance I won't vote for any of this class except Navin. If I use five votes there is a good chance they will all come via the carryovers.

This class isn't very good. Some of the players that played during it are some of the greatest Tigers of all time - Gehringer, Greenberg, Bridges. Schoolboy "How am I doin' Edna" Rowe is a lock for me and there are many others that will get noteriety - Billy Rogell, Mickey Cochrane (he could make it as a manager).

If I made a team all of these guys would be on my personal team. And there are others that have great merit. The 1930s to 1940s are loaded, just not necessarily where we are right now because they are still playing.

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I think the ballot will be deceiving. The way we are set up Whitehill could get in and Bridges may not when he's up or Rowe. In reality I don't think that's really accurate. Whitehill was never considered a "stud" ace. He pitched and was a regular in the rotation. But he wasn't someone that had teams shaking in their shoes ever in their career. Tommy Bridges and Schoolboy Rowe - they were legit All-Stars at times in their career. Even though they are not in the same class here they are in the same era pretty much. Whitehill is a distant third on this list in my opinion and is someone I can't vote for right now.

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I think you need to give more credit to the committee when it comes to voting in Bridges/Rowe. Bridges and Rowe are both very worthy candidates. Bridges is in my top 20 and Rowe in my top 50.

I think Whitehill and Rowe are pretty close statistically. Rowe had a better peak but Whitehill consistently gave the team (other than 1928 when he was injured and threw 196 innings) over 220 ip.... Thats impressive. Bridges was clearly the ace of the staff from 1930 to 1943.... then the best pitcher in Tiger history took over (Prince Hal)...

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estrepe,

This is my point. I think you see this as a class where you can add maybe one name (actually I think none) and still have your carryovers. People are going to want to keep their carryovers. Rowe had four very solid seasons in between the injuries. He's going to find it tough to get in I think. Whitehill - maybe two.

I think it's natural to want to keep a few holdovers on that list. You do that nexst list and you are going to see in a few elections people like Rowe, Newsome, Gehringer and York battling it out. It's going to be awfully tough for Rowe to make it, yet at least in my opinion Rowe deserves it clearly more than Whitehill. That's not underestimating the voters. That's just realizing the nature of the voting. I think it's natural for people to think "three on this one and two from the past" or whatever the ratio is. I think this election is a real good chance to clean up loose ends and not throw those in who are marginal candidates (at least in my opinion) at best.

I don't think there are many people that remember this era (or people like me that replay these seasons with games) saying "Man that Whitehill, he had some awesome years."

I know I can say that about Rowe.

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