Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Deacon White, Hall of Famer.

Bare handed era, you think Barry Bonds could have played bare handed?

What can I say about the Hall Of Fame vote today? Nothing. I can say nothing at all. The HOF has no legitimacy whatsoever with me and the BBWAA are all haughty dicks who operate beyond the rules of logic and common sense. So what should we talk about instead? How about our old friend Deacon White, the only baseball player who will be inducted into the Hall of Inconsistent Nonsense that Rewards an Idealized but Ultimately False Past that Never Existed in the First Place and is Populated with the Same Types of Guys we Turned Away Today but whom we have Fetishized into Pure Heroes who did nothing but Drink Milk, Fight Nazis and hit Dingers (the HOINRUUFPNEFPPSTGTATFPHDMFND) this year. Deacon was elected by the Veterans Committee of said body in December.

Deacon White was born in 1847 and had a storied career with such notable clubs as The Cleveland Forest City's, The Detroit Wolverines and The Reds. He played Catcher and Third Base during the lesser known "bare hand" era which probably wasn't as bad it sounds considering the pitchers of the era probably didn't throw very hard and judging by Deacon's stats, the ball didn't seem to make it to the mitt very often.

Deacon was a prolific contact hitter apparently, with a career K% of 3.2 including his epic 1874 season in which he struck out ZERO times. Don't you just love old timey baseball records? They have no relation whatsoever to the game we understand today. In 1874 this dude had 374 plate appearances and never struck out. Yet he only batted .300 (his BABIP was actually unlucky by modern standards at .294 but not knowing the baseline of 1870's baseball it's kind of meaningless). He also didn't even walk a lot that season, drawing only four walks. Let's review, he had zero strike outs and four walks in an entire season. And it wasn't even that great of a season for him. He fared better in 1877 when he put up .387/.405/.545 with eight walks, three k's and two home runs.

Upon retirement he had accrued 2066 hits, a .312 batting average and a career WAR of 42 which is the exact same Placido Polanco currently holds. This seems unfair at best as Polanco regularly strikes out more than two times in a season and as far as I can tell never batted .387. Deacon White did this all the right way, without indoor plumbing, processed foods or electricity, unlike the glory boys of today.

As you can probably tell I assembled this article with no original research aided only by Fangraphs and Wikipedia . I am a pretty prolific Wikipedia reader and I must say this little section from Deacon White's page is an absolute gem:

" According to Lee Allen in The National League Story (1961), White was one of the last people to believe that the earth is flat . He tried and failed to convince his teammates that they were living on a flat plane and not a globe; they ridiculed him. Then one asked to be convinced, and the Deacon gave him an argument suited to the hypothesis that the earth is not really turning. He convinced the teammate but the argument would not prove that the earth is not a sphere.

Welcome to the Hall Deacon.

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