12/03/12 2:20 PM ET
Ruppert among three elected to Hall of Fame
Legendary Yanks owner to be inducted with umpire O'Day, 19th-century catcher White
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
That ballot, released last week, includes newcomers such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling, as well as Jack Morris, who is back for a 14th try. The results of that vote will be revealed on Jan. 9.The winners of the Ford C. Frick Award for meritorious contributions to baseball announcing and the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for excellence in baseball writing will be honored on July 27 at Doubleday Field. The Spink Award winner is to be announced on Tuesday and the Frick winner on Wednesday. The Pre-Integration Ballot included two other executives: St. Louis Cardinals owner Sam Breadon, whose Gashouse Gang club went to the World Series four times between 1942-46, winning three of them, and Al Reach, a former player and executive for the Philadelphia Phillies. Reach ultimately established his own sporting goods company that produced the official baseball for the American League. The five other players included shortstops Marty Marion and Bill Dahlen, and pitchers Wes Ferrell, Tony Mullane and Bucky Walters. Ferrell's brother, Rick, was a catcher who was elected to the Hall by a Veterans Committee in 1984. The Cardinals were well-represented on the ballot with Breadon and Marion, the shortstop on those World Series-winning teams of the 1940s. The club's current chairman, Bill DeWitt Jr., was a member of the committee. Marion and Breadon received fewer than three votes this time around. "Breadon was an owner of the club during an incredible era of success," said DeWitt, whose father was a long-time executive for the Browns and Cardinals and worked in baseball for more than 50 years. "Obviously, he was a strong candidate. Marty was a great player and great leader on the club." Executives, umpires and managers can only be selected by variations of the Veterans Committee and there are ample examples of owners who have been elected, although long after their lives have ended. The most recent were Barney Dreyfuss of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Walter O'Malley of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, who were both inducted in 2008. Dreyfuss died in 1932 and O'Malley in 1979. Ruppert passed away in 1939 at age 71. "The standard for ownership has always been a difficult issue," said Peter Morris, a baseball historian who was on the committee. "The Hall of Fame started by putting builders in and it took a while to recognize owners. One of the things we discussed is that many people believed that Jacob Ruppert was already in because his credentials were so outstanding. Then when we looked at his record afresh, we realized he'd done an incredible amount for the game." Actually, it was Ed Barrow, the Yanks' general manager from that era, who is in the Hall, elected in 1953. Barrow, whose career started with the Red Sox, was the one who seemingly masterminded paying then-Boston owner Harry Frazee $100,000 for Ruth after the 1919 season, thus changing the course of baseball history. Who deserves more credit for that, Ruppert or Barrow? "Ruppert had to write the check, but Barrow clearly came from the Red Sox, where he had been what we call today the GM," said John Thorn, MLB's official historian. "It was Barrow who transformed Ruth from a pitcher to a batter. And it was Barrow who saw the opportunity to acquire a disaffected Ruth from a financially pinched Frazee." Ruth's greatest success in Boston was as a pitcher, but he quickly became baseball's most heralded slugger after he came to the Yankees, hitting 54 home runs in 1920 and 59 more in 1921. His Major League record of 714 career homers stood for 39 years. Ruth was in the first group elected to the Hall of Fame in 1936. Now the owner who brought him to New York is in there with him.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow@boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.