Saturday, May 24, 2008

(2) Roger Bresnahan - Duke of Tralee

Roger Philip Bresnahan. Nicknamed: Duke of Tralee. Born June 11, 1879 in Toledo, OH. Died December 4, 1944, in Toledo, Ohio.

AB-4481, R-682, H-1252, HR-26, RBI-530, BA-.279, SB-212

Played for the Washington Senators (1897); Chicago Orphans/Cubs (1900; 1915-1915); New York Giants (1902-1908); St. Louis Cardinals (1909-1912).

Player-Manager: St. Louis Cardinals (1909-1912) and the Chicago Cubs (1915).

Played on the World Series Champion New York Giants under John "Mugsy" or "Little Napolean" McGraw in 1905. In that Series his batting statistics were: AB-16, R-3, H-5, 2B-1, RBI-1, AVG-.313

In 1907, Bresnahan introduced the use of a catcher's shin guard.

On July 11, 1911, while player-manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, the team was involved in a train wreck while riding the Federal Express from Philadelphia,PA to Boston, MA. Fourteen (14) passengers were killed after the train derailed and plunged down an eighteen foot embankment outside Bridgeport, CT. None of the Cardinal players were seriously injured, due to a fortuitous pre-tip change in the location of their Pullman car that Bresnahan had requested. The Cardinals helped remove bodies and rescue the injured.

Bresnahan was mentioned in Ogden Nash's poem "Lineup for Yesterday."
B is for Bresnahan
Back of the plate;
The Cubs were his love
and McGraw his hate. (January 1949)

Inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1945. On his plaque reads:
Batterymate of Christy Mathewson with the New York Giants, he was one of the game's most natural players and might have starred at any position. The "Duke of Tralee" was one of the few major league catchers fast enough to be used as a leadoff man.

Sabermetrician, Bill James, said Bresnahan being elected into the Hall of Fame was an honor Roger did not deserve. In an article by Stephen J. Dubner on April 1, 2008, the question asked was Who are ten players in the Hall of Fame that do not deserve to be there? He lists Fred Lindstrom, Jesse Haines, Lloyd "Little Poison" Waner, Earle Combs, Chick Hafey, George Kelly, Ross Youngs, Tommy McCarthy, Jim Bottomley and Roger Bresnahan, in no particular order.

Many authorities of the game consider him to be the greatest catcher in the deadball era. This is why I am puzzled as to why writers have the utmost say as to who gets elected and who does not get elected into Baseball's Hall of Fame. These guys may have played stick ball or some summer league but it isn't the same as competing at the higher levels, say college, minor leagues or better still, the big leagues.

When a guy like Bill James spouts off that so-and-so doesn't deserve to be enshrined I say, "What have you done between the lines?"

(thanks to Wikipedia and Baseball Reference)

Kevin Marquez