Cooperstown Chronicles – Bucky Walters

Oct 26, 2008

Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

The Veterans Committee is going to vote on twenty players for induction into the Hall of Fame.  There are ten players pre-1943 and ten post-1943.  Today I profile Bucky Walters from that group.

Played 1934-1950 (16 seasons)
428 Games
398 Starts
3104-2/3 Innings
198 Wins – 160 Losses
.553 Winning Percentage
3.30 ERA (3.80 League Average)
1.324 WHIP
1107 Ks
242 Complete Games
42 Shutouts
4 Saves

Three 20+ Win Seasons
Seven sub 3.00 ERA Seasons
Zero 200 K Seasons

Playoffs:  1 Ring, 4 Games, 3 Starts, 2-2, 2.79 ERA, 12 Ks 

1939 Triple Crown
1939 MVP
6 All-Star Game Appearances
MVP Votes in 5 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Wins - 8 Times (Led league in 1939, 1940 & 1944)
Winning % - 4 Times
ERA - 6 Times (Led league in 1939 & 1940)
WHIP - 4 Times (Led league in 1939 & 1940)Games – Twice
Starts - 9 Times (Led league in 1937 & 1939)
Innings - 8 Times (Led league in 1939, 1940 & 1941)
Strikeouts - 4 Times (Led league in 1939)
Complete Games - 8 Times (Led league in 1939, 1940 & 1941)
Shutouts - 9 Times (Led league in 1936)

Hall of Fame Yardsticks:

Black Ink: Pitching – 48 (26) (Average HOFer ≈ 40)
Gray Ink: Pitching – 152 (90) (Average HOFer ≈ 185)
HOF Standards: Pitching – 27.0 (171) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Pitching – 104.5 (87) (Likely HOFer > 100)

Half of the yardsticks say he’s worthy.  The other two say the opposite.  I just don’t think he had enough dominating seasons.  He was lights on from 1939-1942 and again in 1944.  The problem is only three of those years did he have outstanding Win-Loss Percentages.  If you take those three years away he actually has a losing record.  I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sway me to the Hall of Fame side.  He did have a signature year winning the Triple Crown and MVP in 1939, but he didn’t do enough.  Perhaps if he came up as a Pitcher rather than a Third Baseman he would have the numbers he needed.  As it stands, I’ll have to pass on Bucky for Cooperstown.


Past Chronicles
Dick Allen
Roberto Alomar
Richie Ashburn*
Earl Averill*
Harold Baines

Dan Bancroft*
Jake Beckley*

Albert Belle
Jim Bottomley*
Pete Browning

Jim Bunning *
Bert Byleven
Joe Carter
Orlando Cepeda*
Rocky Colavito
Earle Combs*
Dave Concepcion
David Cone
Roger Connor*
Larry Corcoran

Mike Cuellar
Bill Dahlen
George Davis*
Andre Dawson
Larry Doby*
Bobby Doerr*
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Dwight Evans
Rick Ferrell*
Wes Ferrell
Chuck Finley
Steve Finley
Nellie Fox*
John Franco

Gary Gaetti
Steve Garvey
Lefty Gomez*
Luis Gonzalez
Dwight Gooden
Mark Grace
Bobby Grich
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Ron Guidry
Chick Hafey*

Billy Herman*
Keith Hernandez
Orel Hershiser
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Gil Hodges
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Travis Jackson*
Tommy John
Bob Johnson
Addie Joss*
Jim Kaat
George Kell*
Joe Kelley*
George Kelly*
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Chuck Klein*
Jerry Koosman
Bill James & Pete Palmer
Barry Larkin
Tony Lazzeri*
Freddie Lindstrom*
Mickey Lolich
Ernie Lombardi*
Fred Lynn
Sherry Magee

Roger Maris
Rube Marquard*
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Dennis Martinez
Edgar Martinez
Bobby Matthews
Don Mattingly
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Bill Mazeroski*
Fred McGriff

Mark McGwire
Bid McPhee
Johnny Mize*
Paul Molitor*
Jack Morris
Tony Mullane
Dale Murphy
Graig Nettles
Hal Newhouser*
Lefty O’Doul
Tony Oliva
Al Oliver

Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Dave Parker
Wes Parker
Lance Parrish
Vada Pinson
Boog Powell
Tim Raines
Willie Randolph
Pee Wee Reese*
Jim Rice
Phil Rizzuto*
Brooks Robinson*
Pete Ro$e
Amos Rusie*
Jimmy Ryan
Ron Santo
Curt Schilling
Red Schoendienst* (Player/Manager)
Ted Simmons
Enos Slaughter*
Lee Smith
Rusty Staub
Dave Stieb
Mel Stottlemyre
Harry Stovey
Sam Thompson
Luís Tiant
Joe Torre
Alan Trammell

George Van Haltren
Arky Vaughan*
Mo Vaughn
Bobby Veach
Frank Viola
Mickey Welch*
Lou Whitaker
Deacon White
Bernie Williams
Vic Willis*
Maury Wills 
Hack Wilson*
Ross Youngs*
Veterans Committee Ballot

* Signifies actual Hall of Famer

. .

7 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. 3rdStoneFromTheSun
    October 26th, 2008 at 5:15 pm #

    TOTALLY agree with you on this

    he isn’t worthy

  2. LestersLegends
    October 26th, 2008 at 9:19 pm #

    3rd – yep.

  3. David Funk
    October 26th, 2008 at 9:36 pm #

    I agree as well. He just doesn’t have enough strength in other areas with his winning percentage not being very strong to make him standout to be voted upon. Those four great years will only carry him so far. Great stuff Lester.

  4. LestersLegends
    October 26th, 2008 at 9:39 pm #

    Good call David.

  5. Jeff
    May 12th, 2009 at 5:22 am #

    The interesting feature of Buckys career are the many intangibles and off the field contributions throughout Buckys career – his career was as negatively impacted by the War as anybody that didnt actually play.

    Although a debatable Hall of Famer – his career had him go overseas as a member of the USO tour trapped by the advancing Germans at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, he was one of the players that participated in the first player/owner negotiations of 1946 that averted the “Mexican Jumping” situation, and created the first official pension for ballplayers. His career also had him play nearly every position but catcher, active player/manager, and believe it or not he actually umpired two games. In short – his career had him do more than be a pitcher… which only reflects 2/3rds of his playing career.

  6. LestersLegends
    May 12th, 2009 at 5:31 am #

    Thanks for adding Jeff. You make a compelling case for him.

  7. Cooperstown Chronicles - Waite Hoyt | 1800blogger
    May 20th, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    [...] Alan Trammell George Van Haltren Arky Vaughan* Mo Vaughn Bobby Veach Mickey Vernon Frank Viola Bucky Walters Mickey Welch* Lou Whitaker Deacon White Bernie Williams Vic Willis* Maury Wills Hack Wilson* Ross [...]

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