Cooperstown Chronicles – Lefty O’Doul

Mar 29, 2008

cooperstown-chronicles.jpg
Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Lefty O’Doul was suggested by aajoe7, a friend of mine from Sporting News.  Here are my findings. 

The Numbers
970 Games
3264 At Bats  
.349 Batting Average (4th All-time)
624 Runs 
1140 Hits 
175 Doubles 
41 Triples
113 Home Runs 
542 RBI 
1736 Total Bases 

Awards
1 All-Star Appearance
MVP Votes in 3 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Four times (Led league in 1929 & 1932)
On-base % – Four times (Led league in 1929)
Slugging % - Four times
OPS – Four times
Runs – Three times
Hits – Twice (Led league in 1929)
Triples – Once
Home Runs – Four times
RBI – Twice
Walks – Twice
Stolen Bases – Once
Total Bases – Four times
Games – Once
At Bats – Twice

We’re talking quality not quantity here.  In his brief career, Lefty had 120+ runs three times (152 in 1929), 200+ hits three times (254 in ’29), and hit .368 or better three times (.398 in ’29).  Honestly, his 1929 season is one of the best single-season in baseball history.  He was a manager following his baseball career winning 2000+ minor league games (2094 total, which ranks 9th all-time).  He worked with Joe DiMaggio and Willie McCovey.  He was credited with helping introduced Japan to baseball, and the Roy Hobbs character in The Natural was, in part, based on Lefty.  When I first started looking at Lefty, I thought that he wasn’t worthy of the Hall of Fame.  Had he started his career as an Outfielder rather than a pitcher, his overall numbers would have likely been good enough.  However, it’s what he did after his playing days that made me clear out a spot in Cooperstown for him.  He was an ambassador for the game.  For that we owe him the honor.

References
Baseball-reference.com
BR Bullpen

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub
Gary Gaetti
Jimmy Ryan
George Van Haltren
Roger Maris
Lance Parrish
Mo Vaughn
Mark Grace
Dennis Martinez
Chuck Finley
Fred McGriff
Wes Parker
Steve Finley
Orlando Cepeda
Albert Belle
Willie Randolph
Graig Nettles
Luis Gonzalez

Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB | Tagged: The Natural |
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14 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Larry Novak
    March 29th, 2008 at 2:33 pm #

    He was a victim of a very short career. I am not sure but I believe a player is supposed to play 10 years to be eliglbe, But what he did si HOF type numbers, and I did not know what he did in his post-playing days, and from what you found he definitly should be in the HOF, as a matter of fact I am shocked he is not in,

  2. Mo Morrissey
    March 29th, 2008 at 6:52 pm #

    That’s a name I’m not familiar with – I’ll have to check him out a little more. Nice work.

  3. Ryan Lester
    March 30th, 2008 at 5:58 am #

    Larry – Totally agree
    Mo – Yeah, pretty interesting stuff. He was a converted pitcher a la Babe Ruth.

  4. Joe
    March 31st, 2008 at 8:17 am #

    I think the coolest part of his career is that he went from being a pitcher to a fantastic hitter at the major league level. He’s probably the best player ever to make that transition who wasn’t named Babe Ruth.

    Anyone else think that Rick Ankiel is Lefty O’Doul reincarnate?

  5. Ryan Lester
    March 31st, 2008 at 8:23 am #

    Joe – You could be onto something or Ankiel was just on something. We’ll see.

  6. Paul H. Wall
    July 28th, 2008 at 7:25 pm #

    Lefty should be in the Hall of Fame. How can Dick Williams be in and not Lefty O’Doul.
    He was a great hitter. Three time battng champ. One of the highest lifetime batting averages. But more importantly his contibutions to Baseball by his work in Japan. Lefty started baseball in Japan and lokk at the great ball players that have come out of Japan. Also during time Lefty managed the San Francisco Seals there were only 16 teams in the majors. If there were the number of teams currently in the majors during 1935 to 1940 Lefty would have been a manager of a major league team. It is late BUT PUT LEFTY IN THE HALL. He really deserves it.

  7. LestersLegends
    July 28th, 2008 at 8:09 pm #

    Paul – totally agree

  8. Tom O'Doul
    January 12th, 2009 at 6:46 pm #

    You bet cousin Frank should be in the Hall. He was the greatest ambassador ever to the game.

  9. LestersLegends
    January 12th, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully someobdy figures it out.

  10. Cooperstown Chronicles - Jesse Haines | 1800blogger
    May 7th, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    [...] 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 [...]

  11. Cooperstown Chronicles - Stan Coveleski :: Elites TV
    May 13th, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    [...] 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 [...]

  12. Cooperstown Chronicles - Waite Hoyt | 1800blogger
    May 20th, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

    [...] 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 [...]

  13. Cooperstown Chronicles - Kiki Cuyler | 1800blogger
    May 28th, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    [...] 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 [...]

  14. Dave Piesorinski
    August 14th, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    How do we get Lefty into the HOF?

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