Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hall of Fame Spotlight - Travis Jackson

Plaque photo borrowed from www.baseballhall.org
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Everyone, raise your hand if you knew Travis Jackson (b. 1903 - d. 1987) was a Hall of Famer. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? That's what I thought.At first glance, Travis Jackson does not appear to have the credentials of a hall of famer: 1,768 hits, 135 homers, .291 batting average. Jackson played shortstop from 1922 to 1936 for the Giants. He was elected to the hall of fame by the veteran's committee in 1982 after failing to get more than 7.3% (averaging 2.76%) of the vote during 12 times on the ballot. According to his plaque and profile on www.baseballhall.org, Jackson was apparently a 'premier defensive shortstop.' Hmmm. We will revisit that shortly. Let's first take a look at his hall of fame credentials:

What makes him a Hall of Famer?

  • Member of 2 World Championship teams (1922 and 1933 Giants)
  • All Star (1934)
  • Batted .300 or higher 6 times

Should he be a Hall of Famer?

  • Never won any major awards (MVP, batting title, home run champ, etc)
  • Never led the league in any offensive category
  • Appeared on HOF ballot 12 times, averaging 7.3% of the vote
  • Never reached any 'golden ticket' numbers (3,000 hits, 500 home runs, etc)
  • Regarded as supposed premier shortstop, but his .952 fielding percentage for shortstop only ranks #189 (tie) all time. His 381 errors committed as a shortstop are 44th most all time. His 4,636 assists at shortstop only rank 59th all time. His putouts as shortstop rank 50th all time (2,878).

The verdict?

Premier defensive shortstop? I'm not feeling it. Anyone out there who would like to argue Travis Jackson's merits, please comment because my answer is NO, Travis Jackson is not a Hall of Famer. I think he is one of the many shining examples of the flaws in the past incarnations of the Veteran's Committee. One of my friends told me the other day (after reading my 2011 HOF post) that my Hall of Fame would have 5,000 members. After review of Travis Jackson, I think we may be able to agree that 4,999 is a better projection, haha.

Travis Jackson autographed index cards average around $60 on ebay. I only saw one authenticated ball of his and it was selling for $550.

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