Friday, February 4, 2011

Hall of Fame Spotlight - Jimmie Foxx

Plaque photo borrowed from www.baseballhall.org
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In 1925, a young 17-year old player appeared in 10 games for the Philadelphia Athletics. Jimmie Foxx (b. 1907 - d. 1967) would go 6 for 9 (.667 batting average) in that brief stint in the big leagues. Foxx would get little playing time in the two subsequent seasons for the A's. Finally, in 1928, Foxx would play regularly and would stay in the majors until 1945 (missing the 1943 season)for the A's, Red Sox, Cubs and Phillies. In that time, Foxx would have 2,646 hits, 534 home runs and a lifetime average of .325. When Babe Ruth was hitting home runs for the Yankees in the late 1920s and early 1930s, his main power competition was Foxx. According to baseball-reference.com, Foxx actually appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot in 1936 (inaugural ballot) while he was still playing! He would appear on the ballot from 1946 to 1950 until he finally gained election in 1951. His Wikipedia page says he was a first ballot Hall of Famer, but I'm going with the more reliable baseball-reference.com information.
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What makes him a Hall of Famer?
  • 3-time AL MVP (1932, 1933, 1938)
  • His 534 home runs rank 17th all-time
  • 2-time World Series Champion (1929 and 1930, with the A's)
  • 2-time batting champion (1933 - .356 and 1938 - .349)
  • Hit over .300 in 11 full seasons
  • 4-time home run champ (1932 - 58, 1933 - 48, 1935 - 36 and 1939 - 35)
  • His career average of .325 ranks 42nd all-time
  • His career OBP of .428 ranks 10th all-time
  • His career OPS of 1.038 ranks 6th all-time
  • His .609 slugging percentage ranks 5th all-time
  • His 1,922 career RBI rank 8th all-time

Should he be a Hall of Famer?

  • This is where I usually list reasons why a player might not deserve their spot in the Hall. All I've got is that Foxx led the league in strikeouts 7 times. Something tells me that this is a forgotten fact.
  • Appeared on 7 Hall of Fame ballots and averaged 44.8% of the vote.
  • Reached the 500 home run plateau and narrowly missed the 3,000-hit plateau.

The Verdict?

Duh. YES. Jimmie Foxx is absolutely a Hall of Famer. Without a doubt. I didn't even have to think too hard about it at all. Is there anyone out there who wants to argue that Foxx isn't a Hall of Famer? Anyone (crickets)?

Foxx reportedly died at the age of 59 after choking on a piece of meat. What an awful way to go.

Jimmie Foxx autographs average around $2,500 on Ebay. Good luck with that.
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