Thursday, December 20, 2012

1963 Hall of Fame

In 1963 we were still living in Ferndale, CA, camping and picnicking among the giant sequoias along the Eel River.  Four men were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
     John Clarkson had a career record as a pitcher of 327-177, and one season won 53 games and pitched over 600 innings in two different seasons.  Between 1882 and 1894 he played for the Worcester Ruby Legs, the Chicago White Stockings, the Boston Beaneaters and the Cleveland  Spiders.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963, 54 years after his death.  He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1905 or 1906 and spent the rest of his life in and out of mental hospitals.  He came down with pneumonia in 1909 and passed away at the age of 47.
        Elmer Flick played for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Philadelphia A's and the Cleveland Naps between 1898 and 1910.  In 1907 his value to the Naps was so high that they turned down a trade that would have brought the 21 year old Ty Cobb to Cleveland. His career batting average was .313.  He was voted into the Hall by the Veterans Committee. He passed away in 1971 in his lifelong hometown of Bedford, OH at the age of 94.
       Edgar Rice changed his name to Sam Rice when he became a player, and moved from being a pitcher to an outfielder for most of his career.  He overcame a great deal of grief just to become a player, in 1912 he traveled to a baseball tryout.  While he was away from home, a tornado hit his home and killed his wife, his wife, two children, his younger sisters, his parents and a farmhand.  Shortly afterwards he joined the Navy. In 1914 he tried out for a baseball team in Petersburg, VA and was signed up as a pitcher.  The team owner, Doc Lee, owed Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith $300 and offered him Rices' contract to pay off the debt.  Griffith took the contract and Rice played 19 years for the Senators and played one season for the Indians before retiring at the age of 44 in 1934.  His most famous or infamous moment came during the 1925 World Series, when he made a catch in the outfield and fell over the fence, when he came back up he had the ball in his glove.  There arose a controversy about whether Rice had possession of the ball the entire time.  He wouldn't answer any questions about the catch, but he was asked about the catch so much that he left an envelope with a note in it to be opened upon his death.  The envelope contained his account of the catch and ended  with the line, "at no time did I lose possession of the ball."  He remarried years later and he and his family were being interviewed for a program to honor him and he told the story about the tornado and his family learned of his previous family.  He was voted into the Hall in 1963 by the Veterans Committee after being on the ballot thirteen times, his highest percentage was 53% in 1960.  He passed away in 1974 at the age of 84.
      Eppa Rixley was the first player to die between their election and induction, he died just a month after his election.  He played from 1912-1933 for the Phillies and the Reds, ending with a career record of 266-251.  He leads the Reds in innings pitched with 2,890 2/3 innings, and was well known for destroying the locker room or disappearing for days when he would lose.  He missed the 1918 season to serve in the Armys' Chemical Warfare Division.  After he retired he sold insurance in his Father in Laws insurance agency, during his career he would teach Latin at a high school in Alexandria, Virginia.  He was elected by the Veterans Committee after being on the ballot 16 times between 1936 and 1962, in 1960 he attained his highest percentage with 50%.  In 1921 he surrendered just one home run in 301 innings pitched.  

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