Sherry Magee for 2008 HOF
Who he is
Sherry Magee spent sixteen seasons in the major leagues, beginning his career in 1904 and ending it in 1919. He spent his prime seasons playing for the Philadelphia Phillies. During the first ten years of his career he was considered the second greatest offensive star in the National League, behind only the incomparable Honus Wagner.
Magee has received votes on seven previous ballots, in 1937 – 1939, 1942, 1945, 1950 and 1951. The highest percentage that he’s ever garnered has been 1%. This season he is part of the veteran’s committee pre-1943 ballot.
From my personal perspective, I’d rather have a player that was at or near the top eschalon for 10 years than an occasional all-star that held on for 15+ to collect his milestone numbers.
Era & Stats
Magee played in the deadball era, known as such due to the overall lack of offensive stats and power numbers. Before the death of Ray Chapman in the World Series of 1920, it wouldn’t be considered rare if only two or three baseball’s were used during an entire game. Add in the dirt factor that the balls collect, along with ball “bruising”, the allowance of spitballs, scuff balls, etc and low light situations towards the end of games and its not difficult to see why hitting was down.
The deadball era itself goes a long way in explaining the lack of milestone stats for Sherry Magee. 2169 hits, 83 HR, 1176 RBI. On the surface this makes it hardly worth having an HOF conversation about Magee. But when we look closer at his league rankings we see that he was one of the top hitters of his time.
Top 10 rankings during his career
Batting Average 6 times
On-Base % 5 Times
Slugging Percentage 11 Times (10 times in 11 seasons)
OPS 8 Times
Total Bases 9 Times
Runs 7 Times
Doubles 9 Times
Triples 9 Times
Home Runs 7 Times
RBI 9 Times
Sherry’s career OPS+ is 136. The only player in the NL during this time that posted more top ten rankings is Honus Wagner.
Using two hall of fame metric tests created by Bill James, the Black-Ink and Gray-Ink Tests, Magee scores well-above the average HOF player. In Black-Ink he scores 35 (42nd all-time) and in Gray-Ink he scores 210 (33rd all-time). These metrics are based upon league rankings. Magee ranks higher in one or both of these systems over strong HOF inductees such as Paul Molitor, George Brett, George Sisler, and even Joe Dimaggio.
Whether the veteran’s committee will give Magee the time of day remains to be seen. For over ten years Sherry Magee was the #2 offensive force in the National League. Sherry Magee should be elected into the MLB hall of fame.