Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tigers Hall of Fame

George Mullin: First player elected into MotownSports Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame

A group of us over at MotownSports is putting together a Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame. This is something that many of us have wanted to do for quite a while and last month we finally decided to take the plunge. The project is led by Dave Troppens (known on MotownSports as DTroppens) and Alan Chichester (DT34456884), two excellent writers and long time contributors to MotownSports. Their hard work and organization is helping to keep the project running as efficiently and smoothly as any I've seen on an internet sports forum.

The Motown project is smaller in scope but somewhat similar to the Hall of Merit developed by Baseball Think Factory. The big difference is that we are only concerned with the Tigers. We have 29 voters, all of whom have been on the project since at least the initial election. That first election included players who finished their careers with the Tigers by 1915. The second election included all players who ended their Tigers careers between 1916 and 1920. Each week, we have an election including players from a new 5 year period.

In each election, each voter is allowed to vote for as many as 5 players. Managers, executives and broadcasters are also eligible. Any player receiving 75% of the votes gets into the Hall of Fame. Players averaging at least 10% of the votes on three consecutive ballots remain on the ballot for future elections.

We did not establish any criteria beyond some very liberal minimum qualifications of at bats and innings pitched for nominees. Some people base their votes more on longevity while others put more emphasis on peak performance. Some make their decisions mostly based on statistical criteria. Others are more likely to take intangibles such as character and contribution to the franchise into consideration along with performance. Some only vote for players who they consider to be elite Tigers. Others vote for 5 players every time regardless of who is on the ballot. The differences cause occasional conflicts but that just makes the process more interesting.

So far, we have completed 3 elections taking us through 1925 and 6 Tigers legends have qualified for the MotownSports Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame: pitchers George Mullin, Wild Bill Donovan and Ed Killian, outfielders Sam Crawford and Bobby Veach and manager Hughie Jennings. The following players were not elected but received enough votes to remain on the ballot: pitchers Harry Coveleski, Ed Siever and Ed Summers, infielders Donie Bush, Germany Schaefer and Jim Delahanty and outfielders Jimmy Barrett and Davy Jones.

This week, we are working on the star studded class of players who last played for the Tigers between 1926 and 1930. This group is led by Ty Cobb (no introduction needed), .342 lifetime hitter Harry Heilmann and all time Tigers wins leader Hooks Dauss. Members are diligently and enthusiastically researching these all-time greats along with lesser known players such as Lu Blue, Bob Fothergill, Johnny Bassler, Heinie Manush, Lil Stoner and Ken Hollway. I'll be giving further updates as the project progresses.

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