UPDATED WITH SHORTSTOP INDUCTEES
Phil Rizzuto (automatic)
Here are the results from the balloting for third basemen to be inducted into the Pinstripe Alley Hall of Fame:
Graig Nettles (34/36, 94.4%)
Red Rolfe (12/36, 33.3%)
Clete Boyer (3/36, 8.3%)
It was not a large ballot, but Graig Nettles made it in and is currently the only third baseman! Maybe Alex Rodriguez can join him someday. Rolfe and Boyer likely did not have long enough success with the team to qualify for most voters, but they still had memorable careers.
Onto the shortstop position now; like at third base, there are not many shortstops up for nomination. It also might surprise you that the famed Bucky Dent was not nominated, but no one said anything and 13.2 fWAR over 5.5 years is not all that impressive. Instead, we have the following players, who all have the potential to join Phil Rizzuto in Yankees lore: Roger Peckinpaugh, Frankie Crosetti, and Tony Kubek. Learn more about them after the jump.
(NYY: 1913-21) Peckinpaugh was the Yankees' first great shortstop, and he was so well-respected on the team that manager Frank Chance named him the youngest captain in league history at the age of 23. "Peck" was originally signed by the Indians, but the the Yankees pulled off a steal in May 1913 by acquiring him in exchange for Jack Lelivelt and Bill Stumpf, who combined to play only 57 games with Cleveland. Peckinpaugh was a traditional defensive-minded shortstop and earned acclaim for his ability to dive for balls and successfully throw out runners; he led the league in assists and double plays five times each . His teammates revered him and he was even named interim manager at the end of the '14 season when Chance resigned, making the 24-year-old the youngest manager in league history. Although the Yankees of the 1910s were not very good (finishing above .500 merely three times), Peckinpaugh was the best shortstop in the American League during his Yankees career, compiling a league-leading 34.9 fWAR from '13-'21. His best season came in 1919, when he hit .305/.390/.404 with a 121 wRC+ in addition to his superb defense, reaching a career-high 6.8 fWAR.
Peckinpaugh's fortunes changed when the Yankees acquired Babe Ruth; the Captain finally reached the World Series in 1921, as he hit .288/.380/.397, scored 128 runs, and helped the team take its first AL Pennant with 98 wins. Unfortunately, the team lost to the crosstown Giants in the World Series, and Peckinpaugh was traded to the Red Sox (and then to the Senators) after the season, partly to keep Ruth from clamoring that "Peck" should be the team's manager instead of Miller Huggins. Peckinpaugh played six more years, winning the World Series in '24 and the AL MVP in '25 before retiring with the White Sox at age 36. His numbers might not seem much by today's standards, but the 94 wRC+ he had in his nine years with the team was good for a shortstop, and his defense acclaim was deserved, given his 59 Total Zone. The Yankees' first star shortstop should not be forgotten. (B-Ref) (FG) (SABR Bio)
(NYY: 1932-48) For all that has been written about Frodo and Yogi, "Crow" is the true Lord of the Rings, having earned 17 World Series rings as a player and coach. Crosetti was one of several Italian players from California to join the Yankees during the 1930s, joining Tony Lazzeri and later Joe DiMaggio. The 21-year-old was called up in '32 and supplanted incumbent starter Lyn Lary at the position, slugging .374 for an underrated Yankees team that won 107 games and swept the World Series. As he grew older, both his offense and defense improved, resulting in his best year, 1936, when the All-Star hit .288/.387/.437 with 35 doubles and 15 homers, good for a 109 wRC+ and 5.6 fWAR. The Yankees returned to the Series that year after a three-year absence, and won the first of four consecutive titles, a record at the time. Crosetti never really hit well in the playoffs (.174 batting average in 115 at bats), but he starred in the '38 matchup with the Cubs, slugging .688 with two doubles, a triple, and a homer in the four-game sweep.
He was one of the best shortstops in the league during the decade, as he hit .255/.350/.381 and earned praise for his defense, which went from poor to elite as time went on, culminating in his '39 season of 22 total zone and 2.4 dWAR. "Crow" began the '40s with his worst season as a pro (58 wRC+ in 632 plate appearances), then lost his starting job to rookie Phil Rizzuto in '41. He shifted to a bench role and won two more World Series rings, and briefly took his starting job back when Rizzuto went overseas for World War II. Upon his return in '46 became the third-base coach, a position he would hold for 23 years, and only played in 48 more games between '46-'48 before officially retiring. Crosetti might not have been the most fantastic player, but he undoubtedly played an important role in the Yankees' success in the 1930s. (B-Ref) (FG)
(NYY: 1957-65) Kubek, is remembered in the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Ford Frick Award-winning broadcaster, but he was a great player as well. The Yankees were looking for a shortstop to replace Phil Rizzuto, and they found a worthy successor in this Milwaukee native. After only a couple seasons in the minors, Kubek earned a spot on the Yankees as a 21-year-old in 1957, spending time both at shortstop and the outfield. In his first year, Kubek impressed by hitting .297/.335/.381 in 127 games with above-average fielding everywhere he played, and he earned the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Though the Yankees lost the World Series, Kubek emerged on the national stage by stunning the Milwaukee Braves (and his hometown fans) by slugging two homers in Game 3 (Kubek had hit three all year). The next season, Kubek officially became the starting shorstop, was named to the first of three All-Star teams in his career, and won his first World Series ring as the Yankees avenged their loss to the Braves.The team missed the playoffs in '59 despite Kubek's .391 slugging and second All-Star nod, but they returned in '60 as Kubek improved to a .401 slugging percentage and 96 wRC+ with a career-best 14 homers. Kubek thrashed the Pirates in the World Series (.333/.394/.367), but the Yankees' hopes of a title were dashed not long after Kubek was forced to leave Game 7 due to a bad hop that struck him in the throat.
Kubek had a great year in '61, as he was named an All-Star for the third time and hit 38 doubles in the Yankees 109-game romp of the AL and subsequent World Series win. He missed most of '62 serving in the military, but returned to hit .314/.357/.432 in 45 games down the stretch, then won his third World Series ring by hitting .276 against the Giants. His play declined as injuries piled up on him and he missed the entire '64 World Series. Kubek retired very young at age 29 in '65 after being diagnosed with nerve damage in his spinal column, a condition that could have led to paralysis had he played longer. Despite his short career, he ended with 74 Total Zone and a 6.1 dWAR to go with 23.8 fWAR overall. The Yankees didn't have Kubek for long, but in his time, he was among the best in the league. (B-Ref) (FG) (SABR Bio)
So those are your candidates:
Roger Peckinpaugh, Frankie Crosetti, and Tony Kubek
Here's a quick recap of the rules:
- Anyone who is a member of Pinstripe Alley can vote! Vote in the comment section!
- There are no limits as to how many players can be on your ballot- zero is even an option.
- A player needs to appear on 75% of the commented ballots to make it to the PSA Hall of Fame.
- Don't assume that a player you think is definitely deserving will make it in! Vote for him, we could see some surprises.
- Please participate! There's not going to be much of a point to getting the community's input on this series if we're only getting ten ballots per position post.
How many of these guys are Pinstripe Alley Hall of Famers? Sound off with your ballots below! Comments will close Monday at 7 PM. We will examine the left fielders next.