The 1912 AL Batting Leaderboard

This is a followup to the last post: here, from Baseball-reference, is a screenshot of the American League leaders for four significant batting categories in 1912 (again, click the image for a larger version):


My question is: how many of these names do you recognize? About half of the names in each category are not familiar to me, the same number as for 1942. That’s surprisingly high, but Cobb, Jackson, Speaker, Collins, Hooper, and Baker are about as well known as the great players of the ’40s, and in 1912 MLB players weren’t being drafted into the military.

Published in: Uncategorized on November 3, 2015 at 10:20 am  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I only recognize about half of these names, too. But given that this list is from a hundred years ago, that’s not too surprising. As time goes on, only the truly great tend to be remembered, while those others that might have been admired at the time fall away as their particular fans die out.
    Cheers, Bill

  2. There is a kind of fame threshold for, not the entirety of baseball history, but for the 12 decades of the AL-NL structure of pro baseball. I doubt that even the biggest fans could name more than a few 1800s players off the top of their head, but starting in the 1900s that changes: Mathewson, Cobb, Tinkers to Evers to Chance, Eddie Plank, Rube Waddell, Wagner, Joe Walsh, etc.

  3. That’s true, but even as far as those early 20th-century decades go, the older you are, the more likely that those names would be familiar to you (even if you weren’t yet alive when they were playing.) I have to wonder, for example, how many baseball fans today under age 40 could even name more than a handful of players who played much before WWII, or even up through the 1950’s. Would they be familiar with the names (for example) Robin Roberts, Ernie Lombardi, Ken Boyer, or Minnie Minoso? You have to wonder.
    Take care,

  4. I’ll echo what the others said — the fact that HALF of these names from over a hundred years ago are still recognizable, is a testament to the high quality of play in that era, and to the sportswriters and storytellers who’ve passed those names on down to us. With baseball dwindling down to a niche sport these days, how many of the batting leaders of 2015, will be recognized by our great-grandchildren reading about their exploits in the year 2118?

  5. I think it depends on both your level of interest in a given topic and how much importance you place on its history. I’ve heard it said that to most people, history begins the day they were born and there’s some truth to that because it’s not just “history,” it’s “remembrance.”

    And Minnie Minoso belongs in Cooperstown.

  6. Actually, yeah, I agree that Minoso belongs in Cooperstown, too.

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