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Meet three baseball hall-of-famers you've never heard of

Jan 15, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

On July 28, three great contributors to baseball, still known as America's game, will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

They'll be inductees 298, 299 and 300.

Wait just a minute. We all heard on Sports Center last week that there would be no new inductions into Baseball's Hall of Fame this year.

Craig Biggio, we were told, came the closest. He got just over 68 percent of the ballots, but in the end, fell 39 votes shy of the required 75-percent needed for election.

Sammy, Barry and the Rocket (Sosa, Bonds and Clemens), all probable beneficiaries of performance enhancing drug use in what has become known as the steroid era, fell far, far short of the necessary votes needed to be immortalized as baseball's eternal best.

Instead, men named O'Day, Ruppert and White (Hank, Jacob and Deacon) will be inducted.

Here are their bios from the National Baseball Hall of Fame:

O'Day umpired National League games for 30 years and becomes just the 10th arbiter elected to Cooperstown when he received 15 of a possible 16 votes (93.8 percent) from the Pre-Integration Era Committee. O'Day umpired in the first modern World Series in 1903, one of 10 World Series he worked overall. He also was also the ruling umpire in the famous Cubs vs. Giants game on Sept. 23, 1908 when Chicago's Johnny Evers tagged out New York's Fred Merkle following what appeared to be the game-winning hit by the Giants. O'Day ruled that because Merkle had not touched second base that the force out ended the game, which was ruled a tie when the fans overran the field. O'Day passed away on July 2, 1935.

Ruppert became the 33rd executive elected to the Hall of Fame and owned the Yankees from 1915-39. Ruppert. who received 15 of 16 votes (93.8 percent) from the Pre-Integration Era Committee, bought the Yankees in 1915 and quickly turned a second-division team into the game's most prominent franchise. Ruppert brought future Hall of Famers Miller Huggins (as manager) and Ed Barrow (as general manager) to the Yankees, purchased the contract of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox prior to the 1920 season and built Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923. While he was the Yankees owner, the Bronx Bombers won 10 American League pennants and seven World Series. Ruppert passed away on Jan. 13, 1939.

White was a brilliant bare-handed catcher and later a third baseman during the earliest days of professional baseball. White, who received 14 of 16 votes (87.5 percent) from the Pre-Integration Era Committee, played in the first professional league, the National Association -- which debuted in 1871, and he later played for Chicago in the National League's inaugural year of 1876. Despite league schedules that often were limited to 70 or 80 games, White finished his 20-year career with 2,067 hits and a .312 career batting average, winning two batting titles and three RBI crowns. White played for nine franchises in three leagues and appeared in 122 games at the age of 42 in his final season of 1890. White passed away on July 7, 1939.

O'Day, Ruppert and White will be recognized posthumously with twelve others, including Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby who, because of war restrictions, never had the experience of an induction ceremony.

"When you look at the Hall of Fame, that's what makes baseball pretty special, pretty unbelievable," Biggio, a guy who played by the rules, said last week dur

ing a news conference in Houston. "We're not letting six guys in every year. You had a list of a lot of guys that were very qualified and nobody (living) was let in. It just says a lot about how special that building really is."

Special enough to leave the known cheaters on the outside looking in.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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