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"I'm working on a new pitch. It's called a strike."
--Jim Kern, Texas Rangers pitcher


1936 Hall of Fame Results

By Patrick Mondout

The Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed its first members in 1936 after the votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA) were announced in January. The standard then was the same as it is today; to be elected, you must receive votes from 75% of the writers who take the time to vote.

Voting by Year

Five players reached that threshold the first year and they will forever stand alone as the "First Five." They are: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. Of those five, four were still alive with only Mathewson having passed in 1925.

Mickey Cochrane, in retrospect, became the poster boy for why a five year waiting period was needed. Cochrane had played in five World Series' and had won two MVPs (the most recent only two years earlier), but he certainly was not one of the 10 greatest players of all time. His career was winding down in 1936, but with his his recent performance so fresh in the voters' minds, he finished tenth. The rules were amended in subsequent years to rule out current major leaguers; he did not receive votes again until 1939 and did not receive enough to enter the Hall until 1947.

Shoeless Joe Jackson was eligible and received just two votes. The person who received the most votes but who is still not in the Hall is Hal Chase, who received 11 votes and 18 in 1937 but was never again considered.

Votes by members of the BBWAA were tabulated by the National Baseball Hall of Fame. At least 170 votes were needed to be elected. (Winners in bold.)

Ty Cobb 222 98.2% P 1st
Babe Ruth 215 95.1% P 1st
Honus Wagner 215 95.1% P 1st
Christy Mathewson 205 90.7% P 1st
Walter Johnson 189 83.6% P 1st
Nap Lajoie 146 64.6% P 1st
Tris Speaker 133 58.8% P 1st
Cy Young 111 49.1% P 1st
Rogers Hornsby 105 46.5% P 1st
Mickey Cochrane 80 35.4% P 1st
George Sisler 77 34.1% P 1st
Eddie Collins 60 26.5% P 1st
Jimmy Collins 58 25.7% P 1st
Pete Alexander 55 24.3% P 1st
Lou Gehrig 51 22.6% P 1st
Roger Bresnahan 47 20.8% P 1st
Willie Keeler 40 17.7% P 1st
Rube Waddell 33 14.6% P 1st
Jimmie Foxx 21 9.3% P 1st
Ed Walsh 20 8.8% P 1st
Ed Delahanty 17 7.5% P 1st
Pie Traynor 16 7.1% P 1st
Frankie Frisch 14 6.2% P 1st
Lefty Grove 12 5.3% P 1st
Hal Chase 11 4.9% P 1st
Ross Youngs 10 4.4% P 1st
Bill Terry 9 4.0% P 1st
Johnny Kling 8 3.5% P 1st
Lou Criger 7 3.1% P 1st
Mordecai Brown 6 2.7% P 1st
Johnny Evers 6 2.7% P 1st
Frank Chance 5 2.2% P 1st
John McGraw 4 1.8% M 1st
Ray Schalk 4 1.8% P 1st
Al Simmons 4 1.8% P 1st
Chief Bender 2 0.9% P 1st
Joe Jackson 2 0.9% P 1st
Edd Roush 2 0.9% P 1st
Frank Baker 1 0.4% P 1st
Bill Bradley 1 0.4% P 1st
Fred Clarke 1 0.4% P 1st
Sam Crawford 1 0.4% P 1st
Jake Daubert 1 0.4% P 1st
Dizzy Dean 1 0.4% P 1st
Kid Elberfeld 1 0.4% P 1st
Charlie Gehringer 1 0.4% P 1st
Gabby Hartnett 1 0.4% P 1st
Connie Mack 1 0.4% M 1st
Rube Marquard 1 0.4% P 1st
Nap Rucker 1 0.4% P 1st
Dazzy Vance 1 0.4% P 1st

There was also a a special election by 78 appointed players, writers, managers and officials who had first-hand familiarity with 19th century baseball. This was the first so-called Veteran's Committee. It was a disaster.

Many of the veterans at first thought they were being asked to choose an all-star team of 10 19th Century players and sent their ballots in accordingly. The Hall asked that only 5 were chosen to limit the numbers of those who might get elected. Those whose ballots included 10 had each of their votes split in half, meaning that a vote for Cy Young was only 1/2 a vote for Cy Young. This made it nearly impossible for anyone to achieve the necessary 75% (59 votes) level of support. Indeed, no one was elected. Here are the results of that ballot:

At least 59 votes were needed to be elected. Herman Long, Bill Lange, Harry Stovey, and Jerry Denny were the highest ranking vote-getters who have still not been honored by the Hall.

Cap Anson 39.5 50.0% P 1st
Buck Ewing 39.5 50.0% P 1st
Willie Keeler 33 42.3% P 2nd
Cy Young 32.5 41.0% P 2nd
Ed Delahanty 21.5 26.9% P 2nd
John McGraw 17 21.8% P 2nd
Charley Radbourn 16 20.5% P 1st
Herman Long 15.5 19.2% P 1st
King Kelly 15 19.2% P 1st
Amos Rusie 11.5 14.1% P 1st
Hughie Jennings 11 14.1% P 1st
Fred Clarke 9 11.5% P 2nd
Jimmy Collins 8 10.3% P 2nd
Charlie Comiskey 6 7.7% P 1st
Jerry Denny 6 7.7% P 1st
Bill Lange 6 7.7% P 1st
Wilbert Robinson 6 7.7% P 1st
Harry Stovey 6 7.7% P 1st
George Wright 6 7.7% P 1st
John Clarkson 5 6.4% P 1st
Honus Wagner 5 6.4% P 2nd
Al Spalding 4 5.1% P 1st
Hugh Duffy 3.5 3.8% P 1st
Ross Barnes 3 3.8% P 1st
Charlie Bennett 3 3.8% P 1st
Kid Nichols 3 3.8% P 1st
John Ward 3 3.8% P 1st
Fred Dunlap 2.5 2.6% P 1st
Dan Brouthers 2 2.6% P 1st
Jack Glasscock 2 2.6% P 1st
Billy Hamilton 2 2.6% P 1st
Nap Lajoie 2 2.6% P 2nd
Ned Williamson 2 2.6% P 1st
Bobby Lowe 1.5 1.3% P 1st
Doug Allison 1 1.3% P 1st
Joe Battin 1 1.3% P 1st
Jake Beckley 1 1.3% P 1st
Tommy Bond 1 1.3% P 1st
Jesse Burkett 1 1.3% P 1st
Lou Criger 1 1.3% P 2nd
Bill Dahlen 1 1.3% P 1st
Jake Daubert 1 1.3% P 2nd
Jack Doyle 1 1.3% P 1st
Tim Keefe 1 1.3% P 1st
Matt Kilroy 1 1.3% P 1st
Arlie Latham 1 1.3% P 1st
Jimmy McAleer 1 1.3% P 1st
Tommy McCarthy 1 1.3% P 1st
Cal McVey 1 1.3% P 1st
Charlie Pabor 1 1.3% P 1st
Lip Pike 1 1.3% P 1st
Jack Remsen 1 1.3% P 1st
Hardy Richardson 1 1.3% P 1st
Fred Tenney 1 1.3% P 1st
George Van Haltren 1 1.3% P 1st
Bobby Wallace 1 1.3% P 1st
Deacon White 1 1.3% P 1st
Candy Cummings 0 0.0% P 1st
Silver Flint 0 0.0% P 1st
Lee Richmond 0 0.0% P 1st

Source: National Baseball Hall of Fame. Special thanks to Keith Hemmelman for compiling the data.

Hall of Fame References

Baseball's Hall of Fame: Cooperstown--Where the Legends Live Forever by Lowell Reidenbaugh
A Legend for the Legendary: The Origin of the Baseball Hall of Fame by James A. Vlasich
The Politics Of Glory, How Baseball Hall Of Fame Really Works by Bill James
Whatever Happened To The Hall Of Fame? by Bill James

Out by a Step: The 100 Best Players Not in the Baseball Hall of Fame
by Mike Shalin
Total Baseball: The Ultimate Baseball Encyclopedia
by John Thorn, et al.
2006 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia by Gary Gillette (Editor), Pete Palmer (Editor).

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--Patrick Mondout



Ty Cobb was second to no one and received the most votes in the first ever Hall of Fame voting.

Photo Courtesy Library of Congress

Total ballots cast: 226

Ballots necessary for election: 170

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