Monday, October 19, 2009

The Legend of Hal Chase

Hal Chase is probably one of the best defensive First Baseman ever to play professional baseball but yet he is not in the Hall of Fame. He played from 1905-1919 and spent most of that time with the NY Highlanders/Yankees (1905-13).

Chase played 15 seasons in the AL, NL and FL (Federal League) and put up some decent numbers for the Dead Ball Era. His career numbers include; .291 BA, 2158 Hits, 57 Homeruns and 941 RBIs, which compare with HOFers Lou Boudreau (.295 BA, 1779 Hits, 68 HR & 789 RBI) and Ozzie Smith (.262 BA, 2460 Hits, 28 HR & 793 RBI) who were both voted in mainly on their defensive skills.

When compared with the Top 5 First Baseman (all in the HOF) you will see my point. All the numbers I use are based on when they played at First Base only:

Hal Chase 1,815 Games 18,185 PO 1,049 Assists .980 Fielding %

#1 Lou Gehrig- 2,137 Games 19,510 PO 1,087 Assists .991 Fielding %
#2 Jimmie Foxx- 1,919 Games 18,584 PO 1,222 Assists .992 Fielding %
#3 Hank Greenberg- 1,138 Games 10,564 PO 724 Assists .991 Fielding %
#4 Eddie Murray- 2,413 Games 21,225 PO 1,865 Assists .993 Fielding %
#5 Dan Brouthers- 1,633 Games 16,365 PO 654 Assists .971 Fielding %

His largest fault on the field was his ability to control the ball; he made a horrifying 402 Errors at First Base.

Now that his playing ability has been dissected you can see that based on those numbers, both offensively and defensively, he has a good argument for being in the Hall of Fame. What is the hold up you ask? He was banned from baseball for life in 1920 for allegedly bribing players and officials to blow games. He was a well-known gambler and it is believed that he may have been a go-between during the Black Sox Scandal.

After a solid career though with HOF numbers the collectors should appreciate him, maybe not for his off-field exploitations but for his playing career. His cards are unfortunately sitting on the bottom of the heap waiting their turn to be used as kindling. You can find a number of Hal Chase cards from 1908 through 1915, but his most common card(s) is the T206 cards, which there are 4 versions.

Sadly you can find graded versions selling well below $150 and raw copies below $10. I was actually surprised to find a PSA 1 selling at $3.25 and a PSA 5 at $35.99

No comments:

Post a Comment