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William "Adonis" Terry - The Forgotten Legend of 19th Century Baseball

Adonis Terry and the Hall of Fame
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A brief whine session

I did not want this not be the typical whine session of why Terry belongs but I have reviewed other peoples thoughts as to why their pet candidate belongs in the Hall of Fame and they all make good points. A combination of stats is truly helpful to put things in perspective (which I have included) but it is apparent that the Hall of Fame does not live on stats alone as there are many others from the 19th century that do belong. Just look at the numbers of Caruthers, Buffington, Stivetts, Weyhing. They are not in but obviously belong on numbers alone. My spin is to put Terry on an equal plain with certain inductees of Terrys era and early 20th century without using some bizarre and confusing formula. Basically, I am bringing the Hall of Famers down to earth. Don't get me wrong, each of these players were great and are deserving of Hall of Fame status, but if they are in then so too should Terry. If you dont agree with what I say - so what - this is my web site - create your own.

 

19th century Hall of Fame pitchers - The era of exemption

Of the 11 Hall of Fame pitchers from the 19th century, only two ventured into 1893. Why is 1893 so important? Baseballlibrary.com says "the most significant rule change in ML history" was to move the pitching box back ten feet. Kid Nichols and Amos Rusie were the only Hall of Famers to dare both sides with any success. This was devastating to many pitchers in that time period. Either perform or die. Terry survived. He won over 140 games before 1893 and more than 50 from 1893 to 1896.

 

Dead ball, spitball, weak league and the drunkard

This will be simple. What does dead ball, spitball, weakened league (the advent of the American League and the Federal League) and a drunk have in common? Chesbro, Coveleski, Faber, Grimes, Marquard, Walsh and Waddell - all Hall of Famers.

 

The Babe, the Iron Horse and longevity

What would Terry's career been like if he had the likes of Ruth and Gehrig and the rest of the Yankees of the 1920s to give him some offense or have a manager appreciate your drawing power and be so concerned about your pitching arm so as to let you pitch only once a week and extend your career? It probably would have been like that of Hoyt or Lyons.

 

Western League or American League - pile it on!

Ok, this is a stretch but since the American League is really just the Western League renamed, we can add 33 more wins and 8 more losses to Terrys record to bring him to an unofficial record of 230 -204, does that help? Terry finished his professional career by playing two years in the Western League just prior to becoming a major league.

 

The "wow" factor

What Terry does not lack is what the baseballcrank.com calls the "wow" factor or what the Hall of Fame calls the intangibles. As noted on the first page of the web site, Terry was a player who kept himself in shape, practiced good temperance habits, a fan favorite and was an umpire too - during and after his playing days! Terry is a pioneer and a Hall of Famer.

The Terry Spread Sheet
data from: baseball-reference.com

Player

Years

W

L

K

Complete Games

Innings

No Hitters

ERA

Adonis Terry

1884-1897

197

196

1553

367

3514

2

3.74

Jack Chesbro

1899-1909

198

132

1265

260

2896

0

2.68

Stan Coveleski

1912-1928

215

142

981

224

3082

0

2.89

Red Faber

1914-1933

254

213

1471

273

4086

0

3.15

Burleigh Grimes

1916-1934

270

212

1512

314

4179

0

3.53

Waite Hoyt

1918-1938

237

182

1206

226

3762

0

3.59

Ted Lyons

1923-1946

260

230

1073

356

4161

1

3.67

Rube Marquard

1908-1925

201

177

1593

197

3306

1

3.08

Amos Rusie

1889-1901

245

174

1934

392

3769

0

3.07

Rube Waddell

1897-1910

193

143

2316

261

2961

0

2.16

Ed Walsh

1904-1917

195

126

1736

250

2964

0

1.82

Brooklyn 1889
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