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Favorite Players

Martin Kohout surveyed the first 85 members of the Deadball Era Committee, of whom 61 replied, and he reported in The Inside Game 1.3 (Feb 2001). The survey asked for "five favorite" and "top five" players, which was unclear about the ordering, if any, so the official list of Favorites, reproduced here, is ordered by the number of mentions. Eleven is a fine number for a football team, in several games that go by that name. Here is our Eleven.

Deadball Era Committee Favorites (11)

Ty Cobb, CF
Walter Johnson, P
Honus Wagner, SS
Christy Mathewson, P

Joe Jackson, OF
Rube Waddell, P
Joe Wood, P
Tris Speaker, CF
Mordecai Brown, P
Sam Crawford, OF
Napoleon Lajoie, 2B

The first four named are much more popular than the others; the blank line represents a large gap. There is very little agreement on this matter of taste; even leader Cobb was named among the five on only 23 of 61 ballots.

Each survey response can be interpreted as a ranking of the five players named; unfortunately, we know that some respondents did take it that way and others did not. On that interpretation, Wagner garnered the most first place votes (9), ahead of Cobb (7). Wagner and Cobb are 1-2 or 2-1, depending on the point system, and are comfortably ahead of Johnson and Matty. Only Wagner and Cobb garnered more than three "first listings" and the Eleven collectively garnered just under half of the first listings, which underscores that there is no agreement on this matter of taste.

Position. We do have a pitching staff here! Did anyone expect a firstbaseman, thirdbaseman, or catcher on a list of favorites from the Deadball Era? Probably not. When extended to a "Double Nine", our favorites are capable of fielding a team, and a great one.

Deadball Era Committee Favorites
(extended from 11 to 18)

Sherry Magee, OF
Frank Baker, 3B
Hal Chase, 1B
Eddie Collins, 2B
Eddie Plank, P
Chief Meyers, C
Cy Young, P

Acknowledgments. Martin Kohout surveyed the early members of the committee on their favorite teams, players, and more. He reported the survey of favorite players in The Inside Game 1.3 (Feb 2001), page 4.

Last updated: 2001-11-11 (Favorites on separate page)
Paul Wendt
© Society for American Baseball Research, 2001