Hall of Famers that played in Washington
Washington has their share of players in the Hall of Fame who achieved their fame as Senators. Walter Johnson, Goose Goslin, Clark Griffith, Bucky Harris and Sam Rice are enshrined in Cooperstown as Senators. Hopefully, Mickey Vernon can join them in December. But, many other Hall of Famers who made their mark elsewhere have played in Senator uniforms. Below are some greats who passed through Washington.
Stan Coveleski, RHP, 1925-1927
Shoring up their pitching staff, the defending world champion Senators acquired Covelski from Cleveland for Carr Smith and By Speece in December, 1924. Winner of 20 or more games in 9 seasons with Cleveland, Coveleski perfectly complimented Walter Johnson in 1925, going 20-5 with a 2.84 ERA for the 1925 AL champions. Coveleski would lose games 2 and 5 of the 1925 World Series against Pittsburgh. In 1926, Coveleski would slip to 14-11 with a rising ERA of 3.12. Coveleski would be released in June of 1927 after appearing in only 5 games for the Nats. Signed by the Yankees in the offseason, Covelski would pitch the final 12 games of his career in 1928.
Tris Speaker, OF, 1927
Spurned in his efforts to sign Ty Cobb, Clark Griffith “settled” for Tris Speaker. The “Grey Eagle” had 20 seasons under his belt, starring for the Red Sox for 9 seasons before being traded to Cleveland in 1916, where he starred as a player-manager. In 141 games in his only year in a Senator uniform, Speaker hit .327 with 2 HR and 73 RBI, “below average” numbers by Speaker’s standards. Speaker would conclude his career in 1928 with the A’s, along side his friend Cobb.
Speaker did leave a lasting impact on Washington baseball. While Speaker’s exploits with the bat were splendid, his evaluations of players left something to be desired, particularly his opinion of Buddy Myer. The Eagle felt Myer would never amount to much of a player and Griffith was convinced by Speaker to trade Myer to Boston for Topper Rigney. Griffith would later state that the trade of Myer was the worst deal he ever made. Griffith would have to pay a ransom to reacquire Myer two years later.
George Sisler, 1B, 1928
Purchased for $25,000 from the cash strapped Browns, Sisler’s stay in the nations capital was brief. Sisler, the holder of the single season record for hits until 2004, got out of the gate slow, hitting .245 in 20 games for Washington. Griffith, feeling Sisler was on the downside of his career, quickly sold the brilliant first sacker to the Braves for $7,500 on May 27. Sisler had plenty of gas left in the tank, hitting .340 for Boston the rest of the season, Following seasons of .326 and .309 with the Braves, Sisler hung up his spikes after the 1930 season.
Al Simmons, OF, 1937-1938
“Bucketfoot” Al Simmons would have the final productive seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Senators. The slugging outfielder had trouble adjusting to cavernous Griffith Stadium in 1937, hitting just 8 home runs and 84 RBI, a far cry from his salad days with the A’s in the 1920′s and early 1930′s. In 1938, Simmons bounced back with 21 homers, 95 RBI to go along with a .302 average. In December, 1938, Simmons would be sold to the Boston Bees for $3,000. Sadly, in a case of a player hanging on for too long, Simmons would play the final 5 years of his career as sparingly used role player for the Bees, Reds, Red Sox and back with the A’s, never reaching double digits in home runs again.
Early Wynn, LHP, 1939-1944, 1946-1948
Making his ML debut 13 days after Mickey Vernon in 1939, the 19 year old Early Wynn was roughed around to the tune of a 5.75 ERA in 3 games. After a few more years of seasoning in the minors, Wynn would become a mainstay in the Senators rotation from 1942 until 1948, with the exception of his military service in 1945. Not yet able to harness his control, Wynn would drop 16 decisions with an ERA over 5 in 1942, before an 18-12 showing the following season. In 1944, Wynn would again walk more than he would strike out, losing 17 games against 8 wins. By 1947, Wynn, still plagued by wildness, would walk 90 and strike out 73, but he would complete the season at 17-15. Now 28, Wynn would regress again in 1948, going 8-19 with an atrocious 5.82 ERA.
So, it was understandable that the Senators, tired of Wynn’s bouts of wildness and inconsistency, looked to unload him. To the outrage of Nats fans, Wynn was traded to Cleveland, along with Vernon, for P Ed Klieman, P Joe Haynes and 1B Eddie Robinson. Mind you, the fans weren’t furious with losing Wynn, they were furious with the trading of Vernon. Vernon would eventually return to D.C., while Wynn would flower in Cleveland. The competitive Wynn would go on to become an 8-time All Star and a 5-time 20 game winner with Cleveland and the White Sox. Wynn would wrap up his career in 1963 with a 300-244 W/L record and a lifetime 3.77 ERA, earning his ticket to Cooperstown.
Lefty Gomez, LHP, 1943
Gomez appeared in 368 lifetime big league games, 367 of which were with the Yankees. The Yankees sold the rapidly aging, former 7-time All Star to the Boston Braves before 1943. Gomez would not appear in any games for the Braves and was released on May 19. Two days later, the Senators signed their former nemesis. On May 30, 1943, Gomez made his first and only appearance as a Nat. Starting against Chicago, the ex-Yankee great pitched 4.2 innings, walked 5, struck out none and gave up 5 runs, in getting tagged with the loss. It would turn out to be the final big league game for the 34 year old Hall of Famer.
Elon Chester (Chief) Hogsett B Nov. 2, 1903 D Jul. 17, 2001
Chief Hogsett arrived in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers in mid-September of 1929 as a 25 year old rookie. A pitcher, Hogsett would appear in 4 games, posting a 1-2 record with a 2.83 ERA.
Hogsett would remain in Detroit through late April of 1936, Hogsett would have his best season in 1932 when he’d go 11-9 with a 3.54 ERA. While in Detroit, Hogsett would appear in the World Series of 1934, when the Tigers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals and 1935, when the Tigers defeated the Chicago Cubs.
In late April of 1936 Hogsett would be traded to the St. Louis Browns where he’d post records of 13-15 in 1936 and 6-19 in 1937.
After the 1937 season, Hogsett would be traded to the Washington Senators. He’d play 1 season in Washington, 1938, going 5-6 with a 6.03 ERA.
Hogsett would be purchased by the Boston Red Sox after the 1938 season but would not play for them. Spending time in Minneapolis of the American Association, Hogsett would also be drafted by the Philadelphia Athletics but would not play for them either.
Hogsett would return to the majors in 1944 for 3 games, being released in early June.
Burton Elwood Keeley B Nov. 2, 1879 D May 3, 1952
Senators Short Timer Burt Keeley would pitch in a grand total of 30 games over 2 seasons in Washington. Arriving in the majors as a 28 year old rookie in 1908, Keeley would post a 6-11 record with a 2.97 ERA in 28 games.
1909 would see Keeley in just 2 games, his ERA expanding to 11.57. He’d make his last major league appearance in mid-May.
Thomas Raymond McBride B Nov. 2, 1914 D Dec. 26, 2001
Another “late blooming” rookie, Tom Mc Bride arrived on the major league scene at 28 years of age in 1943. Playing in the outfield for the Boston Red Sox, McBride would make it into 26 games his first season, hitting .240. In 1945 he’d appear in an even 100 games, hitting .305. His playing time would be reduced to 61 games in 1946, however he’d still manage to hit .301. McBride would go a disappointing 2 for 12 in 5 games of the 1946 World Series as the Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Starting the 1947 season in Boston, McBride would make it into only 2 games before being sold to the Washington Senators in mid-May. He’d play in 56 games for Washington, hitting .271. He’d hit .257 in 92 games in 1948, playing in his last game in late September.
Floyd Robert Ross B Nov. 2, 1928 Still Living
Another Senators Short Timer, pitcher Bob Ross was originally signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945. Drafted by the Senators, Ross would debut in mid-June of 1950. In 6 games he’d go 0-1 with a 8.53 ERA. He’d return in 1951 to post an identical 0-1 record in 11 games with a 6.54 ERA.
Purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1955, Ross would return to the majors for 1 last shot in 1956. In 3 games for the Phillies, Ross would pitch in 3 & 13/rd innings, appearing in his last game in early May.
John Paul Sullivan B Nov. 2, 1920 [B]D/B] Sep. 20, 2007
Shortstop John Sullivan made his major league debut in early May of 1942 with the Washington Senators. He’d play for the Senators from 1942 through 1944, hitting .251 in 138 games in 1944.
Sullivan would not appear in the majors in 1945 or 1946 but would return to the Senators in 1947 hitting .256 in 49 games. In 1948 he’d appear in 85 games but his BA would drop to .205.
Otto George Williams B Nov 2, 1877 D Mar. 19, 1937
Infielder Otto Williams got his start in the majors in October of 1902 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Appearing in 2 games at the end of the season, Williams would be back in a Cardinal uniform in 1903, playing in 53 games, hitting .203.
In July of the ’03 season, Williams would be purchased by the Chicago Cubs, playing in 38 games, hitting .223. Williams would play in 57 games with the Cubs in 1904, hitting an even .200.
Out of the major leagues in 1905, Williams would return with the 1906 Senators, playing in 20 games but hitting a paltry .137, his last game coming in early June of that season.