Ross Youngs

Ross Middlebrook "Pep" Youngs (April 10, 1897 – October 22, 1927) was an American professional baseball player. Nicknamed "Pep", he played ten seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Giants from 1917 through 1926, playing right field almost exclusively. Youngs was a part of the Giants teams that won four consecutive National League pennants and the 1921 and 1922 World Series.

From Shiner, Texas, Youngs excelled at baseball and American football at the West Texas Military Institute. After beginning his professional career in minor league baseball, the Giants signed him in 1916. Youngs had a lifetime .322 batting average with the Giants and batted over .300 nine times in his career, including eight consecutive seasons. His career was cut short by illness, however, as he died at the age of 30 of Bright's disease.

Youngs was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 by the Veterans Committee. His election was not without controversy,[1] however, as the Veterans Committee consisted of his former teammates, and charges of cronyism were leveled against the committee.[2][3]

Ross Youngs
Ross Youngs
Youngs with the Giants in 1920
Right fielder
Born: April 10, 1897
Shiner, Texas
Died: October 22, 1927 (aged 30)
San Antonio, Texas
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 25, 1917, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
August 10, 1926, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.322
Home runs42
Runs batted in592
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1972
Election MethodVeterans Committee

Early life and minor leagues

Youngs was born in Shiner, Texas, the second of three children, all sons.[4] His father was a railroad worker,[5] but suffered disability and moved his family to San Antonio where he worked as a rancher. Youngs' mother ran a small hotel in San Antonio and Youngs had a paper route.[4]

Youngs was educated at West Texas Military Institute.[4] He received offers for scholarships to play college football but passed on these, as he preferred baseball.[4] He made his professional baseball debut for the Austin Senators of the Texas League in 1914. Appearing in 17 games, he hit just .145 for the class-B Senators and, in 1915, found himself down in the Class-D leagues, playing for Brenham of the Middle Texas League and the Waxahachie Athletics of the Central Texas League; both leagues disbanded during the season.[4] In 1916, playing in the infield for the Sherman Lions of the Class-D Western Association, he hit .362 as a switch-hitter, drawing the attention of the New York Giants, who purchased his contract in August for $2,000 ($46,049 in current dollar terms).[4]

New York Giants

Youngs reported to spring training in Marlin, Texas with the Giants in 1917. They initially assigned him to the Rochester Hustlers, a team in the International League with which the Giants had a working relationship. Giants manager John McGraw told Mickey Doolan, the manager of the Hustlers, "I'm giving you one of the greatest players I've ever seen. Play him in the outfield. If anything happens to him, I'm holding you responsible."[4] In 140 games with Rochester, Youngs hit .356, earning himself a late-season promotion to the big league club.[4] McGraw gave Youngs the nickname "Pep" due to his hustle[6] and soon began to groom Youngs to become his successor as Giants' manager.[4]

Youngs made his major league debut on September 25 and played in seven of the last nine games of the season for the eventual National League (NL) pennant-winners: six in center field and one in right. In those seven games he went 9-for-26 (.346) with two doubles and three triples.[4] In 1918, regular Giants right fielder Dave Robertson left the team to manage a local military ballclub,[7] and Youngs was given the full-time job out of spring training. Batting exclusively left-handed, Youngs responded by batting .302 in 121 games, finishing sixth in the league.[4][8] It would be the first of seven straight seasons in which he hit .300 as a regular, and the second of eight overall counting his brief stint in 1917. He also finished sixth in the NL with a .368 on-base percentage (OBP).[8] The next season Robertson was traded to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Phil Douglas, leaving Youngs to become a fixture in right field for the Giants.[9] Youngs finished third in the NL in 1919 with a .311 batting average.[10] His .351 batting average in 1920 was second in the NL to Rogers Hornsby.[11]

Rossyoungs-sept24-1922
Catching a ball in 1922

Youngs batted .327 in 1921, good for ninth in the NL.[12] In Game 3 of the 1921 World Series Youngs became the first player to record two hits in the same inning of a World Series game. The Giants defeated the New York Yankees[4] as Youngs batted .280 in the series.[13] Youngs hit for the cycle on April 29, 1922.[14] He finished the regular season ninth in the NL in OBP (.398) and tied for ninth in stolen bases (17),[15] proceeding to hit .375 in the 1922 World Series as the Giants again defeated the Yankees.[4] Youngs led the NL in runs scored in 1923, with 121, and his .348 batting average was the eighth best in the league.[16] Youngs batted .356 in the 1923 World Series, which the Giants lost to the Yankees.[13]

Youngs batted .356 during the 1924 season, finishing third in the NL.[17] In the final series of this season, the Giants were playing the Philadelphia Phillies at the Polo Grounds and battling for the pennant with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jimmy O'Connell, an outfielder for the Giants, offered Phillies shortstop Heinie Sand $500 to intentionally lose the games ($7,310 in current dollar terms). Sand rejected the bribe and reported it to Phillies manager Art Fletcher. It eventually led to the lifetime suspension of O'Connell and Giants coach Crazy Dolan by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. O'Connell implicated teammates Youngs, George Kelly, and Frankie Frisch as co-conspirators;[18] Landis, however, cleared the trio of any wrongdoing.[19]

Youngs slumped to a .185 batting average during the 1924 World Series, which the Giants lost to the Washington Senators.[20] Continuing to struggle in 1925, Youngs batted .264, his only season with a batting average below .300,[4] but improved to .306 in 95 games during the 1926 season.[4] Toward the end of his career, Youngs taught Mel Ott, his eventual successor, how to play right field in the Polo Grounds.[4]

Illness and death

Youngs's career was abruptly cut short in 1926, when he was diagnosed with the kidney disorder that, at the time, was called Bright's disease. He had been exposed to streptococcal infection in 1924.[21] Too ill to play after August 10, 1926, Youngs returned home on McGraw's insistence[4][6] and received a blood transfusion in March 1927.[22]

Youngs died of Bright's disease on October 22, 1927, at the age of 30. He went from weighing 170 pounds (77 kg) during his playing career to 100 pounds (45 kg) by the time of his death.[4] In Youngs' obituary in The New York Times, Giants manager John McGraw called Youngs "the greatest outfielder I ever saw on a ball field."[6] The Giants honored Youngs with a bronze plaque on the right field wall of the Polo Grounds;[23] although the Giants intended to pay for it, fans expressed their desire to contribute and, even though contributions were limited to $1 per person, donations paid for the plaque entirely.[4]

Legacy

Over his ten-year career, Youngs posted 812 runs, 42 home runs, 592 runs batted in (RBI), 153 stolen bases, a .322 career batting average, and .399 career on-base percentage. He batted .300 or higher in every season until 1925, and higher than .350 twice. Youngs scored 100 or more runs three times and posted a career high 102 RBI in 1921 and 10 home runs in 1924. During his tenure with the team, the Giants went to the World Series four consecutive years (1921–1924) and won twice (1921, 1922). Youngs was a favorite of McGraw, who kept only two pictures in his office: one of Christy Mathewson and one of Youngs.[4] Rosy Ryan, a teammate with the Giants, and Burleigh Grimes, who played against Youngs as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, considered Youngs the best player they ever saw.[24]

Youngs was included in the inaugural balloting for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936, but received less than 5% of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). Youngs remained on the ballot every year through 1956, receiving his highest vote total in 1947 with 22%.[25] Ford C. Frick, Commissioner of Baseball, and former teammate Bill Terry both championed Youngs' candidacy.[4]

Former Giants teammates Terry and Frankie Frisch joined the Veterans Committee in 1967 and aided the elections of several of their former teammates, including Youngs in 1972.[26] In addition to Youngs, Terry and Frisch shepherded the selections of Giants teammates Jesse Haines in 1970, Dave Bancroft and Chick Hafey in 1971, George Kelly in 1973, Jim Bottomley in 1974, and Freddie Lindstrom in 1976.[25][2] Youngs died at the earliest age of any current Hall of Famer.[27] Youngs is the only member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame from San Antonio and was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.[28] Shiner, the town in which Youngs was born, hosted a baseball tournament in his honor at Clipper Field from 2001 through 2003.[5][29]

Youngs' selection, along with some of the other selections made by Terry and Frisch, has been considered one of the weakest in some circles.[2] According to the BBWAA, the Veterans Committee was not selective enough in choosing members,[30] and charges of cronyism were later leveled against the committee.[2][3] This led to the Veterans Committee having its powers reduced in subsequent years.[31] Baseball statistician Bill James recognized this and wrote that Youngs does not belong in the Hall of Fame.[32] In 1981, however, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included Youngs in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. They explained what they called "the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome", where a player of truly exceptional talent but a career curtailed by injury or illness should still — in spite of not owning career statistics that would quantitatively rank him with the all-time greats — be included on their list of the 100 greatest players.[33]

Personal life

Youngs married Dorothy Pienecke, a woman from Brooklyn who he met while vacationing in the Berkshires, in October 1924. Their daughter Caroline was born in December 1925.[4] Dorothy feuded with Youngs' mother, however, and the couple separated before the birth of Caroline, whom he never met.[4] Youngs was considered friendly and generous, loaned money constantly, and was reportedly owed $16,000 at the time of his death ($230,774 in current dollar terms).[4] Youngs enjoyed playing golf and was considered the best golfer in the major leagues.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Frankie Frisch's Vets Committee selections defined and damaged the Hall". cooperstownexpert.com. January 4, 2017. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Jaffe, Jay (July 28, 2010). "Prospectus Hit and Run: Don't Call it the Veterans' Committee". Baseball Prospectus. Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, LLC. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Sullivan, Tim (December 21, 2002). "Hall voter finds new parameters unhittable". The San Diego Union Tribune. p. D.1. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Blair, Sam (May 3, 1992). "Forgotten Tragedy: Saga Of Ross `Pep' Youngs – 1920S Baseball Star's Career Often Overlooked". Seattle Times. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Shiner playing host to baseball tournament". The Victoria Advocate. July 6, 2002. p. 2B. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Haile, Bartee (August 3, 2011). "Before Lou Gehrig, there was a Texan called 'Pep'". Hays Free Press. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
  7. ^ Stewart, Peter C. (2010). Early Professional Baseball in Hampton Roads: A History, 1884–1928. McFarland. p. 185.
  8. ^ a b "1918 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  9. ^ "Giants Get Phil Douglas; Chicago Cubs Give Up Pitcher for Outfielder Dave Robertson". The New York Times. July 25, 1919. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  10. ^ "1919 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  11. ^ "1920 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  12. ^ "1921 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  13. ^ a b "1923 World Series — New York Yankees over New York Giants (4-2)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  14. ^ "Indians in first, but still in search of a leader". Star-News. May 24, 1998. p. 3C. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  15. ^ "1921 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  16. ^ "1923 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  17. ^ "1924 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  18. ^ Jordan, David M. (2002). Occasional Glory: The History of the Philadelphia Phillies. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 64. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  19. ^ "O'Connell Scored in Baseball Report; Possible Indictment Depends on Conference Between Brothers and Judge Landis. Frisch Fully Exonerated: Assistant District Attorney Finds Nothing to Connect Him or Kelly and Young With the Case". The New York Times. February 5, 1925. Retrieved November 3, 2011. (subscription required)
  20. ^ "1924 World Series — Washington Senators over New York Giants (4-3)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  21. ^ King, David (March 9, 2001). "Youngs played two seasons with fatal illness: Bright's Disease cut down young star in his prime". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved June 18, 2012. (subscription required)
  22. ^ "Blood Transfusion May Save Young". The Victoria Advocate. United Press International. March 4, 1927. p. 1. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  23. ^ "Tablet To Ross Youngs". Reading Eagle. Associated Press. January 9, 1928. p. 12. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  24. ^ Levy, Sam (March 19, 1944). "On the First Bounce: The Greatest Player". The Milwaukee Journal. p. 7. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  25. ^ a b "This Annotated Week in Baseball History: April 8-14, 1897". thehardballtimes.com. The Hardball Times. April 13, 2007. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  26. ^ Rappoport, Ken (January 31, 1972). "Oldtimers' Committee Puts Lefty Gomez, Ross Youngs, Harridge In Hall of Fame". Gettysburg Times. Associated Press. p. 10. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  27. ^ "Sports Lists: Youngest Baseball Hall of Famers at Death". Record-Journal. July 1, 2002. p. 13. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  28. ^ King, David (October 1, 1997). "The Class of '98: S.A. Hall features McCombs, Youngs". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved June 18, 2012. (subscription required)
  29. ^ Halvorson, Barry (April 15, 2003). "Shiner sets Fourth of July celebration". The Victoria Advocate. p. 5A. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  30. ^ "Baseball Brouhaha Brewing". The Evening Independent. January 19, 1977. p. 1C. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  31. ^ Booth, Clark (August 12, 2010). "The good news: Baseball Hall looking at electoral revamp". Dorchester Reporter. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  32. ^ James, Bill (1995). Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?.
  33. ^ Ritter, Lawrence S.; Honig, Donald (1986). The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. Crown Publishers. ISBN 0517561816.

External links

Preceded by
Dave Robertson
Hitting for the cycle
April 29, 1922
Succeeded by
Jimmy Johnston
1917 New York Giants season

The 1917 New York Giants season was the franchise's 35th season. It involved the Giants winning the National League pennant for the first time in four years. The team went on to lose to the Chicago White Sox in the 1917 World Series, four games to two.

1918 New York Giants season

The 1918 New York Giants season was the franchise's 36th season. The team finished in second place in the National League with a 71-53 record, 10½ games behind the Chicago Cubs.

1919 New York Giants season

The 1919 New York Giants season was the franchise's 37th season. The team finished in second place in the National League with an 87-53 record, 9 games behind the Cincinnati Reds.

1920 New York Giants season

The 1920 New York Giants season was the franchise's 38th season. The team finished in second place in the National League with an 86-68 record, 7 games behind the Brooklyn Robins.

1921 New York Giants season

The 1921 New York Giants season was the franchise's 39th season, which culminated in the Giants defeating the New York Yankees in the World Series.

1921 World Series

The much-anticipated 1921 World Series featured John McGraw's New York Giants, dedicated practitioners of the dead-ball era's "inside game", and the New York Yankees, who relied on the "power game" exemplified by Babe Ruth, who was coming off of what was arguably his best year ever statistically. This was the first World Series appearance by the Yankees, who have gone on to play in the Series a record 40 times. The 1921 Series was a closely contested matchup that ended on a double play featuring a baserunning miscue.

1922 New York Giants season

The 1922 New York Giants season was the franchise's 40th season. The team finished in first place in the National League with a 93-61 record. The Giants won their second consecutive World Series, defeating the New York Yankees in five games (Game 2 was a 3-3 tie) without a loss.

1922 World Series

In the 1922 World Series, the New York Giants defeated the New York Yankees in five games (four games to none with one tie; starting this year the World Series was again best-of-seven). By now, the term "World Series" was being used frequently, as opposed to "World's Series". As with the 1921 World Series, every game was played at the Polo Grounds because it housed both teams, with the home team alternating; it was also the Yankees' final season at the Polo Grounds, as they would move into the then-under construction Yankee Stadium for the 1923 season, which ended in them winning the rematch.

The Giants pitched around Babe Ruth and scored just enough runs to win each of the games outside the controversial Game 2 tie. That game was called on account of darkness, but many thought there was sufficient light to have played some more innings (the sun was still in the sky), and there were some suspicions that one or both teams might have "allowed" the tie to happen to increase the overall gate receipts. Commissioner Landis was among those who was dissatisfied with the result. One story is that Landis asked Umpire Hildebrand, "Why the Sam Hill did you call the game?" The umpire answered, "There was a temporary haze on the field." The game decision was in the hands of the umpires, but the Commissioner's Office controlled the gate receipts. Landis ordered the money, more than $120,000, turned over to World War I charities, thus nullifying any impropriety. The tied game would turn out to be the third (and final) tied game in the history of the World Series. The other two tied games occurred in 1907 and 1912. No ties are possible under later rules, which allow for suspension of a tied game and resumption of it at a later date, as with Game 5 of the 2008 World Series.

This would prove to be Giants' manager John McGraw's third and final World Series win.

1923 New York Giants season

The 1923 New York Giants season was the franchise's 41st season. The Giants won the National League pennant with a 95-58 record. The team went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the 1923 World Series, four games to two.

1923 World Series

In the 1923 World Series, the New York Yankees beat the New York Giants in six games. This would be the first of the Yankees' 27 World Series championships (as of 2018). The series was not played in a 2–3–2 format: as with the previous two Series (where both clubs had shared the Polo Grounds) the home field alternated each game, though this time it involved switching ballparks, as the first Yankee Stadium had opened this season.

1924 New York Giants season

The 1924 New York Giants season was the franchise's 42nd season. The team finished first in the National League with a record of 93–60, winning the NL pennant for the fourth consecutive season, a record that still stands, as of 2016. They went on to the World Series, losing to the Washington Senators in seven games.

1924 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1924 Philadelphia Phillies season saw the Phillies climb out of last place and into seventh and home attendance improving to over 299,000. Cy Williams led the team in home runs with 24.

1925 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1925 New York Giants season was the franchise's 43rd season. The team finished in second place in the National League with an 86-66 record, 8½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1954 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1954 followed a system practically the same as in 1952 because the new Veterans Committee was meeting only in odd-number years (until 1962).

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent players and elected three: Bill Dickey, Rabbit Maranville, and Bill Terry.

1972 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1972 followed the system established one year earlier.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected three: Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, and Early Wynn.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It also selected three people: Lefty Gomez, Will Harridge, and Ross Youngs.

The Negro Leagues Committee met for the second time and selected Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard.

Cozy Dolan (1910s outfielder)

Albert J. "Cozy" Dolan (born James Alberts, December 23, 1889 – December 10, 1958) was a Major League Baseball player. The 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m), 160-pound outfielder and third baseman played for six teams; the Cincinnati Reds (1909), the New York Highlanders (1911–1912), the Philadelphia Phillies (1912–1913), the Pittsburgh Pirates (1913), the St. Louis Cardinals (1914–1915) and the New York Giants (1922). Over his career he posted career numbers of 299 hits, 210 runs, 102 stolen bases, a .339 Slugging percentage, and a .252 batting average.

In the final series of the 1924 season, the Giants were playing the Philadelphia Phillies at the Polo Grounds and battling for the pennant with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Giants outfielder Jimmy O'Connell offered Phillies shortstop Heinie Sand $500 to throw the games. Sand rejected the bribe and reported it to Phillies manager Art Fletcher. It eventually led to the lifetime suspension of O'Connell and Dolan, who was a coach for the Giants, by Commissioner Landis, although future-Hall of Famers Frankie Frisch, George Kelly, and Ross Youngs were also implicated.

George Kelly (baseball)

George Lange Kelly (September 10, 1895 – October 13, 1984), nicknamed "Long George" and "High Pockets", was a Major League Baseball (MLB) first baseman. He played most of his MLB career for the New York Giants (1915–1917, 1919–1926), but also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1917), Cincinnati Reds (1927–1930), Chicago Cubs (1930), and Brooklyn Dodgers (1932).

Kelly was a two-time World Series champion (1921 and 1922). He led the National League in home runs once (1921) and runs batted in twice (1920 and 1924), and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. However, his selection is regarded as controversial, as many believe he was undeserving of the recognition and was only elected by the Veterans Committee because it consisted of his former teammates.

Right fielder

A right fielder, abbreviated RF, is the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field. Right field is the area of the outfield to the right of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the right fielder is assigned the number 9.

Youngs

Youngs can refer to:

People:

Ben Youngs (b. 1989), English rugby union player

Elaine Youngs (b. 1970), American beach volleyball player

Jenny Owen Youngs (b. 1981), American singer-songwriter

Jim Youngs (b. 1956), American actor who appeared in such films as The Wanderers and Footloose

John Youngs (c.1598–1672), Puritan minister who founded Southold, New York

Nick Youngs (b. 1959), former English rugby union footballer

Richard Youngs (b. 1966), British musician

Ross Youngs (1897–1927), American Major League Baseball outfielder

Samuel Youngs (1760–1839), American schoolteacher who served as inspiration for the character Ichabod CranePlaces:

Youngs, California, a former town in El Dorado County

Youngs Bay, Oregon

Youngs River, tributary of the Columbia River in northwest OregonCompanies

Young's, British pub chain

Young's Seafood, British fish company

BBWAA Vote
Veterans Committee
Negro League Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Pitchers
Catchers
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Shortstops
Outfielders
Designated hitters
Managers
Executives /
pioneers
Umpires
Inducted as a Giant
Inductees who played
for the Giants
Giants managers
Other
Frick Award

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