I received this via email yesterday. Thought it was an interesting read…
From the Desk of Jeffrey L. Walters
March 15, 2006
100 Cinergy Field
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Re: Bucky Walters
1939/1940 Pennant Winners
Reviving the Legacy that is the Redlegs
Dear Mr Castellini:
I write to you today with a sense of urgency and historic perspective that I believe can become an intangible catalyst for the 2006 Reds.
During a recent move, I rediscovered the papers of my late grandfather, William H. Bucky Walters, II. As you may recall, Bucky along with Paul Derringer are credited as the team leaders of 1939 NL pennant winner and 1940 World Champions. Since his death (1991), I have diligently collected career ephemera to understand his career. Sadly, I was not aware my grandfathers achievements until 2 years after his death (1993) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ since which time I have been championing him as a prospective candidate to the Veteran Committee ballot of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Included with this letter is an interesting (and historically accurate) tail of the USO Tour my grandfather participated in 1944. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a small sample of the information I have accumulated on the career of Bucky Walters. Please review www.BuckyWalters.org. Although forgotten, this story (much like Buckys career) exemplifies Baseball as America.
During WWII, the men at the front were without baseball. To boost morale Ã¢â‚¬â€œ baseball went to the front. Mel Ott, Frank Fritch, Dutch Leonard and Bucky Walters represented baseballs first wave of players and journalist who dared to go to the front. As fait would have it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ this specific USO Tour was nearly caught behind enemy lines during the pivotal Battle of the Bulge.
While the legacy that is Bucky Walters includes his involvement in some rather odd historic events (he participated in first ever pension negotiations which aided in the formation of Players Union, he played in first night game, he won the first televised game, was the subject of the first of two rulings by K. Landis cancelled than overturned Ã¢â‚¬â€œ (the ruling created a long forgotten trade precedent) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Interestingly, the trade was finalized between VanderMeers 2 no hit games which put Bucky on the warm-up mound of the second no hitter.
Despite Buckys involvement in the mentioned historic events, its clear the most appropriate Veteran Committee Candidate should have statistical merit.
As determined by Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball, Buckys statistical achievements are as follows:
All-Time Leaders Lifetime: Total Baseball Rank 159th
All-Time Leaders Lifetime: Total Pitcher Index 40th
All-Time Leaders Lifetime: Career Shut-outs 37th
All-Time Leaders Lifetime: Pitching Category Leader (aka Black Ink) 26th
All-Time Leaders Single Season: Total Baseball Ranking (1939) 25th
86 Greenwood Circle
Wormleysburg, Pennsylvania 17043
Page Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 2 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ
March 15, 2006
In addition to these Unusual Life-Time Career marks,
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ According to Total Baseball and Bill James Presents STATS, INC. All-Time Baseball Sourcebook, Bucky Walters won three (3) Ã¢â‚¬Å“hypotheticalÃ¢â‚¬Â Cy Young Awards given out to players for years which no official award existed. The years were the same in each encyclopedia: 1939; 1940; and 1944. All pitchers Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but Bucky Walters – with three (3) or more Hypothetical Cy Young Awards have been inducted.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Bucky Walters led the majors in victories over the 15-year span from 1935 to 1949.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Bucky Walters was named to the 1937, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1944 National League All-Star Teams, and was appointed to the 1951 All-Star game as a coach. Bucky Walters participated in three (3) decades of All-Star Teams.
The Bucky Walters story is remarkable Ã¢â‚¬â€œ He began as a utility player capable of playing any position. Through much of his pre major league playing days, Bucky played shortstop and 3rd base, while pitching every 4th game. He went 5 for 5 with 5 doubles before Tom Yawkey picked him to play at Boston where he settled in at 3rd base. He was a disappointment in Boston Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and was quickly traded to hometown Philly. Philly would be where Buckys talent was exposed while learning to pitch in the Baker Bowl (an ideal hitters field). While playing with Philly, Bucky became a valuable commodity Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and in 1938 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ was traded to Cincinnati (between the back to back no-hit games of Johnny VanderMeer).
In Cincinnati, Bucky was the heart of the understated 1939/1940-pennant winners and was in fact the dominant pitcher during WWII. Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Despite pre war dominance Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the Press never forgot Buckys career spanned the war-diluted talent of the 1940Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s. Ã¢â‚¬â€œ To that I ask –
What Does It Take
To Be Inducted
Into the National Baseball Hall of Fame?
In review of Buckys BBWAA voting, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty clear he competed with his two best friends from the 1939/1940 teams (Derringer and VanderMeer). Although BuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s statistical achievements eclipse the career marks of both men, Bucky never garnered enough support. Furthermore, being from a small market, it appears the voting amongst each of the three players effectively diluted the chances of the others.
I realize the Veteran Committee process has been subject to recent criticism and is a sensitive topic among those in Cooperstown. While I am prepared to continue this pursuit alone, I hope you and the Reds organization will agree Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one of your team leaders from those forgotten pennant years deserve recognition in Cooperstown.
Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Bucky Walters deserves consideration in recognition to both his on and off the field activities. Just how many active players umpired a regular season game? I know of two Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and Bucky Walters is one of them. How many pitchers have stolen home? Bucky is one of them. How many triple crown pitchers (W/SO/ERA) also batted .325 in the same season? Bucky did that too in route to his 1939 MVP which placed him at the top of every pitching category Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and top 10 in batting. His 1939 season is ranked as the 25th single season ever Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and nearly half of those a head of him pre-date 1900.
Please help me by endorsing Bucky Walters as a Veteran Committee candidate worthy of enshrinement. I hope to meet you prior to this years Hall of Fame game.
Very truly yours
Jeffrey L. Walters, MAI