Thursday, March 09, 2006

March 9th, 1893

Billy Southwith Born

It is no mystery why Billy Southwith the player is not in the Hall of Fame. Although he had a respectable thirteen year career, hitting .297 across nearly five thousand plate appearances, he only once led the league in any category (triples, in 1919) and overall a good but not great player.

It is a mystery however, why Billy Southwith the manager isn't in the Hall of Fame. Over the course of thirteen seasons, Southwith won over a thousand games, with a career .597 winning percentage. That percentage is good for sixth all-time, ahead of several Hall of Fame managers, and a handful of modern managers (Joe Torre, Bobby Cox) who someday will be. Southwith thrice won over a hundred games, in addition to two World Series with the Cardinals, plus an additional pennant in St. Louis and one with the Boston Braves.

The primary reason keeping Southwith out of the Hall is the time period in which he had his greatest success: during the Second World War. Southwith's three Cardinals pennants (and two World Series wins) came from 1942-44, that was also his one hundred victory seasons. That being said, Southwith also led the Braves, post-war, to their first pennant since 1914 and he still averaged nearly eighty-three wins--in the one hundred and fifty-four game schedule--with the Braves.

Billy Martin is probably still the most deserving manager on the outside looking in at the Hall of Fame but just behind him is Billy Southwith.

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