Jesse Haines’ selection to the Hall of Fame is highly suspect. He won as many as 14 games in a season only four times yet had six seasons of at least 20 starts in which he failed to post double-figure win totals.
He struck out as many as 100 batters only once in a season and received MVP consideration exclusively in 1927 when he finished a distant 8th.
When it came time for the writers to consider him on the Hall of Fame ballot, the most support he received was 8.3%, well short of the 75% required for induction. His statistical qualifications earned him only cursory consideration from the electorate when he was on the ballot from 1939-1962.
Eight years after dropping from the ballot, Haines was elected by the Veterans Committee whose chairman was former teammate Frankie Frisch. It seems being Frisch’s teammate for 11 years was actually what put him in Cooperstown.
After a no-doubt Hall of Fame playing career in which he established the highest lifetime average among inducted switch hitters, Frisch became a voting member of the Hall’s Veterans Committee. Once there he ascended to the position of committee chairman, wielding his substantial influence to induct men who played alongside him.
Frisch’s legacy with the Veterans Committee is a dark chapter in the Hall’s history as he played the leading role in electing former teammates who fall well below Cooperstown standards.
Shown above is a letter written by Frisch to Paul Kerr, president of the Hall of Fame from 1961-1978. Frisch writes, “I want to thank you Uncle Paul for selecting the Old Flash as a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame Committee on Veterans. I feel it quite an honor, and I am proud, and I do hope I can do a thorough job.”
The letter continues before Frisch pens his remarkably consistent signature at the bottom. The Old Flash would serve on the committee from his appointment in 1966 until his death in 1973.
Baseball historians agree that the selections of Haines (1970), Dave Bancroft (1971), Chick Hafey (1971), Ross Youngs (1972), and George Kelly (1973) are among the most glaring errors in the the history of Hall of Fame.