Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Where Are the Dead Baseballers Buried?

BENNINGTON -- The idea sprang to life when I tweet-jabbed @OscarMartinez of the Dallas Morning News about the Texas Rangers and then he retort-tweeted something about Nap Lajoie the Hall of Famer. Well, Oscar, I tweet-responded that Nap's dead and buried HERE.

And here we go. These are bios and burial sites -- according to either or -- for the first Hall of Fame class of 1936:

Ty Cobb was born December 12, 1886, in Narrows, Georgia, and is, to many, the greatest player of all time; short of that the greatest hitter. In 24 seasons with the Detroit Tigers he played in 3,034 games and accumulated 2,246 runs, 4,189 hits (the record before Pete Rose broke it), 724 doubles, 295 triples, 117 homers, 1,938 RBIs, 897 stolen bases (117 in a row from 1917-19), and he struck out only 680 times in 13,078 plate appearances. His .366 career average is best ever. Cobb appeared in the playoffs only 3 seasons and hit .262 (17-65). He played every position but catcher and shortstop. Cobb earned $459,000, ever.

The Georgia Peach died July 17, 1961, in Atlanta and is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Royston.

Ty Cobb sliding. Photo courtesy The Collection

Cobb burial site. Photo courtesy


Walter Johnson: The Stephen Strasberg of D.C. more than 100 years before Stephen Strasburg except he wasn't shut down in a pennant race. "The Big Train" was born November 6, 1887, in Humboldt, Kansas. He pitched 21 seasons with the Washington Senators. His record from 1907 to 1909 was 32-48 with 61 complete games. But he won 385 of his next 616 games and finished with a record of 417-279. His ERA was 2.17. In 1913 he went 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA and 0.78 WHIP and had 29 complete games and 11 shutouts in 346 innings. From 1910 to 1920 his win totals were 25, 25, 33, 36, 28, 27, 25, 23, 23, 20. In 5,914.1 career innings he faced 23,405 batters, allowed 4,913 hits, 1,363 walks and struck out 3,509 with 531 complete games and an all-time best 110 shutouts. In 2 playoffs he went 3-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 50 innings. His career salary was $195,000.

Walter Johnson died December 10, 1946, in D.C. and is buried at Union Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland.

Walter Johnson. Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy


Christy Mathewson: The Christian Gentleman was born August 12, 1880, in Factoryville, Pennsylvania, and pitched 17 seasons with the New York Giants
. He went 0-3 his rookie season in 1900 and 14-17 in 1902. Then he ripped off a 94-34 record the next 3 seasons. His best season was 1908: 37-11, 1.43 ERA, .827 WHIP, 259 Ks and 11 shutouts in 390.2 innings "The Big Six" finished with a 373-188 record, 2.13 ERA, completed 435 of his 552 starts, threw 79 shutouts and in 4,88.2 innings allowed 4,219 hits, 848 walks, 89 homers and struck out 2,507. In his last 13 seasons he was not called for a balk. He played in 4 World Series and went 5-5 with a .97 ERA in 101.2 innings. He also saved 30 games. His career salary with the Giants was $57,000. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on 205 of 226 ballots.

Mathewson died October 7, 1925, in Saranac Lake, New York and is buried in the Lewisburg Cemetery
in Pennsylvania.

Photos courtesy


Babe Ruth: The greatest player ever, depending who you ask. The Babe. The Bambino. The Sultan of Swat. He was born George Herman Ruth on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore. He played 22 seasons
, the first 6 with the Boston Red Sox before "The Trade" to the New York Yankees. He played in the Bronx the next 15 seasons then played one season with the Boston Braves of the National League. Babe had 10,620 plate appearances and finished with 2,174 runs, 2,873 hits, 506 doubles, 136 triples, 714 homers (the record till a possibly-roided Bonds broke it), 2,213 RBIs, 123 stolen bases, 2,062 walks, 1,330 strikeouts, .342 average and he ranks No. 1 all-time in slugging percentage (.690) and OPS (1.164). In 10 World Series hit was 42 for 129 (.326) with 15 homers and 33 RBIs. The Babe also pitched, mostly during those 6 seasons with the Red Sox. But he had Hall of Fame material: 94-46 record, 2.28 ERA in 1,222.1 innings, completed 107 of his 147 starts, 17 shutouts. He allowed 974 hits, walked 441, K'd 488 and allowed 10 home runs -- or 1 every 122.21 innings. He even went 5-0 with the Yankees with a 5.52 ERA. He was voted into the Hall of Fame on 215 of 226 ballots. His career salary was $910,969.

Babe Ruth died August 16, 1935, in New York City and is buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery
in Hawthorne, New York.

Photos courtesy of


Honus Wagner: The Flying Dutchman was born John Parker Wagner on February 24, 1874 in Chartiers, Pennsylvania. He played 21 seasons
, the first 3 with the Louisville Colonels and the last 18 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's with the Bucs that Honus put up some of the best numbers in history: 11,748 plate appearances (20th all-time), 1,739 runs (23rd), 3,420 hits (7th), 643 doubles (9th), 252 triples (3rd), 101 homers, 1,733 RBIs (21st), 723 stolen bases (10th; he was caught just 26 times). His .328 career batting average is 35th all-time but he led the lead 8 times with averages of .381, .355, .349, then four years straight at .339, .350, .352, .339 and a final crown at .334. He was tops in Wins Over Replacement 4 years running (1905-08) at 10.0, 9.1, 8.7 and 11.3. He played in 2 World Series and went 14 for 51 (.275). He wasn't the best fielder, making 828 career errors (13th). His career salary was $138,500. He was voted into the Hall of Fame on on 215 of 226 ballots.

Wagner died December 6, 1955, in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, and is buried at Jefferson Memorial Park in Pittsburgh.

Photo courtesy of

I'll try to add ensuing Hall of Fame classes on nights the Rangers fall behind 17-0. Or 21-0. They're quite good at that.

UPDATE: Jacob Pomrenke, an editor with the Society of American Baseball Research provided an awesome link highlighting burial sites for every Hall of Famer. Check it out HERE.