MLB Hall of Fame: Their mortality brought them immortality

PITTSBURGH, PA - CIRCA 1976: Dick Allen #15 of the Philadelphia Phillies and Willie Stargell #8 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stand next to each other during an Major League Baseball game circa 1976 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Allen played for the Phillies from 1963-69 and 1975-76. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - CIRCA 1976: Dick Allen #15 of the Philadelphia Phillies and Willie Stargell #8 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stand next to each other during an Major League Baseball game circa 1976 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Allen played for the Phillies from 1963-69 and 1975-76. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

Herb Pennock

Pennock was a 241-game winning pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Yankees. He pitched on seven pennant winners, five of which – the 1913 Athletics, 1923, 1927, 1928 and 1932 Yankees – won the World Series.

Pennock won all five of his post-season decisions, with a 1.95 ERA in 10 World Series games.

His best season was probably 1926 when Pennock posted a 23-11 record.

After he retired, Pennock became an executive. In 1943 he was named general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, running that team from 1944 until his death in 1948.

Pennock’s popularity with Hall of Fame voters built only gradually. Gaining just 7.5 percent support in 1937, his first season on the ballot, he surged to 53.4 percent in 1947. Still that left him only ninth and well short of the 75 percent threshold that had recently been put in place.

Then while attending a meeting of National League executives in January of 1948, Pennock suffered a stroke, dying within hours. Former teammates, among them Babe Ruth, eulogized him profusely. The tide of emotion surrounding his death swept over to the 1948 Hall of Fame vote, which was held only a few weeks later.

In mortality, Pennock leaped to the top of the list of candidates, winning election with 77.9 percent of the vote. He was inducted that summer.