When Frankie Frisch's name is brought up, it's usually for one of two reasons; reason one is the "challenge" trade that brought him to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for another star Second Baseman, Rogers Hornsby. The other is his reign of error as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee.
Many people have their reservations about the selections made while he was in the Veteran's Committee. No one, however, doubts "The Fordham Flash"'s Hall of Fame credentials. The switch hitter ranks as one of the best second basemen of all time. He amassed nearly 2,900 hits, 1,500 runs, and drove in 1,000 runs, all very rare for a second baseman, and for 15 years in a row he was no lower than seventh in the league in Stolen Bases.
Coming out of Fordham University a four sport athlete, he jumped right into Major League Baseball with the New York Giants, whom he led to four consecutive pennants from 1921 to 1924.
Following the 1926 season he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for the Rajah, Second Baseman Rogers Hornsby. He and the young Cardinals team, led by pitchers like Dizzy Dean and his brother Paul and hitters like Ripper Collins and Pepper Martin, would win four pennants and two world series including one with Frisch as a player/manager. His career as a player ended in 1937; from 1933 to 1938 he managed the Cardinals, from 1940 to 1946 he managed the Pittsburgh Pirates, and from 1949 to 1951 he managed the Chicago Cubs. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947.
1967 is where the trouble begins. He was brought in to the Veterans Committee, one of two bodies that elects Hall of Famers. He quickly became the leader of the group, and led the group to select several of his old teammates, many of whom are in no way qualified to be Hall of Famers. Jesse Haines, George Kelly, and Ross Youngs were all selections made during his tenure. In 1973 Frisch, who was 75, died in a car accident. Other members of the Veterans Committee, however, included a teammate of Frisch's from his Giant days and a St. Louis sportswriter who had covered the Gashouse Gang Cardinal teams of the 1930s, so some questionable selections, such as Jim Bottomley, continued after his death.
Major League Baseball Hall of Fame
Ford Frick | Pud Galvin
Sources: www.baseball-reference.com, www.baseballlibrary.com, Bill James' Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame, prev. The Politics of Glory.