Dickey Kerr received one Hall of Fame vote when he appeared on the ballot in 1937. For a Major League pitcher that pitched just 4 seasons, winning 53 games, that’s a pretty nice accomplishment. What really surprised me was that Dickey Kerr appeared on 11 Hall of Fame ballots, accumulating 71 votes. In 1955 he received 25 votes, that’s 10% of the votes, more than 12 other future Hall of Famers that year.
Dickey Kerr was born in St. Louis in 1893. As a rookie pitcher for the 1919 Chicago White Sox he won 13 games. As one of the few honest players on the Black Sox he won 2 games, in the infamous 1919 World Series, pitching 2 complete game victories.
In 1920 Kerr won 21 games and also led the league with 5 saves. Pitching for a gutted 1921 White Sox team that finished 62-92, Kerr still managed to win 19 games. Charlie Comiskey “rewarded” his pitcher with a $500 salary decrease. When salary negotiations failed, Kerr asked for his release, when that was denied, he quit. During the negotiations Kerr pitched “outlaw ball” against several of the Black Sox. Kenesaw Landis “rewarded” Kerr by placing him on the permanently ineligible list. He would reinstate Kerr in 1925.
Dickey Kerr chose integrity when 8 of his fellow teammates chose greed. He managed 2 wins in the 1919 World Series despite half of the players on the field playing to lose. Charlie Comiskey and Kenesaw Landis screwed Dickey Kerr, when he should have been shown the respect deserved when you do the right thing. He is quoted as saying, “All baseball ever gave me was the boot.”
Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver both claimed their innocence in the 1919 scandal. Jackson received $5,000 for his part in the fix. I’m not sure that helps his plea of innocence. I’ve also read that during the 1920 season the Black Sox players continued to throw games for money, and that Buck Weaver may have been a willing participant. Joe Jackson has received exactly 4 votes for the Hall of Fame, while Buck Weaver has never received a single vote.
Dickey Kerr died of cancer in 1963, at the age of 69, and is buried in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, Houston, TX. I hope he realized that the 71 Hall of Fame votes that he received from the baseball writers are a testament to him as an honest ball player, that played the game to win, and played it the way it’s supposed to be played.
This post is for you Dickey Kerr.