A Bobby Veach card from my “vast” collection.
Bobby Veach was a left-handed swinging slugger during the Deadball Era. He played 14 seasons in the Major Leagues, beginning in 1912 with the Detroit Tigers, and ending in 1925 as a late season acquisition of the AL Pennant winning Washington Senators. He was a strong armed leftfielder reaching double digits in assists in each of his 1st 9 seasons. Bill James ranks Veach as the 33rd best leftfielder in the game. He played in what is considered the best single season outfield based on Win shares, when he teamed up with Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford in 1915 to amass a record 107 combined Win Shares.
In 1919 Bobby Veach hit .355 with a league leading 191 hits, 45 doubles, and 17 triples. He led the league in rbi in 1915, 1917, and 1918, as well as putouts for 6 straight seasons beginning in 1917. Nobody drove in more runs during the years of 1913-1924, amassing over 100 rbi in 6 seasons. His lifetime .310 average currently ranks him 112th all-time.
Bobby Veach is not in the Hall of Fame, his case is borderline at best, but in 1937, his only year on the Hall of Fame ballot, Bobby Veach received just 1 vote. 1 vote??? Heck, Walt Weiss got 1 Hall of Fame vote. Where is the love for Bobby Veach?
Despite his numbers, Veach was always in the shadow of Ty Cobb. Cobb got all the attention, both good and bad. Veach also got to play along side 2 other Hall of Fame outfielders, Sam Crawford and Harry Heilmann. It’s easy to get lost in that group of guys.
Veach played in just 1 World Series, and that was in his last season with the 1925 Senators. He pinch hit twice, driving in a run with a sac fly, as the Senators lost in 7 games to the Pirates.
Veach was a very easy going player, always joking around with teammates, as well as opposing players. While playing for Manager Hughie Jennings, this wasn’t really an issue. But when Ty Cobb took over the managerial reins in 1921, Cobb set out to change the affable Veach. Cobb and Harry Heilmann constantly rode Veach, with the intent of making him angry, while also trying to inhibit his easy going fraternization with the opponent, thus making him a more focused and driven ball player. Although Veach seemed to respond, posting very good seasons in 1921, 22, and 23, Cobb continuously attempted to trade him, causing resentment from Veach toward Cobb and Heilmann.
Ty Cobb in later years would throw his support behind getting both Crawford and Heilmann into the Hall of Fame, but never Bobby Veach.
Bobby Veach died on 8/7/1945 at the age of 57, possibly from lung cancer. Bobby Veach may not be worthy of inclusion in the Hall of Fame, although, in my opinion, he is very close. He is worthy of more than 1 vote however, so by the power invested in me, by……….me, I cast my Hall of Fame vote for Bobby Veach, thus receiving more votes than Walt Weiss. I have righted a wrong, and it feels good.