Smoky Joe’s Due

He spent his sunset years on New Haven’s Marvel Road—after besting the Yankees in a Red Sox uniform. Now it’s time that “Smoky Joe” Wood (pictured) get his deserved ultimate resting place: the Hall of Fame.

That’s the pitch New Haven state Rep. Pat Dillon is making.

Dillon used the occasion of the announcement Friday of a new Boston Red Sox scholarship charity program in Connecticut to urge state officials to seek more: Smoky Joe’s due. (Click here for an article by someone who agrees with Dillon.)

Here’s Dillon’s pitch:

“Wood is one of only 13 pitchers to win 30 or more games in one season since 1900. Wood’s breakthrough season for the Red Sox was in 1911 and won the 1912 series, defeating The New York Giants. Sidelined as a pitcher, he became a utility player and at bat beat the Yankees in 1918 [by hitting two home runs in one game]. He left the game due to injury and became the baseball coach at Yale University, residing on Marvel Road in Westville.

“‘Smoky Joe’ Wood beat John McGraw’s New York Giants at the Polo Grounds.  learned that from my grandfather John Dillon, a Giants fan. Though [Wood’s]career was cut short he should be in the Hall of Fame.

“Including him in The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig described ‘the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome,’ where a player of truly exceptional talent but a career curtailed by injury should still, in spite of not having had career statistics that would quantitatively rank him with the all-time greats, be included on their list of the 100 greatest players.”

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 8, 2013  1:23pm

Satchel Paige was better.

posted by: JMS on March 9, 2013  9:01am

Yes Satchel Paige was better but he is already in the Hall of Fame (class of ‘71). And it was Paige himself along with Walter Johnson who called Wood “the hardest throwing pitcher they had ever seen”. Wood’s career was ultimately too short for immediate Hall of Fame consideration and there were accusations of tampering and gambling which MLB and the Hall of Fame voters have always been hyper sensitive too. But his (albeit short) career numbers are amazing. In 1915 his ERA was 1.49 which is a ridiculous stat. So I can see him having some place or mention in the Hall of Fame but I think it will be tough getting him full membership due to his abbreviated career.