1955 Induction Ceremony

One of the larger classes of the time was inducted on July 25, 1955, as the Hall of Fame welcomed BBWAA inductees Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Dazzy Vance and Veterans Committee picks Frank “Home Run” Baker and Ray Schalk. In the biggest induction ceremony since 1939, the crowd favorite was easily DiMaggio, according to the New York Times. Hall of Famers who returned for the ceremony were Ty Cobb, Bill Terry, Mel Ott, Frank Frisch and the 87-year-old Cy Young.

Joe DiMaggio was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)JOE DIMAGGIO: Elected in his fourth year on the ballot, DiMaggio received 88.8 percent of the votes. In 13 years with the New York Yankees, he won three American League MVP Awards, was an All-Star every year of his career and won 10 A.L. pennants and nine World Series. Despite his three MVP Awards, the Yankee Clipper had arguably his best season in 1937 at age 22 when he hit .346 with 46 home runs, 167 RBI and finished second the voting to Charlie Gehringer. Topping the .300 mark 11 times, DiMaggio lost three years during his prime to serve in World War II. He hit in a record 56 straight games in 1941 and retired with a .325 batting average, 361 home runs and 1,537 runs batted in.

GABBY HARTNETT: In his 12th year on the ballot, Hartnett was named on 77.7 percent of ballots cast. He spent his first 19 seasons with the Chicago Cubs before playing his last season for the New York Giants. Hartnett was an outstanding player in the field and at the plate. Defensively he led the league in putouts four times and in assists and fielding percentage six times, and offensively he hit .297 for his career with 236 home runs. Hartnett earned N.L. MVP honors in 1935, when he hit .344 with 13 home runs and 91 RBI, and was the runner-up in 1937. As player/manager of the Cubs from 1938 to 1940, he guided the North Siders to the 1938 pennant.

Ted Lyons was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)TED LYONS: Named on 86.5 percent of ballots cast in his 10th year on the ballot, Lyons spent his entire 21-year career with the Chicago White Sox. He jumped straight from college to the major leagues and reached double figures in victories 17 times, leading the American League with 21 in 1925 and with 22 in 1927. In 1942, at the age of 41, Lyons started 20 games, completed them all and led the A.L. with a 2.10 ERA. He served in World War II and lost three years after he turned 41, but still returned to pitch one more season in 1946. Lyons retired with 260 wins, a 3.67 ERA and 356 complete games.

Dazzy Vance was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)DAZZY VANCE: Vance was named on 81.7 percent of the ballots in his 16th year of eligibility. He didn’t pitch a full season in the big leagues until he was 31 in 1922, but went on to play 14 seasons with the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. Vance pitched the bulk of his years in Brooklyn, where he won the 1924 National League MVP Award by going 28-6 with a 2.16 ERA and 262 on his way to winning the pitcher’s Triple Crown. He led the league in punch-outs each season from 1922 to 1928, totaling 1,338 strikeouts in those seven seasons. Vance retired with 197 wins, a 3.24 ERA and 2,045 strikeouts.

Frank "Home Run" Baker was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

FRANK BAKER: Selected by the Veterans Committee, “Home Run” Baker was the American League’s all-time home run leader with 80 until the 1920 season. He played 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Yankees, leading the league in long balls four consecutive seasons and driving in 100 or more runs three times. A lifetime .307 hitter, Baker batted .363 in six World Series. In his 13 seasons, he never played a position other than third base.

 

Ray Schalk was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)RAY SCHALK: A selection of the Veterans Committee, Schalk played 18 seasons in the major leagues for the Chicago White Sox and New York Giants. Enshrined primarily for his defense, Schalk was the first player to regularly catch 100 games and led the league in fielding percentage eight times and putouts nine times. He retired as the career leader in games caught (1,727) and putouts by a catcher (7,168). Schalk caught four no-hitters and his 30 stolen bases in 1916 were a record for a catcher until 1982. He retired with a .253 batting average and 176 stolen bases.