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.
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: 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: 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 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: 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.