First ballot Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson and Bob Feller were enshrined along with Veterans Committee selections Edd Roush and Bill McKechnie on July 23, 1962. The Hall of Fame’s membership reached 90 in a 38 minute ceremony before of an audience of more 10,000 fans.
BOB FELLER: Elected in his first year on the ballot, Feller received 93.8 percent of the votes. Spending an 18 year career with the Cleveland Indians, he won 20 or more games six times and led the league each time. Feller put together a three year stretch from 1939 to 1941 in which he won 76 games, finished in the top three in MVP voting each year and won the pitcher’s Triple Crown in 1940 by winning 27 games with a 2.61 ERA and 261 strikeouts. An eight-time all-star, he helped the Indians to the 1948 World Series title when they beat the Boston Braves. Feller won 266 games in his career and tossed three no-hitters and 12 one-hitters.
JACKIE ROBINSON: After breaking major league baseball’s color barrier as a 28-year-old rookie in 1947, Robinson played 10 years for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Elected by the BBWAA with 77.5 percent of the votes, he won the Rookie of the Year Award in ’47 after hitting .297, 125 runs scored and 29 stolen bases. Two year later Robinson took home National League MVP honors following a season in which he led the league with a .342 batting average and 37 stolen bases, while driving in 124 runs. A six-time all-star, Robinson’s Dodgers played in six World Series, all of which were against the New York Yankees. A phenomenal athlete, he stole home 19 times in his career and also lettered in four sports at UCLA. The lone Dodgers win came in 1955. Robinson hit .311 for his career with 197 stolen bases and died in Connecticut in 1972.
BILL MCKECHNIE: A Veterans Committee selection, McKechnie played 11 seasons in the big leagues before moving on to a career as a manager. He built his teams around pitching and defense and won National League pennants with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1925, the St. Louis Cardinals in 1928 and the Cincinnati Reds in 1939 and 1940. The ’25 Pirates and ’40 Reds won the World Series. His teams won 85 or more games eight times in his 23 seasons on the bench. Nicknamed the Deacon for his life as a churchgoer, McKechnie died in Bradenton, FL in 1965.
EDD ROUSH: An 18-year veteran who spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Reds, Roush was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. In each of the 12 seasons in which he totaled 165 at-bats or more, Roush batted over .300. His career-high was .352 which he reached in both 1921 and 1922, but he led the league in hitting in 1917 (.341) and 1919 (.321). Roush racked up 30 inside-the-park home runs, while striking out just 260 times in his career with a career high of 25. He helped Cincinnati to the 1919 World Series title. Roush batted .323 for his career with 268 stolen bases. He died in Bradenton, FL in 1988.