The Hall of Fame’s membership increased by four to 94, as John Clarkson, Elmer Flick, Sam Rice and Eppa Rixey were elected by the Veterans Committee. At this point in time, the BBWAA only voted every other year and did not vote in 1963. Rice and Flick were on hand to receive their plaques on August 4, 1963, while Clarkson and Rixey were posthumously inducted. Rixey died just five months before the ceremony, in February 1963. In contrast to today’s two to three hour ceremonies, it took just 35 minutes for these four men to be inducted. The first J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing was presented to its namesake, the driving force behind The Sporting News since 1914.
JOHN CLARKSON: Although he played just 12 seasons in the late 19th century, Clarkson piled up 327 wins for the Worcester Ruby Legs, Chicago White Stockings, Boston Beaneaters and Cleveland Spiders. He won 30 or more games six times and twice pitched over 600 innings in a season. Clarkson won 53 games in 1885 and pitched 485 complete games in his career. Selected by the Veterans Committee, he died on February 4, 1909 in Belmont, MA.
ELMER FLICK: Flick played 13 major league seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Athletics and finally the Cleveland Naps, where he stayed for nine years. He topped the .300 mark eight times, hitting a career-best .378 in 1900. In Flick’s time with Cleveland he led the American League in stolen bases twice, triples three times and won the batting title in 1905 when he hit .308. A lifetime .315 hitter, Flick died on January 4, 1971 in Bedford, OH
SAM RICE: Rice finished just 13 hits shy of 3,000 in a 20 year career, 19 of which were spent with the Washington Senators. He topped the .300 mark 13 times and collected 200 or more hits six times, leading the league with 216 in both 1924 and 1926. A career-high 63 steals led the American League in 1920, contributing to 351 lifetime stolen bases. Rice retired with .322 batting average and 184 triples. He died on October 13, 1974 in Rossmor, MD.
EPPA RIXEY: Selected by the Veterans Committee, Rixey pitched 21 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. He never pitched a day in the minor leagues and posted a 2.50 ERA as a rookie in 1912. Rixey had a career best season in 1922 when he led the National League with 25 wins, 38 starts and 313.1 innings pitched. He also had a 3.53 ERA and 26 complete games. He played in just one World Series, when the Phillies lost to the Boston Red Sox in 1915. Rixey retired with 266 wins and a 3.15 ERA and died on February 28, 1963.