George Sisler

George Harold Sisler
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1939
Primary team: St. Louis Browns
Primary position: 1st Baseman

George Sisler was highly thought of as both a person and a ballplayer during his day. A five-tool player before the term came into vogue, Sisler finished his career as one of the game’s greatest hitters.

After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan in 1915, a rarity for ball-players at the time, Sisler moved right onto the roster of the St. Louis Browns. Starting his career as a pitcher, he eventually became a first baseman in order to get his powerful left-handed bat in the everyday lineup.

Peerless defensively at first, Sisler also excelled with his 42-ounce bat in hand. In a big league career that lasted 15 seasons, “Gorgeous George” batted over .300 13 times, including league-leading averages of .407 in 1920 and .420 in 1922. His 257 hits during the 1920 campaign remained a modern major league record until Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki broke it in 2004. A skilled base runners as well, he led the league in stolen bases four times.

Baseball great Ty Cobb, an American League rival for many years, once called Sisler “the nearest thing to a perfect ballplayer” he had ever seen.

Sisler claimed that the fact he was once a pitcher helped make him a better hitter. “I used to stand on the mound myself, study the batter and wonder how I could fool him,” he said. “Now when I am at the plate, I can the more easily place myself in the pitcher’s position and figure what is pass-ing through his mind.”

At the height of his success as a baseball player, though, he missed the entire 1923 season due to a sinus infection that produced double vision. He would come back to play another seven seasons, hitting .320 during that span, but even he would acknowledge he was never quite the same hitter.

Ending his career with 2,812 hits and a .340 batting aver-age, Sisler was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. But because he often played on second-division teams and never had the national stage of a World Series, he was reserved and much less flamboyant that fellow stars of the time like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, and as a first baseman was overshadowed by the enormity of Lou Gehrig.

"In that one season (1922), Sisler was the greatest player who ever lived. "
Branch Rickey

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1939
Primary Team: St. Louis Browns
Position Played: 1st Baseman
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Birth place: Manchester, Ohio
Birth year: 1893
Died: 1973, Richmond Heights, Missouri
Played for:
St. Louis Browns (1915-1922)
Washington Senators (1928)
Boston Braves (1928-1930)
Managed:
St. Louis Browns (1924-1926)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
2055
At BatsAB
8267
RunsR
1284
HitsH
2812
Doubles2B
425
Triples3B
164
Home RunsHR
102
RBIRBI
1178
Stolen BasesSB
375
WalksBB
472
Batting AverageBA
.340
OPSOPS
.847
On Base %OBP
.379
Slugging %SLG
.468