Samuel Earl "Sam" Crawford (April 18, 1880 – June 15, 1968), nicknamed "Wahoo Sam", was a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers from 1899 to 1917. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957.
Crawford batted and threw left-handed, stood 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) tall and weighed 190 pounds. He was one of the greatest sluggers of the dead-ball era and still holds the Major League records for triples in a career (309) and inside-the-park home runs in a season (12). He has the second best all-time record for most inside-the-park home runs in a career (51). He finished his career with 2,961 hits and a .309 batting average, and became the first player to lead both American League and the National League in home runs (1901 and 1908).
Ed Barrow, who managed Crawford in his first two years with Detroit, and went on to convert Babe Ruth to an outfielder as general manager of the Yankees, once said that there never was a better hitter than Crawford. One of his contemporaries, Fielder Jones, said of Crawford: “None of them can hit quite as hard as Crawford. He stands up at the plate like a brick house and he hits all the pitchers, without playing favorites.”
Crawford was among the American League leaders in hits, RBI, extra base hits, slugging percentage and total bases for 11 consecutive years, from 1905 to 1915. Using the “Gray Ink Test,” which awards points based on how often a player is among the league batting leaders, Crawford ranks as the ninth best hitter of all time, ahead of greats such as Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle, among others.
By Dean Hanley
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