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Bill Terry
#3 | First baseman | San Francisco Giants/New York Giants


William Harold Terry

Bill Terry

     Terry's outstanding hitting overshadowed his excellence as a first baseman.  Defensively, he was the best of his day.  In the ten seasons he played regularly, he led NL first basemen in fielding average twice, double plays three times, putouts and assists five times each, and total chances per game nine times.

     The National League's last .400 hitter (.401 in 1930), he batted better than .320 nine years in a row, six times collecting over 200 hits.  Terry was the National League's MVP in 1930 and retired with an average of .341 a modern National League record for left-handed batters.  He then succeeded John McGraw as manager and won three pennants with the Giants.

 

     Terry was 26 before he came to the ML and then had to move future Hall of Famer George Kelly off first to play regularly for the Giants. Most of his record was achieved from the age of 30 on, and, during his last five seasons, he also served as the Giants' manager.  Early in 1934, when he was asked about the perennially tail-end Dodgers, he responded jokingly, "Is Brooklyn still in the league?"  His off hand remark was widely considered a contemptuous put-down.  When the Dodgers won the last two meetings of the season to knock the Giants out of the pennant, some New York writers insisted Terry's "arrogance" had cost his team the title.

     The baseball writers elected Terry to the Hall of Fame in 1954, 18 years after he retired as a player. Terry showed no bitterness that his election was so long delayed and became a regular participant in the annual induction ceremonies for many years.

 

Picture from National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc.


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