While there are many disputes to the origin of baseball and who invented it, there is little doubt as to who were some of the great masons that played in “America’s pastime.”
Tyrus Raymond “Ty” Cobb (December 18, 1886 – July 17, 1961),nicknamed “The Georgia Peach,” was an American outfielder in baseball born in Royston, Georgia.
After one season in the minor leagues, he began his 24-season major league career with the Detroit Tigers of the American League (AL) in 1905. He played 22 seasons for the Tigers, and was their player-manager for last 6, until 1926. He was released by the Tigers in early 1927, but quickly signed with the Philadelphia Athletics, and played two more seasons. He retired following the 1928 season.
Cobb is widely credited with setting 90 Major League Baseball records during his career. He still holds several records as of 2009, including the highest career batting average (.367) and most career batting titles with 11 (or 12, depending on source). He retained many other records for almost a half century or more, including most career hits until 1985 (4,189 or 4,191, depending on source), most career runs (2,245 or 2,246 depending on source) until 2001, most career games played (3,035) and at bats (11,429 or 11,434 depending on source) until 1974, and the modern record for most career stolen bases (892) until 1977. He was a member of Royston Lodge No. 426, Detroit.
Rogers Hornsby, Sr. (April 27, 1896 – January 5, 1963), nicknamed “The Rajah”, was an American baseball infielder, manager, and coach who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB).
He played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1915–1926, 1933), New York Giants (1927), Boston Braves (1928), Chicago Cubs (1929–1932), and St. Louis Browns (1933–1937). Hornsby had 2,930 hits and 301 home runs in his career; his career .358 batting average is second only to Ty Cobb’s average. He was named the National League (NL)’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice, and was a member of one World Series championship team.
Born and raised in Texas, Hornsby played for several semi-professional and minor league teams. In 1915, he began his major league career with the St. Louis Cardinals and remained with the team for 12 seasons; during this period, Hornsby won his first MVP Award and the Cardinals won the 1926 World Series. After that season, he spent one season at the New York Giants and another with the Boston Braves before being traded to the Chicago Cubs. He played with the Cubs for four years and won his second MVP Award before the team released him in 1932. Hornsby re-signed with the Cardinals in 1933, but was released partway through the season and was picked up by the St. Louis Browns. He remained there until his final season in 1937. From 1925 to 1937, Hornsby was intermittently his own manager. After retiring as a player, he managed the Browns in 1952 and the Cincinnati Reds from 1952 to 1953.
Hornsby is one of the best hitters of all time. His career batting average of .358 is second only to Ty Cobb in MLB history. He also won two Triple Crowns and batted .400 or more three times during his career. He is the only player to hit 40 home runs and bat .400 in the same year (1922). His batting average for the 1924 season was .424, a mark that no player has matched since. He was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1942 and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.
Hornsby married three times, in 1918, 1924, and 1957, and had two children, one from each of his first two marriages. Known as someone difficult to get along with, he was not well-liked by fellow players. He never smoked, drank, or went to the movies, but frequently gambled on horse races during his career. He was a member of Beacon Lodge No. 3, St. Louis, MO.
Johannes Peter “Honus” Wagner (February 24, 1874 – December 6, 1955) was an American baseball shortstop who played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1897 to 1917, almost entirely for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Wagner won eight batting titles, tied for the most in National League history with Tony Gwynn. He also led the league in slugging six times, and in stolen bases five times. Wagner was nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman” due to his superb speed and German heritage (“Dutch” in this instance being an alteration of “Deutsch”).
In 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Wagner as one of the first five members. He received the second-highest vote total, behind Ty Cobb and tied with Babe Ruth.
Although Cobb is frequently cited as the greatest player of the dead-ball era, some contemporaries regarded Wagner as the better all-around player, and most baseball historians consider Wagner to be the greatest shortstop ever. Cobb himself called Wagner “maybe the greatest star ever to take the diamond.” In addition, Wagner is the featured player of one of the rarest and most valuable baseball cards in the world. He was a member of Centennial Lodge No. 544 Carnegie, PA.
Denton True “Cy” Young (March 29, 1867 – November 4, 1955) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher.
During his 21-year baseball career (1890–1911), he pitched for five different teams. Young established numerous pitching records, some of which have stood for a century. Young compiled 511 wins, which is most in Major League history and 94 ahead of Walter Johnson who is second on the list. Young was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.
One year after Young’s death, the Cy Young Award was created to honor the previous season’s best pitcher.
In addition to wins, Young still holds the major league records for most career innings pitched (7,355), most career games started (815), and most complete games (749). He also retired with 316 losses, the most in MLB history. Young’s 76 career shutouts are fourth all-time. He also won at least 30 games in a season five times, with ten other seasons of 20 or more wins. In addition, Young pitched three no-hitters, including the third perfect game in baseball history, first in baseball’s “modern era”. In 1999, 88 years after his final major league appearance and 44 years after his death, editors at The Sporting News ranked Cy Young 14th on their list of “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players”. That same year, baseball fans named him to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
Young’s career started in 1890 with the Cleveland Spiders. After eight years with the Spiders, Young was moved to St. Louis in 1899. After two years there, Young jumped to the newly created American League, joining the Boston franchise. He was traded back to Cleveland in 1909, before spending the final two months of his career with the Boston Rustlers. After his retirement, Young went back to his farm in Ohio, where he stayed until his death at age 88 in 1955. He was a member of Mystic Tie Lodge #194, Uhrichsville, Ohio.