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April 27, 2012 posted by Patrick DiCaprio

The Alternate Universe Hall Of Fame: First Inductee: Pete Reiser

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Pete Reiser--Alternate Universe Hall Of Fame, Induction Date: April 27, 2012

The first inductee into the Alternate Baseball Universe Hall of Fame is Pete Reiser of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Reiser debuted as a 21-year-old and had a very good debut, hitting .293. But in his second year he won a batting title, hitting .343 with a lofty 164 OPS+. He led the league in 2B, 3B, runs, BA, SLG, and OPS, finishing second in the MVP race. He led the league in WAR as a 22-year-old.

The next season, 1941, was a great follow-up campaign. He led the league in SB, hit .310 and put up another great OPS+ of 142. His WAR was good enough for sixth overall. He finished 6th in the MVP voting and it looked like the sky was the limit. These were arguably as good a first two seasons as any 23-year-old in history up to that point. He would be remembered more were it not for two other players grabbing the spotlight; Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.

His defense was fantastic. Leo Durocher said he had as good an arm as Willie Mays. Reiser later got injured in WWII and had to learn to throw with both hands; and Durocher said he could throw better than Mays with either hand.

On Black Ink he was already more than half way to the Hall of Fame. The average Black Ink score for a Hall of Famer, according to BaseballReference.com is 27; after his first two years he was at 17. On the Hall of Fame Monitor he was at 38, with the average Hall of famer at 100.

All this at age 23.

Clearly, then, based on the standards we have laid out, Reiser was clearly a Hall of Fame caliber talent. And then, he started crashing into walls.

In August of his second great season he crashed into a concrete wall at full speed, cracking his skull. This didn’t stop him from giving his all, but he was never the same player. Another time he was partially and temporarily paralyzed. He was taken off the field on a stretcher 11 times.

After the 1942 incident his career was never the same. He suffered from dizziness and vertigo. He got injured in WWII. And his career was over by 1952. Only twice did he play more than 100 games after 1942. But, based on the standards we have laid out, Reiser is worthy of the Alternate Universe Hall of Fame.

Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, GoldenAgeBaseballCards.com, BaseballInWartime.com

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