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Luke Appling To Be Enshrined at Cooperstown

Feb. 17, 1964 - Luke Appling (pictured in 1936), the old Chicago White Sox shortstop, today won the 101st niche in baseball’s Hall of Fame after a special runoff election among the nation’s baseball writers. Appling, who topped the regular biennial election on Jan. 22 but was nine votes short of selection, topped the special ballot announced today by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Appling, for 21 years a stellar member of the White Sox infield, scored a five-vote victory over a former Yankee pitcher, Charles (Red) Ruffing. Roy Campanella was third on the last, Joe Medwick finished fourth, and Pee Wee Reese a distant fifth. The special election was ordered when no one got the required number of votes on the regular ballot.

The 55-year-old Appling greeted news of his selection as “wonderful,” but said he had been hoping for a call clarifying his coaching job with the Kansas City Athletics. He said he had been waiting to hear if the Athletics’ spring training site and date would stand up through the controversy between the club owner, Charles O. Finley, and other American League owners.

Appling, known as “Old Aches and Pains” for his oft-publicized physical ailments while taking turns at all four infield positions, said he didn’t care about not having been chosen in the first election. “I’m really proud. It’s a great honor, and it makes up for never having played on a pennant winner,” he said.

Appling, a coach with Baltimore last season, won two American League batting championships during his career, in 1936, when he hit .388, and 1943, when he hit .328. He missed the entire 1944 season due to military service in the U.S. Army, then returned in time to appear in only 18 games the next year. He had a .310 career batting average. Appling is only the fourth shortstop elected to the Hall of Fame.


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