Jack Fournier

First Base
  • Card series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Sox
  • League: American League

John Frank Fournier (1889-1973) has been ranked by Bill James as the 35th-best first baseman of all-time. Yet, his inability to play the position competently left the managers of his five major league teams in a constant quandary. He got his ranking at the plate, not afield. Always a good hitter, as his career progressed, Jack put up numbers with the best of the era. His career BA was .313 in 15 ML seasons and he really soared when the Cardinals dealt him to Zack Wheat’s Brooklyn Robins. From 1923-26 Fournier averaged .337 and slugged 82 homers. His performance with the bat only improved as he aged. A recent ranking of hitters in their Age 34 to 36 seasons shows Fournier among twenty of the best ever. In fact, only he and Gavvy Cravath failed to make the Hall after achieving what he did in his mid-thirties. And he was no slouch in his twenties. Jack began his professional endeavors with Seattle in the Northwestern League in 1908. The teenager knocked around the west coast until the White Sox came calling in 1912. In two years he was hitting .300 and rarely dipped below that threshold thereafter. Had his glove been as magnetic as his body, Jack may have played even moreā€”he led the league in being hit-by-pitch three times.

  • Fournier may well have been the most mis-matched player of his day. The stratagems of the Dead Ball era dictated many bunts, a particular weakness for the sturdy fielder. And one is left to imagine the hits he’d have had with a livelier ball
  • Jack almost quit the game rather than report to the Robins. He relented and went on to the best years of his career, despite leading the NL in errors his first season in Brooklyn

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