Sibby Sisti Received One More HOF Vote Than Roy Hobbs

Sibby Sisti endeared himself to Boston Braves fan as their favorite backup player. He began playing in 1939 and returned from WW2 as a utility man able to play any position except pitcher or catcher. He was such a part of team lore that area fans included him in their own team impromptu Hall of Fame.

The back of his ’52 Topps card shows him getting in his highest number of playing appearances since the war. His appearance in the set coincides with the publication of Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, a story partially based on fellow baseball card subject Eddie Waitkus. Sisti served as a consultant when the book was turned into a film of the same name in 1984. He even appears on camera calling for a relief pitcher as the manager of the visiting Pirates in the final game of the season.

Another card recovered from a scrapbook. Whoever taped these cards to its pages enjoyed collecting Boston Braves players.

The odd thing about Sisti’s career? After retiring he received exactly one vote for the Hall of Fame on the 1960 writers’ ballot. Look at his stats, there is nothing remotely Hall of Fame worthy about them. He had a below average batting average. He hit less than one home run per month when playing full time. He wasn’t fast on the basepaths and was actually a slight defensive liability despite the reputation for playing any position.

I doubt Sisti had a relative with a vote, so I can only surmise this was a lone local reporter at work. While Sisti never put up numbers like The Natural’s Roy Hobbs, he was remembered by fans as a guy who brought his team together on the way to the National League Championship in the late 1940s.