Cecil Howell Travis
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 195 lb.
- Debut May 16, 1933
- Final Game September 23, 1947
- Born August 8, 1913 in Riverdale, GA USA
- Died December 16, 2006 in Riverdale, GA USA
Cecil Travis was a shortstop who spent his entire career with the Washington Senators. Many who saw Travis play, believe he was destined for the Hall of Fame until his career was curtailed by World War II. Even now he has proponents - he received 15% of the vote in the 2007 Hall of Fame voting by the Veterans Committee.
Travis played eight full seasons before the war (1934-1941). When he was drafted into the service at age 28, he was coming off his best season, a year that saw him hit .359 with 218 hits and 101 rbi. In fact, he set career highs in every major category in 1941.
In 1942, Travis found himself playing baseball in the Army, appearing with the Camp Wheeler Spokes in the Georgia state semi-pro tournament that season. Travis and the Spokes went to the National Semipro Tournament in Wichita, KS in 1943 and won it all. Travis continued to play Army ball in 1944, this time with Wisconsin's Camp McCoy Engineers, and just missed another trip to Wichita. Tech. Sgt. Cecil Travis finally saw action in Europe between November '44 and August '45, suffering frostbite on two toes during the Battle of the Bulge. He returned with a Bronze Star, three battle stars, and part of a foot amputated; this injury threw off his balance when he rejoined the Senators in September.
Travis was unable to shake the rust and was out of baseball at age 34. He returned to his childhood farm in Georgia, where he died in 2006 at the age of 93.
Using two Bill James tools, the Favorite Toy and the Hall of Fame standards test, we see that Cecil Travis projected to 2843 hits and a .332 career batting average after the 1941 season. He also projects to 511 doubles, 179 triples, and 64 home runs. His Hall of Fame standards score is between 58 and 60. Had he finished with these statistics, Travis could have been elected to the Hall of Fame.
Also, Travis' four most similar players, and 5 of his top nine, through age 27 are Hall-of-Fame players. This would suggest the kind of career Travis was in the middle of when he left for war. However, the list of could-have-been-a-Hall-of-Famers is much longer than the list of actual Hall-of-Famers.
- Hits, in first game, with extra innings, 5, 5/16/33
- 3-time AL All-Star (1938, 1940 & 1941)
- AL Hits Leader (1941)
- AL Singles Leader (1941)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1941)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1941)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1941)
- Rob Kirkpatrick: Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators: The War-Torn Career of an All-Star Shortstop, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2005.
- Cecil Travis, Hall of Famer? Jeff Merron, The Southpaw, Dec. 25, 2006.