He may have only 37 home runs and stolen 62 bases, but there’s a reasonable case to be made that Roger Maxwell “Doc” Cramer one of the better players in major league history not in the Hall of Fame. Cramer’s 2705 career hits are the most of any players who retired before 1975 that isn’t in the Hall.
Why “Doc” Cramer? When Cramer was a kid, he would constantly follow around a local physician on his house calls, and the nickname stuck. Once he got to the major leagues, sportswriter Jimmy Isaminger gave center fielder Cramer the moniker “Flit,” the name of a common insecticide, because Cramer was “death to flies…” fly balls, that is. Cramer spent 5 of his 20 years in major league with the Sox, suiting for Boston between 1936 and 1940. During those five seasons, the leadoff man hit .302, made four All-Star games, and led the league in hits in 1940 with exactly 200 hits.
Though the Sox traded him to Washington at the age of 34, Cramer still managed to play eight more seasons, retiring at the age of 42. What makes his durability even more impressive is the fact that, besides his first four years with the dominant Philadelphia A’s and his last three years in Detroit, Cramer was an everyday player. Back when major league baseball played a 154-game season, Cramer averaged 147 games per season between 1933 and 1945. He was first in baseball in at-bats seven times during that span.
At the age of 85, Cramer passed away in Manahawkin, New Jersey, near Doc Cramer Boulevard.