Mike, I think you sold Chadwick short. Chadwick was baseball's premier evangelist in its early days. Chadwick is the father of baseball statistics. As the editor of Spalding's Guides, Chadwick was responsible for what passes for primary resources about the professional game's early history. As such, Chadwick is much more important than Rube Foster, whose legacy is minimized by the weak bonds that held the NNL together throughout much of its existence (especially the 20s and 30s).
Yo lo respondí thusly:
I was on the fence with Chadwick. He is a personal favorite and definitely the progenitor of baseball's relationship with the publishing world (newspapers and the early guides). And he came up with the box score. I do have him and James as my official sabermetricians in my "About Me" page [All-Star team].
OK, you've convinced me. But if I add Chadwick, I'm going to add Cartwright. It's only fair.
- Henry Chadwick-father of baseball reportage and baseball statistics.
- Alexander Joy Cartwright-codified baseball (the "New York" game) and helped established first team, the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club.
That's one crowded mountaintop. If I had to eliminate people from your list, I'd probably jettison Landis (whose importance I acknowledge but who I think is a bit of a jerk), Foster (whom I've already discussed) and Ban Johnson (who viewed the hiring of Landis as a threat to his authority, which put him on the wrong side of the fence at a critical moment in baseball history). If I had to pick four heads for a baseball Rushmore, I'd probably stick with players. Ruth, Robinson, Young and Wagner would be enough for me.
Maybe we can build a totem pole instead. I was trying to imagine telling the story of baseball's history and for me Landis, Foster, and Johnson would be integral to that. But I do see your point. Foster especially may be an idiosyncratic choice.
By the way, if we were to limit it to the players and what they did on the field, then I wouldn't include Robinson. His feats--not to minimize them--don't translate entirely into the statistical record. I would pick Mays instead and I'll agree to the other three (Though I'd consider Johnson for Young). If Robinson is included, I think it opens the "pioneers" can of worms, and we're back to the totem pole.