Now that we’ve made it past Baseball’s Hall of Fame Weekend, and since Bert Blyleven finally has been inducted, you may have thought you were safe from my annual Hall of Fame rant.
You were wrong. I have lots of rants when it comes to this institution.
So there’s no misunderstanding, there’s only one guy who will not be mentioned in the following discussion; Pete Rose. The guy did the one thing they tell you you can’t ever do; he bet on baseball.
That also means I’m going counter to the prevailing opinion amongst the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA); I don’t care about the steroid issue. I’m on record saying the whole issue is much ado about nothing, and I’ve stated my reasons for believing that on more than one occasion. Besides, if all the sudden moralists in the BBWAA want to exclude “cheaters’” then we have to go back and remove everybody in the Hall of Fame who ever corked a bat, doctored a ball, or stole a sign. If you were to do that, Cooperstown would be deserted.
Like it or not, the fact that all the “cheaters” we’re still trying to win. Any of the aforementioned types of “cheating” were all about gaining some sort of competitive advantage in the pursuit of victory.
But gambling on baseball enjoys no such harbor of “virtue;” gambling goes to the very heart of the integrity of the game. This is exactly why baseball has had its staunch anti-gambling stance ever since the Black Sox scandal. This is exactly why I will not consider Pete Rose. Don’t even try to make an argument to me otherwise.
The next five years or so should prove to be an interesting time for the BBWAA. All the blathering about steroids and the like will hit “put up or shutup” time. If the writers decide to keep the steroid guys out, there’s a long list of players who should be in Cooperstown.
I’ve dug up a list of the notable players who become eligible for induction in each of the next six years. Players who are eligible have played 10 seasons of Major League Baseball and have been retired from for five full seasons.
Players who are likely to be inducted or should be inducted are noted in red. Borderline players noted in green, and will be discussed further in Section II.
Section I – Soon To Be Eligibles Who Need To Be Inducted Within Five Years of Becoming So
Edgardo Alfonzo, Pedro Astacio, David Bell, Jeromy Burnitz, Vinny Castilla, Scott Erickson, Carl Everett, Jeff Fassero, Alex S. Gonzalez, Danny Graves, Rick Helling, Dustin Hermanson, Jose Hernandez, Brian Jordan, Matt Lawton, Javy Lopez, Bill Mueller, Terry Mulholland, Jeff Nelson, Phil Nevin, Brad Radke, Joe Randa, Tim Salmon, Ruben Sierra, Jose Vizcaino, Bernie Williams, Eric Young
Let’s face it…Bernie Williams is the all-time post-season RBIs leader, he’s got more regular-season RBIs than Gary Carter, Dave Kingman, and Kirby Puckett, and he was a Yankee in their “glory days” of the late 90′s. He’s getting in. Since it is theoretically possible for the writers to elect ten players, we will split the difference and say that five inductees is a reasonable number. Given that Williams is likely to be the only inductee from this class, we assume there’s room for four more to be inducted.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Kenny Lofton, David Wells, Julio Franco, Shawn Green, Steve Finley, Roberto Hernandez, Jeff Cirillo, Jose Valentin, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Conine, Jose Mesa, Royce Clayton, Bob Wickman, Ryan Klesko, Aaron Sele, Woody Williams, Rondell White, Mike Lieberthal, Tony Batista, Mike Stanton, Sandy Alomar Jr., Damian Miller, Todd Walker
This class is full. I’m voting for the steroid guys. If you have a problem with that, make your own list.
Even without the steroid guys, the real argument is Curt Schilling. What’s funny is this argument comes into play in a few years again because it really applies to Pedro Martinez as well. Now that Bert Blyleven has been inducted, no eligible pitcher with more than 3,000 K’s is not in the Hall of Fame. But most of Schilling’s other career number are borderline at best. Winning a World Series with the Red Sox will likely get him over the top.
But here’s the big question: We’ve let steroids diminish the importance of the home run numbers; why shouldn’t we do the same thing with career strikeout numbers for pitchers? First of all, half the guys who got caught using were pitchers, so the cheating was on both sides. Second of all , and most importantly, go look at how many hitters in the history of major league baseball have seasons with 150 or more strikeout. It’s happened 177 times, and less than 1/3 of them occurred before 1990
- Dick Allen, 150, 1965
- Nate Colbert, 150, 1970
- Ron Kittle, 150, 1983
- Don Lock, 151, 1963
- Greg Luzinski, 151, 1975
- Juan Samuel, 151, 1988
- George Scott, 152, 1966
- Larry Hisle, 152, 1969
- Dave Kingman, 153, 1975
- Rob Deer, Pete Incaviglia, Andres Gallaraga, 153, 1988
- Wille Stargell, 154, 1971
- Larry Parrish, 154, 1987
- Frank Howard, 155, 1967
- Jeff Burroughs, 155, 1975
- Tommie Agee, 156, 1970
- Tony Armas, 156, 1984
- Reggie Jackson, Dave Kingman, 156, 1982
- Danny Tartabull, 157, 1986
- Jose Canseco, Jeff Presley, 157, 1987
- Bo Jackson, 158, 1987
- Andres Gallaraga, Rob Deer, 158, 1989
- Dick Allen, 160, 1968
- Reggie Jackson, 161, 1971
- Butch Hobson, 162, 1977
- Juan Samuel, 162, 1987
- Donn Clendenon, 163, 1968
- Gary Alexander, 166, 1978
- Steve Balboni, 166, 1985
- Cory Snyder, 166, 1987
- Juan Samuel, 168, 1984
- Pete Incaviglia, 168, 1987
- Gorman Thomas, 170, 1980
- Bo Jackson, 172, 1989
- Dave Nicholson, 175, 1963
- Gorman Thomas, 175, 1979
- Jose Canseco, 175, 1986
- Mike Schmidt, 180, 1975
- Pete Incaviglia, 185, 1986
- Rob Deer, 186, 1987
- Bobby Bonds, 187, 1969
- Bobby Bonds, 189, 1970
The picture becomes even more clear when you break down those seasons by decade.
- 1950s and prior: 0
- 1960s: 7
- 1970s: 12
- 1980s: 23
- 1990s: 35
- 2000s: 91
You don’t need the supercomputer from NASA to calculate the trend here. The days when racking up a large number of K’s was taboo for a hitter are over. Guys now have no problem swinging out of their shoes far more often than ever before. Therefore, an argument can be made that a player who hurled 3,000 strikeouts in the past two decades really is not a fair comparison to a pitcher who did it before 1990.
Oh, and if Craig Biggio doesn’t get in, this article means nothing as the Hall of Fame will mean nothing.
Moises Alou, Armando Benitez, Sean Casey, Jose Cruz Jr., Ray Durham, Damion Easley, Jim Edmonds, Keith Foulke, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Scott Hatteberg, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Jon Lieber, Esteban Loaiza, Paul Lo Duca, Greg Maddux, Matt Morris, Mike Mussina, Trot Nixon, Hideo Nomo, Jay Payton, Kenny Rogers, Richie Sexson, J.T. Snow, Shannon Stewart, Frank Thomas, Mike Timlin, Steve Trachsel, Jose Vidro
If any of the three guys I’ve picked here don’t get in eventually, it will be Kent. Maddux and Thomas are locks, Mussina likely also gets in eventually.
So, the guess would be that Maddux and Thomas will go to Cooperstown with the next three guys who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
Rich Aurilia, Aaron Boone, Paul Byrd, Tony Clark, Carlos Delgado, David Dellucci, Jermaine Dye, Alan Embree, Darin Erstad, Kelvim Escobar, Cliff Floyd, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Tom Gordon, Eddie Guardado, Randy Johnson, Mark Loretta, Pedro Martinez, Ramon Martinez, Doug Mientkiewicz, Kevin Millar, Troy Percival, B.J. Ryan, Jason Schmidt, Gary Sheffield, John Smoltz, Julian Tavarez, Jarrod Washburn, David Weathers
Don’t start the Nomar stuff with me; his career numbers aren’t even close to Hall-worthy. Johnson is a no-brainer for the first ballot, and Smoltz should be in on the “Better than Eckersley” plan. See my prior discussion of Curt Schilling for my thoughts on Pedro Martinez.
Garret Anderson, Brad Ausmus, Ken Griffey Jr., Mark Grudzielanek, Trevor Hoffman, Andy Pettitte, Mike Sweeney, Billy Wagner
There’s no way Griffey doesn’t go in on the first ballot, and I would bet Hoffman goes in as well (at least within the first few tries) as the all-time saves leader, now that the writers love relievers. More on that later when we get to Billy Wagner and Lee Smith.
2017 and Beyond:
Derek Jeter, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, Johnny Damon, Ivan Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki
Jeter is a Yankee with multiple World Series rings and 3,000 hits. If there was ever a first-ballot lock, it’s him. Ivan Rodriguez is only 120 hits away from 3,000, he’s the active career leader in doubles, he has 300 career home run, 125 career stolen bases, and 13 Gold Gloves as a catcher – also a lock. Chipper Jones has 2500 hits, 400 home runs, 1500 RBIs, and a league MVP title, and is only out-classed as a switch-hitter by baseball immortals Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray. Jim Thome will be only one of only eight players with 600 home runs.
Section II – The Discussion Board
A) Players Who The Hall Cannot Be Complete Without – Cut The Crap and Induct These Guys NOW
1) “Shoeless” Joe Jackson
This is another reason why I am adamantly against Pete Rose being re-instated; it would make the injustice done to Jackson even more egregious. Jackson would have been in the Hall three-quarters of a century ago if he had been banishedas a result of the 1919 “Black Sox” World Series scandal.
The difference is that Jackson was acquitted in a court of law of any wrongdoing, but since Commissioner Kennesaw Mountian Landis was a heavy-handed, southern-fried tyrant, Jackson found himself banished largely because he played on the same team as the guilty parties.
As far as his credentials for Cooperstown are concerned, Jackson had a .356 lifetime batting average, and was only getting better when Landis gave him the boot.
2) Dick Allen
Allen spent the 1960′s as one of the premier hitters in baseball, and even though he languished in a lengthy mid-career slump, he still smacked 351 career homers and posted a .292 batting average. He also claimed the 1972 American League MVP award. But, he had a reputation for being an asshole and wasn’t well-liked by the writers, otherwise he likely would have been in Cooperstown 20 years ago.
3) Ron Santo
For most of the time when everybody was screaming that Brooks Robinson was the “best third baseman ever,” Ron Santo was better. Forget the fact the people who deified Robinson somehow never heard of Eddie Mathews, rather focus on the fact that Santo was a nine-time All Star and five-time Gold Glove winner. Plus, Santo was a better hitter than Robinson.
4) Rafael Palmeiro
Thanks to the hypocritical pseudo-moralism of the BBWAA, Palmeiro is the first member of the 3,000 hit club since 1952 to not be inducted into Cooperstown on his first ballot. So, thanks to a bunch of writers who have decided some forms of cheating are more acceptable than others, one of four players in history with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits gets stuck in Purgatory.
5) Tony Oliva
For a guy who played the majority of his career in the pitching-dominated 1960s, Oliva still netted three batting titles while lead the American League in hits five times between 1964 and 1970.
6) Jim Kaat
Two stats say it all: Kaat won 283 games and 16 consecutive Gold Gloves.
7) Mike Mussina
Mussina won 270 games, posting a .638 winning percentage. Only five other pitchers have that many wins and a better winning percentage. All five are in Cooperstown.
8 ) Mark McGwire
Here’s the fun argument for all you “steroid moralists” – everything Mark McGwire did in terms of performance enhancing substances during his career WERE NOT AGAINST THE RULES OF BASEBALL AT THE TIME. That means a player with 583 home runs and the first to capture the single season home run record in almost 40 years needs to be in Cooperstown.
9) Fred McGriff
Had Fred McGriff had stuck around for seven more home runs, I don’t think there would be much debate on his deserving enshrinement. That’s a minor detail; he’s only tied with Lou Gehrig for homers and ahead of Mickey Mantle in RBIs. He was also a five-time All-Star, a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and he was the first player in the “live-ball” era to lead both the American and National Leagues in home runs.
10) Alan Trammell
Trammell was quietly and consistently a solid defensive shortstop. But he was also one the best offensive shortstops in history, banging out 2,365 hits and a .285 career batting average. Trammell was a six time All-Star, won four Gold Gloves, won three Silver Sluggers for offense at the shortstop position, and was World Series MVP in 1984.
11) Dave Parker
Parker is another guy whose personal baggage inhibits his induction. Without getting into the details, the bottom line is this: if Jim Rice and Orlando Cepeda can get into Cooperstown, then you have to induct Parker because he was better than both of them. If you doubt that compare his career numbers in hits, doubles, RBIs, runs scored, and stolen bases to either Rice or Cepeda. He leads both of them.
12) Jeff Bagwell
While Bagwell may have been overshadowed by a glut of stars at first base during his career, he still put up Hall of Fame numbers, specifically 449 home runs and a .297 career batting average. Not to mention, his power numbers suffered from playing in the Houston Astrodome, a ballpark with dimensions only slightly less than that of a lunar crater.
13) Barry Larkin
Similar to Trammell, Larkin was a quiet, consistent shortstop, although Larkin had a bit more “star” power,” winning the NL Most Valuable Player Award in 1995 and belting 33 home runs the following year. You won’t find Barry Larkin on any of the All Time leaders lists in offensive categories, but a total look at his career will find a player who did everything well with no glaring weakness.
14) Dale Murphy
Murphy compares statistically very favorably to Duke Snider. He hit 398 home runs and won back-to-back League MVP awards. Don’t forget during his career, Murphy drew comparisons to Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio…seriously.
15) Tommy John
John won 288 games in his 26-year career and was the first man that underwent the ligament-replacement surgical procedure which is named after him. When he was injured, people said he would never be able to pitch again. When he recovered, he proved the skeptics wrong for the next 14 years. In fact, many of the best years of his career came after the surgery; he won 20 games three times after his return.
Obviously, he was one of the most durable pitchers of his time, but he was also one of the best. John was a four-time All-Star, yet he only received 31.7 percent of the Hall of Fame vote in 2009, which was his last year of eligibility. So, I’m looking at you, Veterans Committee…
B) Players Who Really Should Be In The Hall Fame – There’s More Reasons Why They Should Be In Than Out
1) Lee Smith
It is time to put it out there…relievers are getting the keys to Cooperstown whether you like it or not. The debate’s over; they’re getting in. Hoyt Wilhelm, the first releiver of note, is in…as well as Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, Dennis Eckersley, and Goose Gossage. but a curious omission is Lee Smith and his 478 saves, which was the big league record when he retired.
2) Jeff Kent
In terms of offensive production, Kent was one of the best second-basemen of all time. Kent is in the top 10 for OPS+ for second baseman with a minimum of 1000 career games; it is important to note names like Roberto Alomar, Ryne Sandberg, Lou Whitaker, Craig Biggio, and Alfonso Soriano are not on that list. He was a 5-time All-Star, 4-time Silver Slugger winner, and he won the 2000 NL MVP. He is the only second basemen to have six consecutive seasons with 100 RBI and eight such seasons all-together. The only second baseman with more 100 RBI seasons is Honus Wagner.
3) Tim Raines
Tim Raines suffered from three problems. He was overshadowed by Rickey Henderson (who is arguably the greatest offensive player ever), the All-Star caliber years of his career were invisible in that baseball wasteland known as Montreal, and his well-documented cocaine problems. Despite all that, he racked up 808 stolen bases, 2,605 hits, 1,517 runs and a .294 career batting average.
4) Harold Baines
Here’s another one of those debates like the role of relief pitchers? Can a player who primarily played as a Designated Hitter be inducted into the Hall of Fame. If he’s one of the best, he’s one of the best. Face it, DH’s are to “Position players” what relievers are to starting pitchers. Relievers are getting their due, and it’s time for the DHs to get theirs. Not to mention, if the DH existed 80 years ago, tons of guys who are baseball icons now would have been DHs, and they wouldn’t have been excluded from Cooperstown.
Having said that, look at Baines career numbers and look where he stacks up against other Hall of Famers:
- .289 Career Batting Average – comparable to Billy Williams, Nellie Fox, and Travis Jackson
- 2,866 Career Hits – comparable to Babe Ruth and Mel Ott
- 384 Career Home Runs – comparable to Orlando Cepeda, Jim Rice, and Johnny Bench
- 1,628 Career RBIs – comparable to Mike Schmidt, Ernie Banks, and Tony Perez
Slice the bologna as thin as you want; this guy’s a Hall of Famer.
5) Lou Whitaker
Perhaps we could put Whitaker’s deserved Hall plaque next to his double play partner Alan Trammell’s deserved plaque. Trouble is that making that happen will fall to the Veteran’s Committee, which needs to live up to it’s mission of finding players overlooked by the BBWAA. Whitaker was one of the best second basemen of his generation, yet couldn’t 3% of the vote his only time on the writer’s ballot.
6) Minnie Minoso
Picture a 1950′s Caribbean version of Barry Larkin who also had a knack for “taking one for the team.” In addition to getting hit by pitched balls 192 times, like Larkin, Minoso did a little bit of everything well, batting above .300 eight full seasons, hitting 198 home runs, stealing 205 bases, and winning three Gold Gloves.
7) Ken Boyer
No position has less inducted players than third base. For some reason, third basemen don’t get the love they deserve, which is the only reason I can see why Ken Boyer is not in Cooperstown. After all, Boyer was seven-time All Star, five-time Gold Glove-winner, and the 1964 NL MVP.
8 ) Luis Tiant
Now that Bert Blyleven is in Cooperstown, it is time to unveil my new under-rated pitcher who hasn’t been given the respect he is due. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Luis Tiant. Tiant’s career numbers are just over the Cooperstown city limit in my book (229 wins, 3.30 ERA), still he was legitimately one of the best pitchers of the 1970s. Not to mention during his 19-year career, Tiant won 20 games four times and at various points, led the league in ERA, shutouts, WHIP, and strikeouts per 9 innings.
9) Dwight Evans
“Dewey” Evans might be the definition of borderline Hall of Famer. He’s a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, three-time All-Star, eight-time Gold Glove winner who posted a .272 career batting average with 2,446 hits (more than Mickey Mantle and Ryne Sandberg), 385 home runs (more than Jim Rice, Orlando Cepeda, and Ralph Kiner), and 1384 RBIs (more than Joe Medwick and Johnny Bench).
10) Jack Morris
Morris was one the dominant pitchers of his era. He post a mark of 254-186 lifetime with a 3.90 ERA. His dominance is best illustrated by his 10-inning, 1-0 shutout victory for the Minnesota Twins in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
11) Joe Torre
One way or another, Torre is getting into Cooperstown, most likely as a manager, but there’s an outside shot for him to go in as a player. Torre was an All Star catcher and first baseman, winning the 1971 NL MVP award 24 home runs, 137 RBIs, and a .363 average. He hit .297 for his career in a pitching-dominated era when .301 won batting titles. But as a skipper Torre notched 12 division titles, 6 AL Pennants, 4 World Series Championships, and 2,326 wins (5th all-time).
12) Ted Simmons
Simmons is another darling of the sabremeticians. I think he simply got overshadowed by the “big name” catchers like Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, and Carlton Fisk, which is unfortunate since his offensive numbers are very comparable to all three.
13) Bill Freehan
Freehan was one of the best catchers in baseball; he won five Gold Gloves and was an All Star 11 of his 15 seasons. So, how does an 11-time All-Star get overlooked? He has the same problem as Ted Simmons, they played in an era with a load of great catchers like Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, and Thurman Munson.
14) Deacon White
Speaking of catchers, throughout the history of baseball, those guys behind the plate have only been the offensive focal point of a team on very, very rare occasions. Now, imagine a guy who consistently drove in 50 RBIs (in a 60-game season) while catching bare-handed.
15) Larry Walker
Enter the following search in your web browser: “players who put up gaudy number’s in a hitter’s era in a hitter’s ballpark.” Three names you’ll get are Chuck Klein, Lefty O’Doul, and Larry Walker.
16) Paul Hines
He may be the greatest-hitting utility man ever. He had over 2,100 hits, a career batting average of .302, and a slugging percentage of .409 while playing every position except shortstop and pitcher. Despite that, you never heard of him even though he’s a triple-crown winner… probably because he won it in 1878.
17) Billy Wagner
Never led the league in saves while racking up 422 in his career. He was one the dominant closers of his time, and he belongs on the list of all-time guys in that role.
18) Gil Hodges
There’s a very large contingent of fans and former players who believe Cooperstown’s greatest omission is that of Gil Hodges. Perhaps the best defensive first baseman in big league history, with 370 home runs to boot, Hodges was a central figure of the Boys of Summer Brooklyn Dodgers.
19) Bill Dahlen
Nobody alive and reading this remembers Dahlen since he played at the turn of the last century. A longtime shortstop in a time where shortstops who could hit were as rare as albino water buffaloes, Dahlen hit .272 lifetime with 2,461 hits. He is a favorite of the sabremeticians and traditionalists.
20) Dave Concepcion
Concepcion played shortstop for 19 seasons, forming a cornerstone of those great Cincinnati “Big Red Machine” teams of the 1970s. Along the way, he picked up five Gold Gloves and made nine All-Star teams.
21) Juan Gonzalez
Two-time AL MVP, three-time All-Star, six-time Silver Slugger Award winner, 434 career home runs, 1,404 RBIs, and a career slugging percentage of .561, which is why he was arguably the most feared slugger of the 1990s.
22) Carlos Delgado
For hitters, I’m a big believer in “magic numbers” for induction – 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, or 1,500 RBIs. Delgado was close to 500 homers, but he’s over 1,500 RBIs. Plus, he’s a two-time All-Star and a three-time Silver Slugger winner in an era stocked with stud first basemen.
23) Javy Lopez
One of the best catchers of his era, and a legitimate offensive threat from the catcher position, but suffers from playing in the shadow of Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez.
24) Bobby Bonds
Speaking of guys in the shadows, let’s talk about Bobby Bonds. At first, shared an outfield with Willie Mays. In his final years, he remained a talented pro but was regulated to journeyman status bouncing around the league. Bobby Bonds was one of the great lead-off men of all time. He combined power and speed in ways that nobody had before and in 1973 he was a home run away from becoming the first ever 40 home run/40 stolen base player in baseball history. Bonds cracked the 30/30 mark five times in his career.
C) Players Who Really Shouldn’t Get Into The Hall Fame – There’s More Reasons Why They Should Be Out Than In
1) Edgar Martinez
The other side of the DH coin – Martinez’ career numbers of 309 home runs and 1,261 RBIs just aren’t good enough for a guy who doesn’t do anything other than hit. If you are a DH who wants my Hall of Fame vote, you have to produce – give me either 500 home runs or 1,500 RBIs.
2) Steve Garvey
Here’s a case where I totally agree with the BBWAA. Garvery’s days on the ballot bucked all the conventional wisdom. It is rare for a guy to get over 40% of the votes on his first ballot and not eventually be inducted. Garvey’s numbers actually went in reverse; he got 41.6% in his first year and 21.1% in his last year.
3) Andy Pettitte
To me, Pettitte was never dominant – rather, he was a guy who always pitched on good teams. He only won 20 games in a season twice, he never threw 200 strikeouts in a season, and his career WHIP is mediocre at best.
4) Darrell Evans
It speaks volumes that Evans hit 414 career home runs and only lasted on the writer’s ballot for a single year. This is likely due to his exceptionally uni-dimensional ability; he could slug and that was it. To understand what a liability Evans was on the field, find a copy of Game 4 of the 1987 ALCS.
5) Thurman Munson
A seven-time All Star, three-time Gold Glove-winning catcher, and AL MVP in 1976. But he died too soon.
6) Albert Belle
If Albert Belle a) weren’t unconscionable prick and b) had two more seasons at his career average performance (.295, 40 HR, 103 RBI) he’d be a lock. But a career cut short by injury and the fact everybody in baseball hated him means he has no shot.
7) Dwight Gooden
Gooden falls statistically into that same bucket as Dizzy Dean. Gooden’s 194 wins are better than Dean’s career total, but they both were dominant for similarly short periods of time. Plus, they both destroyed their careers through substance abuse.
By the way, I don’t think Dean belongs in Cooperstown either.
8 ) Kevin Brown
The best way to describe Brown is if Albert Belle were a pitcher. He had close to a decade worth of dominating seasons, but his 211-144 career record combined with the fact he was universally hated means he has no chance.
9) Orel Hershiser
The best way to describe Hershiser is if Steve Garvey was a pitcher. He’s got the same smarmy, “clean-cut” image that simply hasn’t been debunked yet like Garvey’s was, he’s got the same type of flickers of greatness in his career, but there just weren’t enough of them. Garvey’s not going to Cooperstown, and neither is Hershiser.
10) Keith Hernandez
He has eleven Gold Gloves, he was the 1979 NL MVP, and he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. He was a great fielder with no power at the plate playing a position suited to a slugger who can’t field.
11) Don Mattingly
Mattingly is another guy who just not great long enough. If he had tacked a few more seasons on his career like his early years when he bagged a batting title, an AL MVP award, and was a constant .300 hitter, he wouldn’t be in this section of the list.
12) Vada Pinson
Good for a long time, but never great. Pinson’s career showed the promise of a Hall of Fame career, but it proved to be a lot of unused potential. He racked up many hits (four times he compiled over 200 in a season), he had decent speed, but never the led the league in steals. He could field, but only had one Gold Glove.
13) Garrett Anderson
Essentially a latter-day Vada Pinson.
14) Ron Guidry
Another case of Hershiser Syndrome – flickers of greatness with one unbelievable season – 1978, when Guidry went 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA, nine shutouts, and 248 strikeouts. For entrance to Cooperstown, he needed a few more 1978s.
15) Dan Quisenberry
It what has proven a theme on this list, Quisenberry was great for too short a period of time.
16) Maury Wills
Because he didn’t get to the bigs until he was 26, he simply didn’t have time to rack up hall-worthy number.
17) Roger Maris
One shining season in the sun just isn’t enough. But what a season it was…
18) Graig Nettles
He’s simply too much like another third baseman of his time, Darrell Evans. , Nettles had similar power and a similar lack of average (390 home runs and a .248 career batting average). In all fairness, Nettles won a few Gold Gloves. Maybe if he’d cracked 50 more home runs…
19) Johnny Damon
Since Damon is still active, this conversation revolves around what Damon needs to do for enshrinement. I posed this question to the chairman of the Dubsism Advisory Board, Dick Marple. According to him, Damon must:
- End up high on the all-time runs scored list
- End up high on the all-time stolen base list (but he still needs the hits and runs)
- Offer a public apology for playing for BOTH the Red Sox and Yankees
- Get Mr. Marple membership in the BBWAA while having him serviced by an endless stream of Thai babes who claim to be Johnny Damon’s relatives
Let’s face it…No 3,000 hits, no Cooperstown for Johnny.
20) Dave Kingman
Like Darrell Evans, for the longest time Kingman was the only other player with 400 home runs who was not in the Hall of Fame. Why is that? Because Kingman was the only other guy as uni-dimensional as Evans.
21) Manny Ramirez
Here’s the guy the steroid moralists can use to get the pound of flesh they want. Who better than the guy who clearly defied the anti-PED rule at least three times. Forget about the guys who were allegedly juicing before it was no longer permitted in baseball, forget about the guys who got caught once. Where better than baseball for a demonstration of “three strikes and you’re out?”
There’s a few points that must be considered in terms of discussing this list.
The first is there are two types of people who are clearly screwing up what the Hall of Fame is supposed to be about. The first group are the “steroid moralists,” a group whose complete hypocrisy should of itself be enough to disqualify them from having any say in who belongs in the Hall of Fame. The same people who are wringing their hands about what steroids did the the “integrity of the game” are the same ones who cried about how baseball was “boring” in the 1990s and couldn’t wait to sing the praises of the offensive explosion of the late 90s.
The second group is the Hall of Fame itself; specifically the Veteran’s Committee. This group needs a significant structural change because it needs broader abilities to “fix” the mistakes made by the BBWAA. Even if you reject my position on the steroid issue, look at all the names in Section I who clearly belong in Cooperstown, but won’t get there because the Veteran’s committee has limited abilities.
Then, there is the whole matter of relief pitchers and designated hitters being in the Hall of Fame. Why should there be a class of player excluded simply because the “traditionalists” haven’t come to terms with the fact that we aren’t in 1934 anymore. Set standards for these guys, and appreciate the great ones like you would with any other players.
The bottom line: the Hall of Fame is about greatness on the field, not politics and B.S. from off of it.