Monday, January 03, 2005

Baseball Hall of Fame 2005

Just in time for the announcement of the election results today (Jan. 4), here are the eligible candidates in each category this year. The way I see it, there are several categories of players: those who would make it into an exclusive Hall of Fame (like baseball's), those would make it into an inclusive Hall of Fame (like football's), innovators (like Roger Bresnahan, inventor of shin guards), sentimental favorites, and those who are nothing but a tribute to longevity (as everyone who plays 10+ years makes the ballot).

Regular Ballot

Jim Abbott, P: A record of 87-108 and an ERA of 4.25 doesn't look impressive, until you remember that Abbott was born without a full right arm. Yet, he still managed to throw a no-hitter in 1993. Abbott has little chance of making the hall, but the fact he could play baseball at a high level for 10+ is indeed something to be commended.

Bert Blyleven, P: When you pitch for 23 years, you're going to put up some big numbers. Blyleven ranks 5th all-time in strikeouts. His 287 wins in a time when 300 seems nearly unattainable is certainly something of note. I wouldn't be all that surprised if he was on more than a few ballots, especially in his 8th year of eligibility. On a generous day, I may put him on my ballot.

Wade Boggs, 3B: Boggs came into the league at a time when hitting .287 was a good year. So, what did he do? Hit .328 for his career. When I discovered that I was more of a singles hitter than a power guy, there were two people I looked to: Tony Gwynn and Boggs. He's in. Tangent: Boggs lived in the Cleveland area for a while, and he and a teammate once out a friend's mom and her friend on a date - even when he knew the mom and the friend were married. Apparently, this wasn't out of the ordinary for Boggs (wife swap, anyone?). See below.

Tom Candiotti, P: I used to love Candiotti when he was on the Indians. In fact, I can still remember trying to throw knuckleball after knuckleball in my back yard. That being said, though, Candiotti wasn't even the most dominating pitcher on this staff (and this on the Indians of the late '80s), so he's not quite HOF material.

Dave Concepcion, SS: Played 19 years, won championships, had five gold gloves. Looking at his average offensive numbers, though (even for a shortstop), he'd only be a good HOF candidate had he won 15 gold gloves. In other words, I don't remember seeing him play, but he doesn't appear to be in Ozzie Smith territory defensively, so he's a no-go.

Chili Davis, OF: Davis had 350 HR, 1372 RBI, and 1240 runs scored in his career. In an inclusive HOF, I'd give him an outside shot. In reality, he maybe has a chance on the Veterans Committee.

Andre Dawson, OF: 438 HR, 28th all time in RBI with 1591. A shoe-in in an inclusive HOF. His 8 Gold Gloves and 4 top-10 MVP finishes should easily put him in with the Veterans Committee.

Steve Garvey, 1B: Boggs, Garvey, and Pete Rose are in a bar. Boggs points out a girl and says, "I'm going to get that girl to sleep with me." Garvey says, "she's already carrying my baby." Rose replies, "wanna bet?" Garvey has OK numbers; his 1308 RBI and .294 average make him an outside shot on the Veterans Committee. He's the all-time leader for fielding percentage by a first baseman (.9959), but as active leader David Segui will tell you, that really just means his range wasn't that great.

Goose Gossage, P: Supposedly a good shot to make it in this, his 6th year of eligibility. Gossage has 310 career saves, 124 careers starts, and finished in the top 6 in Cy Young voting 5 times.

Tommy John, P: Yeah, "the surgery guy." He also managed to post 288 wins in a 27-year career. He hasn't made it yet, so I'm guessing the Veterans Committe will come calling one day.

Mark Langston, P: Once again, a tribute to longevity. Langston was usually the #2 starter on a staff led by Chuck Finley. Finley may have been underrated playing on the west coast, but not underrated enough to have his #2 starter make the hall.

Don Mattingly, 1B: Maybe a little better than Dave would like to admit. Mattingly had a career average of .307 and won 9 gold gloves. Of course, if he didn't play for the Yankees, he probably would have just been the Doug Mientkiewicz of the '80s.

Jack McDowell, P: He had some solid years, but only finished with 127 career victories. I'd say he has a slightly better chance of making the baseball hall than Stick Figure (McDowell's band) has of making the Rock Hall.

Willie McGee, OF: Has it been 5 years already? McGee was always a fan favorite, and he is a tribute to longevity, but on paper (where it counts), he comes up a little short.

Jeff Montgomery, P: Wow, I very very vaguely remember this guy. He did have 304 saves with the Kansas City Royals over 13 seasons. I suppose you could argue that you have to consider this guy if you're conisdering Bruce Sutter.

Jack Morris, P: A definite favorite of those who have seen him play, he was statistically the best pitcher of the 1980s. Morris may be a catch-22. The older writers and voters prefer heart while the younger guys prefer numbers. However, it's the younger generation that is familiar with Morris, while he may need a few heart-based votes to get in.

Dale Murphy, 1B: Underrated? Perhaps a bit. Then again, to get into the baseball hall, you need to be a big name. Murphy's 398 HR and 1266 RBI gives him an OK chance (but not a great one) on the Veterans Committee someday.

Otis Nixon, OF: If I went the Ellen route and voted for people I LOOVED, Otis Nixon would defintely make my ballot. He stole 620 bases in 17 years, but his 878 runs scored are very low for a leadoff guy without much pop (and apparently without any Gold Gloves, either).

Dave Parker, OF: Decent numbers in average (.290) and RBI (1493), had 3 Gold Gloves, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 6 times. But, I don't remember him ever being a household name (of course, he did retire in '91). Parker may be hearing "thanks for playing, but no thanks" from the hall for the 10th straight year.

Tony Phillips, UT: Again, a tribute to longevity (especially considering his crack addiction). His 1300 runs are the only stat of note, and even that doesn't put him in the top 100.

Jim Rice, OF: A fan favorite in the Boston area, Rice had a career average of .298 and 1451 RBI. If I was on the Veterans Committee, I may vote for him one day just for the "feel good story"-ness of it.

Ryne Sandberg, 2B: Dave says he was the most dominant 2B of his time. I looked at his numbers and wasn't sure. But, then I read the fine print. Sandberg hit .285 in an "era" when that was great for anyone. Plus, this was still a time when second basemen were still expected to be "good glove, no hit" guys. Sandberg has the highest career fielding percentage for a second baseman, and won 9 straight Gold Gloves to prove his field prowress. The defensive pluses go on and on, too. Ryno also held the record for HR by a second baseman (277) until Jeff Kent passed him. Looking at the facts, I'd have to vote him in.

Lee Smith, P: Again, if you want to take Sutter and Gossage, you have to take Lee Smith. Smith is the all-time leader in saves with 478, and almost averaged 1 strikeout per inning pitched (1251/1290). There's a great chance you would find Smith on my ballot.

Terry Steinbach, C: A great player, and you have to tip your cap to anyone who can wear the tools of ignorance for 14 years. But not everyone is hall of fame material in this league, Terry.

Darryl Strawberry, OF: If you stretch his 1983 potential over 17 seasons, you have an easy hall of famer. But, life isn't that simple, and Darryl Strawberry again comes up a little short.

Bruce Sutter, P: Well, this is his 12th chance. He had 300 saves in 661 games played. A good sentimental pick, but he may not even be the 3rd best reliever on this ballot.

Alan Trammell: Tough call. His offensive numbers aren't too far off of Sandberg's, but Trammell played at a time when Ozzie Smith was ruling the shortstop position. Trammell's a good guy, but he's probably not hall material this year.

Veterans Committee

Dick (Richie) Allen, 1B: Decent career numbers, nothing oustanding. But his Baseball Reference player page HOF indicators (Black Ink, Gray Ink, HOF Standards, HOF Monitor) tab him a hall of famer.

Bobby Bonds, OF: Again, decent numbers, but the HOF indicators aren't there. Bobby is mostly known for the career strikeout record and for being Barry's dad.

Ken Boyer, 3B: HOF standards give a resounding no to yet another guy with OK but not great numbers.

Rocky Colavito, OF: His 374 HR stand out, and his defense appears to have been decent. As a Cleveland guy, I'd consider voting for him, but I don't know if he's quite HOF material.

Wes Ferrell, P: 193-128 and a 4.04 record looks OK for a current pitcher, but it's not that impressive for a guy who played from 1927-41. Ferrell is considered the best hitting pitcher not named Ruth. He hit .280 on his career, and his 37 HR are the most ever by a pitcher.

Curt Flood, OF: Flood's numbers aren't that spectacular, but he can be considered an innovator. Flood's rejection of a trade and associated events led to the creation of free agency.

Joe Gordon, 2B: Great range, decent pop (32 HR by a 2B was a record until 2001). But his career numbers aren't that spectacular. I'd have to see what Veterans Committe voter and respected Cleveland writer Hal Lebovitz's opinion is on this guy.

Gil Hodges, 1B: 370 career HR, 3 Gold Gloves, 8 All-Star selections. Plus, he was the manager of the '69 Mets. As a sentimental type, I'd probably include him on my ballot if I had an extra spot.

Elston Howard, C: First African American to win AL MVP, he also invented the batting "donut." If that doesn't impress you, the numbers won't either.

Jim Kaat, P: 283 wins in a time (1959-83)when the great ones won 300.

Mickey Lolich, P: 2832 strikeouts remains an AL record for lefties. the HOF Standards are indecisive on Lolich.

Sparky Lyle, P: 238 saves over 16 seasons. OK, but not HOF material.

Marty Marion, SS: A great defensive player, but not much with the bat, Marion played 13 season before bowing out with back injuries. (Well, if he had back injuries, maybe he didn't "bow" out.)

Roger Maris, OF: Considered underrated by those who watched him play, Maris had 61 of his 275 career HR in 1961.

Carl Mays, P: 207 wins in a time (1915-29) when that wasn't much at all. If you love submariners, though, this was your guy.

Minnie Minoso, OF: Mr. Longevity, or was he Mr. Gimmick? Minoso holds a record for playing in 5 differed decades. He mainly played from 1949-64, but had token comebacks during the 1976 and 1980 seasons (he also played a few games for independent minor league teams in the '90s and early '00s). In an inclusive HOF, Minoso gets in on that record alone.

Thurmon Munson, C: His career and life were cut short by a plane crash. But, he still played 11 seasons and posted 1558 hits and 701 RBI at catcher.

Don Newcombe, P: A 10 year career that sandwiched a stint in Korea (I'd assume; he didn't play in '52 or '53), Newcombe is the only player to win the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP. Newcombe finished his career with 149 wins and 1129 K.

Tony Oliva, OF: Playing 15 years for the Twins, Oliva hit .304 for his career, but only had 1917 career hits. The HOF Standards are actually decent for Oliva.

Vada Pinson, OF: Pinson put up great offensive numbers in an era mostly known for pitching (1958-75). Most notable are his 2757 hits and 1366 runs.

Ron Santo, 3B: A sentimental favorite for Cubs fans. Santo holds many records for third basemen and has 2254 hits, 342 HR, and 1331 RBI. HOF Standards are questionable, but what do those unathletic nerds know?

Luis Tiant, P: 229 wins, 2416 strikeouts, and decent HOF Standards.

Joe Torre, C: Ooh, look at me, I'm a genius because I can win with a payroll that's twice as much as everyone else. Oh wait, no I can't.

Maury Wills, SS: 586 stolen bases are nothing to sneeze at. I'd definitely vote for him.

Smoky Joe Wood, P/OF: Walter Johnson said Wood threw harder than anybody, and Johnson definitely knew what he was talking about. After winning 116 games, an arm injury moved him to the outfield, where he hit .283. I would think that those who know (if there are any old enough to remember) would want to see Wood in the hall.

Ford C. Frick Broadcaster's Award

Tom Cheek: Expos, Blue Jays

Jerry Coleman: Padres, Yankees, Angels

Ken Coleman: ndians, Reds, Red Sox

Dizzy Dean: Cardinals

Gene Elston: ubs, Astros, national coverage

Tony Kubek: Blue Jays, Yankees

France Laux: St. Louis Browns, Cardinals, national coverage

Graham McNamee: national coverage

Dave Niehaus: Mariners

Ron Santo: Cubs

Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • Again, see Baseball Reference for more information on these players.

  • With one update to go, Notre Dame leads the Fall Sears Directors' Cup Standings with 337 points. Hoo hoo.

  • Looking for more information on Charlie Weis's new assistants? Blue-Gray Sky has a great article on them.