As part of my previous piece on the BBWAA, I mentioned some of the most questionable choices the writers have made for the Hall of Fame. In so many ways, the Hall is more about the fringe members (and non-members) than the inner-circle guys, and the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of players (and non-players) who probably ought to be thrown OUT of the Hall.
So, that’s my mission today – to create an “All-Star” team of players, managers and executives who don’t belong in Cooperstown.
A brief disclaimer: None of the players I’m going to mention were, in any sense of the term, bad. They all played at least 10 seasons in the major leagues, and they all had their moments of greatness. They deserve to be recognized and celebrated. I just don’t think they were good enough to be even borderline Hall of Famers.
For the most part, I used the baseball-reference.com version of WAR to compile this list. Exceptions are noted.
On Wednesday, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that three players – Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas – had been elected. Evidently it’s a good year for guys with ‘Thomas’ somewhere in their names. They’ll join managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre in the Class of 2014.
On Wednesday, semi-serious sports site Deadspin.com also announced the name of the writer who’d surrendered his Hall of Fame ballot to Deadspin readers. That writer is Dan Le Batard, ESPN contributor and columnist for the Miami Herald.
On Thursday, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced that Le Batard’s membership would be suspended for one year and that he would not be allowed to vote in future Hall of Fame elections.
I can’t say I’m surprised by this news, but I am exceptionally disappointed.
Well, we’ll see the results of the Hall of Fame voting tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a look at the guys who were at least considered for my virtual ballot. Not all of them are Hall of Famers in my view, but all of them at least have a case, and it’s worth breaking them down in detail.
We start with a couple who are at once overwhelmingly qualified and incredibly questionable. Baseball!
In a way, I’m glad I don’t have a vote for the Hall of Fame.
Most years, I’d love to have a ballot. I’d love to crunch numbers, study careers and determine which 10 players most deserve baseball’s highest honor. Hall of Fame season is one of my favorite parts of the year, arguably more so than the baseball season itself, just because it’s so much fun to have these discussions.
This year, though, it’s simply overwhelming. I’d vote for 15 players if I could, maybe even 20.
When I look at a Hall of Fame ballot, I’ll start by eliminating the clearly inferior candidates, then examine the remainder in detail and determine which ones are truly Hall-worthy. I consider myself a fairly large-Hall guy, so I’m usually at or close to the maximum 10 votes. This year, as mentioned, I’m way over, and I’ve had to separate the players I think are no-doubt Hall of Famers from the guys who can wait.
Instead of dragging you through the whole process before I finally get to the good part, I’d rather lead with a celebration of 10 great careers. The hand-wringing and tough decisions can come later.
Here, in no particular order, are the 10 players I’ve put on my virtual Hall of Fame ballot.
Earlier this month, the Baseball Hall of Fame released its Expansion Era ballot, a collection of six players, four managers and two executives who made their mark in baseball from 1973 to the present. The stars of the show, in case you haven’t heard, are the managers. Their names are as follows:
- Tony La Russa
- Bobby Cox
- Joe Torre
- Billy Martin
The first three on that list are absolute no-brainers. La Russa is third on the all-time wins list and has multiple World Series rings. Cox only has the one championship, but he skippered the Braves to 15 straight division titles and won over 2,500 games. Joe Torre has the fewest wins under his belt of the three, but his Yankees won four world titles. Even if you don’t think he should be in for his managing alone, he’s arguably Hall-worthy as a player, and combining the two careers makes him a slam-dunk choice.
The fourth manager is Martin, a fascinating candidate in his own right, though not one I’m terribly qualified to discuss. The executives are longtime Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and MLBPA executive director Marvin Miller, both of whom also have strong support.