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Fun Cards: 1988 American League All-Star Shortstops

Ripken

Ripken

Alan Trammell was elected by fans to start the 1988 All-Star Game at shortstop, but did not play due to injury. Cal Ripken Jr. was a fine second choice.

Stillwell

Stillwell

Kurt Stillwell returned to Riverfront Stadium for the first time since the Reds traded him to the Royals for Danny Jackson over the off-season. By all appearances, he enjoyed seeing Barry Larkin again. Stillwell was added to the All-Star roster as an injury replacement for Chicago’s Ozzie Guillen.

Trammell

Trammell

Here are the results of the USA Today players poll:

Guillen

Guillen

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Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Alan Trammell

Trammell

Alan Trammell was the slick-fielding shortstop for the World Champion Detroit Tigers in 1984, and almost won the AL MVP in 1987. Overshadowed throughout much of his career by Baltimore’s Cal Ripken, Trammell still managed to win four Gold Glove Awards and was selected to six All-Star Games. He is one of two Veterans Committee selections for the Hall of Fame class of 2018.

Congratulations, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris!

The Veterans Committee voted today on the Hall of Fame “Modern Era” ballot. Several worthy candidates were included on the ballot, and ultimately two players were selected to join the elite in Cooperstown next summer.

Trammell

Alan Trammell manned the shortstop position for the World Champion 1984 Tigers, and was named MVP of the Series that year. Overshadowed throughout his career by Cal Ripken, Trammell was named to six All-Star teams and won four Gold Glove Awards. In 1987, Trammell racked up more offensive WAR than anyone else in the American League, and narrowly lost the MVP race to Toronto’s George Bell. In fifteen years on the BBWAA ballot, Trammell’s best showing came in 2016 with 40.9%. Fortunately, the Veterans Committee recognized his worth and decided he belonged among the legends.

Morris

Another star of the 1984 Tigers, Jack Morris had a reputation as a big game pitcher for Detroit and Minnesota. While his career totals are somewhat lacking, his postseason prowess put him over the top. He collected 254 regular season wins and struck out 2478 batters in eighteen seasons.

Trammell and Morris will join those who receive 75% support from the BBWAA ballot, to be announced next month.

No Hall of Famers on World Series winners

I thought it would be interesting to go back through the years and see how many teams have won the World Series without a Hall of Fame player (managers are not under consideration). The most recent team to win with a HOFer was the 1996 Yankees with Wade Boggs, but that will change very soon with Pedro Martinez (2004 Red Sox) likely going in next year. Prior to the 1997 Marlins, you have to go back to 1988 to find a Famerless team (though Don Sutton did play part of the year in LA). Two other teams in the 80s accomplished the feat (1984 Tigers and 1981 Dodgers); as far as I can determine no older team won without at least one Hall of Famer on the roster.

Below are the Famerless World Series winners. Player names in italics are potential future Famers in my opinion. While the Giants and Red Sox and even the ’08 Phillies have a few that could one day be considered Cooperstown worthy, it is doubtful anyone from the 2002 Angels squad will be enshrined.

Of course, the Dodgers had Tom Lasorda and the Tigers had Sparky Anderson leading them to the promised land, so even without any future Famers in the field, the teams had brilliant minds in the dugout.

Fifteen (or more) years on the ballot, but not a Hall of Famer

Some of the hoopla surrounding the Hall of Fame vote has died down now, with three players and three managers all set to be inducted this summer. No doubt these individuals recognize what an honor is being bestowed upon them.

The rules for Hall of Fame balloting has evolved over the years. Currently, a player can stay on the ballot for fifteen years without election as long as he maintains greater than 5% of the vote. This has not always been the case. One player lasted longer on the ballot than fifteen years, while several survived for several years without gaining 5% of the vote.

That said, not many players have lasted fifteen years. One has to be pretty good, but not good enough, to stick around for so long. Jack Morris joined this illustrious group this year, while Don Mattingly, Alan Trammell, and Lee Smith are likely to be added over the next three years (assuming Trammell and Smith continue to receive greater than 5% support).

Murphy All-Star

Below is a list of the players at each position that survived for fifteen years on the BBWAA ballot; their years on the ballot and highest support are indicated in parenthesis. There are a few guys on this list that I believe should be in Cooperstown; Dale Murphy is at the very top of my list, with players like Dave Concepcion, Ken Boyer, and Dave Parker trailing him. It boggles my mind that Murph has been excluded and I hope the Veterans Committee rectifies his omission when his name comes before them. All of these players had fine careers, and this would make a pretty powerful team, even if none of them are in the Hall of Fame.

Catcher:Howard catcher Yankees

  • Joe Torre* (1983-1997; 22.2% in 1997) [Torre will be inducted as a manager in 2014, but stayed on the ballot for fifteen years as a player]
  • Thurman Munson (1981-1995; 15.5% in 1981)
  • Elston Howard (1974-1988; 20.7% in 1981)
  • Hank Gowdy (1937-1939, 1942, 1945, 1947-1956, 1958, 1960; 35.9% in 1955)

First Base:

Second Base:

    • Bobby Thomson** (1966-1979; 2.8% in 1975) [No 2B lasted fifteen years on the ballot without election; Thomson was on the ballot for fourteen years]

 

Shortstop:Boyer 1964 MVP

  • Dave Concepcion (1994-2008; 16.9% in 1998)
  • Maury Wills (1978-1992; 40.6% in 1981)
  • Al Dark (1966-1980; 18.5% in 1979)

Third Base:

  • Ken Boyer (1975-1979, 1985-1994; 25.5% in 1988)

Outfielders:

  • Dale Murphy (1999-2013; 23.2% in 2000)
  • Dave Parker (1997-2011; 24.5% in 1998)
  • Minnie Minoso (1969, 1986-1999; 21.1% in 1988)
  • Tony Oliva (1982-1996; 47.3% in 1988)
  • Curt Flood (1977-1979, 1985-1996; 15.1% in 1996)
  • LarsenVada Pinson (1981-1983, 1985-1996; 15.7% in 1988)
  • Harvey Kuenn (1977-1991; 39.3% in 1988)
  • Roger Maris (1974-1988; 43.1% in 1988)

Pitchers:

1983 Donruss and the search for a Hall of Fame rookie card

pack 1

pack 2

I picked up two rack packs of 1983 Donruss last night at the Redsfest for $1 each. I thought surely they were just in the wrong place on the table, but no…$1 each. And with a Reggie Jackson Diamond King showing on top, how could I resist?

Of course, the only real reason to buy packs from 1983 is to find a rookie card of Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, or Ryne Sandberg. So did I do it? Find out after the jump…

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The brilliance of Bill James

To the average baseball fan, the name Bill James doesn’t mean much. But to those who are avid fans, who love statistics and Hall of Fame elections and the history of the greatest game on earth, Bill James is an icon. He is to baseball what Steve Sansweet is to Star Wars.

James has come up with some very interesting statistical analyses for baseballers, including the Hall of Fame monitor and similarity scores (click on each for an explanation from baseball-reference.com). The HOF monitor is designed to show how likely a player is to make it to Cooperstown based on statistics, while similarity scores show how a player compares to other major leaguers. I’m having some trouble wrapping my noggin around some of these, for example…

Barry Larkin, one of the best in the Reds’ franchise over the past 30 years, has a Hall of Fame monitor of 118.5 (a likely HOFer has a score of greater than 100). Looking at his similarity scores, he is most similar to Alan Trammell, another phenomenal shortstop in the pre-power era for the position whose HOF monitor is also 118.5. Number two on the list is Ryne Sandberg (157.5 HOFm), who was elected to the Hall last year. Then you have Derek Jeter (221.5 HOFm), one of the most exciting players in the game today. Drop down just a little bit to the seventh most similar player, and you have B.J. Surhoff (28.5 HOFm). This is where I have trouble understanding. If Surhoff is so similar, why isn’t his HOFm higher?

Maybe someone with a more mathematical mind can explain it to me. Looking at Surhoff’s stats, he was decent. Ten fewer home runs than Larkin, nearly 200 more RBIs. Batting average wasn’t bad at .282, compared to Larkin’s .295. Yet no one ever mentions the HOF when discussing Surhoff. Who am I kidding, no one even discusses Surhoff. But Larkin is thought to be a second- or third-ballot inductee. Is it all geography? Do I hear more about Larkin because I’m in the Cincinnati area? Do Brewer and Oriole fans discuss Surhoff’s HOF prospects?

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