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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:

1986 Quaker Chewy Granola Bars Cards #1-9

In 1986 Topps teamed up with Quaker to issue a 33-card set full of superstars, including a nice handful of future Hall of Famers. Over the next few days, we’re going to look at the cards in the set, beginning with the first nine cards today…

1986 Quaker Chewy Granola Bars 1-9

In 1986, these guys were enormously popular, perhaps none more than Dwight Gooden. The man had just won the Cy Young Award in 1985 with 24 wins and a minuscule 1.53 ERA…at the age of 20. Willie McGee was the NL MVP, leading the league with 216 hits and a .353 average, and teammate Vince Coleman had just come of an outstanding rookie campaign setting the record for most stolen bases by a first-year player. He won the Rookie of the Year award unanimously, shutting out the game’s first 20-game winning rookie pitcher since the 1960s.

There are currently only two Hall of Famers among these first nine players: Gary Carter and Tony Gwynn, but reasonable cases can be made for Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, and Steve Garvey. If I had to choose only one of the three for Cooperstown, Murphy would get my vote. While Parker and Garvey dominated the 1970s, Murphy was one of the biggest stars in the 1980s. Say what you will about his short peak, that five-year period between 1982 and 1986 was a fantastic run. Perhaps his chances would have been better if he had retired after the 1991 season, but I will not hold it against him for trying to stick around for a few extra years. When you love something, you want to keep doing it.

Does Dale Murphy belong in the Hall of Fame?

Dale Murphy should be a Hall of Famer

Tyson Murphy is a character artist at Blizzard Entertainment. He is also the son of 1980s superstar Dale Murphy, winner of back-to-back MVP Awards in 1982 and 1983, slugger of 398 home runs, driver-in of 1266 runs, hero of many youngsters that collected baseball cards in the 1980s.

Tyson Murphy recently used his art talents in tribute to his father, who is in his last year of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot for the Hall of Fame. Click here to see the full cartoon.

There are several other interesting articles, letters, petitions, and videos regarding Murphy’s candidacy:

I’ve never been shy in proclaiming my admiration of Murphy and my opinion that he belongs in Cooperstown along with other 80s greats, some already in (Mike Schmidt, Ryne Sandberg, Ozzie Smith), and others not yet (Don Mattingly, Alan Trammell).

He won’t make it this year, I know. But I hope the Veteran’s Committee will take a fresh look at his career, at the impact he had on the game, and the positive off-the-field contributions he made to society at large.

Retired Numbers: #3

Uniform #3 is retired by six teams for four Hall of Fame players and two players who have not (yet) been inducted into Cooperstown.


Dale Murphy, Atlanta Braves

Murphy is one of the most popular players not named Hank Aaron to ever wear the Braves uniform. In the early 1980s it seemed that the mild-mannered Murph was a surefire future Hall of Famer. Back-to-back MVP seasons, two other top-ten finishes in MVP voting, seven-time All-Star, five Gold Gloves, and 398 lifetime home runs. He is similar to Duke Snider and new Hall of Famer Ron Santo, and from age 28-35 he was most similar to Reggie Jackson. The question is, will he garner support from the Veterans Committee to finally get his due when his name is added to their ballots?


Babe Ruth, New York Yankees


Bill Terry, New York Giants


Earl Averill, Cleveland Indians


Harmon Killebrew, Minnesota Twins


Harold Baines, Chicago White Sox

And the non-Cooperstown home of the Braves…

The Braves are the oldest team we have discussed thus far as a part of the NON-HOF project on Baseball Fever. It has also been one of the most difficult to get my head around, because I had to compare much older players which didn’t play the same game to guys of the modern age. You can see the discussion about the Braves by clicking here.

My picks:
C: Deacon White
1B: Joe Adcock
2B: Ross Barnes
SS: Johnny Logan
3B: Bob Elliott
LF: Ron Gant
CF: Wally Berger
RF: Dale Murphy
sub1: Bob Horner
sub2: Tommy Holmes
LHP: Steve Avery
SP: Lew Burdette
SP: Johnny Sain
#4 SP or RP: Jack Stivetts
sub3: Ginger Beaumont

The top picks of the BBF think tank:
C: Joe Torre/Deacon White
1B: Joe Adcock
2B: Ross Barnes
SS: Herman Long
3B: Bob Elliott
LF: Rico Carty
CF: Wally Berger
RF: Dale Murphy
Sub 1 and 2: Darrell Evans, Tommy Holmes
P: Steve Avery (LHP)
P: Tommy Bond
P: Jack Stivetts
P: Charlie Buffinton
P: Johnny Sain

While there were no unanimous selections, Barnes and Long missed by only one. Murphy is the guy that I think is the most glaring omission from Cooperstown, but he won’t get there by the BBWAA. It will be up to the Veterans Committee to right that wrong in a decade or so.

The Hawk flies high

So the Hall of Fame vote was released today, and “The Hawk” was the only player who got the required 75% for election. Blyleven fell five votes short; Alomar was eight votes shy of induction. I still don’t get the aversion to voting for Bert. I guess the Alomar snub had something to do with the spitting incident. Larkin’s 50% is a good start; I predict 2012 to be his year. Raines only got 30%…I don’t get that. And don’t even get me started on Dale Murphy. Seriously, don’t.

For those who did not receive the required 5% to stay on the ballot for next year…I’m not surprised. None of them should receive serious consideration for Cooperstown. It’s a great achievement to play in the Major Leagues, and they should be very proud of that.

Here’s the breakdown of the vote:

Andre Dawson 420 (77.9%)
Bert Blyleven 400 (74.2%)
Roberto Alomar 397 (73.7%)
Jack Morris 282 (52.3%)
Barry Larkin 278 (51.6%)
Lee Smith 255 (47.3%)
Edgar Martinez 195 (36.2%)
Tim Raines 164 (30.4%)
Mark McGwire 128 (23.7%)
Alan Trammell 121 (22.4%)
Fred McGriff 116 (21.5%)
Don Mattingly 87 (16.1%)
Dave Parker 82 (15.2%)
Dale Murphy 63 (11.7%)
Harold Baines 33 (6.1%)
Andres Galarraga 22 (4.1%)
Robin Ventura 7 (1.3%)
Ellis Burks 2 (0.4%)
Eric Karros 2 (0.4%)
Kevin Appier 1 (0.2%)
Pat Hentgen 1 (0.2%)
David Segui 1 (0.2%)
Mike Jackson 0
Ray Lankford 0
Shane Reynolds 0
Todd Zeile 0

The Baseball Hall of Fame

Today is the day a bunch of guys who believe in the old adage “the pen is mightier than the sword” get to decide who should be immortalized forever in Cooperstown. And today is also the day a bunch of us guys who know better than those guys are going to complain about their decisions. We could do better, and through our obsessive habit of collecting baseball cards or memorizing statistics or however else we may manifest our love for the greatest sport ever invented, we will forever immortalize in our own minds the greats that the BBWAA ignores.

So the question is, who is on your fake ballot? Remember you can only pick 10 guys. Here is my list, in the order that I would put them in:

Dale Murphy
Tim Raines
Bert Blyleven
Barry Larkin
Roberto Alomar
Alan Trammell
Don Mattingly
Andre Dawson
Jack Morris
Dave Parker

The reason that the Murph is at the top of my list is because I believe he is the most glaring omission from the Hall of Fame. No, he didn’t reach the “magic numbers,” but for a time he was one of the best players in baseball. Never the best, but one of the best. There was never a doubt in my mind, and there still isn’t, that Dale Murphy belongs in the Hall of Fame.

The same can be said about all the guys on that list except Parker. I would vote for him every time, but I won’t be upset if he never makes it. I will be upset if Murphy doesn’t make it…in fact, I’m upset he’s not in right now. I know that he won’t get the call today, and probably never will from the BBWAA. He will have to wait for the Veteran’s Committee and hope that they do the right thing. But he should be there.

Raines is second on the list, even though I believe he is even more deserving than Murphy. He hasn’t been on the ballot as long as Murphy, and that’s why Murphy’s position is higher, but Raines absolutely should have a plaque in Cooperstown.

Of the first-timers on the ballot, Larkin and Alomar are the only two that I would vote for, and not just because I only have 10 spots on the ballot. Fred McGriff just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe in a few years I’ll change my mind, but he just misses the mark in my opinion. I like the guy and don’t have anything against him, and won’t throw a fit if he is enshrined, but I won’t vote for him (at least not yet). Same goes for Edgar Martinez. It has nothing to do with the DH role that he played…I just never ever ever considered him a Hall of Famer.

When I was a kid I had my baseball cards separated into shoeboxes – stars, rookies, Hall of Famers, future Hall of Famers, and commons. Some of the guys I had in my FHOF shoebox shouldn’t have been there (Tommy John, Steve Garvey), but if they were even a borderline candidate, that’s where they went. McGriff was never in that box, and neither was Edgar. Nor was Galarraga, and it blows my mind that some people are thinking about voting for him. And Kevin Appier? Are you kidding me?

We’ll know the results later today, and while I expect two returnees (Blyleven, Dawson) and one newcomer (Alomar) to garner enough votes, I would really like to see this guy go in on the first ballot also…

Who is on your make-believe ballot?

Who’s going to Cooperstown?

One is a shoo-in. We know this. There is no way the Man of Steal is not headed to the Hall.

The question then becomes, who (if anyone) is going with him? Will Bert Blyleven finally be given his due?

Will Jim Rice’s relationship with writers keep him out on his last chance?

What do you think?

There’s no justice in baseball

The results of the super secret Hall of Fame balloting done by the Baseball Writers Association of America were released today. A player must receive at least 75% of the votes to be inducted into the Hall. Once again, Jim Rice fell short. Needing 408 votes, Rice only received 392. Sixteen people kept him from reaching Cooperstown. Sixteen writers with chips on their shoulders, who didn’t like Rice as a person because he was a difficult interview, who didn’t pay any attention to his accomplishments on the field. There can be no other excuse.

In sixteen seasons, Jim Rice hit 382 home runs. He led the American league in homers three times and finished second another. He started in four All-Star games, showing that fans didn’t care about his poor attitude toward the press. He was awarded the Most Valuable Player award in 1978; five other times he finished in the top five. He was one of the most feared sluggers of his era. Jim Rice’s statistics speak for themselves.

As terrible as his exclusion from the Hall of Fame is, there are others who have not gained the support that Rice has over the years. In his first year of eligibility, Rice did not even receive 30% of the vote. This year, his fourteenth on the ballot, the surly outfielder missed election by less than 3%. But there are others whose vote tallies are so far down the list it is doubtful they will ever receive enough support to enter that Hall of Fame, even though they are deserving. I speak of Dave Concepcion and Dale Murphy. Each received less than 90 votes, hovering around the 15% mark.

Concepcion’s offensive statistics alone are far from impressive, but his defensive savvy and clutch performance made him invaluable to the Big Red Machine of the 1970s–a team that included such huge superstars as Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, and Tony Perez (all Hall of Famers, except for Rose, who should be…but that’s for another blogpost). A nine-time All-Star and five-time starter before Ozzie Smith became the fan favorite, Concepcion won the Gold Glove award five times and finished in the top 15 for Most Valuable Player voting thrice.

Dale Murphy’s exclusion from the Hall of Fame defies all reason. Look at his stats. Murphy played in the era when 400 career home runs (he finished just two shy) was a near-lock for a Hall of Famer, and his other statistics further support his case. He was the back-to-back MVP in 1982 and 1983. Seven times he went to the All-Star game; five times he started. From 1982 through 1987, Murphy was either the leader or second in home runs for the National League except 1986, when he finished fourth. There was no outfielder more dominant in the senior circuit during the 1980s.

A case could be made for several other players–Don Mattingly, Andre Dawson, Jack Morris–but in this blogger’s humble opinion, Rice, Concepcion, and Murphy are the most egregious of the omissions.

Note: While watching the local Cincinnati news tonight, I learned that this was Concepcion’s last chance with the BBWAA. Perhaps the Veteran’s Committee will see fit to right this wrong.

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