Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates
Wagner may be best known today for his famous baseball card, but he was one of the game’s elite players. On the very first Hall of Fame ballot, he tied Babe Ruth for the second-most votes (trailing only Ty Cobb), and is still considered the greatest shortstop to ever play the game. His playing career was in the days before uniform numbers, but #33 is retired in his honor as that is what he wore as a Pirates coach.
Eddie Murray, Baltimore Orioles
Mike Scott, Houston Astros
Jim Umbricht, Houston Colt .45s
Umbricht pitched two very solid seasons as a reliever for Houston, posting ERAs of 2.01 and 2.61, before succumbing to malignant melanoma just prior to the 1964 season. The Astros’ team MVP award is named in his honor.
Elston Howard, New York Yankees
Sandy Koufax, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
Steve Carlton, Philadelphia Phillies
This is an interesting one. Three guys are honored…one of them (Maddux) twice. Three teams are represented…one of them (the Cubs) twice (for Maddux and Jenkins). Interesting to me, at least.
Greg Maddux, Chicago Cubs
Greg Maddux, Atlanta Braves
If the Cy Young Award is ever renamed for another pitcher, Maddux has to be in the discussion. The 4-time winner of the trophy finished in the top 5 four other times and is 8th on the career wins list with 355 victories. Maddux will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2014, along with former teammate Tom Glavine.
Dave Winfield, San Diego Padres
Fergie Jenkins, Chicago Cubs
Three Hall of Famers, and one guy who might be the best non-steroid player outside the Hall (that won’t get voted in this election)…
Tim Raines, Montreal Expos
Raines was the National League’s answer to Rickey Henderson in the 1980s, the best leadoff hitter the senior circuit had to offer and a speedster on the basepaths. Still waiting for his call from Cooperstown, Raines received 37.5% of the vote last year as his support grows. It will be interesting to see how that vote changes in the years to come as some clear-cut Hall of Famers come onto the ballot (Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey), as well as some of the more controversial names (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens).
Rod Carew, California Angels
Rod Carew, Minnesota Twins
Nolan Ryan, California Angels
Orlando Cepeda, San Francisco Giants
Talk about a killer rotation…how would you like these Hall of Fame pitchers on your staff, being caught by this Hall of Fame catcher?
Juan Marichal, San Francisco Giants
Marichal had an impressive streak of eight consecutive All-Star seasons from 1962-1969, winning 20+ games in all but two of those years. When he retired in 1975, he had compiled 243 wins with a 2.89 ERA and 2303 strikeouts. Marichal had to wait until his third year on the ballot for the Hall of Fame, going from 58.1% to 73.5% to 83.7% in 1983. His son-in-law, Jose Rijo, never had the personal success that Marichal enjoyed, but he did do something Juan couldn’t do during his career: win a World Series.
Carlton Fisk, Boston Red Sox
Catfish Hunter, Oakland A’s
Bert Blyleven, Minnesota Twins
Gene Autry, Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels
Long before Nolan Ryan posed for baseball cards wearing a cowboy hat, baseball had another cowboy, a “Singing Cowboy”: the owner of the Angels, Gene Autry. Better known for his singing career, Autry was the Angels owner from 1961 to 1997. He wrote “Here Comes Santa Claus” and is also known for his renditions of “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” He belongs to both the Country Music and Nashville Songwriters Halls of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Angels retired #26 in his honor, signifying his role as the 26th man for the team.
Jose Cruz, Houston Cruz
Billy Williams, Chicago Cubs
Johnny Oates, Texas Rangers
Two Hall of Fame managers, three Hall of Fame players, and one of Houston’s first star players make up the retired #24’s in the majors.
Whitey Herzog, St. Louis Cardinals
Herzog, whose full name is Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog, led the Cards to the World Series title in 1982 and NL Pennants in 1985 and 1987. He finished with a .530 winning percentage for the Cardinals from 1980 to 1990. He was named NL Manager of the Year in 1985, edging out Pete Rose by one point, and finished 3rd for the award in 1987 behind Montreal’s Buck Rodgers and the Giants’ Roger Craig.
Jimmy Wynn, Houston Colt .45’s/Astros
Rickey Henderson, Oakland A’s
Tony Perez, Cincinnati Reds
Walter Alston, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
Willie Mays, New York/San Francisco Giants
Only one Hall of Famer in this group, though there is quite a lot of support among fans for Donnie Baseball.
Willie Horton, Detroit Tigers
A member of the 1968 World Champion Tigers, Horton spent the first fifteen seasons of his career in Detroit. He went to the All-Star Game four times and finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting twice. His 325 home runs were not enough to keep him on the Hall of Fame ballot for very long though; he was one-and-done in 1986 with only four votes. His Wikipedia entry says, “Sources show that he gives great hugs according to his young nephew.” He also has the misfortune of sharing a name with a convicted murderer.
Don Mattingly, New York Yankees
Ryne Sandberg, Chicago Cubs
Four Hall of Famers, three of them first-ballot*.
Bob Lemon, Cleveland Indians
Lemon was overshadowed throughout his short career by teammate Bob Feller, but his brilliance was clear to all who saw him pitch. He won 20+ games seven times in thirteen seasons, leading the league in complete games five times. He was not inducted into the Hall of Fame until his twelfth time on the ballot in 1976. His uniform was retired in 1998 by the Indians.
Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates
Warren Spahn, Boston/Milwaukee Braves
Jim Palmer, Baltimore Orioles
* Spahn received a vote for the Hall of Fame while he was still active, prior to the establishment of rules governing one’s eligibility for the Hall of Fame. In his first year of eligibility following retirement, he was elected with 83.2% of the vote.
Eight players have been honored with their #20 retired by nine teams; Robinson gets double the glory from both the Reds and the Orioles.
Monte Irvin, New York Giants
Irvin was a 1973 inductee into the Hall of Fame via the Negro League Committee. He played with Larry Doby on the champion Newark Eagles team of 1946, and continued playing in the Negro Leagues through 1948. In 1949, he got his shot with the New York Giants, debuting July 8 as a pinch hitter against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Irvin batted .293 in his 8-year major league career.
Don Sutton, Los Angeles Dodgers
Frank Robinson, Baltimore Orioles
Frank Robinson, Cincinnati Reds
Frank White, Kansas City Royals
Lou Brock, St. Louis Cardinals
Luis Gonzalez, Arizona Diamondbacks
Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies
Pie Traynor, Pittsburgh Pirates