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HOF thoughts - Golden Days Era


mikelink45
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ESPN reported "Gil Hodges, Roger Maris, Minnie Miñoso, Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce and Maury Wills also are on the Golden Days Era with former Pittsburgh manager Danny Murtaugh.  This is fascinating because I really like all these players and would have no issue with any of them being elected.  Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva have special connection to the Twins, but each of them has a fascinating resume.

Dick Allen was imposing, a legend, but also in conflict with ownership and very outspoken.  Both were dangerous in the more racist era he played in.  He played 15 years for five teams which is a reflection of his ability and the short leash of tolerance.  His 351 HRs looked great when he retired until we put the record book on steroids.  His stat line of 292/378/534/912 would make him a HOF player in today's MLB.

Roger Maris was good, but not great for a long period of time.  Born in Hibbing, buried in Fargo - a local boy for us.  He played only 12 years and was nearly destroyed by nerves and attention he got for breaking the Ruth record (non steroid).  His line of 260/345/476/822 was good, but not great when compared to Aaron, Mays, Clemente, Mantle and other contemporaries, but his was good enough to win two MVPs.  However, it is the Ruth record that stands out and is enough to put him in the HOF where stories are the most important part of the player resume even though he had only a 38.7 WAR.

Minnie Minoso had WAR of 53.8 and was a pioneer Cuban leading the way for Tony Oliva and others.  He started in the Negro leagues after leaving Cuba,  He was the first black Cuban and first black player on the White Sox eventually being elevated to "Mr White Sox".  He was signed in 1948 the year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. His line was 299/387/461/848. 

Ken Boyer was the second third baseman in my childhood rankings of the era.  Behind Eddie Mathews, of course.  But he was no slouch.  He was a good fielder and a very steady bat for the Cardinals.   His WAR is 62.8 - that is hall worthy.  His line for 15 years was 287/349/462/810  and we think Donaldson is a good third baseman - I would trade.  He had one MVP award, 5 all star games, NL player of the year award and Lou Gehrig award.  

Billy Pierce was an excellent pitcher for the White Sox during their go-go days of Aparicio and Fox.  He began as a pitcher in 1945, my birth year and then missed three years.  His 211 wins in 18 seasons was excellent and exceeds Drysdale, Marquade, and Newhouser all in the Hall.  His career ERA was 3.27.  In 1956 and 1957 he was the TSN pitcher of the year.  

Maury Wills was the heart of the pitching rich, hitting poor Dodgers and did it with his legs. His career line was 281/330/331/661 but what counted was his SB ability.  He stole 586 in his career but it was his 104 steal year in 1962 that made his fame.  He played 14 seasons and had over 2000 hits.  In 1062 he was MVP and player of the year.   

I will not discuss Danny Murtaugh since I do not think we have any really good system to rank them.  It is the players who make the manager and the same managers that win titles - Casey Stengel - can also manage the worst teams.  I would like to see a separate managers HOF.

But that leaves Oliva and Kaat and they have been discussed so much I will only give a short note on each.

Kaat had 50.5 WAR over 25 years - 25 years for a pitcher!  He also won 283 games, which puts him number 31 all time and ahead of Mike Mussina, Jim Palmer, Red Ruffing and ahead of 33 HOFers.  He had a career ERA of 3.45.  He won 190 games for the Twins.  He was also a perennial gold glover on the mound winning 16 gloves.  On BR they list similar players - 7 of the ten are in the HOF and Tommy John should be. 

  1. Tommy John (923.3)
  2. Robin Roberts (917.6) *
  3. Fergie Jenkins (892.1) *
  4. Eppa Rixey (875.9) *
  5. Jamie Moyer (859.8)
  6. Bert Blyleven (855.2) *
  7. Early Wynn (850.0) *
  8. Burleigh Grimes (846.4) *
  9. Frank Tanana (846.2)
  10. Red Ruffing (840.1) *

Oliva is our Mauer of an earlier time - a batting champion three times, but cut short by injury.  His knees could not support him as he aged and like Joe and the Concussion, he had to accept reduced roles in the field.  Still he was Rookie of the Year in 1964 and a perennial all-star.  His career line was 304/353/476/830. 

In my school era - grade school through Freshman year in College these were stars and household names. 

I want to add to this thoughts on the separate Negro League Ballot - the fact that Buck O'Neil was not elected during his lifetime is a travesty.  I suspect he will get in now.   John Donaldson definitely deserves to be elected he as Shohei before there was a Shohei.  His statistics are not enough because he actually predated the negro leagues and even with five years in MLB at the end of his career we have a difficult job assessing him.  Over 30 seasons of all kinds of leagues Wiki records - "Researchers so far have discovered 667 games in which Donaldson is known to have pitched.[32] Out of those games, Donaldson had over 400 wins[33] and 5,081 strikeouts[34] as a baseball pitcher."  "Newspaper coverage of Donaldson games reveal 413 wins and 161 losses and a winning percentage of .737. He also notched 5,081 strikeouts, an ERA of 1.37, and 86 shutouts against all levels of competition. "  "Donaldson could also hit well, batting .334 in over 1,800 at bats."  

I cannot comment on the other players.  I have read a Donaldson biography as well as Buck's so I have some connection to them.  I look forward to learning about the other nominees. 

 

 

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I just looked at Dick Allen's page on baseball-reference.com. A couple of tidbits:

1. He was born in the town of Wampum, Pa. Fitting -- not only was he money at the plate, but that's a good onomatopoeia for what he did to baseballs.

2. How good of a hitter was he? Well, he's 22nd on the career OPS+ list at 156. At 155 are Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Mel Ott and Joe Dimaggio. 

Much as I want Oliva and Kaat, this guy belongs. 

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22 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

John Donaldson definitely deserves to be elected he as Shohei before there was a Shohei.  His statistics are not enough because he actually predated the negro leagues and even with five years in MLB at the end of his career we have a difficult job assessing him.

Donaldson was a very good player but most of those statistics are against semi-pro teams in barnstorming games. In games against top-level competition he was a good but not usually the best pitcher in the segregated leagues.

If you're looking for a Negro League Shohei Ohtani you should look into Bullet Rogan.

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On 11/6/2021 at 10:08 AM, mikelink45 said:

ESPN reported "Gil Hodges, Roger Maris, Minnie Miñoso, Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce and Maury Wills also are on the Golden Days Era with former Pittsburgh manager Danny Murtaugh.  This is fascinating because I really like all these players and would have no issue with any of them being elected.  Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva have special connection to the Twins, but each of them has a fascinating resume.

Dick Allen was imposing, a legend, but also in conflict with ownership and very outspoken.  Both were dangerous in the more racist era he played in.  He played 15 years for five teams which is a reflection of his ability and the short leash of tolerance.  His 351 HRs looked great when he retired until we put the record book on steroids.  His stat line of 292/378/534/912 would make him a HOF player in today's MLB.

Roger Maris was good, but not great for a long period of time.  Born in Hibbing, buried in Fargo - a local boy for us.  He played only 12 years and was nearly destroyed by nerves and attention he got for breaking the Ruth record (non steroid).  His line of 260/345/476/822 was good, but not great when compared to Aaron, Mays, Clemente, Mantle and other contemporaries, but his was good enough to win two MVPs.  However, it is the Ruth record that stands out and is enough to put him in the HOF where stories are the most important part of the player resume even though he had only a 38.7 WAR.

Minnie Minoso had WAR of 53.8 and was a pioneer Cuban leading the way for Tony Oliva and others.  He started in the Negro leagues after leaving Cuba,  He was the first black Cuban and first black player on the White Sox eventually being elevated to "Mr White Sox".  He was signed in 1948 the year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. His line was 299/387/461/848. 

Ken Boyer was the second third baseman in my childhood rankings of the era.  Behind Eddie Mathews, of course.  But he was no slouch.  He was a good fielder and a very steady bat for the Cardinals.   His WAR is 62.8 - that is hall worthy.  His line for 15 years was 287/349/462/810  and we think Donaldson is a good third baseman - I would trade.  He had one MVP award, 5 all star games, NL player of the year award and Lou Gehrig award.  

Billy Pierce was an excellent pitcher for the White Sox during their go-go days of Aparicio and Fox.  He began as a pitcher in 1945, my birth year and then missed three years.  His 211 wins in 18 seasons was excellent and exceeds Drysdale, Marquade, and Newhouser all in the Hall.  His career ERA was 3.27.  In 1956 and 1957 he was the TSN pitcher of the year.  

Maury Wills was the heart of the pitching rich, hitting poor Dodgers and did it with his legs. His career line was 281/330/331/661 but what counted was his SB ability.  He stole 586 in his career but it was his 104 steal year in 1962 that made his fame.  He played 14 seasons and had over 2000 hits.  In 1062 he was MVP and player of the year.   

I will not discuss Danny Murtaugh since I do not think we have any really good system to rank them.  It is the players who make the manager and the same managers that win titles - Casey Stengel - can also manage the worst teams.  I would like to see a separate managers HOF.

But that leaves Oliva and Kaat and they have been discussed so much I will only give a short note on each.

Kaat had 50.5 WAR over 25 years - 25 years for a pitcher!  He also won 283 games, which puts him number 31 all time and ahead of Mike Mussina, Jim Palmer, Red Ruffing and ahead of 33 HOFers.  He had a career ERA of 3.45.  He won 190 games for the Twins.  He was also a perennial gold glover on the mound winning 16 gloves.  On BR they list similar players - 7 of the ten are in the HOF and Tommy John should be. 

  1. Tommy John (923.3)
  2. Robin Roberts (917.6) *
  3. Fergie Jenkins (892.1) *
  4. Eppa Rixey (875.9) *
  5. Jamie Moyer (859.8)
  6. Bert Blyleven (855.2) *
  7. Early Wynn (850.0) *
  8. Burleigh Grimes (846.4) *
  9. Frank Tanana (846.2)
  10. Red Ruffing (840.1) *

Oliva is our Mauer of an earlier time - a batting champion three times, but cut short by injury.  His knees could not support him as he aged and like Joe and the Concussion, he had to accept reduced roles in the field.  Still he was Rookie of the Year in 1964 and a perennial all-star.  His career line was 304/353/476/830. 

In my school era - grade school through Freshman year in College these were stars and household names. 

I want to add to this thoughts on the separate Negro League Ballot - the fact that Buck O'Neil was not elected during his lifetime is a travesty.  I suspect he will get in now.   John Donaldson definitely deserves to be elected he as Shohei before there was a Shohei.  His statistics are not enough because he actually predated the negro leagues and even with five years in MLB at the end of his career we have a difficult job assessing him.  Over 30 seasons of all kinds of leagues Wiki records - "Researchers so far have discovered 667 games in which Donaldson is known to have pitched.[32] Out of those games, Donaldson had over 400 wins[33] and 5,081 strikeouts[34] as a baseball pitcher."  "Newspaper coverage of Donaldson games reveal 413 wins and 161 losses and a winning percentage of .737. He also notched 5,081 strikeouts, an ERA of 1.37, and 86 shutouts against all levels of competition. "  "Donaldson could also hit well, batting .334 in over 1,800 at bats."  

I cannot comment on the other players.  I have read a Donaldson biography as well as Buck's so I have some connection to them.  I look forward to learning about the other nominees. 

 

 

I think any one of the players named could be fairly elected but many are borderline.

You make good arguments for several. I have a very good feeling that Tony Oliva is going to finally make it and have 0% doubt that he deserves it. I want to see it while he’s alive to enjoy it - he’s one of the really good guys and I love that he’s still a presence with the Twins! Just behind Rod Carew, he’s my 2nd favorite Twin of all time. I’m less passionate about Kaat but he has a strong case and those 16 consecutive gold gloves could spell the difference.

If there were a manager’s Hall of Fame off the top of my head I’d include Connie Mack, John McGraw, Earl Weaver, Gene Mauch, maybe Sparky Anderson - just a partial list that stands out. Terry Francona is close to  or a yes for a Hall of Fame Manager too.

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Saying a particular player should be in because he is on a par with a player who has been elected inevitably leads to the slippery slope of "well, then X should be in too. And if X is in then Y should be in. Also Z and...". Eventually you end up making a case for electing literally hundreds of players. I don't have the answer, but it's gotten to the point where I don't really care who is elected. Baseball people know who the best players are and were and don't need to have the HOF voters tell them who is worthy and who is not.

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I have come to the place where I am not interested in long dead players being resurrected for election.  When Buck O'Neil was denied his election while he was alive it was heartbreaking because we all know he will get in and his acceptance speech would have been a classic.  Now I look at Kaat and Oliva and we have had them so close for so long that I want them in while they are alive - I want the pleasure of their satisfaction and their recollections.  

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11 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

 I want them in while they are alive - I want the pleasure of their satisfaction and their recollections.  

I agree with this, though you don't have to wait until they get elected to the Hall of Fame to listen to baseball players give speeches. If you want to hear Tony Oliva tell stories go to one of the Twins Caravan stops.

Buck O'Neil had a long, interesting career but I still see several others on this ballot more qualified than him.

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I don't like how these voters only get four votes; these guys shouldn't be pitted against each other and politicked in.

I think a lot of voters and fans have gotten a bit too precious with their HOF reservations. These guys could all be in and nothing would be tarnished. I mean, I know for a fact that Maris, Wills and Buck O'Neal are already IN the HOF. I've seen exhibits that are about them or about what they represented; they just don't have busts. 

 

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10 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

I don't like how these voters only get four votes; these guys shouldn't be pitted against each other and politicked in.

I think a lot of voters and fans have gotten a bit too precious with their HOF reservations. These guys could all be in and nothing would be tarnished. I mean, I know for a fact that Maris, Wills and Buck O'Neal are already IN the HOF. I've seen exhibits that are about them or about what they represented; they just don't have busts. 

 

I agree - I used to be a small hall guy and still wish there was an inner circle group, but the hall is about history of the game and Maris has been a key name for 60 years, Wills broke open the stolen base importance and Buck was the voice of the game.  

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9 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

I agree - I used to be a small hall guy and still wish there was an inner circle group, but the hall is about history of the game and Maris has been a key name for 60 years, Wills broke open the stolen base importance and Buck was the voice of the game.  

Totally agree. I don't find things as 'sacred' as I did when I was young. There's so many more ways to evaluate these people than with just their cumulative career stats, or peak stats. These guys were all a significant net positive for the game itself.

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My dad and I played for Tony in a fantasy camp down at the Twins spring training complex (won the WS btw).  I got to see what a great man Tony was and my dad got to spend time with one of his favorite ballplayers of all-time.  We made a pact to go to Cooperstown when Tony got elected.  Unfortunately, my dad passed away in 2019 and we didn't get to make that trip.  When Tony gets in, maybe my son and I will go...

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