Seventeen elections down, and I think thirty-eight to go. With our 1977 election, we welcome HoME Ernie Banks and Jim Bunning, both first-ballot electees. The newest members of the Hall of Miller and Eric make it 95 of the greatest players in the game’s history who we celebrate within our hallowed e-halls. We have 117 more players to elect, and we can’t wait for our next election. We hope you feel the same.
Per our rules, players have to be named on both ballots for induction. And with annual elections rather than those taking place every five years, we’ll sometimes have shorter ballots than we’ve had in the past. Here’s how we voted this time.
Miller Eric 1 Jim Bunning Ernie Banks 2 Ernie Banks Jim Bunning 3 Red Faber Pee Wee Reese 4 Pud Galvin Urban Shocker
The Class of 1977
Ernie Banks: With the iconic nickname of “Mr. Cub” and one of the game’s most positive and hopeful quotations, “Let’s play two!”, Ernie Banks is the epitome of Chicago baseball. The lifelong Cub hit 512 home runs and won two dinger titles and two RBI titles in his career in addition to his back-to-back MVP Awards in 1958 and 1959. From 1955-1961, he was Cal Ripken, a good fielding, great hitting shortstop who never took a day off. After that, a knee injury forced him to first base and decreased his overall productivity for the remainder of his career. No matter, Banks accomplished more than enough during his salad days, and his career numbers are easily impressive enough for the HoME.
Jim Bunning: Righty starter Jim Bunning became a star in 1957 when he won 20 games for the Tigers. He became a superstar after a 1963 trade to the Phillies. Along the way, he won 224 games in a remarkable career. He pitched a no-hitter in 1958 and a perfect game in 1964, so he’s one of seven pitchers with a perfect game and another no-no. And he’s one of five to pitch no-hitters in both leagues. He also struck out the side on nine pitches in 1959. And in retirement, he spent six terms as a member of the U.S House of Representatives from Kentucky, followed by two terms as a Kentucky Senator. Now comes his greatest honor, election to the HoME.
Each season, some guys are elected, while others receive votes from only one of us. Below we’ll explain our reasons for such votes.
Red Faber: While my pitching analysis has undergone significant alteration over the last three or four elections, Faber has held up strong through each iteration. There’s no way he’s a top-40 pitcher, but there’s also very little way to see him outside the top-60. Since quite confident we’ll have at least 60 pitchers in the HoME by the time we’re done, I continue to see every reason to vote for Faber. I don’t like his profile of a dozen seasons from 1.1 to 3.1 adjusted WAR any more than those who use the word “compiler” to insult candidates. But his seven better seasons, during which he “compiled” nearly 40 WAR, still matter. That’s more, by my reckoning anyway, than HoMEr Ted Lyons and comparable to future HoMEr John Smoltz. He’s not way over the line, but I’m comfortable that he’s over it.
Pud Galvin: Upsettingly, I’m no longer quite as certain about Pud Galvin. HoME fanatics will recall that I’ve voted for Galvin over Faber in each of their other eight elections together on my ballot. In fact, during the 1961 election, Pud received more support from me than eleven players now in the HoME. As I said to Eric during 1977 election discussions, had I not been supporting Galvin all along, I don’t think I’d have the courage to vote for him now. Yes, I still believe he should be in, but he’s no longer a very easy call. I once thought the man with 365 wins and the second most innings in history was a no-brainer. No longer.
Pee Wee Reese: Reese is part of the group of shortstops that will fight for the final plaques at the position. That group also includes Dave Bancroft, Art Fletcher, Hughie Jennings, Joe Sewell, Ozzie Smith, and Joe Tinker. I see the strongest among them as Reese, Fletcher, Smith, and Tinker. At least three of them will make it. And Tinker is a stronger candidate at the tail end of shortstop than the 15th or 16th candidates at most other positions. Because I don’t see a strong scenario where Reese falls behind both Tinker and Smith, I see his place in the HoME as structurally secured. I’d say the same for Ozzie. Fletcher and Tinker are the bubble men.
Urban Shocker: He’s a whole lot like Stan Coveleski, and Coveleski was an easy choice for me. Being just a little lesser when compared to Stan means being better than several previously elected pitchers. So, in my eyes, Shocker meets our existing standards for pitchers and, especially, our ultimate standard.
Please visit our Honorees page to see the plaques of those elected and to see plenty more information about the HoME.