Our 1982 election, our 22nd overall, marks the inauguration of three of the best outfielders from the 1960s, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, and Billy Williams. The trio of first ballot entrants brings HoME membership to 113 of the greatest players in the game’s history. We have 99 more to go, and we’re enjoying every minute of the process.
Per our rules, players have to be named on both ballots for induction. For the fourth year in a row, all of Eric’s selections have gotten in. And for the fourth year in a row, Miller voted for more players than Eric.
Here’s how we voted.
Miller Eric 1 Hank Aaron Hank Aaron 2 Frank Robinson Frank Robinson 3 Billy Williams Billy Williams 4 Whitey Ford 5 Joe Sewell
The Class of 1982
Hank Aaron: Plenty of smart people consider Aaron to be the greatest home run hitter to ever live. His 755 homers trail only Barry Bonds’ 762 on the all-time list. Aaron still holds the all-time RBI and total base marks, is seventh in WAR, fifth in offensive WAR, fourth in runs, and third in hits. He won an MVP and a World Series title in 1957. He played in 25 All-Star games. He had his #44 retired by both the Braves and the Brewers. And he went 30/30 in 1963, before anyone ever really considered it an accomplishment. In the pantheon of right fielders, he trails only Babe Ruth in value. And he’s clearly among the ten best non-pitchers ever to play.
Frank Robinson: He’s one of baseball’s most accomplished individuals, as a player, a manager, and an executive. Among right fielders, he vies with Mel Ott and perhaps Roberto Clemente for the title of third best in history. He smacked 586 home runs, good for baseball’s fourth highest total at the time of his retirement. He was the last player to win the NL triple crown and the only player to win the MVP in both leagues. For his accomplishments, both the Reds and the Orioles retired his #20. He was also the first African-American manager, and he has on his resume one of each of the following: World Series MVP, All-Star Game MVP, Rookie of the Year Award, Gold Glove Award, and Manager of the Year Award.
Billy Williams: Armed with one of baseball’s longest nicknames, Sweet Swingin’ Billy from Whistler was a six-time All-Star, the 1961 NL Rookie of the Year, and one of the twelve to fifteen best left fielders ever. He led the NL in total bases three times, won the 1972 NL batting crown, and finished second in the MVP voting twice. Williams was one of the most durable players of his time, missing barely a game in the decade from 1962-1971. He held the consecutive games played record in the NL until his 1,117-game streak was bested by Steve Garvey in 1983. With Ernie Banks and Ron Santo, he had the unfortunate distinction of playing on so many mediocre or worse Cub teams, so failed to ever reach the post-season. Today he joins Banks and Santo in the HoME.
We’ve reached our fourth consecutive election with no solo votes for Eric. Miller’s explanations for his pair are below. But first, there are two players Miller has backed election after election who didn’t meet with his approval this time.
Red Faber & Pud Galvin: Last election I announced that I wouldn’t be voting for either of my favorites this time. And I’ve held to my word. Becoming entrenched in a position doesn’t help us reach our ultimate goal of agreeing on 212 players for the HoME. I reviewed Galvin’s case on Wednesday and will do the same for Faber (even if that one doesn’t become a post) prior to voting for either one again.
Whitey Ford: I rank Whitey Ford at the #56 starter in history. Even if we squeeze starters as much as we’d ever consider, Ford’s still going to make it for me. And that’s before we consider October contributions. Ford isn’t an easy call, but he’s one in which I’m becoming more and more comfortable.
Joe Sewell: Position is critical to my pro-Sewell stance. Since we aim for positional balance and since so many players are only partially shortstops, we have space for 21 or 22 who might call SS their primary position. I feel comfortable that Sewell reaches that level.
That’s all for our 1982 election. Please visit our Honorees page to see the plaques of those elected and to see plenty more information about the HoME.