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1991, RIP, Obituaries of Players We're No Longer Considering

RIP, Players Falling Off the 1991 Ballot

There was real Life for Jerry Koosman in 1969, but there's HoME death today.

There was real Life for Jerry Koosman in 1969, but there’s HoME death today.

Our yearly obituaries are always about narrowing the field. Sometimes we get to some of the backlog. But more often in recent years, we just rate newcomers as only deserving of one year on the ballot. That’s very much the case in our 1991 election, our 31st. We had nine newbies this election. Rod Carew was elected, and the other eight receive obits today.

We continue to narrow our search for the 212 greatest players who are eligible for the Hall of Miller and Eric. Our eight kills today take us to 374 in total, and our Carew election brings us to 134 who we’ve elected. That means there are still 236 of our original 744 to consider for 78 remaining spots. So we’re now allowed to elect just over 33% of our remaining population.

Take a look at our progress since our first election in 1901.

 

 

Year   Carried     New      Considered   Elected   Obituaries  Continuing to
         Over    Nominees  this Election                       Next Election

1991      40         9          49          1           8           40
1990      42         9          51          3           8           40
1989      45        10          55          6           7           42
1988      44         7          51          2           4           45   
1987      44         3          47          0           3           44
1986      44         4          48          1           3           44
1985      47        10          57          1          12           44
1984      50         5          55          2           6           47
1983      52         8          60          5           5           50
1982      51         8          59          3           4           52
1981      59         8          67          1          15           51
1980      59         8          67          3           5           59
1979      67         6          73          6           8           59
1978      78         6          84          5          12           67
1977      86         6          92          2          11           79
1976      82        26         108          6          16           86
1971      87        21         108          6          20           82
1966      94        26         120          7          26           87
1961      91        24         115          6          15           94
1956      92        32         124          7          26           91
1951      93        27         120          9          19           92
1946      94        26         120          8          19           93
1941      82        29         111          5          12           94
1936      75        29         104          8          14           82
1931      69        17          86          2           9           75
1926      71        25          96          9          18           69
1921      66        27          93          4          18           71
1916      53        31          84          5          13           66
1911      47        20          67          5           9           53
1906      33        28          61          3          11           47
1901       0        54          54          3          18           33

 Dead 1991

Rollie FingersSome may be surprised to see Rollie Fingers’ name here. After all, he retired as the career leader in saves with 341. He won the 1981 AL MVP and AL Cy Young for the Brewers. He was a main cog in Oakland’s 1972-1974 World Series domination, even winning the WS MVP in 1974. All told he posted a 1.35 ERA in 33.1 WS innings. So why is he getting an obituary? First, saves are wildly overrated. And he’s no longer first, but 12th in the game’s history in that category. But let’s bottom-line it. Eric ranks him #236 of our 273 pitchers. I’m somewhat less kind, placing him #244. And we even adjust for leverage. The fact is, it’s difficult to post incredible value when you pitch just 1700 career innings, especially with an ERA+ in the Ron Guidry/Jose Rijo neighborhood.

Richie Hebner was a fine player, topping 200 HR with five teams in 18 seasons. And he had a career highlight when his Pirates won the 1971 World Series against the Orioles. Hebner even contributed a three-run bomb against Jim Palmer. However, Hebner was far more often a loser than a winner. His teams lost in the NLCS in 1970, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, and 1984.

Burt HootonRighty Burt Hooton won 152 games during his career. And he was at his best, perhaps, when he finished second to Gaylord Perry in the 1978 NL Cy Young voting. His career highlight probably came in the 1981 NLCS when he won two games without allowing an earned run, as the Dodgers downed the Expos 3-2 to go to the World Series.

A very talented lefty, perhaps one of the ten best pitchers in the game from 1973-1979, Jerry Koosman won 222 games, mostly for the less popular New York team. He was the pitching star in the 1969 Miracle Mets season, winning both the second and fifth games in a 4-1 drubbing of the Orioles. In what is sometimes called typical Mets fashion, he was shipped to the Twins prior to the 1979 campaign and had his best year ever while in Minnesota. Of course, NY got the last laugh on that one, as they got Jesse Orosco back in the deal.

Philly broadcaster Harry Kalas told us that, “Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox.” That just about says it all regarding the brilliant defensive CF who won eight Gold Gloves in 15 seasons in the bigs. It was defense that helped him play at the All-Star-level twice and the 4-win level three more times.

Al OliverScoop, Al Oliver, was a talented player who collected over 2700 hits and 1300 RBIs in his 18 years in the majors. He made seven All-Star teams and won 2/3 of the triple crown with the Expos in 1982 but was outside the top-ten in HR despite hitting a career-high 22. Oliver wasn’t a bad baserunner when he was young, but he was always a pretty terrible fielder and was certainly miscast in CF, the position he played most frequently. As a result of those shortcomings, an outstanding hitter was seldom a great player, putting up 4-win seasons only twice.

Five-time righty throwing All-Star, Steve Rogers, spent his entire 13-year career with the Montreal Expos. Thus, we can understand why he’s underappreciated. From 1975-1982, no insignificant period, Rogers was one of the five or so best pitchers in all of the game. Rogers pitched only seven games in relief his whole career, but it’s one during the 1981 playoffs for which he is best remembered. He had already won two games against the Phillies to help Montreal to advance to the NLCS. Then he beat the Dodgers in Game 3. In the deciding game, with two days of rest, Rogers pitched in relief of Ray Burris, and gave up a series-deciding solo home run to Rick Monday in the ninth inning. Rogers should absolutely be remembered more for how great he was than for that one game.

Rusty StaubLe Grande Orange, Rusty Staub, played forever, 23 seasons. And he has some impressive totals, 2700 hits, nearly 300 HR, nearly 500 2B, and nearly 1500 RBI. Rusty could draw a walk too. The six-time All-Star was a pretty smart hitter. Of course, Staub might have been a six-time All-Star because of his bat and his popularity rather than his overall skill set. Rusty wasn’t a great baserunner, grounded into a lot of double plays, and wasn’t very good in the field. I have him at only four seasons at the level of an All-Star. And I don’t give him another season of 3-win ball. No matter, Rusty was great at being Rusty. He’ll always have his number retired by the Expos, and he’ll always be in the Mets Hall of Fame.

That’s it for this election. Please visit our Honorees page to see the plaques of those who have made it into the HoME, and check back here after the 1992 election for more obituaries.

Miller

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Discussion

One thought on “RIP, Players Falling Off the 1991 Ballot

  1. Sorry to see Oliver and Staub go. Always liked both. RIP.

    v

    Posted by verdun2 | September 1, 2014, 9:10 am

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