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1992, RIP, Obituaries of Players We're No Longer Considering

RIP, Players Falling Off the 1992 Ballot

No HoME for Vida.

No HoME for Vida.

It’s time once again to narrow the HoME field, to share with you and to honor some very good players who just didn’t put up careers worthy of HoME inclusion. This election was like many in the recent past. We’re electing ballot newcomers and writing obituaries for others. Our backlog received tremendous attention, though we’re slow to act on those players. That’s why they’re backloggers in the first place.

1992 was a fairly typical recent election. As you read on Friday, we elected Tom Seaver, Pete Rose, and Bobby Grich. Below are obituaries for six others who were on that ballot. And Cesar Cedeno joins our backlog.

We continue to search for the 212 greatest players who are eligible for the Hall of Miller and Eric. Our six kills today take us to 380 in total, and three enshrines bring us to 137 who we’ve elected. That means there are still 227 of our original 744 to consider for 75 remaining spots. We can now 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
1992      40        10          50          3           6           41
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 in 1992

Dusty Baker, High FiveKnown more today as an old-school manager than a player, Dusty Baker, was a very promising young player for the Braves before becoming one of the main offensive cogs on the late-70s and early 80s Dodger teams. He crushed a couple of homers and drove in eight against the Phillies in the 1977 NLCS to be named series MVP. He was an All-Star a couple of times, which seems legitimate. And he has been Manager of the Year on three occasions, which may be less legitimate. Perhaps his most enduring legacy, if the story is true, is on the back end of the first-ever high five, started by teammate Glenn Burke after Baker’s 30th homer on the last day of the 1977 season.

At his best, Vida Blue was a heck of a pitcher. Traditionally speaking, he posted 209 career wins, including 20+ on three occasions. Looking at something more advanced, he posted individual seasons of 8+, 7+, and 6+ WAR. One of the most fun things about Vida Blue is that he’s the answer to so many trivia questions surrounding great feats in the game. He’s the last switch hitter to win the AL MVP, which he did during his outstanding 1971 season. He’s the first pitcher to start the All-Star game for both the AL and the NL. He was part of the first ever no-hitter on the last day of the season when he was supported in his effort by Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad, and Rollie Fingers to end 1975. That day he also became the first pitcher to have thrown a no-hitter by himself and with teammates.

George FosterNo Bench, Rose, or Morgan, George Foster may have been Cincinnati’s best offensive weapon in the days immediately following the last dominant Big Red Machine team. He led the NL in homers in 1977 and 1978, led in ribbies from 1976-1978, and he was the 1977 NL MVP. Foster had a very nice peak. He was a 4-win player every year from 1975-1981 (adjusted for season length), and he was truly awesome in his MVP season. But he faded pretty quickly from his peak days after signing a 5-year, $10 million contract with the New York Mets. For the Mets, the man with 348 career homers offered less than one WAR per season.

First and foremost, Toby Harrah was a very, very good player. Using different ranking systems, Eric and I both put him #23 among 3B in our data set. His 1975 season was outstanding and absolutely should have been in the MVP conversation that year. And there were two other times when the man who once played shortstop for an entire double header without a chance played like an All-Star, and two other times when he was very close. If we look at all of our 3B, there are only nine who best Harrah in his top season and in his second best. That fact says a lot more about the guy than mentioning 1954 hits or 195 homers.

Dennis LeonardA career Royal and a solid pitcher overall, Dennis Leonard won 20 games three times among the 144 in his career. After being a part of a losing effort against the Yankees in the 1976, 1977, and 1978 ALCS, Leonard may have had one of the best games of his career in the second game of the 1980 ALCS, the middle one of the Royal sweep of NY. In that game, Leonard whiffed eight and gave up only seven hits in eight innings before turning things over to Dan Quisenberry. With 23 career shutouts, he clearly had better performances, but none were more significant as that one.

While George Foster was Cincinnati’s offensive leader in the days right after the Big Red Machine, Tony Perez was at his best right before the Reds were. The best dozen years of his career came consecutively from 1967-1978. Unfortunately, Perez may not have been one of the game’s top ten non-pitchers even during that select time. Perez is in the Hall of Fame due to his longevity and his association with the Big Red Machine. Perez played like an All-Star on four occasions, five if you’re stretching it, but the guy with 379 career homers and 1652 runs batted in won’t be reaching the HoME. He was neither great enough for long enough nor good enough for long enough.

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 1993 election for more obituaries.

Miller

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Discussion

One thought on “RIP, Players Falling Off the 1992 Ballot

  1. I was never sure about Perez as a Hall of Famer. Interesting to see your take on him. Gonna miss Vida Blue in your Hall. He was a lot of fun.
    v

    Posted by verdun2 | September 15, 2014, 7:42 am

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