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1995, RIP, Obituaries of Players We're No Longer Considering

RIP, Players Falling Off the 1995 Ballot

I think more people fear death than pitchers feared Jim Rice.

I think more people fear death than pitchers feared Jim Rice.

The 1995 election marks a bit of a milestone for the Hall of Miller and Eric. Of the 744 players who were in our database at the start, we now have only 200 players to review to fill out our institution. This was our 36th election, and additions of Mike Schmidt, Buddy, Bell, Darrell Evans, and Reggie Smith mean we’ve elected 147 to date. And we’ve now written another 398 obituaries, including the six below. This season we’re also killing off our 50th Hall of Famer, Jim Rice. That’s right, we’ve killed off over 23% of all Hall of Famers. If we ever forget why we began this project, we can simply remind ourselves of that number.

An as a reminder to you, we planned to elect 212 players at the start of our project, and the 1995 election means we’re within 65 of that number. We still have 199 of our original 744 to consider for those 65 remaining places, meaning that we can now elect fewer than one-third of our remaining candidates. It also means that we’re getting close and closer to our goal.

Below is the tally from each election since our first in 1901.

Year   Carried     New      Considered   Elected   Obituaries  Continuing to
         Over    Nominees  this Election                       Next Election
1995      41        11          52          4           6           42
1994      38       8+1          47          3           3           41
1993      41         9          50          3           9           38
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 1995

Doyle AlexanderThere aren’t many trades that truly benefit both teams. But if there were any player who might have been in one it was Doyle Alexander, a guy who was traded seven times. It was the last of those seven swaps that was such a big deal. In August of 1987 the Tigers acquired the hurler who won 194 games in his career for the stretch run. He went 9-0 with three shutouts and a 1.53 ERA to lead the Tigers to the AL East title. In exchange, Detroit shipped 20-year-old John Smoltz to Atlanta.

The lefty swinging center fielder, Dwayne Murphy, played most of his career for the A’s before closing things out with years in Detroit and Philadelphia. Murphy’s signature skill was thought to be outstanding defense, a skill that garnered him six consecutive Gold Gloves from 1980-1985. But really, he was only a plus defender, not a plus plus defender. His real signature skill was a willingness to take ball four. That allowed him to post a nice .356 career OBP despite a relatively poor .246 batting average.

Someone who can manage 22 years and 220 wins in the majors deserves a lot of credit, and that’s precisely what Jerry Reuss did. Reuss pitched for eight teams, and he was an All-Star twice, including 1980 when he finished second in the Cy Young voting. He became the second pitcher ever (Milt Pappas) to win 200 games without the benefit of a 20-win season. And he threw a no-hitter in 1980, missing a perfect game only because of a Bill Russell throwing error in the first inning. His most impressive and valuable pitching might have come during the 1981 NLDS when he threw 18 innings for the Dodgers against Houston without allowing a run.

Rick Rhoden won 151 games over 16 seasons, made two All-Star teams, and finished fifth in the Cy Young voting in his best season, 1985. There are two things that stand out for Rhoden more than his pitching though, his hitting and his golfing. Four times he drove in double figure runs as a hitter, and even served as the Yankee DH once in 1988, making him the first pitcher to start at DH since the AL adopted the rule in 1988. As a golfer, he’s finished in the top-ten on the Rick RhodenChampions Tour three times, and he’s won the American Century Celebrity Golf Classic eight times.

As a little boy from Rhode Island who turned eight when Jim Rice was at his very best, I don’t support his Hall of Fame candidacy. Maybe that should say enough about the 1978 AL MVP and three-time home run champ. At his best, Rice was a spectacular hitter who also fielded better than he was given credit for and ran the bases well. His biggest problem is that he was worse grounding into double plays than any player ever, to the tune of about -4 WAR. He made eight All-Star teams but deserved to make only half as many. He’s roughly equivalent in value to Tim Salmon, Lenny Dykstra, Dick McAuliffe, and former Gold Dust Twin, Fred Lynn.

If you’re wondering how Chris Speier made our list, well, it wasn’t for his bat. Speier was a shortstop in the majors for 19 seasons, mostly with the Giants and Expos. As a young player he made consecutive All-Star games in his second through fourth seasons. But most of that love came on the basis of his only All-Star level year, his sophomore campaign of 1972. He had a decent eye at the plate, turning a .246 batting average into a .327 OBP. Of course, much of that OBP came from hitting eighth, in front of the pitcher. Speier had a fine career, retiring with 1759 hits.

That closes out our 1995 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 1996 election for more obituaries.

Miller

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “RIP, Players Falling Off the 1995 Ballot

  1. Congrats on having the courage to “kill off” 50 members of the Hall of Fame while creating your own. It shows both how far the Hall has gone in electing marginally great players and how much the “new” stats have changed the way we view the contributions of former players.
    v

    Posted by verdun2 | October 27, 2014, 9:00 am
    • It’s been unbelievably hard for this voter to say goodbye to some players. Not due to any loyalty but more like due to simple uncertainty. As a community, we baseball nerds are still in the information-gathering phase in many ways. We don’t have play-by-play for every era, and we only have splits back to 1914 at this time. I believe there are more surprises or validations in store for us once those numbers are compiled. Or better said, if those numbers are ever compiled. I don’t begin to know whether it is possible to get splits let alone PBP for many years.

      Posted by eric | October 27, 2014, 7:50 pm

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