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Checking the Halls

Hall of Fame, CallahanAt the beginning of our HoME experience, just for some perspective, I looked at players who were elected to the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Stats, and the Hall of Merit. And I made lists of those players who were in only one but not the other two. In this post, I’m going to review how the HoME has treated those single-Hall players. This is just for fun. It’s not really supposed to be telling of anything. But maybe it will be. So how has the HoME treated the solo picks of other Halls? Read on to find out.

Hall of Fame

There are 48 players who are in the Hall of Fame but are neither in the Hall of Stats nor the Hall of Merit. They range from the speedy (Lou Brock) to the defensive (Bill Mazeroski) to the poetic (Frank Chance and Johnny Evers) to the nepotistic (Jesse Haines, Chick Hafey, Rube Marquard, Ross Youngs, and High Pockets Kelly) to the relief-y (Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers) to the feared (Jim Rice) to the outrageous (Tommy McCarthy, Lloyd Waner, George Kell, and others). Yes, the Hall has made some bad choices. We all know that. Hell, that’s the reason we started this project.

Harry Hooper, II

Congrats to Harry Hooper, the only solo HoFer who the HoME has elected.

Now for some statistics. Of the 48 players elected to the Hall of Fame but not the other two, Eric and I have already killed off 42. Most never even saw a second ballot, which is to say the Hall of Fame has inducted some tremendous clunkers. Of course, there are five HoFers who are still in our consideration set. Let’s review.

  • Dave Bancroft: Eric has voted for him six times (1984-1988, 1996), and while I’ve yet to put him on my ballot I can say that there’s no other shortstop we’d add.
  • Dizzy Dean: Behind the scenes I’ve been lobbying to end his stay on our ballot. Eric may join me soon.
  • Ernie Lombardi: We think we’re going to take another catcher. He’s fighting with Roger Bresnahan and Gene Tenace for that honor.
  • Kirby Puckett: He’s not eligible until the 2001 election.
  • Sam Rice: We’re as uncertain about him as we are any candidate right now. Neither of us has made a strong argument to axe him or to vote for him.

And among all of the players who the Hall of Fame elected but weren’t elected by either of the other two groups, only one has made it into the Hall of Miller and Eric, Harry Hooper. We were blown away by his spectacular defense as seen by DRA. I don’t believe that’s something either of the other Halls considers, and Hooper doesn’t deserve the honor just based on the bat, so I can see why we’re the only ones joining the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Stats

Adam Darowski’s formula has elected 30 players that neither of the other Halls has. To date, we’ve agreed on seven, disagreed on seven, haven’t decided on six, and haven’t reviewed the cases of the remaining ten. The HoME is more similar to the Hall of Stats than the other two, at least I suspect it will be in the end.

The HoME decided that two amazing years and three other very good ones weren't enough to get Wood into the HoME.

The HoME decided that two amazing years and three other very good ones weren’t enough to merit Wood a vote.

We agree with the Hall of Stats on the elections of Buddy Bell, Bobby Bonds, Willie Davis, Bob Johnson, Thurman Munson, Urban Shocker, and Luis Tiant.

We disagree with Stats on Babe Adams, Tommy Bond, Charlie Buffinton, Eddie Cicotte, Tony Mullane, Jack Quinn, and Wilbur Wood. Notice the commonality among those players? It’s clear that there’s something in Adam’s system that likes the old time pitchers. And we can pretty much say for sure that it’s a system-related issue. Darowski shares his personal Hall too, and none of Adams, Bond, Buffinton, Mullane, and Quinn are there. He does have Cicotte, who the HoME rejected based on non-playing issues. And then there’s Wilbur Wood. He’s an interesting case, not nearly the mistake of a Rube Marquard or a Jesse Haines, but not great enough for the HoME in our estimation.

The Hall of Stats has also enshrined a few players who we’re still considering: Sal Bando, Cesar Cedeno, Tommy John, Chet Lemon, Jim McCormick, and Gene Tenace.

  • Sal Bando might be our last 3B in, or he might be our last 3B out. He has problems with being in an era with so many greats at the hot corner.
  • Cesar Cedeno has just a couple of super-strong years in his favor, and he also has a relatively weak position and a relatively under-represented era going for him.
  • Tommy John is a guy who’s both hard to kill because of the depth of his career and hard to vote for because he lacks greatness.
  • Chet Lemon likely ranks behind Cedeno. It’s going to be extremely difficult for him to make it.
  • Jim McCormick is in a battle with Pud Galvin. And even if McCormick wins that battle, it’s not certain he’ll have a spot in the HoME.
  • Gene Tenace will fight with Bresnahan and Lombardi for one spot. We’re not that close to a decision in his case.

As for those not yet reviewed, the HoS ranks Kevin Appier, Chuck Finley, Orel Hershiser, Jeff Kent, Kenny Lofton, Mike Mussina, John Olerud, Curt Schilling, and Sammy Sosa high enough to be part of that esteemed group. Though we haven’t officially reviewed these cases, I’d bet more of these players get into the HoME than don’t. To find out who gets in, you’ll have to stay tuned.

Hall of Merit

The Hall of Merit has elected 23 players not in either of the other Halls. We agree with them on just five, disagree on eleven, and haven’t yet decided on the other seven. These numbers aren’t quite as bad as the Hall of Fame, but they’re not nearly as good as the Hall of Stats. Let’s try to find the HoM’s soft spot.

To do so, we’ll start with the players who didn’t get into the HoME: Bob Caruthers, Stan Hack, Charley Jones, Charlie Keller, Cal McVey, Minnie Minoso, Dickey Pearce, Lip Pike, Hardy Richardson, Al Spalding, and Ezra Sutton.

An unusual solo pick for the HoM, Freehan's total package got him into the HoME.

An unusual solo pick for the HoM, Freehan’s total package got him into the HoME.

The Hall of Merit has a decided tilt toward earlier players. And while we have nothing against those earlier days, we believe the Hall of Merit is overpopulated there. As Stats promotes older pitchers, Merit promotes older players in general. That’s okay, there are many decent ways to get to the same place. The HoM has elected 246 players, which is 35 more than either Fame or Stats, so it makes some sense that they’d have some solo votes.

As for the players on whom we’ve agreed, we have Ross Barnes, Bill Freehan, Paul Hines, Jimmy Sheckard, and George Wright. Again, aside from Freehan, they’re players of an earlier vintage.

Among our undecideds are Pete Browning, Cupid Childs, George Gore, Heinie Groh, John McGraw, Joe Start, and Harry Stovey. Man, that Freehan selection by the Merit folks is uncharacteristic. All older players otherwise.

  • I’ve wanted to let Pete Browning go for some time. Eric’s more conservative (and likely wiser), so Browning stays for now.
  • Cupid Childs is an interesting case. Do we need another 2B? Do we need another player from his era? And even if we answer both questions in the affirmative, do we need him?
  • George Gore is the highest ranked guy for both of us in center field, but he has issues with overpopulation of his era, and he has other issues that I just can’t put my finger on. I really should like him a bit more than I do.
  • Heinie Groh, like Bando, could be the last 3B in or the last 3B out.
  • For information on John McGraw, please see Groh and Bando.
  • Joe Start is a completely unique candidate. He’s an all-time great from the pre-NA days. But we’ve already selected one of those guys in George Wright. If we decide we need another, I think he’s getting it. If we don’t, I’m certain he’s out.
  • Harry Stovey, as someone I see as a lesser version of the long and low Jake Beckley, has been on the outs with me for a while. Perhaps Eric will join me shortly.

Thanks for reading. Tune in next time for the lists of players they’ve all elected but we haven’t and the list of players we’ve elected but they haven’t.

Miller

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