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2004, RIP, Obituaries of Players We're No Longer Considering

RIP, Players Falling Off the 2004 Ballot

Jimmy Key, Baseball DigestFrom an obituary standpoint, 2004 was a fairly dull election. From our backlog, Jose Cruz made it into the HoME on Friday, but nobody except our 2004 newcomers to the ballot receives an obituary today. That’s okay, there’s been quite a bit of gore around here these past few seasons.

We close out 2004 with five more obituaries. With a quartet including Cruz, Paul Molitor, Dave Stieb, and Dennis Eckersley elected on Friday, we now have now enshrined 177 of the game’s greats in our 44 elections. And our death toll has now reached 465 obituaries. In all, we have only 109 of our 752 nominees to review for our 38 remaining HoME spots. Right now we can elect a bit under 35% of the remaining population.

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
2004      13         8          21          4           5           12
2003      14         7          21          2           6           13
2002      18         7          25          6           5           14
2001      23         8          31          2          11           18
2000      26         9          35          1          11           23
1999      30         9          39          4           9           26
1998      33         9          42          4           8           30
1997      40         3          43          3           7           33
1996      42         7          49          4           5           40
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 2004

Danny DarwinBecause of the number of fights he got in, and won, Nolan Ryan gave Danny Darwin the “Dr. Death” moniker. Darwin won some fights on the mound too, 171 of them. The hurler for eight teams also took home the 1990 NL ERA title. That’s going to have to be enough for him. Trivially, since the first World Series, no pitcher has as many games and wins as Darwin while never getting to the post-season or an All-Star game. Sorry Danny.

Jimmy Key seems like a guy who should be even more underrated than he is. He never won more than 18 games, but he reached 13 on ten occasions. He never won a Cy Young, but he finished second twice and fourth once. He was a teammate of the superior Dave Stieb in Toronto, the more famous Jim Abbott in New York, and the outstanding Mike Mussina in Baltimore. He made four All-Star teams and pitched for two World Series winners, holding three victories himself in the Fall Classic. Overall he’s in the range of Waite Hoyt or Jack Quinn. A nice career.

Dennis Martinez“El Presidente,” Dennis Martinez, had his share of personal troubles. He also had his share of wins, 245, and late-career All-Star games, 4 after he turned 36. He led the AL in wins in 1981 and the NL in ERA a decade later. His career highlight was a perfect game pitched against the Dodgers in 1991. Though all were different types of hurlers with different career arcs, he looks a lot like Carlos Zambrano, Jimmy Key, or Jamie Moyer. Trivially, he won more games than anyone ever without the benefit of a 20-win season. And no Latin American pitcher won as many games.

Jack McDowellRemembered as much for flipping the bird as for his pitching, Jack McDowell was a three-time All-Star and two-time 20-game winner. At his 1991-1995 peak, he was one of the ten or so best pitchers in the game. He was hampered by injuries after that and finished his career roughly equal to the Hall’s worst pitching selection, Jesse Haines. On a more positive note, his band V.I.E.W. toured with The Smithereens in 1992.

Terry PendletonAs much as anything else, it was the leadership of Terry Pendleton that gave the 3B the 1991 ML MVP. He was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year, won the batting title, and took home one of his two hit titles that year as well. The following season he made his only All-Star appearance and won the last of his three Gold Gloves. He had a pretty short and fairly low peak. In all, he’s pretty similar to the 3B in the Tinker/Evers/Chance infield, Harry Steinfeldt.

Our 2004 election is now complete. Please take a look at our Honorees page to see the plaques of our new members and all of the HoMErs. And check back here after the 2005 election for more obituaries.

Miller

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