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2007, RIP, Obituaries of Players We're No Longer Considering

RIP, Players Falling Off the 2007 Ballot

Jose Canseco, SIToday we finish off our most active election when we killed off fifteen and elected one in 1981. On Friday we elected five. And today we have obituaries for eleven more, three of whom – Eric Davis, Tony Fernandez, and Jose Canseco – seemed like they might have been headed for greener pastures. Davis just couldn’t stay healthy. Fernandez saw his career peter out away from Toronto. And Canseco, well, we know his story just fine. And it seems that if we forget, he’ll write another book or book himself in some sort of celebrity death match to remind us what he’s up to. Poor Jose.

Taking those three and the other eight obituaries into account, we’ve now killed off 486 players and elected 185 into the Hall of Miller and Eric in our 47 elections. There are exactly 30 players to go to fill our HoME, and we have exactly 80 or our original 752 to review in our final eight elections. That means we’re looking at putting 37.5% of the remaining population into the HoME.

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
2007      12        15          27          5          11           11
2006      13         5          18          1           5           12
2005      12         8          20          2           5           13
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 2007

Harold Baines, 1981One of the great White Sox players ever, Harold Baines had his number retired by the team in 1989 after he was shipped to Texas. But then he returned in 1996 and again in 2000. Baines was a DH for much of his career, but he wasn’t actually a terrible fielder. However, he wasn’t a good baserunner, and he grounded into a bunch of double plays, helping to keep his value down. What the first pick in the 1977 Draft did do was homer – 384 times in his career, including 20+ on ten occasions. Baines had only one year worth more than 3.2 WAR but 14 worth more than 1.7. He was a nice player, though clearly not deserving of HoME consideration.

Andy BenesA tall righty who won 155 games for five teams, Andy Benes never quite lived up to the promise of his early career, but he was a fine pitcher nonetheless. The 1994 NL strikeout leader who also threw the first pitch in Diamondback history had eight years of between 2.6 and 4.7 WAR. He was a fine pitcher overall, in the neighborhood of Jason Schmidt or Mike Garcia.

Bobby BonillaKnown as a wretched defender, DRA paints a different picture of Bobby Bonilla, that of only a poor fielder. The reason Bobby-Bo became a minor star, of course, was his bat. He made six All-Star teams, smacked 20 homers seven times, and drove in 100 on four occasions. He played like an All-Star twice and a 3.5-win player five other times. A fine player overall, Bonilla went to the playoffs with five different teams but his just .215 in 172 trips to the plate on the post-season.

Ken CaminitiBefore Jose Canseco’s book, before Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, Ken Caminiti was the face of steroids in baseball. Showing that he was troubled, the 15-year 3B died of a speedball overdose in 2004. While playing, he won three Gold Gloves, made three All-Star teams, and was named the 1996 NL MVP. Caminitti had some very strong playoff performances. He slugged three homers in 10 AB against the Cardinals in the 1996 NLDS and another three in 17 AB against the Braves in the 1999 NLDS, but his teams lost both series.

And speaking of steroids, 1986 AL Rookie of the Year and 1988 AL MVP Jose Canseco enjoyed them. We may never know the extent of Canseco’s influence as it pertained to PEDs, but we do know that the Chemist could hit the long ball. He hit 462 of them in his 17 seasons, including 40+ three times and a pair of HR titles. A great athlete, Canseco could also run and posted the first 40/40 season in baseball history. His monster home run against the Jays in the 1989 ALCS is the stuff of legend. You should read Juiced (it’s actually interesting). You should review as much footage of him pitching as possible. And if you’re ever in a bad mood, you should watch this video.

Eric DavisThe oft-injured Eric Davis was never the player his athletic ability said he could have been. The CF and two-time All-Star never topped 135 games in a season, and he bested 92 only eight times. Every year he reached 100 games, he reached 20 homers. He drove in 100 runs twice, and he had seasons of both 80 and 50 SB. He won the Comeback Player of the Year in 1996 and then had to fight colon cancer. This remarkable athlete was a decent amount like Dom DiMaggio or Paul Blair statistically, but he could have been so much more.

Tony FernandezAfter an early season injury to Tony Fernandez in 1995, Derek Jeter was promoted to New York for the first time. But the five-time All-Star shortstop and four-time Gold Glove winner was more than just a footnote in history. Fernandez’ career looks a lot like that of Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio. He had eight seasons with between 3 and 5 WAR, and he had three others worth 2+. Little Looie bested him by one on both levels. Fernandez was very good in the playoffs, hitting .327 in 168 trips to the plate. And he’s really just a change of perception away from a plaque in Cooperstown, not that such a plaque would be deserved.

Wally JoynerWally World opened in southern California as Angel star Wally Joyner was the first rookie ever voted to be an All-Star starter by the fans. That was his only All-Star Game, and he had his top two seasons in HR and RBI in 1986 and 1987 in his first two years. Still, he managed 16 seasons and over 34 total WAR. That’s a Joe Adcock, Mickey Vernon, Andres Galarraga type of player, which isn’t at all bad.

Paul O'NeillFor a baseball player, Paul O’Neill was a heck of a punter. A right fielder for the Reds and Yankees, O’Neill made five All-Star teams and led the AL in batting in 1994. He won one World Series in Cincy before grabbing four more in the Bronx. In 109 Series trips to the plate, he hit .261/.370/.370, but he was better than that on the way there. Overall, O’Neill was a good player, sort of on the level of Ken Singleton, one of the best four dozen ever at the position. Trivially, his support of Tom Browning, David Wells, and David Cone makes him the only player ever to win three perfect games.

Kevin TapaniKevin Tapani was a solid pitcher, mainly for the Twins and Cubs, over 13 years in the majors. The righty, who’s similar enough to Johnny Allen or Bill Hands, won 143 games and was a member of the World Champ 1991 Twins. In the highlight of his career, he out-dueled Tom Glavine to give the Twins a 2-0 series lead.

Devon WhiteDevon White was a favorite of mine. I bought up so many of his 1987 rookie cards not understanding supply and demand, aging curves, or the juice in the ’87 baseball. White was a pretty mediocre hitter, but he was a wonderful defender and baserunner. He won seven Gold Gloves, three World Series, and hit an impressive .296 in October. He was about as good as Ellis Burks and Fred Lynn and pretty much the equal to Hall of Famers Edd Roush and Earle Combs as well. But a Hall of Famer White isn’t.

Stick a fork in 2007. It’s done. Please take a gander at our Honorees page to see the plaques of our new members and all of the HoMErs. And check back here after the 2008 election for more obituaries.

Miller

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Discussion

One thought on “RIP, Players Falling Off the 2007 Ballot

  1. So many wonderful Bonilla moments, but how can he be eligible for the HoME when he still is collecting salary from two teams for playing for them?

    Posted by mike teller | April 27, 2015, 9:14 am

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