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2008, RIP, Obituaries of Players We're No Longer Considering

RIP, Players Falling Off the 2008 Ballot

David Justice, Sports IllustratedThere was no way this election was going to be as active as last when we either elected or killed off 20 players. But we continue to plug away. Only last year had more obituaries than this since 2001. Chuck Knoblauch was a nice player. Jose Rijo played with someone who played with Warren Spahn (Phil Niekro). And David Justice was once married to Halle Berry.

With those three and three more, we’ve now killed off 492 players and elected 187 into the Hall of Miller and Eric in our 48 elections. There are 28 players to go to fill our HoME, and in our remaining seven elections, we have 72 more to review from our original 752. That means we’re looking at putting 38.9% 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
2008      11         7          18          2           6           10
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 2008

Brady AndersonIn 1996 Brady Anderson was a teammate of Rafael Palmeiro. That year he hit 50 home runs. Just sayin’. Never before and never again did Anderson reach half of that total. On a less speculative note, he did make three All-Star squads and led the AL in HBP three times. When eligible, he didn’t get a Hall of Fame vote, and as someone not in the top five dozen CF ever, he likely didn’t deserve one.

Three-time All-Star and 1990 NL Rookie of the Year, David Justice hit 305 career homers and was a key member of two World Series winners. He won the 2000 ALCS MVP and the 1997 AL Comeback Player of the Year. Because he was always on center stage in October, we tend to overrate Justice some. He never played like an All-Star, and he had only six seasons of over 2.8 WAR. He was similar in quality to Kirk Gibson or Magglio Ordonez.

Chuck Knoblauch 2Before experiencing throwing problems in 1999, Chuck Knoblauch was one heck of a player. During his 1991-1997 Minnesota days, only Craig Biggio had more value at the position. He was the AL Rookie of the year in 1991, made four All-Star teams, and even won a Gold Glove. But then came New York and the throwing problems. One of his throws actually hit sportscaster Keith Olberman’s mom in the head. Knoblauch finished with over 1800 hits, over 400 SB, and a career quite a bit like Hall of Famer Nellie Fox.

Sam RiceAfter mulling the case of Sam Rice for 40 elections, we’re finally ready to cut the cord. Rice was born in Morocco and attended Rhode Island Country High School, both of which were in Indiana. He’s a guy on whom we could have gone either way. I rank him the tiniest bit ahead of Reggie Smith, while Eric ranks him the tiniest bit behind. The difference is that Rice played in an era where the competition was lesser (Smith certainly couldn’t have competed against Rice), and Smith played in an era that’s underappreciated by Hall voters. We’re looking at six seasons playing like an All-Star and another six with at least three wins. But there are fifteen other right fielders who can claim the former and fourteen others who can claim the latter. Aside from his 1963 Hall of Fame election, the most notable thing about Rice was his controversial catch in the 1925 World Series. Rice jumped at the wall, fell into the temporary bleachers, and remained in the crowd for something in the neighborhood of 10-15 seconds, which is an eternity. When he came out of the crowd, the ball was in the glove, and Earl Smith was called out. This really may have been the greatest controversy in World Series history aside from the Black Sox. Rice kept the mystery going as long as he was alive, telling nobody. He did send a letter to the Hall of Fame, which he indicated should be opened only after his death. In 1974, he revealed in the letter, “At no time did I lose possession of the ball.”

Jose RijoThe National League’s best pitcher from 1990-1993 wasn’t Greg Maddux or David Cone or Tom Glavine. It was Jose Rijo. The Red righty and 1990 World Series MVP pitched like an All-Star from 1990-1992 and then pitched a lot like Walter Johnson in 1993 when he won the NL strikeout title. Often injured, the 1994 All-Star won just 116 games in his career, but he was also the first major league since Minnie Minoso to play in a game after receiving Hall of Fame votes. Rijo got a vote in 2001 after taking five years off to recover from an elbow injury, but he managed another nine starts and 44 games in the majors the next two years.

John ValentinJohn Valentin was an underrated star who played mostly SS mostly for the Red Sox from 1992-2002. Valentin was an outstanding defender at short even though he wasn’t a flashy player like others of his era. But his peak was really only five years long, and he didn’t have anything else in him to support those seasons. In terms of value, he’s a lot like another Red Sox SS, Rico Petrocelli. And he’s also fairly similar to a player who’s going to get a lot of undeserved Hall support, Omar Vizquel.

That’s it for 2008. Check out our Honorees page to see the plaques of our new members and all of the HoMErs. And check back here after the 2009 election for more obituaries.

Miller

 

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Discussion

One thought on “RIP, Players Falling Off the 2008 Ballot

  1. Justice was one of those players I always thought was going to be better than he turned out to be. That happens a lot to me. 🙂
    v

    Posted by verdun2 | May 11, 2015, 12:16 pm

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