Because of the mathematical hijinks that occurred back in 1990 when we killed Roy Campanella, 1994 when we exhumed him, and 1996 when we elected him, the HoME numbers have been off by a tad. Today, however, you can breathe a deep sigh of relief. I have things under control now.
With your breath sufficiently caught, 2009 was a nice little backlog election. Before today, only eight players had been elected to the Hall of Miller and Eric after 20 elections of consideration.
- Jim O’Rourke, 1996, 36th election
- Dave Bancroft, 2002, 35th election
- Red Faber, 1998, 30th election
- Whitey Ford, 2002, 27th election
- Billy Herman, 1997, 26th election
- Harry Hooper, 1990, 24th election
- Bucky Walters, 1993, 23rd election
- Roy Campanella, 1996, 23rd election
Today, we elect two more. Roy White makes it on his 25th try, and Sal Bando is elected on his 23rd. Eric had voted for White from 1985-1987, but he stopped for many years while we reviewed his case. Not until today could we agree. Miller supported Bando from 2000-2006 but withdrew his support during the last two elections. He’s also a HoMEr today.
Bando and White join two newcomers to this year’s ballot, the absolute slam dunk Rickey Henderson, and the somewhat surprising Kevin Appier. Then again, in the last few elections, we’ve enshrined Dave Stieb, Bret Saberhagen, Orel Hershiser, David Cone, and Chuck Finley. Maybe Appier shouldn’t be a surprise.
Overall, we’ve now elected 191 of the greatest players the game has ever seen to our hallowed HoME. That leaves only 24 players to elect over our final six elections. And given that we have only 64 players to review, that means we will elect 37.5% of those remaining up for consideration.
Here’s how we voted in 2009.
Miller Eric 1 Rickey Henderson Rickey Henderson 2 Kevin Appier Kevin Appier 3 Pud Galvin Roy White 4 Roy White Sal Bando 5 Sal Bando
The Class of 2009
Rickey Henderson: Among left fielders, he trails only Barry Bonds and Ted Williams. Overall, he’s one of the 15 or so best players ever. He combined speed and power and more speed like no other who’s ever played. He holds the all-time records for steals, unintentional walks, runs, and leadoff homers. He also has the single-season record for steals. He won the 1990 AL MVP, a dozen stolen base titles, and a gold glove in 1981. Though he didn’t always get the credit he deserved in left, Rickey was one of the best defenders ever at that position. The guy had five seasons at MVP-level and eight more at the All-Star-level. For historical comps, try Cap Anson, Mike Schmidt, and Lou Gehrig. Rickey’s greatness simply goes on and on and on.
Kevin Appier: Kevin Appier belongs in the Hall of Fame. Those are words I don’t think we expected to type when we began this project. But we were tricked during his career because he played for a bunch of humdrum Royal teams, won just one ERA title, and made just one All-Star team. Worse yet for his reputation, he won just 169 games, topping 15 just twice. During his 1990-1997 peak, the best pitchers in baseball were Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, and Kevin Appier. Pretty nice company. Over those eight seasons, the Royal righty put up 8 WAR twice and averaged about 4.5 WAR in his next eight best seasons. We’re not talking about an inner-circle guy, just a guy comparable on a career level to Three Finger Brown, Early Wynn, and Sandy Koufax. And some would say Appier was a grade above those guys.
Roy White: As a player with a .271 career batting average and only 160 home runs, Roy White was sneaky great. He’d have to have been to be a member of the HoME. Some might be fooled by this career Yankee because he came up right as the Bombers plunged into the basement for the first time in generations, then was in decline by the time they were great again. He was a lot like Bob Johnson in the sense that his career was relatively short, was filled with very good to All-Star level seasons, and had a lot of fielding value. In fact, White did all of the little things well. He could draw walks, run the bases, avoid double plays, and also play top-notch defense in left field. Somewhat famously and rather controversially, Bill James said in his New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract that White was a better player than Jim Rice. With five seasons at the All-Star level and five others that were quite strong, we at the HoME concur.
Sal Bando: On one hand, Bando is only about the 20th best 3B ever. But he jumps forward if we don’t include guys who aren’t yet eligible like Chipper Jones and Scott Rolen. And he jumps forward even more if we don’t include designated hitters like Paul Molitor and Edgar Martinez. And a little more if we call Tommy Leach a CF. He made four All-Star teams, was the captain of the A’s World Series winners from 1972-1974, and put up five seasons of 5+ WAR and another five of 3+. As we’ve written plenty around here, Bando was the best position player in baseball from 1969-1973. Even if you don’t think WAR is the be-all, end-all, Bando was clearly the best at his position in the AL during part of his career as Brooks Robinson faded away and George Brett wasn’t yet a thing. That he’s about the 103rd third baseman we’ve elected from the period isn’t really a big deal. We also have a ton of catchers from the 1970s and 1980s, and there league-wide trends that influenced both of those gluts that we are more willing now to ignore. On top of that, he manned a position and played in an era that are both underrepresented in our rolls, making him not only a good selection on merits but also good for the balance of our institution.
When we offer a vote for a player that’s not supported by our colleague, we explain that vote here.
Pud Galvin: I want to induct at least one more pitcher beyond the sure things coming in the next six elections. Those who we’re still considering include Galvin, Jim McCormick, Clark Griffith, Wilbur Cooper, and Tommy John. David Wells and Kenny Rogers also shouldn’t just be ignored. In short, Galvin is my favorite of these pitchers.
Our 2009 election is now in the books. Please check out our Honorees page to see the plaques of those elected and to see plenty more information about the HoME.