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2010, RIP, Obituaries of Players We're No Longer Considering

RIP, Players Falling Off the 2010 Ballot

Harmon Killebrew graveUnlike in our 2010 election, we didn’t elect any of our backlog on Friday. However, that backlog will shrink by two today with the obituaries for Harmon Killebrew and Tommy John. At this point, there are only six players leftover from past elections: George Gore, Pud Galvin, and Jim McCormick have been around since our first election. Clark Griffith has been with us since our fourth. And Heinie Groh and Wilbur Cooper have been around since election number eight.

In addition to Killebrew and John, we ended the hopes of six newbies, including favorites of some, Fred McGriff and Robin Ventura. With our eight obituaries today closing out our 50th election, we’ve now eliminated 506 players from consideration. And we’ve elected 194 others into the Hall of Miller and Eric. There are 21 players to go to fill our HoME, and in our remaining five elections, we have 53 more players to review from our original 752. That means we’re going to elect nearly 40% 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
2010       8         9          17          3           8            6
2009      10         8          18          4           6            8
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 2010

Ellis BurksWith two All-Star teams, a Gold Glove, and a run title and a SLG title, Ellis Burks was a fine player for 18 years in the bigs. Of course Burks lost all six playoff series in which he competed, but with a respectable .280/.346/.452 line, it wasn’t really his fault. He totaled 352 homers and over 1200 runs and ribbies. In center, he’s similar to Hall of Famers Earle Combs and Edd Roush, not that that’s high praise.

Juan GonzalezFew things get Sabermetrically-minded folks as energized as the MVP trophies Juan Gonzalez took home in 1996 and 1998. While he combined for 92 homers and 301 ribbies those two years, he totaled just 7.6 WAR. Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey topped that number in 1996 alone. And A-Rod did so again in 1998. Juan Gone hit 434 home runs and made three All-Star teams, but for his career, he’s similar to Ken Griffey Sr., Bob Allison, and of course, Hall of Famer Ross Youngs.

The death of Harmon Killebrew has been a long time coming. Eric was against him from the start, while I was a bigger fan. Like the Hall, I suppose, I looked at those shiny 573 homers and salivated. But the reality is that Killer is like a number of other slow-footed, iron-glove corner men who we’ve had to kill off. Guys like Ralph Kiner, Willie Stargell, and even Fred McGriff below were excellent hitters but mediocre to poor enough at other aspects of the game that we couldn’t elect them to the HoME. All told, the man second only to A-Rod in homers by an AL righty, played at an All-Star level only four or five times. That’s Gil Hodges, Tony Perez, Frank Chance territory. In other words, close but no cigar. He was worth three wins a dozen times however. That’s the territory of HoMErs Eddie Murray, Willie McCovey, and Keith Hernandez. He made thirteen All-Star teams, led the AL in HR six times, and topped the league in RBI three others. He was the 1969 AL MVP too, though there may have been a half-dozen superior players in the junior circuit that year. Hurting Killebrew is that his last three seasons were really value-less. Sure, he got to 2000 hits and 1500 RBI. And he tacked on 32 homers. That’s all stuff Hall voters like but stuff that, in the end, didn’t influence us. Bye bye, Harmon.

Tommy JohnThe man after whom baseball’s most well-known surgery is named, Tommy John had his career interrupted when he damaged his ulnar collateral ligament in 1974. In September of that year, Dr. Frank Jobe put him back together, and John won ten games in 1976 after sitting out a year. All told he won 164 games after the surgery and 288 in his career. In 1989 he tied Deacon McGwire’s record 26th major league season, since topped by Nolan Ryan. John was an All-Star four times for three teams, but he was never really great, earning 5-WAR just three times. But he was good for a long time, averaging 2.75 WAR over his next sixteen best seasons. One more five-win season, and I think John might be receiving a plaque, not an obituary. Alas. Sorry, Tommy.

Ray LankfordNearly a lifetime Cardinal, Ray Lankford made the 1997 All-Star team. He was a good hitter and pretty much average at everything else. He was an All-Star-level player three times and worth 4-WAR two more. And he was the seventh best position player in the NL from 1992-1999. The top six are all HoMErs or will be. Think of him like Curt Flood without all or the things that made Flood amazing.

Fred McGriffFred McGriff hit for a lot of power. He won a pair of HR titles, and he smacked 30+ on ten occasions. He made five All-Star teams and was a key component on many of the great Brave teams of the 1990s. Earlier in his career, he was involved in one of the bigger trades ever. The Crime Dog was shipped to San Diego in 1990 with shortstop Tony Fernandez in exchange for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. He gets some Hall support, which is understandable. He fits well with the group that includes Tony Perez, Gil Hodges, and Orlando Cepeda. They’re the definition of the Hall of Very Good, and sometimes those players get bumped up a tad.

Robin VenturaSome people back Robin Ventura for the Hall. And perhaps in an effort to point out how under-appreciated he was they take things a little too far. See, Ventura could draw walks and play defense, two things that many undervalue. But he comes up short of the HoME. Yes, he has seven seasons from 4.0-5.6 WAR, but the next four years only average 2.9 WAR. His peak isn’t great enough. His career isn’t great enough. So the six-time Gold Glove winner and two-time All-Star falls just short.

Fernando VinaI’m surprised that Fernando Vina made our data set. He made an All-Star team and won a pair of Gold Gloves. But he also played just 12 years and posted fewer than 1200 hits. He hit only 40 homers in his career, yet he’s mentioned in the Mitchell Report. Maybe without the PEDs, he’d only have had 33.

Well, 2010 is now in the books. Please check out our Honorees page to see the plaques of our new members and all of the HoMErs. And check back here after the 2011 election for more obituaries.

Miller

 

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Discussion

One thought on “RIP, Players Falling Off the 2010 Ballot

  1. Alas Harmon. My son will be horrified.
    v

    Posted by verdun2 | June 8, 2015, 7:15 am

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