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Vote on the Golden Era HOF Ballot

Vote on the Golden Era HOF Ballot

Gil Hodges

Vote on the Golden Era HOF Ballot

Last week, the Hall of Fame announced the 16-member Golden Era Committee will select from the following candidates: Buzzie Bavasi, Ken Boyer, Charlie Finley, Gil HodgesJim KaatMinnie MinosoTony Oliva,Allie ReynoldsRon Santo and Luis Tiant,

It’s an interesting collection that has some very intriguing borderline candidates. I have created a poll for the NYBD readers to select their choices and I will announce our selections on December 5th.

When I vote for the Hall of Fame I take a few things into consideration. First, I like to see a period of dominance, preferably for at least a decade. Next, I look at compilation of numbers. Even if they don’t have a long period of dominance, did they have a lengthy period of consistent production that puts them at or in striking range of traditional benchmarks. Finally, did he do something historic that has him stand out above the rest? Throughout all this I also look for precedent. If a similar player has been elected (right or wrong), I believe it opens the door for others. Of course, there is always a fine line between “very good” and “great.” Everyone seems to have their own definition.

I have decided to support Ron Santo, Charlie Finley, and Gil Hodges.

Finley might be the one that raises the most eyebrows. It’s easy to criticize him since he was notorious for his frugality and contentious relationship with his players. Finley threatened to send Reggie Jackson to the minor leagues over a contract dispute when he was coming off a 47 home run season. He took Mike Andrews off the ’73 postseason roster because of critical errors in the World Series against the Mets. His overall record is one of mediocrity as the A’s were largely bad during his 20 years of ownership in Kansas City and Oakland.

He did, however, transcend the game with his antics. You know Charlie Finley because of his passion for baseball, however misguided it was. Many of his players admitted years later they hated him so much they played better because of it. He also tried progressive ideas like orange baseballs, the designated runner, and the 3-ball/2-strike rule.

Gil Hodges has been a hot Hall of Fame debate for years, nearly gaining election in 1993 when he fell short one vote. Hodges has both his record playing first base with the Dodgers and his managerial accomplishments with the Mets. The Hall uses a hard mark for first baseman as only 15 players with 1,000 or more games at first have been selected. Before getting into Hodges record, his career is very similar to that of Tony PerezEddie Murray, and Orlando Cepeda- all in the Hall of Fame.

Hodges does fall into the lower tier of first baseman when using advanced stats like OPS+ and WAR. His 119 OPS+ is lower than all first base inductees outside of High Pockets Kelly. From 1950-1957 he hit 263 home runs, drove in 857 runs, and had a .897 OPS. Only Ted Kluszewski had a higher OPS+ than his 132. When you use WAR, Hodges is 10 wins share better than Kluszewski at 37.8.

Most of his production did occur during that 8 year period, since he totaled 44.6 WAR for his career. Higher than the aforementioned Kelly and Jim Bottomley in HOF first baseman.

If you are the on the fence his work with the 1969 Mets should get him over the top. Yes, he had Seaver, Ryan, Koosman, and McGraw on his historic pitching staff, but to keep that Mets team focused on a pennant even when they were 13.5 games out in August is one of the better managerial jobs in history. He was able to maximize his limited offensive talent with platoons that put players in the best position to succeed. Isn’t that what makes a good manager? Even more important is how he immediately changed the culture of “lovable losers” upon his arrival.

The Hall is even harder on third baseman as there are only 8 in inductees that played 1,000 or more games at the position. Quite frankly, is there a better third basemen in the 1960s? I can’t think of one. From 1963-1969 Santo had an OPS+ of 144, 204 home runs, 727 RBI, and OPS of .881. Brooks Robinson, already in the Hall, is a distant second in most offensive categories. Yes, Robinson is probably the best defensive third baseman of all-time, but Santo won 5 Gold Gloves of his own. His election should have been done years ago, and it’s a shame he has passed and won’t be present if he is selected this year.

***

Here are short blurbs about why I don’t support any of the other candidates.

Buzzie Bavasi - spent 17 seasons as the Dodgers general manager from 1951-67, leading his team to four World Series titles and eight National League pennants. He then served in similar capacities for the Padres (1968-77) and Angels 1978-84). Most of his success was due to the Dodgers winning in Los Angeles, but the foundation of the Dodgers began with the work of Branch Rickey. It could also be the timing of Bavasi isn’t great because of the presence of Santo, Hodges, and Finley on the ballot.

Ken Boyer - Tough call as he very “Santo-like” from 1958 -1964 (179 HR, .872 OPS, 5 Gold Gloves, MVP) playing for the Cardinals. He was a solid OBP-guy, but he fell off after the age of 33. I am going to say he is just short, but a case could be made.

Jim Kaat- He had a few good seasons during his Minnesota tenure in the early 60s. He pitched 25 seasons, but spent the majority of the last decade as a reliever/swing-man. Known for being one of the better fielding pitchers all-time as he won 16 Gold Gloves. Only Greg Maddux has won more. Very good career, but not a Hall of Famer.

Minnie Minoso - This is a tough call. Played 17 seasons with the Indians, White Sox, Cardinals and Senators, earning seven All-Star Game selections and three Gold Glove Awards as an outfielder. A native of Cuba, he blazed a trail for Latin American players in the big leagues starting in the 1950s. He is the only professional player to have appeared in a game in 7 different decades, as he played for the St. Paul Saints in 1993 and 2003. He is another player that is very good, but doesn’t give you the “feel” of a Hall of Famer.

Tony Oliva - Like Minoso, Oliva is a very good All-Star player. If you don’t want Bobby Abreu or Johnny Damon in the Hall, then it’s hard to support Oliva.  Played 15 seasons for the Twins, winning three batting titles and leading the American League in hits five times. He was named to eight All-Star Games and won the 1964 AL Rookie of the Year Award; impressive, but not Hall of Fame worthy.

Allie Reynolds - If he didn’t pitch for the Yankees dynasty would we even be having this discussion? 131 of his 182 wins came in the Bronx.  He pitched in six World Series, leading the Yankees to six Fall Classic titles in seven years while posting a 7-2 record with four saves and a 2.79 ERA in 15 World Series games. He appears to be a #3 starter-type that stepped up in the postseason.

Luis Tiant - In 1968 he was 21-9 with a 1.60 ERA for Cleveland. Won 20 games three times in Boston. You could make the argument if Catfish Hunter is in the Hall, then Tiant should be as well. My issue is the guy wasn’t all that dominant even in his 20-win seasons. WHIP’s of 1.2 to 1.3 just don’t excite me despite the funky delivery. You do have to respect his 229 wins, but not enough to earn my support.

CLICK HERE To Submit Your Vote On Mike's Blog For The GOLDEN ERA CANDIDATES

By Mike Silva
Tuesday, 8 Nov 2011

 

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Tagged:
Charles Finley, Golden Era Hall of Fame

Comments

  • scottyd14 said: Clearly ll the players and executives have made substantial contributions to MLB with that said have any of the the players improved over the past 20-50 years. As good as Jim Kaat was would he make anyone's starting 5 rotation when compared to his peers during the same time frame ? Hence if they were not hall of fame material back in the voting eligible days what changed ? scott dachishen 8:09AM 12/21/11
  • RyanNunez said: That's true! No one can forget Mr Hodges's 3 years. Discount Bathroom Vanities 7:15AM 12/20/11
  • RyanNunez said: That's true! No one can forget Mr Hodges's 3 years. Discount Bathroom Vanities 7:14AM 12/20/11
  • neyank said: Jim Kaat should be in the Hall. 283 wins. ERA of 3.45. Won 17 or more games in a season 6 times with his all time high of 25! More wins than Jim Palmer, Bob Feller,Bob Gibson,Juan Marichal,Whitey Ford,Curt Schilling and Don Drysdale. 9:50PM 11/21/11
  • fitvtom said: Minnie Minoso was possibly the most exciting player in the American League for many years, but far beyond that, he is, as Orlando Cepeda has said and written in his autobiography, "THE JACKIE ROBINSON OF LATINO PLAYERS." That truth about Orestes, coupled with his numbers, achievements and his service to baseball that continues to this day, qualifies him, beyond question to the HOF. C'mon, voters...do the right thing. 11:36AM 11/14/11
  • Anonymous said: “Voting — Voting shall be based upon the individual's record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the game.” “Was the player dominant in his era?” In Tony’s case, the answer is a resounding YES. In the league for 15 seasons, Tony’s career encompasses 8 full seasons free of major injury. During those eight seasons he earned 3 Batting Crowns, and finished in the top three, 7 times. He led the league in hits five times and finished in the top ten seven times. In 1972 Tony had 100 fragments removed from his knee (How long does it take you to assemble a puzzle with 100 pieces?). His knee was never the same after that point, and gives him problems to this day. Tony Oliva was named American League Player of the Year twice, by a poll of players for the Sporting News. So while the Baseball Writers association did not choose him as the MVP, the Players did. The Baseball Writers did vote him into the top 10 on five separate occasions. With Carew the “on base and speed guy” and Killebrew the Power hitter, Tony was the All-Around Player of the group. From '64-'71 Oliva was the best player on the team. Tony’s peer group includes Frank Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron, an outstanding group of contemporaries. That being said Tony was named to the All Star team without interruption from 64-71. One of the components that players are judged by is the success of the team. The Twins won the pennant in 65, and took division crowns in 69 and 70. They were also in the great four-way battle for the flag in 67. In 65 he claimed his second batting title in a row, and 69 and 70 he led the league in hits and doubles. He also had 100+ RBI seasons to match his .300+ Batting Average. Another hallmark of a Hall of Famer is the ability to play after their prime. After the 1972 operation he was never the same. In the 4 seasons he played after this debilitating operation, he hit .278 despite having his speed stripped from the game. There is absolutely no question he was good enough to play after his prime. There is no doubt, that Tony was a great player. I believe he is the best player not in the Hall of Fame. Tony is the best player at his position, not in the Hall of Fame Although Tony never won an MVP award, he was in the running several times. In 1964, he won the Rookie of the Year Award and Finished 4th in the MVP ballot. In 1965, he was runner up to teammate Zoilo Versalles, and was voted the Sporting News Player of the Year. In 1966 he came in 6th, was runner up to Boog Powell, and finished 10th in 1971, but won his second Player of the Year award from the Sporting News. Tony was on the All Star team from 1964-1971, every year until his big knee surgery. There is absolutely no question that Tony’s character is beyond reproach. He is one of baseball's great ambassadors. If you could build an individual to represent the great game of baseball, you would take the best attributes from thousands of ballplayers, put them all together and end up with Tony Oliva. Tony Led League in Hits 5 times, Batting Average 3 times, Slugging pctg 1 time, and runs once. Was also a consistent top ten finisher in Batting Average, RBI’s, Slugging Pctg, runs and hits. Clutch Post Season performer - Hit .314, with .588 slugging pct, 5 doubles, 3 homers in 13 post season games, including a Game winning double off of Sandy Koufax in the 1965 World Series. Tony Oliva joined Joe DiMaggio as the only players to be named to the All-Star Game in their first six seasons. Oliva extended that string to eight years, a major league record. 12:08PM 11/12/11
  • Anonymous said: Mr Silva, (..on Luis Tiant) You REALLY may want to go back and double check your facts. Catfish hunter "IS" in the Hall of Fame. AND, according to the statement you've made above: "You could make the argument if Catfish Hunter is in the Hall, then Tiant should be as well". You do realize you are contradicting yourself? To further that, three of Tiants contemporaries, Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Don Drysdale and Jim Bunning were all elected to Cooperstown. Yet, Tiant had more wins, Innings pitched and complete games, tied Drysdale in shutouts and trailed Hunter in 20-win seasons (5 to 4). Also, Tiant was 3-0, 2.86 ERA in post season play. ONLY two players, Tiant and Walter Johnson had two streaks of 40 or more shutout innings. In 1968, Tiant led the A.L. in ERA with 1.60 with a .168 batting average against, the lowest since 1919. ONLY nine pitchers since 1900 have led their league with an ERA under 2.00 two or more times. Six are in the HOF. Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez aren't eligible yet leaving Tiant the lone outsider. Thank god you don't have vote, you weren't even able to get some simple facts correct ! 10:29PM 11/11/11
  • Anonymous said: When is Dwight Evans going to be eligible for the HOF? He has to be one of the most underrated players in baseball history! "The Best" Right fielder in MLB throughout the 70's and 80's and a dominant offensive force for the entire decade of the 80's as well as having one of the greatest arms in baseball! 9:55PM 11/11/11
  • Anonymous said: "...he surely would surely have...", oops! Also, forgot to mention the very real possibility of Ralph Kiner in there. One more fun fact: the first two guys with 400+ homers not inducted into the HOF are Dave Kingman and Darrell Evans, but look at their horrific career batting averages, .236 and .248 respectively. Even though Mr Hodges had one season below the Mendoza line (probably due to chronic knee pain), his .273 career average is more than respectable, even for the era. 5:35PM 11/10/11
  • Anonymous said: Let's not forget that Mr Hodges lost 3 crucial years of his career to the armed forces. With 370 homers as it stands, if WWII had not happened, he surely would surely have passed the magic 400 milestone, along with Hank Greenberg and Joe Dimaggio. 5:17PM 11/10/11
  • Anonymous said: Wouldn't Ron Santo be Ken Boyer-like since Boyer preceded Santo? I think you should rethink your opinion of Mr. Boyer... 12:06AM 11/09/11
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