Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ranking of the Hall of Fame Candidates

After 23 seasons of the league, we have quite a few players who have performed above and beyond their peers and have earned a nomination for the Hall of Fame. Here I have sorted out the entire list of nominees in ranked order and have given my assessment to decide who should be immortalized forever and who should be relegated to distant memory. Some consideration was also given in the rank order to give older retirees some priority in the hopes that they get elected before they disappear (The reason Pena moved up to #5 over Marrero at #6).

HALL OF FAMERS (AT LEAST THEY SHOULD BE) – These are the guys who seem like clear cut choices who deserve to have a plaque.

#1 - J.J. Perez – C
Final Season:  19
Awards:  1 MVP, ROY, 2 SS, 2 GG, 6 AS
Far and away the best all-around catcher in league history and the only one to ever win a MVP, a GG, and a SS.  He has barely missed making it in every season since he retired and absolutely belongs. His status as an older draft pick (21) gave him a couple less prime seasons than some others. Please vote for J.J. before he disappears.
Verdict:  Absolute Hall of Famer
Best Vote Count:  15 (S20)

#2 - Earl Jorgensen – 2B/LF
Final Season:  17
Awards:  2 MVP, 6 SS, 5 AS
The story of Earl Jorgensen is essentially split in two. Before his devastating season long injury in Season 8, he was a 2-time MVP and as a 2B, arguably the best player in the AL (Best in NL and all MLB being HOFer Jake Clapp). After season 8, he was still a very good contributor as a LF (or subpar 2B). As a corner outfielder his numbers would make him a borderline guy, but as someone who mostly played 2B, his offensive numbers are spectacular and should make him an easily elected candidate.
Verdict:  Hall of Famer
Best Vote Count:  3 (S20)

#3 - Brandon Sutton – DH/1B
Final Season:  19
Awards:  4 SS, 4 AS, 1 WS Ring
The best hitter in Yankee history and the best overall bat among all of the current class of nominees when taking into account power, average, and longevity. He is also the #4 all-time leader in runs created. His lower durability lessened his playing time causing him to just miss on some of the magic career numbers, but would be in the conversation of best all-time lefty hitters not named Hutton or Marte. He was a six-time MVP candidate, finishing second 5 times. Call me a homer if you wish, but he looks like a sure fire HOFer to me.
Verdict:  Hall of Famer
Best Vote Count:  1st Time Nominee (Waited to nominate him until he was a Top 5 candidate I could endorse)

#4 - Francisco Guillen – 3B
Final Season:  18
Awards:  3 SS, 5 AS, 1 WS Ring
Great switch-hitting 3B who was a lifetime Yankee. Elected as the all first decade team 3B and in the conversation with Doug Stewart as the best 3B of all time. Has barely missed election every season since eligible and belongs in the Hall.
Verdict:  Hall of Famer
Best Previous Vote:  15 (S19)

#5 - Miguel Pena – CF/2B
Final Season:  18
Awards:  2 SS, 2 GG (1 CF, 1 2B), 6 AS, 1 WS Ring
A superb defensive player who also had a very potent bat. Did gain some benefit from playing almost exclusively at offense friendly home parks, but his combination of offense and defense was a rare talent. He is similar, yet a slight downgrade from the legendary Damian Chen.
Verdict:   Hall of Famer
Best Vote Count:  6 (S22)

#6 - Juan Marrero – CF/2B
Final Season:  20
Awards:  5 SS, 7 AS, 2 WS Rings
Was a spectacular offensive performer at a premium defensive position. Spending 60% of his career in pitching friendly St. Louis put a significant dent in his career power numbers which are still very impressive.
Verdict:  Hall of Famer
Best Vote Count:  4 (S20)

#7 - Hiram Abbott - 1B
Final Season:  23
Awards:  1 MVP, 5 SS, 1 AS
A great hitter who had all but his final season in pitching friendly home ball parks, but was still able to put up nine seasons of being a top tier offensive threat, two of which were superstar level. Was an older draft pick (21), which diminishes his total career numbers. The biggest knock people might have on him is his lack of hardware, but this is the result of playing in the golden era of NL 1B (Dee Dee Hutton, Kevin Marte, Pedro Garrido, Pascual Martin), but a career .410 OBP (a number that would annually be close to league leading) is outstanding.
Verdict:  Hall of Famer
Best Previous Vote: 1st Time Nominee

BORDERLINE CANDIDATES – These are guys who have had quite a career but there are just going to be people on both sides of the discussion over their candidacy.

#8 - Guy Cunningham – RF/1B
Final Season:  19
Awards:  3 SS, 6 AS, 3 GG (1B), 1 WS Ring
Excellent hitter who played almost his entire career in neutral Yankee Stadium. Had a long career of sustained excellence as none of his 17 seasons vary significantly from his career averages (.304/.363/.524). 
Verdict:  Probably belongs in but definitely the “Chris Bosh” of the Yankee glory years Big 3
Best Previous Vote:  9 (S20)

#9 - Hersh Taylor – 1B
Final Season:  23
Awards:  1 MVP, 3 SS, 4 AS
Was a very good power hitter who played all of his home games in home run suppressing ballparks. Missed at least one prime season from being brought up slowly. His defensive skills were best suited for DH so unfortunately, he made quite a few poor plays during his time in the field.
Verdict:  He plays in neutral parks and he probably loses borderline status, so I think he should be in.
Best Vote Count:  0

#10 - Douglas Carpenter – RF
Final Season:  20
Awards:  1 MVP, 5 SS, 9 AS, 2 WS Rings
An excellent hitter who spent the majority of his career in hitting friendly ballparks. Had some spectacular seasons in Cinci so his homerun total was given a significant boost from Riverfront. RF was a relatively thin position during most of his career, assisting in the award totals. He is a tough call.
Verdict:  Tough call with his big home park benefit. I am still on the fence.
Best Previous Vote:  5 (S20)
#11 - Bernard Springer – C/DH
Final Season:  17
Awards:  2 SS, 7 AS
One of the most feared right handed bats of all time. His defense was unremarkable at best and his lower durability did not allow him to play more than about ¾ of each season. With his low durability and the late start to his career, it decreased his career output to put him in the borderline category, but there was not very many better with regard to per AB production.
Verdict:  I thought he was pretty much our closest equivalent to Mike Piazza, but he has not generated any support to this point which is why he falls so low.
Best Vote Count:  0

#12 - Kordell Becker – SP
Final Season:  23
Awards:  3 AS, 4 GG
A pitcher who teased many a GM with many performances that never quite lived up to the hype surrounding how good his “stuff” was. He did have some great seasons, but he also had a few too many above average and mediocre seasons to have a clear cut case. Of his 18 mostly complete seasons, I would classify 8 as excellent, 5 as above average, 3 as mediocre, and 2 as terrible.
Verdict:  Hard to elect a SP without a Cy and I don’t think he quite did enough.
Best Previous Vote:  1st Time Nominee

#13 - Pedro Garrido – 1B
Final Season:  15
Awards:  1 MVP, ROY, 2 SS, 2 AS, 1 WS Ring
Great hitter who burst onto the scene at the end of Season 1 as a fully developed player who went straight from the Dominican Republic to the Majors. He did get a boost from hitter friendly Veteran’s Stadium for most of his prime and got overshadowed by Hutton and Marte. He lost some career numbers as he did not get his first full season until he was 25. If he would have come to the US as a teenager, he would likely already have a plaque, but as it is he has not been able to generate any support with his borderline candidacy.
Verdict:  Put up lots of Hall quality numbers, but the short career is likely his undoing.
Best Previous Vote:  0

#14 - Valerio Guillen – 1B
Final Season:  17
Awards:  1 MVP, 1 SS, 1 GG, 4 AS
Superb hitter who missed some seasons as he was already in his prime at league inception. A guy who would have been a serious candidate with a few more seasons on the books, but just didn’t have quite enough to garner support.
Verdict:  A woulda-coulda HOFer if the league started 5 seasons earlier.
Best Vote Count:  1 (S19)

#15 - Bingo Miller – 2B/LF
Final Season:  22
Awards:  2 SS, 8 AS, 1 GG (LF), 3 WS Rings
A very good hitter and a great OBP guy with solid power for a 2B. Had a slow start to his career trying to break in to the lineup on a loaded Yankees squad which decreased his career totals. Impressive numbers for a 2B but not sure that it was quite enough.
Verdict:  Terrific OBP guy who gets in with a couple more prime years.
Best Vote Count:  0

#16 - Sam Kubinski – 2B
Final Season:  18
Awards:  2 SS (2B), 1 AS
Was a great slugger for a 2B and had some outstanding seasons. He did not have quite enough or did not do enough of anything else that well to merit any serious consideration.
Verdict:  Homers are great to get from a 2B, but not a good enough all around player
Best Vote Count:  1 (S19)

#17 - Morris Houston – RP
Final Season:  19
Awards:  1 Fireman, 7 AS
A superb short reliever who had his best seasons in extreme pitching friendly Petco. While his numbers are outstanding, the home park effects and the status as a short reliever are massive obstacles to his election.
Verdict:  A one-inning guy has to be dominant, a one-inning guy pitching mostly in Petco has to be Vic Castillo good.
Best Vote Count:  1 (S20)

#18 - Bing Miles – LF/1B
Final Season:  19
Awards:  1 AS, 1 WS Ring
The leading singles hitter of all-time who hit for a decent batting average but only had the one skill.
Verdict:  If it were the singles hitting Hall of Fame, I would be the first one to vote for him.
Best Vote Count:  2

Not on the Radar – These guys had decent careers but did not do nearly enough to warrant more than a homer vote and any vote for them has as much as value as a vote for a third party presidential candidate.

#19 - Chad Seabol – RF/2B
Awards:  1 GG (RF), 1 SS, 2 AS
Mysteriously played RF when he had the skills to do so and then moved to 2B later in his career after he lost some range and didn’t do very well. Was a good slugger who might have had a chance if he had been a 2B in his prime and then moved to LF later. As a COF, he comes up short.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  2 (S18)

#20 - Alejandro Vazquez – SP
Awards:  1 GG, 2 AS
An above average pitcher with a long career. Not close to the level of sustained greatness for Hall consideration.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  1st Season Nominated

#21 - Gene Simms – C
Awards:  5 SS, 7 AS, 3 WS Rings
Was a solid offensive contributor to some powerful A’s teams with adequate defensive skills. With his offensive output, he would have had to be a brilliant defensive wizard to warrant consideration.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  0

#22 - Jolbert Lopez - LF
Awards:  5 SS, 9 AS
Had quite a few very good seasons, but not enough and not special enough to merit any support.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  0

#23 - Ken Upshaw – RP
Awards:  7 AS, 2 WS Rings
Was a very good relief pitcher for quite a few seasons but had far more seasons that would be considered simply above average and not nearly enough that were great.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  1 (S21)

#24 - James Hutton – RP
Awards:  2 Fireman, 7 AS
Was a very good reliever for a number of years in mostly pitching friendly locations. With the home park effects and low number of innings, he was not outstanding enough to garner any serious Hall consideration.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  2 (S20)

#25 - Ismael Lopez – SS
Awards:  1 SS, 4 AS, 1 GG (RF), 1 WS Ring
If he had been a good fielding SS, then those offensive numbers would be impressive, but with a lifetime of 15 + plays and 24 - plays at SS, it just is not enough.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  0

#26 - Tom Tucker – 3B
Awards:  1 SS, 1 GG, 1 AS
Was an above average defensive 3B and an above average hitter, but nothing that remarkable or close to HOF worthy.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  1st Season Nominated

#27 - Eric Roosevelt – RF
Awards:  3 AS
For the most part, Eric was a homer or nothing guy and didn’t do anything else particularly well.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  0

#28 - Bo Whitaker – SP
Awards:  2 AS
Had 3 very good seasons in a barely above average lengthy career. Can get into the Hall if he buys a ticket to visit.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  1st Season Nominated

#29 - Felipe Oropesa – C
Awards:  1 SS, 7 AS
A good catcher but by no means Hall worthy.
Verdict:  Not on the Radar
Best Vote Count:  0
Current Rank: 

WASTE OF OUR TIME – These guys had relatively unremarkable careers and really have no business taking up space on a HOF ballot.

#30 - Sammy Arias – CF
Awards:  ROY, 4 AS
A valuable power bat at a premium defensive position, but not really a stand out performer in either category.
Verdict:  Waste of Ballot Space
Best Previous Vote: 1st Time Nominee

#31 - Jerry Kaline – 3B
Awards:  1 SS, 2 AS, 1 WS Ring
Was an above average 3B with a decent career, but does not belong anywhere near this list.
Verdict:  Waste of ballot space

#32 - Damion Stock – 2B
Awards:  1 SS, 1 GG, 2 AS
A decent 2B with great base stealing skill, but overall just an above average player.
Verdict:  Waste of Ballot Space
Best Vote Count:  0

#33 - Warren Justice – SP
Awards:  1 GG, 3 AS
An above average starting pitcher with no business being on the ballot.
Verdict:  Waste of ballot space

#34 - Raul Astacio – RP
Awards:  1 Fireman, 6 AS
An above average one inning closer who made all-star teams because Simmy loves saves.
Verdict:  Waste of ballot space
Best Previous Vote:  1 (S18)  (That one vote is a hardcore homer vote!)

#35 - Wascar Martinez – SP
Awards:  1 AS, 1 WS Ring
An above average pitcher with no business being on the ballot.
Verdict:  Waste of Ballot Space
Best Vote Count:  1 (S18)   (This homer vote is beyond crazy!)

#36 - Rico Herrera – SP
Awards:  2 AS
At his best he was above average, at his worst he was horrid, and overall he wasn’t much more than a league average starting pitcher who had a decent length career.
Verdict:  Waste of Ballot Space
Best Vote Count:  0

#178 (There has to be around that many better retired players) - John McCall – RP
Awards:  1 Fireman, 2 AS, 1 WS Ring
An average relief pitcher who does not belong.
Verdict:  Waste of Ballot Space

Best Vote Count:  0

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