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Fixing the Hall of Fame - Part 5b: Continued

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21-30: Players of the quality of the better veterans’ committee selections. The numerical argument is frequently harder to see. Again, all are in the Hall of Merit.
• John Beckwith-3B/SS (1918-38) (WAR) (#31 HOP) (HoM 1957-18th) – Great Negro League hitter and successful manager.
• Charlie Bennett-C (1878-93) (37.7 WAR) (#32 HOP) (HoM 1921-23rd) – Most durable catcher of his day and a much better hitter than the average backstop. OPS+ of 142 1881-88. Much beloved in Detroit where they named the ball park after him.
• Will Clark-1B (1986-2000) (57.4 WAR) (#22 HOP) (HoM 2006-1st) – His time and place depressed the numbers from his great peak. OPS+ of 147 1987-94.
• Darrell Evans-3B/1B (1969-89) (57.0 WAR) (#19 HOP) (HoM 1995-1st) – Excelled at everything but what the voters focus on. Fine glove, walks and power. A leader.
• Wes Ferrell-SP (1927-41) (53.3 WAR) (#24 HOP) (HoM 1964-21st) – Superior bat and great durability in a tough era for pitchers.
• Jack Glasscock-SS (1879-95) (58.1 WAR) (#27 HOP) (HoM 1904-4th) – Best shortstop of the 1880’s. OPS+ of 128 1882-90. Only Anson had more hits in the NL 1885-90. The first man to play 1500 games at SS.
• George Gore-CF (1879-92) (45.9 WAR) (#21 HOP) (HoM 1898-1st) – Leadoff hitter for 7 NL champions in the 1880’s. One of three players with 1000 runs scored and more R than G.
• Heinie Groh-3B (1912-27) (46.4 WAR) (#23 HOP) (HoM 1938-6th) – Stats show him as better than Traynor.
• Keith Hernandez-1B (1974-90) (61.0 WAR) (#36 HOP) (HoM 1996-1st) – A force in the field, great OBP. 5 years all-star, 11 GG, MVP. OPS+ of 139 1979-86.
• Home Run Johnson-SS (1895-1916) (#29 HOP) (HoM 1925-5th) – Has a good case for being the top Black player for the decade of the 1900s.

31-40: Players of the quality of the typical veterans’ committee selections. While these players are fully deserving given the Hall’s standards, they are on the back burner.
• Ken Boyer-3B (1955-69) (58.3 WAR) (#37 HOP) (HoM 1991-17th) – 7 years all-star, 5 GG, MVP. Lost two years to military service.
• Bob Caruthers-SP/RF (1884-93) (71.4 WAR) (#43 HOP) (HoM 1930-32nd) – W-L pct .688, 3rd all-time. Probably the best hitting pitcher in history, OPS+ 133.
• Dwight Evans-RF (1972-91) (61.7 WAR) (#28 HOP) (HoM 1997-1st) – Much like the other D. Evans. 8 GG. OPS+ of 137 1980-89.
• Bill Freehan-C (1961-76) (43.4 WAR) (#38 HOP) (HoM 1985-4th) – The top catcher of the 1960’s, 11-time all-star.
• Fred McGriff-1B (1986-2004) (50.5 WAR) (#30 HOP) – Ten years 30+ HR, 8 years 100+ RBI. OPS+ of 153 1987-94.
• Dale Murphy-CF/RF (1976-93) (44.4 WAR) (#40 HOP,#17 UQFC) – 7 years all-star, 5 GG, 2 MVP. OPS+ of 140 1980-87.
• Joe Start-1B (1862-86) (30.9 WAR) (#42 HOP) (HoM 1912-15th) – Age 33 when the NL was founded, long-established as the game’s premier first baseman. Adapted and excelled throughout the pro game’s early development.
• Harry Stovey-LF/1B (1880-93) (46.8 WAR) (#33 HOP,#20 UQFC) (HoM 1916-18th) – Power/speed king of the early game. Along with Hamilton and Gore, one of three players with 1000 runs scored and more R than G. OPS+ of 151 1882-91.
• Ezra Sutton-3B (1870-88) (37.3 WAR) (#41 HOP) (HoM 1908-11th) – The top third baseman pre-1900.
• Jim Wynn-CF (1963-77) (59.8 WAR) (#35 HOP) (HoM 1996-14th) – A case for sabermetrics, even more so than Grich.

41-50: Clearly better than the HOF mistakes, and just over the line for inclusion. They’re mostly long-overlooked players with statistical cases requiring translation. I will forgo commenting on these for now.
• Pete Browning-CF/LF (1882-94) (36.3 WAR) (HoM 2005-107th) –
• Cupid Childs-2B (1888-1901) (47.1 WAR) (#51 HOP) (HoM 1988-82nd) –
• Charlie Keller-LF (1939-52) (43.3 WAR) (#48 HOP) (HoM 1996-40th) –
• Cal McVey-C/1B (1869-79) (21.3 WAR) (#56 HOP) (HoM 1914-17th) –
• Dobie Moore-SS (1916-26) (WAR) (#50 HOP) (HoM 1991-60th) –
• Graig Nettles-3B (1967-88) (61.3 WAR) (#39 HOP) (HoM 2006-13th) –
• Willie Randolph-2B (1975-92) (60.4 WAR) (HoM 2001-4th) –
• Hardy Richardson-2B/LF (1879-92) (40.5 WAR) (#34 HOP) (HoM 1905-8th) –
• Jimmy Sheckard-LF (1897-1913) (51.7 WAR) (#44 HOP) (HoM 1930-12th) –
• George Van Haltren-CF (1887-1903) (45.9 WAR) (#49 HOP) –

Two recent BBWAA selections, Jim Rice and Bruce Sutter, fall below this group of 50 players. Andre Dawson is in the range of the third group. Recent VC selection Joe Gordon is from the second or third group.

Ten years ago the top 50 list included about 37 of the same names. Since then, the BBWAA elected Carter and Gossage; the VC picked up Gordon; and the election en masse of Black baseball stars in 2006 cleared about ten names from the list.

Keep in mind that the above is a seat-of-the-pants balancing of various surveys, ratings and opinions. Your Mileage May Vary.

Part 6 will discuss what the HOF should do with the Veterans Committee.

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