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  • Bad Time or Place

    We have often debated here many players that may not have deserved to, or put up the numbers to, go into the Hall had they not had the fortune of playing for an excellent ballclub or in a ballpark suited towards their strengths. On the other side of the coin, though, which ballplayers do you feel might have been enshrined in Cooperstown had they not had the misfortune of playing for miserable teams, in the wrong ballpark, or perhaps even the wrong era? Obviously many Negro Leaguers will immediately come to mind, but I am mostly referring to ML ballplayers that just were not fortunate enough to be wearing pinstripes or hitting at Coors Field.

  • #2
    Bert Blyleven would be enshrined already if he'd had the good fortune (like Jack Morris) to have an October stage a little more often.

    Some of the older leather-wielders (Bad Bill Dahlen, Ron Santo, Joe Gordon, Bobby Grich) might have been elected had their defensive prowess been shown off on ESPN's highlights every night.

    Dick Allen may not have such a "character issue" - or so "few" home runs - if he'd played in the 1990s, not the 1960s.

    Carl Mays would be in the Hall of Fame if Ray Chapman hadn't died in that beaning.

    Don Mattingly would not be considered a serious candidate by most people if he'd played his career in Minnesota or Milwaukee or San Diego.

    If Dom DiMaggio had a different last name and hadn't played in Boston, he wouldn't ever be mentioned as a candidate.

    Conversely, if "Indian Bob" Johnson had been a Yankee with those RBI totals, he'd be enshrined already.

    I think in the future you'll see some voters artificially downgradinga player's merits solely because he "switched" teams a lot: Robbie Alomar and Rickey Henderson should be shoo-ins and they might not be for this reason.

    And, naturally, all the wonderful, talented black ballplayers who had the misfortune to play some or all of their careers in a segregated (or, in any case, very prejudiced) era. Minnie Minoso would definately be in already. Sam Jethroe would probably be there with him. You'd have at least another dozen negro league stars. Guys like Curt Flood, Dick Allen and Don Newcombe might have had a better major league career/image if they'd not had to fight against bigotry all their professional lives.
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

    Comment


    • #3
      Excellent examples.

      I would also add Marty Marion in the leather wielders category. Many St. Louis fans old enough to remember him, still insist that he, and not Ozzie, is the greatest fielding shortstop the club ever had.

      Comment


      • #4
        "If Dom DiMaggio had a different last name and hadn't played in Boston, he wouldn't ever be mentioned as a candidate. "

        You obviously never saw Dom play centerfield. He was one of the, if not THE, best of his era. Even Joe admitted Dom was better than he was. Fielding pct. .978, 147 assists, 32 DPs.

        He wasn't exactly an All-American out at the plate, either. Lifetime .298 (over .300 four times), scored 1046 runs (over 100 per year average), 308 doubles (over 30, seven times - 40 in 1948).

        All-Star seven times.

        Actually, if he played somewhere other than Boston (where he was overshadowed by Williams, Doerr, Foxx, Pesky, Grove, Parnell, et al, he might be a stronger candidate for the Hall. And if he wasn't Joe's kid brother, he wouldn't have always been compared to him.

        Remember, baseball isn't all offense.

        Bob

        Comment


        • #5
          The whole Yankees bias thing works both ways. Certain voters will vote for Yankees just because they were Yankees while others wont vote for them simply because they were Yankees. I honestly think that if Mattingly had played in another City and still put up the same type of stats, was still the best player in the game for 3 straight years, was still a team captain and the only difference was what uniform he wore he would get about the same amount of support. Remember up until the time of the back injury he was on the same path as Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn who played in other cities (one big/one small) and are both sure fire 1st ballot hall of famers. Also with the timing if he had stuck around for the 1996 season and the Yankees still won the title he probably would have made it in by now.

          As for other players any current player who relys on speed and defense and hitting singles came about 20 years too late. Any marginal pre cable/ESPN player.
          Lets Go Yankees, Valley Cats, Dutchmen, UT Spartans and ECU Pirates.

          Comment


          • #6
            Bob, you bring up some excellent points. Playing in Boston may have served as a double whammy against Dom. Not only did he face comparisons to his brother, but he had to face comparisons to the guy playing alongside him in left field. I dare say, not many people already enshrined in Cooperstown could surmount that sort of scrutiny either.

            Comment


            • #7
              My personal "Wrong Place, Wrong Time" team:

              1B Norm Cash
              2B Buddy Myer
              3B Harlond Clift
              SS Cecil Travis
              LF Minnie Minoso
              CF Vada Pinson
              RF Tony Oliva
              C Bill Freehan
              P Wes Ferrell
              "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

              NL President Ford Frick, 1947

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Biggtone23
                The whole Yankees bias thing works both ways. Certain voters will vote for Yankees just because they were Yankees while others wont vote for them simply because they were Yankees. I honestly think that if Mattingly had played in another City and still put up the same type of stats, was still the best player in the game for 3 straight years, was still a team captain and the only difference was what uniform he wore he would get about the same amount of support. Remember up until the time of the back injury he was on the same path as Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn who played in other cities (one big/one small) and are both sure fire 1st ballot hall of famers. Also with the timing if he had stuck around for the 1996 season and the Yankees still won the title he probably would have made it in by now.

                As for other players any current player who relys on speed and defense and hitting singles came about 20 years too late. Any marginal pre cable/ESPN player.
                I personally believe Donnie Baseball belongs in the HOF. But he, like many of the others mentioned, will probably have to wait until the Vets committee gets to consider him.
                I have a friend who hates the Yanks so much, he doesn't think Joe Dimaggio belongs in the HOF.
                I personally believe Dom does belong, and I hate the Red Sox.
                Carl Mays probably does belong, but for the beaning.
                IMO I think that it will be a travesty if Gwynn and Ripken are not joined by fellow first balloter Mark McGwire next year. But that is a whole different issue.

                Welcome back ARod. Hope you are a Yankee forever.
                Phil Rizzuto-a Yankee forever.

                Holy Cow

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think that Jose Cruz was a victim of the time (70's) and the park (Astrodome) where he played in his prime nad in other circuntances his acumulative numbers would be a lot better, probably to rise him as a borderline HOF. He and Jimmy Wyn were probably the most afected victims of the Astrodome.
                  You have to suffer a revolution to know what are you talking about.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mtortolero
                    I think that Jose Cruz was a victim of the time (70's) and the park (Astrodome) where he played in his prime nad in other circuntances his acumulative numbers would be a lot better, probably to rise him as a borderline HOF. He and Jimmy Wyn were probably the most afected victims of the Astrodome.
                    More so than Cedeno and Davis...or about the same?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Cedeno is in fact a bordeline and had better peak years than Cruz but apart of the Astrodome factor he was affected by an strong injury just when he was reaching his prime years (he was practically done wityh 30 years old) and that affect a comparison with Cruz in the same terms. Similar happens with Glen Davies.
                      You have to suffer a revolution to know what are you talking about.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        swich Killerbrew (in the dead ball era his power would go way down and thus his walks) for Ed Walsh (his spitball(his only good pitch) was to wet not to be noticed) and neither becomes a regular

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Joe DiMaggio hrs numbers was hurt by Yankee Stadium. He was in the right time and in the right team but not in the right park.
                          You have to suffer a revolution to know what are you talking about.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mtortolero
                            Joe DiMaggio hrs numbers was hurt by Yankee Stadium. He was in the right time and in the right team but not in the right park.
                            Definitely, but Dimagg got in and got in quickly. He was able to overcome the obstacles of his ballpark.

                            Welcome back ARod. Hope you are a Yankee forever.
                            Phil Rizzuto-a Yankee forever.

                            Holy Cow

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by soberdennis
                              I personally believe Donnie Baseball belongs in the HOF. But he, like many of the others mentioned, will probably have to wait until the Vets committee gets to consider him.
                              I have a friend who hates the Yanks so much, he doesn't think Joe Dimaggio belongs in the HOF.
                              I personally believe Dom does belong, and I hate the Red Sox.
                              Carl Mays probably does belong, but for the beaning.
                              IMO I think that it will be a travesty if Gwynn and Ripken are not joined by fellow first balloter Mark McGwire next year. But that is a whole different issue.
                              About Carl Mays: In all the reading I have done on Mays, I have gathered that, while Mays was indeed a mean-spirited competitor who threw close by nature, I have never heard one of them say that the Chapman death was anything but a result of Mays' reckless negligence and lack of regard for a batter's safety. A bad enough quality to have, but far short of saying that he took any personal animus against Chapman to its ultimate conclusion.

                              In any event, whatever bad karma may have resulted from the Chapman beaning in the short term surely faded over time, and his undeniably HOF-worthy (if not necessarily electable) record would have been given a lot more consideration if Chapman were the only black mark. (To its discredit, baseball itself only half-reacted, as it immediately increased the mandatory number of fresh, white balls available for each game, but continuing to make helmets optional until, I believe, 1952!)

                              But the Mays legacy carried far more onerous baggage than Ray Chapman. You may be forgetting that, beginning with Game 4 of the '21 WS for the Yanks (a 4-2 loss, after leading 2-0 in the 8th), there was strong suspicion that Mays was on the take against the Giants that year (he also lost Game 7), and the next (lost his only start) and it followed him the rest of his career. This is spite of the fact that an official inquiry conducted by Judge Landis exonerated him, which is particularly telling, since Landis (in my opinion baseball's most embarrassing figurehead ever) had, as we all know, his own personal and arbitrary code of evidentiary procedure, which had one simple rule: Whatever was convenient to Landis and suited his needs, was what went down. Remember, we were just a couple short years removed from the Black Sox scandal, so it's safe to say that Landis would have banished Mays if he possibly could have.

                              Exonerated or not, however, we all know how these things work, and over time, if old timers believed that Mays was on the dirty in those WS, there would be no way they would ever let him in the HOF. Such things live with you forever. Throw in the fact that Mays was easily one of the most unpopular players of his time, and you have a Rose-like recipe for no f---ing way. As Ruth himself said about Mays, even as they co-anchored three WS winning teams in Boston, then played in three more with NY, "Mays was a first class horse's ass, and that's on the days when I loved him!"
                              Thanks for listening!

                              freak

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