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Why did it take so long for Johnny Mize to be elected?

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  • Why did it take so long for Johnny Mize to be elected?

    I've always been curious about why it took so long for Johnny Mize to be inducted in the HoF? He seems the kind of player that the baseball writers love to vote for; a power hitting, high average hitter who drove in lots of runs. He was a 10-time All Star, and finished in top-5 in MVP voting four times (as high as 2nd in 1939 and 1940). Mize just missed being part of the Gas House Gang Cardinals and the Cardinals World Series teams of 1942-44. He did play on the Yankee's World Series teams of 1949-53 but wasn't a starter. Did lack of postseason action and losing the war years hurt Mize?
    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 06-26-2012, 12:11 PM.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    Good question. He went in @ 1980 didn't he. It seems very far removed from the backlog that would have been present for the first 10-20 years.

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    • #3
      Didn't the voters take alot of heat for voting Greenberg in during the 1956 election. Maybe that played a part. It's kinda strange how Billy Herman got in before him. I can see how Ralph Kiner got in before him because he was in the public eye as a announcer.

      He was cousins with Babe Ruth's wife you would think she would have some pull to help him get in earlier.

      I dont know if it's just me but voters in the 50's or 60's didn't seem to give players much WW2 war credit.
      "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

      "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

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      • #4
        a 2011 article about Mize's long wait for HoF induction.

        http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/..._hall_of_fame/

        According to the article Mize was on the ballot from 1960-73. In 1960 Mize received just 16.7% of the vote. He topped out at 43.6% of the vote in 1971. In the comment section they talk about Hank Greenberg's election as well.
        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

        Comment


        • #5
          Interesting. Through 1961, the following players had hit 300 career home runs:

          Ruth
          Foxx
          Williams
          Ott
          Gehrig
          Musial
          Mize
          Greenberg
          Hornsby
          Klein
          Berra
          Mathews
          Mays
          Mantle
          Snider
          Hodges
          Kiner
          Dimaggio
          Simmons

          All got in except Hodges and in a 1961 book Mize was HIGHLY regarded. I mean Kiner deservancy was somewhat questioned and he got in in 1975.

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          • #6
            I think Mize had several things working against him. First, though he clearly was the best NL first baseman from the mid-30s through the late 40s, he suffered from missing 3 prime seasons due to WW2. That hurt his counting numbers- always important to HOF voters. And, he only had a couple of top-flight seasons after WW2. So, his run of excellence was all chopped up- through no fault of his own. Then, he became a part-time player (albeit a very valuable one) with the Yankees for the last 5 years of his career- no big home run/RBI numbers- just part-time starting and a bunch of pinch-hitting. So, in the late stages of his career, he sort of just faded away- at least in the public eye. This is the same thing that dogged Duke Snider a decade later, and contributed to his lengthy wait for HOF induction.

            Based on his actual performance and the circumstances of the war, Mize clearly deserved a very different fate with HOF voters.

            Comment


            • #7
              I find it horribly ironic that Mize's manager for the first three years of his career was Frankie Frisch, who later stuffed the Hall of Fame with every half-decent first baseman that he ever played with EXCEPT for the best one. The last year Mize was on the ballot, George Kelly was selected by Frisch's committee. The next year, Jim Bottomley made it.

              If you think that George Kelly was better than Johnny Mize, you probably also think that Aubrey Huff is better than Albert Pujols.

              A lot of what happened to Mize is really weird. The trade from the Cardinals - within the league - to the Giants. Mize is 28 years old, the best hitter in the National League, and he gets traded for a backup catcher, a spot starter, and a fourth outfielder. And those guys were 28, 28 and 31 years old, so it's not as if the Cardinals gambled on some kids who didn't pan out.

              Then, at age 36, Mize has his first season with an OPS+ under 150, and the Giants panic and sell him to the Yankees - their direct competition for tickets, broadcasting, etc. The Giants get $40,000 for him.

              And after each of the teams lose Mize, they get better... The Cardinals are World Champions the next year, and win the pennant in four of the next six. The Giants win the pennant two years after they sell Mize.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Gee Walker View Post
                I find it horribly ironic that Mize's manager for the first three years of his career was Frankie Frisch, who later stuffed the Hall of Fame with every half-decent first baseman that he ever played with EXCEPT for the best one.
                Frisch ran the Veterans' Committee. Mize wasn't eligible for consideration by the VC during Frisch's lifetime.

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                • #9
                  From 1936-42 (age 23-29) Mize hit .331/.413/.588, 170 OPS+. Mize then missed three years to WW II then in 1946-48 (ages 33-35) Mize hit .606/.401/.586, 165 OPS+. That's impressive. Then in 1949 he declined. But in 1950 he had a great season as a part-timer, hitting .277/.351/.595, 142 OPS+, hitting 25 HR with 72 RBI in just 305 plate appearances. Those three missing years cost Mize a shot at well over 400 career HRs and about 1,600 career RBI.
                  Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by westsidegrounds View Post
                    Frisch ran the Veterans' Committee. Mize wasn't eligible for consideration by the VC during Frisch's lifetime.
                    Mize's last year on the writers ballot was 1973, which was the year Frisch died.
                    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                      Mize's last year on the writers ballot was 1973, which was the year Frisch died.
                      And Mize became eligible for consideration by the Veterans' Committee in 1976.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                        From 1936-42 (age 23-29) Mize hit .331/.413/.588, 170 OPS+. Mize then missed three years to WW II then in 1946-48 (ages 33-35) Mize hit .606/.401/.586, 165 OPS+. That's impressive. Then in 1949 he declined. But in 1950 he had a great season as a part-timer, hitting .277/.351/.595, 142 OPS+, hitting 25 HR with 72 RBI in just 305 plate appearances. Those three missing years cost Mize a shot at well over 400 career HRs and about 1,600 career RBI.

                        Mize also had a .332 average through his first 10 years, and it looks to me like he ranked as high as 5th on the ALL time home run list behind Ruth, Foxx, Ott, Gehrig and Dimaggio at one point. It's kind of strange to think that Dimaggio was 5th all time with 361. Had Mize not lost war years he would have ranked a strong 5th in the 400s behind Ruth, Foxx, Ott and Gehrig for until Musial and Williams passed him.

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                        • #13
                          I know Casey Stengel liked to platoon his players but Mize seemed like he was pretty good still. Why wouldn't he keep Mize in the starting lineup more? Not that Stengel did anything wrong because he won a WS every year Mize played for the Yankees.
                          "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

                          "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bump!
                            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              To me, Johnny Mize is a slightly better verson of Hank Greenberg that also accumulated 20% more plate appearances than Hank did! Thus, I rank Mize ahead of Greenberg on my list. And Greenberg didn't wait too long to get elected.

                              Here are some reasons why I believe that the voters errantly omitted Mize as long as they did:

                              Mize never had the monstrous RBI seasons like Greenberg. Greenberg had RBI totals of 183, 170, and 150. Mize's all-time high was 137.
                              Also, Greenberg famously challenged Babe's HR mark with a whopping 58 HRs while adding 146 RBI. Greenberg also nearly set a record when he smashed 63 doubles in 1934. And that year, he had 139 RBI.

                              Fortunately for Greenberg, he played in a much better hitter's park, which most voters haven't factored in until recently.

                              Sabermetrically, I like Mize more.

                              Let's look at their top OPS+ seasons with 100+ games played:

                              Greenberg 172, 171, 170,169, 162,156, 156,131, 119
                              Johnny M. 186, 178, 177, 176,173,162, 161, 160, 156

                              To me, Mize wins solidly.

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