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Duke and the Hall voting

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  • Duke and the Hall voting

    Why did it take the writers ten years to induct him in the hall? If you look, his first year on the ballot he only received 17% of the vote?! Now I realize that in 1970, the ballot was littered with future Hall of Famers and several players that all deserved to be in Cooperstown, but still... he was tied for 20th in the voting?

  • #2
    Originally posted by The Commissioner View Post
    Why did it take the writers ten years to induct him in the hall? If you look, his first year on the ballot he only received 17% of the vote?! Now I realize that in 1970, the ballot was littered with future Hall of Famers and several players that all deserved to be in Cooperstown, but still... he was tied for 20th in the voting?
    I think the answer is both complicated and simple. The first part of the simple answer is that, by the time Duke became eligible, his career numbers (which the vast majority of voters were driven by) looked less than overwhelming. His career BA dipped below .300, to .295. He barely cracked 400 career homers (more on that later). He only had about 2100 career hits. The second part of the simple answer is that it had been quite a few years since Duke had been a huge star- his career ended in 1964, but his last "full" season was 1957. It was more than 10 years since he had been considered among the greatest players in baseball.

    The complicated part is the detail behind the simple part. Snider was one of the first of the post-war transition players. He had big average and power numbers and was a terrific defensive centerfielder. BUT, and this is a big but, when he got hurt, lost playing time and mobility, and then moved to the notorious LA Coliseum, his career counting numbers stagnated. Snider was the leading home run and RBI man in the Majors in the 1950s. By 1960, he was number 7 alltime in career home runs- behind only Ruth, Foxx, Ott, Williams, Gehrig, and Musial. But, reduced by injuries then advancing age to part-time status, his career counting stats inched along. At the same time there was a new crop of younger post-war players who were riding the power wave of the 50s and early 60s and who, for the most part, were staying healthy. In addition to alltime greats like Mays and Mantle, there were guys like Banks, Mathews, Killebrew, and of course new superstars like Aaron and Frank Robinson, who were putting up big offensive numbers NOW. All of these guys passed Snider in homer and RBI totals, quite a few of them by the time that Duke retired. So, Duke's great offensive numbers (and they were outstanding) started to look less impressive as one power hitter after another passed him. And, of course, by 1970, the first year of his eligibility, it had been well over a decade since he had been a superstar. Voters, then as now, are subject to short memories. In 1970 Mantle had just recently retired- almost all the rest of the aforementioned group were still playing, and passing 500, 600, even approaching the sacred 700 number. Duke looked like yesterday's news.

    Had Snider stayed healthy- that is, not injured his knee- he almost certainly would have been a 500 homer man, even with the move to California, and with that, a likely first ballot HOFer. But, he didn't.

    One final point- lots of younger fans don't realize this with the miracles of modern microsurgery, but in the not so distant past- at least until the 1960s, possibly later- knee injuries often devastated or ended careers. Incisions were huge, repair techniques were limited. Snider stated that it took nearly 2 full years following his knee surgery before his running was unaffected, and nearly a full year before he could drive off his rear (left) leg while batting.
    Last edited by BigRon; 02-28-2011, 08:37 AM.

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    • #3
      Well stated. Didn't he have a poor relationship with some sportswriters for a while also?

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      • #4
        I don't think its anything Duke did, or didn't do. If you look at the inductions from 1970-1979 when he didnt get in you will notice 2 things.

        1) There aren't many players voted in during those 10 years by the BBWAA, only 14 to be exact.

        2) Of those 14 players voted in before Duke, only 4 were outfielders. Thats right...4. Their names, Clemente, Mantle, Kiner, and Mays. You could make a case against Kiner being voted in before Snider, but Mantle, and Mays were both considered at, or above Duke's level by the average pundits of the day. Clemente HAD to be voted in on his first year of eligibility for a number of reasons, and was. Its not as if the BBWAA was inducting vastly inferior outfielders before Duke got in. I think his lack of induction from 1970-1979 has more to do with the stinginess of the BBWAA in inducting anyone during the decade of the 70's.
        unknown brooklyn cabbie " how are the brooks doin"
        unknown fan "good they got three men on base"
        unknown brooklyn cabbie "which one?"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by theAmazingMet View Post
          I don't think its anything Duke did, or didn't do. If you look at the inductions from 1970-1979 when he didnt get in you will notice 2 things.

          1) There aren't many players voted in during those 10 years by the BBWAA, only 14 to be exact.

          2) Of those 14 players voted in before Duke, only 4 were outfielders. Thats right...4. Their names, Clemente, Mantle, Kiner, and Mays. You could make a case against Kiner being voted in before Snider, but Mantle, and Mays were both considered at, or above Duke's level by the average pundits of the day. Clemente HAD to be voted in on his first year of eligibility for a number of reasons, and was. Its not as if the BBWAA was inducting vastly inferior outfielders before Duke got in. I think his lack of induction from 1970-1979 has more to do with the stinginess of the BBWAA in inducting anyone during the decade of the 70's.
          You make some good points. But, the surprise to me is that Snider didn't fare somewhat better in the early voting. Based on my earlier post, it's clear that he wasn't going to get in the first couple of years but I really expected he would have started out at 40% or so, not 17%. And, the first few years he was behind- sometimes well behind- guys like George Kell, Phil Rizzuto, Marty Marion, Allie Reynolds, Red Schoendienst- all fine players but not close to The Duke in performance. I think one year even Don Larsen (!) was ahead of him.

          It can be debated forever how the HOF voting should go- the old you're either good enough or not argument, the tiered approach, etc. Still, given what we've seen of the HOF over the decades I would have expected Snider to go in by about his fifth or sixth year of eligibility.

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