To wrap this up, I had the group respond to a few questions. And away we go .
Could everyone who wants to contribute speculate on three things:
1) Who will be elected to the Hall this year? (BBWAA and special committee if you want)
2) Of the remaining players on the ballot, who will someday be inducted into the Hall?
3) Who would you put in the Hall who is not already in? (The difference being that 1 & 2 are based on what you think the voters will do whereas 3 is based entirely on your own opinions. Feel free to mention any player who is eligible but not yet in the Hall. This includes anyone on the Vet Committee ballot.)
Heck, let's throw in a #4:
4) Which current (or at least not yet eligible) players will someday be enshrined in Cooperstown?
Did I miss anything?
1) The BBWAA will induct no one. I don't know enough about the special
committee on the Negro Leagues, but there should be several.
2) Bruce Sutter and Rich Gossage will eventually make it.
3) This would be a long list: Bert Blyleven, Bruce Sutter, Rich Gossage, Bobby Grich, Alan Trammell, Darrell Evans.
OK, so that's six people. But those six names came to me immediately.
4) The only question with Cal Ripken is whether or not he will get 100%. He likely won't as one or two voters will feel they have to be William Plumer.
The other guys who can book weekends in upstate New York in their future will be: Roger Clemens, Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux, Roberto Alomar, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Jeff Kent, and Pedro Martinez.
1) Jim Rice or nobody at all.
2) Goose Gossage, Jim Rice, and Bruce Sutter
3) Minnie Minoso, because he was a pioneer, as the first black latin ballplayer, and the first black player, period, to play in Chicago. There is a dispute as to his age, but I think conservatively, he lost 2 maybe 3 decent professional years due to racism. His numbers throughout the fifties are more than respectable. They might not be great, but they are comperable to Doby's, and my feeling is that Minoso deserves to be in the Hall as much for his socio-political importance than his raw stats.
Goose Goassage, Ron Santo, Bert Blyeleven, Alan Trammell, and although I'm on the fence about this one, I'll say Andre Dawson too.
4) Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken, Tim Raines, Mark McGwire, Tony Gwynn, Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, Jr, Alex Rodriguez, Jeff Kent, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Mike Piazza, Pudge Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio, Gary Sheffield...
On the bubble right now: Curt Schilling, Bernie Williams, John Smoltz, Jim Edmunds, Mike Mussina, John Olerud...
1) If anyone gets in from the BBWAA ballot, I think it will be Sutter, but my gut tells me that the only inductees this year will be from the special committee.
2) Sutter, Gossage, Dawson
3) As a Cub fan, I have to give the obligatory mention of Ron Santo. I also think Blyleven and Trammell deserve to get the nod, although they won't, and Sutter and Gossage will deserve their eventual plaques.
4) Like what Alex said, only whittled down just a bit: Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken, Tim Raines, Mark McGwire, Tony Gwynn, Mariano Rivera, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, Jr, Alex Rodriguez, Jeff Kent, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Mike Piazza, Pudge Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, Craig Biggio, Gary Sheffield.
I also think, despite his having completely fallen off the table of late, that Sammy Sosa will get in based almost entirely on his eventually breaking through the '600' mark in career home runs (assuming, of course, that he finds an MLB team for this season) and misty-eyed memories of 1998. I'd personally be more likely to make him this generation's Jim Rice, but I think he'll make it anyway.
I don't think Trevor Hoffman, Jeff Bagwell, or Roberto Alomar make it. Hoffman because I don't think he'll get the credit he deserves due to his "position" and proximity to Rivera, Bagwell because the accomplishments of his early career will be overshadowed by his injury-riddled decline and the greater or soon to be greater accomplishments of some of his first base contemporaries (see McGuire, Thomas, and Pujols), and Alomar because people, particularly BBWAA members, like to hold grudges.
Oh, and as a final lock for inclusion, let's not forget the pound-for-pound greatest shortstop in the game, perhaps the greatest player of our, or any, generation: Neifi "Neifi!" Perez.
1) Sutter and Rice. NLers: Buck O'Neil is a lock. "Kick Mule" Suttles is a good bet. I could pick another ten off the list that I would give a plaque. However, I have no idea who will appeal to the committee.
2) You might find it shocking, but I believe that as many as 16 will someday get in. They are Bruce Sutter, Jim Rice, Rich Gossage, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris, Dave Parker, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Dale Murphy, Will Clark, and Orel Hershiser. I think that the first five will be elected by the writes and the rest will be picked by whatever replaces the current Veterans Committee. I think the vast majority of these players are borderline picks but they fit the standard that the Vets have selected in the past. I don't know if it'll take a hundred years when George Herbert Walker Cheney Seacrest Hilton Shatner Hurley-Eko Mellencamp Selig Bush is president, but I would bet it'll happen.
3) From the writers' ballot: Blyeleven, Sutter, Dawson, Trammell, and Gossage. I guess in that order. As far as Vets Committe guys: Darrell Evans, Sweet Lou Whitaker, Dwight Evans, Bill Dahlen, Sherry Magee, Tony Mullane, Richie Allen (though not Dick Allen), Ron Santo, Bobby Grich, Joe Torre, Ted Simmons, and Rusty Staub. From the NL ballot: Sol White, Pete Hill, Cristobal Torriente, Homer Run Brown, Ray Brown, John Donaldson, Dick Lundy, Biz Mackey, Fats Jenkins, Effa Manley, Oliver Marcell, Minnie Minoso, Buck O'Neil, Cumberland Posey, Mule Suttles, Candy Jim Taylor, C.I. Taylor, J. L. Wilkinson, Boojum Wilson, Frank Grant, Spotswood Poles, Louis Santop, and Cannonball Dick Redding.
4) Bonds, Henderson, Ripken, Clemens, Biggio, Sheffield, Gwynn, Raines, Bagwell, Roberto Alomar, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Junior Griffey, Larkin, McGwire, McGriff, A-Rod, Piazza, Manny Ramirez, Randy Johnson, Jeff Kent, Glavine, Jeter, Pedro Martinez, Pudge Rodriguez, Vlad Guerrero, Rivera, and Pujols.
Also, I predict that sometime in the middle of the 21st century after he has shuffled off this mortal coil and, thereby, quit gambling for good, Pete Rose will somehow gain admission via relativistic, revisionist history. Same goes for Palmeiro and Sosa. We as a society turned Joe Jackson into a folk hero. These guys were better players for longer periods. Their profiles will improve with time.
Using everyone else's lists as a handy starting point . . .
1) Goose Gossage and Jim Rice plus Buck ONeil via the Negro League committee.
2) Via BBWAA vote: Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris, Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith. Via Vet Committee: Steve Garvey, Alan Trammell, Dale Murphy, Tommy John.
3) Ron Santo, Stan Hack, Alan Trammell, Goose Gossage, Bert Blyleven, Bobby Grich, Lou Whitaker, Dick Allen, Minnie Minoso, Curt Flood, Whitey Herzog (mgr), Billy Martin (mgr), Buck ONeil (Negro Leagues, deferring to Mike on the remainder of the Negro League ballot)
4) Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire, Albert Pujols, Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio, Jeff Kent, Cal Ripken, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Barry Larkin, Chipper Jones, Tony Gwynn, Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Larry Walker, Ken Griffey Jr., Tim Raines, Jim Edmunds, Andruw Jones, Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Edgar Martinez, Mike Piazza, Ivan Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman.
TBD: Todd Helton, Jim Thome, Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Scott Rolen, Eric Chavez, Bernie Williams, Bobby Abreu, Lance Berkman, Brian Giles, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, Johan Santana, Billy Wagner.
Also, Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox as managers, Joe Torre and Lou Piniella as managers for combined accomplishments as players/managers, John Schuerholz as GM, George Steinbrenner as owner.
I like how Cliff included managers and think Billy the Kid and the White Rat are excellent choices for the Hall. Does anyone think that Dick Williams belongs in the Hall? Also, as far as non-players go, if I had to vote anyone into Cooperstown it would be Marvin Miller, no doubt about it.
I had Williams, but then cut him last second because Martin and Herzog are more clearcut choices.
No question Marvin Miller deserves a spot. I don't think any one person since the integration of the sport has had such a massive impact on the game.
OK, so we had to go and do it. We had to open the Pandora's box that is non-player Hall candidates. Okie Dokie.
I have to agree with my esteemed colleagues that Miller is a first-ballot Hall of Fame type (though he missed out in his first appearance on the Vets Committee ballot in 2003). I think Bill James said that if one constructed a baseball Mount Rushmore, Miller would be one of the faces. That's pretty big, even if he is the Teddy Roosevelt face.
The whole situation is a mess though. The Vets only vote every four years on non-players so they won't come up until next year, assuming the Vets Committee rules haven't changed by then. In the last go-round ump Doug Harvey was the only candidate to get more than 50% of the vote, and the consensus on him is that he is probably the best ump of the last fifty years. Basically, if you are going to have umps in the Hall, which they have decided to do, Harvey is a no-brain selection, and he didn't even get in. Most of the ex-players in the Vets Committee saw their income soar thanks to Miller's efforts and even they didn't vote for him (he got 44.3% of the vote).
I just think the system will never work so long as we have ex-players doing the voting. If you turn it over to execs, then Miller is persona non gratis, and we will see more cronyistic selections like Tom Yawkey. The players always balk at us statheads using numbers to analyze their worth, but without the statistical landmarks they are completely at sea. What they should do is turn the field over to a research committee of qualified historians like they did with the Negro-Leaguers.
That said, I will offer my opinion anyway. First, managers: I studied this a couple of years ago and found that there are a number that have been overlooked. They are Gene Mauch, Ralph Houk, Charlie Grimm, Billy Martin, Danny Murtaugh, Billy Southworth, Steve O'Neill, Whitey Herzog, Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre, and Davey Johnson. Lou Piniella has driven his career wins total (1519) near the Hall average for a manager (1596 wins) so he'll probably one day present a strong case (we he ever chose to manage the D-Rays I will never know). Cox, Torre, and LaRussa appear to be locks.
Throw in Miller and Harvey. As for owners--here's where it gets really iffy--I would have to take Walter O'Malley and Phil Wrigley, who were both on the 2003 ballot, before Steinbrenner. This is where an independent research committe is really needed to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Baseball needs to start honoring GMs in Cooperstown. Buzzie Bavasi and Harry Dalton were both on the 2003 ballot. Both are excellent choices, but I have to complete my ongoing GM study to say who are the strongest candidates.
The same goes for coaches. Johnny Sain, Charlie Lau, and Leo Mazzone are some of the highest regarded coaches of all time. Mazzone might be cannonized if he can turn around the O's staff this year. It seems like at least a coach or two should be honored with a plaque by now.
Did I forget anybody (scouts, ticket takers, Bob Shepherd)?
Of course, all of this needs to be researched thoroughly, but it seems that it's not just the expansion-era players who getting short shrift from the Hall.