#186- Waite Hoyt, SP2

 

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Year Inducted: 1969 (Veterans Committee)

Score: 13512

When a player does well on the big stage, they can join the collective consciousness and be remembered as better than they really were.  Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series covers up his sub-.500 career record and average ERA and FIP.  Bill Mazeroski‘s winning home run in Game 7 in 1960 got him into the Hall of Fame.  More recently, many sports reporters were calling Madison Bumgarner the best pitcher in the game following his dominance in the 2014 World Series and Clayton Kershaw’s very recent losses in the postseason despite Kershaw’s dominance over the last several seasons.  Jack Morris’ shutout win in Game 7 of 1991 kept him on the ballot for the Hall of Fame for 15 years.  And Waite Hoyt’s performance in several World Series games helped him get into the Hall of Fame. Continue reading

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#187-Jim Bottomley, 1B

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Year Inducted: 1974 (Veterans Committee)

Score: 12932

Baseball is a game that remembers its numbers and records more so than the rest of the sports. Numbers like 4256, 755, and 5714 have tremendous meaning for fans of the game. Some players, like Hack Wilson, can set insane records and make it all the way to the Hall of Fame because of it. Of course, Wilson had other things going for his induction. A similar player that was inducted on the strength of a record was Jim Bottomley.
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#188-Enos Slaughter, RF

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Year Inducted: 1985 (Veterans Committee)

Score: 12686

When kids are playing the game, they are taught to hustle and run out everything.  The reason is that it’s a great way to teach a kid to always work hard no matter what without giving them a big lecture that they wouldn’t remember in two minutes.  Pete Rose, of course, embodied this philosophy on the field of play, but for the generation before him hustle and hard play was linked to one man: Enos Slaughter. Continue reading

#189-Hughie Jennings, SS

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Year Inducted: 1945 (Veterans Committee)

Score: 12603

It’s amazing that there are quite a few players in the Hall of Fame that suffered from career-altering injuries by getting hit by a pitch.  Frank Chance nearly died from blood clots in his brain.  Chick Hafey’s sinuses got destroyed even after the first and only on-field casualty occurred in baseball.  Even after that, it took baseball over 30 years to make it a rule that batting helmets had to be worn.  Another such example would be today’s entry, Hughie Jennings. Continue reading

#190-Jesse Haines, SP2

 

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Year Inducted: 1970 (Veterans Committee)

Score: 12458

Branch Rickey is a legendary figure in baseball history.  He not only is credited for creating the first successful farm system, but was responsible for bringing Jackie Robinson to the bigs and integrating the game.  In 1919, while with the Cardinals as a manager, he convinced the ownership group to borrow $10,000¹ from a bank to purchase the contract of a guy who was going to be in his age 26 season.  That player was Jesse Haines. Continue reading

#191- Herb Pennock, SP2

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Year Inducted: 1948 (BBWAA, Ballot #8, 94/121)

Score: 12433

The selections of some pitchers for induction to the Hall of Fame can be confusing from a modern or statistical point of view sometimes.  Burleigh Grimes, for instance, is one that makes little statistical sense, and if it weren’t for the spitball he probably wouldn’t be inducted.  Ted Lyons is another, who really doesn’t look as good when viewed from a more analytical perspective.  That doesn’t make them any more or less Hall of Famers, just not as good as others in the Hall of Fame.  And if that seems insulting, it isn’t meant to be.  There’s nothing wrong with saying a pitcher is very good, but not as good as Walter Johnson or Greg Maddux.  Herb Pennock is another one who falls into that category. Continue reading

#192- Heinie Manush, LF

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Year Inducted: 1964 (Veterans Committee)

Score: 11784

What is the defining trait of a great hitter?  Should he be a guy that gets a lot of hits, like Pete Rose, where most of them are singles?  Should he be a guy that hits only for power, like Harmon Killebrew and Willie Stargell?  Or, should he be able to hit for both like Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby?  Each of these types, of course, can be considered a great hitter.  Of course, the best hitters are going to be able to hit for both average and power.  That’s what makes guys like Ruth, Hornsby, Jimmie Foxx and others the best of all time.  Power-only hitters are valuable because home runs are the best outcome of any at-bat.  Singles hitters are important, they can be good leadoff hitters and helpful to start a rally, but they would need to hit a lot of singles to make up for their lack of power.  This was especially true in the late 1920s and 1930s, when some of the aforementioned hitters revolutionized what it meant to be a hitter.  This hurts a lot of players that were good hitters, with OPS’s higher than .800, by making them only slightly above league average.  A great example of this is Heinie Manush. Continue reading