Year Inducted: 2009 (Veterans Committee)
The Yankees have been covered a lot on here. As the sport’s most successful team, it makes sense that some players have been elevated slightly in both their value to the sport and from a statistical point of view. However, it is always surprising when some players get overlooked despite being unobjectively better. Although many gained induction sooner, that doesn’t make Joe Gordon any less deserving of the Hall of Fame.
Gordon played for 11 seasons in the bigs, mostly for the New York Yankees. In his brief career, he hit .268/.357/.466 for a wRC+ of 121. Gordon, a right handed hitter, wasn’t a player that Yankee Stadium was built to cater to, with deep power alleys in left center field. But, he still managed to hit 253 homers in his career, along with 264 doubles and 52 triples. Not hitting in the heart of the lineup, Gordon was able to drive in only 975 runs and score 914 times. Gordon was fairly big for a second baseman (5 foot 10, 180 lbs), and as such not very fleet of foot. He managed to steal 89 bases, but got caught 60 times, and as such was a negative base runner.
While Gordon was impressive with the bat (he finished 2nd in career homers to Rogers Hornsby at the end of his career), he really shined with the glove. Flash was worth over 200 runs defensively, and retired with the 6th most double plays turned, 2nd in fielding runs and did that by only playing in 1500 games at the position. His great fielding is what puts him so far ahead of the other second basemen recently covered, along with his power.
Very few players combined the smooth fielding and power hitting that Joe Gordon was able to. Gordon, like many players, lost some prime years to service for WWII, but unlike others he suffered an injury upon his return. In his first year back, he hurt both his legs and his thumb, and this caused new Yankee GM Larry MacPhail to think that he was past his prime. He was traded to Cleveland following the 1946 season and had a few rebound years before retiring in 1950. Following nearly 60 years of being relatively forgotten, he was inducted in 2009 to Cooperstown. Why was he overlooked for so long? Same reasons as a lot of players. Low batting average, lack of milestone numbers and short playing career. He was one of the best picks of the more recent Veterans Committee, and one of the best all-around second basemen of all-time.
Stay tuned for the next update.
On deck 10/5/16, bearing one of the greatest nicknames of all-time, this Hall of Famer has one of the largest twitter followings on the planet and has been dead for many years.