Year Inducted: 1999 (BBWAA, ballot #1, 385/497)
Very few, if any, player plays solely one position for his entire career. Most players start at a difficult position like shortstop or center field and switch to an easier position as age or injuries set in. It is incredibly rare that players move to a difficult position as they age, and usually it is due to team need rather than any other reason. There are two prominent examples of this in the Hall of Fame. One was, of course, Craig Biggio, who played multiple positions due to team need. The other was the only player to win an MVP at two different positions, Milwaukee’s own Robin Yount. Continue reading
Year Inducted: 2004 (BBWAA, ballot #1, 431/506)
A player historically would be slotted into the leadoff spot if they were very fast. Guys like Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines and Tris Speaker were great baserunners and were to use that speed at the top of the lineup to help generate runs. More recently, research has indicated that speed, while it is probably the second most important tool for a leadoff hitter, isn’t the most important attribute. The ability to get on base trumps the ability to steal a base most, if not all, of the time. So, what happens when a player with great speed but also a great batting eye and a quick bat is able to leadoff for a long time? It results in one of the best right handed hitters ever, Paul Molitor.