This is the third round of voting for the VEB Hall of Fame. This round does not include either Negro League players nor any players who played primarily in the 1800s. I created a list of players, which ended up totaling 503 players, comprised of players with 40+ WAR on either Baseball-Reference (bWAR) or Fangraphs (fWAR), players who won an MVP or Cy Young (with at least 20 WAR), players who made the actual Hall of Fame, and and high-ranking career relievers by WAR or by saves. Then I used a random number generator to select 32 players to go on the first ballot.
In case you missed it, I wrote a primer here. In case you don’t want to read that, I said I would give the averages of the current Hall of Fame standards for context, though that is simply there to give you some sort of basis for how good something is. Here is the average Hall of Famer by position (PP = position players except catcher)
SP: 71 bWAR, 67 fWAR (3.8 bWAR per 200 IPs, 3.3 fWAR per 200 IP)
RP: 33.5 bWAR (1.6 WAR per 65 IP), 25.5 fWAR (1.3 WAR per 65 IP)
C: 53.7 WAR (3.9 WAR per 550 PAs)
PP: 68 WAR (4.4 WAR per 600 PAs)
Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs evaluate pitchers differently. There was not an appreciable difference in how they evaluated hitters, at least not on a macro scale. Individually, sure we will see some differences. But they had virtually identical career WAR and WAR per 600 PAs figures. Next, the average Hall of Fame peak by their seven best seasons and their JAWS, which factors in peak with career total.
SP: 40.7 bWAR Peak, 61.4 JAWS
RP: 23.4 bWAR Peak, 29.7 JAWS
C: 34.7 bWAR Peak, 44.2 JAWS
PP: 43.1 bWAR Peak, 55.8 JAWS
Yeah trying to figure out the fWAR peaks was... way too much work. And for position players and catchers, it would probably be the same. Just mentally downgrade a couple WAR for Fangraphs pitching and it’ll probably be right. So that’s... pretty much all the information and context you’ll need. Now the players
Kevin Appier (SP)
Career: 54.9 bWAR, 50.8 fWAR, 48.8 JAWS (per 200 IP: 4.2 bWAR, 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 43 bWAR, 37.1 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 7 by both bWAR and fWAR
Notable Stat: You may be wondering how he made one All-Star team with seven 4 WAR seasons. One possible reason is he pitched his worst baseball in the first month of the season, with a 3.99 ERA and a losing record for his career. He didn’t make it even when he was 3rd in Cy Young voting.
Profile: Drafted 9th overall in the 1987 Draft by the Kansas City Royals, Appier debuted at 21-years-old within two years. He became a steady member of the rotation for eight years before they traded him in anticipation of his upcoming free agency. He found himself on the 2002 Angels, winning his only ring, and managed to finish career a Royal in 2004. He received a single vote on his only ballot.
Richie Ashburn (OF)
Career: 64.3 bWAR, 57.4 fWAR, 54.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4 bWAR, 3.5 fWAR)
Peak: 44.5 bWAR, 40.8 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star, 2 batting titles
4-WAR seasons: 9 by bWAR, 8 by fWAR
One notable stat: This is too good a story not to share. Ashburn once fouled off a pitch into the stands, striking a woman. As she was being carried off in a stretcher, he fouled off another pitch that hit her.
Profile: Signed by the Phillies out of high school in 1945, Ashburn was a part of the “Whiz Kids” of the 1950 Phillies, a group that made it to the World Series and was supposed to be a force for years to come. Instead they didn’t make the World Series again until 1980. A Phillie for the entirety of the 1950s, he was traded to the Cubs at the start of 1960. In his last season, the Mets purchased him for their first ever season. He was on 15 ballots, but didn’t get elected until 1995 by Veteran’s Committee. He went in with another Phillie’s legend, Mike Schmidt.
Dick Bartell (SS)
Career: 41.7 bWAR, 40.9 fWAR, 36 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 2.9 bWAR, 28 fWAR)
Peak: 30.4 bWAR, 29.8 fWAR
Acc: 2-time All-Star (First four full seasons had no ASG)
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: Bartell had a 98 wRC+ for his career, but he may very well have managed an average line if not for the incredible amount of sac bunts. In 1932 and 1933, he laid down 72 sac bunts over two years. He was in the top 10 nine times and ranks 25th all-time in sacrifice hits.
Profile: Debuting at 19-years-old with the Pirates, Bartell became known as “Rowdy Richard” for his aggressive play, which included spiking when sliding and his propensity to get into fistfights. He feuded with their owner and was traded to the Phillies after a few seasons. Because of the Phil’s ineptitude, he was traded within a few seasons to the New York Giants, where he was called by one writer “the most hated Giant in the NL.” He was traded twice more before landing back on the Giants. He missed two of his later years due to serving in the Army. He retired 38 after 1946 and was on four HOF ballots, but received just one vote on each.
Johnny Bench (C)
Career: 75.1 bWAR, 74.8 fWAR, 61.1 JAWS (per 550 PAs: 4.8 bWAR, 4.7 fWAR)
Peak; 47.2 bWAR, 47.3 fWAR
Acc: 2-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, 14-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 12 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notables stat: When he retired, he was the career home run leader for catchers. He’s the first catcher to lead the league in HRs and until 2021, had the most HRs in a season by a catcher.
Profile: Drafted out of a Oklahoma high school in the 2nd round of the 1965 MLB Draft, Bench debuted just two seasons later for the Reds. He won Rookie of the Year in his next season and his first MVP two seasons after that. A lifelong Red, he retired at 35-years-old. He got 96.4% of the vote on his first try.
Yogi Berra (C)
Career: 59.6 bWAR, 63.7 fWAR, 48.8 JAWS (per 550 PAs: 3.9 bWAR, 4.2 fWAR)
Peak: 38 bWAR, 40 fWAR
Acc: 3-time MVP, 18-time All-Star (3 seasons had two ASGs so a 15-year All-Star)
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 8 by fWAR
One notable stat: From 1950 to 1956, Yogi Berra was a top 4 vote getter in MVP voting every year, including winning three MVPs.
Profile: Born in St. Louis, he was passed over by the Cardinals by a fellow St. Louis catching prospect, Joe Garagiola. Branch Rickey knew he was leaving for the Dodgers and planned to sign Berra once he jumped ship. Yankees got to him first. After a few seasons in the minors, he debuted at 21-years-old in 1946. He played his entire career as a Yankee with the except of 9 PAs while he was manager of the Mets in 1965. It took him two tries, but he got voted in with 85.6% of the vote in 1972.
Vida Blue (SP)
Career: 44.9 bWAR, 49.2 fWAR, 41.7 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.7 bWAR, 2.9 fWAR)
Peak: 38.3 bWAR, 40.4 fWAR
Acc: MVP, Cy Young, 6-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
Notable Stat: His Cy Young and MVP season was not only incredible - he led the league in ERA, shutouts, FIP, WHIP, H/9, and K/9 and had 8.6 bWAR and 8.8 fWAR - but he was also 21-years-old.
Profile: Blue was drafted 2nd overall in the 1967 MLB Draft and debuted at 19-years-old two years later. He was a key pitcher in three straight World Series wins for the Athletics. After his Cy Young season, he held out and missed part of the 1972 season. Constantly clashing with owner Charlie Finley, going as far as to say he hoped his next breath would be his last and that he got polio, Finley tried to trade him for cash twice but the commissioner vetoed it saying it was bad for baseball if commensurate talent wasn’t returned. Before the 1978 season, he was finally traded to the Giants and it wasn’t vetoed. His last season was at 36. He was on four HOF ballots without much support.
Jack Chesbro (SP)
Career: 42.5 bWAR, 40.4 fWAR, 41.9 JAWS (per his avg. 316 IP: 4.6 bWAR, 4.4 fWAR)
Peak: 41.1 bWAR, 34.8 fWAR
Acc: None (Played from 1899-1909)
4 WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
Notable Stat: He holds three American League records that will never be broken (since 1901). He started 51 games, and 48 of them were complete games. He also won 41 games. He threw 454.2 IP. That was all in his 1904 season.
Profile: Chesbro started his career working as an attendant at a mental hospital so he could play for their baseball team, where he got the nickname “Happy Jack”. In 1899, the Pirates picked up him in the middle of the season when he was 25. A few seasons later, he got himself released by the Pirates by refusing to play in the postseason so he could sign a big money contract with the New York Highlanders. It was here he learned the spitball and had his 1904 season. He pitched his last season at 35. He received virtually no support on three ballots, but got in from the Old Timers Committee in 1946.
Mike Cuellar (SP)
Career: 29.2 bWAR, 40.6 fWAR, 26.2 JAWS (per his 215 IP avg: 2.2 bWAR, 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 25.5 bWAR, 32.2 fWAR
Acc: Cy Young, 4-time All-Star
One notable stat: No one really pays attention to wins anymore, but from 1969 to 1974, Cuellar won 125 games, an average of 21 per year, with the Baltimore Orioles.
Profile: Signed out of Cuba in 1957 by the Reds, he debuted in 1959 with a poor 4 innings. He didn’t make the majors again until 1964 with the Cards, where he was not particularly good in the bullpen. He was traded to the Astros and found himself as a pitcher at 29 in 1966. In winter ball after the 1968 season, he impressed opposing manager Earl Weaver, who convinced the GM to trade for him. With a screwball and superstitious even for baseball behavior, Cuellar became a star, though he was actually pretty good with the Astros too. After heavy workloads for many years, he fell off at 39 and retired in 1977. He didn’t receive a vote on his ballot.
JD Drew (OF)
Career: 44.9 bWAR, 46 fWAR, 38.5 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.4 bWAR, 4.5 fWAR)
Peak: 32.1 bWAR, 33.9 fWAR
Acc; 1-time All-Star
One notable stat: Well as any Card fan would know, Drew could not stay healthy. That WAR per 600 PAs is not a good stat for him. He averaged 486 PAs per season excluding his first and last seasons. He didn’t even reach 500 PAs until he was 28.
Profile: Drew definitely did things different. He refused to sign with the Phillies after being drafted 2nd overall, and Scott Boras tried to claim he was eligible for free agency. When that didn’t work, he was drafted 5th overall by the Cards in ‘98. He debuted that same season and batted .417 in 14 games. Over the next five years, he was good whenever he was healthy, but averaged just 117 games a year. He signed a five year deal with the Dodgers, but it included an opt-out clause. He was not the first to have an opt-out clause (that is A-Rod), but he was the first to exercise it after just two seasons. He then signed a five year deal with the Red Sox. At the end of that deal, he retired. He didn’t receive a vote on his ballot.
Curt Flood (OF)
Career: 41.9 bWAR, 35.9 fWAR, 37.3 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.6 bWAR, 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 32.7 bWAR, 27.8 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, 7-time Gold Glover, most important figure in ending of reserve clause
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: At the time Flood’s career effectively ended, he had won 7 straight Gold Glove awards and was only 31. He forfeited a $10,000 salary (over $600,000 in today’s money) by refusing to play for the Phillies.
Profile: Signed out of high school by the Redlegs in 1956, he was traded to the Cardinals with the emergence of Vada Pinson. An initial good rookie season was hampered by the firing of Fred Hutchison and hiring of Solly Hemus, a man Flood says was racist who avoided his presence. His PAs were cut from 461 to 226. He didn’t become a full-time starter until Johnny Keane was hired in the middle of 1961. Then a pretty good 9 season run, which was ended with a trade to the Phillies. He refused, took it all the way to the Supreme Court, and lost. His career ended, but eventually the reserve clause was ended and free agency began because of him.
Lonny Frey (2B)
Career: 44.6 bWAR, 39.7 fWAR, 40 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.2 bWAR, 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 35.5 bWAR, 32.3 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
Notable stat: From 1939-1943, Frey was worth an average of +15.8 runs per season, piling up the 2nd most defensive value in baseball. This run ended when he served in World War II.
Profile: Born in St. Louis, Frey began his career as a Brooklyn Dodger at 22-years-old in 1933. Originally a shortstop, he could not stop committing errors with 95 errors in two seasons. After that, he was traded to the Cubs. After barely playing with them, he got traded to the Reds, where he permanently converted to 2B and became an elite fielder. When he returned from the war, he had just one above average season left in him. He retired at 37 and never appeared on a ballot.
Mike Garcia (SP)
Career: 30.7 bWAR, 40.1 fWAR, 29.4 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.8 bWAR, 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 28.5 bWAR, 33.5 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 5 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Mike White ranked 1st in FIP four times in the AL and placed in the top 10 seven times.
Profile: Signed at 18-years-old by the Cleveland Indians, Mike Garcia debuted in 1948 at age 24. He became known as one of the “Big Four” with Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Early Wynn, all Hall of Famers. The only member not elected to the HOF, Garcia stayed an Indian until 1959, when he was 35. He played two more years for two more teams. Never on a HOF ballot.
Charlie Gehringer (2B)
Career: 84.7 bWAR, 78.6 fWAR, 68.8 JAWS (per 600 PAs; 5 bWAR, 4.6 fWAR)
Peak: 52.8 bWAR, 49.4 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star (ASG started in 8th season), MVP
4-WAR seasons: 14 by bWAR, 11 by fWAR
One notable stat: In a season where there was no MVP award, Gehringer, led the league in runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, and stolen bases in 1929 at age 26.
Profile: Discovered at the University of Michigan by Tigers player Bobby Veach, he was shown to player-manager Ty Cobb who asked the owner to sign him on the spot. He was and debuted at 21-years-old in 1924, but didn’t play a full season until 1926 at 23-years-old. He then started a run as one of the greatest 2B until he was 37. He was elected on his 6th ballot with 85% of the vote.
Mark Grace (1B)
Career: 46.4 bWAR, 45.5 fWAR, 38 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3 bWAR, 2.9 fWAR)
Peak: 29.6 bWAR, 29.9 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glover
4-WAR season: 4 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One Notable Stat: Grace did hit a lot of doubles. In 1995, he hit the most doubles in the NL. He finished in the top ten seven times. Overall he is 56th all-time in doubles.
Profile: Drafted in the 24th round of the 1985 MLB Draft out of San Diego State University by the Cubs, Grace not only debuted in 1988, but became a full-time starter that year. A regular at 1B for the Cubs until 2000, when he was 35-years-old, he signed a deal with the Diamondbacks and ended up retiring as one. He received 22 votes for HOF but it was less than 5% so he fell off.
Heinie Groh (3B)
Career: 48.4 bWAR, 50.4 fWAR, 42 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.1 bWAR, 4.3 fWAR)
Peak: 35.5 bWAR, 36.7 fWAR
Acc: None (No All-Star game while he played)
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: Groh led the league in both on-base percentage and doubles for two straight seasons, in 1917 and 1918. The next season, he led the league in neither but did lead the league in OPS
Profile: Debuting with the Giants at 22, he only lasted until May of his second season before he was traded. After eight and half seasons with the Reds, he was traded back to his original team, the New York Giants. He played his last two seasons with minimal PAs, retiring at 37. He was on 8 Hall of Fame ballots but received a max of 2%.
Waite Hoyt (SP)
Career: 54.1 bWAR, 48.8 fWAR, 43.6 bWAR (per 200 IP: 2.9 bWAR, 2.6 fWAR)
Peak: 34.8 bWAR, 25.3 fWAR
Acc: None (No ASG in first 12 seasons)
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: During Waite Hoyt’s playing days, he had a total of 36 Hall of Fame teammates, a total not surpassed by anyone else.
Profile: Signed by the New York Giants at just 15, he was traded after a single MLB game to the Red Sox in 1919 and at 19-years-old. After a couple seasons, he was traded to the Yankees, where he spent the rest of the 1920s decade. He was traded to the Tigers in 1930. He hung around until 1938 at the age of 38. He was on 16 HOF ballots, but it took the Veteran’s Committee in 1969 to vote him in.
Cliff Lee (SP)
Career: 42.5 bWAR, 48.2 fWAR, 41.4 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.9 bWAR, 4.5 fWAR)
Peak: 39.7 bWAR, 42 fWAR
Acc: Cy Young, 4-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: Lee neither posted particularly high K numbers nor did he get an especially large amount of groundballs. From 2008 to 2014, he walked 3.7% of batters. Unsurprisingly, with the exception of one reliever, this was the best mark in baseball during that period.
Profile: Drafted in the 4th round of the 2000 MLB Draft by the Expos, Lee was traded with Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore to the Indians. He made his MLB debut later that year at 22. It took until 2004 for him to be a regular in the rotation and 2005 until he was good. After an injury-filled and bad 2007, Lee became a whole new pitcher at 29. Traded to the Phillies in the middle of 2009, he was traded twice more before he hit free agency to sign with Phillies. He threw his last pitch at 35 because of injuries. He received two votes.
Red Lucas (SP)
Career: 44.6 bWAR, 41.4 fWAR, 38.6 JAWS (per 3.5 bWAR, 3.3 fWAR)
Peak: 32.6 bWAR, 31.1 fWAR
Acc: None (All-Star game didn’t exist until he was 31)
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: Lucas is one of the greatest pitching hitters of all-time, with an 86 wRC+ for his career, which is 29th in MLB history among pitchers. He pinch hit 505 times, and his 114 pinch hit hits is easily the most for any player whose primary position is pitcher.
Profile: Debuting in 1923 at 21-years-old, he was traded twice before he got a legitimate opportunity with the Cincinnati Reds when he was 24. He stayed a Red through his 20s and was traded to the Pirates after 1933. He played with the Pirates until 1938, when he retired at 36. He was on three Hall of Fame ballots, but received 2 votes at the most.
Willie McCovey (1B)
Career: 72.1 bWAR, 67.4 fWAR, 54.7 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.5 bWAR, 4.2 fWAR)
Peak: 44.9 bWAR, 44.4 fWAR
Acc: MVP, Rookie of the Year, 6-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 7 by both bWAR and fWAR)
One notable stat: For a stretch of time, he was the most feared hitter in baseball. From 1969 to 1973, he was intentionally walked the most in the league four times - the only exception was 1972, when he only played in 81 games.
Profile: Signed out of high school in 1955 at just 17-years-old, McCovey debuted in 1959 and won Rookie of the Year while playing in just 52 games. He remained a Giant for a very long time, getting traded after the 1973 season at 35. He was a Padre for a couple seasons and then an Athletics player for half a season. He actually played long enough to hit free agency and played his last four as a Giant again, retiring at 42. He was the 16th ever player to get voted in first ballot with 81.4% of the vote in 1986.
Buddy Myer (2B)
Career: 48.6 bWAR, 43.9 fWAR, 40.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.6 bWAR, 3.2 fWAR)
Peak: 32.6 bWAR, 29.6 fWAR
Acc: Batting title, 2-time All-Star (no ASG until he was 29)
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: Buddy Myer had an incredible plate approach, especially in his later years. From 1934 to the end of his career, he had 503 walks to 194 strikeouts. His BB% was 15.3% with a K% of 5.9.
Profile: Myer went to Mississippi A&M and attracted the attention of the Washington Senators. He agreed to sign with them on the condition that they let him graduate, which he did in 1925. After just one full season, the Senators traded him to the Red Sox in the beginning of the 1927 season. They traded for him back in 1929. He remained a Senator for the rest of his career. He received just one vote on his only HOF ballot.
Don Newcombe (SP)
Career: 39.5 bWAR, 44.6 fWAR, 37.1 JAWS (per his 215 IP avg: 3.9 bWAR, 4.5 fWAR)
Peak: 34.8 bWAR, 39.7 fWAR
Acc: MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, 4-time All-Star
4 WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: He may very well have the greatest hitting season for a pitcher of all time (who wasn’t a two way player at least). In 1955, Newcombe hit 7 homers in a 168 wRC+ season. For his career, he had an 87 wRC+.
Profile: Don Newcombe is a victim of circumstance. Signed to the Dodgers in 1946, he played three seasons in the minors before debuting in 1949 at 23-years-old. His performance suggests he should have been promoted earlier. He was the first black baseball player to make an ASG, along with the three others who made it that year in 1949. After three great seasons, he missed the next two due to being drafted and didn’t have a great year the year he returned. In 1955, he was back to his old self. He was traded to the Redlegs in 1958 and only played a couple more years. He was on 16 Hall of Fame ballots, but never higher than 15.3%.
Gaylord Perry (SP)
Career: 93 bWAR, 100.1 fWAR, 71.2 JAWS (per his 262 IP avg: 4.6 bWAR, 4.9 fWAR)
Peak: 52.3 bWAR, 46.3 fWAR
Acc: 2-time Cy Young, 5-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 12 by bWAR, 15 by fWAR
One notable stat: Possibly a reason for his relatively low ASG total is that Perry was at his best in September and October in the regular season. In 139 games, he had a 2.62 ERA, with his next best month being a 3.15 ERA.
Profile: Signed by the Giants at 19 in 1958, Perry debuted four years later for the Giants. He didn’t become a full-fledged member of the rotation for another two years at 25. After ten seasons with the Giants, he was traded to the Indians. While with the Indians, he wrote an autobiography about how he doctors baseballs illegally. Despite that, he wasn’t actually caught until 1981. He got traded four more times until he reached free agency for the first time at 41. He pitched three more years. He was elected on his third try in 1991.
Tony Phillips (2B)
Career: 50.8 bWAR, 46.6 fWAR, 42.5 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.4 bWAR, 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 34.1 bWAR, 31.1 fWAR
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: While I listed his position as 2B, he played over 1,000 innings at five different positions. He played over 4,000 innings in LF, over 3,000 at 3B, and nearly 2,000 at SS, with RF being the fifth position over 1,000.
Profile: Drafted 10th overall by the Expos, he was traded twice before debuting in the MLB. He stuck with that third team, the Oakland Athletics, through their three World Series appearances in the late 80s. He hit free agency at 31-years-old and signed with the Detroit Tigers. He was a Tiger for five years, and for his last four seasons, he played with five different teams, but finished his career as an Athletic. He received one vote on his lone HOF ballot.
Jack Quinn (SP)
Career: 59.6 bWAR, 61.2 fWAR, 45.8 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3 bWAR, 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 33.1 bWAR, 31.5 fWAR
Acc: None (he played his last game literally two days after the first All-Star Game)
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Jack Quinn is the oldest player ever to play regularly in the MLB. He pitched his last game at 50-years-old. He was one of the ten oldest players in the league for 15 straight seasons. He was allowed to throw the spitball, being grandfathered in, for years after it was banned in 1920.
Profile: Drafted in whatever the Rule 5 draft was in 1908 by the New York Highlanders, Quinn debuted the next season at 25. Frankly, he has one of the more confusing careers. In 1914, he started playing for the short-lived Federal League. He then I guess played two seasons in the minors, but he was very much good before and after that stint. He played for six more teams before he retired at age 50. He was on four HOF ballots, but topped out at 9 total votes.
Pee Wee Reese (SS)
Career: 68.5 bWAR, 61.3 fWAR, 55.3 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.3 bWAR, 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 42 bWAR, 38.8 fWAR
Acc: 10-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 11 by bWAR, 10 by fWAR
One notable stat: Pee Wee Reese was one of the best defenders of his day. At the time of his retirement, his defense contributed the 8th most value according to Fangraphs. He led baseball in dWAR four times and was top ten in 14 seasons.
Profile: So small he barely played for his high school baseball team, Reese got noticed by a minor league team through his play on a church baseball team and signed in 1937 at 19-years-old. Because of him, Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey purchased the team, but traded him when he sent player manager and shortstop Joe Cronin to scout him. Cronin realized Reese was his replacement and downplayed his abilities. He debuted for the Dodgers the next season at 21. In his third year, he had his first great season and then got drafted and missed the next three years fighting in World War II. He is perhaps most well-known for putting his arm around Jackie Robinson when he was getting booed in his first year. He retired a Dodger and never got elected on 16 ballots, but got in via the Veteran’s Committee in 1984.
Rick Reuschel (SP)
Career: 68.1 bWAR, 68.2 fWAR, 56.6 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.8 bWAR and fWAR)
Peak: 43.7 bWAR, 37 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, 2-time Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 10 by fWAR
One notable stat: Well this is just a cool one. Rick Reuschel is one of two pitchers ever to give up a home run to both Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.
Profile: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 1970 MLB Draft by the Cubs, Reuschel debuted two years later at 23-years-old. He spent the rest of that decade a Cub, getting traded in the middle of the 1981 season to the Yankees. He missed 1982 and was released in the middle of 1983 by the Yankees. He got back with the Cubs, and signed with the Pirates when he was eligible for free agency. He got traded to the Giants and finished his career there, retiring at 41-years-old. He got just two votes on his only ballot.
Phil Rizzuto (SS)
Career: 42.2 bWAR, 41.3 fWAR, 38.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.8 bWAR, 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 34.7 bWAR, 33.7 fWAR
Acc: MVP, 5-time All-Star
4 WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Definitely got the Yankees bump when it came to MVP voting as he was voted for by at least one person eight times, including six straight years starting in 1948, which included winning one MVP.
Profile: Born in Brooklyn, Rizzuto was signed by the Yankees in 1937 at 19. After winning Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year in 1940, he debuted in 1941 for the Yankees. After just two seasons, he was drafted and served in the Navy for three years. He stayed a Yankee until he retired, at 39-years-old in 1956. You can hear his voice as the announcer on Meatloaf’s “Paradise on the Dashboard Light.” The sportswriters didn’t vote him in on 17 tries, but in 1994, the Veteran’s Committee put him in the Hall.
Red Ruffing (SP)
Career: 68.6 bWAR, 69.7 fWAR, 54.3 JAWS (per his 229 IP avg.: 3.6 bWAR, 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 39.9 bWAR, 35.4 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star (no ASG in his first 9 seasons)
4-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR, 9 by fWAR
One notable stat: Apparently this is the ballot of good hitting pitchers, because we have yet another all-time great at hitting by a pitcher. He was a career 80 wRC+ hitter, adding 13.7 fWAR and 13.3 bWAR to his total WAR totals.
Profile: Ruffing quit school to work in the coal mines at the age of 13. When he was 15, his left foot got crushed between two cars and while his foot was saved, he lost four toes. Originally an outfielder, he couldn’t run well so he switched to pitching. Acquired by the Red Sox in 1923, he debuted the next season at 19. Early in the 1930 season, he was traded to the Yankees. Despite the missing toes, he was deemed fit to serve in World War II. He was discharged when he turned 40 in the middle of the 1945 season. The Yankees released him after 1946, and he retired after one season with the White Sox. He was elected to the Hall on his 18th ballot in 1967 with 86.9% of the vote.
Curt Simmons (SP)
Career: 42.7 bWAR, 54.5 fWAR, 36.8 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.6 bWAR, 3.3 fWAR)
Peak: 30.2 bWAR, 36.4 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: I’m going to guess that Simmons was something of a groundball pitcher, because among qualified pitchers, he had the lowest HR/9 twice in his career and was in the top 10 in the league 9 times.
Profile: In 1947, the Phillies played an All-star high school team in LeHigh Valley. Simmons struck out 11 Phillies in a 4-4 tie and was signed for a $65,000 bonus, one of the highest ever at the time. He pitched in one game that year and was the youngest player in baseball. Simmons was a part of that “Whiz Kids” 1950 Phillies team. He missed the very next year to serve in the Korean War. At 31, he was traded to the Cardinals and ended up being a part of the 1964 championship team. He stayed a Card until he was 37 and hopped on two more teams in his last two seasons. He was on two ballots but received a max of 5 votes total.
George Sisler (1B)
Career: 57.1 bWAR, 53 fWAR, 51 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.8 bWAR, 3.5 fWAR)
Peak: 47.1 bWAR, 45.8 fWAR
Acc: MVP, 2-time batting title (no ASG in his career)
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: Sisler was a hitting machine. He had over 200 hits in his career five times, and led the league twice. His 257 hit season was a record until Ichiro broke it. In 1922, he batted .420, which is the third highest average after 1900.
Profile: One of the few of his era who actually attended college, he gained the notice of the Browns on the Michigan baseball team. He was signed in June of 1915 and debuted later that year. He started as a pitcher, throwing 70 innings in his first season, but Branch Rickey - the Browns manager - thought his bat was too good - so he took over as the first baseman. His career faltered when he had to miss the 1923 season to vision problems from sinusitis. When he returned, he was not the same hitter. He played his last few seasons for the Boston Braves. He was elected in 1939 on his fourth ballot with 85.8% of the vote.
Jim Sundberg (C)
Career: 40.5 bWAR, 37.8 fWAR, 34.6 JAWS (per 550 PAs: 3.2 bWAR, 3 fWAR)
Peak: 28.7 bWAR, 26.2 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All Star, 6-time Gold Glover
4 WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: Sundberg, given the information we have, was an incredible defensive catcher. He led the league in Total Zone Runs 7 times and was in the top ten 11 times in his career. He is 3rd all-time in this stat. One has to wonder how much framing, if it existed, would have helped him.
Profile: Drafted 2nd overall by the Texas Rangers in the 1973 MLB Draft, he debuted the next year at 23-years-old, making his first All-Star game. He stayed a Ranger until he was traded to the Brewers before he turned 33. He was traded after just one year to the Royals, right in time for their ‘85 World Series championship. He played his last two years as a Ranger again. He was on one ballot and got exactly one vote.
Robin Ventura (3B)
Career: 56.1 bWAR, 56.7 fWAR, 47.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.1 bWAR and fWAR)
Peak: 38.6 bWAR, 39.9 fWAR
Acc: 2-time All-Star, 6-time Gold Glover
4 WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: A 20 year age difference is how far apart Robin Ventura and Nolan Ryan were in age when Ryan beat him up when Ventura charged the mound. Ryan was 46-years-old and Ventura was 26.
Profile: Drafted 10th overall by the White Sox in the 1988 MLB Draft out of Oklahoma State, he debuted the next season towards the end of the year. For the next 9 years, he was their starting 3B. When free agency hit, he signed with the Mets. After three years, he hit free agency again and signed with the Yankees, where he made his first All-Star team in 10 years. They traded him to the Dodgers, which is where he finished his career at 36. He got just 7 votes on his only ballot.
Once again, I will not be releasing the results until we have done four ballots. Your deadline is Wednesday at 9 pm.