In case you missed it, I will be keeping up the most recent Hall of Fame ballot for another day, so vote there if you haven’t. Today, we have 31 members to vote on, and we’ll keep the 14 person minimum with less players.
Here’s a refresher in case you don’t remember from the last time or maybe this is your first time here. 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.
Rod Carew (1B/2B)
Career: 81.2 bWAR, 72.3 fWAR, 65.5 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.6 bWAR, 4.1 fWAR)
Peak: 49.8 bWAR, 44.4 fWAR
Acc: MVP, Rookie of the Year, 18-time All-Star, 7-time batting title
4-WAR seasons: 8 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Rod Carew got intentionally walked 144 times, which is 62nd all-time. Why I am sharing this stat with you is because every player above him, including Tony Gwynn, hit more homers than him. Carew had 92 career homers.
Profile: Carew was born on a train in the Panama Canal Zone. At age 14, his family moved to NYC, and despite his interest in baseball when he was younger, he never actually played high school baseball. He became interested in baseball again at 18 and played for a semipro team in the Bronx, which is where he was noticed by a Twins scout (who happened to have a son playing on that same team). He had a tryout with the twins in 1964 and they signed him right away. He spent two seasons in the minors, making his MLB debut in April of 1967 at 21-years-old. He won Rookie of the Year and made his first of 18 consecutive All-Star games, then had the sophomore slump. His .273 batting average was the lowest he would ever have in his career. He hit for the cycle in 1970, though missed more than half the season from an injury during a double play attempt. In 1975, he had his fourth consecutive batting title. He was traded to the Angels before the 1979 season. He allegedly played part of 1982 with a broken hand, swinging one-handed and still batting .318 at end of year. At age 39, his career ended when nobody offered him a deal, most likely because of the owners collusion that was later proven. He was first ballot.
Ron Cey (3B)
Career: 53.8 bWAR, 55.6 fWAR, 45.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.9 bWAR, 4 fWAR)
Peak: 37 bWAR, 38.8 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 8 by fWAR
One notable stat: Cey was an integral part of four NL pennant winning Dodgers’ teams, and in every season in the playoffs as a Dodger, he was above average with the bat. He had a 126 wRC+ in the playoffs in 189 career PAs.
Profile: Cey was the first person at his high school to earn nine varsity letters, also playing football and basketball. He attended Washington State and played two years of college baseball and got drafted in the 2nd phase of the 1968 MLB Draft in June. He spent a few years in the minors, debuting during the September callups in 1971. He spent one more season mostly in the minors, again appearing in September before being a full-time starter for the 1973 Dodgers. In 1974, he made his first of six straight All-Star teams and also made his first World Series. He made three more World Series as a Dodger, not winning until 1981, when he had his best postseason of his career. After the 1982 season, he was traded to the Cubs. He made the playoffs once as a Cub, though they lost in the NLCS. After four seasons as a Cub, he was traded to the Athletics, where he played one last year as a part-time player, but was released midseason. His career was over at 39-years-old. He was on one Hall of Fame ballot without much support.
Harlond Clift (3B)
Career: 42.1 bWAR, 38.9 fWAR, 38.3 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.7 bWAR, 3.4 fWAR)
Peak: 34.5 bWAR, 32.5 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 5 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Possibly a reflection of his PAs or possibly a reflection that players didn’t get hit by pitches that much then, but Clift was top 5 in HBPs six times in his career. The most was just 7 HBPs which really wouldn’t rank very high nowadays.
Profile: Growing up in Yakima, Washington, Clift was raised in one of the best apple-producing areas of the world, and he credits throwing apples as a possible reason he was able to break into baseball. He left school at 17 to join a semipro team and attracted the attention of a Browns scout the next year who signed him despite him breaking his collarbone. He made the 1934 Browns team out of spring training and did admirably as a 21-year-old. He improved the next season and really broke out in 1936. He hit 29 and 34 homers in 1937 and 1938 with 118 RBIs each season. Clift is considered the first modern third baseman. With a few exceptions, third baseman before him were viewed in the same way that SS and 2B were, without much expectation of offense and especially not power. Clift’s power went away in 1942, and though he was not drafted in the war, he was traded to the Senators in 1943. He missed nearly all of 1944 to a case of testicular mumps and being thrown from a horse later in the year. He played one more season as a regular, but his MLB career was over at just 32-years-old. He was not on a Hall of Fame ballot.
Ty Cobb (OF)
Career: 154.1 bWAR, 149.3 fWAR, 61.2 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 6.9 bWAR and fWAR)
Peak: 69 bWAR, 69.2 fWAR
Acc: MVP, 12-time batting title, Triple Crown (No ASG in career; also mostly no MVP)
4-WAR seasons: 19 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Cobb apparently set 90 - NINETY - MLB records during his playing career, some of which still stand. He has the highest career average ever, the most batting titles ever, and he has the most stolen bases of home. Also has the record for most times stealing second, then third, then home in succession (4 times).
Profile: Cobb was born in Georgia and wanted to play baseball at an early age, which his father disapproved of. He played for some semipro teams and would promote himself by sending postcards under different aliases to Grantland Rice, who eventually did write a blurb about him. He was sold to the Tigers in August of 1905 and the 18-year-old debuted late in that season. In 1906, he batted .316 as the starting CF, and he never batted below .316 again. He fully broke out at 20-years-old, becoming the Ty Cobb everyone knows. In 1909, he led the league in homers without ever hitting it over the fence, the first player to do so in the modern era (after 1900). He also made his last World Series after three straight AL pennants (and no championships). He batted .420 in 1911, a modern era record until Rogers Hornsby later beat it, and won the short-lived Chalmers MVP award. He also had controversy off the field, being found guilty of attacking a black laborer in 1908, fighting an elevator operator in 1909, fighting a heckling fan in 1912, getting into fisticuffs with an ump, and pulling a revolver at a butcher shop in 1914. Cobb was named player-manager of the Tigers in 1921. He retired after 1926, but it was a forced retirement after allegations of game fixing. After he was cleared of wrongdoing, he played two more seasons on the Athletics. He first ballot on first ever HOF ballot and had highest percentage until Tom Seaver.
Tony Fernandez (SS)
Career: 45.3 bWAR, 43.5 fWAR, 37.9 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.1 bWAR and 3 fWAR)
Peak: 30.5 bWAR, 29.4 fWAR
Acc: 5-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glove
4-WAR seasons: 5 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: In 1990, Tony Fernandez hit 17 triples to lead the league. It is the 18th most triples in a single season since 1947. Since 1980, he has the 18th most triples in baseball.
Profile: Born in the Dominican Republic, he was signed as an international free agent at 16-years-old in 1979. It only took him four years to make the majors, debuting at 21-years-old during the September callups. He made the majors in late May the next season and stayed up the rest of the season as a bench player primarily. In 1985, he became the full-time starter, the same year the Blue Jays won their first division title. In 1986, he made his first All-Star team and he made it again the next season. After six years of consistent performance, he was traded to the Padres before the 1991 season. After two seasons, he was traded to the Mets and after a slow start in 1993, traded back to the Blue Jays. He returned back to his previous play and ended up winning a World Series with them. In the offseason, he became a free agent and signed with the Reds for one season, and then a two-year deal with the Yankees. In his second year, he missed the entire season, paving the way for Derek Jeter. He signed with Cleveland for one year, then Toronto for two. After getting released by the Brewers early in the 2001 season, he finished the year as a Blue Jay. He retired at 40-years-old. He was on just one Hall of Fame ballot.
Nellie Fox (2B)
Career: 49.5 bWAR, 45.2 fWAR, 43.3 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 2.9 bWAR and 2.6 fWAR)
Peak: 37.1 bWAR, 34.5 fWAR
Acc: MVP, 15-time All-Star (three years had two ASGs), 3-time Gold Gloves
4-WAR seasons: 6 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Fox is tied for the fourth hardest hitter to strike out in major league history. Every player ahead of him or tied with him retired before he played his first game. His 216 strikeouts in over 10,000 plate appearances comes out to 2.1% career K rate.
Profile: Fox tried to take advantage of the talent shortages of the majors due to World War II, with his mother writing a letter to Connie Mack asking for a tryout. At age 16, he signed with the Philadelphia Athletics. Fox actually did get called to serve in 1946, delaying his MLB debut. He played minor leagues mostly in the next two years, but did make brief MLB appearances in both years. He appeared in 88 games in his rookie season in 1949, but got traded at the end of the year to the White Sox. He was a full-time starter for the first time, but couldn’t hit a lick. At 23 in 1951, he finally broke through and started a string of 10 straight seasons of at least 2 fWAR, while also making his first All-Star game. In 1959, he won MVP and the White Sox won the pennant and despite Fox batting .375, they lost in the World Series. He was traded to the Houston Colt .45s and played there his last two years. He retired at 37. He did not make it on 15 writer’s ballots, though he got as high as 74.7%, but the Veteran’s Committee elected him later.
Jimmie Foxx (1B)
Career: 92.3 bWAR, 101.8 fWAR, 75.1 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 5.7 bWAR and 6.3 fWAR)
Peak: 57.9 bWAR, 62.1 fWAR
Acc: 3-time MVP, 9-time All-Star (no ASG until sixth season), Triple Crown, 2-time batting title
4-WAR seasons: 12 by bWAR, 14 by fWAR
One notable stat: He is one of only seven batters to accumulate over 400 bases in a season more than once. He also became the second member of the 500 club and was the youngest to reach 500 for nearly 67 years.
Profile: Foxx played soccer, track, and baseball in high school, and set the Maryland state record in the 220 and 80 yard dashes. He had a scholarship opportunity with the University of Maryland for track, but in his junior year of high school, he signed with a minor league team and moved to catcher given the needs of the team. His contract was purchased by Connie Mack in the middle of the season, and though he did not play, he was in the dugout to end 1924 at just 16-years-old. He was the third string catcher to begin 1925, but was sent down so he could play in June. He was again a backup catcher in 1927, but he started playing 1B because of Mickey Cochrane. He got more playing time in 1928, and was the starting 1B in 1929. At 21-years-old, he had an 8 fWAR season. In 1932, he won his first MVP and actually hit 60 homers but two of them were in games that rained out. He topped that season in 1933 by winning the Triple Crown and making the first ever All-Star game, his first of nine consecutive years. In 1935 he was forced to play 26 games at catcher with the loss of Cochrane. With the As in last place, he was traded to the Red Sox before 1936. He began to have health problems, with forehead and vision problems that delayed his 1937 and a presumed sinus problem in 1939. He still played at a high level, but early in 1942, in a season with a broken toe and broken rib, he was traded to the Cubs. He sat out 1943, was a pinch hitter in 1944, and with the Phillies in 1945, was a pitcher and hitter for some reason, though he was above average at both somehow. He was done at 37. He for some reason took six ballots to make the Hall by the writers.
Augie Galan (OF)
Career: 45.4 bWAR, 43.4 fWAR, 40 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.9 bWAR and 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 34.6 bWAR, 33.5 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 4 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: He was the first player to make 649 plate appearances and not hit into a double play. Somehow he hit in a triple play though.
Profile: Galan’s parents emigrated from France to California. At age 11, he broke his right elbow playing sandlot ball and concealed it from his parents. Because of it, his arm never properly healed and he taught himself to bat left-handed. He signed with a minor league team out of high school, and by 1934, he had been obtained by the Cubs at 22. He platooned at 2B his first season, but he couldn’t handle defense there, so he was moved to the outfield the next season. He became the starting CF and actually became a good defender. The Cubs made the World Series but lost. He made his first All-Star team the next year although it was a down year. In 1938, the Cubs made the World Series again, but were swept. Galan was limited to pinch-hit duty. In 1941, Galan broke a knee crashing into the outfield wall and was sent down, but Galan refused to go and his contract was instead bought by Brooklyn. Typhoid fever limited him to 69 games in his first season with the Dodgers, but in his second year, he was as good as he’d ever been. He made two straight All-Star games in 1943 and 1944, and I’m not sure why he didn’t in 1945 too. He was traded after the 1946 season to the Reds, where he had one more good year, but after that he barely in played in the next two seasons, playing his last MLB ball at 37 for the Athletics. He was on two ballots without much support.
Burleigh Grimes (SP)
Career: 46.7 bWAR, 52.3 fWAR, 47 JAWS (per his 250 IP average: 2.8 bWAR and 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 41.1 bWAR, 32.6 fWAR
Acc: 5-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glove (no ASG
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat; In 1920, Major League Baseball outlawed the use of the spitball, but Grimes was grandfathered in and allowed to continue using it, and he was the last pitcher who legally threw a spitball.
Profile: When Grimes was 13, he attended a baseball game where the pitcher used the spitball, and he was so impressed by it that he practiced it until he mastered it. He signed with a minor league team at 18, but it took until 1916 for him to pitch his first game with the Pirates. Grimes became known for his menacing presence, both for his stubble because he didn’t shave on game days and his willingness to brush back hitters. After being a swingman in 1917, he was traded to the Dodgers as sort of an afterthought with Al Mamaux being the real headliner to Brooklyn. But he had a 2.18 ERA in his first season with Brooklyn. A sore arm limited his innings in 1919, but he threw over 300 the next season and led them to the NL pennant, though he lost two of his three games in the World Series loss. He played six more seasons with Brooklyn, with a high of 327 and a low of 225. Tired of bickering with Grimes about salary and at the age of 33, they traded him to the Giants. He and John McGraw did not get along, and he was traded to the Pirates after one season. After another salary dispute he was traded to the Boston Braves. But after a poor start, he was traded to the Cardinals in the middle of the season. He found renewed success in STL, making the World Series in both years as a Cardinal. He went 0-2 in the World Series losing in 1930, but made up for it by going 2-0 next year with a World Series win. He played three more years, each with less innings, for four different teams, retiring at 40. He did not make it on 15 attempts by the writers, but by the Veteran’s Committee.
Lefty Grove (SP)
Career: 113.3 bWAR, 88.8 fWAR, 86.2 JAWS (per his 232 IP average: 6.7 bWAR and 5.2 fWAR)
Peak: 65.6 bWAR, 50.1 fWAR
Acc: MVP, 6-time All-Star (first ASG in his 9th season), 9-time ERA title, 2-time Triple Crown (no Cy Young in career)
4-WAR seasons: 13 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Grove led the league in strikeouts in his first seven seasons, and his ERA+ was 1st 9 times. His career 148 ERA+ is 9th all-time.
Profile: Grove didn’t play organized ball until he was 19-years-old. He was discovered by the owner of the Baltimore Orioles, at the time in the International League not subject to the MLB Draft and with no affiliation with any MLB team. So he spent four seasons there, with the owner rejecting all offers. In 1925, he finally sold his contract for a then record $100,600 to Connie Mack of the Athletics. Grove made his MLB debut at 25-years-old, but struggled in his first season, walking 14.4% of batters he faced. He had his first great season the next year though and won the ERA title. The Athletics won three straight pennants from 1929 to 1931, with Grove making eight starts with a 1.75 ERA in the playoffs leading to two World Series wins. He was traded to the Red Sox after the 1933 season. He struggled mightily in his first season there, battling an arm injury that limited him to barely over 100 innings. But his next three seasons were peak Grove. For his last four seasons, he never made more than 23 starts or threw more than 200 innings, but he was good when he did pitch. He retired at 41. He was elected on his second year of eligibility.
Tony Gwynn (OF)
Career: 69.2 bWAR, 65 fWAR, 55.2 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.1 bWAR and 3.8 fWAR)
Peak: 41.3 bWAR, 37.8 fWAR
Acc: 15-time All-Star, 5-time Gold Glove, 8-time batting title, 7-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 8 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Gwynn’s .338 career average is the highest of anyone after World War II and 17th all-time. He hit over .350 seven times, the most since World War II, and he’s just the fourth player to hit .350 or higher in four consecutive years.
Profile: Gwynn was a starting point guard for his high school basketball team that went 30-1, and he considered focusing on basketball, but was talked out of it by his mother. When it came time to choose where to attend college, he had a few basketball scholarships but none for baseball. He chose San Diego State in the hopes that he could walk on the baseball team. He did not play baseball his freshman year, but an injury to two players plus teammate Bobby Meacham had played against him in high school and convinced the new head coach to give him a chance. Gwynn does not believe he’d play baseball if not for those injuries. Gwynn was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1981 MLB Draft, mostly because MLB scouts saw him when they looked at Meacham, who was a 1st rounder. He also got drafted in the 10th round of the NBA Draft, but chose baseball for practical reasons. He made his MLB debut at 22-years-old the year after he was drafted in late July. His sophomore season was delayed by an injury, but in his third season, he made his first All-Star team and first World Series. In 1988, he was moved from right field to center field, for a guy known for being bad defensively in college. But he was not good there and moved back to RF after just a year. He had played through injuries over the years, but from 1991-1993 he was forced to sit for over 30 games per year. He batted .394 in 1994 when the strike ended the season. He continued to miss games to injuries for the rest of his career, retiring at age 41. He was first ballot.
Stan Hack (3B)
Career: 55.5 bWAR, 55.8 fWAR, 46.5 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.9 bWAR and fWAR)
Peak: 37.5 bWAR, 36.7 fWAR
Acc: 5-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 6 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: While he did bat .301 for his career, his 1,092 career walks ranked 4th all-time at the time of his retirement and is the club record for the Cubs.
Profile: In 1931, Hack was acquired by a local PCL minor league team and a year after that caught the attention of Bill Veeck Sr. of the Cubs, who bought his contract. He got more playing time after his teammate, Billy Jurges, got shot by a showgirl, which later inspired The Natural, but in his second season, he was mostly in the minors. At 24 in 1934, he finally got the starting 3B job, and in 1936, he was playing nearly every game. In 1938, as the leadoff hitter, the Cubs won the NL pennant for the third time in seven years. He also made his first All-Star game. Hack batted .471 in the series, but they got swept in four games anyway. Hack had his first of three straight 5 fWAR seasons in 1940, but only made one All-Star game in that span. At the end of his age 33 season, Hack retired because he was tired of the losing and didn’t like the manager. When they started the season 1-13 in 1934, they fired the manager and the new manager convinced him to come back. And good thing because he has his last great year in 1945, another year the Cubs won the NL pennant. Hack batted .367 but the Cubs lost in 7. He was hurt for the last month of 1946 and was limited to 76 games in his final season. He retired at 37. He was on seven HOF ballots without much support.
Trevor Hoffman (RP)
Career: 28.1 bWAR, 25.9 fWAR, 23.7 JAWS (per 65 IP: 1.7 bWAR and 1.5 fWAR)
Peak: 19.4 bWAR, 29.4 fWAR
Acc: 7-time All-Star, 2-time Rolaids Relief Winner
2-WAR seasons: 6 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Hoffman is 2nd all-time in saves with 601, being the first player to reach both 500 and 600 saves. He had the MLB record of nine seasons with 40+ saves, later tied by Mariano Rivera.
Profile: His father did not allow Trevor to pitch after he was 12 because he did not trust coaches to protect his arm, so he became a shortstop in high school. He did not get a scholarship, but played at both Cypress College and University of Arizona. He was selected in the 11th round of the 1989 MLB Draft by the Reds. After batting just .212 in A ball, he converted to pitcher in 1991 because he had an elite arm. He was left unprotected in the expansion draft, and was drafted by the Marlins with the eighth pick. Midseason, he was traded to the Padres for Gary Sheffield, which was not a popular trade in San Diego as Hoffman was booed in his first few appearances. In the strike-shortened 1994, he took over closing duties, a role he held for the next 16 years. After the season, he hurt his shoulder and pitched 1995 hurt, forcing him to develop his changeup better. In 1998, Hoffman was 2nd in Cy Young voting as the Padres won the NL pennant. His career was humming until he missed most of 2003 to two shoulder surgeries. But the surgeries clearly worked, as he then saved 40 games in four consecutive seasons. With the Padres looking to reduce payroll, the 41-year-old Hoffman signed with the Brewers. He had one last great season, but struggled in his final season. He was elected on his third ballot.
Bob Johnson (OF)
Career: 55.6 bWAR, 57 fWAR, 45.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.1 bWAR and 4.3 fWAR)
Peak: 35.5 bWAR, 35.8 fWAR
Acc: 8-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 7 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: When his career ended, Johnson was in the American League’s top five in career RBI, runs, slugging percentage, total bases, and walks. He was the fifth player ever to have nine consecutive 20-HR seasons.
Profile: Johnson was a victim of the reserve clause, because if a player like him was around in modern day, he would not debut as late as 27-years-old. He was born in Oklahoma but grew up in Washington. After Al Simmons of the Athletics was traded, Johnson took his place in 1933. He was 27 and immediately had an All-Star caliber year, though he did not make the team. He didn’t make the team until his third season and oddly enough didn’t make his second team until his sixth season. But he made it two straight years after that. After 1942, he complained he wasn’t appreciated enough and asked to be traded. He was traded to the Senators, where he played on his second winning team of his career and his last. He was 5th place in MVP voting, his highest of his career, despite many better seasons. He was traded to the Red Sox for his last two seasons, both of which he made All-Star teams. He retired at 39 in 1945. He was on two Hall of Fame ballots without much support.
Chet Lemon (OF)
Career: 55.6 bWAR, 52 fWAR, 46.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.2 bWAR and 4 fWAR)
Peak: 37.2 bWAR, 35 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Interestingly, Lemon never won a Gold Glove despite ranking 1st in Total Zone among CFs three times. He ranks 11th all-time in Total Zone runs as a CF, and everybody ahead of him has at least two Gold Gloves.
Profile: Lemon was drafted 22nd overall in the 1972 MLB Draft out of high school by the Oakland Athletics. Before he made the majors though, the Athletics traded him to the White Sox in 1975. He later made his MLB debut during the September call-ups. An infielder throughout the minors, he entered spring training as the leading candidate for the 3B job, but got moved to outfield instead. He wasn’t particularly good in his first season, but he was just 21, and he broke out the next year at just 22-years-old. He made two straight All-Star games in 1978 and 1979 as the only representative of the White Sox both years. After the 1981 season, he was traded to the Tigers. He played his first season in mostly right field, but after a five-year deal in the offseason, got moved back to center. He had his best ever season in 1984, the same year the Tigers won the World Series. He played three more solidly above average seasons, and was moved to RF in 1988. He had a poor 1989, and in 1990, he was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. Despite multiple injuries, his performance did bounce back. He returned to spring training 1991, but was injured for most of it and was released in April. His career was over at 35. He was on one Hall of Fame ballot.
Heine Manush (OF)
Career: 48 bWAR, 43.1 fWAR, 41.9 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.4 bWAR and 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 35.9 bWAR, 33.3 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star (All-Star game didn’t exist until 11th season)
4-WAR seasons: 6 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Manush came relatively close to winning the MVP a few times. He finished 5th in 1926 and 2nd in 1927. It didn’t exist for a few years, but when it returned, he finished 3rd in 1933 and 1934.
Profile: Manush took an interest in baseball from his brother, who was 18 years older than him and played in the majors for 14 years. By the time he debuted, his brother was retired. Before the 1923 season, Manush’s contract was purchased by the Tigers, and at 21, he made his MLB debut, playing in 109 games that year. He wasn’t the full-time starter for his first few seasons, with a stacked outfield in Detroit, but after 1925, he took over from Ty Cobb in centerfield. On the final day of the 1926 season, Manush had six hits in a doubleheader, giving him the batting crown and taking away Babe Ruth’s Triple Crown. Manush was traded to the St. Louis Browns after the season, having two great seasons. Before 1930, he refused to report, asking for a higher salary. He eventually signed, but got traded two months into the 1930 season to the Washington Senators. In 1934, he made his only All-Star game in what was his last great season. He had a great slump at the end of 1934, and it continued in 1935, and survived further still with a trade to the Red Sox. The Red Sox released him at the end of 1936. He broke out of the slump with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937, but he was released 17 games into the season. At the end of the season, he was picked up by the Pirates, but was released by them too early in the next season. His career was over at 37. He didn’t receive much support from the writers with a high of 9.4%, but the Veteran’s Committee elected him in 1964.
Rube Marquard (SP)
Career: 34.7 bWAR, 45.5 fWAR, 31.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.1 bWAR and 2.8 fWAR)
Peak: 30.1 bWAR, 29.2 fWAR
Acc: None (career ended in 1925, before All-Star games or Cy Youngs)
4-WAR seasons: 4 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Marquard made baseball history by winning 19 decisions in a row. He celebrated by buying an opal pin. His friend told him opals were a jinx, he threw it into the river, and he lost his next game.
Profile: Marquard starting his professional career in 1906 at 19-years-old, playing for a minor league team. After two straight seasons of being the best pitcher in the American Association, his contract was bought by the New York Giants for an unheard of $11,000 in 1908. He made his MLB debut that year, making one start. Marquard struggled in his first two seasons, getting the nickname “the $11,000 lemon.” The Giants changed his delivery and tried to emphasize first pitch strikes. It worked. He had three straight seasons of at least 5 bWAR ball. The Giants also won the pennant all three years. Two years after winning 19 straight decisions, Marquard lost 12 straight decisions late in 1914. With the Giants in last place in 1915, Marquard asked for a trade, but McGraw said nobody would take him and to prove it, he put him on waivers. Nobody claimed him. But he contacted his old mentor, manager of the Brooklyn Robins, and they took him. Marquard bounced back in 1916, and they even won the NL pennant but Marquard lost two games in the World Series loss. Marquard pitched just 59 innings in 1919 after suffering a fracture in his leg. In the 1920 World Series, he got in trouble for scalping tickets and afterwards Brooklyn traded him to the Reds. He got traded to the Boston Braves after one season. He pitched four more seasons, but barely played in the last two. His career was done at 38. The writer’s didn’t vote him in, with a high of just 13.9%, but the Veteran’s Committee did in 1971. His chapter in “The Glory of Their Times” is thought to be why, though most of his stories later turned out to be false.
Eddie Mathews (3B)
Career: 96.1 bWAR, 96.1 fWAR, 75 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 5.7 bWAR and fWAR)
Peak: 53.9 bWAR, 55.3 fWAR
Acc: 12-time All-Star (3 years had two ASGs)
4-WAR seasons: 13 by bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Mathews was top 5 in HRs nine times in his career. His 512 home runs rank 23rd all-time and was 6th at the time of his retirement. He is also the only player to play for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta.
Profile: Mathews was one of the most sought after prospects in baseball coming out of college. He and his father weighed his options and picked the Boston Braves, because they had an aging 3B he could replace soon, even though he had higher offers. He spent a couple years in the minors and almost had his career delayed due to the Korean War, but he received a discharge because of his father’s illness and his status as the sole supporter of the family. He won the 3B job out of spring training in 1952 and hit 25 homers in 593 games as a 20-year-old. The next year, the Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee and he became an MVP candidate, placing 2nd in voting. He hit 40 homers in his first three seasons in Milwaukee. In 1957, Mathews and a young player named Hank Aaron led the Braves to a World Series win over the Yankees. They repeated the matchup next year, but lost in 7 games. He had his last 40 HR season in 1959 in his streak of 9 consecutive 30 HR seasons ended in 1962 with 29. He had his last 30 HR season in 1965, and then the next season the Braves moved to Atlanta. He was traded after just one season in Atlanta. He played for Houston, got put on waivers in the middle of the season, and claimed by Detroit. He was mostly a pinch hitter in his final season and spent most of the year injured. He had four plate appearances in the 1968 World Series and was thrilled to retire a champion at 36-years-old. He was elected on his fifth try by the writers.
Eddie Murray (1B)
Career: 68.7 bWAR, 72 fWAR, 53.9 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.2 bWAR and 3.4 fWAR)
Peak: 39.1 bWAR, 40 fWAR
Acc: Rookie of the Year, 8-time All-Star, 3-time Silver Slugger, 3-time Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 9 by bWAR, 10 by fWAR
One notable stat: Murray is one of only seven players to be a part of the 500 HR club and the 3,000 hit club. His 504 HRs are 28th all-time and his 3,255 hits are 14th all-time.
Profile: Growing up, Murray was the eighth child of twelve and had fierce competition in his older brothers. He batted .500 as a senior in high school (being teammates with Ozzie Smith), and was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1973 MLB draft. After a few seasons in the minors, he debuted in the beginning of the 1977 season at 21-years-old. He won Rookie of the Year. The next year, he made his first All-Star game. He made his second All-Star game in 1981 for some reason even though he was in the top 10 in MVP voting in the previous two years. He was then in the next six consecutive All-Star games and in the top 5 in MVP voting for five straight years, never winning. In 1986, he felt the Orioles tried to pressure him to return from an ankle injury before he was ready and the owner questioned his work ethic, so he requested to be traded. He didn’t get his wish until after the 1988 season to the Dodgers. He spent three years as a Dodger, hitting free agency at 36-years-old. He spent two years with the Mets, then three and half years with Cleveland. He was traded back to the Orioles in 1996. He spent his age 41 and final season between two teams before retiring. He was first ballot.
Graig Nettles (3B)
Career: 68 bWAR, 65.7 fWAR, 55.2 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4 bWAR and 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 42.4 bWAR, 41.6 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star, 2-time Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 9 by bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Nettles has the highest career WAR, by either Fangraphs or Baseball-Reference, of a player with a batting average lower than .250. He also has the AL record of most homers by a third baseman.
Profile: Nettles grew up in San Diego and got his name because his mother disliked both Greg and Craig and combined them. He was born and raised in San Diego, attended San Diego High School, and got a basketball scholarship at San Diego State University, though also played baseball. In 1965, he was drafted in the 4th round of the MLB Draft by the Twins, debuting during the September callups two years later. He didn’t stick in the majors until two years later, at 24, though he was still a part-time player. In the offseason, he was traded to Cleveland. After three seasons, he was traded due to a feud with the manager. The Yankees were the beneficiary. In 1975, he made his first All-Star game despite being a 4+ fWAR player for the five seasons before that. In 1977, he made his second All-Star game and he made the next three after that. He was also part of a Yankees squad that won three AL pennants and two World Series in that span. Before the 1984 season, he was traded to San Diego, where he played for three seasons. He played two more seasons for two different teams, retiring at 43. He was on four HOF ballots with nothing more than 10%.
John Olerud (1B)
Career: 58.2 bWAR, 57.3 fWAR, 48.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.9 bWAR and 3.8 fWAR)
Peak: 39 bWAR, 39.9 fWAR
Acc: 2-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glover, batting title
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: He only retired 17 years ago, but it doesn’t really feel like Olerud could exist now. He had more walks than strikeouts over his career, and by kind of a lot. He had a career 14.1 BB% and 11.2 K%.
Profile: John’s dad was captain of his baseball team at Washington State and was selected in the first ever MLB Draft, but he never made the majors. The son was drafted in the 27th round out of high school, but followed his dad to Washington State, even playing for the same head coach. He had a subarachnoid hemorrhage in his junior season and further exams revealed a brain aneurysm, and he needed surgery before the baseball season. He wore a batting helmet on defense from then on. The Blue Jays drafted him in the 3rd round of 1989 MLB Draft. He told teams he was returning to Washington State for his senior year, and only signed because Toronto promised he would report straight to Toronto. He debuted without seeing the minors and became the #3 prospect in baseball. He was heavily platooned in his rookie season and started in nearly every game by his third season, also the year he made his first All-Star game. He didn’t quite live up to his 1993 season, leading to disappointment and after the 1996 season, he was traded to the Mets. He batted .354 in 1998 but did not win the batting title. After the 1999 season, he reached free agency and signed with the Mariners. He won all of his Gold Gloves as a Mariner. He was DFA’d 78 games into the 2004 season, and picked up by the Yankees. He spent a last year with Boston, not signing a deal until May. He retired at 36. He was on one Hall of Fame ballot without much support.
Herb Pennock (SP)
Career: 44.7 bWAR, 47.9 fWAR, 41.2 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.5 bWAR and 2.7 fWAR)
Peak: 36.9 bWAR, 27.5 fWAR
Acc: None (Career ended in 1934, which was only the 2nd ever All-Star game)
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: If you’re into this, Pennock sure added to his case with his playoff performances. He made 10 appearances in World Series with a 1.95 ERA, 3 wins to zero losses and three saves oddly enough.
Profile: Pennock was born in Pennsylvania and actually had ancestors who traveled with William Penn. As a baseball player for the boarding school he attended, he was a weak hitter at first and his coach converted him to pitcher. He threw a no hitter to Connie Mack’s son, and agreed to sign with the Athletics at a later date, which he did in 1912. He debuted at 18 that year, but was used sparingly for the next four seasons. He sold Pennock in the middle of the 1915, with Mack concluding Pennock lacked ambition. He was loaned to minor league teams for most of 1915 and 1916 by the Red Sox and wasn’t used much in 1917. He enlisted in the Navy for World War II and was promised by the new manager he would play him the next year. But for the first two months, he wasn’t and Pennock threatened to quit. He made 26 starts that year. After four starts as a solid starter, he was traded to the Yankees before 1922. He won two World Series in the next five years as a Yankee, but missed both the end of the 1928 season and the World Series to an arm injury. 1928 was also the last season he threw 200 innings, as he suffered from bouts of neuritis in both 1929 and 1930. He spent the 1931 season in the bullpen and was released. He spent his last season with the Red Sox, also in the bullpen. He was not elected in seven tries by the writers, but weeks after his death, they elected him in 1948.
Kenny Rogers (SP)
Career: 50.5 bWAR, 42.5 fWAR, 42.8 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.1 bWAR and 2.6 fWAR)
Peak: 35.2 bWAR, 25.2 fWAR
Acc: 4-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: Rogers is 2nd all-time in pickoffs with 93 career pickoffs. He also pitched the 14th perfect game in MLB history in 1994.
Profile: Rogers didn’t play high school baseball until his senior season, but it was enough to get drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 39th round. Despite being a shortstop and sometimes outfielder, the Rangers converted him to pitcher immediately because of his strong throwing arm and that he was left-handed. He spent seven seasons in the minors being making the team out of the bullpen in 1989. He was in the bullpen for four seasons, only making spot starts. He started lobbying to start in his last year in the bullpen and got his wish in the 1993 season at 28-years-old. He made his first All-Star game in 1995, and in the offseason, he signed a four-year deal with the Yankees. His tenure was a disaster, and after two seasons, he was traded to the Athletics. He enjoyed a career year, but was traded in the middle of 1999 because he was disgruntled and affecting clubhouse chemistry. Things weren’t much better with the Mets for the rest of 1999 either. He signed a three year contract with the Rangers, two good years, one bad. He signed a one year deal with the Twins, then returned to Arlington for two more years. He played well enough that, at 40-years-old, he received a two-year deal with the Tigers. Long known for his outbursts and difficult personality, he retired at 43. He received one vote on his only ballot.
Brett Saberhagen (SP)
Career: 58.9 bWAR, 55.3 fWAR, 51 JAWS (per 200 IP: 4.5 bWAR and 4.3 fWAR)
Peak: 43.1 bWAR, 37.7 fWAR
Acc: 2-time Cy Young, 3-time All-Star, Gold Glove, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: Saberhagen is known for his pinpoint control. He led the league in BB/9 twice and K/BB ratio three times. He is 36th all-time in BB/9 and 31st in K/BB.
Profile: Going into his senior season of high school, Saberhagen rushed himself into shape and developed tendinitis in his shoulder. He did go 6-0, but some teams were wary as his velocity was still a question mark. But the Royals selected him 19th overall in the 1982 draft. He wasn’t in the minors long, making his debut in relief in 1984 as the Royals youngest player at 20-years-old. In just his second season, at 21, Saberhagen won the Cy Young and the Royals won the World Series. He wasn’t as good in 1986, missing a month to injury, but he made his first All-Star game in 1987. In 1989, he won his second Cy Young and according to B-R, had nearly a 10 win season. He missed most of the 2nd half in 1990, but bounced back the next year, even throwing a no-hitter. He was traded to the Mets before 1992. He made just 34 combined starts in his first two seasons, but he was 3rd in Cy Young voting in the strike-shortened 1994. The Mets traded him in August of 1995 to the Rockies where he made 9 bad starts. He missed 1996 to injury and was forced to sign a minor league contract. He pitched his way back to the majors with six bad starts, but he was brought back the next season and had 31 good starts. He was good in 1999 as well, but made three trips to the DL. He missed 2000 and only made three starts in 2001, retiring at 37. He was on one ballot without much support.
Bobby Shantz (SP)
Career: 32.1 bWAR, 28.8 fWAR, 29.8 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.3 bWAR and 3 fWAR)
Peak: 24.9 bWAR, 20.8 fWAR
Acc: MVP, 3-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glove, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 1 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Slightly before the existence of the Cy Young, Shantz won MVP in 1952. And though he was probably voted MVP because of his 24-7 record, his 8.8 bWAR did indeed lead baseball that year.
Profile: When Bobby Shantz graduated high school, he was not even five foot. Though short he became a big star in his neighborhood and when he grew a little past five feet, he was drafted in the army during World War II. When he was discharged in in 1946, he had grown to a little over 5’6. Many teams were impressed by Shantz, but passed because of his eight. At the end of 1947, the Athletics signed him. He spent one year in the minors, then debuted at 23-years-old, mostly appearing in the bullpen. He made 23 starts the next year and made his first All-Star game the year after that. In 1952, he threw 279 innings and won Cy Young. Shantz made just 16 starts in his followup season and missed nearly the entire season in 1954. He was only able to make 17 starts in 1955 and pitched nearly all of 1956 in relief. He was traded to the Yankees before 1957 and though intended to just be in the bullpen, injuries in the rotation led to him making 21 starts in his first healthy season in years. He also won his first of six straight Gold Gloves. He transitioned to the bullpen over the next few seasons as a Yankee. In the expansion draft, he was selected by the Washington Senators and traded to the Pirates two days later. He was once again selected in the expansion draft the next year, and made the first ever start for the Houston Colt .45s. He was traded to the Cards and moved back to the bullpen in May. He played for three teams in his final season, retiring at 38. He was on five ballots without much support.
Enos Slaughter (OF)
Career: 57.8 bWAR, 51.4 fWAR, 47.6 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.8 bWAR and 3.4 fWAR)
Peak: 37.4 bWAR, 33.5 fWAR
Acc: 10-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: Probably appropriate for a man know for his “Mad Dash” around home, but he was a triples machine. He spent 11 seasons in the top 10 in triples, including two seasons with the most. He is 54th all-time.
Profile: Slaughter grew up in North Carolina and passed on a scholarship opportunity to college because he saw baseball as his future. In 1935, he had a 10-day tryout and signed with the Cardinals. In 1937, Slaughter was bestowed with the nickname “Country” by his manager because of the look of his face. In 1938, he made his MLB debut at 22. He made his first All-Star game in 1941 and had a 142 wRC+ in the 1942 World Series. The he missed three prime seasons of his career to World War II. In 1946, he played in every single game, was 3rd in MVP voting, and the Cardinals won another World Series with his famous “Mad Dash.” He does have a stigma of being racist due to an alleged attempted strike to protest Jackie Robinson’s admittance plus spiking Robinson in a slide. He has denied this. Two days before the 1954 season, Slaughter was traded to the New York Yankees. He went from 143 starts to being a bench player. He was traded to the Athletics early in 1955, and then back to the Yankees in the middle of 1956. He spent two more seasons as a Yankee, and won two World Series as a bench player. He was released in 1959 and finished the year as a Brave. His MLB career was over at 43. He was not elected by the writers on 15 tries, but by the Veteran’s Committee.
Mel Stottlemyre (SP)
Career: 40.7 bWAR, 34 fWAR, 38.9 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.7 bWAR and 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 34.6 bWAR, 26.3 fWAR
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Stottlemyre was a regular fixture on the complete game leaderboard. He led the league twice, with 18 and 24, and placed in the top 10 six times in his career.
Profile: Stottlemyre was born in Missouri, but had moved to Washington by the time high school started. On the strength of his 13-0 record as a senior, he got a scholarship, but he was ruled academically ineligible due to poor grades before he was able to pitch. After pitching for a junior college, he was signed by the Yankees in 1961. After a few seasons in the minors and an injury to Whitey Ford, Stottlemyre got his chance made 12 starts in his rookie season at 22. The next year, he led the league in both inning and complete games. That started a string of nine consecutive seasons with at least 250 innings pitched and at least 9 complete games. In 1973, he set a record by starting 243 consecutive games without a relief appearance. In 1974, after a few years of uninspiring results, George Steinbrenner bought the team and vowed make changes. In that same year, Stottlemyre was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff after years of pitching through cortisone shots. He was released in spring training of 1975 and his career was over at just 32. He was on just one Hall of Fame ballot.
Jim Thome (1B)
Career: 73.1 bWAR, 69.1 fWAR, 57.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 4.3 bWAR and 4 fWAR)
Peak: 41.5 bWAR, 40.4 fWAR
Acc: 5-time All-Star, Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 9 by bWAR, 10 by fWAR
One notable stat: Thome is the career leader in walk-off homers with 13 in his career. He had 12 seasons of at least 30 homers and his 13.8 at-bats per homer ranks 5th all-time.
Profile: After achieving All-State honors in baseball as a shortstop, Thome attracted no interest from scouts, he enrolled at Illinois College. After one season, he was drafted in the 13th round by the Cleveland Indians in 1989. After hitting zero homers in his rookie league debut, he worked with future manager and hitting guru Charlie Manuel, who unlocked something, because he advanced so fast that he made his MLB debut during the September callups in 1991, though it took him until 1994 to not split time between big leagues and AAA. He was the starting 3B in 1995, the same year Cleveland won the AL pennant. After a short exit in the playoffs the following year, they once again won the AL pennant. Thome moved to 1B that year and also made his first All-Star game. In 1998, he broke his hand, ending his season early, but he made his third straight All-Star game in 1999. That was his last All-Star game in Cleveland, though oddly his last two seasons both had him in the top 10 in MVP voting. He signed a six year deal with Philadelphia when he hit free agency. After two good seasons and one All-Star appearance, he was injured most of 2005 and was traded with the emergence of Ryan Howard. With his trade to the Dodgers in 2009, he ended his career playing for six teams in his final four seasons. His career was done at 41, and he was first ballot five years later.
Pie Traynor (3B)
Career: 38.5 bWAR, 37.8 fWAR, 32.6 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.8 bWAR and 2.7 fWAR)
Peak: 26.8 bWAR, 27.1 fWAR
Acc: 2-All-Star (first All-Star game was in his 14th season)
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Pie Traynor was widely considered a great defender and while it’s not borne out in the stats, it’s worth pointing out that the “stats” (-28) are not reliable. Then again, he was known for his wild throws, so who knows.
Profile: In 1920, Traynor tried out for the Red Sox. He wasn’t signed but was sent to an unofficial Red Sox minor league affiliate. Despite this, he was dangled in front of multiple teams, eventually selling him to the Pirates to end the 1920 season. He debuted at 21 in September and spent most of the next season in the minors. In 1922, he played in 142 games, but he didn’t have a position. He was a SS prospect, but the Pirates had Rabbit Maranville, a future Hall of Famer. They tried him at 2B, but he was awful and eventually he moved to 3B. The next year his bat broke out with a suggestion by Rogers Hornsby to use a heavier bat. Traynor became known for his defense at 3B, with columnist Red Smith watching him was like “looking over daVinci’s shoulder.” In 1925, the Pirates won the World Series in part thanks to Traynor’s 144 wRC+. They also won the NL pennant in 1927. Traynor continued being the full-time 3B until about 1934, when he became player-manager and appeared in 119 games, his least since he broke into the big leagues for good. He played just 57 games in 1935 and didn’t play at all in 1936. He retired after 38, though his playing career was essentially over in 1935. The writers voted him in on his eighth ballot.
Maury Willis (SS)
Career: 39.6 bWAR, 35.7 fWAR, 51 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.9 bWAR and 2.6 fWAR)
Peak: 29.6 bWAR, 26.6 fWAR
Acc: MVP, 7-time All-Star (2 seasons had two All-Star games), 2-time Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Maury Willis led the league in stolen bases for six straight seasons with an average of 63 stolen bases per season, including breaking the single season mark with 104 swipes.
Profile: Willis earned all-city honors in baseball, football, and basketball in three years at high school, opting to pursue baseball. He signed with the Dodgers in 1950 for a measly $500. He spent seven seasons in the minors, becoming a switch hitter in 1958. When Pee Wee Reese retired, the Dodgers went through a couple options before promoting Willis in mid-1959. He was 26. He didn’t play particularly well, but neither did his competition and he started all six games in the World Series. He struggled with the bat for the next couple seasons, but did make the All-Star game in his second full season. But he really broke out in 1962, stealing 104 bases and finally having an above average hitting line. He had his worst offensive season in 1966 since his 1961 season, but and at age 33, he started to get caught more on steal attempts. When owner Walter O’Malley had a goodwill trip for some Dodger players to Japan, and Willis went AWOL after a few games, he was ordered shipped out. He was traded to the Pirates, where he played for a couple seasons. In the 1969 expansion draft, he was selected by the Expos, but they traded him back to the Dodgers fairly quickly. He spent two seasons as a starter, and one on the bench. He retired after his age 39 season. He was on 15 Hall of Fame ballots but never got higher than 50%.
Hack Wilson (OF)
Career: 38.7 bWAR, 42.1 fWAR, 37.4 JAWS (per 200 IP: 4.2 bWAR and 4.5 fWAR)
Peak: 36.1 bWAR, 38.4 fWAR
Acc: None (he retired in 1934, so the All-Star game started past his prime)
4-WAR seasons: 5 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: In 1930, Hack Wilson hit 56 homers, which was an NL record for 68 years, and had 191 RBIs, which is an MLB record.
Profile: Wilson was born to two alcoholic parents and his large head, tiny feet, short legs, and broad flat face is now recognized as a hallmark of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. In a 1921 minor league game, he broke his leg sliding into home and moved from catcher to outfield. After batting .388 in 1923, his contract was bought by John McGraw. He debuted that season at 23-years-old, but played in just 3 games. In 1924, he played in just over 100 games and the first mention of the nickname “Hack” was put in print, though as to why, that is unknown and only speculated. In 1925, he lost his starting job, and he was sent to the minors towards the end of the year. He was left unprotected though and the Cubs claimed him on waivers. He broke out in 1926 with the Cubs, hitting 21 homers with a .321 average. The next year saw his first of three straight 30 HR seasons. Wilson became known for initiating fights with opposing players and fans and also drinking. He insisted he never played drunk. “Hungover, yes, drunk, no” is a direct quote. After his magnificent 1930 season, he showed up 20 pounds overweight in 1931 and he was suspended without pay for most of September for a fight with reporters. He was traded to the Cardinals and before he played a game to Brooklyn. He spent three seasons there, getting released by Brooklyn midseason. Wilson retired at age 35 after a final season in the minors. He was not voted in on 16 efforts by the writers, but by the Veteran’s Committee in 1979, over 30 years after his death.
Even though there are less players on this ballot, I’m keeping the maximum at 14. For no particular reason, just take advantage of the extra vote if you want.