We have part 6 of the Hall of Fame voting today. This is the second cycle of voting and the second of three ballots we’ll have in this cycle before we have another break in voting.
You should know the drill by now. And if you don’t, 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
Hank Aaron (OF)
Career: 143.1 bWAR, 136.3 fWAR, 101.7 JAWS (6.2 bWAR, 5.9 fWAR)
Peak: 60.3 bWAR, 56.3 fWAR
Acc: MVP, 25-time All-Star (4 years had 2 ASGs), 3-time Gold Glove, 2-time batting title
4-WAR seasons: 18 by bWAR, 19 by fWAR
One notable stat: While he once led baseball in home runs during his career, he still leads two other offensive stats: RBIs with 2,297 and total bases with 6,856.
Profile: Growing up in Mobile, Alabama, Aaron’s high school did not have organized baseball so he played for semipro teams his freshman and sophomore years, had a tryout with an MLB team when he was 15, and played for independent Negro League teams his junior and senior years. He played three months for a Negro League team in 1951 when he was offered MLB contracts by two teams - he went with the Milwaukee Braves because they offered $50 more. Aaron avoided the draft in 1954, because his next stop in the minors had not been integrated and the Braves made the case to the draft board that he was the player to do that. He debuted in 1955, making the team in spring training. The next season, at 21, he made his first of 25 All-Star games, and two years after that, he won his only MVP award, though he got votes for 19 straight years. He stayed with the team through their move to Atlanta, and at 41-years-old, was traded back to Milwaukee, by now the Brewers. He retired at 42 and was first ballot with 97.8% of the vote.
Charles Bender (SP)
Career: 42.7 bWAR, 47.4 fWAR, 40.7 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.8 bWAR, 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 33.6 bWAR, 29.5 fWAR
Acc: None (Career predated All-Star game)
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Bender had a lot of postseason experience, making five World Series and being a part of three winning teams. In 10 career starts, he pitched 85 innings of 2.44 ERA ball, nearly the same as his career 2.46 ERA. His FIP in the playoffs was better than his FIP in the regular season.
Profile: Bender was born in Minnesota as part of the Ojibwe tribe, with his mother being part Chippewa, which I assume is where his “Chief” nickname came from. He signed with a semipro team in 1902 and got noticed by an Athletics scout. He debuted for the Athletics at 19-years-old and threw over 200 innings. For his time, Bender was not a workhorse. I typically have to increase the average innings for players in the early 1900s, but he averaged 201 innings in his 15 seasons. After the 1914 season, he was lured away by the Federal League for one year. He played two more years for the Phillies and then didn’t play baseball in 1918 for the war effort. That was effectively the end of his playing career, with his last game at 33. He was on 15 HOF ballots, receiving a high of 44.7%, but was elected via the Veteran’s Committee in 1953.
Craig Biggio (2B)
Career: 65.4 bWAR, 65.8 fWAR, 53.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.1 WAR)
Peak: 41.8 bWAR, 40.8 fWAR
Acc: 7-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glover, 5-time Silver Slugger, 3,000 hits
4-WAR seasons: 11 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: The first thing that comes to mind when I hear Biggio is hit by pitches. That’s because he got hit by a pitch the 2nd most ever in his career with 285 HBPs. He led the league five times and was in the top ten 15 times.
Profile: While in high school, Biggio was awarded the best football player in Suffolk County, but he turned down football scholarships to play baseball at Seton Hall. He converted from infield to catch while at Seton Hall, which helped him get drafted 22nd overall in the 1986 MLB Draft by the Astros. It also helped him quickly get to the big leagues, debuting at 22 in 1988. After four seasons as a catcher, the Astros convinced Biggio to move to 2B. He stayed there until 2003, moving to CF as a 37-years-old to make room for Jeff Kent. He was frankly terrible there and moved back to 2B after two seasons. He retired at 41-years-old and was elected on his third ballot with 83.7% of the vote.
Lou Boudreau (SS)
Career: 63.6 bWAR, 64.5 fWAR, 56.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 5.4 WAR)
Peak: 49.2 bWAR, 49.7 fWAR
Acc; MVP, 8-time All-Star, Batting Title
4-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: Boudreau led the league in doubles three times and was in the top ten 7 times. His 385 doubles ranked 226th all-time, but just seven players above him had less plate appearances than his 7,025 plate appearances
Profile: Boudreau was a two-sport star at the University of Illinois, being named an NCAA Men’s Basketball All-American in 1938. While still at Illinois, he was paid by the Indians to agree to play baseball for them once he graduated, which made him ineligible for college sports going forward. He stayed on as a coach for the basketball team while playing for the Indians through 1942. He debuted in 1938 for the Indians, playing in just one game, and became the full-time starter at SS beginning in August of 1939. In 1941, he became player-manager of the Indians. He avoided serving in World War II because his arthritis in his ankles made him ineligible. In 1948, he led Cleveland to the most recent World Series win they have as player-manager. Following 1950, Boudreau was released and signed with the Red Sox in 1951 and he became manager in 1952, with just 3 PAs. At 34, his career was over. On his 12th ballot, the writers voted him in.
Lou Brock (OF)
Career: 45.3 bWAR, 43.2 fWAR, 38.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 2.4 bWAR, 2.3 fWAR)
Peak: 32 bWAR, 29.4 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: What else? He led the league in stolen bases eight times and set the MLB record with 118 stolen bases in 1974 - since broken. His 938 stolen bases rank 2nd in MLB history.
Profile: Brock did not play organized baseball until he was a junior in high school and was able to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge with academic assistance. Fearing his grades would not be good enough to keep up the assistance, he tried out and made the baseball team in hopes of an athletic scholarship. He tried out first for the Cards, then the Cubs who signed him in 1960 at 21-years-old. He debuted late the next year and was the regular starter by 1962. Famously, especially around here, he was traded for Ernie Broglio in 1964 and was an important part of the 1964 World Series winners. He made two more World Series, winning in 1967 and stayed a Cardinal until he was 40, which is when he retired. He was first ballot with 79.7% of the vote in 1985.
Kevin Brown (SP)
Career: 68.2 bWAR, 76.5 fWAR, 56.5 JAWS (per 200 IP; 4.2 bWAR, 4.7 fWAR)
Peak: 45.2 bWAR, 49.3 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star, 2-time ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 9 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Brown has the highest bWAR of any starting pitcher not in the Hall of Fame except for two active players, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling. By fWAR, no active player has more fWAR than him but Tommy John does as far as who isn’t in the Hall in addition to Schilling and Clemens.
Profile: Brown was selected 4th overall in the 1986 MLB Draft out of Georgia Tech by the Texas Rangers. He debuted that season on September 30th, and despite having a good start, didn’t see the majors again until the middle of September in 1988. He was a full-time member of the rotation the next year, at 24-years-old. Brown became a free agent during the strike and signed a one-year deal with the Orioles in April 1995. He signed a three-year deal with the Marlins next, and after leading them to a World Series win, he was traded to the Padres. He became a free agent again and signed a 7 year, $100 million deal with the Dodgers. Following year 5, he was traded to the Yankees where he finished his career at 40-years-old. He received 2.1% of the vote on his only ballot.
Ellis Burks (OF)
Career: 49.8 bWAR, 44.7 fWAR, 40.9 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.7 bWAR, 3.3 fWAR)
Peak: 32 bWAR, 29.3 fWAR
Acc: 2-time All-Star, 2-time Silver Slugger, Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 3 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: There are asterisks to this stat certainly, because he played at Coors Field at its peak, but Ellis Burks scored 142 runs in 1996, which ranks 10th since the integration of baseball. Everyone above him, except for Lenny Dykstra and Alex Rodriguez, are in the Hall of Fame.
Profile: Burks was drafted 20th overall in the 1983 draft out of a junior college in Texas. He debuted four years later at 22-years-old as their starting CFer. Burks was mostly good as a Red Sox, though he had two seasons with less than 100 games played due to injuries, including his last season there. He signed a one year deal with the White Sox, stayed healthy, and parlayed that into a deal with the Rockies. Despite one fantastic year with them, he was mostly unreliable as a Rockie and was traded in his fourth season to the Giants. He managed to stay healthy enough for the next four years, the latter two as an Indian. He ended his career as a Red Sox again, playing in just 11 games at 39-years-old. He received two votes on the ballot.
Brett Butler (OF)
Career: 49.7 bWAR, 42.2 fWAR, 42.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.1 bWAR, 2.7 fWAR)
Peak: 35.4 bWAR, 30.7 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Butler stole a lot of bases, ranking 25th all-time with 558 stolen bases. However... it came at price. He got caught stealing... a lot. He led the league three times, was in the top 10 11 times, and had the third most caught stealings ever. His success rate was just 68.4%.
Profile: Butler walked on at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and made the baseball team. He set a lot of the school’s team records and was drafted in the 23rd round of the 1979 draft by the Braves. He made the majors in just a little over two years, debuting in August of 1981. He spent 1982 as a bench player, and was a full-time player in 1983, but the Braves traded him to the Indians after that season. After four seasons with the Indians, he signed with the Giants for three years and then the Dodgers for four years. At the conclusion of the strike, he signed with the Mets but they traded him back to the Dodgers before the end of the year. In May of ‘96 when he was 39, he learned he had cancer of the tonsils and was able to return to baseball after they removed the tumor. He played one more year and retired at 40. He received two votes for HOF.
John Candelaria (SP)
Career: 39.9 bWAR, 41.6 fWAR, 36.4 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.2 bWAR, 3.3 fWAR)
Peak: 30.8 bWAR, 24.8 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: In the biggest game of his career, with the Pirates down 3 games to 2 in the 1979 World Series, Candelaria threw six scoreless innings, getting the win to put the series back to 3-3. The Pirates won Game 7 for the World Series.
Profile: Candelaria was drafted in the 2nd round by the Pirates in the 1972 MLB Draft. Three years later, he debuted at just 21-years-old. In his third season as a Pirate, he was 5th in Cy Young voting with the best ERA in the NL, and in his fifth, he was part of the World Series winning squad. He stayed a starter through 1985 when the Pirates moved him to the bullpen. He vocally complained about it and was traded midseason to the Angels, who immediately put him back in the rotation. He lasted until September of 1987 with them, when they traded him with two weeks to go. He became a free agent and signed with the Yankees. In his second season with them, he was moved back to the bullpen. He got traded late in that season and played for two teams in 1990 as well. He signed and played two years for the Dodgers and went back to the Pirates for his last year. He retired at 39. He received a single vote on his HOF ballot.
Ben Chapman (OF)
Career: 42.3 bWAR, 41.3 fWAR, 36.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.4 bWAR, 3.3 fWAR)
Peak: 30.9 bWAR, 30.3 fWAR
Acc: 4-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable (fact): Chapman was manager of the Phillies in 1947 and is famous for hurling racist vitriol at Jackie Robinson, which Branch Rickey claims did more to unite the Dodgers than anything. He was fired at the end of the year and never worked again.
Profile: Chapman was signed while still in high school by the Yankees in 1927. He graduated in 1928 and played two seasons in the minors before getting promoted to the majors. He debuted in 1930 at 21-years-old, and played in 138 games, both at 2B and 3B. Due to 24 errors, he was moved to the outfield the next year. He was traded in the middle of 1936 to make room for Joe DiMaggio. He didn’t last long as a Senator, getting traded midseason of 1937 to the Red Sox. He was traded to the Indians after 1938 to make room for... Ted Williams. This is according to Sabr. He played two seasons with the Indians and got traded to the Senators again. They released him in May, he signed with the White Sox, they released him later in the year. He spent 1942 to 1944 in the minors as a manager-position-player-pitcher and got promoted to Brooklyn at the end of 1944 mostly as a pitcher. He got traded to the Phillies in 1945 and was released by them in the middle of 1946. He was on two ballots, but got one vote each time.
Jack Clark (1B)
Career: 53.1 bWAR, 50.6 fWAR, 42.2 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.9 bWAR, 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 31.4 bWAR, 31.2 fWAR
Acc: 4-time All-Star, 2-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Clark had a ridiculous season with the bat for the Cardinals in 1987, leading the league in walks (136), on-base percentage (.459), slugging (.597), and OPS (1.055), plus OPS+ and wRC+.
Profile: Jack Clark was drafted out of high school in the 13th round of the MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants in 1973. He debuted late in the 1975 season, but didn’t become a starter until the 1977 season at 21-years-old. He stayed a Giant until after the 1984 season, when he was traded to the Cardinals. He spent three seasons there, reaching two World Series, before becoming a free agent and signing with the Yankees. He lasted until the end of the year, when he was traded to the Padres. He lasted two seasons with them and then signed with the Red Sox for his last two years. He retired at 36. He received seven votes total on his only ballot.
Kiki Cuyler (OF)
Career: 47.9 bWAR, 52.9 fWAR, 41.7 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.5 bWAR, 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 35.6 bWAR, 39 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star (first ASG ever was when he was 34)
4-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: Cuyler’s speed is evident in the fact that he led the league in stolen bases four times, but the notable stat is that Cuyler hit 26 triples in a season in 1925, which is the second most for any player since 1900.
Profile: Cuyler played for the Buick plant baseball team in Flint Michigan when his contract was purchased by the Pirates in late 1920. He spent most of the next three years in the minors leagues before getting his first real shot in 1924 at 25-years-old. He batted .354 and .357 in his first two full seasons as a Pirate. In 1927, he tore a ligament in his ankle and later in the year was benched constantly by the manager for things such as not breaking up a double play. He was traded to the Cubs after the season. In his fifth and sixth seasons as a Cub, he missed some of 1932 and more than half of 1933 to injury. At 36-years-old, he had a slow first half and the Cubs released him. He signed with the Reds and played even worse, but rebounded the next year. He was released by the Reds at the end of 1937, signed with the Dodgers for one more year, and retired at 39. He was on 13 HOF ballots, receiving a max of 33.8%, but the Veteran’s Committee elected him in 1968.
Jake Daubert (1B)
Career: 39.3 bWAR, 43.4 fWAR, 32.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 2.7 bWAR, 3 fWAR)
Peak: 25.8 bWAR, 30.6 fWAR
Acc: MVP, 2-time batting title (no ASG in his career)
4-WAR seasons: 3 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: In 10 of his 15 seasons, Daubert hit at least .300, which included two years where he led the league in average. He also led the league in triples twice, both of which happened when he was 35 or older weirdly enough.
Profile: Daubert worked in the coal mines at the age of 11, and he worked there until he was 22-year-old. He quit so that he could play professional baseball. He spent four years in the minors, and got his contract purchased by the Dodgers before the 1910 season. At 26-years-old, he had his rookie season and rattled off his first of seven straight 3+ fWAR seasons. In 1913, he was VP of the Baseball Player’s Fraternity, which petitioned for improved labor conditions. Later in his career, when he had a salary dispute with the owner, the Dodgers traded him to the Reds before the 1919 season. He played there until 1924, when he was 40-years-old. He fell ill during a road trip, but against his doctor’s advice, returned to finish the year. He had an appendectomy after the season and died from complications. He was on six HOF ballots but with virtually zero support.
Andre Dawson (OF)
Career: 64.8 bWAR, 59.5 fWAR, 53.8 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.6 bWAR, 3.3 fWAR)
Peak: 42.7 bWAR, 38.4 fWAR
Acc: MVP, Rookie of the Year, 8-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glover, 4-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: While he may have not deserved his MVP (4 bWAR, 3.5 fWAR), he did get 2nd place in two more deserving years and got an MVP vote in nine seasons of his career.
Profile: Dawson was drafted in the 11th round of the 1975 MLB Draft, and was aggressively promoted enough to speed through the minors in barely over a year. He debuted late in the 1976 season at 21-years-old. He was instantly a good player, winning Rookie of the Year in his first full season. He was the Expos starting center fielder for years until he was forced to move to RF at age 29. In 1986, he became a free agent for the first time and famously signed a well below market contract due to collusion among the owners. He played six years with the Cubs, winning his only MVP during that time. He played two more years with the Red Sox and two with the Marlins before retiring at 41 in 1996. It took nine tries, but the writers voted him in with 77.9% of the vote.
Bill Donovan (SP)
Career: 44.7 bWAR, 32.6 fWAR, 40.8 JAWS (per his 252 IP avg: 3.8 bWAR, 2.8 fWAR)
Peak: 36.7 bWAR, 25.2 fWAR
Acc: None (played before first ASG and most awards)
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: In 1907, Donovan went 25-4 with the best winning percentage in the league. Bill James says it is the luckiest pitching season in history, and that it should have produced a 16-13 record.
Profile: Donovan debuted in 1898 with the Washington Senators as a pitcher and hitter, but failed at both, so he was released. After signing with a minor league team, the Brooklyn Superbras purchased his contract in the middle of 1899. He spent two seasons barely playing before throwing 351 innings in 1901 at the age of 24. When the AL started stealing players from the NL, Donovan jumped ship to the Detroit Tigers in 1903. He stayed with the Tigers basically to the end of his career, though after a three year absence, he became player-manager of the Yankees, pitching in 9 games in 1915. His official last game came at 41-years-old as player-manager of the Tigers in 1918. He was on five HOF ballots without much support.
Dwight Evans (OF)
Career: 67.1 bWAR, 65.1 fWAR, 52.2 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.8 bWAR, 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 37.3 bWAR, 36.2 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glover, 2-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: From 1974-1981, Evans was one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, winning 7 Gold Gloves. His 56.5 runs on defense rank 3rd among outfielders during that time span.
Profile: Evans was drafted in the 5th round of the 1969 MLB Draft out of high school by the Red Sox and managed to debut just three years later at the end of 1972 at 20-years-old. He was a part-time player who struggled with the bat his next season, but became the regular starting right fielder in 1974. He then stayed a Red Sox until he was released by them, just before his 39th birthday. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles for 1991, signed with them again the next season, but was released in spring training. He was on three HOF ballots, but received a max of 10.4%.
Steve Garvey (1B)
Career: 38.1 bWAR, 37.8 fWAR, 33.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 2.4 WAR)
Peak: 28.7 bWAR, 28.3 fWAR
Acc: 4 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
4-WAR seasons: MVP, 10-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glover
One notable stat: Even moreso than judging defense using old historical data, judging 1B defense might be even more difficult. Garvey’s “advanced” stats don’t rate as especially good, but he has the 10th highest fielding percentage of all-time while playing in the 15 most games as a 1B.
Profile: In the second ever MLB Draft, Garvey was selected in the 3rd round out of high school, but did not sign. Two years later, he was drafted 13th overall by the Dodgers in the 1968 MLB Draft out of Michigan State. He debuted the next year, but only had three pinch-hit appearances. He got a little over a month of PAs the next year and was a bench player for the next three seasons. At age 25, Garey became the full-time starter and promptly won MVP, starting a string of eight consecutive years with an MVP vote. At 34, he became a free agent and signed with the Padres. He played his last five seasons in San Diego, retiring at 38. He was on 15 HOF ballots, with his most votes being weirdly his first year on it with 41.6%.
Mel Harder (SP)
Career: 48.5 bWAR, 47.8 fWAR, 41.1 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.8 WAR)
Peak: 38 bwAR, 34 fWAR
Acc: 4-time All-Star (no ASG until fourth full season), ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 6 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: When Harder retired, he was in the top 10 in the AL all-time in wins and games played. He was also the leader of Indians pitching records in wins, games started, and innings pitched until Bob Feller broke it.
Profile: Harder signed with the Indians out of high school and debuted with them at 18-years-old in 1928. He played two seasons, but saw minimal time, with all but one game in the bullpen. He managed to crack the rotation at 20-years-old. And became one of the Indians most dependable starters by 1932 at 22-years-old. Once he was 30, he was past his peak and never threw 200 innings again and threw less than 100 innings four times. He retired at 37-years-old in 1947 and later became their long-time pitching coach. He was on 13 HOF ballots with a max of 25.4%.
Pat Hengten (SP)
Career: 33 bWAR, 23.7 fWAR, 31.6 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.2 bWAR, 2.3 fWAR)
Peak: 30.6 bWAR, 22.1 fWAR
Acc: Cy Young, 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 1 by fWAR
One notable stat: In back-to-back seasons, including his Cy Young season, Hengten led the league in innings pitched (265.2 and 264), complete games (10 and 9), and shutouts (3 both seasons).
Profile: Hengten was drafted out of the 5th round of the 1986 MLB Draft out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays. He spent five years in the minors, making his MLB debut late in the 1991 season, seeing most of his rookie season in the bullpen, and officially joining the rotation in 1993 at 24-years-old. He promptly made two straight All-Star teams, and after a down year, won the Cy Young in ‘96 and made his third and final All-Star team in ‘97. After the 1999 season, the Blue Jays traded Hengten to the Cardinals, who let him depart after one season. He spent two injury-plagued years with the Orioles and a third healthier year with them before spending one last season as a Blue Jay. He retired at 35. He got one vote on his only ballot.
Rogers Hornsby (2B)
Career: 127.3 bWAR, 130.3 fWAR, 100.7 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 8.1 bWAR, 8.3 fWAR)
Peak: 74.1 bWAR, 76.4 fWAR
Acc: 2-time MVP, 2-time Triple Crown, 7-time batting title (first ASG ever was when he was 37; the MVP award also did not exist until he was 28 or he’d have more)
4-WAR seasons: 15 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: From 1920 to 1925 - six straight seasons - Hornsby led the NL in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and OPS+. Like every single year, he was the leader in all those stats. In that span, he led in runs three times, hits four times, doubles five times, triples once, homers twice, and RBIs four times.
Profile: Hornsby was signed by the Cardinals in 1915, in a concerted effort by manager Miller Huggins to sign minor leaguers to fill out the struggling roster. Hornsby debuted late in the season and wasn’t very good at just 19-years-old. At 20-years-old, he had his first 5+ WAR season, and at 21, he had his first insane season. Long at odds with Cardinals owner Sam Breadon, he was traded months after winning the World Series as player manager in 1926. He lasted just one year because of more personality clashes, this time to the Boston Braves. The Braves were very bad, and he convinced the owner to trade him to the Cubs after just one year. He lasted a few more seasons with the Cubs, and became manager in 1931. But none of his players liked him, so he was fired after just a season and a half. By this point, his playing career was over, though as manager, he did appear in games up until 1937 for the St. Louis Browns. He was on the first crowded HOF ballot and it took five years to get elected.
Chipper Jones (3B)
Career: 85.3 bWAR, 84.6 fWAR, 66 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.8 WAR)
Peak: 46.8 both bWAR and fWAR
Acc: MVP, 8-time All-Star, 2-time Silver Slugger, 1 Batting Title
4 WAR seasons: 11 by bWAR, 9 by fWAR
One notable stat: He is the only switch hitter in baseball history with a career average of .300 and 400 home runs. He’s also the only switch hitter to have a .300 average, .400 OBP and .500 slugging with at least 5,000 at bats.
Profile: While in high school, Jones was both the Florida Baseball Player of the Year and the Regional Player of the year. He was runner-up to National Player of the Year. He was committed to Miami, but when he was selected 1st overall in the MLB Draft in 1990 MLB Draft, he signed with the Braves. He debuted late in the 1993 season as a 21-year-old, but the next spring training he tore his ACL, missing the entire 1994 season. In 1995, he finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year and started a string of 5 All-Star games in six years - the only missing year, he won the MVP. He played with the Braves until he was 40, never actually reaching free agency, retiring in 2012. He was first ballot with 97.2% of the vote.
Tommy Leach (3B/OF)
Career: 47.1 bWAR, 52.1 fWAR, 39 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.1 bWAR, 3.5 fWAR)
Peak: 31 bWAR, 32.8 fWAR
Acc: None (played before ASG existed)
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: Leach holds the NL record for most inside the park home runs with 49 inside the park homers. Only 14 of his homers actually left the field of play. He also had 172 career triples.
Profile: Leach spent three years for a succession of minor league teams before being picked up for a two week trial by the Giants in 1898 at 20. But the Giants owner, upon seeing the 5’6, 135 pound man, returned him saying “we don’t take midgets.” Later on in the year, the Lousville Colonels acquired him, but he barely played. He saw more significant time his second season, but in his third he had just 186 PAs. He had a stroke of luck when the starting 3B for now Pittsburgh Pirates departed for the AL and he became the starter in 1901. He took advantage of the opportunity and was a “power hitter” by 1902. After 12 and half seasons as a Pirate, he was traded to the Cubs in the middle of 1912. He was released in early 1915 and picked up the Reds shortly after. His MLB career ended there, though he did play in 30 games at age 40 in 1918 for the Pirates because of World War I. He was one two HOF ballots with one vote on each.
Sparky Lyle (RP)
Career: 22.8 bWAR, 14.5 fWAR, 21.1 JAWS (per his 87 IP avg: 1.4 bWAR, 0.9 fWAR)
Peak: 19.1 bWAR, 11.5 fWAR
Acc: Cy Young, 3-time All-Star
2-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: You might be wondering how a reliever won the Cy Young, and part of it is to throw an absurd amount of innings. He pitched 137 innings in 1977 with a 2.17 ERA and 26 saves.
Profile: Lyle once made local headlines in Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania for striking out 31 batters in 14 innings of work of a 17 inning game. A Baltimore Orioles scout signed him to a contract after seeing that in 1964. He spent just one year in the Orioles farm before the Red Sox stole him away in a draft. They immediately converted him to the bullpen and he made the majors at 22-years-old in 1967. He was a good reliever with one great season for them for six seasons, then he got traded to the Yankees where he became something else. In seven seasons with the Yanks, he made 3 All-Star teams, won a Cy Young, and got MVP votes in four of them. His run ended with a trade to the Rangers. Now 34, he spent his last four seasons with three teams, retiring at 37. He was on four HOF ballots, receiving as high as 13.1%.
Denny McClain (SP)
Career: 20.5 bWAR, 20.1 fWAR, 20.8 JAWS (per his 207 IP avg: 2.3 WAR)
Peak: 22.2 bWAR, 21 fWAR
Acc; MVP, 2-time Cy Young winner, 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 3 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: I guess the most notable stat is incredibly quick rise and fall. At 24 and 25, he won back-to-back Cy Youngs, leading in wins and innings both seasons. Two years after that, he led the league in losses. Two years after that he was out of baseball.
Profile: McClain was signed by the White Sox out of high school, and after one season, was drafted by the Tigers since at the time, if players weren’t promoted after one season, they were subject to the draft. He made his MLB debut late in the 1963 season at 19. He was a full-time starter for the Tigers by 21. In 1970, Sports lllustrated published an article about McLain’s bookmaking activities. He was suspended for three months, pitched poorly when he returned and got suspended later in the season for both pouring buckets of water on reporters head and for carrying a gun on a team flight. He was traded to the Senators and clashed with manager Ted Williams all year, who was unhappy they traded for McClain. He played for two MLB teams in 1972. And that was it. His career was over at 28-years-old. He was on three HOF ballots with barely any support.
Robb Nen (RP)
Career: 15.1 bWAR, 18.1 fWAR, 14.9 JAWS (per his 72 IP avg: 1.5 bWAR, 1.8 fWAR)
Peak: 14.9 bWAR, 16.7 fWAR
Acc; 4-time All-Star
2-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: In the 2002 postseason, Nen pitched with full awareness he was injured, but managed allowed just one run in 9 IP and saved seven of his eight opportunities. That postseason was the last time he was in the MLB.
Profile: Nen was drafted in the 32nd round out of high school by the Texas Rangers in the 1987 MLB Draft. It was a slow ascent to the majors, with Nen making it to AA by 1990, but he spent the next two years barely pitching due to injuries. When he finally made it to the majors, it was mostly in relief in his age 23 season, in the middle of which he was traded to the Marlins. With the Marlins, he became a full-time reliever and closer. After winning the World Series with them, he was part of the firesale. He was traded to the Giants. After the 2002 postseason, he needed three surgeries to repair his torn rotator cuff. He rehabbed for two years, became a free agent, and when nobody picked him up, he retired in 2005 at 35-years-old. He received two votes on his only ballot.
Johan Santana (SP)
Career: 51.1 bWAR, 45.6 fWAR, 48.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 5 bWAR, 4.5 fWAR)
Peak: 45 bWAR, 36 fWAR
Acc: 2-time Cy Young winner, 4-time All-Star, Gold Glover, 3-time ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: From 2004 to 2008, Santana led the league in ERA three times, in innings pitched twice, in strikeouts three times, in FIP three times, and in WHIP four times. In fact, he led in strikeouts, ERA+, FIP, and WHIP for three straight seasons (2004 to 2006) in that span.
Profile: In 1994, at the age of 15, a Houston Astros scout discovered Santana in Venezuela. He attended the Astros academy without signing a contract while the scout tried to figure out if he would be a better pitcher or hitter. Santana wanted to be a hitter, but the scout convinced him to sign as a pitcher. Before the 2000 season, the Twins selected Jared Camp with the first pick of the Rule 5, and the Marlins selected Santana 2nd. The Marlins must have wanted Camp because they gave the Twins Santana and $50,000 for Camp. He pitched mostly as a long reliever in 2000, spent most of 2001 injured, and spent part of the 2002 season in the minors working on his changeup. By 2004, he won his first Cy Young and in 2006 he won his second. Prior to the 2008 season, the Mets traded for Santana and signed him to a six-year contract. Starting in 2009, his career was plagued by injuries, ending his 2009 and 2010 seasons early, causing him to miss 2011 entirely and limiting him to 21 starts in 2012. He tried to play the next three years, but injuries kept him from ever making the majors again. He retired at 36. He received 10 votes, but was under the 5% threshold to stay on the ballot.
Mike Scott (SP)
Career: 24 bWAR, 28.6 fWAR, 24.4 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.3 bWAR, 2.8 fWAR)
Peak: 26.2 bWAR, 25.7 fWAR
Acc: Cy Young, 3-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: Scott was dominant in a modern baseball way when he was at his peak. In his Cy Young season in 1986, Scott struck out 306 batters in 275.1 IP for a 2.22 ERA. He also had a 0.50 ERA in 2 starts in the postseason.
Profile: Scott was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1976 MLB Draft out of Pepperdine University by the Mets. He debuted at 24-years-old in the 1979 season, but wasn’t very good. He pitched even less in his second season, but became a 5th starter of sorts the next two years. Before 1983, he was traded to the Astros. In 1984, he learned from pitching coach Roger Craig how to throw the split-finger fastball. Even though he had a good season in 1985, it seems like he was still getting the hang of it. Boy did he get the hang of it by 1986 though. After six seasons with 200+ IP, he got bombed in his first two starts of 1991, and his career ended at 36-years-old. He was on one HOF ballot with just two votes.
Al Simmons (OF)
Career: 68.1 bWAR, 69.3 fWAR, 56.9 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.3 bWAR, 4.4 fWAR)
Peak: 45.7 bWAR, 46.1 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star (no ASG in first nine seasons, most of his prime), 2-time batting title
4-WAR seasons: 10 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Simmons reached 1,500 hits in just 1,040 games and 2,000 hits in just 1,393 games. Both marks are the fewest number of games ever needed to reach those milestones. He had a .334 career average.
Profile: Simmons signed with his hometown Milwaukee Brewers - at the time a minor league team - in 1922 at 20-years-old. After a couple seasons excelling there, his contract was purchased by Connie Mack’s Athletics. He was instantly the starter, getting 644 PAs, though he had a below average season. His second season started a string of 10 straight 4+ fWAR seasons. The last two of those seasons were with the White Sox, who he was traded to because the Athletics couldn’t afford him. After his first below average season since his rookie year, he was sold to the Tigers for one season, and then to the Senators for two years. 1939 marked his first year not as a full-time starter, playing for both the Braves and Reds. He played in games up until 1944, but not very many and only because of World War II. He retired at 42-years-old. He was voted into the HOF by the writers on the 10th try.
Ted Simmons (C)
Career: 50.3 bWAR, 54.2 fWAR, 42.6 JAWS (per 550 PAs: 2.9 bWAR, 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 34.8 bWAR, 37.3 fWAR
Acc: 8-time All-Star, Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 7 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: When Simmons retired, he led all catchers in career hits and career doubles and was second in total bases and RBIs.
Profile: Simmons was drafted 10th overall out of a Michigan high school in the 1967 MLB Draft by the Cardinals. He debuted the very next season, at just 18-years-old, though only in two games. He spent nearly all of 1969 in the minors too, and formally debuted at 20-years-old in 1970 in a time-sharing role. His bat finally came around the next season. In 1972, he played without a contract for part of the season in a year he was 10th in MVP voting. Going into the 1981 season, Simmons was traded for refusing to move to 1B. His consistency ended when he was traded to Milwaukee, but he still had a couple good years, including the Brewers’ trip to the World Series in 1982. In 1986, he was traded to the Braves and spent the next three years as a backup. He retired at 38. He got just 3.7% of the vote on his first and only writer’s ballot, but was elected via Veteran’s Committee in 2020.
Darryl Strawberry (OF)
Career: 42.2 bWAR, 41.5 fWAR, 38.5 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4 bWAR, 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 34.8 bWAR, 34 fWAR
Acc: Rookie of the Year, 8-time All-Star, 2-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: In 1988, Strawberry led the NL in HRs (39), slugging percentage (.545), OPS (.911), OPS+ (165), and wRC+ (159). He was 2nd in MVP voting, in the midst of an eight year streak of All-Star games.
Profile: Strawberry was drafted 1st overall in the 1981 MLB Draft by the Mets. He debuted three seasons later, at 21-years-old, and promptly won Rookie of the Year award. In his second season, he made his first All-Star game and promptly made the next seven as well. Before the 1991 season, while that streak was still occurring, Strawberry signed a five year free agent deal with the Dodgers. He made one All-Star team and then barely played over the next two years. In May of his third season with the Dodgers, they released him for failing to show up to a game. He played parts of the next five seasons for the Yankees, although missed time from suspension for testing positive for cocaine (1995), found himself playing for an independent team in 1996, played in just 11 games due to injuries in 1997, and was diagnosed with colon cancer in the 1998 ALDS. He retired after the 1999 season at 37. He received six votes on his only ballot.
Arky Vaughn (SS)
Career: 78 bWAR, 72.6 fWAR, 65.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 6.1 bWAR, 5.6 fWAR)
Peak: 53.2 bWAR, 50.2 fWAR
Acc: 9-time All Star, Batting Title
4-WAR seasons: 10 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: For some reason, I cannot find a career leaderboard for this stat for hitters, but Arky Vaughn presumably ranks very highly in BB/K. In his career, he had a 12.1 BB% with just a 3.6 K%. That’s 3.39 walks for every strikeout.
Profile: Born in Arkansas, but growing up in California, “Arky” as he was called by his friends for being from Arkansas, Vaughn was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1931. He debuted the very next season, at just 20-years-old, and was instantly good. But he was even better in his second year and in his third year, he made his first of nine consecutive All-Star games. He was traded to the Dodgers in 1942. In 1943, he was angry with manager Leo Durocher about Durocher criticizing a player and briefly quit the team. He returned for the rest of that season, but at just 31-years-old, he hung up his spikes. Vaughn returned for the 1947 season - when Durocher was suspended all year - as a part-time player. He did that again in 1948 and retired for good after that. He was on 14 HOF ballots but received no higher than 29%. The Veteran’s Committee inducted him in 1985.
Lloyd Waner (OF)
Career: 29.6 bWAR, 25 fWAR, 26.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 2.1 bWAR, 1.8 fWAR)
Peak: 23.5 bWAR, 21.4 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star (first six seasons had no ASG)
4-WAR seasons: 1 by bWAR, 0 by fWAR
Notable stat: Waner did not strike out ever. He had the lowest strikeouts per at-bat in his league 5 times and was in the top ten 12 times. He ranks 3rd all-time in this stat. His K% is the 5th lowest since 1920.
Profile: Growing up in Oklahoma with his future Hall of Fame brother Paul, Lloyd got his first shot because of his older brother. He was recommend by Paul while Paul was an outfielder in the minors. Lloyd rode the bench all year, but when the Pirates bought out Paul’s contract, he once again convinced the owner to bring Lloyd too. After one year in the minors, Lloyd made the roster out of spring training, leading off and playing CF. He spent 14 seasons with the Pirates, but in 1940, both Lloyd and Paul got moved to the bench with a new manager. He was traded early in 1941, and got traded once more before year was over. He was released, and signed by the Phillies for 1942. He briefly retired, and barely played in his last two seasons, ending his career where it started, the Pirates. He retired at 39. He failed to gain entry on 10 tries, but the Veteran’s Committee voted him in in 1967.
We’re back to the normal 32 person ballot, which means you have 14 votes maximum to work with. The deadline for voting is Sunday night. The results will not be published until next week at this time. One more vote on Monday in this cycle.