Well, I was hoping to sneak some Hall of Fame ballots in earlier, but better late than never I guess. I’m only planning to do two ballots. Teams are officially free to trade with one another, and free agency begins at 5 pm on Monday. My plan is to release a ballot today and on Monday, then release the results on Thursday or Friday. But if some offseason news gets in the way, that will take precedence. I am probably safe as things don’t typically happen right away, but you never know. Anyway vote wisely.
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.
Don Baylor (OF)
Career: 28.5 bWAR, 29.4 fWAR, 25.1 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 1.8 bWAR, 1.9 fWAR)
Peak: 21.6 bWAR, 21.5 fWAR
Acc: MVP, All-Star, 3-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 1 by bWAR, 0 by fWAR
One notable stat: Baylor was hit by pitches a lot. He ranked 1st in the AL eight times in his career. At the time of his retirement, he had the most HBPs of anyone in the modern era and still ranks 4th all-time behind Craig Biggio and two 1800s players.
Profile: Baylor grew up in Austin Texas and was one of three African Americans to integrate Texas public schools in junior high and then the first African American to play athletics at Austin High, where he starred in both baseball and football. Even though he was offered a football scholarship to Texas, where he would have been the first again, he instead opted for baseball, enrolling at a junior college. In the 2nd round of the 1967 MLB Draft, he was picked by the Orioles, debuting for a cup of coffee at the end of 1970. He finally cracked the roster for good in 1973, at the age of 23 in 102 games played. After the 1975 season, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics, one year before he was set to be a free agent. In 1977, he signed with the California Angels, where he remained for the next six seasons. In 1979, he won his only MVP and made his only All-Star game. Prior to 1983, Baylor signed with the Yankees, winning two of his three Silver Sluggers with them. While he signed a four-year deal, he was traded to the Red Sox before 1986. He won his final Silver Slugger that year. Late in the 1987 season, he was traded to the Twins. In his final season, he signed with the Athletics. He made the World Series with three different teams in his last three seasons, one of two players to ever do it. He retired at 39. He was on two Hall of Fame ballots, but with just 2.6% of the vote both times.
Tommy Bridges (SP)
Career: 51.6 bWAR, 60.1 fWAR, 42.5 JAWS (per his 210 IP avg.: 3.8 bWAR, 3.5 fWAR)
Peak: 34.6 bWAR, 31.6 fWAR
Acc: 6 All-Star games (No Cy Young award during career)
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: Here’s how quickly strikeouts rose throughout the years. At the time of his retirement, he was 8th in AL history in strikeouts and he held the Tigers team record. He’s now 5th in Tigers history and 161st in MLB history.
Profile: Bridges was born in Gordonsville, Tennessee and due to his father and grandfather being doctors, attended the University of Tennessee. However, he pursued a business degree, but left for professional ball before getting his degree. He was signed by a Tigers scout in 1929, and over the next couple seasons, dominating the minors, and earning a call-up in late 1930 at 23-years-old. His first batter he ever faced was Babe Ruth, who popped out on the first pitch. Over his first couple seasons, he struggled mightily with his control, primarily due to his curveball, his strikeout pitch. His curve was considered the best in baseball at the time, but he still threw an illegal spitball as well. In the 1935 World Series, he started and won two games in the Tigers first ever World Series win. After the 1937 season, Bridges had his last season with 200 IP and by 1941, he was a once a week starter. But he was effective when he did. He missed the 1944 and most of 1945 when he was drafted in World War II. He played one more year as a player-coach, but barely pitched and though he tried in the minor leagues for several years after, he pitched his last game in the majors at 39-years-old. He made his way on seven Hall of Fame ballots, but none with more than 7.5% of the vote.
Jim Bunning (SP)
Career: 60.4 bWAR, 66.9 fWAR, 54.2 JAWS (per his 244 IP avg.: 3.9 bWAR, 4.3 fWAR)
Peak: 48.9 bWAR, 44.3 fWAR
Acc: 9-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 8 by fWAR
One notable stat: On June 21st, 1964, Jim Bunning threw the seventh perfect game ever and the first perfect game in the National League since 1880.
Profile: Bunning was born in Kentucky in 1931 and attended Xavier University. After his freshman season, he was signed by the Detroit Tigers, though he continued attending classes at Xavier and earned an economics degree in 1953. Bunning spent four years in the minor leagues and debuted in the middle of the 1955 season at 23-years-old. He was in the rotation by 1957 and immediately was near the top of the leaderboard in strikeouts. He was in the top 5 in whatever league he played in for 11 straight seasons, beginning in 1957. He led the AL in strikeouts in 1959 and 1960. After the 1963 season, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. After four seasons, Bunning was traded to the Pirates, who traded him to the Dodgers to finish out the 1969 season. He played his last two years as a Phillie again, retiring at 39-years-old. He did not get voted in by the writers on 15 tries, but by the Veteran’s Committee in 1996.
AJ Burnett (SP)
Career: 29.6 bWAR, 42.5 fWAR, 25.2 JAWS (per his 200 IP: 2.2 bWAR, 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 21.7 bWAR, 28.1 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 2 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: In what may have been his greatest season, Burnett recorded a league-leading 5 shutouts (and 7 complete games) for the Marlins in 2002. He also has the distinction of having a no-hitter with 9 walks, which he achieved in 2001.
Profile: Burnett was a high velocity pitcher for his time, which led to both strikeouts (led the league in 2008), but also control problems (led the league in wild pitches three times). He was drafted in 1995 by the Mets and traded to the Marlins when they had one of their firesales. He became a top 20 prospect in baseball by BA before the 1999 and 2000 season, but started 20 games combined in the MLB. HIs first full season was in 2001, and after an excellent 2002, his 2003 was cut short from Tommy John surgery. It also affected his 2004 season and after a return to form in 2005, he was eligible for free agency. He signed a five-year deal with the Blue Jays, which worked out really well and he opted out of the deal after just three seasons. He signed another five-year deal, this time with the Yankees. Though he got a ring in his first year, this worked less well and the Yankees had to throw in money to trade him to the Pirates. But then he may very well have had his best two-year stretch for the Pirates. He signed a one year deal with the Phillies, then a final one-year deal with the Pirates, finishing strong and retiring at 38. He didn’t receive a vote on his ballot.
Roy Campenella (C)
Career: 42.9 bWAR, 45.7 fWAR, 38.5 JAWS (per his 550 PAs: 4.1 bWAR and 4. fWAR)
Peak: 35 bWAR, 36.8 fWAR
Acc: 8-time All-Star, 3-time MVP
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Part of this stat is the era that he played, but still. He is quite literally 1st all-time in caught stealing%. He caught 57.4% of runners who attempted to steal off him for his career. I’m not exactly sure how range factor works for catcher, but he was 1st in that stat for 9 of his 10 MLB seasons as well.
Profile: At the risk of me outright campaigning when I try to stay neutral, please for the love of god use some context for Campenella. It’s the entire reason I have a profile section. Campenella began his professional career at... uh 15-years-old. He played on the weekends for the Negro League Elite Giants. He dropped out of high school a few months after his 16th birthday to play full-time. At just 19, he made the All-Star team. He played in the Mexican League for 1943 due to a spat with the team owner, then returned for the ‘44 and ‘45 seasons. Campella signed with the Dodgers for 1946 and when the manager of his minor league team got ejected, he assumed managerial duties becoming the first African American to manage white players of an organized professional team. Campenella was considered to break the color barrier, but he ended up debuting the season after Jackie in 1948. He probably debuted too late to make the All-Star game but he did get some MVP votes in his rookie season. The next year, he started a string of 8 consecutive All-Star games and won three MVPs between 1951 and 1955. His career was prematurely ended due to an automobile accident leaving him paralyzed from the shoulders down. He was elected by the writers on his 7th try in 1969.
Bert Campeneris (SS)
Career: 47.6 bWAR, 44.9 fWAR, 44.9 JAWS (per his 600 PAs: 3 bWAR and 2.8 fWAR)
Peak: 36.7 bWAR, 31.6 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: Campeneris led the league in stolen bases six times in his career - all from a period between 1965 and 1972. He also was the first player to play all nine positions in one game, a publicity stunt by Charlie Finley to sell tickets.
Profile: Campeneris attracted the attention of scouts in 1961 while playing at the Pan-An Games in Costa Rica. Campeneris was born in Cuba and was one of the last to leave Cuba before the Fidel Castro revolution made it nearly impossible. He was in the majors within a few years, debuting at 22 in the middle of the 1964 season. He played his first four seasons with Kansas City Athletics and didn’t make his first All-Star team until the team moved to Oakland in his fifth year, though he had received MVP votes twice while in KC. He didn’t make his second All-Star game until 1972, which started a string of four consecutive appearances which also coincided with the Athletics winning three straight World Series. With the beginning of free agency, at 35, he signed with the Texas Rangers. He only had one good season left in him, but he hung around until he was 41. He got 3% of the vote on his only Hall of Fame ballot.
Norm Cash (1B)
Career: 50.1 bWAR, 54.6 fWAR, 42.8 JAWS (per his 600 PAs: 3.9 bWAR and 4.1 fWAR)
Peak: 33.6 bWAR, 35.7 fWAR
Acc: 5-time All-Star, batting title
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: In 1961, he batted .361 with 41 homers en route to a 194 wRC+ and a 10.2 fWAR season. Every player with a greater single season is in the Hall of Fame (except Mookie Betts, who hasn’t had a chance yet). He later admitted he used a corked bat in that season.
Profile: Cash was more known for his football in high school than baseball and was even drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1955, but he declined and chose to sign with the White Sox in 1955. He made his MLB debut in 1958 for a cup of coffee and only played in 40 games in the following season before the White Sox traded him to Cleveland. He made it to April 12th of 1960 before he was sent to the Tigers. He immediately became a power hitter fixture in Detroit, hitting 18 seasons in his first year. The following year, he began a streak of nine straight seasons with at least 20 homers. He was, oddly, not a fixture at All-Star games. He made both All-Star games in his 10 win season, but then not again 1966 and then not again until 1971. Weirdly, he made it in one of his lesser seasons in 1972. Cash was under appreciated because he struck out a lot and more importantly walked a lot. His final season was 1974 at 39. He appeared on one ballot with few votes.
Doug DeCinces (3B)
Career: 41.8 bWAR, 40.8 fWAR, 36.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.8 bWAR and 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 30.1 bWAR, 36.8 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star, Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: Don’t mean to do him dirty, but there’s not a lot of interesting stats. Except $2.5 million, the amount he had to pay to settle charges of insider trading (he was later charged and found guilty on 13 felony counts)
Profile: DeCinces was drafted out of Pierce College in the 18th round of the 1969 draft by the expansion San Diego Padres in their first ever draft, but he returned to school and improved his draft stock to the 3rd round. This time it was the Orioles. He made his MLB debut in 1973, but didn’t spend the whole year in the majors until 1975. And he was the ready made replacement for a legend. Someone had to do it. He backed up Brooks Robinson in 1975 and by the next year had overtaken him in playing time. The pressure to replace Robinson before he retired required psychiatric counseling over the next three years. He manned the hot corner for the Orioles until 1982, with his constant spats with Earl Weaver, when he publicly said the season was over before it was, and the emergence of Cal Ripken Jr. bringing about a trade to the California Angels. He basically finished his career with the Angels, though was released about a week before the 1987 season ended and signed with the Cardinals to finish his career. He received few votes on his only ballot.
Larry Doby (OF)
Career: 56.8 bWAR, 60.4 fWAR, 48.1 JAWS (per his 550 PAs: 4.9 bWAR and 5.2 fWAR)
Peak: 39.4 bWAR, 40.1 fWAR
Acc: 7-time All-Star, 3-time MVP
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 9 by fWAR
One notable stat: One thing I have learned from doing this is that there has always been a subset of great hitters who also strike out a lot. That is not a new thing. Larry Doby had a career 16% K rate which was the 19th most out of 339 qualified hitters during his career. One of the hitters who struck out more? Mickey Mantle.
Profile: Popularly known as the player who integrated the American League - the player after Jackie - Doby didn’t even consider baseball as a career until Robinson was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers even though he had played in the Negro Leagues prior. He was serving in World War II as a physical education teacher. He rejoined his previous team and won the Negro Leagues World Series. Bill Veeck, owner of the Cleveland Indians, signed him after the first half and immediately put him in the major leagues. He barely played and wasn’t good amidst racial tension in the clubhouse. The next year, he got a starting job and at the end of the year, he became the first black ballplayer to homer in a World Series game. In 1949, he made his first of seven straight All-Star teams, but he was traded to the White Sox after 1955. His streak ended the next year though he still had a great year, but he was not well liked in Chicago and he was traded after two years. He returned to Cleveland for one year, Detroit for one, and back to the White Sox for a final year, all as part-time players. He barely got any support by the writers, but the Veteran’s Committee elected him in 1998.
Whitey Ford (SP)
Career: 53.5 bWAR, 54.9 fWAR, 45.8 JAWS (per his 226 IP avg.: 3.8 bWAR and 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 34.6 bWAR, 36.8 fWAR
Acc: 10-time All-Star (four came from just two years), 1-time Cy Young, 2-time ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: Ford set numerous World Series records with the Yankees. He holds the most consecutive scoreless innings (33.1 IP), most wins (10 wins), games started (22), innings pitched (146), and strikeouts (94). He also for what it’s worth has the most walks (34) and losses (8) as well.
Profile: Ford grew up in a Queens neighborhood and shortly after graduating high school, signed as an amateur free agent with the Yankees in 1947. He earned his nickname “Whitey” because of his light blond hair while in the minor leagues. He debuted in 1950 at 21-years-old and despite throwing just 112 innings, he was Sporting News’ Rookie of the Year. His career was interrupted by being drafted into the Korean War for the next two years, but he was back by 1953. In 1954, he made his first All-Star game, starting a run where he made an All-Star game in seven of eight seasons. Injuries was the reason for the missing year. In 1961, he won the Cy Young, which was especially impressive at the time since there wasn’t an award for each league and that fact likely cost him the Cy Young award two years later, when he finished 3rd in MVP voting (Koufax swept the board for Cy Young). Injuries got in the way of his last couple seasons and he retired after the 1967 season, a Yankee for life. He was elected by the writers on his second ballot.
Jim Fregosi (SS)
Career: 48.7 bWAR, 44.2 fWAR, 44.9 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.1 bWAR and 3.6 fWAR)
Peak: 41 bWAR, 41.2 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star, Gold Glove
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Fregosi was perhaps the Angels’ first star player in their existence. Thus at the time of his retirement, he held the team record for career games, hits, doubles, runs, and RBIs. He still holds the team record for triples with 70.
Profile: Fregosi was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1960, a year after he had graduated high school. But soon after, the Angels selected him in the expansion draft. At 19-years-old, he debuted in the MLB for a cup of coffee and was a part-time player the season after. In 1963 at just 21-years-old, he became a star, getting MVP votes at the end of the season, his first of eight straight years getting at least one MVP vote. A tumor was discovered in his foot during the 1971 season and he only played in 108 games. The Angels traded him to the Mets for four players in a trade that did NOT age well, because one of those players was Nolan Ryan. Whether it was the tumor or something else, his last good season was with the Angels. He played a season and a half with the Mets before being purchased by the Rangers. He last there until the middle of the 1977 season. But he played in less than 100 games his entire tenure with them. He barely played in his final two years, the last one with the Pirates, retiring at 36. He received little support on his only Hall of Fame ballot.
Nomar Garciappara (SS)
Career: 44.3 bWAR, 43.7 fWAR, 38.5 JAWS (per his 550 PAs: 4.3 bWAR and 4.1 fWAR)
Peak: 43.1 bWAR, 40.2 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger, 2-time batting title
4-WAR seasons: 6 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: He has the highest single season batting average by a right-handed hitter after World War II with a .372 average in 2000. He also held the batting title the year before, with a .357 batting average, the first right-handed batter to do so since Joe DiMaggio.
Profile: Garciappara was selected in the 5th round of the 1991 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, but he chose to attend Georgia Tech instead. He went to the College Baseball World Series title game with them (and lost), as well on the Olympic team in 1992. The Red Sox selected him 5th overall in the 1994 draft, and debuted in the majors a little over two years later, late in the 1996 season. At 23 in 1997, he was a star, winning Rookie of the Year, finishing 8th in MVP voting, and making his first All-Star game. After signing and unprecedented 5-year extension (at the time) following his rookie year, he finished 2nd in MVP voting in 1998. In 2001, he missed most of the season to a wrist injury, but he bounced back in 2002 and 2003. An Achilles injury kept him out until June and Nomar’s unhappiness with extension talks led to him being traded at the 2004 deadline to the Cubs. His injury issues forced him to accept a one-year deal with the Cubs, where the injury problems continued. He spent the next three years with the Dodgers and last one with the Athletics, a shell of his former self. He got more than 5% of his first HOF ballot, but fell of on his second one.
Jim Gilliam (2B/3B)
Career: 44.7 bWAR, 37.9 fWAR, 37.5 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3 bWAR and 2.7 fWAR)
Peak: 30.3 bWAR, 27.5 fWAR
Acc: 2-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: For a guy with no power, Gilliam walked a lot. Despite a .090 ISO, Gilliam had a 12.5 BB%. For the duration of his career, that ranked 29th among players with at least 2,000 PAs and just two guys ahead of him had less power than he did.
Profile: Gilliam joined a semipro team at age 14 and dropped out of high school during his senior year to pursue a baseball career. Since it was 1946, he joined the Negro League Baltimore Elite Giants and played there for five seasons, making an All-Star team in his last three years. In 1951, the Dodgers signed him and put him in the minor leagues. Within two seasons, he made his MLB debut in April 1953, replacing Jackie Robinson, who had moved off 2B. He won Rookie of the Year, thanks in large part to his 125 runs scored and league leading 17 triples. He didn’t actually make his first All-Star game until 1956, which also happened to be the year he had a career high 117 wRC+ and a 6 fWAR season. He remained with the Dodgers through their move to Los Angeles and up until the end of his career. He retired at 37. He does not appear to have been on a Hall of Fame ballot, oddly enough.
Ken Griffey Jr. (OF)
Career: 83.8 bWAR, 77.7 fWAR, 68.9 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.4 bWAR and 4.1 fWAR)
Peak: 54 bWAR, 52.8 fWAR
Acc: 13-time All-Star, MVP, 10-time Gold Glover, 7-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 10 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: For those as young as me (30) - or younger - we never really got to experience Ken Griffey Jr. 70.7 of his 83.8 bWAR was accumulated as a Mariner. Over half of his Reds WAR was in his first two years. So I got to watch Griffey play but I never really GOT to watch Griffey play if you know what I mean.
Profile: In the interest of time, I’ll skip a profile. You all know who this is.
Randy Johnson (SP)
Career: 103.5 bWAR, 110.5 fWAR, 81.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 5 bWAR and 5.3 fWAR)
Peak: 61.5 bWAR, 64.3 fWAR
Acc: 10-time All-Star, 5-time Cy Young winner, 4-time ERA title, Triple Crown
4-WAR seasons: 11 by bWAR, 10 by fWAR
One notable stat: Randy Johnson’s career defies... everything. All but one of his 4+ WAR seasons happened once he turned 30. He had a 9.6 fWAR season at 40-years-old. It doesn’t make any sense.
Profile: He had a long career playing for a lot of teams, but really you are familiar with this player. Let’s save some words.
Jason Kendall (C)
Career: 41.7 bWAR, 37.4 fWAR, 36 JAWS (per his 580 PAs average: 2.8 bWAR and 2.5 fWAR)
Peak: 30.4 bWAR, 30.6 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Kendall holds the MLB record for most stolen bases by a catcher since the Deadball era with 189 career steals.
Profile: Things I did not know: Kendall was the son of a former MLB catcher, who played 12 years in the big leagues. In high school, he hit safely in 43 straight games, which tied a national high school record. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 1992 MLB draft by the Pirates. He made his MLB debut in 1996 and made his first All-Star team. He somehow finished third in rookie of the year voting. After the 2000 season, he signed the most expensive contract in Pirates history (at the time), signing for six years and $60 million. He did not finish that contract as a Pirate, as he was traded after four seasons to the Oakland Athletics. He crashed hard in the 2007 season, getting traded midseason to the Cubs. He sort of bounced back with the Brewers for two seasons and played a final year as a Royal. He retired at 36. He received little support on his only ballot.
Mark Langston (SP)
Career: 50 bWAR, 49.2 fWAR, 45.7 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.4 bWAR and 3.3 fWAR)
Peak: 41.3 bWAR, 35.3 fWAR
Acc: 4-time All-Star, 7-time Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 9 by fWAR
One notable stat: Langston, a lefty, was noted for his pickoff move. He is one of only 8 pitchers to pick off three runners in a single game. His 91 career pickoffs are 4th all-time.
Profile: Langston attended high school in Santa Clara and was drafted in the 15th round of the 1978 draft at the age of 17, but chose to attend San Jose State instead. He improved his draft stock while at San Jose, and got drafted 35th overall in the 1981 draft by the Mariners. He debuted early in the 1984 season at 23, making 33 starts and throwing 225 innings, though his teammate Alvin Davis won Rookie of the Year over him. After a huge sophomore slump where he walked more than he struck out, he bounced back in his third season. He rejected a contract extension in the 1989 season and got traded midseason for Randy Johnson and two other pitchers. Before the 1990 season, he signed a five-year deal with the Angels and became the highest paid player in the league. He pretty much lived up to his contract and actually played for the Angels for eight seasons. His last two seasons he was forced to sign a minor league deal and threw less than 100 innings in the big leagues in both seasons. He did not receive a vote on his only Hall of Fame ballot.
Carney Lansford (3B)
Career: 40.4 bWAR, 37.9 fWAR, 34.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.1 bWAR and 2.6 fWAR)
Peak: 28.4 bWAR, 25 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star, Silver Slugger, batting title
4-WAR seasons: 2 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Larnsford was not considered a particularly good fielder, averaging -4 DRS for his career.
Profile: Lansford was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1975 draft out of high school and needed less than three years to make his MLB debut at 21-years-old in 1978. He was instantly good, placing 3rd in the Rookie of the Year voting. He was traded to the Red Sox after just three seasons, winning the batting title in the strike-shortened 1981 season. But the emergence of Wade Boggs made him expendable and he was traded to the Athletics. Despite getting traded twice in his first five years, he actually finished his career with the Athletics, playing until he was 35, retiring after the 1992 season. He received little support on his only ballot.
Barry Larkin (SS)
Career: 70.5 bWAR, 67 fWAR, 56.9 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.7 bWAR and 4.4 fWAR)
Peak: 43.3 bWAR, 41 fWAR
Acc: 12-time All-Star, MVP, 3-time Gold Glover, 9-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 9 by bWAR, 8 by fWAR
One notable stat: It’s been mentioned before, but it bears repeating. His career is basically a more defensive-oriented Derek Jeter. They are remarkably similar, value-wise. One was one vote short of being unanimous, the other needed three tries. Hashtag narratives
Profile: The only thing missing with Larkin is playing college baseball in Cincinnati. He was born in Cincinnati, grew up there, but decided to accept a football scholarship to Michigan under Bo Schembechler. But he decided to play baseball exclusively his freshman year. He was drafted 4th overall by the Reds in the 1984 MLB Draft. The Reds wanted him so badly they had actually drafted him in the 2nd round of high school too. He made his MLB debut a little over a year after he was drafted at the age of 22. Despite playing in just 41 games, he received Rookie of the Year votes. In 1988, he made his first All-Star game, starting a string of 12 All-Star appearances in 14 years. And he won a Silver Slugger in both years he didn’t make the All-Star game in that stretch. He played until he was 40, retiring after the 2004 season.
Mickey Lolich (SP)
Career: 47.9 bWAR, 64.6 fWAR, 42.9 JAWS (per his 254 IP avg: 3.3 bWAR and 4.5 fWAR)
Peak: 37.8 bWAR, 40.9 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 10 by fWAR
One notable stat: How can I not mention his World Series in 1968? He pitched in three games, won them all, completed them all, and had a 1.67 ERA. He also outdueled Bob Gibson in Game 7 on two days rest, throwing yes a complete game.
Profile: Weird origin story for why he throws left-handed. At the age of... two, Lolich ran into a parked motorcycle on a tricycle (???), and broke his left collarbone. Post-injury strengthening led to him throwing left-handed. He was signed by the Tigers out of high school at 17-years-old in 1958. He struggled in the minors, leading to a demotion during the 1962 season, which Lolich refused. He was dealt to a PCL team, where he found control, and he was reclaimed by the Tigers before the 1963 season. He debuted at 22-years-old, and was a workhorse starter the next season. He was absurdly durable, throwing 200+ innings in his first five seasons, and then in his sixth, he threw a career high 280 innings. In 1971, he made 45 starts and threw 376 innings. He sat out the 1977 season to open a doughnut shop and pitched sparingly the next two years, before retiring at 39. He was on 15 Hall of Fame ballots, but never received more than 25.5%.
Fred Lynn (OF)
Career: 50.2 bWAR, 49.2 fWAR, 45.7 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.8 bWAR and 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 38.3 bWAR, 36.9 fWAR
Acc: 9-time All-Star, MVP, 4-time Gold Glover, Rookie of the Year, Batting Title
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Lynn was the first ever player to win both Rookie of the Year and win the MVP in the same season.
Profile: Lynn was drafted out of high school by the Yankees in the 1970 draft, but chose to attend USC where he helped lead them to three straight College World Series wins. In 1973, the Red Sox selected Lynn with the 41st overall pick. He made his MLB debut the very next season during the September call-ups. And then his obscenely great rookie season at 23-years-old. He actually topped his rookie year in 1979, but was just 4th in MVP voting. After seven seasons as a Red Sox, he was traded to the California Angels. After an injury-plagued first year, he bounced back the next year. When he was eligible for free agency in 1984, he signed a five-year deal with the Orioles. Lynn did not make it five years, getting traded late in the fourth year of his deal to the Tigers. He signed a one-year deal once that ended and retired at 38. He was on 2 Hall of Fame ballots without much support.
John Matlack (SP)
Career: 38.9 bWAR, 44.9 fWAR, 38.1 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.3 bWAR and 3.8 fWAR)
Peak: 36.9 bWAR, 37.6 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: In 1974, Matlack led the National League in bWAR with a 9.1 bWAR season. He made the All-Star team, but because he went 13-15, he neither got a Cy Young vote or an MVP vote.
Profile: Matlack was drafted 4th overall by the Mets in the 1967 MLB Draft out of high school, and he didn’t debut until late in the 1971 season, although he was still just 21. He pitched few enough innings that he won Rookie of the Year in 1972. He was remarkably consistent until 1977 when he made just 26 starts and had a career worst ERA of 4.21. After that season, he was traded to the Rangers in the first ever four-team trade. He got 6th in Cy Young voting with an excellent season, but in his second year, elbow surgery limited him to 13 starts. He had one more great year, but injuries limited him in his last three seasons. He retired at just 33-years-old. He didn’t receive a vote on his only ballot.
Lindy McDaniel (RP)
Career: 28.9 bWAR, 23.9 fWAR, 25.7 JAWS (per his 102 IP avg: 1.4 bWAR and 1.1 fWAR)
Peak: 23.3 bWAR, 15.1 fWAR
Acc: 2-time All-Star
2-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: He won the inaugural Sporting News Reliever of the Year award in 1960 with the Cardinals and won it a second time with the Cubs in 1963.
Profile: The Cardinals began scouting McDaniel when he was 16, but he decided to accept a basketball scholarship to the University of Oklahoma. The Cards then signed McDaniel shortly before his 20th birthday to a $50,000 bonus, making him a bonus baby. In his first season, he pitched in mop-up duty and after a second season spent mostly in the bullpen, he started 26 games and threw 191 innings in his third season. His 1958 season went poorly, and after shaky first seven starts in 1959, he was moved more or less permanently to the bullpen. Which led to his 1960 campaign where he finished with a 2.09 ERA, made an All-Star team, got 3rd in Cy Young voting and 5th in MVP voting. After the 1962 season, he was traded to the Cubs. He spent a few seasons in Chicago, and was traded to the Giants for the 1966 season. After a great season, he had injury issues limit his 1967 and he was put on waivers and traded to the Yankees in the middle of the 1968 season. With his career seemingly close to ending, he found a second life with the Yankees, spending the next five years there. He finished with two years for the Royals, retiring at 39-years-old. He was on two Hall of Fame ballots with little support.
Sam McDowell (SP)
Career: 41.1 bWAR, 48.5 fWAR, 41.5 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.5 bWAR and 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 41.3 bWAR, 43.4 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: McDowell was a strikeout pitcher. His strikeout rate of 8.86 K/9 was bested only by Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax at the time of his retirement.
Profile: McDowell was insane in high school, striking out 152 batters in 63 innings his senior season. The Cleveland Indians outbid 14 other teams to sign him out of high school to a $75,000 bonus. At the insistence of his parents, he started in the minor leagues, but made his debut late in the 1961 season at 18. He struggled with control his first couple seasons - well he struggled with control his whole career- but it wasn’t until his third season that his K/BB led to being a good pitcher. In 1965, he struck out 29% of batters, which is insane now, much less 1965. Aside from some arm trouble in 1968, he was mostly healthy in Cleveland. In 1971, he held out for a bigger contract and signed an incentive-laden contract, but that was illegal at the time, so it was voided in the middle of the season. Feeling he should be a free agent, he left the club in the middle of the season (was later suspended and returned). He asked for a trade at the end of the year and got his wish. He was traded to the Giants, where had injury issues and was forced to contemplate retirement. But he returned and in the middle of 1973, he was sold to the Yankees. He played just one more year and retired at just 32-years-old. He didn’t receive a vote on his only HOF ballot.
Willie McGee (OF)
Career: 34.2 bWAR, 27.6 fWAR, 31.4 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.5 bWAR and 2 fWAR)
Peak: 28.7 bWAR, 23.4 fWAR
Acc: 4-time All-Star, MVP, 3-time Gold Glover, Silver Slugger, 2-time batting title
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: Sometimes, the voters get it right. In 1985, McGee won the MVP on the strength of a league leading .353 batting average and 18 triples. Though it wasn’t a stat at the time, he also led the league in bWAR.
Profile: Again, for the sake of time, I think 90% of you know who Willie McGee is, so we’re gonna skip the profile here.
Rusty Staub (OF)
Career: 45.8 bWAR, 47.9 fWAR, 39.5 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.4 bWAR and 2.6 fWAR)
Peak: 33.3 bWAR, 31.6 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Despite playing in just 518 games of his long career for the Expos, because he was their first star and on their first team, his number was retired in 1993.
Profile: Staub signed with the expansion team Houston Colt .45s in 1961 and spent one season in the minors. He signed a $100,000 MLB contract under the bonus rule and was forced to be in the majors in 1963. He struggled mightily in his first two seasons at just 19 and 20-years-old. He broke out the next year and made his first All-Star team in 1967, his first of five straight. Staub was traded to the Expos before their first season in Montreal and become not only their first star, but one of their most popular players ever. He was nicknamed Le Grand Orange for his red hair (also the origin for his Rusty nickname). After three of the best seasons of his career, he was traded to the Mets before the 1972 season. He first year was marred by an injury he tried to play through but the next two went well, aside from his terrible defense. After 1975, he was traded to the Tigers, where he spent the next 3 and half seasons, with the other half being a trade back to the Expos. He was traded to the Rangers for one year, then signed with the Mets in free agency. He barely played in his last 5 years, and failed to reach 3,000 hits. He retired at 41-years-old. He was on seven HOF ballots but never got more than 10%.
Dizzy Trout (SP)
Career: 45.3 bWAR, 47.1 fWAR, 44 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.3 bWAR and 3.5 fWAR)
Peak: 38.1 bWAR, 31.7 fWAR
Acc: 2-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: in 1944, Trout led the American League in games started, innings pitched, ERA, complete games, shutouts and bWAR but he was not first in wins, so he was 2nd in MVP voting to his teammate Hal Newhouser.
Profile: Dizzy was prone to tall tales about himself, and many of the stories you might read about him are not verified, and thus probably not true. What we do know is that he signed a semipro contract in 1935 at 20-years-old and later gave himself the nickname of Dizzy because of Dizzy Dean. He toiled in the minors for a couple years, being both popular and not being taken seriously due to his antics. Heading into 1939, he vowed he was done with all that and made the team out of spring training. He split time between the rotation and bullpen for his first three seasons and he had his first great season in 1943. He was not accepted into military service due to a hearing impairment and his baseball career prospered for it. In 1947 and 1948, he was good but not the workhorse starter he had become and a new manager put him in the bullpen for all of 1949. He returned to the rotation in 1950 and had two solid years, and after a poor start to 1951, he was traded to the Red Sox, but he fully bounced back as a Red Sox. He retired at 37, but attempted a comeback five years later, but recorded one out in two appearances. He received nearly zero support on his only HOF ballot.
Frank Viola (SP)
Career: 47.1 bWAR, 42.8 fWAR, 44.1 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.5 bWAR and 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 41.2 bWAR, 33.6 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, Cy Young
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Ah, wins and losses. Frank Viola won the Cy Young in 1988 on the strength of his 24-7 season. It was admittedly deserved. But he got 3rd place in 1990 when he had the highest bWAR and 6th when he had the 2nd best bWAR in 1987. (His ‘87 season would lead most years, but Roger Clemens)
Profile: Viola grew up in East Meadow New York and upon graduating high school, was drafted in the 16th round, but chose to play baseball for St. John’s instead. While there, he had an extra inning duel with Ron Darling, largely considered the best in college baseball history. He went 11 shutout and Darling took a no hit bid into the 12th before surrendering a hit and losing in the 12th. The Twins drafted him in the 2nd round of the 1981 draft. He debuted less than a year later and became a fixture of the Twins’ pitching staff. He didn’t break out until his third season, which began a run of 9 straight 230+ inning seasons. At the deadline in 1989, he was traded to the Mets and he stayed there until he reached free agency before the 1992 season. He signed with the Red Sox and at the tail end of his second season, he needed Tommy John, missing nearly all of 1994. That was pretty much the end of his career, as he pitched in two more seasons, but not more than 30 innings, retiring at 36. He received virtually no support on his only ballot.
David Wells (SP)
Career: 53.6 bWAR, 58.3 fWAR, 42.4 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.1 bWAR and 3.4 fWAR)
Peak: 31.4 bWAR, 30.9 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Wells appeared in the postseason for six different teams, tied for the most in MLB history with Kenny Lofton.
Profile: Wells was drafted out of high school in the 2nd round of the 1985 draft. Before he could make the majors, he had Tommy John surgery in 1985. He debuted in the 2nd half of the 1987 season and spent his first few years in the bullpen. He began starting games in 1990, but split between starting and the bullpen for three years. He was released by the Blue Jays at the end of spring training in 1993, but signed with the Tigers and finally got a full-time starting gig at the age of 30. He made his first All-Star game at 32, but was traded later that season to the Reds. He got traded again after the season to the Baltimore Orioles. He signed a free agent contract with the Yankees before 1997 and spent two seasons with them, including the 15th perfect game ever. He was traded to the Blue Jays after the 1998 season and he arguably had a career year at 37 in his second season with the Jays. After the season, he was traded again, this time to the White Sox where he struggled with injuries. Wells signed a two-year deal with the Yankees and then a one-year deal with the Padres. He signed a two-year deal with the Red Sox, the latter of which was marred by injuries and finishing with a late season trade back to the Padres. He finished his career at 44-years-old with the Padres for one last season. He received little support on his only ballot.
Ted Williams (OF)
Career: 121.8 bWAR, 129.8 fWAR, 94.8 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 7.5 bWAR and 8 fWAR)
Peak: 67.9 bWAR, 71.9 fWAR
Acc: 19-time All-Star, 2-time MVP, 2-time Triple Crown winner, 6-time batting title
4-WAR seasons: 14 by bWAR and by fWAR
One notable stat: How to choose one? He’s the all-time leader in career OBP (.482) and 2nd all-time in slugging% (.634). Interrupted by World War II, in the seasons he played, he led the league in bWAR in four “straight” seasons and in 6 of 8.
Profile: Since we all know Ted Williams, the only thing I have to point out is that Williams’ career stats underrate Ted Williams, if you can believe that. He missed three straight seasons to World War II. In the two previous seasons, he led the league in bWAR. In the two seasons after, he led the league in bWAR. He also missed basically two seasons to serving in the Korean War. He led the league in bWAR the year before. He has a legitimate case of being the best player ever.
Robin Yount (SS/OF)
Career: 77.4 bWAR, 66.5 fWAR, 62.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.8 bWAR and 3.3 fWAR)
Peak: 47.3 bWAR, 42.9 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, 2-time MVP, 3-time Silver Slugger, Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Yount is the Brewers’ all-time leader in games, hits, at-bats, plate appearances, runs, doubles, triples, RBIs, and walks.
Profile: Yount was drafted by the Brewers out of high school, 3rd overall in the 1973 draft. He debuted the next season at just 18-years-old, some would argue too early. He was not a very good baseball player in his first three seasons, but he also wasn’t legally able to drink in any of them either. He took a step forward at 21 and another one at 24, making his first All-Star game. A couple years later, he won his first MVP. His made his third and final All-Star game in 1983 - not sure how he made no more after. His defense held him back, but he did see a resurgence at 32, and won his second MVP at 33 in 1989. He played until he was 37, retiring as a Brewer. He was a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Carlos Zambrano (SP)
Career: 43.9 bWAR, 37.2 fWAR, 41.1 JAWS (per 200 IP: 4.5 bWAR and 3.8 fWAR)
Peak: 38.3 bWAR, 35.3 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, 3-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 5 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: His hitting obviously. He was a 57 wRC+ hitter for his career with 24 career homers. That ranks 8th all-time among pitchers in the post-integration era with a minimum of 700 plate appearances.
Profile: Zambrano was born in Venezuela and signed with the Cubs at just 16-years-old in 1997. He made his professional debut stateside the next year and by 2001, he made his MLB debut at 20-years-old. He pitched very poorly in 6 appearances. Though he started the 2002 season in the minors he was called up quickly to pitch in the bullpen. In July, he moved into the rotation for good. He became a workhorse of the Cubs staff, throwing 200+ innings five straight years. He signed a five-year extension in the middle of the 2007 season and he started having injury problems. He was known for his temper tantrums when things didn’t go his way on the field. He temporarily moved to the bullpen for part of 2010. His 2011 season ended prematurely when he was ejected for throwing two inside pitches to Chipper Jones after Jones homered off him. He then left the clubhouse and announced he was retiring. The Cubs suspended him for 30 days. He was traded to the Marlins with the Cubs picking up most of the check, but Zambrano was a disappointment and while he made a few comeback attempts after that, he had thrown his last inning at 31-years-old. He received no votes on his only HOF ballot.
This is a very weak ballot, so you are not going to need it, but you have 14 votes maximum.