Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cooperstown's 9 Most Shocking Inductions

What do Jesse Haines, Rick Ferrell, High Pockets Kelly, Rabbit Maranville, Bill Mazeroski, Freddie Lindstrom, Chick Hafey, Lloyd Waner and Tommy McCarthy have in common?

For some reason, they're all members of Baseball's most elite fraternity:  The Hall of Fame.

Yet, for some reason, Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce and Luis Tiant are not members.  Go figure.  All of these Golden Era candidates were recently rejected by the sixteen-member Veteran's Committee, along with Maury Wills (who really doesn't qualify to begin with) and former executive Bob Howsam (who may be worthy, but not as worthy as these guys).

Of course, along with this latest batch of rejections, the Hall of Fame is still missing the likes of Ted Simmons, Bobby Grich, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker - players who were apparently regarded as merely "good"; not "great".

Yet, undeniably, each position on the diamond is represented by players who were in fact, "good" but not "great"; and they're all Hall of Famers.  Go figure.

Advanced metrics reveal the truth in every player's actual performance over the course of their career.  Some startling examples of Cooperstown's mysterious selection process - position by position - is listed below.  Next to the player's name is their all-time rank for their primary position - based on sabermetric data compiled by

As a point of reference, there are 59 Starting Pitchers in the Hall of Fame - 13 Catchers - 19 First Basemen - 19 Second Basemen - 13 Third Basemen - 21 Shortstops - 19 Left Fielders - 18 Center Fielders - 24 Right Fielders

These are the lowest ranked players to have ever been inducted into the Hall of Fame at their position:

P - Jesse "Pop" Haines (Rank - 298) Won 210 - Lost 158 - 3.64 ERA - 19-year career, mostly with the St Louis Cardinals - appeared in 4 World Series with the Cardinals ('26, '28, '30 & '34) - Won 2 World Championships - Claim to Fame:  Career World Series Record:  3-1 - 1.67 ERA - Won 2 Games in '26 Series vs New York Yankees - including Game 7 - to help Cardinals win first Championship in Franchise History - Veteran's Committee Inductee in 1970

C - Rick Ferrell (Rank - 43)  .281 Career BA - .363 SLG - Brother of Pitcher Wes Ferrell who hit .280 with .446 SLG (but he's not in the HOF!) - Claim to Fame:  1884 Games Played as Catcher - Most in MLB History for a Catcher (at the time) - Veteran's Committee Inductee in 1984

1B - George "High Pockets" Kelly (Rank - 85)  .297 Career BA - .452 SLG - 16-year career, primarily as a member of the New York Giants during the John McGraw Era - Claim to Fame:  Played in 4 World Series - Notorious for striking out a lot (23 times in 26 games) while maintaining a low batting average (.248) and very little power (.297 SLG) - Veteran's Committee Inductee in 1973

2B - Bill Mazeroski (Rank - 50)  .260 Career BA - .367 SLG - 17-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates - Great defensively, but not much of a hitter, except for one swing of the bat which essentially punched his ticket to Cooperstown - Claim to Fame:  1960 World Series Walk-Off Home Run in Game 7 - Veteran's Committee Inductee in 2001

3B - Freddie Lindstrom (Rank - 70) .311 Career BA - .449 SLG - 13-year career primarily with John McGraw's New York Giants - Claim to Fame:  1924 World Series - Game 7 - victimized when a ground ball he was trying to field hit a pebble - good for a double - leading to the winning run of the Series scoring for the Washington Senators - Veteran's Committee Inductee in 1976

SS - Rabbit Maranville (Rank - 37)  .258 Career BA - .340 SLG - 23-year career with five different NL teams - beginning and ending with the Boston Braves - Good defensively, but not great - Claim to Fame:  Crazy antics and madcap approach to baseball - Appeared in 2 World Series - Died in January, 1954 - 2 weeks later, received 83% of the vote from the sympathetic BBWAA - Note:  Had Maury Wills received enough votes from the Veteran's Committee, he would have supplanted Rabbit as the least qualified Hall of Fame shortstop (Rank - 46)

LF - Chick Hafey (Rank - 58) .317 Career BA - .526 SLG - 13-year career cut short due to bad health and bad eyesight - wore glasses - Claim to Fame:  4 World Series appearances with the St Louis Cardinals ('26, '28, '30 & '31) - hitting .205 in 23 games - Veteran's Committee Inductee in 1971

CF - Lloyd "Little Poison" Waner (Rank - 113)  .316 Career BA - .393 SLG - 18-year career, mostly with the Pittsburgh Pirates - Claim to Fame:  Played alongside his Hall of Fame brother, Paul ("Big Poison) - Both appeared in futile match-up in the 1927 World Series vs the New York Yankees - who swept the Pirates in 4 straight games.

RF - Tommy McCarthy (Rank - 128)  .292 Career BA - ..378 SLG - 13-year career with 6 different teams in various leagues from 1884 - 1896 - Claim to Fame:  On defense, he used to trap the ball in right field to confuse base runners.  Seriously - Old Timers Committee Inductee in 1946

CONCLUSION:  Catchy nicknames while managing to play in a World Series or two was a winning formula for induction in the past.  These days, it's a whole new ballgame.  

Let's face it; the Hall of Fame is losing its credibility.

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