Here’s my take on this season’s HOF nominees. Way too many deserving players at this point – hopefully we can agree on a few and get some people in!
Pablo Vincente – He’s been on the ballot for a while, and I guess it’s because he’s slightly below guys like Owens and Glynn. Stan Musial is slightly below Williams and Ruth, but he’s still a HOFer. Vincente is certainly one of the top 10 offensive players in the history of the league. He hit .305/.393/.603 (.996). 667 HR (7th all-time), 1927 RBI (5th all-time) 1591 R (11th all-time). Won an MVP, went to 6 all-star games, and won 2 silver sluggers. Combines the great peak with excellent longevity, and gets my nod.
Kelly Grace – The best pitcher on the list this season, Grace went 213-143 (.598). He won a CYA, went to 6 AS games, and finished with a 1.22 WHIP and a 3.52 ERA, half in the NL, half in the AL. Great longevity with 3294 IP.
Kevin Myers – The sort of pitcher who only exists in HBD, and the first of this type to truly deserve the HOF. Averaged 140 relief IP per season during his peak, and had a career ERA of 2.62 over 1800 IP. Went to 6 All-Star teams, and would have gone to more had he been a closer, but he would have been less valuable. Double the innings and a way better ERA than Bowie, and there’s really no comparison.
Domingo Padilla – The greastest base stealer in Capra history contributed in more than one way. He smacked over 600 doubles and almost 400 HRs. He played 2B, LF and RF, solidly if unspectacularly. His OPS of .828 is a bit low for the Hall, but by stealing over 950 bases, he managed to score over 1750 runs, putting him at 5th all-time, and in company of 4 other HOFers. He deserves to join their ranks. 6 All-Star games and 5 Silver sluggers.
Al Maurer – Career RF who slugged 485 HR while putting up .324/.407/.574 (.981 OPS). Amazingly consistent, he went to 10 All Star Games, won 3 SS and 2 GG. He’s getting my vote this year for being one of the best players at his position for an entire decade.
Damaso Colome – A full-time DH who obviously suffers from not playing the field, but put up astounding offensive numbers. .293/.370/.587 makes for a .957 OPS. 4th all-time in HR with 720 and 7th all-time in RBIs with 1735. Won an MVP but amazingly only went to 1 All Star game, and just 2 Silver Sluggers. He’s a notch behind Vincente, and I put him behind Maurer too, whose overall contributions were higher.
Jimmie Franco – Franco is the best example of why we need more votes for the HOF. He has an amazing slash line of .326/.414/.603 for a huge OPS of 1.017! He hit 442 HRs, 1284 RBI and 1103 R. He played quite a bit of (very poor) catcher, and some DH. He only went to 3 ASG and won 3 SS. With those offensive numbers, he should be a HOFer, but comparing one-to-one with all the players above him, I just can’t move him up.
Rudy Hayes – He has a very high peak, winning back-to-back MVPs as a 2B. He didn’t quite put up the gaudy numbers that some of the other HOFers did, with 429 HRs, slightly under 1500 R and RBI, and an .882 OPS. He did contribute over 200 SBs. He also only went to 5 AS games. Without the great peak, he’d probably be borderline. But those 2 MVPs probably put him over the top.
Claude Long – When does a guy with 562 HR, a .922 OPS, over 1500 R, 1700 RBI and 150 SB not make the HOF? When there’s all these guys in front of him. 5 ASG and 6 SS prove that this player was one of the best at his position for a long while. I feel he’s deserving to be in, so hopefully some of the better players get in and make some room for him!
Livan Lee – An excellent pitcher who pitched at a very high level for a pretty long time. An astounding W/L of 212-109, with a 3.86 ERA and 2679 IP. He twice topped 20 W and was under 3.00 ERA two other seasons. And all this in the AL! A very high level HOF candidate.
Wesley Smith – A difficult player to position, Smith was the best hitting SS in the league for almost a decade. Normally, that would be enough to get a HOF nod. He had excellent gap power, hitting over 500 2Bs, and adding 320 HRs and 439 SBs. Career OPS of .878, with over 1500 Rs. But he was out of position at SS, and was a terrible defender (in 1650 G at SS he made 389 E, 8 + and 92 – plays). Despite winning 8 Silver Sluggers at SS he only went to 5 All-Star games. He certainly is not a poor choice for the HOF, but I’m not 100% convinced myself yet.
Sammy King – It’s always funny when two players are so similar, and these two catchers are neck-and-neck. They sport nearly identical OPS – King one point higher at .899. King played a significantly longer, with 7100 PAs. 6 ASG, 3 GG and 2 SS for King, who was better at throwing out baserunners, but Alexander was the better pitch caller. Both are solid candidates for the HOF. I would choose King first, but it’s awfully close.
Doug Alexander – Another member of the Fargo Woodchippers dynasty, and another guy who isn’t a bad choice for the HOF. A spectacular slash line of .327/.425/.473 gives him an OPS of .898. He finishes with 5800 PAs, so his career is a hair on the short side. But he’s one of the best catchers we’ve seen in the league.
Denny Cooper – Second all-time in SBs with 721, this speedster also got on base and hit for power, giving him an .897 career OPS. 4 All Star games and 4 Silver Sluggers. He also played an excellent 2B. Another high-level candidate.
Javier Leon – Another DH whose peak was even higher than Colome, but had a little less longevity. Leon went .318/.379/.623 for a 1.002 OPS! 556 HR and 1482 RBI, 1 MVP and 3 All-Star games. He was a great player, and worthy of a vote, but there’s just too many players ahead of him.
Stan Lee – Yet another player whose numbers would be good enough in another system, but will probably not see the HOF in HBD. 462 HR with over 1600 R & RBI, plus 380 SB. A .953 career OPS. 4 AS teams, 5 Silver Sluggers and 2 MVPs! But I doubt he’ll get enough support.
Taylor Bowie – One of the top closers we have had in the league, but still maybe not quite dominant enough. He has roughly the same amount of saves (500) and innings (900) as Nerio Miller, but his ERA (3.24), is a bit higher than Miller’s (2.93). And remember, Miller played in a higher offensive era. And most importantly, Nerio didn’t make the HOF. In Bowie’s favor, he went to 8 All-Star games and won 5 Fireman awards. He’s not a bad choice.
Denny Martin – Another 200-game winner retires, but this one is probably a hair short of HOF. He went 221-124 (.640), and pitched 2925 innings to a 4.09 ERA. Went to 5 All-Star teams and won a CYA.
Desi Martin – The other Martin also has some impressive numbers, retiring at #4 all-time in wins, with 247. But his longevity is his only Hall claim – his career ERA is 4.45. He didn’t even have a high peak; his best season was probably when he went 19-10, 3.72 for Fresno. Only 2 All-Star games underscore this highly-consistent yet average player.
Justin Terry – Another excellent catcher on this year’s list is not quite good enough to make it. A very solid .883 OPS with 477 HRs, but lacks either superior longevity or the massive peak. Won 4 Silver Sluggers, but only 2 All-Star games.
Darin McClellan – A solid hitter in the long-ball era, he hit 589 HRs and had a .921 OPS. Despite that he only went to 1 All Star game. Played 1B, LF and DH. Doesn’t really stand out.
Sid Watson – Another solid closer, but clearly inferior to Bowie. Mostly similar numbers – 479 Saves, 9 ASG, 850 IP, but a higher ERA at 3.61. Not quite.
Jim Heathcott – Played 2B/3B, and batted .300. Comes in with a mediocre .813 OPS. His claim to HOF is his 3153 H, and would probably deserve some consideration if we had 10 votes each. But despite his high level consistency I just don’t think he was as good as the players above him. I know some will disagree, but how many HOFers only play in 1 all-star game?
Lou Witt – Played 2B and CF, got just over 2000 H, batted over .300. A very nice player who finished with an .882 OPS and over 270 SB. He was very good, but not unbelievable. He went to 3 All-Star games and won 4 Silver Sluggers.
Al Perez – Played a long and productive career, amassing over 2300 H and almost 1500 R. A career OPS of .830 while playing some CF and more RF. He went to 8 All-Star games, demonstrating that he was well above average consistently, but just didn’t quite put up big enough numbers.
Ringo Weston – Played CF, SS and 3B, got over 2300 H and 1300 R, with an OPS of .845. Very similar to Al Perez, he was an excellent all-around player, but maybe not quite HOF quality.
Al Cedeno – Three similar players in a row, Cedeno played SS, 3B and RF, almost 2300 H and 1200 R, .840 OPS. A notch behind the other two, he played in just one AS game, and a GG in RF, and he’s clearly not quite a HOFer.
Dean Brennaman – Won an MVP, went to 3 all-star games, and put up an amazing 1.045 OPS. But he only played 5 full seasons. Was old when the league started. How is he still getting nominated?
Rob Ojeda – An above average reliever, but not spectacular. 850 IP with a 3.92 ERA, plus 284 saves. His closing got him to 6 All-Star games, but it’s not enough to stand out in this crowd.
Carlos Pulido – Gets a HOF nomination for his 527 HRs, but a 1B with a .913 OPS and only 1 ASG doesn’t get a sniff in this HOF.
Adam Williams – A C/DH who hit a nice .307/.413/.507 (.920 OPS), but only 261 HR and less than 1000 R/RBI. 3 ASG and a SS. Not enough.
Chuck Coleman – A solid player at SS with an .899 OPS, but a fairly short career with fewer than 1500 H and 1000 R. 5 ASG, 1 SS, 1 GG. Nice, but not a HOFer.
Jorge Lima – Had some huge seasons early, but for his career was much too pedestrian for this HOF. 353 HR and and .886 OPS for an outfielder won’t quite do it.
Alex Lopez – I’m a fan of the everyday reliever in this game, but the overall numbers have to be higher. He pitched over 1300 innings, but 1.37 WHIP and 4.04 ERA aren’t HOF numbers, even in Capra.
Aurelio Astacio - A sub .800 OPS and no really outstanding moments mean Astacio doesn’t even belong on this list despite being a CF.
Luis Ramirez – Not close