Here’s my take on this season’s HOF nominees. Most of the shoo-ins have been elected, and there were few nominations this year. Should make for some good debate!
Bruce Kent – Kent has classic HOF numbers. 670 HR (6th), 1870 RBI (top 10), 1653 R (prob top 10). He played almost exclusively LF, and though he was a poor defender, he more than made up for it with his bat. Very short on awards, probably due to his defense, but he did pick up 3 ASG and 3 SS, plus the all-important MVP. Not the best all-around player ever, but he’s a no doubter for me.
Louie Hayes – 9 ASG and 2 MVPs from this 2B/3B say he’s a good candidate without even looking deeper. A power/speed threat with 490 HRs and 470 steals, he finished with an .882 OPS. He compares very closely to his namesake Rudy Hayes, but was a significantly better fielder with more speed and more consistency.
Santos Flores – Not quite as high a peak as most HOFers, Flores gets the nod for outstanding longevity at a very high level of production. He played more games than anyone else, with 3,107 games played, mostly at RF. That left him 1st all-time in doubles with 670, 2nd in hits with 3,050, and 2nd in runs with 1,900. He hung on a little too long, bringing his OPS down to .830, but during his peak 14 years (that’s a long peak!) his OPS was .870. During those same 14 seasons he hit 563 2B, 319 HR and stole 578 bases. 6 All Star games.
Vasco Almonte – There have been few pitchers better than Almonte in this league, His career 210-109 record is excellent, along with a very good 3.31 ERA in over 2900 IP. He only made 4 ASG but 9 times his era was below 3.50, so it’s hard to understand why. He’s comparable to Livan Lee (Almonte was an NL pitcher), but Almonte pitched more, and won 2 CYA. He stands out here.
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.
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.
Mel Barfield – An excellent 2B, went to 7 ASGs and won 4 SS and 1 GG. He batted .313/.371/.514 for an outstanding .885 OPS, and added 512 SB. He scored more than 1500 R and drove in over 1200. He might get my HOF vote except that the Hayes boys and their MVPs are in the way.
Melvin Hernandez – Very similar to Kevin Myers, Melvin’s raw numbers are ever so slightly worse. However, using my ERA+ calculator, it turns out that their ERA+ is neck and neck – 180 for MH to 179 for Kevin Myers. But Melvin pitched in a hitter’s park, which I haven’t included, so his pitching was even better. Melvin had slightly fewer innings (1677 IP), but he went to one more ASG than Myers (7), and won a Fireman award. These two players are almost identical, but I have Melvin a step ahead.
Kevin Myers – The sort of pitcher who only exists in HBD, and one of very few who may 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. Way more innings than a closer, and second only to Junior Hernandez in ERA. Pretty good choice.
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.
Hayes Corino – Another mashing 1B, and another guy who probably won’t quite get in. Excellent numbers with over 500 HR, 1400 RBI, and a .923 OPS. Might have been a HOFer with a shade more longevity. He did win 2 MVPs, which is huge, but only went to 4 ASGs.
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.
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.
Denny Cooper – Third 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.
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.
Ariel Cortez – Very valuable pitcher who pitched over 3600 IP. He also won over 240 games, good for 5th all-time. But with his 4.11 ERA he’s a shade behind HOF quality. 5 All-Star games and 1 CYA.
Lewis Boswell – Another excellent every day reliever who deserves some consideration, but pales beside Kevin Myers. Boswell pitched over 2100 innings, all as a reliever and put up a 1.19 WHIP and a 3.66 ERA, mostly in the AL. He won over 100 games and saved almost 300, and went to 4 ASG (like Myers, it would have been more had he been a closer).
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.
Stan Coleman – Played 1B and LF about equally, and had great power. Hit 545 HR and drove in over 1500 runs. His .888 OPS means he was really excellent, but not quite elite. 6 ASG, 1 GG, 1 SS.
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.
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.
Chuck Coleman – An above-average SS with big power. He had some major seasons, but not great longevity – he only played 11 full seasons. He was probably HOF level at his peak, but didn’t seal the deal. 5 ASG, 1 SS and a late career GG at RF.
Raul Costilla – A LF with lots of power (526 HR), but just an .853 OPS for his career. Went to 3 ASG and won 1 GG and 1 SS. Not quite enough for this HOF.
Wally Ramirez - Some decent numbers overall, but certainly not enough for the HOF. 439 HR, 1273 RBI and 1143 R from a 1B won’t do it. A very nice .900 even OPS. He had one spectacular season where he won all 3 of his awards: he was an All-Star, Silver Slugger and MVP in season 21. But never even went to another ASG.
Bobby White – A nice save total, at 419, but that’s all that’s particularly outstanding about White. He did pitch a lot, amassing 1400 IP, but with an ERA of 4.08. He notched 2 Fireman awards, but only 3 All-Star games.
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.