3 Cards Into HOF

May 23, 2020

As MLB baseball begins unraveling their requirements for opening the 2020 season, let’s take a look at the ultimate personal goal of every player…to be placed in the Baseball HOF in Cooperstown, NY. I think that 3 Cardinal players should be highly considered. But first….let’s look @ the process…
..the first group elected in 1936 were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson…truly, superstars of the sport. Currently there are 333 people had been elected to the Hall of Fame, including 234 former Major League Baseball players, 35 Negro league baseball players and executives, 23 managers, 10 umpires, and 36 pioneers, executives, and organizers. That means that 80% of the inductees are players.
….In the beginning and currently, the committee is totally comprised of members of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America).  In the beginning, the ONLY people covering every game for a team were these baseball writers. So…it was thought…that they had the most knowledge of the skills for a player. Recently, with the decline of newspapers, sports on-line journalists have been admitted to the committee. There is no time limit for the length of a particular writer.
….Admittance to HOF—1) The player must have competed in ten MLB seasons. A single game counts as a “season” in the eyes of the Hall. 2) The player must have been retired for at least five seasons. 3) A Player must receive 75% of the votes in a given year for HOF admittance.
…A player may remain on the ballot for 10 years. To remain on the ballot, the player must receive at least five percent of the votes for any given year. If a player fails to receive 5%, he falls off the ballot. ln 16 years after his retirement, he will then be considered by the Veterans committee….recently renamed the ERA’s committee – giving these committees specific era’s to consider rather than the 100 years of baseball in total as the veterans committee did previously . More on veterans committee later…
I believe that the following should be considered.
….it seems to me that as baseball writers remain the HOF committee for years….decades…they get very locked into both pro or con positions for particular players admittance. It almost seems like a good ol’ boys club of sorts.  Of course…it would seem that they favor their “home town” boys much more often than a guy that they see maybe 12-20x a year. The lack of change on the committee becomes a weakness. I would suggest that the committee be opened to “qualified reporters”…like those who work for the MLB network and review all the games nightly. Or, announcers who cover national games of the week would be admitted for the same reason. Or, even former players who are interested. I also believe that there should be a continual, yet mild, change in the committe. It would provide  fresh ideas on players, different “takes”, less influence from long-time committee members, different men would become the leaders. I would propose a committee of 40 members….comprised of BBWAA members, national reporters or announcers, and even 2-5 former HOF players….each would serve 5 years. Stagger the process so that 8 new members enter every year. It would still provide continuity but also a wider range of views of the candidates.  When a member is replaced, he could reenter the committee after a time period…maybe 5+ years. I believe that it would keep the voters fresh, hear a wider range of opinions on these candidates and enhance the entire process.
…I don’t believe that there should be a maximum time limit on a player being on the ballot but I do believe that a player should have a minimum of 10 years(as it is now). Even with less than 5% of the votes, a player remains on the ballot. With the constant turnover in voters, he may be viewed differently as the group changes. After 10 years,  he is dropped to the Veterans committee.
….The Rules for the Veterans Committee should be DRASTICALLY modified.  This committee should NOT vote players into the HOF. This committee has been renamed but still holds all the power of the actual voters. They should NOT induct players. To me, they should vote to place a player BACK ON  THE BALLOT for the the voting committee. It is my feeling that this committee has installed most of the weaker members of the HOF…probably some undeserving. Often using the measuring sticks like–, “he’s better than so-so”, “he was the captain of so many good teams”, “he was such a good, steady fielder”, “he was on championship teams”, etc. Avoiding the only true question—is this player a TRUE HOF’er? This committee has installed many of the weakest players of the HOF—take a look…Rube Marquard- elected by Veteran’s Committee  in 1971 despite NEVER receiving more than 14% of the HOF votes. His Career: 18 seasons (1908-25) he averaged a record of 14-13, ERA 3.08. Then, Jesse Haines–He ranks a distant 76th in career ERA and 72nd in WAR (35.8) on the Hall of Fame list.  In a dozen tries on the BBWAA ballot, he received no more than 8 percent of the vote… Lloyd Waner– Sabermetrically, he’s the worst player in Cooperstown and wasn’t even average for his era. His 99 OPS+ means his adjusted rate of offensive production was just below league average. Or, Bill Mazeroski (yes, he did hit a game-winning World Series HR & played on 2 championship teams in Pitt 1960 &19 71 but his career average batting numbers–.260 BA, 10 HR, 64 RBI, 2 SB are pedistrian. He did win 8 Gold Gloves….but it’s my feeling that the HOF is designed for outstanding batters and good fielders…not just good fielders….there’s no place for the Dal Maxvill’s of the world in Cooperstown… and there are AT LEAST 20 other players whom the Vets committee voted into the HOF that, I feel,  don’t belong there.
But…..there are 3 retired Cardinals that SHOULD be considered….
..Scott Rolen..there are only 17 3B in the HOF, the fewest of any position…Rolen was a .281 lifetime batter, career OPS .855, 316 HR, 7 Gold Gloves, 5 different post-season teams, played the game with emotion…sometimes entangling himself with his managers (I think he’s finally forgotten the Tony tiff)..he’s very, very comparable to many HOF 3B. Keep in mind, baseball HAS changed over time.
Here’s a comparison to another “modern” day 3B–
Ron Santo – 15 years, Avg   .277, Hits-2254, HR-342,RBI-1331, Runs-1138, OBP-.362, OPS-.826
Scott Rolen- 17 years, Avg   .281,Hits- 2077, HR-316, RBI-1287, Runs-1211, OBP-.364, OPS-.855
Now Santo isn’t  the worst 3B in the HOF….you’d have to look at these as the weakest HOF 3b– Home Run Baker, George Kell, Freddie Lindstrom, Deacon White, John McGraw, Jimmy Collins, Pie Traynor. Remember, there are only 17 3B in the HOF….Rolen fits into the middle of the pack. I’m not calling for these weaker 3B to be thrown out of the HOF. I think each of those 3b DO belong in the HOF…they played in different era’s when defense and average were held in higher esteem than now when its all about batting with power. But…Rolen belongs also.
…The next Cardinal played only 1 year for the Cards. He was a Cardinal in 1970. He did NOT possess a pleasant personality (that’s being kind!),  which I feel has held him out of the HOF. I’m talking about Richie Allen. Richie Allen ..who later was called Dick Allen…could hit! He batted like a HOF’er.  He led the LEAGUE ..not the team….in HR-2x, in OBP-2x, slug %-3x, OPS-4x. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1964 and the League MVP in 1972. His CAREER batting marks .292 avg, batted .300-7x, OBP-.378, slug-.534, OPS-.912 are in the ballpark with  Albert Pujols (a certain 1st ballot inductee) holds these marks—OBP-379, slg .549, OPS- 927. Allen changed teams frequently in his career….so it’s my feeling that none of writers “got close to him”—they probably didn’t want to do so.  He must have been very unpleasant character… but that ISN’T a reason to hold him out of the HOF. He played 15 years, 7x –All Star. Allen was a HOF’er …. Even without a halo!
….Allen played a role in the next Cardinal’s HOF induction. Allen was traded by the Phils in late 1969 to the Cards. In return, 1 of the players sent to Philadelphia was Curt Flood. You all know the story…he refused to report….took the MLB to court …and WON after 12 years. He was the MLB player who ushered in free agency. Marvin Miller, head of the Players Union, worked with him during this time . I feel Flood should be inducted…not as a player….but as a pioneer–like Marvin Miller. He definitely changed the landscape of the MLB forever (like it or not). Since Marvin Miller is in the HOF….Curt Flood should be in also!
…I’ve been to Cooperstown….it’s a magnificent visit. I didn’t realize until I visited there that it was privately owned…the MLB does not own it or….control it. Which…. seems strange to me!
Thx for the read!  I feel like I’ve touched a few ideas that may stir you up….have at it! Comment on my Facebook page, on Prepcasts page or an email to me—rjryansr@charter.net. Btw…this will be the last week for the blog on Prepcasts. I want to thank Tim Miller (Prepcasts owner) for his help over the past 5 years of posting it each week. He’s always found the clever pictures to supplement my blogs. I have hopes of beginning a new website of my own….some day… for all of my blogs…new & old.