This is our seasonal plea to vote for the Hall of Fame. While we may disagree on some players, I will tell you why i think we should all vote for these 5 players. You may want to vote for some others, but my objective is to get as many worthy players into the Hall of Fame as possible. In my opinion, there are far more than 5 worthy players. Also keep in mind that to this point, no one has been bumped off a ballot because of eligibility. We have been voting since season 15 and the some players have been on the ballot that long. That is not to say that they will not eventually make happen what they always said would happen, but that should not be our sole motivating factor. Also, I implore you all to vote for 5 players. Vote for the top 5. You are not going to fill up the Hall of Fame with unworthy players by voting for 5 players, not right now. I could make Hall of Fame cases for anywhere from 15 to 20 players on this ballot and because of how strict the requirements are and because of people not voting, we simply will not discredit the Hall. There will come a day when perhaps that will not be true, but it is not that day.
Here are the top 5.
I cannot believe Aldred did not get the support to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. I know I have written about this before, but do not cheapen the Hall by simply looking for 500 homer run hitters. Consider what I wrote about Aldred last season when he failed to get voted in:
“The first hitter to get 3,000 hits isn’t in the Hall of Fame? He doesn’t have the eye popping numbers like 600 homers, but let me school you all on Aldred. Caeer leader in doubles with 681. Closest active player is free agent Blake Staley who is nearly 200 away. This record will not be touched for a long time if ever. Career hits leader with 3,031 and the only player with more than 3,000. Alfonso Cruz is 153 hits behind him and declining rapidly. I think Cruz will pass him because Nashville will probably keep playing him until he does, but from my experience in playing Ugueth Moya at that stage in his career, it is easier said than done. Aldred has that illustrious foursome in baseball: 3000 hits, 300 homeruns, 1500 runs, 1500 RBI. If he were a real player, the only other names on that list would be Kaline, Palmeiro, Winfield, Brett, Ripken, Murray, Mays, Yastrzemski, Musial, and Aaron. No one else in the Big Sky has done it and only one other active player seemingly has a shot (the aforementioned Cruz). In terms of meaningless stats, Aldred is the career leader in games played, at bats, sacrifice flies, assists for 3B, and double plays at 3B. But the real reason Aldred should be memorialized is that even though he epitomized what baseball is about. He played the first 20 season in this world for the same franchise. Who on your team do you still expect to be on your ML team 20 season from now? In real life, he honor players in baseball who have endurance, who stick with the same franchise and do not bolt for bigger money, who played in the field and at the plate, who won the big games, who have moments that are immortalized in history. Aldred has all that and should be able to say he is a Hall of Famer too.”
I really am shocked that I have to build a case for Aldred. But if those numbers don’t convince you, go vote for one of the other dime a dozen 500 home run hitters out there because this is a unique player and no one has a history in this world like he does.
2. Hugh Bukvich
Another plea for Bukvich. I will always admit I am biased on him, but we are topping about a guy who is career top 10 in wins, WHIP, and ERA and has 4 world series rings. The knock against him was that he was not a workhorse who pitched deep into games, but the Hall of Fame shouldn’t be biased to our own ways of playing the game. I had a strong bullpen in those days and liked to run a 4 man rotation with a spot 5th starter. So I limited pitches on guys like Bukvich and Warren Franco, but you have to judge him based on when he did pitch. When he was in the game, he was one of the best pitchers this world has ever seen year in and year out. It may have kept him from getting higher on the win totals list and won’t be debated as the best pitcher ever, but it’s hard to debate that he is a Hall of Famer when you compare his stats with his peers.
3. Mariano Soto
The most amazing thing I realized when looking at Soto was that he never won a World Series. I just assumed every in Boston had one or two lying around, but he emerged too late to be a part of their early success. I’ve always envisioned Soto as the Big Sky’s Manny Ramirez. It’s not that he was the biggest power hitter ever and put up 50 or 60 homer seasons, he was just a consistent hitter who was at the center of some pretty powerful lineups. He nearly carried New Orleans to a World Series title virtually on his own. He hit .306 for his career (and I’ve studied it, .300 career hitters are far more rare than you would guess considering greats like Jerome Duran only hit .284). Comparing him to slugger Brian Fujiwara, who made the hall in season 17, he compares quite favorably and in my personal opinion has better career offensive numbers than Fujiwara. He has waited his time and paid his dues and it’s time to put him in the Hall of Fame.
These last few are always very hard for me because there is always a glut of players I want to vote for, but I have to turn to the numbers. I compared Soto and Seanez and Soto is for sure above Seanez, but they are close. And if they are that close, perhaps it is time for all of us to give Seanez serious consideration too. Again using Fujiwara as a measuring stick, Seanez compares pretty favorably to him and was a solid fielder in his day as well. If you were not around in the beginning of Big Sky, trust me, crazyjoe wishes he had a lineup like the one he built around Seanez. He started off this world with 7 straight season of over 45 home runs, the last 4 being over 50 with a high of 64. He was one of the most feared sluggers of the early era and his stats hold up to make him worthy of the Hall of Fame.
5. LEGACY PICK: Wilson Poole
Every season until we work through all of the early greats, I want to make the case for the players who did not have the chance to have full careers and amass the stats of the current crop of players. When we voted on our own Hall of Fame on this blog many moons ago, Wilson Poole was one of 3 players the owners voted in from the early days. I wrote this a long time ago, but let me quote you some analysis I did back then about Wilson Poole’s projected career stats if he had a full career. I projected with each player starting at age 25 and used their career averages and came up with these stats for Poole: 382 HRs, 1509 RBI, 551 2B, 134 3B, 2300 H, 359 SB (.296/.357/.552)
“MLB Hall of Famer stats resemble: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/lindsfr01.shtml Freddie Lindstrom looks like the best comparison to Poole with the same exact number of hits, but Poole had more power and speed while Lindstrom had a higher average. With projected stats, Poole compares well with Orlando Cepeda http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/cepedor01.shtml . Projections put them with the same number of home runs, batting average, and hits, but Poole is better in doubles, triples, and stolen bases. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bottoji01.shtml Jim Bottomley is another possible comparison. Poole had 289 homers and 270 stolen bases and projected to 382 homers and 359 stolen bases. Currently in the MLB Hall of Fame, only 11 players have hit more than 200 homers and stolen 200 bases. Willy Mays is the only player to have 300+ in both categories. ”
Using the real Hall of Fame as our guide, we can safely put Poole in with or without projected stats. Voting in players like him protects the history of the early seasons of this world that are long forgotten years after we started.
Honorable mention: Shane Dean and Cy Forrester. I wanted to put Dean on my list like I did last year, but he got very little support and I want to put as many in the Hall as I can. Forresster is impressive with 560 homers and 1600 RBI and I could be swayed on him, but all 3 of the hitters I put on the end of my list had better OPS than him and had at least around 1000 fewer at bats so I could forgive not being higher in just those 2 categories.
I really want to be able to vote for guys like Charles Hall and Del Johnson and Felipe Marin and Jesus Cruz and Sandy Mullen and more, but let’s get worthy players in that are not from our favorites or our biases. All 5 of these players are worthy to be called BSA Hall of Famers and have unique legacies in our world. But whatever you do, vote and use all of your votes. Find the 5 most worthy in your mind and let’s keep building the fullest and best Hall of Fame in HBD.