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A position-by-position breakdown of the best players not in the Hall of Fame

Jan 13, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT

cooperstown

Over at Baseball Prospectus Jay Jaffe runs down the best players not in the Hall of Fame by position. At least the first half of them (this is the first part of a series).

It’s a maddening list so far. Not so much for the first name listed — in  many cases they are players like Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio who will almost certainly make it soon — but for the second.  Guys like Bobby Grich, Dick Allen and Ted Simmons who never got a real hard look by the Hall of Fame voters.

Oh, and Darrell Evans? My god that dude was good. And I bet if you asked 100 baseball fans under 30 if they knew who he was, the low percentage of affirmative answers would drive you to despair. Or at least me.

  1. DJ MC - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    I only know Darrell Evans from articles like this, that try and show why he should be remembered. Otherwise, nothing.

    • tmohr - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      I’m old enough to remember well Evans as a player, but my first thought of him is always that he believed (and perhaps still does) in UFOs.

      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1064898/index.htm

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Bah damn paywall :( . Running out of excuses why I haven’t bought a subscription yet.

    • kopy - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      ‘Cuz we’re in a recession, damn it!

    • paperlions - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      I can help you with that:

      Best player at each position not in the HOF

      P: Jack Morris
      C: Jack Morris
      1B: Jack Morris
      2B: Jack Morris
      3B: Jack Morris
      SS: Jack Morris
      LF: Jack Morris
      CF: Jack Morris
      RF: Jack Morris
      DH: Jack Morris

      • Kyle - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:53 PM

        “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”

      • 18thstreet - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        No one fielded to the score like Morris.

      • paperlions - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        Fact: Jack Morris has over 200 more wins than any other 1B, 2B, C, SS, 3B, DH, or OF….that is not in the HOF.

      • cur68 - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM

        Morris’s mustache has more WAR than anyone else’s mustache.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        Because he spits hot fire?

  3. genericcommenter - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Time flies. I’m pretty young, but I find it pretty hard to accept the existence of baseball fans so young that they don’t know who led the AL in HRs in 1985.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      Jack Morris?

    • skipperxc - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      I wasn’t even born until ’86. Sometimes I feel like I missed all the best stuff. The Yankees have been good my entire cognizant life — it’s hard to think of them as anything but the gold standard for franchises. And the Royals winning a title? Inconceivable!

      • 18thstreet - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:39 PM

        What’s inconceivable is the way the Royals handed out huge contracts. I seem to remember the Storm Davis signing being a sign of the apocalypse — that the Royals were scooping up all the best talent.

      • skipperxc - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        That’s another thing, baseball nicknames have really stunk the last ten or twenty years. Funny you should mention him specifically — I first learned his name only a week or two ago. If only he’d ever played with The Human Rain Delay.

  4. jimatkins - Jan 13, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Nice to know I’m not the only person that appreciates Bobby Grich. I own exactly one autographed baseball, and it’s one of his.

  5. metalhead65 - Jan 13, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Mike Piazza was good but he was never better than Johnny Bench at anything.not his fault nobody was despite whatever saber stat you invent that says he was slightly better at he can’t be better than the best catcher of all time. sorry stopped reading after that.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      Mike Piazza was good but he was never better than Johnny Bench at anything

      Piazza – .308/.377/.545/.922 – 142 OPS+
      Bench – .267/.342/.476/.815 – 126 OPS+

      O rly? Bench was probably a far better defender, but no way you can say he was a better hitter.

    • 78mu - Jan 13, 2012 at 7:36 PM

      Piazza hit like a corner outfielder or first basemen and played defense like one. Bench was miles better at defense but not enough to dismiss Piazza as a catcher. I’d take Bench over Piazza on my team any day but if I needed a hit I would rather send up Piazza at his best than almost any hitter.

      If you could build a catcher from scratch he’d end up looking like Bench. Piazza may have been a better hitter and contemporaries like Boone or Sundberg may have been slightly better on defense but no one was the total package like Bench.

  6. royalsfaninfargo - Jan 13, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    I know you are big on Sweet Lou Whittaker Craig, but another overlooked 2nd baseman is Frank White. He is the reason Lou didnt win more Gold Gloves. In ’85 White was the first 2nd baseman to bat cleanup in the WS since Jackie Robinson.

    • vikesfansteve - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      Because there was no DH in that WS & Hal Mcrae was subjected to being a pinch hitter.

  7. streatordave - Jan 14, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    I still want Pete Rose in the min. they let the PED Kids in.

  8. hushbrother - Jan 14, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Grich and Whitaker aren’t Hall of Famers. Come on. I’m old enough to remember them, and I think they were both really good, underrated players. But all-time greats? I don’t see it.

    Neither of them were as good as Darrell Evans, for example. Or Dwight Evans, for that matter.

    • paperlions - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

      If you don’t see it…it is because you don’t realize how good they are compared to 2B through the history of baseball. It is very rare to have 2B that are good both offensively and defensively. Since WWII, Whittaker and Grich are both top 5 or 6 2B, they were that good and consistent on both offense and defense….which is rare…both were better than Biggio and better than Sandberg…..just not as hyped.

  9. RickyB - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    I was growing up during Grich’s and Whitaker’s playing days, and I didn’t think of them as future Hall of Famers either. However, just because they weren’t considered future Hall of Famers while they played is no reason to dismiss their candidacy for the Hall. The writers of the time didn’t treat them as all-time greats, so people didn’t think of them that way. Enlightenment came around in the form of sabermetrics to the mainstream after they were done playing, and now people can appreciate how special those players were. Going on gut feeling is how we end up with the current situation with the voters. There have been a few writers to state they believe Biggio will get in on the first ballot. I’m betting there are enough “gut” voters out there that will keep that from happening, even with the 3,000 hits.

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