The Ins and Outs of Baseball’s Hall of Fame

Despite a 266-251 lifetime record, Eppa Rixey is in the Hall of Fame.

Who’s in? Who’s out?

The question of who belongs in the Hall of Fame — and consequently who doesn’t — sparks endless debate among baseball fans.

Well, the SportsLifer is about to solve some of those debates.

At each position, we’ve taken one Hall of Famer (OUT) and replaced him with a player more deserving of Hall enshrinement (IN).

For pitchers, we’ve put five hurlers in and taken five out.

Omit the debates about Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Black Sox, gamblers like Pete Rose, and Mark McGwire and his fellow needle-pushers of the steroid generation. They’re out.

Also out are active players and players who have retired within the past five years and are not yet eligible for the Hall.

Who’s in? Who’s out? Here’s the list:

CATCHER

 IN — Joe Torre — A .297 lifetime batting average, 252 home runs, and a National League MVP and batting title in 1971 with the Cardinals are good enough. Torre, right, will eventually go in as a manager..

OUT — Ray Schalk — The ancient catcher played 17 years with the White Sox, but a .253 lifetime average, 11 home runs and 594 RBIs have Schalk on the outside.

FIRST BASE

IN — Buck O’Neil — A first baseman and manager in the Negro Leagues, most notably with the Kansas City Monarchs, he later became the first black coach in the majors.

OUT — George Kelly — Despite six straight .300 seasons and four straight 100 RBI years, Highpockets, who had a nice career with the Giants and three other teams, gets the boot.

SECOND BASE

IN — Lou Whitaker — A mainstay with the Detroit Tigers for 19 seasons, Sweet Lou hit .276 with 244 homer runs and 1084 RBIs, He was Rookie of the Year in 1978.

OUT — Bill Mazeroski — The Pirates second baseman is best known for his dramatic home run that decided the 1960 World Series. Maz hit .260 lifetime with 138 homers.

SHORTSTOP

IN — Bill Dahlen — His 20-year career spanned the 19th and 20th Centuries, and Bad Bill, left, hit.272 with 2457 hits and 547 stolen bases.

OUT — Joe Tinker — The Cubs shortstop of the Tinkers to Evers to Chance trio, his .262 lifetime average doesn’t cut it with this group.

THIRD BASE

IN — Ron Santo — This legendary Cubs third sacker had 342 home runs, 1331 RBIs and a .277 average, with five Gold Gloves and nine All-Star appearances.

OUT — George Kell — Perhaps the toughest cut, with only 10 3B in the Hall. Kell hit .306 lifetime and won a batting title in 1949, but was never much of a power hitter..

OUTFIELD

IN — Andre Dawson — Made his fame with the Expos and Cubs, hit 438 lifetime home runs, had 1591 RBIs, and was the 1987 National League MVP.

IN — Sherry Magee — A Phillie, Brave and Red from 1904-19, he led the league in RBIs four times and hit .291 lifetime, including a league-leading .331 in 1910.

IN — Tim Raines — A .294 lifetime hitter, Raines is fifth all-time in stolen bases with 808. The four players ahead of him, are all in the Hall of Fame.

OUT — Richie Ashburn — Hit .308 lifetime with a couple of batting titles, but only 29 career homers and 586 RBIs put Ashburn, right, on the pine.

OUT — Harry Hooper — Played with Red Sox and White Sox from 1909-25. Hooper played on four champions but hit just .281 in his career.

OUT — Ralph Kiner — This vaunted Pirates slugger won seven home run titles, but hit .just 279 in a brief 10-year, major league career.

PITCHER

IN — Ron Guidry — Louisiana Lightning fashioned a 170-91 record and a 3.29 ERA, and went 25-3 in 1978 while winning the Cy Young award with the Yankees.

IN — Tommy John — Anyone who has a surgery named after him is automatically eligible. John was a three-time, 20-game winner and had 288 career wins.

IN — Jim Kaat — Kitty played for 25 years, won 16 consecutive Gold Gloves, and was 283-237 while winning 20 games three times in his career.

IN — Firpo Marberry — Lost in the haze of history, Marberry was 148-88 lifetime, primarily with the Senators, and with 101 saves was the career leader from 1926-46.

IN — Tony Mullane — He had five straight 30-win campaigns on his way to 284 victories in the late 19th Century, mainly with the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

OUT — Jack Chesbro — This right-hander, with 198 career wins, made the Hall primarily on one great season, 41 wins for the New York Highlanders in 1904.

OUT — Ted Lyons — Just because Lyons, left,  pitched for some mediocre White Sox teams his entire career doesn’t mean 260-230, 3.67 ERA all-time deserves the Hall.

OUT — Gaylord Perry — Granted, Gaylord was a 300-game winner and a Cy Young pitcher, but the spitballer lost 265…and he was an admitted cheater.

OUT — Robin Roberts — He won 20 games six straight seasons and 286 in his career, but no pitcher in history allowed more home runs (505) than Rockin’ Robin.

OUT — Eppa Rixey — Those who never saw him pitch wonder how this Phillies and Reds left-hander made the grade with a record just 15 games better than .500.

Related Links

The Fabulous Firpo: Baseball’s First Fireman

The Rock Should Be A Lock for Baseball’s Hall of Fame

Guidry Vs. Koufax: A Hall of A Compare

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10 Comments on “The Ins and Outs of Baseball’s Hall of Fame”

  1. Glenn Rossman says:

    Fun reading BUT Hall elections are decided based on a comparison of peers so comparisons aren’t so fair unfortunately.

    • sportslifer says:

      Good point, but you gotta admit there are some guys in the Hall who don’t deserve to be there. And other guys who should be in but aren’t. That’s the job of the Hall of Fame debate.

  2. Elliot Luber says:

    Interesting list and I agree with a lot of it, but there’s a distinct Yankee bias here IMHO… not that there hasn’t been an anti-Yankee bias in recent years.

    • sportslifer says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. Beg to disagree about the Yankee bias. The only true Yankee on the list is Ron Guidry. I know, John and Kaat pitched for the Yankees, but they both pitched for lots of other teams too. John had two of his three 20-win season with the Yankees, true. But Kaat would go in as a Twin. Raines is on the list, but he’d go in as an Expo despite his Yankee championships. Torre will go in as a Yankee manager, but the was made for his body of work catching for the Cardinals, Braves and other. Two former Yankees, Happy Jack Chesbro and Gaylor Perry, are on the out list. I was close with Mattingly (in), but felt Buck O’Neil deserves it moe. And I almost had the Scooter on the outs, but picked Tinker instead. After all, Rizzutto was the shortstop on seven championship teams, Tinker two (including the last Cubs winner in 1908).

  3. Brian Cooper says:

    As biographer of Ray Schalk (book to be released by McFarland later this year), I know that Schalk is an easy target in these Hall of Fame debates. During my research, I found a great number of references — from players, managers and sportswriters — to Schalk being the best defensive catcher of his day and, in some opinions, the all-time best to that point. His modest offensive numbers — amassed with broken and jammed digits, while rarely taking a day off — obviously don’t help his case. However, does anyone get credit for defense in your Baseball World?

    • sportslifer says:

      Brian, thanks or your note and appreciate your feedback. Defense does merit consideration, but let’s face it, offensive production is the key to the Hall. That’s why players like Phil Rizzuto and Ozzie Smith are in. I always felt Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez should get more votes for their defensive abilities at first base. The offensive numbers — just 11 homers, 594 RBIs and a .253 average, really hurt Ray Schalk. BTW, I look foward to reading your book — in fact I’d be honored to do a review if you want to forward a copy.

    • Ed says:

      Ray Schalk was the glue that held together his teams, and perhaps the best defensive catcher ever. It’s hard to deny him a spot in the Hall, …. and Brian, I’ll be glad to buy the book.

  4. I truly appreciate this article post.Really thank you! Great.


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