Friday, October 06, 2006

The Anti-Hall of Fame and Baseball "Immortals"

Baseball's Hall of Fame is cluttered with pitchers and batters who plainly do not belong there. I hereby present my Anti-Hall of Fame: players who do not belong in the Hall of Fame.

A Hall of Fame pitcher will have

  • at least 300 wins
  • or, at least 250 wins and an ERA+ of 120 or higher. (Go here and scroll down for the definition of ERA+.)
  • or, at least 200 wins and a W-L average of .600 or better and an ERA+ of 120 or higher.
  • or, for relief pitchers, an ERA+ of 120 or higher.

The following pitchers therefore belong in my Anti-Hall of Fame:

Chief Bender
Jim Bunning
Jack Chesbro
Dizzy Dean
Don Drysdale
Dennis Eckersley
Red Faber
Rollie Fingers
Pud Galvin
Lefty Gomez
Burleigh Grimes
Jesse Haines
Waite Hoyt
Catfish Hunter
Fergie Jenkins
Addie Joss
Sandy Koufax
Bob Lemon
Ted Lyons
Rube Marquard
Hal Newhouser
Satchel Paige
Herb Pennock
Eppa Rixey
Robin Roberts
Red Ruffing
Dazzy Vance
Rube Waddell
Ed Walsh
John Ward
Vic Willis

With the removal of those 31 names, 35 pitchers would remain in the Hall of Fame.

The selection of batters for my Anti-Hall of Fame is a somewhat trickier business. Consider Johnny Bench: a lifetime .267 hitter but a great catcher and a leader on the field. Should I place a Bench in my Anti-Hall of Fame? What about Luis Aparicio, a fine shortstop who stole a lot of bases relative to his peers? The list could go on and on. So I decided to construct an anti-Hall of Fame that applies only to batting. Some players in this Anti-Hall of Fame might belong in the Hall of Fame for their other exploits, but they do not belong there for their batting skills. My batting criteria:

  • an OPS+ of at least 150 (Go here and scroll down for the definition of OPS+, which is a measure of offensive prowess that adjusts for a player's ballpark and the era in which he played.)
  • or, at least 2,800 lifetime hits and a lifetime batting average of at least .300
  • or, an OPS+ of at least 120 and at least 2,000 lifetime base hits or a lifetime batting average of at least .300

My Anti-Hall of Fame for batters:

Luis Aparicio
Luke Appling
Richie Ashburn
Earl Averill
Frank Baker
Dave Bancroft
Lou Boudreau
Lou Brock
Willard Brown
Roy Campanella
Max Carey
Gary Carter
Frank Chance
Jimmy Collins
Joe Cronin
Larry Doby
Bobby Doerr
Johnny Evers
Carlton Fisk
Nellie Fox
Gabbby Hartnett
Billy Herman
Harry Hooper
Monte Irvin
Travis Jackson
Hughie Jennings
George Kell
George Kelly
Ralph Kiner
Tony Lazzeri
Freddie Lindstrom
Rabbit Maranville
Bill Mazeroski
Tommy McCarthy
Bid McPhee
PeeWee Reese
Phil Rizzuto
Brooks Robinson
Ryne Sandberg
Ray Schalk
Red Schoendienst
Joe Sewell
Ozzie Smith
Joe Tinker
Pie Traynor
Bobby Wallace
Lloyd Waner
John Ward
Ross Youngs
Robin Yount

The deletion of those 50 names would leave 91 batters in the Hall of Fame, including . . . Johnny Bench.

You can consult the Hall of Fame listings for pitchers and batters to see who would remain in my Hall of Fame after excluding those listed above.

But which of the 35 pitchers and 91 batters who qualify for my Hall of Fame are true baseball "immortals" who belong in a select inner circle? My criteria for "immortality" are somewhat more stringent than my criteria for membership in the Hall of Fame. An "immortal" pitcher will have at least 250 wins, a winning average of at least .600, and an ERA+ of at least 120. (A reliever qualifies with an ERA+ of at least 120.) An "immortal" batter will have an OPS+ of at least 150 or at least 2,800 hits and a lifetime batting average of at least .300.

Herewith the "immortal" pitchers:

Pete Alexander
John Clarkson
Bob Feller
Lefty Grove
Carl Hubbell
Walter Johnson
Tim Keefe
Christy Mathewson
Kid Nichols
Jim Palmer
Eddie Plank
Charley Radbourn
Tom Seaver
Bruce Sutter
Hoyt Wilhelm
Cy Young

And the "immortal" batters:

Hank Aaron
Cap Anson
Jake Beckley
Wade Boggs
George Brett
Dan Brouthers
Jesse Burkett
Rod Carew
Roberto Clemente
Ty Cobb
Eddie Collins
Roger Connor
Sam Crawford
Ed Delehanty
Joe DiMaggio
Jimmie Foxx
Frankie Frisch
Lou Gehrig
Charlie Gehringer
Hank Greenberg
Rogers Hornsby
Willie Keeler
Nap Lajoie
Mickey Mantle
Willie Mays
Johnny Mize
Paul Molitor
Stan Musial
Mel Ott
Sam Rice
Frank Robinson
Babe Ruth
Al Simmons
George Sisler
Tris Speaker
Honus Wagner
Paul Waner
Zack Wheat
Ted Williams

Thus my Hall of Fame would have an inner circle of "immortals": 16 of 35 pitchers (vice the present number of 66) and 39 of batters 91 (vice the present number of 141). La crème de la crème.