The Core of the Hall

Over at “Baseball Past and Present” the guy is running a poll asking you to pick the 50 guys who are the core of the Hall of Fame. In many ways he’s asking you to tell him who you’d pick if Cooperstown was open to only 50 players. All the players on his list are current Hall of Fame members, so you can’t pick current players or those on the HoF ballot. Over at the “On Deck Circle” (see the blogroll at right) Bill Miller has posted his list for all to see. Obviously this means I’m a glutton for punishment. So here, for the first time ever on a blog, (still your beating hearts, team) is my list of the 50 people I think the Hall of Fame absolutely has to have in it (drum roll, please).

My list is put together alphabetically by position with no inference of the order the 50 would be in if I listed them one after the other.

1B: Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig

2B: Eddie Collins, Charlie Gehringer, Rogers Hornsby, Napoleon LaJoie, Joe Morgan

SS: Cal Ripken, Arky Vaughan, Honus Wagner

3B: George Brett, Eddie Mathews, Mike Schmidt

LF: Rickey Henderson, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Carl Yaztrzemski

CF: Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Tris Speaker

RF: Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, Babe Ruth

C: Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella

P: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell, Sandy Koufax,  Christy Mathewson, Kid Nichols, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Warren Spahn, Walter Johnson, Cy Young

Negro Leaguers: Oscar Charleston, Martin DiHigo, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Turkey Stearnes

and Jackie Robinson. If you look just at his statistics, you can make a good case for excluding Robinson (as you might for Clemente if you wanted to), but his importance as the man who integrated the game is significant enough to elevate him to the list (as Clemente’s importance for the advent of Latin players is significant enough to add him on without reference to his stats).

My original list ran about 70 or so long. Cutting out the last 5 or 6 was tough. I’m certain a different day, a different interpretation of the stats and other evidence might yield a different bottom few, but overall I’m satisfied with this list. BTW Campy was the last guy in.



4 Responses to “The Core of the Hall”

  1. William Miller Says:

    I had the same problem narrowing down the last 5-10 players on my list. And like you, on a different day, I might change a few. Which brings up the question, can there ever really be an inner-circle Hall of Fame? If so, is 50 the right number, or should it be lowered, or raised?
    Very impressive list,

  2. Kevin Graham Says:

    I can’t argue with any of your picks. I might differ on just 3 or 4.
    50 is not enough. Every self respecting Top list has to be a top 100. The top 100 books, movies, songs of the 70’s, Kevin Bacon movie rolls.

  3. sportsphd Says:

    I agree with Kevin and Bill. Good list, though as a Twins fan I must cast some skepticism on any list that leaves Puckett off of your top center fielders, does not rank Killebrew at the top of first and third and left field simultaneously, and does not avail itself of the obvious Roy Smalley exception to the current hall of famer condition.

    One point of interest: Given the blog’s primary focus, I note that you only had two players who spend a large chunk of their career in the 19th Century, Kid Nichols and Cy Young. I assume you are focusing on the 60’6″ era. Otherwise, a foul person like Cap Anson seems like a natural fit for this list. I can’t say that finding a way to include Campanella over Anson bugs me that much. In fact, it seems rather poetic.

  4. The Sports PhD Says:

    […] topics are too fun to ignore.  Recently a number of my favorite baseball bloggers have been putting up their lists of the top 50 players who are already in the […]

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