Posts Tagged ‘Lou Whitaker’

The 2019 Veteran’s Committee Vote

November 13, 2019

Marvin Miller on the phone

The other day I listed the 2019 Veteran’s Committee ballot without commentary. Well, you knew that wouldn’t last, didn’t you? The committee members get up to 5 votes each. I’ll detail my vote (of which the committee should take great heed) later, but I want to first make a few overall comments about the ballot.

After what happened last year (and, yes, I know it’s a different committee) I’m not about to try and predict what will happen this year, other than to say that I doubt more than two will be elected to the Hall of Fame. If you look at each player (ignoring the contributor), they are all much alike. They have good numbers and are reasonably well known. But each has some sort of flaw that has kept them out of Cooperstown for a long time. For some it’s short, but intense careers that don’t have overwhelming numbers. For some it’s ending just short of magical numbers (400 home runs, 300 pitching wins, etc.). For others, it’s lack of a defining postseason or an off field issue.

1. Marvin Miller is the most obvious choice for enshrinement. He is easily the most important non-player of the last 50 years, and for my money one of the four most important non-players in baseball history (William Hulbert, Ban Johnson, and Kennesaw Mountain Landis are the others in order of appearance on baseball’s stage.). Apparently, he wasn’t a particularly likeable man and even a number of players, who benefited most from his work, didn’t really like him. Additionally, he alienated a lot of owners, executives, and newsmen (all of which can be on the committee) during his lifetime and that’s not a recipe for election to Cooperstown.

2. Lou Whitaker’s appearance on the ballot is, to me, an enigma. I can’t understand why he’s not already in the Hall of Fame. An excellent second baseman, a many time all-star, a member of one of the more famous middle infield’s in baseball history, Whitaker also has excellent statistics. They are comparable to his double play mate Alan Trammell, already a member of the Hall. But then, he, unlike Trammell, was never a World Series MVP nor ever came in second in the American League MVP vote (and of course Whitaker forgot his uniform at an all-star game). Perhaps its that pair of shortcomings that makes Trammell appear to be a much superior player. The guys over at the Hall of Miller and Eric (which you should read, people) are afraid Whitaker will get in because the committee wants to complete the 1984 Detroit Tigers championship team’s major Hall of Fame contenders by adding Whitaker to a list of Tigers stalwarts (Trammell, Jack Morris, Sparky Anderson) already in Cooperstown. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind if they did. I don’t much care why the committee supports Whitaker so long as they do.

If my prediction that only two people from the ballot get elected, I think it should be the two above. But, if they get to three, I’d like to see…

3. Ted Simmons as the third choice. He missed election by one vote last time and it will be interesting to see if he picks it up this time. His numbers are fine, especially for someone who spent most of his time as a catcher. But his end of career time as a journeyman who played a lot of first base and designated hitter, may pull him down a bit because his numbers aren’t particularly great at either position. Additionally, he was seen more as a hitter than as a catcher and that could hold him back. He was never considered a great catcher, but like Mike Piazza, wasn’t nearly as bad a catcher as some people liked to say.

As a committee member, I would get five votes. Here would be my next two (in alphabetical order): Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy. They were both players with fine, but short, peaks. Sometimes that can get you in, sometimes it can’t. Murphy has the additional problem of ending up just under 400 home runs without being the player Al Kaline (who also ended up just under 400 homers) was over a longer period of time. For Mattingly, some of his problem lies in being a New York Yankees player who never got his team to a World Series (one playoff appearance, a loss, in Mattingly’s final season). As often as New York made it to the Series, that’s a problem for one of their better players, a problem that is difficult to overcome; especially on a ballot with Thurman Munson, a Yankees player who did see World Series action.

As for the other five; next time, folks (maybe).

Modern Era Ballot Announced

November 6, 2019

Lou Whitaker

The Hall of Fame has announced the nominees for the 2019 Modern Era Veteran’s Committee. The vote will be 8 December. Here’s the list:

Dwight Evans

Steve Garvey

Tommy John

Don Mattingly

Thuman Munson

Dale Murphy

Dave Parker

Ted Simmons

Lou Whitaker

and executive Marvin Miller

More later.