Mets360’s inaugural Hall of Fame class

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. is a wonderful place, which every fan should go to at least once in their life. The exhibits are great and you’d be hard pressed to find a more picturesque place than Cooperstown. Of course, we hear most about the Hall around the annual selection of players who the writers induct. From a marketing standpoint, having the writers make the picks was a home run. What better way to insure publicity for the place than having the people who write about the sport make the picks? And at one point, they likely were the most knowledgeable people, too.

But a lot has changed since the 1930s. Still it was something that I looked forward to each year, going so far as to create my own ballot based on the actual eligibility rules. But everyone has a breaking point and this year I reached mine. The Joe Morgan letter, where – assumingly with the Hall’s blessing – he wrote a letter to voters imploring them to ignore steroid users was the straw that broke this camel’s back. At that point, I decided to do what others before me had done – give up caring about which players were inducted into Cooperstown and instead start my own Hall. And that decision was further justified when Jack Morris was recently elected. Prior to this year, that selection would have outraged me. Now it was just a confirmation.

So, along with 19 other people, here’s a virtual Hall of Fame starting from scratch. The unique twist is that we’re going to start voting from the 1950s. The advantages to doing that are that it’s different from how others have done it and it also allows us to start with a class filled with all-time greats that even casual baseball fans will recognize. The initial ballot of 22 players, based on fWAR totals from the period 1950-1959 included the top dozen hitters and the top 10 pitchers.

We have the same 75% threshold for induction, meaning candidates will have to receive 15 votes to gain election. All candidates who receive 20% of the vote will appear on a future ballot, although not the next one, as we will continue to go by decades at least through the 1990s. It doesn’t make any sense to include those who reached the 20% threshold immediately, as they will just get lost in the numbers then, too.

Voters can pick as many guys as they want with the following guidelines:

1. Votes should be based on who you would pay money to see not for one game or one season but over a span of 10 or more years.
2. There is no character clause and you should treat PED users no different than gamblers or racists or any other undesirables.
3. The only thing that matters is what they did on the field.

Here was our initial ballot:

Mickey Mantle – A lifetime .977 OPS and retired after putting up a 143 OPS+ and thinking he had lost it.
Stan Musial – Three-time MVP winner who missed his age-24 season due to World War II
Willie Mays – Appeared in 24 All-Star games and won 11 Gold Glove Awards
Duke Snider – In 149 lifetime PA in the World Series, he had a .945 OPS
Eddie Mathews – Perhaps the greatest young player ever, he had 6 AS appearances by age 27
Yogi Berra – Amazing how the Yankee dynasty fizzled once Berra left
Ted Williams – His lifetime .482 OBP is tops in MLB history and a record that will never be broken
Minnie Minoso – Cuban native’s career lasted from 1949-1980
Richie Ashburn – Put up a .424 OBP at age 36 for the 1962 Mets
Larry Doby – Has a lifetime 136 OPS+ in one of the game’s most underappreciated careers
Ernie Banks – Won back-to-back MVP Awards then led the league in IBB the next two years
Jackie Robinson – Broke MLB’s color barrier in 1947 at age 28
Robin Roberts – Won 20 games in six consecutive seasons
Warren Spahn – After the age of 35, he won 20 games seven times
Billy Pierce – 5’10 LHP won 211 games in his career
Bob Rush – A stalwart for some mediocre and worse Cubs teams of the 1950s
Mike Garcia – Has a lifetime .594 winning percentage in his 14-year career
Early Wynn – Came back at age 43 in 1963 to win his 300th game
Bob Friend – Pitched for both the Mets and Yankees in 1966
Curt Simmons – Played key roles for both the 1950 Phillies and 1964 Cardinals in 20-year career
Harvey Haddix – Won 20 games and had a .749 OPS in 107 PA in 1953
Don Newcombe – Won both the MVP and Cy Young Award in brilliant 1956 season

Our 20 voters selected the following guys – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Mathews, Berra, Williams, Banks, Robinson and Spahn. Not a bad initial class! Four guys – Mantle, Mays, Williams and Spahn – were unanimous. Seven players will be on a future ballot but Rush, Garcia, Friend, Simmons and Haddix have been eliminated from future consideration.

Here are our voters and who they selected:

Joe Barbieri – Williams, Mantle, Berra, Mays, Banks, Robinson, Spahn, Snider
Dan Capwell – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Mathews, Berra, Williams, Doby, Banks, Robinson, Roberts, Spahn, Simmons, Newcombe
Brian Cartwright – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Williams, Robinson, Spahn, Mathews
Robert Chaban – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Mathews, Williams, Berra, Banks, Robinson, Roberts, Spahn, Wynn, Newcombe and Ashburn
John Coppinger – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Berra, Williams, Mathews, Robinson, Banks, Spahn, Snider
Scott Ferguson – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Mathews, Berra, Williams, Ashburn, Banks, Robinson, Roberts, Spahn, Pierce, Wynn
Paul Festa – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Berra, Williams, Banks, Robinson, Spahn, Mathews, Minoso, Doby, Ashburn
Chris Flanders – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Williams, Berra, Snider, Banks, Robinson, Spahn, Wynn, Newcombe
John Fox – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Mathews, Berra, Williams, Minoso, Banks, Robinson, Roberts, Spahn, Wynn
Todd Gallagher – Mantle, Musial, Mathews, Berra, Williams, Mays, Banks, Spahn
David Groveman – Williams, Robinson, Mantle, Mays, Snider, Berra, Musial, Newcombe, Spahn, Wynn
David Jordan – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Williams, Robinson, Spahn, Wynn, Snider, Mathews, Berra, Banks, Roberts
Brian Joura – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Mathews, Berra, Williams, Minoso, Ashburn, Doby, Banks, Robinson, Roberts, Spahn, Wynn
Ray Kuhn – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Mathews, Berra, Williams, Ashburn, Banks, Robinson, Roberts, Spahn, Wynn, Newcombe
Bob Lowe – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Mathews, Berra, Williams, Robinson, Roberts, Spahn, Wynn
Tim Mester – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Williams, Banks, Spahn
Brian Mullen – Mays, Williams, Mantle, Banks, Robinson, Spahn, Newcombe
Matt Netter – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Mathews, Berra, Williams, Banks, Robinson, Roberts, Spahn, Wynn, Pierce
Doug Parker – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Mathews, Berra, Williams, Banks, Robinson, Spahn
Chris Walendin – Mantle, Musial, Mays, Snider, Matthews, Berra, Williams, Minoso, Ashburn, Doby, Banks, Robinson, Roberts, Spahn, Wynn

Up next will be our vote on the top performers of the 1960s

11 comments for “Mets360’s inaugural Hall of Fame class

  1. Chris F
    December 13, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for offering a chance to contribute!! This is a super cool exercise.

  2. Joe Barbieri
    December 13, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I can’t believe I forgot Musial on my ballot. Total oversight. Not that he needed my vote anyway!

  3. John Fox
    December 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    It should be noted concerning the little capsule about Minnie Minoso playing from 1949-1980 is that it is due to a stunt by Bill Veeck. He had Minoso activated for a handful of at-bats in 1976 and 1980 when he was in his 50s to around 60, his real career in MLB ended in the early 60s.

  4. NormE
    December 13, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    What a wonderful exercise. I was gratified to see Duke Snider on 16 (if I counted correctly) ballots. Duke’s brilliance often got lost due to the presence of Willie and Mickey. Has there ever been a better threesome at one position in one city at the same time?
    Onthe otherhand, I do wish that Robin Roberts had appeared on more than nine(9?) ballots. Those of us old enough to have followed baseball in the 50’s knew him as a dominant pitcher of the era.
    On the whole, a splendid job.

    • December 13, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      Well three in the same city is a tough barrier as there was only ever one city that could happen. But MLB in the 50s was no doubt a great time to enjoy CF play.

      As for Roberts – and others – I think he suffers from voters who have a hard time selecting a lot of people at once. I voted for 15 people yet nearly half the people here voted for 10 or fewer.

      • NormE
        December 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm

        Growing up in NYC in the 50’s not only meant arguments over who was the best CFer, but you had Campy vs. Yogi, the Scooter vs. Pee Wee. All home games were on tv. Robinson first, and then Mays, truly changed the dynamics of the game. Mantle was a powerful force of nature, but the Yankee style of play was more predictable. Robinson introduced a dynamic which kept you on the edge of your seat.
        The three ballparks were so different, and that enhanced the game. The announcers included Red Barber, a very young Vin Scully, Russ Hodges, Ernie Harrell, Mel Allen, Curt Gowdy and Dizzy Dean.
        What a great time to be a baseball fan in NYC!

  5. Fletcher
    December 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    If you can explain to me why Whitey Ford or Jim Bunning or Luis Aparicio or Nellie Fox or Monte Irvin or frank Robinson or Roberto Clemente or Hoyt Wilhelm or Al Kaline or Gil Hodges are not deserving of the Hall — maybe then I will buy into your argument. Billy Pierce yes and Whitey Ford no? Puhleeez!

    • December 14, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Well, this is a really stupid argument.

      We had 22 people to choose from on this ballot and Whitey Ford was not one of them. Nor was anyone else that you mentioned.

      They will all come up in future ballots.

  6. Steevy
    December 15, 2017 at 11:19 am
    • December 15, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      I don’t have the energy to go through point by point and refute the ideas the author used in supporting Morris. Those can be found easily enough online if someone’s interested. Instead, I’ll just quote the money section:

      “Ouch. This is all a pretty compelling case against.”

  7. Steevy
    December 15, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Oh,I wasn’t agreeing with him.They should have put Lou Whitaker in with Trammel,would have been fitting.

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