Half-Baked Hall: 1978

Tim Raines breezes in with 93% of the vote!

Knoblauch, Finley, and Justice all get shut out.

Only two players on this ballot.

1978 Ballot

Either Good Enough

  • None of them! (100%, 11 Votes)
  • Jim Fregosi (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Wilbur Wood (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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6 thoughts on “Half-Baked Hall: 1978”

  1. Two players whom I irrationally appreciated as a kid.

    I'm a sucker for fat knuckleballers. Wilbur Wood debuted at age-19 with Boston (the Red Sawks, not the Braves*) in 1961. He got a pretty good run at age-21 (64 2/3 over 25 appearances), then got traded a couple of times before settling in with the ChiSox in 1967. Tutored there by legend Hoyt Wilhelm, he became almost exclusively a knuckleballer in Chicago. He was a bullpen specialist for several years, leading the league in appearances 3 times and games twice finished 1968-70, with excellent outcomes (5.4 rWAR in 1968; 159 innings in 88 appearances with a pretty 1.87 ERA).

    And then Chicago made the surprising decision to move him to the rotation in 1971 after having given him only ten starts in 292 prior appearances. Over the next five seasons, he made 3 AS game appearances and averaged 45 starts, 336 innings and 20 complete games per season, leading the league in starts 4 of those 5 seasons. He won 20+ four of those five years and lost 20 twice. In 1971, he finished 3rd for the Cy Young, despite leading the league in ERA+ (189) and rWAR (11.0; Mickey Lolich was a distant 2nd at 8.6; Vida Blue was third at 8.5 but won the CY on the strength of his shiny 24-8 record, 1.82 ERA and 301Ks). In 1972, he finished second to Gaylord Perry, finishing 2nd to Perry in rWAR (10.3 to 11.0 ).

    A very promising and possible HOF career was cut short in 1976 by a line drive off the bat of Ron LeFlore that shattered his kneecap. He missed most of 1976 and, while returning in April of 1977, never really regained his effectiveness. He retired after the 1978 season.

    In his favor is this:

    Despite all those innings, he only surpassed 200 Ks once (and for the only time in his career), in 1971.

    *very small age joak.

    1. Thanks for this!

      Looking at that 1972 team, three of their starters pitched 889 innings, or 64% of the team's innings. They essentially had a 3-man rotation with spot starters during tighter schedules.

      1. I also found it interesting that the 1972 team had two 20 year old relievers shoulder the brunt of the bullpen innings. Goose Gossage, who was decent, and Terry Forster, who had arguably had his best season.

  2. Fregosi also debuted at age-19 in 1961, as a skinny shortstop with the Angels. He made six AS games from 1964-70, all at SS and with the Angels. He was a good bat, good glove guy (winning a Fielding Grammy in 1967 and forming a slick-fielding middle infield with Dick Knoop for the Halos at a time when they had little else to brag about). Top ten in oWAR 8 consecutive seasons (1963-70, including second in 1970) and top 10 in overall rWAR four times (topping out at 3rd twice, 1964 and 1970).

    He was traded to the Mets after the 1971 season for Nolan Ryan and 3 others. We know how that turned out for the Angels. It turned out less well for him, as they moved him to 3b to accommodate the immortal Bud Harrelson at SS. And then Fregosi broke his thumb, missing a third of the season. Fregosi was traded again the next year, to Texas, where he experienced a revival of sorts, hitting 257/327/409 (111 OPS+) as a mostly part-time player at 1st, 3rd and DH over five seasons.

    Only 48.7 rWAR for his career puts him well below standards for counting stats, but his 7-year peak (41.0) and JAWS (44.8) put him within spitting distance of the HOF averages for SSs (43.0 and 55.0, respectively). So, Hall of Very Good.

    1. Fregosi, of course, also had a managerial career. He had a very good season and a half with the Angels in 1978-79, winning the AL West title in 1979 (losing the ALCS 3-1 to a much superior Orioles club), then suffering through a miserable season and a half before getting fired. He went on to a couple lousy seasons helming the White Sox, then failing up to managing the Phillies, where he won the 1993 pennant (losing the WS to Toronto -- Joe Carter!) in the midst of an otherwise miserable run (4 seasons with 70 or fewer wins). He finished with a pair of winning seasons and 3rd-place finishes with Toronto, so that was nice.

      Fregosi sadly died prematurely at 71, shortly after suffering several massive strokes while on an MLB alumni cruise.

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