Half-Baked Hall: 1985

Richie Ashburn sails in with 81% of the vote.

1985

Happy Hanukkah

  • Rod Carew (55%, 16 Votes)
  • Rollie Fingers (28%, 8 Votes)
  • Al Oliver (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Rusty Staub (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Jerry Koosman (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Steve Rogers (0%, 0 Votes)
  • None of them! (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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7 thoughts on “Half-Baked Hall: 1985”

  1. Al Oliver would probably have a pretty good Hall of Fame resume had he walked more, though I suppose that might not have helped him when he was a one-and-done on the ballot in 1991. There are 36 players in the HoF with at least 2500 hits and 500 doubles. The list of non-HoF players with those two totals is not very long — in fact, when Oliver retired, he was the only guy on it. The only others to join him over the next twenty years were Pete Rose and Dave Parker. Now there are seventeen players with those totals, but quite a few either are likely to be inducted soon (Beltrán, Beltré, Jeter, Pujols) , or unlikely to ever be inducted (Bonds, Canó, Palmeiro, Manny B Manny, A-Rod, Rose). Oliver walked in just 5.5% of his career PA, which makes him, Beltré, Canó, Dave Parker, & Garret Anderson the only guys on that list with walk rates below 8%. Of those, only Beltré has a solid shot at induction. All that said, were Oliver inducted, his WAR Batting Runs would place him at 35th on the 2500/500 list, between Robin Yount & Cal Ripken.

    Despite playing well out of position — Oliver was a first baseman in the minors — he acquitted himself decently in center field early in his career. The Pirates put him in center because Clemente was in right, Stargell in left, and because they apparently considered Bob Robertson good enough to encroach on a regular spot for Oliver at his natural position. To find a place for Oliver in the lineup, in 1970 the Pirates sent him to the Puerto Rican winter league (where he was managed by Clemente) to learn to play center. When they were convinced Oliver could handle the position, the Bucs traded their regular center fielder, Matty Alou, to the Cardinals. Oliver did play first base, however, when the Pirates fielded MLB's first all-black lineup in September 1971.

    Oliver and Larry Hisle grew up together, and both lost their mothers when they were twelve years old. (Oliver & Hisle were also on a Legion team with Gene Tenace.) Sadly, Oliver's father died shortly before his son was called up to the Pirates, apparently due to decades of inhaling dust in the brickyard where he worked.

    Even if his career topped out in at the Hall of Very Good, Al Oliver provided a HoF-worthy quote: "There’s no such thing as bragging. You’re either lying or telling the truth."

    H/t to Rory Costello, writer of Al Oliver’s SABR bio, for some of the above biographical info.

  2. Was a treat to be in the park with O's visiting the Twins and in the park where:
    Paul Molitor (3319 hits) Twin
    Eddie Murray (3255) O. 1B coach
    Cal Ripken Jr. (3184) O. 3B
    Dave Winfield (3110) in the stands
    Rod Carew (3053) in the stands

    TonyO and Kent Hrbek were also in the stands. I went over to the CCO booth and Herb Carneal signed my program.

  3. From Rollie’s SABR Bio

    After the 1972 season [team owner Charles] Finley sent [Rollie] Fingers a contract calling for a $1,000 raise for 1973. Fingers phoned Finley to argue about the contract. Finley would not budge, so Fingers slammed down the receiver and vowed never to talk to Finley again. He hired agent Jerry Kapstein to represent him in negotiations with Finley and kept his word never to speak to Finley again.

    Heh

  4. Rollie had a HOF mustache, obv. But Bruce Sutter generated essentially the same rWAR in 700 fewer IP. AND he had a HOF-worthy beard.

    I also found it interesting to look at their respective K/9 figures. Fingers started out missing very few bats (and being otherwise mediocre), whereas Sutter averaged 9.6:2.6 K:BB per nine his first 4 seasons, giving up only 0 5 HR/9 while pitching in Wrigley's bandbox as his primary park.

  5. I voted for Rollie, though half-heartedly. His playoff stats are ridiculous, which swayed me.

    I also voted for Rusty Staub because his career fascinates me and I wanted him to have a vote.

    1. I wish b-r had postseason leaderboards. I would like to see how Rollie's career 2.46 postseason WPA ranks.

      FWIW, Babe Ruth comes in at 2.80 (1.20 batting and 1.60 pitching, assuming you can add these).

      Some other, off the top of my head selections:
      Reggie Jackson is at 1.18 (albeit 1.33 in WS).
      Barry Bonds, 1.18.
      Jim Palmer, 2.31.
      Pete Rose, 2.64
      Lou Gehrig, 2.30
      Greg Maddux, 1.31

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