Sunday, April 10, 2005


A New Hall of Fame?

After reading my Baseball Prospectus 2005, and seeing the section on Ray Lankford and the fact that he had a Not Good Enough for the Hall of Fame, but Really Damn Good career, I've decided I want to make up an entire list of that type of player. I want to make an Almost Hall of Fame, a Hall for the Very Good, for the guys who had great peaks but short careers, long careers but short peaks, 3 year peaks with good careers rather than the standard 5; in a nutshell, I want to make a Second Tier Hall of Fame and post it online. I can link to it, and edit it as time goes on, including new players. They won't have to wait 5 years for inclusion for my Poor Man's Hall of Fame. What do I name this great list of players though? I cannot call it the Poor Man's Hall of Fame, or the Hall of the Very Good, or the Hall of Modest what do I do? Maybe I should name it after the man who has inspired me to do this whole silly thing: Ray Lankford. We are about to embark on the first ever Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame (RLWHF) induction ceremony. As the season goes by, I will throw 5 guys in at a time as I find them worthy of this very good, sometimes great honor. It'll be fun I promise. Of course, if you readers have any suggestions as to who should be in, then please mention their names, and I will see what I can do. Now, for the first 5 members of the Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame (by the way, the first 5 players will most likely be players from the 90's, I might tackle this by decade for awhile to get some starting ground in):

Ray Lankford, LF: Of course Ray Lankford is going to make it, the place is named after him. Lankford has not officially retired yet, but no one has signed him this season, and I have to include him since it's his wing. Here are Lankford's career stats, with his peak years separate:

.272/.364/.477 238 HR's, 874 RBI, 1561 H, 258 SB

Lankford had a 5 year peak (it could be 6 years with the power spike in 2000, but his average dropped).

1995: .277/.360/.513 25 HR, 35 2B, 24 SB, 63 BB
1996: .275/.366/.486 21 HR, 36 2B, 35 SB, 79 BB
1997: .295/.411/.585 31 HR, 36 2B, 21 SB, 95 BB
1998: .293/.391/.540 31 HR, 37 2B, 26 SB, 86 BB
1999: .306/.380/.493 15 HR, 32 2B, 14 SB, 49 BB (122 games)

WARP1 score, with the definition straight from BP: "Wins Above Replacement Player, level 1. The number of wins this player contributed, above what a replacement level hitter, fielder, and pitcher would have done, with adjustments only for within the season."

Career WARP1: 67.3
Career EqA: .291
WARP1 during peak seasons (1995-1999): 5.8, 8.6, 7.0, 7.6, 4.4.
Single season WARP1: 1992; 10.1
Single season EqA: 1997; .325
Awards: All-Star, 1997

Lankford was the real hero in the St. Louis outfield in the 1990's, no matter how many Brian Jordan stories you hear. Lankford will wear a St. Louis Cardinals hat into the RLWHF.

Andres Galaragga, 1B: 399 career homeruns is hard to argue with, not to mention his career didn't peak until he was 32. A very good player who was sometimes very scary; the key to being a member of the RLWHF. Career stats, then 6 year peak:

.288/.347/.499 399 HR's, 1425 RBI, 2,333 H, 444 2B

1993: .370/.403/.602 22 HR, 35 2B
1994: .319/.356/.592 31 HR, 21 2B
1995: .280/.331/.511 31 HR, 29 2B
1996: .304/.357/.601 47 HR, 39 2B
1997: .318/.389/.585 41 HR, 31 2B
1998: .305/.397/.595 44 HR, 27 2B

Career WARP1: 62.3
Career EqA: .281
WARP1 during peak seasons (1993-1998): 7.3, 4.7, 2.8, 5.1, 4.3, 5.8
Single Season WARP1: 1988; 7.7
Single Season EqA: .324; 1998
Awards: All-Star in 1988, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000. Gold Gloves in 1989 and 1990. Silver Sluggers in 1988 and 1996. Batting Title in 1993. 4 Top Ten MVP finishes. Highest Placing was 6 (twice).

Galaragga did something not many players do; build an entire successful career after turning 32 years old. Commendable indeed, and sadly one shy of 400 HR's. A Colorado Rockies hat for you.

David Justice, OF: His teams always made the playoffs...coincidence? Probably. But that does not take away from what was a very good career, one that had 305 HR's and a .279/.378./.500 line...nothing to sneeze at.

.279/.378./.500 305 HR, 1571 H, 280 2B, 903 BB, 1,107 RBI

1993: .270/.357/.515 40 HR, 15 2B (odd), 78 BB
1994: .312/.427/.531 19 HR, 19 2B, 69 BB (104 G)
1995: .253/.365/.479 24 HR, 17 2B, 73 BB
1996: .321/.409/.514 6 HR, 9 2B, 21 BB (40 G)
1997: .329/.418/.596 33 HR, 31 2B, 80 BB
1998: .280/.363/.476 21 HR, 39 2B, 76 BB
1999: .287/.413/.476 21 HR, 18 2B, 94 BB
2000: .286/.377/.584 40 HR, 31 2B, 77 BB

Career WARP1: 63.5
Career EqA: .294
WARP1 during peak seasons (1993-2000) 8.5, 5.4, 4.9, 2.3, 6.7, 3.6, 4.3, 6.1
Single Season WARP1: 8.5; 1993
Single Season EqA: 1997; .324
Awards: All-Star in 1993, 1994, 1997. NL Rookie of the Year in 1990. ALCS MVP in 2000. Silver Sluggers in 1993 and 1997. Two Top Ten MVP finishes, highest 3rd.

Justice made the playoffs every year from the start of the Braves' division dynasty until his retirement with Oakland in 2002. Justice will wear an Atlanta Braves cap to the hall.

Chuck Finley, SP: 200-173 career record with a career shortened by injuries. 21st overall in career strikeouts. A very underrated career for Finley, now he gets to enjoy his place in the Halls of Some Glory.

1989: 16-9 2.57 ERA, 156:82 K:BB, 9 CG
1990: 18-9 2.40 ERA, 177:81 K:BB
1991: 18-9 3.80 ERA, 171:101 K:BB
1992: 7-12 3.96 ERA, 124:98 K:BB
1993: 16-14 3.15 ERA, 187:82 K:BB, 13 CG

A pretty good peak, excellent in spots.

Finley's best season came in 1990, with his 18-9 2.40 ERA, 177:81 K:BB. 1993 was also exceptional, due to the high K's and high CG totals.

200-173 W-L record, 3.85 career ERA.

Clay Davenport DT Card Adjusted: 265-155 W-L record, 3.44 career ERA.

Awards: All-Star in 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2000. 7th place in Cy Young in 1990.

Chuck Finley will wear a California Angels hat to the hall.

Bret Saberhagen, SP: One of the greatest control artists in baseball history, Bret Saberhagen would be a Hall of Famer if injuries were not on a par with success in his career. One of my favorites.

1985: 20-6 2.87 ERA, 158:38 K:BB, 10 CG
1986: 7-12 4.15 ERA, 112:29 K:BB
1987: 18-10 3.36 ERA, 163:53 K:BB, 15 CG
1988: 14-16 3.80 ERA, 171:59 K:BB, 9 CG
1989: 23-6 2.16 ERA, 193:43 K:BB, 12 CG

That peak, along with a 14-4 2.74 ERA, 143:13 K:BB ratio in 1994 with the Mets and a 10-6 2.95, 81-11 K:BB ratio season in 1999 (along with his Game 5 playoff start against the Indians which was gutsy considering his arm condition) gives you an excellent career brought down only by injury and half a season in Colorado. Saberhagen had many other very good to excellent seasons with the Royals and Mets, and a pretty good 1998 in Boston, so his career was fulfilling enough.

167-117 W-L, 3.34 ERA

Clay Davenport DT Card Translation: 211-105 3.16 ERA.

Awards: All-Star in 1987, 1990, 1994. Cy Youngs in 1985 and 1989; 3rd place in voting in 1994. Gold Glove in 1989.

Bret Saberhagen will wear his Kansas City Royals cap to the RLWHF.

So there you go folks, the first 5 members of the Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame (RLWHF). I will have many more 5 person inclusion ceremonies in the future, as I have just completed my preliminary list covering the 90's and some of the 80's players. The inclusion of these 5 first means nothing, as there may be more deserving out there, so don't take it to heart too much if someone isn't here you want to see yet. There time will come. Of course, please share who you think deserves to be here. I'm going to develop a system (that may be bendable) overtime, and I plan on holding votes between groups of players for inclusion. It should be a fun exercise for both reader and writer.

As of now, I am thinking of something like having x number of things on your resume from this list:

.275 career average, 250 HR, 300 SB, 300 2B, 2,000 H (might be 1,750; not sure), 1,000 RBI, 750 BB, and a few other things. It will develop over time to be more strict, and we'll have ourselves our very own Hall of Fame that we can vote in and decide on without having to be a sportswriter for however many years in an exclusive club.

I know Ray Lankford doesn't fit the bill exactly so far thanks to my stat layout, but since he was the inspiration, he needs to be there. I could even lower it to 1,500 hits, but that might be pushing it. We'll see as the list grows and grows.

If you're looking for Sox players Jim Rice is the most obvious one. He may make it to the actua Hall one day, but he should be a lock for the Hall of Very Good. Mo Vaughn would be another obvious choice.

I'd nominate Bert Blylevin, but I think he should be in the Hall of Fame.

I think Dante Bichette is still trying to stick on somewhere, but he could make it too.
An actual Hall of Very Good....there are hundreds of guys who could fit into those categories...are guys like David Cone and Albert Belle considereds to be 'too good' for this one? They don't really fit into any of the categories you listed because their peaks were a bit too long, but other factors are probably going to keep them out of the real HoF.

A few suggestions who do cleanly fit into the categories:
Doc Gooden
Darryl Strawberry
Tony Mullane
Matt Williams
George Van Haltren
Wes Farrell
Jim Kaat
Lon Warenke
John Candelaria
Jimmy Key
Kent Hrbek
Jack McDowell

I'm sure there are hundreds of others, hopefully a few more will be listed - it's really easy for guys like this to get lost in the shuffle of history...
Mark Grace
how about gace? Although he never really had a peak, he was a consistent .300 hitter and led the 90s in hits. He put up very good numbers, but obviously is not cooperstown material.
1993 .323/.398/.475 14HR 39 2b 98RBI
1994 .298/.370/.414 6HR 23 2b 44RBI(106gms)
1995 .326/.395/.516 16HR 51 2b 92RBI
1996 .331/.396/.455 9HR 39 2b 75RBI
1997 .319/.409/.465 13HR 32 2b 78RBI
1998 .309/.401/.471 17HR 39 2b 89RBI
1999 .309/.390/.481 16HR 44 2b 91RBI
Off the top of my head:
Jack Morris
Don Newcombe
Alam Trammel
Lou Witaker
Frank Viola
Andres Galarraga
Mark Grace
Jon Olerud
Joe Carter
Andre Dawson
One more...
The epitome: Charlie Hough
Will Clark
Chuck Knoblauch
Greg Vaughn
Charles Nagy
Paul O'Neill
Terry Pendleton
Cecil Fielder
How bout another guy...he even had a brief stint with the Sox...David Cone
At the moment, I have a nominations list (with my own thoughts as well as my buddy Andrews) of 60-70 people, including your nominations from Sunday (some appearing on both lists). Thanks for the suggestions, and keep them coming. I should post a second wave of inductees soon using comment nominated players.
a bunch more
Bill Freehan
Benito Santiago
Jack Clements
Elston Howard
Steve Garvey
Bill Buckner
Norm Cash
Joe Start
Bobby Grich
Buddy Myer
Chuck Knoblauch
Willie Randolph
Joe Gordon
Bert Campaneris
Dave Concepcion
Omar Vizquel
Dickey Pearce
Jack Glasscock
Bill Dahlen
Art Fletcher
Dick Bartell
Marty Marion
Robin Ventura
Bob Elliott
Ken Boyer
Graig Nettles
Deacon White
Harlond Clift
Darrell Evans
Ezra Sutton
Roy White
Greg Luzinski
George Foster
Willie Davis
Brett Butler
Jimmy Wynn
George Van Haltren
Jose Cruz Sr.
Ken Griffey Sr.
Bobby Bonds
Rocky Colavito
Dwight Evans
Mike Tiernan
Chili Davis
Harold Baines
Edgar Martinez
Dave Stieb
Kevin Appier
Dave Stewart
Tommy Bridges
Nap Rucker
Dutch Leonard (either one)
Billy Pierce
Ron Guidry
Allie Reynolds
Tom Henke
Dan Quisenberry
John Franco
Sparky Lyle
Elroy Face
Franco still plays I believe.

I nominate Roger Maris.
I read the alt. HoF and was very surprised NOT to see either of 2 first basemen and one SS [also played 3B:

1B: Vic Power
Ferris Fain

SS: Cecil Travis

Especially noteworthy is Travis, who had a career year at 28 in 1941, lost almost 4 yrs. to WW II, and came back with Battle of Bulge after effects [foot injuries] that wrecked his ability to get back into competeitive shape.

It's the combined excellence [1934 thru 1941] and the tremendous sacrifice that makes him a no-brainer IMO.
Some great lists of great players. Some of them have already been inducted into the Almost Hall of Fame of Major League Baseball. Others have been formally nominated and await possible induction. Still others are food for thought and discussion as future nominees. Send suggestions and/or nominations to the AHOF at our website ( or feel free to e-mail me at
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