Freehan technique…drumming up support.
Freehan received a measly two votes in his only year on the Hall of Fame ballot.* Two votes, for the best catcher in the league for about 12 seasons, and the best catcher in all of baseball from ’63 to ’69, before Bench came of age. That’s absurd. It’s just as egregious as Lou Whitaker getting less than 5% in his only appearance on the HOF ballot. The only explanation that would make sense would be if there were about 100 ballots with “hanging chads” on them. Freehan deserved better.
That showing made Freehan a “one-and-done” on the Hall ballot, meaning he dropped off completely. He can’t be elected now unless his name makes it to the veterans committee ballot. That hasn’t happened yet. His battery mate, Mickey Lolich, has popped up on the ballot a few times. But Freehan’s name has not. It’s too bad, because as the timeline shows, baseball history has always rewarded the best of their era with a place in the Hall of Fame, but not in this case. Bill Freehan’s accomplishments deserve a fair review by the Hall of Fame committee, and I hope they decide to do that in the future.
**It appears that Freehan has been stuck with the “not glamorous enough” label. He was steady, rock solid, and consistent throughout his career, but he never had one monster season, nor did he do anything like hit a big postseason home run, or win a major league award. He was just really, really good. His stats also look pretty basic, which is why he (and Ron Santo and Dick Allen and Tony Oliva) has struggled to get attention from sportswriters who see a .262 career average and 80-90 RBI and don’t automatically make the adjustment necessary for the low-scoring era that Freehan played in. Offensive numbers were depressed by about 15-30% in the 1960s, eventually forcing MLB to lower the pitching mound and introduce the designated hitter.
Posted: September 21, 2013 at 07:24 AM | 62 comment(s)
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