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Friday, July 22, 2011

Souhan: Bert Blyleven could be the final old-time Twin to get the Cooperstown call.

Sorry, I never actually read the complete “Dwight Siebler for the HOF!” petition pledge when I signed it.

Bert Blyleven, entering the Hall of Fame at the advanced age of 60, will represent more than his body of work when he enters the Hall of Fame on Sunday. He will represent ghosts and friends, the injured and the ailing, the legacies of a foregone era.

“I look at the guys in the Twins Hall of Fame, and I played with all of them,” Blyleven said. “That’s pretty special.”

Blyleven chafed during the years he fell short of the Hall of Fame in the voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He got in, though, and he could be the last Twin who played at Metropolitan Stadium to make it to Cooperstown.

Those who watched and played with them say Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat should be in the Hall, joining Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and now Blyleven.

Repoz Posted: July 22, 2011 at 11:05 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, twins

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   1. spike Posted: July 22, 2011 at 04:11 PM (#3883284)
A Twins Hall Of Fame without Chang or Eng just isn't worth the price of admission.
   2. AROM Posted: July 22, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#3883313)
The veteran's committee might put in Kaat or Oliva someday. Could be soon, could be a century from now (if some people today are drawing attention to Lip Pike as in a linked article yesterday, you never know when Oliva's case will gain momentum).

Oliva has a reasonable case to a strong peak voter. I don't see him as one of the top 10 exclusions, but I would not be bothered if he were inducted.

I feel a bit sad that one of the effects of my number crunching (and the shocking development that some people actually pay attention to it) has done no favors to the chances of Kaat getting in. He's got 41 WAR, way too low for a career candidate, and he's certainly no peak candidate either. His best full season ERA+ is 131. Compare that to guys who were considered "accumulators" but not dominant pitchers: Sutton and Blyleven. Blyleven had years of 158, 151, Sutton had a 162 and 161. Should have just let well enough alone, and let the writers say "If Blyleven gets in with 287, why not Kaat at 283?"

I see Baseball Prospectus has Kaat at 61 WARP, though I'm not sure if we are on the same scale. I'm charging him 50 runs over his career for pitching in front of strong defense, but Kaat won 16 gold gloves, maybe we was the one saving those runs. That would move him up to around 46 WAR, still not a case I can make with logic instead of fandom.

Regardless of the numbers, he's still one of my favorites from when I first started watching the game and collecting baseball cards, and being at first shocked at the much smaller print needed to get all his seasons on the back of his card, and then straining to see that he began pitching in 1959. The summer of 1982 I followed two teams regularly - the Angels that drew my fandom through fate more than anything else, and the Cardinals since they were the parent team of the Louisville Redbirds, my residence at the time. They should have met in the World Series. Many years into the future I named my cat after players on those teams: Brian Downing Kaat.
   3. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 22, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#3883374)
I just read one guy's take on the 10 worst players in the Hall of Fame. Most of them make Jim Rice looks like he belongs.
   4. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: July 22, 2011 at 08:18 PM (#3883416)
I just read one guy's take on the 10 worst players in the Hall of Fame. Most of them make Jim Rice looks like he belongs.


Not very well thought out list though. Waite Hoyt the worst pitcher in the Hall? I think Marquard and Haines, just to name 2, are far worse. Johnny Evers the second worst? I think Evers is a fine selection. Maybe a little below average, but not even the second worst middle infielder (Mazeroski, Travis Jackson, Maranville).
   5. mex4173 Posted: July 22, 2011 at 09:15 PM (#3883466)
No mention of Tommy McCarthy? No, Lloyd Waner or Ray Schalk.
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 22, 2011 at 09:27 PM (#3883473)
A Twins Hall Of Fame without Chang or Eng just isn't worth the price of admission.

Ha! #### yeah!
   7. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: July 22, 2011 at 09:42 PM (#3883490)
I have never understood the bagging on Frank Chance as a Hall of Famer. He was a legitimately great player during his peak (which wasn't that short) and also was the manager of a dynasty which included the team with the best single season W/L record in history. He also drew substantial early support from the BBWAA including leading all vote getters in the 1945 ballot with 72.5%.

Maybe not a slam dunk, but not far away from one.

Tinker is the only peculiar one of the three, and even he has some good things going for him (his glove at _the_ glove position).
   8. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: July 22, 2011 at 10:19 PM (#3883509)
I have never understood the bagging on Frank Chance as a Hall of Famer. He was a legitimately great player during his peak (which wasn't that short) and also was the manager of a dynasty which included the team with the best single season W/L record in history. He also drew substantial early support from the BBWAA including leading all vote getters in the 1945 ballot with 72.5%.


Agreed. Top WAR of 8.4, 6.4, 6.1, 5.9 while simultaneously managing one of the greatest teams ever. Better player than Albert Bell, and I doubt many would have Belle on a "worst players in the HOF" list if Belle were elected.
   9. Gonfalon B. Posted: July 22, 2011 at 10:33 PM (#3883521)
A Twins Hall Of Fame without Chang or Eng just isn't worth the price of admission.

Chang yes, Eng no way.
   10. OCF Posted: July 22, 2011 at 11:41 PM (#3883554)
None of TInker, Evers, and Chance are in the Hall of Merit, but none of them are jokes, either. Chance may never have gotten particularly close to election to the HoM, but he has always gotten some votes and even had some fairly strong supporters. And remember that we are only considering his playing career and not crediting his managing at all. The question is often asked: where are the great 1st basemen in the 30 year or so gap between ABC (Anson, Brouthers, Connor) and Lou Gehrig? One of the answers is that stuff happened to the possible candidates - and if Frank Chance had just been able to stay in the lineup more, he'd fill that gap nicely.

As for the others of the trio: I once voted for Johnny Evers in a HoM election. I dropped my support, in part because no one else was going along. And while I don't think I ever voted for Joe Tinker, I could understand it if someone else did. As Voros said, he has some good things going for him.

The problem with electing Joe Tinker to the HoF isn't really Tinker himself. He was a fine ballplayer, and an important piece of a great team. The problem lies with electing Tinker on the basis of incomplete historical information while simultaneously overlooking both George Davis and Bill Dahlen. (And Dahlen is still not in the HoF.)

As for Kaat, I have trouble with keeping straight whether he or Tommy John has the better argument. As I see it, John has a better case, on a career basis, although Kaat has a slight edge over John in top-end seasons. Not that peak is any kind of argument for either of them.
   11. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: July 23, 2011 at 12:00 AM (#3883574)
A Twins Hall Of Fame without Chang or Eng just isn't worth the price of admission.

Mark Twain's story about these two is totally worth seeking out.

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