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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The ‘What If?’ Hall of Fame - How a simple twist of fate might have sent these five players to Cooperstown

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3. Would Jimmy Wynn have made it to Cooperstown if the Reds never exposed him to an arcane draft?

Wynn had 55.8 bWAR at the time of his retirement, though neither he nor anyone else was aware of that fact in 1977. That’s below the Hall average, but there are Hall of Fame center fielders with a lower figure, including Max Carey, Earl Averill and Kirby Puckett.

When you look at Wynn’s stadium splits, the Astrodome was neither his best venue, nor his worst. He hit .263/.382/.457 there over 2,843 plate appearances. During his best six-year stretch (by bWAR, from 1965 to 1970), he hit .271/.387/.475 there, while slashing at .263/.367/.488 everywhere else.

So Wynn was a bit better at home, but the cavernous Astrodome depressed his power numbers. Wynn hit 137 career homers in home venues and 154 on the road. During those prime years, only five players hit more road homers than Wynn’s 93: Willie Stargell, Hank Aaron, Frank Howard, Harmon Killebrew and Willie McCovey. All five are in the Hall of Fame.

Wynn ended up with the Astros because ... well, it’s a long story. He played very well in one professional season in the Reds organization. As a Cincinnati native, who grew up not far from Crosley Field, he seemed a natural fit. At the time, if a player was not placed on a team’s 40-man roster after his first pro season, then he was subject to a “first-year player” draft, and this is how Houston plucked him from the Reds.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 11:14 AM | 72 comment(s)
  Beats: dave kingman, don mattingly, dwight evans, jimmy wynn, tommy john



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