2019 Top Moment in White Sox History inductee: DeWayne Wise, The Catch

“THE CATCH”
JULY 23, 2009
U.S. CELLULAR FIELD

IN THE NINTH INNING OF MARK BUEHRLE’S PERFECT GAME ATTEMPT VS. THE TAMPA BAY RAYS, VETERAN DEWAYNE WISE WAS INSERTED IN CENTER FIELD AS A DEFENSIVE REPLACEMENT. ON THE SIXTH PITCH OF THE INNING, GABE KAPLER DROVE A DEEP FLY THAT WISE TRACKED DOWN, GLOVING THE DRIVE OVER THE OUTFIELD WALL AND BOBBLING THE BALL AS HE TUMBLED BACK ONTO THE FIELD. THE 18TH PERFECT GAME IN MLB HISTORY REMAINED ALIVE, TWO FINAL OUTS WERE RECORDED, AND ONE WEEK LATER THE TEAM UNVEILED A PERMANENT TRIBUTE TO “THE CATCH” AT THE TOP OF THE WALL IN LEFT-CENTER, FOREVER COMMEMORATING THE MIRACLE PLAY.


On Thursday, July 23, 2009, Mark Buehrle threw baseball’s 18th perfect game, and the second-ever by a White Sox pitcher. And it would never have been possible without a miraculous defensive play by center fielder DeWayne Wise.

Trailing 5-0 in the top of the ninth inning, Rays leadoff hitter, Gabe Kapler hit a deep fly ball to left-center field, where Wise, who had just entered the game as a defensive replacement, made a spectacular catch, robbing Kapler of a home run and preserving the perfect game for Buehrle.

The play is considered one of the greatest in White Sox history, not just for saving the perfect game, but also because of its degree of difficulty, the amount of ground covered to get to the wall, and Wise holding onto the ball after briefly juggling it on the way to the ground after the catch.


And now, a personal story.

On Tuesday, July 21, as I sat working on a contract project, my lovely wife, philskatie, a teacher on summer vacation, suggested we jump-start our wedding anniversary celebration by going to the White Sox afternoon game on Thursday. That sounded like a great idea to me. I arranged to take the afternoon off, double-checked the start time to make sure we’d have time to pick up our kids from day care afterward, and had a pair of tickets held at will-call. It all sounded like a great idea.

We had our usual seats in the 534 box (I still have the ticket stubs, of course), the wife with a hot dog, me with a polish and a brat. We were ready to go. So, apparently, was Buehrle. So too, apparently, was DeWayne Wise.

In typical Beuhrle fashion, he whipped through the first few innings before the onions cooled on the sausages. (The entire game lasted 2:03. And I’ve actually been to a Buehrle complete game that was shorter.) The game was fun, the Sox were winning, the crowd was excited.

In the sixth inning, though, the park had become electric. When Buehrle retired the side in the bottom of the inning, the crowd exploded. My wife asked me, “Why is everybody going nuts?” Following now-outdated protocol, I pointed silently to the scoreboard. She got it then. But I confess, neither of us could remember for certain if he had walked anybody. So I threatened convention and asked a guy in the row ahead of us. “Nope,” he said. “At least I don’t think so.”

As with most Buehrle starts, he made it seem ordinary, workmanlike, another day at the office, even as the crowd got more and more animated and excited through the seventh and eighth. I noticed when Wise was inserted for the ninth, but didn’t initially think much about it. Seemed like a good move, though I’d never have guessed how good.

The Catch itself was one of those great moments where when it happens, you only realize how great it was afterward. There was a palpable and audible collective inhale as the ball arced up and out, which you can hear it in the video. The ball drifted some, and it wasn’t clear initially that it was going out until it started carrying farther and farther. And, as you can also hear in the video, the ballpark erupted at and after The Catch. I cannot recall, in all honesty, if I noticed the juggle in real time or not. I saw Wise go down and then hold the ball aloft as he jumped back to his feet.

After that, the perfect game seemed ordained, and the rest of the inning became in its own way anticlimactic. Hernandez’s K and Bartlett’s grounder felt about as routine as the last two outs of a perfect game can feel, I suppose. I can’t really say because, like fellow attendee Brett Ballantini and undoubtedly every soul standing in the ballpark that day,  I’ve never been to another perfect game.

We did, though, go back to a game about 10 days later when, and without our prior knowledge, the Sox were distributing posters of the Sports Illustrated cover commemorating the game. One of these days (I’ve been telling myself for 10 years) I’m going to get it framed, along with the stubs.

They say, correctly, and perhaps obviously, that any no-hitter or perfect game is dependent upon the defense. DeWayne Wise provided a great case study.


And now, back to our regularly scheduled post.

DeWayne Wise could be the poster boy for the replacement-level, journeyman major leaguer. He played a total of 11 seasons, for six different teams, the longest of which was the White Sox, for four years in two different stints. He compiled a grand total of 0.7 bWAR (0.8 for the Sox), and a career slash line of .228/.264/.381, for an OPS of .645. The 2009 season was, statistically, his best: a 0.8 bWAR. Defensively, he was solid, if unspectacular, for his career.

Except, of course, for that one play capping a miracle start. That one great Catch that seals Wise’s little corner of history, and his place of honor in the SSHP White Sox Hall of Fame.


 

Five White Sox are elected to the South Side Hit Pen Hall of Fame!

Dynamic duo: Former teammates Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk led five players into our White Sox Hall of Fame. (Topps)


In a phenomenal show of support and cohesion, a record five players were elected to the South Side Hit Pen White Sox Hall of Fame for 2020.

With more than 1,000 votes cast Joe Jackson (81%), Paul Konerko (79%), Carlton Fisk (79%), Harold Baines (78%) and Ed Walsh (75%) all crossed the bar for induction. Walsh, almost unquestionably the greatest pitcher in White Sox history, gains entry thanks to a rounding up of his 74.528% earned in his third year on the ballot.

Player Position Percentage
Joe Jackson Left Fielder 81%
Carlton Fisk Catcher 79%
Paul Konerko First Baseman 79%
Harold Baines Right Fielder 78%
Ed Walsh Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 75%
Ted Lyons Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 62%
Wilbur Wood Right-Handed Pitcher 56%
Robin Ventura Third Baseman 51%
Red Faber Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 42%
Chris Sale Left-Handed Pitcher 39%
Eddie Cicotte Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 37%
Hoyt Wilhelm Right-Handed Relief Pitcher 34%
Ray Schalk Catcher 24%
Sherm Lollar Catcher 21%
Jack McDowell Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 21%
Magglio Ordoñez Right Fielder 20%
Gary Peters Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 18%
Fielder Jones Center Fielder 12%
Tommy John Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 12%
Chet Lemon Center Fielder 11%
Joe Horlen Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 9%
Doc White Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 7%
George Davis Shortstop 7%
Ray Durham Second Baseman 6%
Alexei Ramírez Shortstop 5%
Lance Johnson Center Fielder 4%
Johnny Mostil Center Fielder 3%
José Quintana Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 2%
Matt Thornton Left-Handed Relief Pitcher 1%
Terry Forster Left-Handed Pitcher 1%

By virtue of everyone on the ballot getting at least one vote, nobody drops off for that reason next season. In 2021, five new players will enter the ballot, including José Abreu.

Here are the results of the other elections within the third annual Hall of Fame vote:




Pat Seerey has done very poorly in his two stints in the “moment” vote — and is so disrespected that the amateur White Sox historian who compiles these Hall of Fame articles couldn’t even spell his name right on the ballot (OK, so it might have been like 4 a.m.) — so it might be time to remove him from future voting.







Next year, we’ll have another full slate of players eligible for enshrinement, plus these additional categories. Some of the above will sit a year out in an every-other frequency, and perhaps we’ll even invented a new category or two (suggestions are welcome in the comments, as always).

Thanks to all who participated — you’re the ones who make this all a lot of fun! And stay tuned, because at long last our first South Side Hit Pen White Sox Hall of Fame “plaque” will be published on these pages. We’ll continue to unveil our “plaques” to all winners, throughout the year.


2018 White Sox Hall of Fame winners
Frank Thomas (Hall of Fame Player)
Minnie Miñoso (Hall of Fame Player)
Luis Aparicio (Hall of Fame Player)
Nellie Fox (Hall of Fame Player)
Luke Appling (Hall of Fame Player)
2005 (Season)
Bill Veeck (Contributor)
Exploding Scoreboard (Gimmick)
Disco Demolition (Promotion)
1991 (Uniform)
Ozzie Guillén (Manager)
2005 World Series Sweep (Moment)

2019 White Sox Hall of Fame winners
Mark Buehrle (Hall of Fame Player)
Billy Pierce (Hall of Fame Player)
Eddie Collins (Hall of Fame Player)
1917 (Season)
Nancy Faust (Contributor)
Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) (Gimmick/Promotion)
Four Straight ALCS Complete Games (2005 Moment)
Mark Buehrle Between-the-Legs (Defensive Play)
Dick Allen (Meteoric Player)
Ozzie Guillén (Character)
Jim Margalus (South Side Sox Member)

 

It’s time for the third annual White Sox Hall of Fame vote!

The Terminator: Ed Walsh was a badass on the mound. Perhaps his the third time’s the charm for him and the White Sox Hall of Fame. (Wikipedia)


Once upon a time, the Chicago White Sox had a team Hall of Fame — until they decided to put it in mothballs, in favor of an extended gift shop. Now the Sox have a two-story team store, and they have yet to bring the team Hall of Fame back.

We’re tired of waiting, so we’ve established a virtual one. First at South Side Sox, now here at South Side Hit Pen.

Voting is similar to our regular Hall of Fame vote: You are able to choose a maximum of 10 guys from this year’s ballot of 30 nominees. A player will need 75% of the vote to gain enshrinement. If a player receives zero votes (as happened to two players last year), they will be booted off of the ballot for five years.

As an added bonus, there are some fun categories on the ballot, so don’t stop after the player vote!

In 2018, with our inaugural White Sox Hall vote, we enshrined five players: Frank Thomas, Minnie Miñoso, Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox and Luke Appling. Players need 75% of votes to gain induction, so near-misses included Mark Buehrle (66.7%), Joe Jackson (63.3%), and Paul Konerko (61.4%).

The second year of voting in 2019 landed Buehrle (82.5%), Billy Pierce (75.8%) and Eddie Collins (75.4%) into the Hall, with Ed Walsh’s 68.3% getting him closer to entry.

In 2018, we also enshrined 2005 (Season), Bill Veeck (Contributor), Exploding Scoreboard (Gimmick), Disco Demolition (Promotion), 1991 (Uniform), Ozzie Guillén (Manager), and 2005 World Series Sweep (Moment). In 2019, the extra categories winners included 1917 (Season), Nancy Faust (Contributor), Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) (Gimmick/Promotion), four straight ALCS complete games (2005 Moment), Mark Buehrle between-the-legs (Defensive Play), Dick Allen (Meteoric Player), Ozzie Guillén (Character) and Jim Margalus (South Side Sox member).

A reminder that the dear departed KenWo wrote the intro and all of the player bios for our inaugural ballot, so the bios Ken wrote that are reprinted for this ballot carry a “— KW” designation, and I’d like to give him a high five for his fun intro here and anything else that has carried over from his hard work in putting together our inaugural ballot in 2018.

You have until February 10 to fill out your ballot, as the 2020 White Sox Hall of Fame class will be announced on February 11.

At the bottom of each category is your ballot, so there’s no off-site voting like in past years. We begin with another 30-player ballot, including five new additions.

Sitaspell, take yer shoes off, and ponder.

Note: aWAR averages Baseball-Reference (bWAR), FanGraphs (fWAR) and Baseball Prospectus (WARP) WAR measures, when available. aaWAR adjusts aWAR to account for lost time due to work stoppage, military service, or institutional racism. Each WAR listed is for White Sox play only.


Players

Harold Baines
Right Fielder/Designated Hitter
(1980-89, 1996-97, 2000-01)
bWAR: 24.7
fWAR: N/A
WARP: 23.0
aWAR: 23.9
aaWAR: 25.0

Last year’s SSS vote: 54%
Core Stats: .288/.346/.463, 1,773 hits, 221 HR, 981 RBI, 118 OPS+

The White Sox made Baines the No. 1 overall pick in the 1977 draft, and he didn’t disappoint, along with Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Chipper Jones becoming one of the most successful No. 1 picks of all time. Baines knocked in the winning run to clinch the AL West in 1983, ended the longest game in major league history with a walk-off homer in the 25th inning in 1984, and was a constant force in the Sox lineup throughout the lean years of the late 1980s. After being traded to Texas for Sammy Sosa and Wilson Alvarez, Harold had his No. 3 retired when the Rangers returned to Chicago in 1989. Harold would come back to the White Sox in 1996. After being dealt in the White Flag trades of 1997, Baines was again brought back in 2000. He is among the Top 10 all-time in nearly every White Sox offensive category, including runs (eighth), hits (sixth), doubles (fifth), homers (third) and RBI (fourth). His statue sits on the right field concourse. And in 2019, Baines was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. — KW


Eddie Cicotte
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1912-20)
bWAR: 49.5
fWAR: N/A
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 49.5
aaWAR: 51.5
Last year’s SSS vote: 43%

Core Stats: 156-101, 183 CG, 28 SHO, 21 SV, 2.25 ERA/2.48 FIP, 1.11 WHIP, 133 ERA+

Perhaps most famous for being one of the Eight Men Out, Cicotte had a fantastic nine-year run with the Pale Hose. He came to the White Sox early in the 1912 season, after pitching for the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox early in his career. He went 18-11 with a 1.58 ERA in his first full season on the South Side. Cicotte really dialed it up for the World Series-winning 1917 White Sox, when he led the league with 28 wins, a 1.53 ERA and 346 ⅔ innings. After a down 1918 (along with the rest of the White Sox), Cicotte went 29-7 with a 1.82 ERA in 306 ⅔ innings for the 1919 White Sox. In that postseason, he went 1-2 in his three starts, with two complete games and an ERA of 2.91. The knuckleballer went 21-10 in 1920, before admitting to his role in the fix and being banned for life. — KW


George Davis
Shortstop
(1902, 1904-09)
bWAR: 33.0
fWAR: 32.0
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 32.5
Last year’s SSS vote: 11%
Core Stats: .259/.333/.332, 6 HR, 377 RBI, 162 SB, 109 OPS+

Davis signed with the White Sox in 1902, after a long tenure with the New York Giants, where he was a star hitter. In 1900, he was named manager of the Giants, while he still was a force with the bat. However, the Giants record under his tenure was awful, and Davis ignored the reserve clause to sign a deal with the White Sox in the relatively new American League. In that first season, Davis hit .299/.386/.402 with 34 extra base hits and 93 RBI — in the dead-ball era. After the season, Davis signed a two-year deal to return to the Giants. This angered White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, who filed injunctions that Davis could not play for any team other than the White Sox. The National League owners instructed the Giants to give up Davis’ rights, and the shortstop only appeared in four games for New York in 1903. In 1904, he was back with the Sox, providing good offense for the era, and threw the leather as a great shortstop, en route to a 7.2 WAR season. He matched that output in 1905, and was the best hitter on the “Hitless Wonders” of 1906 who upset the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. Davis hit .308 with three doubles, leading the Sox to their first championship. After that season, age and injuries slowed Davis. His career would end following the 1909 season, when he hit .132 in 28 games. Davis was elected to the Hall of Fame 89 years later, in 1998. — KW


Ray Durham
Second Baseman
(1995-2002)
bWAR: 21.4
fWAR: N/A
WARP: 16.5
aWAR: 19.0
aaWAR: 18.9

First year on the White Sox Hall of Fame ballot
Core Stats: .278/.352/.428, 1,246 H, 106 HR, 484 RBI, 219 SB, 102 OPS+

Durham was a steady influence on some perennially-disappointing 1990s White Sox teams, finally breaking through in the postseason in 2000, when he put up a .985 OPS as one of the few South Side hitters who didn’t wilt vs. the Mariners. He finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting in 1995 despite putting up a statistically disappointing season, but would go on to make All-Star teams in 1998 and 2000. Durham’s 5.5 offensive WAR in 1998 ranked ninth in the AL, and he led the league in double plays in both 1998 and 2000. Durham’s closest player comps during his White Sox years were Bobby Grich and Joe Morgan, and a second baseman can’t find better company than that. Apparently Willie Harris and D’Angelo Jiménez waiting in the wings prompted the White Sox to dump Durham and some cash on the Oakland A’s at the trade deadline in 2002 for Jon Adkins. He’d go on to be a very productive player for four more seasons, so that’s a trade fail for Ken Williams.


Red Faber
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1914-33)
bWAR: 63.9
fWAR: 52.2
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 58.1
aaWAR: 58.4

Last year’s SSS vote: 49%
Core Stats: 254-213, 273 CG, 29 SHO, 27 SV, 3.15 ERA/3.43 FIP, 1.30 WHIP, 119 ERA+

Urban “Red” Faber spent his entire 20-year career with the White Sox. He won 20-plus games four times. He threw the spitball, which he learned in the minor leagues after he hurt his arm in a longest-throw contest in 1911. Faber went 10-9 in his rookie year, and then improved to 24-14 in 1915. In 1917, Faber went 16-13 with a 1.92 ERA for the champion White Sox. He won games two, five and six (the series clincher) in the 1917 World Series. After war duty cut his 1918 short, Faber’s 1919 season was a struggle due to illness and injury. The righthander only pitched once over the final month of the season, and didn’t appear in the 1919 World Series. His best three seasons were still to come, as from 1920-22 Faber won 69 games and led the league in ERA and complete games twice. At 34 years old, Faber fell to 14-11 in 1923, but managed to pitch for 10 more seasons, going 89-102 during that time. In 1964, Faber was elected to the Hall of Fame as a member of the White Sox. — KW


Carlton Fisk
Catcher
(1981-93)
bWAR: 28.9
fWAR: 29.9
WARP: 36.9
aWAR: 31.9
aaWAR: 33.2

Last year’s SSS vote: 58%
Core Stats: .257/.329/.438, 214 HR, 762 RBI, 1,259 hits, 109 OPS+

The Commander was brought in for the 1981 season, as Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn wanted to make a splash as the new owners of the team. Fisk was an All-Star in his first two seasons, and then in 1983 had his best season on the South Side. Pudge led the White Sox pitching staff to a dominant second half and also had a fantastic season with the bat, hitting .289/.355/.518 with 26 dingers as the White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 1959. In 1985, at age 37, Fisk slugged a career-high 37 homers and knocked in 107 runs. In 1990, at the age of 42, Fisk had another great season, hitting .285/.378/.451 as the White Sox rose from their late-80s ashes to win 94 games and finish second to the Oakland A’s in the AL West. Fisk was an All-Star again in 1991, at age 43, when he hit 18 homers and knocked in 74. Fisk’s last game came on June 22, 1993, which was also Carlton Fisk Day at the ballpark. He became the leader in games caught that day, and was cut from the team a few days later. When he was released, Fisk was the team’s all-time home run leader, and currently ranks fourth, trailing only Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko and Harold Baines. He’s seventh all-time in White Sox RBI. Fisk made the Hall of Fame in 2000 as a member of the Red Sox, although he played more games with the White Sox. Fisk’s No. 72 is retired, and his statue is in center field. — KW


Terry Forster
Left-Handed Pitcher
(1971-76)
bWAR: 12.1
fWAR: 11.5
WARP: 12.8
aWAR: 12.1
aaWAR: 12.2
Last year’s SSS vote: 1%

Core Stats: 26-42, 75 SV, 3.36 ERA/2.84 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 111 ERA+

Forster came up with the Sox in 1971, at the age of 19. The next season, Forster threw 100 innings, all out of the pen, and saved 29 games, with a 2.25 ERA and 104 strikeouts in a 3.2 bWAR season. He started 12 games in 1973, going 6-11 with 16 saves and a 3.23 ERA over 172 ⅔ innings. In 1974, Forster led the league in saves with 24 and threw another 134 innings, with one start. The workload caught up to Forster in 1975, as he only managed 37 innings, but he was still effective (2.19 ERA). The Sox tried starting him again in 1976, as he made 16 starts and went 2-12 with a 4.37 ERA. With Forster’s free agency looming, White Sox owner BIll Veeck swapped Forster and Goose Gossage after the season to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Richie Zisk, fueling the 1977 South Side Hit Men. Forster would go on to pitch through 1986, but would never again reach the levels as he did in the early 70’s with the Sox. — KW


Joe Horlen
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1961-71)
bWAR: 25.3
fWAR: 25.3
WARP: 28.4
aWAR: 26.3
Last year’s SSS vote: 9%
Core Stats: 113-113, 59 CG, 18 SHO, 3.11 ERA/3.35 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 110 ERA+

You can call him Joe, or you can call him Joel, but you doesn’t have to call him Johnson. An All-America Second Teamer out of Oklahoma State, Horlen was signed by the White Sox in their magical year of 1959. The native Texan would hit the majors two years later, and pitch on the South Side for a decade. By 1964, he would enter the White Sox’s starting rotation for good, finishing the year second AL ERA (1.88) and whiffs (138), led in WHIP (0.935), and was the best in the majors in H/9, with 6.07. He was murder on the AL after that, regularly posting amazing ERAs. By 1967, Horlen went 19-7 and led the AL in ERA (2.06), shutouts (six) and WHIP (.953), and made the All-Star team for his first and only time. On September 10, in the heat of a furious pennant race, Horlen no-hit the Detroit Tigers at Comiskey Park. (It would be 40 years before another White Sox pitcher, Mark Buehrle, would throw a no-hitter in Chicago.) Horlen finished second in Cy Young and fourth in MVP voting in 1967. After that, as the White Sox stumbled toward the 1970s, Horlen’s performances diminished, but the ultimate insult came in 1972, when Horlen (the team’s union rep) was waived after leading a unanimous vote to strike. Horlen caught on with the Oakland A’s, and relieved for them on their way to a first World Series title — making him the only player in history to win a Pony League World Series (1952), College World Series (1959) and MLB World Series (1972) ring.


Joe Jackson
Left Fielder
(1915-20)
bWAR: 27.8
fWAR: N/A
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 27.8
aaWAR: 28.4

Last year’s SSS vote: 52%
Core Stats: .340/.407/.499, 30 HR, 433 RBI, 251 BB, 87 K, 159 OPS+

Jackson came to the White Sox from Cleveland midway through the 1915 season, in the most expensive transaction ever at the time: $65,500 in cash and players. Jackson only hit .272 in 45 games after the trade, but in 1916 her erupted for .341/.393/.495, with 40 doubles and 21 triples. In 1917, Jackson hit .301 as the Sox won the championship; Jackson hit .304 in the World Series (pay attention, this will come up again in a couple of years). With the World War I going full-force in 1918, Jackson only played in 18 games before taking a job building warships; this angered owner Charles Comiskey and Chicago sportswriters, as they found it cowardly that Jackson didn’t join the armed forces. However, with the war ending, Jackson came back to the White Sox in 1919 and had a great season. He hit .351/.422/.506, as the Sox found themselves back in the World Series again. Jackson worked out a deal with White Sox first baseman Chick Gandil to throw the Series for a reported $20,000. He only saw $5,000 of that money, and it didn’t seem to make an impact anyway, as he hit .375/.394/.563. Under the cloud of the 1919 Series, the 1920 season was Jackson’s best with the White Sox: .382/.444/.589 with 42 doubles, 20 triples, 12 homers and 121 RBI. That would be his final season in baseball, though, as he was banned for life for his part in throwing the 1919 World Series. However, the legend of Shoeless Joe Jackson lives on. — KW


Tommy John
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1965-71)
bWAR: 24.0
fWAR: 25.1
WARP: 28.2
aWAR: 25.8
Last year’s SSS vote: 12%
Core Stats: 82-80, 56 CG, 21 SHO, 2.95 ERA/3.20 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 117 ERA+

It’s uncanny how similar the White Sox careers of John and Horlen are, down to career WAR totals. In one snapshot of how underrated those 1960s White Sox teams were, John was essentially the same pitcher in Chicago in the 1960s as he was with the Dodgers in the 1970s — yet he was a mere one-time All-Star with the White Sox, a multiple All-Star, Cy Young finalist and MVP candidate in L.A. And, of course, there was one huge difference between White Sox John and Dodgers John: A reconstructed ulnar collateral ligament, the success of which attached John’s named to the now-common Tommy John surgery, and extended the southpaw’s career by 14 seasons. His astronomical career WAR makes his lack of serious consideration for Cooperstown one of the bigger injustices in Hall annals. Simply put, John was phenomenal with the White Sox, leading the majors in shutouts for both the 1966 (five) and 1967 (six) seasons. More inadvertently, John’s trade to L.A. in 1971 reaped one of the most meteoric superstars in White Sox history: Dick Allen.


Lance Johnson
Center Fielder
(1988-95)
bWAR: 21.3
fWAR: 17.2
WARP: 13.8
aWAR: 17.4
aaWAR: 18.6

First year on the White Sox Hall of Fame ballot
Core Stats: .286/.325/.373, 1,018 hits, 77 3B, 17 HR, 327 RBI, 226 SB, 92 OPS+

One-Dog was an underrated minor star for the White Sox. Although fans lament the trade of Bobby Bonilla back to the Pittsburgh Pirates for José DeLeon, DeLeon ultimately yielded Johnson, who finished his career with a higher WAR than Bonilla. In his one postseason on the South Side (1993), Johnson produced 0.23 WPA and uncharacteristic muscle: a double, triple and homer in the six games, giving him a .758 OPS for the series. Johnson also provided significant defensive value (think Adam Engel-plus) in center field while often flanked by corner outfielders who desperately benefitted from his prodigious range.


Fielder Jones
Center Fielder
(1901-08)
bWAR: 31.8
fWAR: 32.4
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 32.1
Last year’s SSS vote: 2%
Core Stats: .269/.357/.326, 1,151 hits, 10 HR, 375 RBI, 206 SB, 112 OPS+

Jones came to the White Sox for their inaugural 1901 season. He hated the reserve clause that kept players tied to the same team, so when the American League declared itself a major league for 1901 and said it would ignore the reserve clause, Jones jumped on board. The White Sox won the American League championship that season (there was no World Series until 1903, and not one on a yearly basis until 1905). Jones wanted to go back to New York, but was not allowed to leave the South Side (selective attention to the reserve clause, eh?). Knowing that Jones would want to jump back at any time, owner Charles Comiskey made Jones his player/manager. This suited Jones, who went on to manage the White Sox to their first World Series victory, over the Chicago Cubs in 1906. Jones was a very good center fielder and above-average hitter. From 1901-08, Jones was worth between 3.1 and 4.9 bWAR every year, and was also considered one of the best managers in baseball. Jones left the White Sox after the 1908 season because his contract demands of an ownership stake in the club were not met; he turned down a blank-check offer to return. Jones would reappear six years later, at the age of 42, as a player/manager for the St. Louis Terriers of the upstart Federal League. — KW


Paul Konerko
First Baseman
(1999-2014)
bWAR: 29.8
fWAR: N/A
WARP: 33.2
aWAR: 31.1
Last year’s SSS vote: 52%
Core Stats: .281/.356/.491, 432 HR, 1,383 RBI, 2,292 hits, 120 OPS+

Konerko came to the White Sox from the Cincinnati Reds in 1999, in exchange for Mike Cameron. After unproductive cups of coffee with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds, Konerko would become a fixture in the White Sox lineup for more than a decade. He hit .294/.352/.511 in his first season in Chicago, and never played in fewer than 137 games until his final two seasons. Over that span, Konerko amassed some of the loftiest stats in team history, was the (unofficial) captain of the franchise’s first World Series championship in 88 years, made six All-Star appearances, and has a statue and jersey retirement. Konerko ranks in the top five in White Sox history in games, at-bats, hits, runs, doubles, home runs and RBI in. He also has a “16,000 square foot home”* in Scottsdale. — KW

* Hawkism; Ken Harrelson may or may not have been 10,000 square feet off in his estimate.


Chet Lemon
Center Fielder
(1975-81)
bWAR: 24.9
fWAR: 22.7
WARP: 21.4
aWAR: 23.0
aaWAR: 25.0

Last year’s SSS vote: 13%
Core Stats: .288/.363/.451, 73 HR, 348 RBI, 804 hits, 126 OPS+

Arguably the best center fielder in White Sox history, Lemon came to the White Sox in 1975 from the Oakland Athletics, in exchange for pitcher Stan Bahnsen. Lemon, who had played the infield (poorly) with the A’s throughout his minor league career, was quickly moved to center field by White Sox manager Chuck Tanner. In 1976, Lemon’s first full season in the bigs, the 21-year-old struggled to an OPS of .626. However, in 1977 Lemon came around. He hit .273 with 38 doubles and 19 homers for the South Side Hit Men. In 1978, Lemon would become an All-Star for the first time, and hit .300. In 1979, Lemon had his best year on the South Side, slashing .318/.391/.496 and adding a league-leading 44 doubles in a 5.8 bWAR season. Lemon’s power dropped off a little bit in 1980, but his average and OBP did not as he hit .292/.388/.442. He hit .302 in the strike-shortened 1981 season, which would be his last on the South Side. With Carlton Fisk pre-empting him as the Chisox’s top-salaried player, Lemon planned to become a free agent after 1982. Rather than lose Lemon for no return, new owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn shipped him to the Detroit Tigers for Steve Kemp. A certain future South Side Sox managing editor’s heart was broken into a million billion pieces on that day. — KW


Sherm Lollar
Catcher
(1952-63)
bWAR: 26.1
fWAR: 32.2
WARP: 32.8
aWAR: 30.4
Last year’s SSS vote: 7%
Core Stats: .265/.358/.402, 124 HR, 631 RBI, 1,122 hits, 106 OPS+

Sherm “The Tank” Lollar was a six-time All-Star catcher with White Sox, and backstopped the 1959 Go-Go Sox. Lollar made stops with Cleveland, the New York Yankees and St. Louis Browns before joining the White Sox, but it was with the White Sox that Lollar found a home; he would play in Chicago for the next 12 campaigns, catching the glory days of the 50’s and early 60’s. Always a good defensive catcher, Lollar really broke out with the bat in 1956, when he hit .293/.383/.438, with 11 homers and 75 RBI. In 1958, Lollar drilled 20 dingers for the Sox and followed that up with 22 for the American League champions in 1959. He finished ninth in MVP voting in both 1958 and 1959. Lollar hit only .226 in the 1959 World Series, but his one home run tied Game 4 at four in the seventh inning. The Sox would unfortunately go on to lose that game, and later the Series. Lollar’s power fell off in the ’60s, and the White Sox released him in 1963, bringing his career to an end. Lollar’s 124 home runs currently are tied for 16th in team history, just ahead of another star White Sox catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, who had 118. — KW


Ted Lyons
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1923-46)
bWAR: 67.6
fWAR: 64.5
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 62.8
Last year’s SSS vote: 57%
Core Stats: 260-230, 356 CG, 27 SHO, 25 SV, 3.67 ERA/4.01 FIP, 1.35 WHIP, 118 ERA+

Lyons played his entire 21-year-career with the White Sox. In 1925, his second full season as a starter, Lyons collected 21 wins, which led the league. Two years later, he led the league with 22 wins, 30 complete games and 307 ⅔ innings. In 1930, he won 22 games, with 29 complete games and 297 ⅔ innings. The heavy workload began to take a toll on Lyons, as he went 35-55 with a 4.13 ERA from 1931-34. However, manager Jimmy Dykes developed a plan for Lyons, in which he would pitch only on Sunday; Lyons would go 99-73 with a 3.44 ERA in nine seasons after that. Lyons led the league in ERA in 1942 with a 2.10 mark. He went 14-6 in his 20 starts, all of them complete games — as a 41 year-old! He then took the next three years off, joining the armed forces during World War II. He came back to the Sox in 1946, where at age 45 he went 1-4 with a 2.32 ERA in five complete games. He took over in May as the manager, ending his pitching career. He finished his career 30 games better than .500, even though he played his entire career in the shadows of the Black Sox scandal. The White Sox never finished higher than third, and rarely were above fifth, in his seasons on the South Side. Even still, Lyons went on to win the most games in White Sox history. He also holds the team record for games started and innings pitched. In 1955, he was voted into the Hall of Fame as a White Sox, and in 1987 his No. 16 was retired by the team. — KW


Jack McDowell
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1987-94)
bWAR: 21.6
fWAR: 25.1
WARP: 26.0
aWAR: 24.2
aaWAR: 26

Last year’s SSS vote: 16%
Core Stats: 91-59, 49 CG, 10 SHO, 3.50 ERA/3.55 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 117 ERA+

McDowell was the unquestioned badass of the 1990s White Sox renaissance; on a team featuring future Hall-of-Famers Carlton Fisk and Frank Thomas, no one bulldogged it better than Black Jack. He was an All-Star and Top 10 Cy Young finisher for three straight seasons (1991-93), receiving MVP votes in 1992 and 1993. He won the Cy Young in 1993. The lockout that ended the 1994 season rather tragically for White Sox fans also started the decline of McDowell’s career – although a heavy workload (his fewest innings pitched from 1991-93 was 253 ⅔) likely contributed plenty, as well. McDowell was traded to the Yankees in 1995 and had one strong season in the Bronx, but is best known for flipping off the Yankee Stadium boo birds in 1996; a longtime musician (V.I.E.W, Stickfigure), McDowell’s fellow musicians/friends in The Baseball Project wrote a song (“Yankee Flipper”) in homage to his act of heroism. In retirement, McDowell has proven both an adept broadcaster and successful coach.


Johnny Mostil
Center Fielder
(1918-29)
bWAR: 24.2
fWAR: 22.9
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 23.6
Last year’s SSS vote: 2%
Core Stats: .301/.386/.427, 82 3B, 375 RBI, 1,054 hits, 176 SB, 113 OPS+

Mostil is on the short list of most unheralded players in White Sox history, as well as the most tragic. As well outlined by a terrific SSS piece from the past, Mostil snuck into Comiskey Park to see games as a child, grew up to become a rare White Sox superstar in the shadow of the Black Sox. He peaked around age 30, leading the league in steals in 1925 and 1926, and finishing seventh and second in the AL MVP voting in those two seasons. But 1926, and his amazing 133 OPS+ season, would be Mostil’s last effective one. It wasn’t a rapid decline in skills, but a brutal suicide attempt in 1927 that derailed Mostil’s career; he did come back, playing a full, but far less effective 1928 season. But before his 33rd birthday, Mostil’s career was over. There is a happy enough ending to Mostil’s story; after his playing career, he scouted for the White Sox and managed in the minor leagues, living to age 74.


Magglio Ordóñez
Right Fielder
(1997-2004)
bWAR: 25.2
fWAR: 22.7
WARP: 20.8
aWAR: 22.9
Last year’s SSS vote: 9%
Core Stats: .307/.364/.525, 187 HR, 703 RBI, 1,167 hits, 127 OPS+

The lone bright spot toward the end of the 1997 season was when the 23-year-old Ordóñez joined the White Sox in August. Magglio would have a heck of a month, hitting .319 with a .918 OPS, to show that he was ready to play every day. Ordóñez would have a good rookie season in 1998, but really started to shine in ’99. Maggs would hit .301 with 30 homers and 117 knocked in, as he became the poster boy for the “kids can play” campaign. In 2000, the White Sox won the AL Central largely behind Ordóñez’s .315 average, 32 homers and 126 knocked in. Magglio’s biggest year came in 2002, when he hit .320/.381/.597 with 47 doubles, 38 homers and 135 RBIs. He had another big year in 2003, hitting .317 with 29 and 99. In 2004, Ordóñez’s season came to an end after 52 games when he suffered a serious knee injury. He would then leave for Detroit as a free agent that offseason, and the White Sox would go on to win the World Series without him in 2005. Despite a relatively short tenure in Chicago, Ordóñez is fifth in home runs, ninth in RBIs, third in slugging percentage, fifth in OPS and ninth in batting average among White Sox. His 86 extra base hits in 2002 are third-most all-time in team history, and his 78 in 2003 are fifth. And my daughter is named Maggie for a reason. — KW


Gary Peters
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1959-69)
bWAR: 25.9
fWAR: 31.3
WARP: 26.1
aWAR: 27.8
First year on the White Sox Hall of Fame ballot
Core Stats: 91-78, 60 CG, 18 SHO, 1,098 K, 2.72 ERA/3.04 FIP, 1.190 WHIP, 115 ERA+

Peters made his hay on the mid-1960s White Sox juggernauts, but his history with the team extended back to the Go-Go 1959 club, for which he made his major league debut with one inning pitched in two games. Continuing to struggle to break onto Chicago’s loaded roster over the next three seasons, Peters was still a rookie in his fifth MLB campaign (1963), when he broke through to go 19-8 with a league-leading 2.33 ERA, 2.34 FIP and 150 ERA+, winning the Rookie of the Year. He also finished eighth in MVP voting in 1963, seventh in 1964, and ninth in 1967, while strangely never garnering Cy Young consideration. Peters was a two-time All-Star, twice leading the AL in ERA and ERA+.


José Quintana
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
(2012-17)
bWAR: 21.0
fWAR: N/A
WARP: 12.2
aWAR: 16.6
First year on the White Sox Hall of Fame ballot
Core Stats: 50-54, 890 K, 3.51 ERA/3.53 FIP, 1.250 WHIP, 115 ERA+

The very hardest of hard-luck stories, Quintana’s career on the South Side was marred by chronically low run support. He “shattered” his career mark for season wins with 13 (against 12 losses, natch) in 2016, Q’s last full season with the White Sox. He was named to his first and only All-Star team that season, finishing 10th in Cy Young voting. That season bolstered his trade value as the club moved toward a rebuild, and at the 2017 trade deadline he netted both Eloy Jiménez and Dylan Cease in a trade that may surpass George Bell-for-Sammy Sosa in lopsided crosstown swap annals.


Alexei Ramírez
Shortstop
(2008-15)
bWAR: 23.0
fWAR: 19.6
WARP: 21.3
aWAR: 21.3
First year on the White Sox Hall of Fame ballot
Core Stats: .270/.310/.399, 1,272 H, 109 HR, 590 RBI, 143 SB, 89 OPS+

The first bonus baby of the White Sox’s 21st Century run on Cuban stars, Ramírez made an instant impact on the White Sox, debuting in center field before settling in at second base for a runner-up Rookie of the Year campaign in 2008. Moving to shortstop and improving each year, Ramírez won Silver Sluggers in 2010 and 2014, was the Wilson Defensive SS of the Year in 2012 and was an All-Star in 2014. His penchant for dramatic hits — and dramatic reactions to getting hit on the field — remain legendary.


Chris Sale
Left-Handed Pitcher
(2010-16)
bWAR: 30.2
fWAR: 27.6
WARP: 30.0
aWAR: 29.3
Last year’s SSS vote: 18%
Core Stats: 74-50, 15 CG, 12 SV, 1,244 K, 3.00 ERA/3.06 FIP, 1.07 WHIP, 135 ERA+

Sale was drafted by the White Sox in 2010, and after throwing 10 ⅓ minor league innings found himself in Chicago later that season. Sale pitched impressively out of the bullpen in his first two campaigns before making the jump to the rotation in 2012. Sale started a streak of All-Star appearances that year that is still continuing. He went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA in 2012, and in 2013 went 11-14 with a 3.07 ERA on a terrible club. In 2014, Sale was 12-4 with a 2.17 ERA. In 2015, Sale led the league in strikeouts (setting a White Sox record with 274), as he went 13-11. Chris was 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA in 2016, his final season with the White Sox. Sale finished in the top six in Cy Young voting every season he pitched as a starter. The White Sox however, never made the playoffs with Sale, and they traded him to Boston in 2017. Sale is sixth in White Sox history with 1,244 strikeouts, and his combined career in Chicago and Boston places him as the all-time MLB leader in K/9 (10.9) and K/SO (5.31).


Ray Schalk
Catcher
(1912-28)
bWAR: 33.3
fWAR: 22.4
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 27.9
aaWAR: 28.3

Last year’s SSS vote: 21%
Core Stats: .254/.340/.316, 1,345 hits, 11 HR, 593 RBI, 177 SB, 83 OPS+

Schalk made his debut at 19, in 1912. He’d go on to man the backstop on the South Side for 17 seasons. From 1913 to 1926, Schalk caught about 80% of the Sox contests. He was the catcher for the 1917 World Champions, and also the 1919 Black Sox (Schalk hit .304 in the 1919 World Series). Ed Walsh, Eddie Cicotte, Red Faber and Ted Lyons all had one thing in common: Schalk behind the plate. Schalk’s best year with the bat came in 1922, when he hit .281/.379/.371 with four home runs, 60 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. Schalk started to wind down his playing days when he took over as White Sox manager in 1927. He was fired partway through 1928, and went on to join the New York Giants coaching staff in 1929. Schalk ranks fifth in games, ninth in at-bats, 10th in hits, 13th in RBIs, eighth in walks and ninth in steals all-time for his White Sox career. Schalk was elected to the Hall of Fame as a White Sox in 1955. — KW

(For more information on Schalk, refer back to katiesphil’s terrific piece from 2018.)


Matt Thornton
Left-Handed Relief Pitcher
(2006-13)
bWAR: 10.8
fWAR: N/A
WARP: 9.3
aWAR: 10.3
Last year’s SSS vote: 1%
Core Stats: 31-35, 23 SV, 3.28 ERA/3.02 FIP, 1.20 WHIP, 137 ERA+

Thornton came to the White Sox in a trade of failed prospects with the Seattle Mariners. The Sox sent Seattle Joe Borchard, who had received the biggest signing bonus in White Sox history, in exchange for Thornton, who threw 100 mph but lacked the control or stamina to make it as a starting pitcher. The Sox put Thornton in the pen, and almost immediately he paid dividends, turning into one of the finest late-inning relievers in baseball. From 2008-10, Thornton went 16-10 with a 2.70 ERA and struck out 245 batters in 200 ⅓ innings, with a WHIP of 1.028. The run of dominance included an All-Star berth in 2010. Thornton slowed down a little bit in his last two-and-a-half years on the South Side, but was still plenty effective. He was traded to the Red Sox in 2013. Thornton’s 512 appearances rank fourth in team history, and his 137 ERA+ bests even Chris Sale’s. — KW


Robin Ventura
Third Baseman
(1989-98)
bWAR: 39.4
fWAR: 39.2
WARP: 30.4
aWAR: 36.3
aaWAR: 38.1

Last year’s SSS vote: 49%
Core Stats: .274/.365/.440, 171 HR, 741 RBI, 1,244 hits, 117 OPS+

Rockin’ Robin was drafted by the White Sox in the first round in 1988 out of Oklahoma State, and by late 1989 was in the big leagues to stay. Ventura played 150 games in 1990, and it was a struggle with the bat. However, when New Comiskey Park opened in 1991, Ventura found his legs, hitting .284/.367/.442 with 23 homers and 100 RBI that year and won his first of six Gold Gloves. He made his only appearance in the All-Star game in 1992. In 1995, Ventura hit .295 with 26 homers and in 1996, hit .287 with 34 home runs and 105 RBI. After a terrifying ankle injury in spring training 1997 limited him to only 54 games, Ventura returned for one last year on the South Side in 1998, when he hit 21 homers and knocked in 91. He joined the New York Mets in free agency in 1999, bringing to end a great era of Batman (Frank Thomas) and Robin. It is rumored he went on to manage the White Sox. — KW


Ed Walsh
Right-Handed Pitcher
(1904-16)
bWAR: 64.0
fWAR: 51.3
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 57.7
Last year’s SSS vote: 68%
Core Stats: 195-125, 249 CG, 57 SHO, 35 SV, 1,736 K, 1.81 ERA/2.02 FIP, 1.00 WHIP, 146 ERA+

Big Ed Walsh is the all-time career leader in ERA and FIP. Not for the White Sox, but in all of baseball history. He started his career with the White Sox in 1904, and in 1906 he got his first crack as a regular in the South Side rotation. Walsh did not disappoint, as he went 17-13 with a 1.88 ERA for the Hitless Wonders. Even better, he was 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA over 15 innings in the 1906 World Series against the hated Chicago Cubs, as the Sox went on to win the crosstown series. From there, things got ridiculous. Walsh went 24-18 with a 1.60 ERA over 422 ⅓ innings (!) in 1907. In 1908, Wash became the last pitcher to win 40 games in a season, going 40-15 with a 1.42 ERA over a record (at least for people that played after 1900) 464 innings pitched. The next year was a “down” year for Big Ed, when he went 15-11 with a 1.41 ERA in “only” 230 ⅓ innings. In 1910, Walsh had an 18-20 record even though his ERA was 1.27. Walsh went 27-18 in 1911, with a 2.22 ERA over 368 ⅔ innings. The 1912 season was the last big year for Walsh, as he won another 27 games with a 2.15 ERA, including 32 complete games and six shutouts, over 393 innings pitched. To top it off, he led the league in saves with 10. From there, Walsh went 13-7 over the next four years as the crazy innings load finally caught up with him. By the time the White Sox were winning another championship in 1917, Walsh was closing out his career throwing 18 innings with the Boston Braves. — KW


Doc White
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1903-13)
bWAR: 33.9
fWAR: 25.5
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 29.7
Last year’s SSS vote: 4%
Core Stats: 159-123, 206 CG, 42 SHO, 2.30 ERA/2.49 FIP, 1.11 WHIP, 114 ERA+

White, who was a dentist in the offseason, went straight from Georgetown University to the Phillies in 1901. He pitched two seasons in Philadelphia before the White Sox poached him into the American League. The Phillies offered White a big raise, but before he accepted, the American League and the National League united, and it was ruled that White would stay in Chicago. White would go on to pitch the last 11 seasons of his career for the Sox. In 1903, he won 17 games with a 2.13 ERA over 300 innings pitched. He was 16-12 with a 1.78 ERA in 1904, including a streak where he threw five shutouts in a row — a mark that would stand until Don Drysdale threw six in a row in 1968. The Doc went 17-13 with a 1.76 ERA in 1905. For the World Champions in 1906, White was 18-6, with a league-leading 1.52 ERA. In the World Series, he was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA over 15 innings as the Sox beat the Cubs to claim their first World Series title. White won a career-high 27 games in 1907, with a 2.26 ERA over 291 innings. White continued to be solid for a couple more seasons before his workload took a toll and his effectiveness tapered off. White’s last season came in 1913, when he threw 103 innings with a 3.50 ERA. — KW


Hoyt Wilhelm
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
(1963-68)
bWAR: 16.4
fWAR: 8.9
WARP: 11.4
aWAR: 12.2
Last year’s SSS vote: 16%
Core Stats: 41-33, 99 SV, 1.92 ERA/2.51 FIP, 0.94 WHIP, 171 ERA+

Wilhelm came to the White Sox in 1963 at 40, in a heartbreaking trade that sent World Series heroes Luis Aparicio and Al Smith to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Ron Hansen, Dave Nicholson, Pete Ward and Wilhelm. The trade basically marked the end of the Go-Go Sox era of the ’50’s — but fueled the winningest three-season streak (1963-65) in team history. In 1963, the knuckleballer went 5-8 with a 2.64 ERA and 21 saves over 136 ⅓ innings. This was his only White Sox season with an ERA worse than 2.00. In 1964, Wilhelm dazzled opposing hitters, to the tune of a 1.99 ERA over 131 ⅓ innings. In 1965, it was an even better 1.81 ERA over 144 innings of work. Wilhelm never threw 100 innings again, but his ERA continued to fall. In 1966, Wilhelm posted a 1.66 ERA over 81 ⅓ innings. He followed that up with an even more impressive 1.31 ERA over 89 innings in 1967. In 1968, Hoyt had a “down” year, as his ERA rose to 1.73 over 93 ⅔ innings as a 45-year-old. With these great results, Wilhelm was picked by the Kansas City Royals in the 1968 expansion draft, ending most successful relief run in White Sox history. — KW


Wilbur Wood
Left-Handed Pitcher
(1967-78)
bWAR: 52.0
fWAR: 34.5
WARP: 39.9
aWAR: 42.1
aaWAR: 42.5

Last year’s SSS vote: 49%
Core Stats: 163-148, 113 CG, 24 SHO, 57 SV, 3.18 ERA/3.33 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 116 ERA+

Hoyt Wilhelm had one more trick up his sleeve before he left the White Sox: He taught his dancing knuckleball to Wood, who had struggled to catch on with the Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wood went on to throw possibly the best lefty knuckleball ever. In his first year, Wood went 95 ⅓ innings, with a 2.45 ERA. He followed that up in 1968 with an impressive 1.87 ERA over 159 innings, and a league-leading 88 games. In 1969, Wood went 10-11 with a 3.01 ERA over 76 games, and led the league in appearances for the third year in a row, compiling a 2.81 ERA with 21 saves over 121 ⅔ innings. Then, manager Chuck Tanner decided to change things up and make Wood a starter. The rotund southpaw responded by throwing innings like some of the pitchers profiled from early in the century. In 1971, Wood started 42 games, winning and completing 22 of them, with a ridiculous 1.81 ERA over 334 innings. In 1972, Wood started 49 games, threw 376 2/3 innings and won 24 games, all three figures leading the league. He had a 2.51 ERA that year. He led the league in starts (48), innings (359 1/3) and wins (24) in 1973. He was 20-19 in 1974, and was an All-Star for the third time. He lost 20 games in 1975, with a 4.11 ERA over 291 1/3 innings. He pitched three more years for the White Sox, never putting up the numbers he had previously. He currently ranks in the all-time team Top 10 in wins, games, starts, saves, innings and strikeouts. — KW

[poll id=”16″]


 

Additional Categories

Season

1906: With the fourth-best winning percentage in team history (.616), the 93-58, World Series-winning Hitless Wonders toppled the Cubs in the only all-Chicago Fall Classic.

1959: The 94-60 (.610 winning percentage, tied for seventh-best in team history) Go-Go Sox finally broke past the Yankees juggernaut to win the pennant, but fell in six games to the Dodgers in the World Series.

1964: A relative bunch of no-names finished with 98 wins, one game behind the damn Yankees for the AL pennant. Sandwiched season of the greatest three-season run (1963-65) in team history.

1983: The 99-63 Winning Ugly White Sox were upset in the ALCS by the Orioles.

1993: The 94-68 White Sox lost in the ALCS to the Toronto Blue Jays, and lost a back-to-back shot at the playoffs because of the 1994 lockout.

[poll id=”17″]

Previous winners: 2005 (2018) and 1917 (2019).


Manager

Jimmy Dykes: Managed 13 seasons (1934-46), 899-940 record (most White Sox wins all-time), 34.4 career managerial WAR (1.4 WAR per 162 games)

Clark Griffith: Managed two seasons (1900-01), 157-113 record, 1900 pennant, 5.6 career WAR (3.4/162)

Fielder Jones: Managed five seasons (1904-08), 426-293 record, 1906 World Series, 6.2 career WAR (1.4/162)

Al Lopez: Managed 11 seasons (1957-65, 1968-69), 840-650 record, 1959 pennant, 13.3 career WAR (3.0 WAR/162)

Ted Lyons: Managed three seasons (1946-48), 185-245 record, 5.1 career WAR (1.9/162)

[poll id=”18″]

Previous winner: Ozzie Guillén (2018)


Gimmick/Promotion

Dog Day: If not a White Sox invention, a promotion they first brought to prominence, with “Bark at the Park” a ubiquitous part of the ballpark experience today.

Elvis Night: August tradition at the new ballpark, inspired in part it seems by the Honeymoon in Vegas Flying Elvises.

Outfield Shower: From center field at Comiskey Park to the left field concourse today.

Seventh-Inning Stretch: Nancy Faust and Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.

Turn Back the Clock: The White Sox started the retro uni trend in 1990, sporting 1917 duds and having lineups introduced through a megaphone as part of the goodbye to Comiskey Park.

[poll id=”19″]

Previous winners: Exploding Scoreboard (2018), Disco Demolition Night (2018), Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) (2019)


Moment

Oct. 14, 1906: Hitless Wonders upset Cubs to win the World Series

July 18, 1948: Pat Seery becomes the third player in modern MLB history to hit four homers in a game, the fourth winning the game 12-11 over the Philadelphia A’s in the 11th inning

Sept. 22, 1959: Mayor Daley sets off the air raid sirens as the White Sox clinch the pennant

May 9, 1984: Harold Baines hits a home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the 25th inning, ending the longest game in major league history

Sept. 30, 2008: Jim Thome’s Blackout Game home run in game 163

[poll id=”20″]

Previous winners: 2005 World Series sweep (2018), “The Catch” by Dewayne Wise (2019)


2005 Moment

11-1 Postseason record, tied for best all-time since the playoffs moved to three rounds.

Orlando Hernandez comes on in relief and escapes a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning of the ALDS Game 3 vs. Boston.

Paul Konerko‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of World Series Game 1.

A.J. Pierzynski steals first base in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Scott Podsednik‘s game-ending World Series homer vs. Houston to win Game 2 of the World Series.

[poll id=”21″]

Previous winner: Four straight CGs in the ALCS (2019)


Defensive Play

Iván Calderon climbs the wall in Tiger Stadium on July 27, 1987 to rob Alan Trammell

Ken Griffey Jr. throwing out the lead run at home, with a ballsy tag by A.J. Pierzynski, in the 2008 Blackout Game

Tadahito Iguchi’s upside-down assist on April 15, 2006

Juan Uribe’s breakneck dive into the stands to bring the White Sox within one out of the 2005 World Series title

Dewayne Wise preserving Buerhle’s perfect game on July 23, 2009

[poll id=”22″]

Previous Winner: Mark Buerhle’s between-the-legs assist (2019)

Meteoric Player

Albert Belle: Two seasons on the South Side, and after a solid debut in 1997 (great counting stats but just 1.5 bWAR), launched into the stratosphere in 1998 (7.1 bWAR, .328/.399/.655, 49 homers, 152 RBIs). His White Sox bWAR represents 21.4% of his career total.

Terry Forster: Forster exploded on the scene at age 20 and stitched together three of the best relief seasons in White Sox history, peaking with 4.6 bWAR as a reliever, in 1971. His White Sox bWAR represents 65.4% of his career total.

Ron Hansen: An unheralded core of the best three-season stretch in White Sox history (1963-65), Hansen peaked at 7.7 bWAR in 1964 and finished in the top 17 of MVP voting in both 1964 and 1965. His White Sox bWAR represents 75.1% of his career total.

Esteban LoaizaOne full season on the South Side (2003), good for 7.2 bWAR, a start in the All-Star Game at Sox Park, runner-up for the Cy Young, 24th in MVP voting. His White Sox bWAR represents 35.2% of his career total.

Tommy Thomas: Even Chris Sale didn’t have as productive a first four White Sox seasons as Thomas, who peaked at 8.5 bWAR in 1927 and led the AL in at least one category in the opening quartet of his career. His White Sox bWAR represents 85.9% of his career total.

[poll id=”23″]

Previous winner: Dick Allen (2019)


Character

Harry Caray: His addled work across town is so frozen in the minds of many fans, it’s easy to forget what a good broadcaster Harry was on the South Side. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” the home run net, broadcasting from the bleachers, and pointed criticisms were his White Sox hallmarks.

Steve Lyons: “Psycho” was quick with a smile and some antics, including his spontaneous pants-drop at first base in 1990.

Tom Paciorek: Both as a White Sox player and broadcaster, Wimpy brought a real sense of fun to the game. In a game that’s ever-serious, how cool is it to have a guy still around the team (for sub work on broadcasts) who’s having so much fun?

Scott Radinsky: A punk-rock relief pitcher? You betcha. Both Radinsky and Jack McDowell brought serious music chops to the White Sox clubhouse of the early 1990s, but Radinsky took it all one step farther.

Yolmer Sánchez: Gatorade bather who lives by the mantra, “have a good time all the time.”

[poll id=”24″]

Previous winner: Ozzie Guillén (2019)


You made it! Thanks for participating.

 

 

 

South Side Hit Pen elects Derek Jeter and Larry Walker as its 2020 Hall of Fame class

Case closed: In his final year on the ballot, Larry Walker pulled 77% support, making the South Side Hit Pen Hall of Fame. (@MLBStats)


Congratulations to a study in Hall of Fame contrasts.

Derek Jeter won election in his first eligible season, taking 83% of the South Side Hit Pen vote. Meanwhile Larry Walker, in his final year on the ballot, squeaked in with 77% support.

Jeter’s lack of unanimity is a contrast to the actual Cooperstown results, released later on Tuesday and expected to possibly cement Jeter as the second unanimous Hall of Fame honoree in history, joining Mariano Rivera in 2019. So, bravo for having the sense not to make a very good, but not ethereal, baseball shortstop a unanimous choice.

And with an average number of 8.04 players chosen per ballot, congratulations also the the SSHP electorate for submitting full dance cards this year; with well more than 10 worthy players, a healthy list of players is a wise direction to take with recent HOF ballots. 

No other players appear on the precipice of election. However, with no shoo-in candidate appearing for the first time in 2021, it will be an opportunity for other Cooperstown hopefuls to sneak up the charts.

Here are the full results from this year’s voting, with the voting trend from 2019 to 2020 when applicable.

Get your speeches ready
Derek Jeter (83%)
Larry Walker (77%, up from 62% in 2019)

Strong support
Curt Schilling (58%, up 2%)

Barry Bonds (54%, down 12%)
Roger Clemens (52%, down 10%)
Andruw Jones (50%, up 8%)

You got some work to do
Trevor Hoffman (46%, up 12%)
Gary Sheffield (44%,up 12%)
Manny Ramirez (38%, up 1%)
Todd Helton (37%, even)
Paul Konerko (37%)
Scott Rolen (31%, down 10%)

At least they got double digits
Omar Vizquel (29%, up 9%)

Billy Wagner (27%, up 20%)
Jeff Kent (25%, up 8%)
Bobby Abreu (21%)
Sammy Sosa (21%, up 7%)
Andy Pettitte (17%, up 2%)
Lance Berkman (13%, up 3%)
Johan Santana (10%, up 2%)

Still on the ballot
Roy Oswalt (8%, even)

Cliff Lee (6%)

Off the ballot
Alfonso Soriano (4%)

Raúl Ibañez (4%)
Carlos Peña (4%)
J.J. Putz (4%)
Jason Giambi (4%)
Heath Bell (2%)
Josh Beckett (0%)
Eric Chávez (0%)
Adam Dunn (0%)
Chone Figgins (0%)
Rafael Furcal (0%)
Brad Penny (0%)
Brian Roberts (0%)
José Valverde (0%)


South Side Sox Hall of Fame Class of 2011: Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Tim Raines

SSS Hall of Fame Class of 2012: Barry Larkin

SSS Hall of Fame Class of 2013: Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines

SSS Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine

SSS Hall of Fame Class of 2015: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Craig Biggio, John Smoltz

SSS Hall of Fame Class of 2016: Ken Griffey, Jr., Tim Raines, Mike Piazza

SSS Hall of Fame Class of 2017: Tim Raines, Vladimir Guerrero, Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez

SSS Hall of Fame Class of 2018: Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero

SSS Hall of Fame Class of 2019: Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez

South Side Hit Pen Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Derek Jeter, Larry Walker

Minnie Miñoso makes the South Side Hit Pen Hall of Fame!

You made it, Minnie: Miñoso is the sole Hall-of-Famer from the first SSHP Veteran’s ballot.


Our debut Veteran’s Committee ballot is in the books, and the sole winner was Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Miñoso, with 78% of the vote. Miñoso polled at 73% of our original, 30-player draft ballot, so he nudged forward with just enough support to sneak in.

No other candidates broke the 75% threshold, but none polled so poorly as to drop off of the Veteran’s ballot. Next year, we’ll consider breaking the ballot into positions or even eras in order to create a little bit of spacing in the results, perhaps resulting in more players being elected in a given year.

The full results:

Minnie Miñoso (78%)
Dick Allen (58%)
Lou Whitaker (58%)
Tommy John (51%)
Pete Rose (48%)
Kenny Lofton (22%)
Dwight Evans (19%)
Luis Tiant (17%)
Mark McGwire (14%)
Bobby Bonds (12%)

Voters averaged 3.77 selections per ballot, which means nearly everyone made the maximum four selections in this election. Well done!

Congratulations to Minnie, and we’ll see you back here for another Veteran’s Committee vote next year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020 South Side Hit Pen Hall of Fame Vote

Hallowed ground: Which of the 36 players below will make it into the South Side Hit Pen wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame?


It’s that time of the year again — now is the time and this is the place to cast your 2020 South Side Hit Pen Hall of Fame ballot.

You have until January 19 to fill out your ballot, as we will announce our 2020 Hall of Fame and Veteran’s Committee results on January 20 (vote here to fill out your Vet ballot). And after that, you will be voting for the third White Sox Hall of Fame class.

The rules here are pretty simple. Read over the bios, and select up to 10 names to be enshrined. And if you don’t think anyone should be voted in, seriously, why are you reading this?

Due to the backlog of viable candidates (personally I count around 15, but I’m a big-Hall guy), with last year’s vote I asked our readership whether we should expand the number of players we can vote on in 2020; that suggestion was voted down, 54%-46%. So, 10 players it remains.

Last year, we enshrined Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina, Roy Halladay and Edgar Martinez. Near-misses included Barry Bonds (66.3%), Roger Clemens (62%) and Larry Walker (61.7%).

Those close calls join this year’s ballot, headlined by Derek Jeter and also featuring Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi. Trevor Hoffman was never elected by us, so he remains on the ballot despite residing in Cooperstown.

Here are the 36 candidates on the 2019 South Side Hit Pen Hall of Fame ballot.

Sitaspell, take yer shoes off, and ponder.

aWAR averages Baseball-Reference (bWAR), FanGraphs (fWAR) and Baseball Prospectus (WARP) WAR measures.


Bobby Abreu
Right Fielder
Philadelphia Phillies, Angels, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets
bWAR: 60.0
fWAR: 59.8
WARP: 49.1
aWAR: 56.3
B-R Most Similar Batter: Luis González (87.9%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 20th
Core Stats: 291/.395/.475, 288 HR, 1,453 R, 1,363 RBI, 300 SB, .128 OPS+, -11.1 dWAR
Core Accolades: Two-time All-Star, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove

Abreu remains an underrated player. Per B-R, his power-speed rating (HR and SB) is 14th-highest in baseball history, and holds the seventh-best on-base percentage from 1998-2006 (min. 3,000 PA). He saw postseason play in only four of 18 seasons in the bigs, but put up a career .810 OPS and 0.34 WPA while there.


Josh Beckett
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Boston Red Sox, Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers
bWAR: 35.6
fWAR: 36.7
WARP: 46.5
aWAR: 39.6
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Jason Schmidt (95.2%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 215th
Core Stats: 138-106, 3.88 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 1.232 WHIP, 111 ERA+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, 2003 World Series MVP, 2007 ALCS MVP, one Top 5 Cy Young finish

Beckett was on the fast train toward immortality, named the World Series MVP in just his second full season in the bigs. And while he continued his early dominance into the second phase of his career, with the Red Sox, he struggled to dominate consistently, repeating a sort of year-on, year-off pattern. Ultimately, he’s a strong contender for the Hall of Very Good.


Heath Bell
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Miami Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays
bWAR: 7.1
fWAR: 9.8
WARP: 13.8
aWAR: 10.2
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Keith Foulke (96.3%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RP: 366th
Core Stats: 38-32, 168 SV, 3.49 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 1.269 WHIP, 112 ERA+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, two-time Rolaids Reliever of the Year

There are some real parallels between Beckett and Bell, in that both players didn’t have the staying power to qualify as all-time greats. However, Bell’s fall was precipitous, an all-time puzzling flameout after signing a three-year, $24 million deal with Miami in 2011; he’d earn just 34 career saves, many of them disastrously earned, in the rest of his career.


Lance Berkman
Outfielder/First Baseman
Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees
bWAR: 52.1
fWAR: 56
WARP: 54.1
aWAR: 54.1
Last year’s SSS vote: 10.1%

B-R Most Similar Hitter: Jim Edmonds (91.1%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 20th
Core Stats: .293/.406/.537, 1,905 H, 366 HR, 1,234 RBI, 144 OPS+, -11.0 dWAR
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, four Top 5 MVP finishes

Berkman clears the 50 WAR hurdle, which would seem to indicate serious merit and demand legit consideration. He’s unlikely to get either, and not only because this ballot, again, is crawling with deserving candidates. Fat Elvis was a six-time All-Star, including a final appearance at age 35, as well as four times a top-five MVP finisher. His 1,201 career walks against 1,300 Ks, already make him a relic of a different age. But hey, his career .406 OBP is nothing to sneeze at. Ditto a career .949 OPS over 52 postseason games (1.065 vs. the White Sox in the 2005 World Series).


Barry Bonds
Left Fielder
San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates
bWAR: 162.8
fWAR: 164.4
WARP: 165.3
aWAR: 164.2
Last year’s SSS vote: 66.3%
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Willie Mays (76.2%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 1st
Core Stats: .298/.444/.607, 2,935 H, 2,227 R, 762 HR, 1,996 RBI, 514 SB, 182 OPS+
Core Accolades: Seven-time NL MVP (1990, 1992-93, 2001-04), 14-time All-Star, eight Gold Gloves, 12 Silver Sluggers, five Top 5 MVP finishes, all-time home run (762), walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688) leader

Bonds fell 29 votes shy of enshrinement last year in SSS voting. He’s the only member of the 700 (homer)/500 (stolen base) club. He was the epitome of a five-tool player. The argument for him, in spite of any PED use, is that he was a Hall-of-Famer based on his Pirates career (50.3 bWAR), not to mention being the all-time home run champion (762 homers), and basically the most ferocious hitter any of us will ever live to see. The argument against is as obvious as his increased cap size.


Eric Chávez
Third Baseman
Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks
bWAR: 37.5
fWAR: 35.7
WARP: 34.6
aWAR: 35.9
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Doug DeCinces (94.0%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 45th
Core Stats: .268/.342/.475, 260 HR, 115 OPS+
Core Accolades: Six Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger

Chávez is considered an all-time great defensive player (six Gold Gloves), yet accumulated just 5.6 dWAR in his career. Of course, defensive metrics are still not necessarily perfected, but does that signify a player more prone to the spectacular play vs. inning-to-inning greatness? Also noteworthy is some withering performances in the playoffs; over nine series in seven years, Chávez OPSed a meager .555, with -1.78 WPA.


Roger Clemens
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays 
bWAR: 139.6
fWAR: 133.7
WARP: 151.7
aWAR: 141.7
Last year’s SSS vote: 62%
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Randy Johnson (85.1%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 3rd
Core Stats: 354-184, 3.12 ERA, 3.09 FIP, 4,672 K, 1.17 WHIP, 118 CG, 143 ERA+
Core Accolades: 1986 MVP and Cy Young, seven-time Cy Young (1986-87, 1991, 1997-98, 2001, 2004), three Top 5 Cy Young finishes, one Top 5 MVP finish, 11-time All-Star

Back-to-back greats make this ballot top-heavy, ominous in their absence from the Hall. Clemens was somewhat of a Nolan Ryan redux, winning more than 350 games, with almost 4,700 career strikeouts. He burst on the scene by winning both the AL Cy Young and MVP in just his second full season (1986), and would win seven Cy Youngs and play in 11 All-Star Games before he was through. His career parallels that of Bonds, making two all-time greats, both tainted by PEDs. More recently, Clemens has had to fend off sexual assault charges centering around a 10-year affair with country singer Mindy McCready, begun when McCready was 15 years old, Clemens 28 and a married father of two. His numbers signify Hall-of-Famer in my book, but if you prefer like me, to hate to love him, you can focus more on his Red Sox losing the World Series in classic fashion after his MVP season, his roid-rage toss of the bat barrel back at Mike Piazza in the 2000 World Series, or the Chicago White Sox knocking him out of the box in Game 1 of the 2005 World Series.


Adam Dunn
Left Fielder
Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland A’s
bWAR: 17.4
fWAR: 25.6
WARP: 24.2
aWAR: 22.4
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Dave Kingman (89.3%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 139th
Core Stats: .237/.364/.490, 462 HR, 124 OPS+, -28.9 dWAR
Core Accolades: Two-time All-Star

What do you need to know about Dunn that hasn’t been witnessed by your own eyes, or passed down to you by a bitter elder? The Big Donkey was perhaps GM Ken Williams’ most coveted prize, but one that paid off least handsomely. Dunn’s South Side time is was the fulcrum that shot stardom to shambles. But enough of my yakkin’; if you wish tom commiserate more on the failings of the early-2010s White Sox, I direct you to very likely the best piece I ever wrote for a cable venture masquerading as everyday news source, a piece so brilliant and cherished it now garners the coveted 404 Award for Feature Writing.


Chone Figgins
Third Baseman
Angels, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers
bWAR: 22.2
fWAR: 22.2
WARP: 19.2
aWAR: 21.2
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Michael Bourn (93.8%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 104th
Core Stats: .276/.349/.363, 35 HR, 341 SB, 92 OPS+
Core Accolades: One-time All-Star

Perhaps this is false memory, but was Figgins not another of Williams’ wish-list players? Well, I’m ashamed to admit that there was a time I constructed a massive trade in my brain circa 2008, with the core pieces consisting of Paul Konerko for Figgins. Except, wait: From 2008-on, Figgins was worth 10.8 bWAR, Konerko 10.1. Oof. Figgins was a fine player, versatile (lots of time logged in center field and second base) and skilled; he was also bereft of significant power and shrunk in the postseason.


Rafael Furcal
Shortstop
Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins 
bWAR: 39.4
fWAR: 33.1
WARP: 37.4
aWAR: 36.6
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Elvis Andrus (91.3%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SS: 44th
Core Stats: .281/.346/.402, 113 HR, 314 SB, 96 OPS+, 15.0 dWAR
Core Accolades: 2000 NL Rookie of the Year, three-time All-Star

In the end, Furcal’s career pretty well mirrors that of Chávez. Or perhaps, call him a Figgins with better D. Nonetheless, he’s a player like several here who would be fighting to make even the Hall of Very Good.


Jason Giambi
First Baseman
Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins 
bWAR: 50.5
fWAR: 49.8
WARP: 49.0
aWAR: 49.8
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Carlos Delgado (91.3%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 25th
Core Stats: .277/.399/.516, 2,010 H, 440 HR, 139 OPS+, -19.8 dWAR
Core Accolades: 2000 AL MVP*, five-time All-Star, two Silver Sluggers, two Top 5 MVP finishes

In my book, you can hardly find a better borderline Hall of Fame case than Giambi, who along with players like Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Jerry Koosman and Bert Campaneris straddle the 50-WAR line that I use as my velvet rope barring entry to Cooperstown. Surely Giambi is demerited based on his admitted PED use, as his truest career accolade was misbegotten thievery of Frank Thomas’ rightful third MVP. However, Giambi was also a strong postseason player (.911 OPS) and hung on in the AL until age 43.


Todd Helton
First Baseman
Colorado Rockies
bWAR: 61.2
fWAR: 55.0
WARP: 75.0
aWAR: 63.7
Last year’s SSS vote: 36.5%
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Jeff Bagwell (86.0%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 15th
Core Stats: .316/.414/.538, 2,519 H, 369 HR, 1,406 RBI, 133 OPS+
Core Accolades: Five-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers, one Top 5 MVP finish

A rare bird these days — a player spending all his time with one team. Even back in the days of George Brett and Robin Yount, the one-team career player was being discussed as anomaly, so Helton’s love affair with Colorado is something special, indeed. Of course, as a hitter in Denver, there may be a reason for the love affair. But while Helton’s home numbers (.345/.441/.607) were gaudy, the road work wasn’t anything to sneeze at, either (.287/.386/.469). There’s another weird variance in overall career assessment here, with FanGraphs and BP far apart in their judgment. Helton had a relatively early peak, with all five of his All-Star appearances coming from 2000-04. Helton was absolutely robbed on the 2000 NL MVP, leading the NL in WAR (and third in baseball), and leading the NL in hits, doubles, RBIs, and average, on-base and slugging; Helton finished fifth.


Trevor Hoffman
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers (2009-10), Florida Marlins
bWAR: 28.0
fWAR: 26.0
WARP: 27.5
aWAR: 27.2
Last year’s SSS vote: 34%
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Lee Smith (89.6%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RP: 20th
Core Stats: 61-75, 601 SV, 2.87 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 1,133 K, 1.06 WHIP, 141 ERA+
Core Accolades: Hall of Fame, seven-time All-Star, two Rolaids Reliever of the Year, three Top 5 Cy Young finishes

If there was a Hall of Closers, of course Hoffman would be a first-ballot inductee. But the notion of placing closers alongside starting pitchers, or regular position players, in importance is subject to debate. In our site voting, that debate wages more intensely than among the BBWAA voters, who elected Hoffman to Cooperstown in 2018. Hoffman was a seven-time All-Star, and finished as the runner-up in NL Cy Young voting twice (1998 and 2006). The eight-season spread on that latter stat truly speaks to what is special about Hoffman, as longevity is not a hallmark of most closers — Hoffman retired in 2010, as baseball’s all-time saves leader (601, since surpassed by Mariano Rivera).


Raúl Ibañez
Left Fielder
Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees, Angels
bWAR: 20.4
fWAR: 19.3
WARP: 21.6
aWAR: 20.4
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Ruben Sierra (94.0%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 119th
Core Stats: .272/.335/.465, 2,034 H, 305 HR, 1,055 R, 1,207 RBI, 111 OPS+, -17.7 dWAR
Core Accolades: One-time All-Star

Even a fan who tends to ignore the argument that a Hall-of-Famer isn’t required to be among the elite in the game for an extended stretch of time would be hard-pressed to push Ibañez into the Hall given his utter lack of dominance. His counting stats are impressive, to be sure: more than 2,000 hits and 300 homers and a pretty healthy OPS+. The 19-year vet was also pretty adequate in the playoffs. But there’s not clear path for Ibañez to stay on the ballot more than one year, much less survive to enshrinement.


Derek Jeter
Shortstop
New York Yankees
bWAR: 72.4
fWAR: 73.0
WARP: 51.9
aWAR: 65.8
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Craig Biggio (82.5%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SS: 12th
Core Stats: .310/.377/.440, 3,465 H, 260 HR, 1,923 R, 1,311 RBI, 115 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1996 AL Rookie of the Year, 14-time All-Star, five Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers, 2000 World Series MVP, three Top 5 MVP finishes

What we can’t debate is Jeter’s worthiness for the Hall of Fame. But what we can discuss is the degree to which he has been overrated, and whether he merits a unanimous selection. There’s no harm in being Craig Biggio, who his B-R comp pairs Jeter up with. There’s nothing wrong with being a very good, even superstar player for years in the biggest market out there. But a unanimous selection? Jeter’s aWAR is roughly that of Reggie Smith, trailing Bobby Grich, and trailing several shortstops significantly, from Cal Ripken Jr. to George Davis, with ex-teammate Alex Rodriguez comfortably ahead as well. While the worthy-of-unanimous debate is a silly one, so is the notion that Jeter should be so honored (and that goes for another ex-teammate, Mariano Rivera, but that water is well under the bridge). My personal strategy going forward with these votes is to determine how many worth HOFers are on the ballot, and vote up from the last on the list; this year, I may be voting for candidates No. 5-14, or 4-13. Jeter will get in; I want to keep the lower-rung guys on the ballot.


Andruw Jones
Center Fielder
Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers
bWAR: 62.8
fWAR: 66.9
WARP: 61.9
aWAR: 63.9
Last year’s SSS vote: 42.3%
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Dale Murphy (93.0%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 11th
Core Stats: .254/.337/.486, 1,933 H, 434 HR, 1,289 RBI, 152 SB, 111 OPS+, 24.4 dWAR
Core Accolades: Five-time All-Star, 10 Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger, one Top 5 MVP finish

First and foremost in assessing Jones’ career: He was as good as any center fielder who has ever played the game. He won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, and while no slouch as a hitter, had several seasons of higher defensive WAR than offensive. He was a five-time All-Star who, ironically enough, finished second in the NL in WAR during that 2000 season where Helton was jobbed of the MVP; in a clear statement about how unimportantly defense is measured by the voters, Jones finished eighth in that MVP vote. When Jones left Atlanta for Los Angeles in free agency, his career fell off the deep end, fast. One swell swan song was in 2010 with the White Sox, when Jones hit his 400th home run and had a bounce-back, 1.9 bWAR season in limited playing time.


Jeff Kent
Second Baseman
San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland
bWAR: 55.4
fWAR: 56.1
WARP: 53.4
aWAR: 55.0
Last year’s SSS vote: 16.6%
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Robinson Cano (88.8%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 20th
Core Stats: .290/.356/.500, 2,461 H, 377 HR, 1,518 RBI, 123 OPS+
Core Accolades: 2000 NL MVP, five-time All-Star, four Silver Sluggers

Unlike many others who hit the ground running in their careers, it took several years and a move to the Giants for Kent to start turning heads around baseball. After receiving no accolades at all until 1997, Kent garnered five All-Star berths in his final 11 seasons. He also won the 2000 NL MVP (the one Helton, or Jones, should have taken!). Kent impresses most when viewed relative to other second basemen — he’s simply among the two or three biggest bats ever to play the position (second place all-time in 2B HRs, and owning the top three 2B RBI seasons of the past 50 years). He was a pretty decent postseason performer, slashing .276/.340/.500 in 189 career PAs — but had a -.13 WPA. Undervalued, and on this ballot perhaps fairly so, it’s surprising to see Kent had nearly 2,500 hits and hit at least 20 homers in 12 seasons (totaling 377 for his career).


Paul Konerko
First Baseman
Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds
bWAR: 27.7
fWAR: 24.0
WARP: 26.9
aWAR: 26.2
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Andres Galarraga (91.4%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 92nd
Core Stats: .279/.354/.486, 2,340 H, 439 HR, 1,162 R, 1,412 RBI, 118 OPS+, -18.1 dWAR
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, 2005 ALCS MVP, one Top Five MVP finish

Konerko is always going to have far more value to us as White Sox fans than to baseball as a whole. But PK isn’t getting cheated; by WAR standards, he pales compared to two dozen other candidates alongside him. In perspective, just picking a random one-and-done player from last year’s ballot, even Ted Lilly had more career WAR than Konerko. But Konerko was a clutch performer who vastly outperformed his natural athletic ability (no dis, but PK was never close to a five-tool guy). One area he deserves massive credit is for his play in the clutch: His too-brief postseason career, excepting his initial foray into the playoffs in 2000, was megatop delicious: OPSs of 1.000, .937, .868 and 1.040 in his four final series.


Cliff Lee
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
Cleveland, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners
bWAR: 43.5
fWAR: 48.9
WARP: 40.9
aWAR: 44.4
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Jered Weaver (94.7%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 132nd
Core Stats: 143-91, 601 SV, 3.52 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 29 CG, 12 SHO, 1,824 K, 1.196 WHIP, 118 ERA+
Core Accolades: 2008 AL Cy Young, four-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finishes

For a while there, it seemed Lee would be a lock for the Hall. He had a Lucas Giolito-esque turnaround from 2007 to 2008, going from also-ran to Cy Young — but the southpaw turned 30 after that miraculous year, and even a dynamite five seasons to come couldn’t build up the resume before his arm gave out. Lee was a very, very good postseason pitcher, with a 2.52 ERA in 82 career innings, a 0.927 WHIP and 1.80 WPA.


Roy Oswalt
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies
bWAR: 50.1
fWAR: 52.4
WARP: 58.8
aWAR: 53.8
Last year’s SSS vote: 8.3%
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Adam Wainwright (97.0%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 102nd
Core Stats: 163-102, 57 CG, 3.36 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 1,852 K, 1.21 WHIP, 127 ERA+
Core Accolades: 2005 NLCS MVP, three-time All-Star, five Top 5 Cy Young finishes

Ironically enough, fellow longtime Astros teammate Berkman and Oswalt finished their careers with nearly the same aWAR. Oswalt was a transcendent starter with Houston, piling up five top-five Cy Young finishes in his first six seasons, and then just hitting a wall once he turned 30. He was runner-up as NL Rookie of the Year to none less than Albert Pujols in 2001, when he burst on the scene with a 4.7 bWAR in just 20 starts. His Top 10 similarity scores at Baseball-Reference are littered with similar borderline-HOF pitchers, including Ron Guidry, Jered Weaver Bret Saberhagen, Lee and Jon Lester.


Carlos Peña
First Baseman
Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Oakland A’s, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals
bWAR: 25.1
fWAR: 18.9
WARP: 14.7
aWAR: 19.6
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Chris Davis (95.1%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 91st
Core Stats: .232/.346/.462, 286 HR, 117 OPS+
Core Accolades: One-time All-Star, one Gold Glove, one Silver Slugger

Let’s be honest, a guy with a B-R comp most close to Chris Davis isn’t getting in the Hall anytime soon. But Peña was a solid performer for many years, filling a decent niche as a power bat who could field his position OK. Peña was a late bloomer, only coming into his own at 29, in Tampa (already his fifth team). Had he put his power stroke together sooner, you can easily imagine a Konerko or Carlos Delgado career. Also, not bad in the playoffs: .910 OPS in 19 games.


Brad Penny
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox
bWAR: 19.0
fWAR: 26.7
WARP: 28.0
aWAR: 24.6
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Charles Nagy (96.1%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 494th
Core Stats: 121-101, 4.29 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 1.376 WHIP, 99 ERA+
Core Accolades: Two-time All-Star, one Top 5 Cy Young finish

Penny had a peak, in the middle of his Dodgers tenure, approaching age 30: two All-Star games and a Top 5 Cy Young finish. But aside from that, he was a fairly pedestrian pitcher, as indicated by his shade-worse-than average ERA+.


Andy Pettitte
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
New York Yankees, Houston Astros
bWAR: 60.3
fWAR: 68.9
WARP: 61.7
aWAR: 63.6
Last year’s SSS vote: 15.3%
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: C.C. Sabathia (93.6%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 91st
Core Stats: 256-153, 3.85 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 2,448 K, 1.17 WHIP, 135 ERA+
Core Accolades: 2001 ALCS MVP, three-time All-Star, four Top 5 Cy Young finishes

Pettitte just couldn’t say no to the Yankees, which in my book knocks him down a few notches. Seriously, he moved on to his hometown Astros after eight seasons in the Bronx, but after three seasons in a 10-gallon hat, came back for four more seasons with the Yankees, retired, then came back for two more seasons with the Yankees. Add to that his use of HGH to recover from a 2003 elbow injury, lying about it, some weirdness in defense (or the opposite) re: Clemens’ HGH use … and boy oh boy, do you have a soap opera. Factoring in the customary “East Coast bias,” Pettitte might be the rare candidate given more than his due from the first vote forward. That said, Pettitte was a splendid southpaw, and like onetime teammate Mike Mussina, might have retired a season or two too young (at 41, Pettitte gathered a 2.2 bWAR off of a 3.74 ERA/3.70 FIP, 30 starts and 185 ⅓ innings). But even his ballyhooed postseason record is a bit overblown; over 14 seasons/32 series, Pettitte made 44 starts, going 19-11, but with a fairly pedestrian 3.81 ERA, 6 ⅓ innings per start, and zero complete games. Not really a hero, but certainly a star pupil.


J.J. Putz
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets
bWAR: 13.1
fWAR: 10.2
WARP: 11
aWAR: 11.4
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Mark Melancon (96.3%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RP: 145th
Core Stats: 37-33, 189 SV, 3.08 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 1.152 WHIP, 138 ERA+
Core Accolades: One-time All-Star, Rolaids Reliever of the Year

Putz was more than just a pedestrian reliever, which helps explain his 12 years in the majors, finishing no fewer than six games in any one of them. He came to the White Sox in 2010, after a season in Queens that could have spelled the end of his career at just 32. Instead, he put up the third-best value of his career (in a setup role) and parlayed that into a four-year, $22 million deal with the Diamondbacks.


Manny Ramirez
Left Fielder/Right Fielder
Cleveland, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays
bWAR: 69.4
fWAR: 66.3
WARP: 72.5
aWAR: 69.4
Last year’s SSS vote: 37.1%
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Frank Thomas (86.5%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 10th
Core Stats: .312/.411/.585, 2,574 H, 555 HR, 1,831 RBI, 154 OPS+, -21.7 dWAR
Core Accolades: 2004 World Series MVP, 12-time All-Star, nine Silver Sluggers, four Top 5 MVP finishes

For all the stuff you can say about Manny, you have to include that he was a helluva hitter. In seven straight seasons (1999-2005), Ramirez won a Silver Slugger, was an All-Star, and finished in the top 10 of MVP voting. Overall, he was a 12-time All-Star, won nine Silver Sluggers, and earned MVP votes in 11 of his 18 seasons. His 10 closest comps on Baseball-Reference are, basically, all Hall-of-Famers. Manny’s dominance extended to the postseason as well, where he hit 29 homers and put up a .937 OPS in 111 career playoff games. Given his general lackadaisical attitude toward, well, everything, and multiple positive PED tests, Manny’s brief, end-of-career stint as a coach was … entertaining.


Brian Roberts
Second Baseman
Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees
bWAR: 30.4
fWAR: 29.7
WARP: 26.4
aWAR: 28.8
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Ronnie Belliard (90.7%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 58th
Core Stats: .276/.347/.409, 97 HR, 542 RBI, 285 SB, 101 OPS+
Core Accolades: Two-time All-Star

Roberts was a longtime Oriole, a pesky player who had one extraordinary season (7.3 bWAR in 2005, second in the AL behind Alex Rodriguez, which earned Roberts … 18th place in MVP voting!). Looking at Roberts’ career, it’s tempting to comp him with ex-White Sox grinder Scott Fletcher, but the stats don’t bear that out. However, the two players ended with similar career WARs, with Fletcher boasting more longevity and solid seasons. 


Scott Rolen
Third Baseman
Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays
bWAR: 70.2
fWAR: 69.9
WARP: 64.5
aWAR: 68.2
Last year’s SSS vote: 40.5%
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Matt Holliday (88.6%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 10th
Core Stats: .281/.364/.490, 2,077 H, 316 HR, 1,287 RBI, 118 SB, 122 OPS+, 21.2 dWAR
Core Accolades: 1997 NL Rookie of the Year, seven-time All-Star, eight Gold Gloves, one Silver Slugger, one Top 5 MVP finish

Rolen beat out future luminaries like Andruw Jones and Vladimir Guerrero for 1997 NL Rookie of the Year. His calling card was defense, and was an eight-time Gold Glove winner, taking his final award at age 35, in his last fully healthy season. He was a seven-time All-Star, yet one legitimate argument against Rolen’s enshrinement is his earning MVP votes in just four seasons (never finishing better than fourth).


Johan Santana
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
Minnesota Twins, New York Mets
bWAR: 51.6
fWAR: 45.3
WARP: 53.5
aWAR: 50.1
Last year’s SSS vote: 8.3%
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: David Price (96.4%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 81st
Core Stats: 139-78, 3.20 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 1,988 K, 1.13 WHIP, 136 ERA+
Core Accolades: 2004 and 2006 AL Cy Young, four-time All-Star, one Gold Glove, three Top 5 Cy Young finishes

Santana was an incendiary starter, but burned out fast. He won two Cy Youngs, in 2004 and 2006, and received votes for the award in six straight seasons (2003-08). During Santana’s peak stretch from 2004-06, he accumulated an otherworldly 23.5 bWAR. The southpaw’s hopes may be tied into some veteran’s committee of the future, but he deserves more serious consideration than he’s getting currently, thanks to the unholy backlog of worthy candidates who now pop up on the ballot every year.


Curt Schilling
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros
bWAR: 79.6
fWAR: 79.8
WARP: 100.7
aWAR: 86.7
Last year’s SSS vote: 56.1%
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Kevin Brown (92.0%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 27th
Core Stats: 216-146, 83 CG, 3.46 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 3,116 K, 1.14 WHIP, 127 ERA+
Core Accolades: 2001 World Series MVP, 1993 NLCS MVP, six-time All-Star, four Top 5 Cy Young finishes

Like 2019 Hall-of-Famer Mussina, Schilling began his career in the late 1980s, in the Baltimore Orioles system. Like Mussina, Schilling finished his career with an aWAR of 86 and change. And also like Moose, Schilling is a deserving Hall of Fame candidate unduly frozen out of Cooperstown. Unlike Mussina, Schilling has been frozen out for an understandable, if inapplicable, reason: hateful and vitriolic rhetoric. But we’re not voting for a set of worldviews here, we’re judging a baseball career. And Schilling’s was impeccable. He was a six-time All-Star and earned MVP votes in four different seasons. He was a top-four Cy Young finisher — each coming after he turned 30. Amazingly, about three-quarters of his career WAR came after he turned 30. Schilling also was a postseason hero, beyond the bloody sock of debatable veracity; in his career, he pitched to a 2.23 ERA and .97 WHIP in 19 starts (12 series), going 11-2 with four complete games. And if you throw out just two godawful ALCS series efforts, his playoff numbers would be borderline supernatural.


Gary Sheffield
Right Fielder/Left Fielder/Third Baseman
Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, San Diego Padres, New York Mets
bWAR: 60.5
fWAR: 62.1
WARP: 74.9
aWAR: 65.8
Last year’s SSS vote: 31.9%
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Chipper Jones (89.2%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 23rd
Core Stats: .292/.393/.514, 2,689 H, 509 HR, 1,676 RBI, 253 SB, 140 OPS+, -27.7 dWAR
Core Accolades: Nine-time All-Star, five Silver Sluggers, three Top 5 MVP finishes

Sheffield was, simply put, a devastating hitter. He was a nine-time All-Star and five-time Sliver Slugger winner, seven times earning MVP votes (six of those being top-10 finishes). But with Sheffield, his use of “the cream” with Barry Bonds damns some of his amazing accomplishments, as does a mid-30s stretch of dominance that defied any expected aging curve (75 homers and 253 RBIs at age 34-35). He also had only modest postseason success: .248/.401/.398 in 44 career games. Finally, Sheffield being shuffled among teams — traded five times, all told — also undercuts his case.


Alfonso Soriano
Left Fielder/Second Baseman
Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals
bWAR: 28.2
fWAR: 38.9
WARP: 40.8
aWAR: 36.0
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Dale Murphy (87.7%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 68th
Core Stats: .270/.319/.500, 2.095 H, 412 HR, 1,152 R, 1.159 RBI, 289 SB, 112 OPS+, -10.3 dWAR
Core Accolades: Seven-time All-Star, four Silver Sluggers, one Top 5 MVP finish

Soriano’s best tribute, like Abreu, is his power-speed factor, as just one of four 40-40 players in history and a member of the 400 HR/250 steals club for his career as well, something just six other players have accomplished. Unfortunately, Soriano’s offensive value was offset by loathsome defense — he led the AL in errors at second base for five consecutive seasons before, mercifully, being pastured out to left field (where he posted actual positive dWAR in his first two seasons after the switch).


Sammy Sosa
Right Fielder
Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles 
bWAR: 58.6
fWAR: 60.1
WARP: 62.6
aWAR: 60.4
Last year’s SSS vote: 14.1%
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Jim Thome (86.3%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 18th
Core Stats: .273/.344/.534, 2,408 H, 609 HR, 1,667 RBI, 234 SB, 128 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1998 NL MVP, seven-time All-Star, six Silver Sluggers, one Top 5 MVP finishes

Look at Sosa’s and Sheffield’s remarkably similar core stats, it’s a bit uncanny. As will be forever noted on these pages, Sosa isn’t helped among a fairly White Sox-centered electorate by being perhaps the best player the team has ever traded away. His unbearable hamminess and seeming insincerity won’t win him points, either. He did, however, have an impossibly good stretch of nine seasons on the north side, and overall he was as seven-time All-Star, six-time Silver Slugger, and the 1998 NL MVP (six other times he earned votes, all in top-10 finishes). Of course, Sosa is also a suspected (heh) PED user — but while it’s presumed, like other juicers, Sosa just fell off the end of the Earth, his final season, back in Texas, yielded 21 homers and 92 RBIs at age 38.


José Valverde
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, New York Mets
bWAR: 11.5
fWAR: 8.6
WARP: 9.9
aWAR: 10.0
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Brad Lidge (95.5%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RP: 183rd
Core Stats: 27-33, 288 SV, 3.27 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.196 WHIP, 133 ERA+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, two Rolaids Relievers of the Year, one Top 5 Cy Young finish

Relievers are not a coveted Hall of Fame property, and Valverde is the least of them on this ballot. There’s almost no way for him to meet the 5% hurdle to survive another year.


Omar Vizquel
Shortstop
Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays
bWAR: 45.6
fWAR: 42.4
WARP: 38.4
aWAR: 42.1
Last year’s SSS vote: 19.9%
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Luis Aparicio (87.9%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SS: 42nd
Core Stats: .272/.336/.356, 2,877 H, 80 HR, 951 RBI, 404 SB, 82 OPS+, 29.5 dWAR
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, 11 Gold Gloves

I love Vizquel. He was a great player, and with interests in art and fashion, a renaissance man. But a Hall-of-Famer? Well, that’s another thing entirely. Obviously, he doesn’t stack up on offense (82 OPS+), where even his value as a baserunner is suspect in spite of 404 career steals. Defensively, Vizquel was without peer, earning 11 Gold Gloves. He was a very rare star whose defensive WAR nearly eclipsed his offensive value. His seeming support from the old-school voters is curious, given he wasn’t regarded very highly by them when Vizquel was active; in just one season (1999) did Vizquel earn MVP votes — and he finished 16th.


Billy Wagner
Left-Handed Relief Pitcher
Houston Astros, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox
bWAR: 27.7
fWAR: 24.1
WARP: 28.0
aWAR: 26.6
Last year’s SSS vote: 7%
B-R Most Similar Pitcher: Francisco Rodriguez (90.0%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RP: 19th
Core Stats: 47-40, 422 SV, 2.31 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 1,196 K, 0.99 WHIP, 187 ERA+
Core Accolades: Seven-time All-Star, one Rolaids Reliever Awards, one Top 5 Cy Young finish

Wagner should have celebrated Hoffman getting elected to Cooperstown, because if Hoffman has a case, Wagner has 99% of the very same case, and will eventually break through. He has some impeccable stats, including that 187 ERA+ (per B-R, the best of any southpaw with 500-plus appearances). It’s always impressive to see a closer who can dominate for a decade-plus. Personally, I am not moved by any closer’s case for the Hall, but cap-tip to Wagner as an all-time great. He earned MVP votes in two seasons, and Cy Young votes in two as well, in addition to being a seven-time All-Star. One negative: Wagner was terrible (10.03 ERA) in 14 career postseason games.


Larry Walker
Right Fielder
Colorado Rockies, Montreal Expos, St. Louis Cardinals
bWAR: 72.7
fWAR: 68.7
WARP: 68.3
aWAR: 69.9
Last year’s SSS vote: 61.7%
B-R Most Similar Hitter: Duke Snider (88.9%)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 10th
Core Stats: .313/.400/.565, 2,160 H, 383 HR, 1,311 RBI, 230 SB, 141 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1997 NL MVP, five-time All-Star, seven Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, one Top 5 MVP finish

OK, so this is it for Walker, his last year on the regular Hall of Fame ballot. Walker catches a lot of hell for not playing full seasons, but this isn’t the complete-seasons Hall of Fame, it’s the who-kicks-the-most-ass HOF. And Walker kicked plenty. Look at that friggin’ slash line! Now, wipe the drool from your chin. Walker also gets dinked for playing about 30% of his career games a mile high in Denver, but c’mon, his career OPS on the road is .865. Walker was the NL MVP in 1997 and received MVP votes in seven other seasons. And in case you want to look at him solely as a bat, like Ramirez or Sheffield, think again: Walker was a seven-time Gold Glove winner in right field, representing roughly half of his MLB seasons.


OK, 5,000 words later, please consider all 36 candidates. You may vote for up to 10 players. Any player who falls short of 5% in polling will be eliminated from next year’s ballot.

Just like with the BBWAA voting, you’re encouraged to make your vote public in the comments below, so we can debate the merits of a ballot overfilled with worthy candidates. Voting closes in 10 days, with the results released in a post on January 20.

(And when you’re done, vote in our Veterans’ election as well.)

 


Time to vote!

[poll id=”15″]

Inaugural South Side Hit Pen Veteran’s Committee Hall of Fame election: final round


Last month, we instituted our first-ever Veteran’s Committee vote, and 101 votes later we’ve now winnowed an original list of 30 players down to the 10 top vote-getters, for our final ballot (votes in parenthesis):

Minnie Miñoso (74)
Dick Allen (65)
Pete Rose (64)
Tommy John (57)
Lou Whitaker (56)
Kenny Lofton (42)
Dwight Evans (35)
Luis Tiant (33)
Bobby Bonds (28)
Mark McGwire (26) 

The rules are that a player needed at least a 5% vote to survive on a future ballot, thus the following 17 players could be chosen for our vote next offseason (votes in parenthesis):

Jim Edmonds (22)
Joe Torre (22)
Bobby Grich (20)
Ken Boyer (18)
Lance Berkman (17)
Kevin Brown (17)
Graig Nettles (17)
Rafael Palmeiro (17)
David Cone (16)
Chet Lemon (15)
Buddy Bell (14)
Keith Hernandez (14)
Bret Saberhagen (10)
Rick Reuschel (8)
Willie Randolph (7)
Sal Bando (6)
Reggie Smith (6)

 

Finally, three players failed to garner the minimum support, and thus will drop off of our Veteran’s consideration for at least five years (votes in parenthesis):

Willie Davis (4)
Darrell Evans (3)
Chuck Finley (1)

So, we’re kicking off a month of Hall of Fame votes: Veteran’s (January 1-7), Traditional (January 8-14), and White Sox (January 15-22) with this final round of Veteran’s voting.

Veteran’s balloting will end next Tuesday, so vote sooner than later, please.

Below are the bios for our 10 remaining candidates. Players must receive 75% of the vote to be enshrined.

note: aWAR = average WAR across the three measures; aaWAR = adjusted average WAR, accounting for time lost due to labor impasses or institutional racism


Dick Allen
First Baseman/Third Baseman
Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A’s
(1963-77)

bWAR: 58.7
fWAR: 61.3
WARP: 59.1
aWAR: 59.7
aaWAR: 60.3
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 161st
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 17th
Core Stats: 351 HR, .292/.378/.534, .912 OPS, 156 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1964 NL Rookie of the Year, 1972 AL MVP, seven-time All-Star, two Top 5 MVP finishes

One of the all-time hardest-hitters, Allen’s path to the Hall has been complicated by a number of “moody” tropes that defy his true role as a clubhouse force, at least proven by his White Sox days. Of course, Allen did also move to the beat of his own drum, which rarely endears. 


Bobby Bonds
Right Fielder
Giants, Angels, Cleveland, Yankees, Rangers, Cardinals, Cubs, White Sox
(1968-81)

bWAR: 57.9
fWAR: 57.2
WARP: 63.6
aWAR: 59.6
aaWAR: 59.8

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 179th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 22nd
Core Stats: 332 home runs, 461 stolen bases, .268/.353/.471, .824 OPS, 129 OPS+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, 1973 All-Star MVP, two Top 5 MVP finishes

It’s mind-boggling that while the Steve Garveys, Dale Murphys and Dave Parkers of baseball get studied consideration for the Hall, Bonds does not. A five-tool player, Bonds was derailed by personal issues off the field that helped keep him from all-time great status.


Dwight Evans
Right Fielder
Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles

(1972-91)
bWAR: 67.1
fWAR: 65.1
WARP: 69.2
aWAR: 67.1
aaWAR: 70.4
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 138th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 15th
Core Stats: 385 home runs, .272/.370/.470, .840 OPS, 127 OPS+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, eight Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, two Top 5 MVP finishes

Evans has managed to be underrated despite some high-profile postseason appearances and status as nearly a career Red Sox player. A devastating all-around player.


Tommy John
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, Cleveland, Oakland A’s

(1963-89)
bWAR: 61.5
fWAR: 79.4
WARP: 36.9
aWAR: 59.3
aaWAR: 60.7

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 201st
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 85th
Core Stats: 288 wins, 3.44 ERA, 1.283 WHIP, 111 ERA+, 3.38 FIP
Core Accolades: Four-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finishes

John is Exhibit A for the Jamie Moyer-type pitcher who simply never stopped pitching and piled up Hall-worthy numbers. That John was effective, even dominant, after the surgery that now bears his name adds an impressive wrinkle to his “piling up.”


Kenny Lofton
Center Fielder
Cleveland, Braves, Dodgers, Phillies, White Sox, Pirates, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Astros

(1991-2007)
bWAR: 68.3
fWAR: 62.4
WARP: 50.6
aWAR: 60.4
aaWAR: 63.8

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 100th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 10th
Core Stats: 622 stolen bases, .299/.372/.423, .794 OPS, 107 OPS+, 15.5 dWAR
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, four Gold Gloves, one Top 5 MVP finish

An elite center fielder who played center for a long time. Like Brown, his mercenary status hopping cities after Cleveland likely dinged his status among voters.


Mark McGwire
First Baseman
Oakland A’s, St. Louis Cardinals

(1986-2001)
bWAR: 62.2
fWAR: 66.3
WARP: 58.8
aWAR: 62.4
aaWAR: 63.6

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 137th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 18th
Core Stats: 583 home runs, .263/.394/.588, .982 OPS, 163 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1987 AL Rookie of the Year, 12-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, three Top 5 MVP finishes

PED controversies aside, McGwire put up numbers. There likely remain enough steroid purists out there to keep him far off of the ballot for years to come, but the numbers and rankings merit inclusion here.


Minnie Miñoso
Left Fielder
Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Washington Senators, St. Louis Cardinals

(1949-80)
bWAR: 50.5
fWAR: 50.8
WARP: 54.9
aWAR: 52.1
aaWAR: 57.5

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 229th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 22nd
Core Stats: .298/.389/.459, .848 OPS, 130 OPS+
Core Accolades: Nine-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, four Top 5 MVP finishes

Beyond his role as Mr. White Sox and trailbreaking status as the first great black Latino player in the majors, Miñoso has the numbers to merit induction. Institutional racism prevented Minnie from a full major league career, as he missed at least one All-Star level season in the majors while sequestered into the Negro Leagues.


Pete Rose
First Baseman/Left Fielder/Third Baseman/Second Baseman/Right Fielder
Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos 

(1963-86)
bWAR: 79.7
fWAR: 80.1
WARP: 73.2
aWAR: 77.7
aaWAR: 79
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 5th

Core Stats: 3,562 games, 4,256 hits, 2.165 runs, .303/.375/.409, .784 OPS, 118 OPS+
Core Accolades: All-time games and hits leader, 1973 NL MVP, 1963 NL Rookie of the Year, 17-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger, four Top 5 MVP finishes, 1975 World Series MVP

Obviously Rose has the numbers to be in the Hall, as an all-time great, so his inclusion here is more a referendum on whether unsavory and/or banned actions off the field should affect enshrinement status on it. If not elected, Rose will be joined on the ballot next year by Joe Jackson, in a similar test.


Luis Tiant
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Boston Red Sox, Cleveland, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels 

(1964-82)
bWAR: 66
fWAR: 54.8
WARP: 41.5
aWAR: 54.1
aaWAR: 54.6
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 111th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 57th
Core Stats: 3.30 ERA, 1.199 WHIP, 114 ERA+, 3.47 FIP
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finish, one Top 5 MVP finish

Tiant’s case is bolstered (though not a determination for his inclusion here) by some heroic postseason pitching and extremely colorful personality.


Lou Whitaker
Second Baseman
Detroit Tigers

(1977-95)
bWAR: 75.1
fWAR: 68.1
WARP: 48.5
aWAR: 63.9
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 76th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 13th
Core Stats: 2.369 hits, .276/.363/.426, .789 OPS, 117 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1978 Rookie of the Year, five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, three-time Gold Glove

While not the biggest lock of a candidate on this list necessarily, his idiotic bypassing by the Veteran’s Committee just last week helps fuel votes like this. You’d think almost no one thinks Whitaker is not a Hall-of-Famer at this point, certainly not if Alan Trammell is. But just enough folks on a solitary, punch-dunk Vet Committee just did, so labor on we must.


The ballot: Keep in mind that you can vote for up to four players, but review your selections before clicking [VOTE], because you can’t edit after the fact.

[poll id=”14″]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vote in the inaugural South Side Hit Pen Veteran’s Committee Hall of Fame election

(ThisIsCooperstown.com)


Over many years at South Side Sox, we conducted our own yearly Hall of Fame voting, to see how the opinions of White Sox fans matched up vs. Hall of Fame voters (spoiler alert: We’re smarter).

Two years ago, we also created our own White Sox Hall of Fame, honoring not only the greatest players in White Sox history, but the most memorable games, teams, contributors, promotions, and so on.

When Harold Baines was elected to Cooperstown via a Veteran’s Committee ballot in 2018, it sparked an idea for a third round of voting, now hosted here at South Side Hit Pen: our own Veteran’s Committee ballot.

There are dozens of worthy players who for one reason or another — oh, let’s just say it, baseball writer ignorance — have dropped off of the ballot. We seek to remedy that, on the heels of the latest BBWAA election that saw only Ted Simmons among former players voted into Cooperstown last Sunday.

Nearly mirroring the ballot of 32 players for the regular election, here are 30 players comprising our inaugural Veteran’s Committee ballot. Just like in the regular Hall of Fame election, you may vote for up to 10 players. And those candidates who don’t receive at least 5% of the vote will fall off of this balloting next year.

note: aWAR = average WAR across the three measures; aaWAR = adjusted average WAR, accounting for time lost due to labor impasses or institutional racism


Dick Allen
First Baseman/Third Baseman
Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A’s
(1963-77)

bWAR: 58.7
fWAR: 61.3
WARP: 59.1
aWAR: 59.7
aaWAR: 60.3
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 161st
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 17th
Core Stats: 351 HR, .292/.378/.534, .912 OPS, 156 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1964 NL Rookie of the Year, 1972 AL MVP, seven-time All-Star, two Top 5 MVP finishes

One of the all-time hardest-hitters, Allen’s path to the Hall has been complicated by a number of “moody” tropes that defy his true role as a clubhouse force, at least proven by his White Sox days. Of course, Allen did also move to the beat of his own drum, which rarely endears. 


Sal Bando
Third Baseman
Oakland/Kansas City A’s, Milwaukee Brewers
(1966-81)

bWAR: 61.5
fWAR: 56.2
WARP: 51.3
aWAR: 56.3
aaWAR: 56.6
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 156th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 16th
Core Stats: .254/.352/.408, .760 OPS, 119 OPS+
Core Accolades: Four-time All-Star, three Top 5 MVP finishes

Core member of the threepeat Oakland A’s of the early 1970s, with a relatively brief but potent peak.


Buddy Bell
Third Baseman
Texas Rangers, Cleveland, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros
(1972-89)

bWAR: 66.3
fWAR: 61.7
WARP: 62.5
aWAR: 63.5
aaWAR: 66.6
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 135th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 15th
Core Stats: 2,514 hits, .279/.341/.406, .747 OPS, 109 OPS+, 23.8 dWAR
Core Accolades: Five-time All-Star, six Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger

Chronically underrated given his defensive majesty, almost no one regards Bell as Hall of Fame-caliber. But the numbers are there, even offensively, where he had enough lasting power and durability to pile up more than 2,500 hits.


Lance Berkman
First Baseman/Left Fielder/Right Fielder
Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees
(1999-2013)

bWAR: 52.1
fWAR: 55.9
WARP: 49.4
aWAR: 52.5
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 230th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 20th
Core Stats: 366 home runs, .293/.406/.537, .943 OPS, 144 OPS+
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, four Top 5 MVP finishes

Potent power bat, certainly not the strongest case here but worthy of a second look.


Bobby Bonds
Right Fielder
Giants, Angels, Cleveland, Yankees, Rangers, Cardinals, Cubs, White Sox
(1968-81)

bWAR: 57.9
fWAR: 57.2
WARP: 63.6
aWAR: 59.6
aaWAR: 59.8

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 179th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 22nd
Core Stats: 332 home runs, 461 stolen bases, .268/.353/.471, .824 OPS, 129 OPS+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, 1973 All-Star MVP, two Top 5 MVP finishes

It’s mind-boggling that while the Steve Garveys, Dale Murphys and Dave Parkers of baseball get studied consideration for the Hall, Bonds does not. A five-tool player, Bonds was derailed by personal issues off the field that helped keep him from all-time great status.


Ken Boyer
Third Baseman
St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox
(1955-69)

bWAR: 62.8
fWAR: 54.8
WARP: 61.5
aWAR: 59.6
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 155th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 14th
Core Stats: .287/.349/.462, .810 OPS, 116 OPS+, 10.7 dWAR
Core Accolades: 1964 NL MVP, 11-time All-Star, five Gold Gloves, two Top 5 MVP finishes

Extremely strong two-way player, another devastatingly good third baseman who’s been well overlooked.


Kevin Brown
Starting Pitcher
Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles

(1977-95)
bWAR: 67.8
fWAR: 76.5
WARP: 80.1
aWAR: 74.8
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 91st
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 50th
Core Stats: 3.28 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 127 ERA+, 3.33 FIP
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finishes

Perhaps akin to Allen, Brown’s carpetbagger status in the game sullies what is an absolutely potent Hall of Fame resume. Roy Halladay was elected on his first ballot, while Brown was kicked to the curb.


David Cone
Starting Pitcher
New York Mets, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox

(1986-2003)
bWAR: 62.3
fWAR: 56
WARP: 71.5
aWAR: 63.3
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 115th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 64th
Core Stats: 3.46 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, 121 ERA+, 3.57 FIP
Core Accolades: 1994 Cy Young, five-time All-Star, three Top 5 Cy Young finishes

A dominant arm who perhaps didn’t quite stand out enough in a Roger Clemens-Pedro Martinez era, Cone was a consistently-elite money pitcher, period.


Willie Davis
Center Fielder
Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, California Angels

(1960-79)
bWAR: 60.7
fWAR: 53.7
WARP: 55.1
aWAR: 56.5
aaWAR: 58
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 211th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 16th
Core Stats: 2.561 hits, 398 stolen bases, .279/.311/.412, .723 OPS, 106 OPS+, 11.1 dWAR
Core Accolades: Two-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves

A speed and defense merchant who is almost alone on this ballot as such. Davis had longevity and legit status as a glue member of perennial contending teams.


Jim Edmonds
Center Fielder
St. Louis Cardinals, Angels, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds

(1993-2010)
bWAR: 60.4
fWAR: 64.5
WARP: 67.1
aWAR: 64
aaWAR: 64.9
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 144th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 15th
Core Stats: 393 home runs, .284/.376/.527, .903 OPS, 132 OPS+
Core Accolades: Four-time All-Star, eight Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger, two Top 5 MVP finishes

A highlight-reel defender with a potent power bat to boot.


Darrell Evans
Third Baseman/First Baseman
San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers

(1969-89)
bWAR: 60.4
fWAR: 64.5
WARP: 67.1
aWAR: 63.9
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 199th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 18th
Core Stats: 414 home runs, .248/.361/.431, .792 OPS, 119 OPS+
Core Accolades: Two-time All-Star

Another slight oddball on the list here, as primarily a power bat. Evans was overlooked during his career, and in retirement as well.


Dwight Evans
Right Fielder
Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles

(1972-91)
bWAR: 67.1
fWAR: 65.1
WARP: 69.2
aWAR: 67.1
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 138th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 15th
Core Stats: 385 home runs, .272/.370/.470, .840 OPS, 127 OPS+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, eight Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, two Top 5 MVP finishes

Evans has managed to be underrated despite some high-profile postseason appearances and status as nearly a career Red Sox player. A devastating all-around player.


Chuck Finley
Starting Pitcher
California Angels, Cleveland, St. Louis Cardinals

(1986-2002)
bWAR: 57.9
fWAR: 56.9
WARP: 49.9
aWAR: 54.9
aaWAR: 56.9
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 190th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 79th
Core Stats: 3.85 ERA 2,610 K, 1.376 WHIP, 115 ERA+, 3.91 FIP
Core Accolades: Five-time All-Star

While certainly not the most imposing candidate on this ballot, Finley was a legitimate force and a premier southpaw for more than a decade.


Bobby Grich
Second Baseman
California Angels, Baltimore Orioles

(1970-86)
bWAR: 71.1
fWAR: 69.1
WARP: 53.1
aWAR: 64.4
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 83rd
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 8th
Core Stats: .266/.371/.424, .794 OPS, 125 OPS+
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, one Gold Glove

One of several poster children for both the tendency of writers to miss Hall-worthiness in front of their own eyes and the redemption of hallowed careers thanks to the advance of sabermetrics. The same case made to get Ted Simmons into the Hall will one day work for Grich.


Keith Hernandez
First Baseman
St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Cleveland

(1974-90)
bWAR: 60.4
fWAR: 59.4
WARP: 45.8
aWAR: 55.2
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 162nd
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 19th
Core Stats: .292/.384/.436, .821 OPS, 128 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1979 NL co-MVP, five-time All-Star, 11 Gold Gloves, two-time Silver Slugger, 1979 batting title, two Top 5 MVP finishes

Hernandez had a sneaky-great career that included a very strong second act in New York, after an initial run in St. Louis.


Tommy John
Starting Pitcher
Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, Cleveland, Oakland A’s

(1963-89)
bWAR: 61.5
fWAR: 79.4
WARP: 36.9
aWAR: 59.3
aaWAR: 60.7

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 201st
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 85th
Core Stats: 288 wins, 3.44 ERA, 1.283 WHIP, 111 ERA+, 3.38 FIP
Core Accolades: Four-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finishes

John is Exhibit A for the Jamie Moyer-type pitcher who simply never stopped pitching and piled up Hall-worthy numbers. That John was effective, even dominant, after the surgery that now bears his name adds an impressive wrinkle to his “piling up.”


Chet Lemon
Center Fielder
Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox

(1975-90)
bWAR: 55.6
fWAR: 52
WARP: 45.8
aWAR: 51.1
aaWAR: 53.2

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 186th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 20th
Core Stats: .273/.355/.442, .797 OPS, 121 OPS+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star

Like Bell, a double-take candidate who gets close to no consideration among voters, even among the veteran’s committees of baseball. Legendary range in the outfield. a consistent bat, and a mysterious illness that truncated his career all combine to make Lemon an intriguing Hall case.


Kenny Lofton
Center Fielder
Cleveland, Braves, Dodgers, Phillies, White Sox, Pirates, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Astros

(1991-2007)
bWAR: 68.3
fWAR: 62.4
WARP: 50.6
aWAR: 60.4
aaWAR: 63.8

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 100th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 10th
Core Stats: 622 stolen bases, .299/.372/.423, .794 OPS, 107 OPS+, 15.5 dWAR
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, four Gold Gloves, one Top 5 MVP finish

An elite center fielder who played center for a long time. Like Brown, his mercenary status hopping cities after Cleveland likely dinged his status among voters.


Mark McGwire
First Baseman
Oakland A’s, St. Louis Cardinals

(1986-2001)
bWAR: 62.2
fWAR: 66.3
WARP: 58.8
aWAR: 62.4
aaWAR: 63.6

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 137th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 18th
Core Stats: 583 home runs, .263/.394/.588, .982 OPS, 163 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1987 AL Rookie of the Year, 12-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, three Top 5 MVP finishes

PED controversies aside, McGwire put up numbers. There likely remain enough steroid purists out there to keep him far off of the ballot for years to come, but the numbers and rankings merit inclusion here.


Minnie Miñoso
Left Fielder
Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Washington Senators, St. Louis Cardinals

(1949-80)
bWAR: 50.5
fWAR: 50.8
WARP: 54.9
aWAR: 52.1
aaWAR: 57.5

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 229th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 22nd
Core Stats: .298/.389/.459, .848 OPS, 130 OPS+
Core Accolades: Nine-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, four Top 5 MVP finishes

Beyond his role as Mr. White Sox and trailbreaking status as the first great black Latino player in the majors, Miñoso has the numbers to merit induction. Institutional racism prevented Minnie from a full major league career, as he missed at least one All-Star level season in the majors while sequestered into the Negro Leagues.


Graig Nettles
Third Baseman
New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Cleveland, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos 

(1967-88)
bWAR: 68.0
fWAR: 65.7
WARP: 64.6
aWAR: 66.1
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 126th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 12th
Core Stats: 390 home runs, .248/.329/.421, .750 OPS, 110 OPS+, 21.4 dWAR
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves, one Top 5 MVP finish, 1981 ALCS MVP

Yet another incredible bat that doubled as a killer defender, Nettles has an advantage over Bell and Boyer due to successive, high-profile defensive highlights with the Yankees in the postseason.


Rafael Palmeiro
First Baseman
Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs 

(1985-2005)
bWAR: 71.9
fWAR: 70
WARP: 64.4
aWAR: 68.8
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 131st

JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 12th
Core Stats: 3,020 hits, 569 home runs, .288/.371/.515, .885 OPS, 132 OPS+
Core Accolades: Four-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, one Top 5 MVP finish

More PED taint, yes, but Palmeiro has an even more compelling case for the Hall than McGwire. An elite bat, solid glove, and great longevity.


Willie Randolph
Second Baseman
New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates 

(1975-92)
bWAR: 65.9
fWAR: 62.1
WARP: 52.8
aWAR: 60.3
aaWAR: 61.3
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 136th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 17th
Core Stats: .276/.373/.351, .724 OPS, 104 OPS+, 20.2 dWAR
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, Silver Slugger

Another easily-overlooked player, which is somewhat shocking given a career largely in the Bronx. 


Rick Reuschel
Starting Pitcher
Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees 

(1972-91)
bWAR: 69.5
fWAR: 68.2
WARP: 42.3
aWAR: 60
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 93rd

JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 49th
Core Stats: 3.37 ERA, 1.275 WHIP, 114 ERA+, 3.22 FIP
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves, three Top 5 Cy Young finishes

Perhaps the consummate overlooked candidate. The only area Reuschel can be dinged is “elite status,” because he rarely reached such air despite three Top 5 Cy Youngs.


Pete Rose
First Baseman/Left Fielder/Third Baseman/Second Baseman/Right Fielder
Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos 

(1963-86)
bWAR: 79.7
fWAR: 80.1
WARP: 73.2
aWAR: 77.7
aaWAR: 79
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 5th

Core Stats: 3,562 games, 4,256 hits, 2.165 runs, .303/.375/.409, .784 OPS, 118 OPS+
Core Accolades: All-time games and hits leader, 1973 NL MVP, 1963 NL Rookie of the Year, 17-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger, four Top 5 MVP finishes, 1975 World Series MVP

Obviously Rose has the numbers to be in the Hall, as an all-time great, so his inclusion here is more a referendum on whether unsavory and/or banned actions off the field should affect enshrinement status on it. If not elected, Rose will be joined on the ballot next year by Joe Jackson, in a similar test.


Bret Saberhagen
Starting Pitcher
Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies 

(1984-2001)
bWAR: 58.8
fWAR: 55.3
WARP: 54.4
aWAR: 56.2
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 142nd

JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 70th
Core Stats: 3.34 ERA, 1.141 WHIP, 126 ERA+, 3.27 FIP
Core Accolades: 1985 and 1989 AL Cy Young, three-time All-Star, Gold Glove, one Top 5 Cy Young finish, 1985 World Series MVP

Perhaps the anti-Reuschel candidate, as Saberhagen had runs of elite pitching but a touch less longevity and overall dominance.


Reggie Smith
Right Fielder/Center Fielder
Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants 

(1966-82)
bWAR: 64.6
fWAR: 64.6
WARP: 68.1
aWAR: 65.8
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 129th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 16th
Core Stats: .287/.366/.489, .855 OPS, 137 OPS+
Core Accolades: Seven-time All-Star, Gold Glove, two Top 5 MVP finishes

Another consummate glue guy and elite power bat. Again, his own teammates Steve Garvey and Ron Cey seem to merit more consideration for the Hall in spite of less-worthy resumes.


Luis Tiant
Starting Pitcher
Boston Red Sox, Cleveland, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels 

(1964-82)
bWAR: 66
fWAR: 54.8
WARP: 41.5
aWAR: 54.1
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 111th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 57th
Core Stats: 3.30 ERA, 1.199 WHIP, 114 ERA+, 3.47 FIP
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finish, one Top 5 MVP finish

Tiant’s case is bolstered (though not a determination for his inclusion here) by some heroic postseason pitching and extremely colorful personality.


Joe Torre
Catcher/First Baseman/Third Baseman
Atlanta Braves, St.Louis Cardinals, New York Mets

(1960-77)
bWAR: 57.6
fWAR: 62.3
WARP: 51.9
aWAR: 57.3
aaWAR: 57.4

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 176th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 24th
Core Stats: 2.342 hits, .297/.365/.452, .817 OPS, 129 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1971 NL MVP, nine-time All-Star, Gold Glove, one Top 5 MVP finish, Hall of Fame Manager

Yes, Torre is already in the Hall as a manager, but he has an even stronger case as a player. His ability to dominate at a grueling position like catcher, then shift into a second elite career at another position(s) should not be taken lightly.


Lou Whitaker
Second Baseman
Detroit Tigers

(1977-95)
bWAR: 75.1
fWAR: 68.1
WARP: 48.5
aWAR: 63.9
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 76th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 13th
Core Stats: 2.369 hits, .276/.363/.426, .789 OPS, 117 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1978 Rookie of the Year, five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, three-time Gold Glove

While not the biggest lock of a candidate on this list necessarily, his idiotic bypassing by the Veteran’s Committee just last week helps fuel votes like this. You’d think almost no one thinks Whitaker is not a Hall-of-Famer at this point, certainly not if Alan Trammell is. But just enough folks on a solitary, punch-dunk Vet Committee just did, so labor on we must.


The ballot: Keep in mind that you can vote for up to 10 players, but review your selections before clicking [VOTE], because you can’t edit after the fact.

[poll id=”13″]