Jim Rice Opens the Door to Other Not So All-Time Greats

John GrayCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2009

Congratulations to Jim Rice.  He was one of my favorites growing up and his son was my brother's roommate in college before they both dropped out.  I loved watching Jim Rice play, but does he belong in the same room as Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Cy Young?

Granted I don't think Robin Yount, George Brett, Paul Molitor, or Bill Mazeroski belong either.

Aside from the one's on the bubble that still have a chance to get into Baseball's Hall of Fame, like Andre Dawson and Lee Smith, it is very interesting to review who is missing that are no longer eligible or most likely won't get in versus some of the players who are in.

Some of the great players that come to my mind since the 1990 votings

Steve Garvey - 10 all star games, 6 200-hit seasons, 4 Gold Gloves & 5-100 RBI's

Dwight Evans - From 1980 through 1989, Evans hit more home runs (256) than any other player in the American League. He also led the A.L. in extra base hits over the same period of time. He is the only player to hit 20 or more home runs during every season of the 80's (1980-1989).

Only 3x All-star due to Rice, Yax & Lynn on team, but 8x Gold Glove which ties Dawson for tops.

Fred Lynn - Nine Time All-Star 4x Gold Glove, His 306 career home runs placed him behind only Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, Jr., Bottom of FormMickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Dale Murphy, Joe DiMaggio, Jim Edmonds, and Andruw Jones among center fielders. In his 17-year career, Lynn batted .283 with 1111 RBI, 1960 hits, 1063 runs, 306 home runs 388 doubles, 43 triples, and 72 stolen bases in 1969 games.

Darrell Evans - 414 Home Runs, hitting over 20 home runs in 10 different seasons, 11th in All-time walks. Described by author Bill James as the most underrated player in baseball history,

Dale Murphy - Murphy won two MVPs, was awarded five consecutive Gold Gloves and had a dozen 20-homer seasons.  398 career HRs.

Harold Baines - 2866 Hits and 384 Home Runs. One mediocre season from the immortal 400 HRs and 300 hits. Would he have been denied the HOF then?

Albert Belle - 381 Hrs in 12 seasons. Seven seasons over 35 dingers.  295 career avg. 5x all-star & 5x silver slugger.

David Justice - 305 home runs, 903 walks and 1017 RBI in 1610 games.  From 1991 to his last season in 2002, Justice's teams made the postseason every year (with the exception of the strike-shortened 1994 season). Of those times, he made the World Series six times, winning twice.

Rob Nenn - 314 Saves (four more than Goose) . Forced to retire due to injury at the age of 32.

Tommy John - 288 Wins is 6th highest total among left-handers in major league history. 3.34 career ERA.  3x 20 game winner. 4x all star. Famous Tommy John surgery in mid-career in 1974 lessened win totals.

Darryl Strawberry - 335 HR's (280 in first 9 years). 8x All-Star on 4 WS Champs

Chili Davis - First ballplayer born in Jamaica to appear in a major league game, and is arguably the greatest Jamaican baseball player in MLB history. In a 19-year career, Davis was a .274 hitter with 350 home runs and 1372 RBI in 2436 games. 3x All-Star & 3x WS Champ.  

Among switch-hitters, only Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray, and Chipper Jones have more career home runs than Davis' 350.

Joe Carter - 5x All-Star, 2x WS Champ, 395 HR's and 1445 RBI's.  He was the first (only?) player to record 100 RBIs for three different teams in three consecutive seasons.

Vince Coleman - 2x All-Star 752 SB's.  1985 ROY.  Coleman led the National League in stolen bases in every season he played with the Cardinals (1985-1990), becoming one of just four players ever to lead his league in six consecutive seasons. The other players to accomplish this feat are Rickey Henderson, Luis Aparicio, and Maury Wills.

Coleman is also one of only four people (with Henderson, Wills, and Lou Brock) to steal 100 bases in a season, one of only two people (with Henderson) to do it three times, and the only person to do it in three consecutive years.  Holds an MLB record with 50 consecutive stolen bases without being caught stealing

Jim Kaat - 283 wins (Lefty Picther)  16x Gold Gloves  3x All-Star. 1966 Pitcher of the Year. 5x 18 Wins Seasons

Dave Righetti - Lefty 252 Saves  2x All_star, 2x Reliever of the Year.  Was the first player in history to both pitch a no-hitter and also lead the league in saves in his career.  He pitched strongly as a starter for the Yankees from 1981-83, winning the American League's Rookie of the Year award in 1981, and helping the Yankees reach the World Seriesthe same year.

In 1984, Righetti was moved to the Yankees' bullpen due to an excess of starters, and replaced Goose Gossage as the team's closer. He proved even more effective in relief, averaging 32 saves per season over the next seven years with the Yankees,

John Franco - 427 Saves is No. 3 all time

Randy Myers - 367 Saves is No. 7 all time

Jeff Reardon (367 Saves) Along with Jose Mesa, Jeff Reardon is the only pitcher to have 40-save seasons with three different teams (Montreal in 1985, Minnesota in 1988, Boston in 1980). He was also a four time All-Star who won the 1985 Rolaids Relief Man of the Year.

Mickey Lolich - 217 Wins. 3x All-Star. Winning 14 or more games for ten consecutive seasons, including 25 in 1971 and 22 in 1972. He also struck out 200 or more batters seven times during his career, and ranks third among left-handers (behind Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson) in career strikeouts with 2,832.

Ron Santo - He was named a National League All-Star 9 times during his 15 seasons of play (1960 - 1974), and won five consecutive Gold Glove awards for fielding excellence (1964-1968).  342 Hr's.

Bobby Bonds - Noted for his outstanding combination of power hitting and speed, he was the first player to have more than two seasons of 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases, doing so a record five times (the record was matched only by his son Barry), and was the first to accomplish the feat in both major leagues; he became the second player to hit 300 career home runs and steal 300 bases, joining Willie Mays.

A dangerous leadoff hitter, he also set major league records for most times leading off a game with a home run in a career (35) and a season (11, in 1973 ); both records have since been broken. He batted and threw right-handed.

Dick Allen -  Known as one of the sport's top right-handed power hitters of the 1960s and early 1970s. Most notably playing for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox, he led the American League in home runs twice, and led both leagues in slugging average (the AL twice) and on base percentage.   351 HR's. 7x All-Star

Tony Oliva - Oliva was elected to the All Star game his first eight seasons, surpassing Joe DiMaggio's previous record of six. Five-time Top 10 MVP (1964-66, 1970-71) 3-time won batting title (1964-65, 1971) 8-time Top 10 in batting average (1964-71)

Al Oliver - a career .303 hitter with 219 home runs and 1326 RBI in 2368 games. 7x All-Star. 3x Silver Slugger.  He batted .300 or more eleven times.

Bill Buckner - 2700 hits, 1200 RBI  1981 All-Star  1980 Batting Champ

George Foster - A 5-time All-Star (1976-'79, 1981), Foster was a member of the 1970s Big Red Machine, leading the league in home runs in 1977-78, runs batted in from 1976-78, and OPS in 1977.  In 1977, Foster hit 52 home runs, making him the only major league player to belt 50 or more homers in a single season during a 25-year period

Don Baylor - 338 HR's 285 SB's.  3x Silver Slugger. 1979 MVP.  1987 WS Champ.

Vida Blue - 209 Wins. 2175 K's. 3.27 ERA  6x All-Star  3x WS Champ  1971 Cy Young & MVP. 2x Pitcher of the Year

Ron Cey - 316 HR's 6x All-Star

Maury Wills - 5x All-Star 3x WS Champ  2x Gold Glove  In 14-seasons career, Wills batted .281 with 20 home runs, 458 runs batted in, 2134 hits, 1067 runs, 177 doubles, 71 triples, and 586 stolen bases in 1942 games.

Dave Kingman - The towering 6'6" Kingman became one of the most feared sluggers of the 1970s and 1980s.  442 HR's 3x All-Star  1210 RBI's

Sparky Lyle - 238 Saves.  Became the Yankees' bullpen ace, and established himself as one of the best relief pitchers of the 1970s, helping the Yankees to three straight pennants from 1976-1978 and winning the World Series the last two years.

In 1972, he saved 35 games, an American Leaguerecord at the time, and a major league record for left-handers; Ron Perranoski had set both marks in 1970, but John Hiller would surpass Lyle's total with 38 in 1973.

In 1972, Lyle also became the first southpaw to collect 100 saves in the American League. He also finished 3rd in the 1972 MVP voting.

Rico Petrocelli - 2x All_star  210 HR's. In 1968 and 1969 Petrocelli led the league shortstops in fielding percentage. In 1969 he set a record (since broken) for home runs by a shortstop with 40 and repeated as an All-Star. He had another good season in 1970, hitting 29 home runs and a high-career 103 RBI.

HOF Votes should have to be at least 50 years of age in order to have seen the careers of most of the players they are voting on.

Bill Mazeroski only received 32 percent of the vote in his last year of eligibility in 1991, but the veteran's committee let him in.

Not all the players above perhaps deserve to be in the Hall, but many are as good or better than those already there. I strongly think Dale Murphy, Andre Dawson, and Lee Smith deserve to get voted in. 

Dwight Evans should have been on the ballot longer with his 8 Gold Gloves alone let alone his 380+ Home Runs. A slappy like Craig Biggio does not belong in the Hall of Fame unless he buys a ticket, compared to most every player listed above.


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