15 Most Undeserving Inductions into the Baseball Hall of Fame
The Baseball Hall of Fame has supported many undeserving inductions. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), Veterans Committee and now-defunct Old Timers Committee all share the blame.
Electors have overlooked significant stats and shown biases through the generations. In other instances, they advocated individuals based on team success or rewarded them for gradually compiling their career numbers.
It's generally an effective system, but the following Hall of Famers should not be immortalized in Cooperstown, NY.
15. Phil Rizzuto (1941-1956)
Rizzuto's second career as a broadcaster led to his induction. AP Photo
Induction: 1994, Veteran's Committee.
The BBWAA has a 75 percent threshold that players must cross during their first 15 years on the ballot to gain induction. Former shortstop Phil Rizzuto never threatened to get there.
He had excellent bunting skills and defensive ability, but that wasn't enough. Aside from his 1950 AL MVP campaign (batted .324/.418/.439), Scooter was rather ordinary.
Rizzuto became immensely popular after retirement as a baseball broadcaster. His famous catchphrase was "Holy cow!"
Continuing to lead a public life made the difference for the seven-time world champion.
Comparable active player: Placido Polanco.
14. Andre Dawson (1976-1996)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Induction: 2010, BBWAA.
This outfielder is guilty of compiling to gain admittance.
Andre Dawson was already fading from the limelight when he achieved power-number milestones: 500 doubles, 400 home runs and 1500 runs batted in. Voters also liked that he stuck around for two full decades and participated in 2627 games.
In truth, "The Hawk" spent much of his career in hitter-friendly ballparks. Poor plate discipline limited his offensive worth and his fielding ability was always overrated.
Comparable active player: B.J. Upton.
13. Catfish Hunter (1965-1979)
Catfish Hunter. Walter Iooss Jr/SI
Induction: 1987, BBWAA.
Catfish Hunter enjoyed a brief stretch of excellence in the early 1970s. He perennially contended for the AL Cy Young Award—winning once—as a member of the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees.
Unfortunately, he came down from that peak too soon. Hunter never topped 150 innings pitched after his 30th birthday. The right-hander was off the mound entirely by age 33.
His lifetime 104 ERA+ (100 is average) reminds us that nobody yielded high run totals during that era.
Comparable active player: Cliff Lee.
12. Herb Pennock (1912-1934)
Herb Pennock. OOTP Developments
Induction: 1948, BBWAA.
Herb Pennock fooled the writers with his winning percentage. The perennially powerful New York Yankees lineup helped him to a 162-90 record during his 11 seasons with the team.
Pennock excelled in the World Series (5-0, 1.95 ERA, 0.85 WHIP in 10 G), but didn't stand out otherwise.
The left-hander relied on finesse and rarely generated swings-and-misses. He also pitched nearly one-third of his MLB games as a reliever.
Comparable active player: Livan Hernandez.
11. Jesse Haines (1918-1937)
Jesse Haines. OOTP Developments
Induction: 1970, Veteran's Committee.
Much of the same from Jesse Haines.
He didn't reach the big leagues until his mid-twenties and continued pitching past his usefulness to surpass 200 wins.
Haines rarely started 30 games in a season during an era when aces were expected to do so. The St. Louis Cardinals star had no ability to strike out the opposition, either.
Comparable active player: Livan Hernandez.
10. Jim Bottomley (1922-1937)
Jim Bottomley. OOTP Developments
Induction: 1974, Veteran's Committee.
Jim Bottomley's MLB career was a story of two decades—the 1920s and 1930s.
He started off as a productive middle-of-the-order presence. A teammate of the aforementioned Jesse Haines, this slugger facilitated St. Louis Cardinals rallies with extra-base hits (borderline Hall of Fame credentials).
However, he emerged from the stock market crash a lesser player. Bottomley averaged only nine home runs per season from 1930-1937, further hurting his teams as an incompetent first baseman.
Comparable active player: Ryan Howard.
9. Bruce Sutter (1976-1988)
Sutter never started an MLB game.
Dave Martin/Getty Images
Induction: 2006, BBWAA.
Forever indebted to baseball writer Jerome Holtzman, Bruce Sutter wouldn't have made the Hall of Fame without the save. Five times he topped the National League leaderboard in the invented statistic.
All-time great relievers ought to exhibit longevity and dominance to compensate for their light workloads.
However, he fell considerably short of matching Rollie Fingers or Goose Gossage in terms of appearances or October accomplishments.
Comparable active player: Huston Street.
8. Bill Mazeroski (1956-1972)
Bill Mazeroski had below-average offensive skills. Jim McKnight/AP Photo
Induction: 2001, Veteran's Committee.
The longtime Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman was an excellent defensive player, but little else.
Bill Mazeroski will forever be remembered for hitting a walk-off home run to clinch Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. Generally, though, he didn't contribute at the plate.
He launched only 138 bombs in parts of 17 MLB seasons. Maz's .299 career on-base percentage is the lowest of any enshrined position player.
Comparable active player: Brendan Ryan.
7. Lloyd Waner (1927-1945)
Waner, a glorified singles hitter, has a weak Hall of Fame case. Frank Russo
Induction: 1967, Veteran's Committee.
Initial success skewed Lloyd Waner's career numbers. He totaled plenty of triples as a young player, but eventually lost all ability to get the ball past opposing outfielders.
Durability became an issue midway through his career. Waner didn't stay healthy for 150 games in any of final 13 seasons.
His greatest distinction is being the brother of Paul Waner, a legitimate Hall of Famer.
Comparable active player: Denard Span.
6. Chick Hafey (1924-1937)
Hafey had just one season of at least 600 PA. OOTP Developments
Induction year: 1971, Veteran's Committee.
Chick Hafey abruptly fizzled out. He totaled just seven MLB seasons of at least 100 games.
Postseason ineptitude also works against him. Hafey failed to leave the yard in four World Series (92 plate appearances).
Comparable active player: Brad Hawpe.
5. Freddie Lindstrom (1922-1934)
Lindstrom, known for his batting skills, went .311/.351/.449 with 103 HR. MLB.com
Induction: 1976, Veteran's Committee.
Short careers do not disqualify Hall of Fame candidates. Just look at Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson.
But Freddie Lindstrom's abbreviated performance was far less noteworthy (103 HR, 779 RBI, 110 OPS+). The writers understood that and offered little support during his years on the ballot.
Fortunately, the once-forgotten slugger had help from the Veteran's Committee. Former teammate Frankie Frisch convinced his contemporaries to override BBWAA dissent.
Comparable active player: Troy Glaus.
4. Joe Tinker (1902-1916)
Joe Tinker. OOTP Developments
Induction: 1946, Old Timers Committee.
Joe Tinker struggled to make contact in his early twenties and never had the patience to draw walks.
His induction had more to with team success than individual value. Tinker's Chicago Cubs won four National League pennants, including the 1908 championship.
The turn-of-the-century shortstop was one of several suspect selections by the Old Timers Committee.
Comparable active player: Chone Figgins.
3. Tommy McCarthy (1884-1896)
Tommy McCarthy. OOTP Developments
Induction: 1946, Old Timers Committee.
Based on sabermetrics and traditional measures alike, Tommy McCarthy's induction is inexplicable. According to Baseball-Reference.com, the outfielder never had an extraordinary season.
He is credited with introducing the hit-and-run play. Perhaps ancestors of Joe Maddon or Mike Scioscia were on the committee?
Regardless, plenty of superior 1800s players have been snubbed.
Comparable active player: Michael Cuddyer.
2. Ray Schalk (1912-1929)
Schalk's best single-season WAR was 3.4 (via Baseball-Reference.com). OOTP Developments
Induction: 1955, Veteran's Committee.
Another extreme offensive liability (.253/340/.316 triple-slash line). His batting average is closer to Bob Gibson's than that of the typical Hall of Fame position player!
Despite a strong defensive reputation, he would've struggled to hold down an everyday job in today's game.
Schalk doesn't belong in Cooperstown.
Comparable active player: Jose Molina.
1. Charles Comiskey
Comiskey spent nearly 50 years in professional baseball. MLB Photos/Getty Images
Induction: 1939, Old Timers Committee.
His cruel treatment of players allegedly fueled the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal.
By many accounts, Charles Comiskey was frugal and dishonest. He didn't work to field a competitive team during his final decade as team owner.
Who cares if Comiskey helped form the American League? His actions and attitude made a mockery of the sport.
Comparable active executive: Jeffrey Loria.