Randy S. Robbins

Randy S. Robbins


A Philadelphia-area native—well, I wasn't actually here when William Penn arrived—my passions for sports and writing intersected long ago. A love of sports history and a photographic memory for the backs of bubblegum cards and sports encyclopedias fuel my desire to write about the personalities, events, and statistics of the four major sports, using both hard fact and humor. My articles and op-eds (both sports-related and not) have been published in newspapers across the country, as well as several magazines. For more constructive time-killing, including more sports-related musings, check out my blog, Mount Drinkmore, at http://mountdrinkmore.blogspot.com/. Follow me on Twitter: @RandySRobbins or check in anytime at https://twitter.com/RandySRobbins.

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  • Randy S. Robbins posted 1458 days ago

    Randy S. Robbins

    Hi Rodney. Sorry, I did not see your question until today.

    Although Gates sadly passed away in September, I cannot revise my assertion that he is not deserving of Hall of Fame consideration -- not that a player's death should ever have any bearing on his Hall-worthiness. Yes, Gates was a skillful hitter and still holds the American League record for pinch hits (107) and pinch-hit home runs (16), but he was a part-time player who averaged only 81 games a season. And apart from his 1968 and 1971 seasons, he was not what could be considered an impact hitter.

    To be sure, Gates's 1968 effort was legendary, pinch-hitting at a .450 clip and batting .370 on the season, with a number of timely hits down the stretch. However, it can't be said that he was "instrumental in the '68 World Series" -- Gates came to bat only once (and made an out). He certainly played a big role in Detroit getting to the Series -- and he was a fan favorite during a difficult and dangerous summer for the city -- but Gates played virtually no role in the Series, itself.

    Combined with how few games he played, Gates's totals aside from his 1968 and 1971 seasons are, frankly, pedestrian. There are literally hundreds of players more deserving of Hall of Fame consideration who still fall short. (To put Gates's totals in perspective, he collected only 35 more hits in his career than perhaps the greatest PITCHER in history, Walter Johnson; Johnson even tops Gates in doubles and triples.)

    One of the Hall's biggest problems is that it has already been watered down with several dozen selections who clearly don't belong there. With all respect both to Gates and you, it would do great harm to the Hall's already-damaged integrity to induct a player of Gates's modest accomplishments. He was an excellent pinch-hitter...but the Hall of Fame exists for -- or is intended to exist for -- the game's greats. Like many other players who were merely good and/or beloved, Gates is to be remembered fondly. And I'm sure he is.

    Thank you for your comment and for reading the article, Rodney.

  • Rodney Williams posted 1486 days ago

    Rodney Williams

    I know you wrote a piece on Gates Brown lat year and the Hall of Fame, any thoughts of reconsidering? Think after his passing it would be fitting sice he still does hold a number of records and was instrumental in the 68 Word Series