Friday, January 11, 2013

Your Handy-Dandy Guide To the Guys Who Failed To Get Into the Hall of Fame Yesterday, Part 2

The players we examined yesterday, by and large, got votes.

The players we will examine today, by and large, did not. But, since we don't want them to feel left out, here goes:

Who: Sandy Alomar
Hall of Fame Case: Catcher for the teams of the Cleveland Renaissance. 6-time All Star, Gold Glove and Rookie of the Year winner. Brother Roberto is in the Hall, and the Hall loves brother acts (See: Waner, Lloyd)
Why He Didnt Get In: Broke down more often than Sally Field at the Oscars. Only a handful of seasons with 400+ ABs. Spent half his career as a backup, and that’s kind of missing the point of the Hall.

Who: Julio Franco
Hall of Fame Case: Machine-like hitter who excelled in his 20s, 30s and 40s, and who probably could still hit .270 with decent pop if he thought about it. Oldest position player to do, well, everything. 5 time Silver Slugger winner. OPS+ equals Craig Biggio’s.
Why He Didnt Get In: Didn’t hit enough home runs. Hall has a strict “no ageless death-warriors from the dawn of time” policy. Nobody’s convinced he’s not going to show up at spring training somewhere and win a job.

Who: David Wells
Hall of Fame Case: Pitched a perfect game. A better big game pitcher than Jack Morris.  Won more games than Catfish Hunter or Sandy Koufax. Ate three deserving Hall of Fame candidates whole while pitching in New York.
Why He Didnt Get In: Had an ERA over 4. Sweated all over Babe Ruth’s hat.

Who: Steve Finley
Hall of Fame Case: Star-caliber center fielder who popped over 300 home runs while playing in big parks. 
Why He Didnt Get In: Played with known juicer Ken Caminiti, had suspicious late-career power surge when he’d lost bat speed and started sitting dead red every pitch. Frequently confused with Chuck Finley, earning him the ire of voters who think the last few seasons of Burn Notice have sucked asphalt through a straw.

Who: Shawn Green
Hall of Fame Case: Slugging right fielder who won a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove. Nice Jewish boy who could totally have been something useful, like an orthodontist, instead.
Why He Didnt Get In: Was referred to as “Beavis” by his manager in Toronto. His last year as a beast was at age 29. Still has time to become an orthodontist after all. 

Who: Aaron Sele
Hall of Fame Case: Former overhyped Red Sox prospect who had a nice run around the turn of the century. Once pitched in New York
Why He Didnt Get In: Because only one idiot voted for him, thank God.

Who: Jeff Cirillo
Hall of Fame Case: High-average infielder for Brewers and Rockies. 2 time All-Star. Once hit .326 two years running.
Why He Didnt Get In: Could only hit while playing for teams whose uniforms were purple, leaving him a lot of terrible seasons playing for Seattle, San Diego, Arizona and so forth. “Most comparable” player is Joe Randa. ‘nuff said.

Who: Jeff Conine
Hall of Fame Case: Nicknamed “Mister Marlin”. Is the most popular player in the history of the franchise, which, admittedly, ain’t saying much. Was once a national racquetball champion, and no one else in the Hall of Fame can say that. Was All-Star Game MVP one year. OK, I’m stretching.
Why He Didnt Get In: Being the archetypal Marlin still means you spent most of your career as a Marlin, and it’s not like there’s been a hell of a lot of competition. 

Who: Reggie Sanders
Hall of Fame Case: Sweet-hitting, smooth-fielding outfielder predicted to be the next Eric Davis. 300+ HR, 300+ SB. Only guy to have a 20+ HR season for 6 different teams. Set record with 10 RBI in 2005 NLDS. 
Why He Didnt Get In: Injuries put enough drag on his career that he never got the counting stats he needed. Lengthy journeyman phase obscured how good he was. Looks really goofy on his Upper Deck rookie card.

Who: Royce Clayton
Hall of Fame Case: Highly touted Giants prospect who hung around for a long time. 71st all time in strikeouts. If you’re not a pitcher, this is bad.
Why He Didnt Get In: Played until he was 37 and never had a league-average season with the bat. 

Who: Roberto Hernandez
Hall of Fame Case: Possibly the archetypal ‘90s reliever - racked up a bunch of saves for one team, then bounced around for a decade afterwards. Had an ERA of 0.00 in the playoffs at age 41. Saved more games than Joe Table, which is why he’s higher on the list.
Why He Didnt Get In: Spent three years in Tampa rocking the van art-quality Devil Rays uniforms. Was rarely good enough for anyone to want to keep him around for more than a season or two. Not even interesting enough to make fun of.

Who: Ryan Klesko
Hall of Fame Case: Ginormous masher for some pretty good Atlanta Braves teams. Didn’t immediately lose all his power when he went to San Diego. Stole a bunch of bases. Better than you remember.
Why He Didnt Get In: “Better than you remember” still doesn’t necessarily add up to “pretty good”.

Who: Todd Walker
Hall of Fame Case: Superb college ballplayer at LSU. Occasionally mistaken for Larry Walker by voters who haven’t actually covered baseball since Michael Dukakis had a bright future ahead of him.
Why He Didnt Get In: Very few people actually confused him with Larry Walker

Who: Rondell White
Hall of Fame Case: Power-and-speed outfielder for the Expos in the Tim Raines mold. 
Why He Didnt Get In: Had some power and some speed, but not a lot of either. “In the mold” is a nice way of saying “not as good as”.

Who: Jose Mesa
Hall of Fame Case: 321 saves and a 2nd-place finish in the Cy Young voting one year. Kept showing up as the closer for contending teams. Had a beard that would kill a man in Reno just to watch him die. Official nickname was “Joe Table”, which was awesome. Unofficial nickname was supposedly “Wild Turkey”, after his beverage of choice, which is also awesome, but in a different way. Had legendary beef with slick-fielding hobbit Omar Vizquel.
Why He Didnt Get In: Once, while I was watching a Phillies game, the ninth inning rolled around and Mesa marched out of the bullpen. My wife, who was watching the game with me and who knew almost nothing of baseball at the time, looked at the television in horror. “Is that Joe Table? Why are they sending in Joe Table? What did the other pitcher do wrong?”
I think that sums things up nicely.

Who: Woody Williams
Hall of Fame Case: The Toy Story movies were awesome. 
Why He Didnt Get In: That’s not pitching, it’s throwing with attitude. And not very hard.

Who: Mike Stanton
Hall of Fame Case: Saved 27 games in 1993, then stuck around for another decade and a half. Played for the Yankees, Red Sox and Braves, nailing the trifecta of Most Hated Teams with rare panache. 
Why He Didnt Get In: Giancarlo-who-used-to-be-Mike, maybe. Mike, no.

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