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Cooperstown Ho!Beginning last week, we here at UmpBump set out on a quest to fix the Baseball Hall of Fame. First, we set out to discover which deserving players have been unjustly excluded from the eternal glory that is enshrinement Cooperstown. Our journey began last week as each of the UmpBump contributors made a case for one of the players not yet in the Hall who they feel should be.

First, Coley made the case for perennial ’80s pitching ace Jack Morris, whom he dubs “The Ultimate Winner.”

Alejandro followed with his argument on why Tim Raines‘s usage of cocaine was different from later players’ usage of steroids.

Paul then countered with his analysis of why Mark McGwire deserves enshrinement, “steroids be damned.”

Next, Sarah offered a paean to her childhood hero, the mighty Red Sox slugger Jim Rice.

Finally, I presented evidence for why the Hall of Fame should have a place for Gil Hodges, the player who received the most votes ever in his 15 years on the ballot without actually getting in.

Then, after each UmpBumper had made their case for their favorite player not yet in the Hall, we handed out virtual Hall of Fame Ballots to see if anyone was truly found worthy in the eyes of UmpBump as a whole. The rules were simple: 1) Vote for any player who has been retired for at least five years, whether they are currently on a ballot or not. 2) Vote as many times as you like.

The panel of voters consisted of UmpBumpers Sarah, Nick, Alejandro, Paul, and Coley, as well as loyal UmpBump readers Melissa, Rich, and Danny O. Here were the results (name and number of votes):

UmpBump voters favored Gossage.Goose Gossage – 7
Andre Dawson – 5
Gil Hodges – 4
Jack Morris – 4
Bert Blyleven – 3
Tommy John – 3
Roger Maris – 3
Tim Raines – 3
Jim Rice – 3
Ron Santo – 3
Rod Beck – 2
Albert Belle – 2
Andre Dawson Don Mattingly – 2
Mark McGwire – 2
Dale Murphy – 2
Buck O’Neil – 2
Pete Rose – 2
Luis Tiant – 2
Joe Torre – 2
Alan Trammell – 2
Harold Baines – 1
Dwight Evans – 1
Joe Gordon – 1
Ron Santo Shoeless Joe Jackson – 1
Davey Johnson – 1
Dave Justice – 1
Jim Kaat – 1
Chuck Knoblauch – 1
Sam Leever – 1
Mickey Lolich – 1
Minnie Minoso – 1
Deacon Phillippe – 1
Jimmy Scott – 1
Lee Smith – 1
Maury Wills – 1

As we can see, the overwhelming favorite and the only player to surpass the 75% threshold usually required for Hall induction was relief ace Goose Gossage, who appeared on 7 of 8 ballots cast (88%). Andre Dawson, Gil Hodges, and Jack Morris also had strong showings, and Bert Blyleven, Tommy John, Roger Maris, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, and Ron Santo also drew significant support.

Perhaps UmpBump will elect some of those other guys next year, but for now, only Goose Gossage has the UmpBump seal of approval for Hall of Fame induction. I think I speak for many of us here at UmpBump when I say that we would be very, very surprised if Gossage doesn’t get in this year. Everyone recognizes by now that it is perfectly legitimate to elect career relief pitchers into the Hall if they were truly great, and Gossage was certainly a much better pitcher than Bruce Sutter, who is already in.

Next time: UmpBump Fixes the Hall of Fame: Part II – Getting the Wrong People Out!

11 Responses to “UmpBump Fixes the Hall of Fame: Part 1 – Getting the Right People In”

  1. Alejandro Leal says:

    C’mon! Give rock a chance!

  2. I’m with you, Alejandro. I’m a bit surprised to see such little support from us UmpBumpers for Raines.

  3. Sarah Green says:

    ROD BECK?! TWO VOTES FOR ROD BECK? Is this a special UFH edition of the Hall of Fame or something?

    I know, the man died and it was sad. But that is no reason to put him in the Hall! I know this was supposed to be an anonymous ballot but I DEMAND THAT YOU SHOW YOURSELVES.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Also, random trivia about Deacon Phillippe: an ancestor of actor Ryan Phillippe, Reese and Ryan’s son Deacon is named after him.

  5. Sarah Green says:

    Jim Caple has an interesting screed today on the BBWAA and this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. His picks: Raines, Blyleven, Dawson, Gossage, Morris, Rice, Trammell, McGwire.

  6. Wait a second, hold on here: HOW IS IT THAT I AM THE ONLY PERSON THAT VOTED FOR LEE SMITH? Come one people, he is number two on the career list for saves and had a career ERA just a shade over 3.00!!! He averaged almost one K/inning! You know how many errors he made over his 18-year career? 4!!! That’s less than one for every Olympiad! Back-to-back winner of the highly coveted Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award in 91 and 92!!! How come no one remembers this guy?

  7. Nick Kapur says:

    Danny, I remember Lee Smith. I remember him as a good but not amazing pitcher, who was good but not amazing for many, many years.

    You can find any number of relievers with extremely similar stats to Smith. The only reason he is even considered for the Hall is that he happens to be second on the career saves list.

    So Lee Smith is only a Hall of Famer if you believe that the “save” as a stat means anything at all. I don’t.

  8. I am not a stat slave to the save, but I do think it is indicative of a reliever’s effectiveness. One of the relievers with similar stats to Lee Smith is Goose. And he got seven out of eight votes! And I think Smith is definitely more qualified than the UFH-sponsored Rod Beck, who got two votes.

  9. Still only 3/8 for Blyleven? Why does he get so little respect. If he’d won 13 more games, he’d have been a 1st ballot lock! 287 W, 118 ERAplus, 3701 K’s (3rd all-time when he retired).

    I get that he wasn’t Walter Johnson, but his top 3 comps are Sutton, Perry and Jenkins, all 3 HOF’ers, and his ERAplus is better than all 3!!!

  10. Nick Kapur says:

    Yeah, it’s amazing that Blyleven gets so little support. He’s fifth all-time in strikeouts (only Ryan, Carlton, Clemens, and Randy Johnson are ahead), ninth all-time in shutouts, 11th in games started, 13th in innings, and 26th in wins. Pretty much all the guys on either side of him on those lists are in the Hall of Fame.

    Blyleven is the anti-Sandy Koufax – insanely good career numbers but without the jaw-droppingly monstrous peak. Usually you are supposed to have both to make the Hall, but like Sandy, Blyleven should probably get in anyway because his career numbers are just that incredible.

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