Hall of Fame Candidates Nos. 9-3
As promised, we continue today with our rundown of the Hall of Fame candidates. Two veterans committees—the Early Era Baseball Committee and the Golden Days Committee—are supposed to meet on Sunday to vote on 20 candidates for the Hall. The countdown to Sunday continues here, and will conclude on the day of the vote:
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No. 9: Ken Boyer
Hall of Fame history: Was on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years, getting as much as 25.5% of the vote.
Veterans committee history:
2003 veterans: 13.6%
2005 veterans: 18.8%
2007 veterans: 11%
2012 Golden Era Ballot: fewer than three votes.
2015 Golden Era Ballot: fewer than three votes
I’ve always been very sympathetic toward Ken Boyer’s Hall of Fame case. Normally, I cannot sum up my Hall of Fame feelings by simply comparing one player to another, but I do believe this comparison is so striking that it bears repeating:
Player A: .285/.344/.452, 114 OPS+, 282 homers, 1,318 runs, 1,061 RBIs, 344 stolen bases, 9 Gold Gloves, 1 MVP, 67.9 bWAR.
Player B: .287/.349/.462, 116 OPS+, 282 homers, 1,103 runs, 1,141 RBIs, 105 stolen bases, 5 Gold Gloves, 1 MVP, 62.8 bWAR.
There doesn’t seem to be much to separate Players A and B. Both were very good hitters with power, both were elite defenders, both won an MVP award. Yes, Player A did play a little bit longer and he was faster. But Player B was a key to a World Series title, something Player A sadly never could accomplish.
You probably figured it out—Player A is Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and Player B is Boyer, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the big reason Sandberg is in and Boyer is not is because Sandberg was a second baseman. They did the same things, but Sandberg’s power stood out more because he was a second baseman, his defense stood out more because he was a second baseman, etc. Third basemen, unless they’re Schmidt, Brett or Chipper, simply do not impress Hall of Fame voters. I don’t agree.
But here’s the thing I would add about Boyer: His case has been heard and denied. I’m not saying that’s fair. But I am saying that he was on the Hall of Fame ballot 15 times, he’s been on various ballots five more times, and he has never come close to being elected. At some point, it’s time to give other people a chance.
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