Also Read: Japanese in Cooperstown?
The Lucky 39:Hall of Fame Picks: Some Great Ones And Some QuestionsMark your own Negro Leagues Hall of Fame ballot Sex, Gambling, and Cooperstown
THE HALL AND THE VETS
By John B Holway
My friend and rival columnist, Tim Joyce, has asked my opinion of the coming Hall of Fame vets' elections, specifically my opinion of Rich Allen, Ron Santo, and Daryl Evans. Here's my reply:
That's an interesting subject. But I lived in an American league city, Washington, most of my life. So the only one I saw in person was Hodges, and that was only a game or two, plus World Series TV, though those memories aren't as keen as seeing them in person.
You know more about Allen and Santo than I do. You make a good case for Richie. But I have always considered Santo not quite Cooperstown material. Same with Evans, though you cite interesting defensive numbers.
I do feel New York has far more than its fair share of Hall of Famers already. Boston won more games than anybody 1946-50 and has only two Hall of Famers, Ted and Doerr. Others, who won less games, have 5-6-7 in the Hall . Even Cleveland, Detroit, and St Louis have more from that era than Boston.
Still not satisfied, New Yorkers are pushing for Hodges too. But he played in such a bandbox - a 348-foot "power" alley in left. And don't forget his .000 in the Series. If Ted had gone .000, you bet no one would be allowed to forget it. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver brought up his .200 Series last week.
Why isn't Johnny Pesky in? One of the best hitting shortstops ever. Phil Rizzuto and PeeWee Reese are in, because they're New Yorkers, though they hit 40 points less than Johnny. He never held the ball - look at the game film.
Where's Dom, a clone of Richie Ashburn?
And Cecil Travis? He wore a "W" on his hat, so of course he is not in. If he'd played in Yankee Stadium, he'd have skimmed ten balls a year into the Porch. That's ten extra hits, or 20 extra points on his average.
Here's another one - Duch Leonard. He won more games than Lefty Gomez, and Dutch played for a last-place team, Goofy for a first-place team. Again, anyone with a "W" on his hat is automatically not good enough for Cooperstown.
And Pesky, Dom, and Cecil lost years in the Service. Pesky and Travis would have hit even vets' igher if they'd played those years, potentially their best years, like Ted. Both would be up there with Honus Wagner and Arky Vaughan as the top hitting shortstops of all time.
I asked the Hall to hold a special induction for war-time veterans who would be dying soon. It told me where I could shove my idea. None of the players were New Yorkers, or they might have bought it.
In their last election, the veterans' committee picked Joe Gordon. They'd prefer a dead Yankee instead of a living Red Sox.
It's still not too late for Pesky. But I wouldn't waste too much more time.