1978 Topps Burger King #8 and #15
When the Modern Era committee elected Jack Morris and Alan Trammell into the National Baseball Hall of Fame last weekend, baseball enthusiasts around the country celebrated and rightfully so.
Both of their names have consistently been brought up in Hall of Fame debates over the past few years.
I was happy for both of these guys and their fans. However there was a part of me that was bummed that Baseball's Hall of Very Good lost two of their prominent members. So tonight, I thought I'd dig through my collection and choose five of my favorite Hall of Very Good members.
2001 Topps Gallery Autographs #GABB
1985 Topps/Renata Galasso #1
1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC4
Now before I begin... I want to clarify that guys like Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, and Roger Clemens were excluded from this list, because they're being kept out of the Hall of Fame for reasons outside of player performance.
Tonight I'm just listing guys whose career numbers have been debated for years... and up until now... they've fallen short of Cooperstown.
#1: Dave Parker
1976 Topps #185
The 1978 NL MVP is a two-time batting champion who hit .290 and 339 home runs over 19 seasons. He was a 7x all-star, 3x Gold Glove Award winner, and a 3x Silver Slugger Award winner. If that weren't enough... he had a cannon for an arm.
I've heard that Parker has been kept out of Cooperstown because of his struggles with cocaine. Well... Raines got the nod. Maybe one day The Cobra will too.
#2: Ted Simmons
Leaf Certified Autographed Baseball
I've gotta admit something. I don't remember seeing Simmons play during his years in St. Louis, but I do remember him having a few good years in Milwaukee.
I also read a really good writeup about Simmons a while back and was blown away. I couldn't understand why for years his name was buried among other semistars in our hobby. He has a .285 career batting average, hit 248 home runs, and drove in 1,389 runs. He was also an 8x all-star during his twenty-one year career. That's pretty impressive.
#3: Thurman Munson
1971 Topps #5
Okay. The Walrus may not have the career numbers for Cooperstown, but this guy had one helluva career. I'm gonna guess that there are plenty of baseball fans who feel that he was well on his way to punching his ticket had he not passed away at such a young age.
#4: Steve Garvey
1985 O-Pee-Chee #177
1987 Topps #100
How many guys can say that they're a 10x NL all-star who won an MVP Award and four Gold Gloves? I honestly have no idea, but I'm guessing that most are enshrined in Cooperstown. I know of one guy who fits the description who isn't: Garvey.
#5: Tony Oliva
2004 Sweet Spot Signatures #63
A few years ago, I read an interesting article in Baseball Digest about Tony Oliva and his amazing rookie season. By the time I was finished reading it, I was bummed that I never got a chance to actually see him play.
He was an AL all-star from 1964 to 1971. During that time he led the AL in hits five times, won three batting titles, and won the 1964 AL ROY Award. Over the course of 15 seasons, he had a career .304 batting average and collected 1,917 hits. That's definitely Hall of Very Good worthy.
Okay. There's my list of my favorite players who had really good careers, but not quite "Cooperstown" good.
Who are some of your favorites?
And do you think any of my five will eventually get elected?
Only time will tell. Until then, they're proud members of Baseball's Hall of Very Good.
Happy Saturday and sayonara!