Here comes a bakers-dozen-plus-one list (additionally, two not quite on the shortlist, but who ought to be considered) of figures I (Evander) would like to see in The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Let the barroom brawl begin.
1. Gil Hodges. C’mon voters! A great player, one of the so-called Boys of Summer, who would pilot one of the most famous, joyous baseball teams ever: the 1969 New York Mets.
2. Pete Rose. Wake up! He has the most hits of all time. Even if banned from baseball, his career is unparalleled.
3. Roger Maris. How much more “famous” can anyone be?
4. Thurman Munson. I never had a doubt, for a minute, that he was better, fiercer, than HOFers Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter.
5. Denny McLain. When will a pitcher win thirty games again, as he did in 1968? No Boy Scout? Cf. Ty Cobb. Short career? Cf. Dizzy Dean and Sandy Koufax.
6. Spud Chandler. Truncated career during the World War II era should not work against him.
7. Tony Oliva. Would flirt with .400 if he were playing in the 1990s-2000s.
8. Tommy John. Hello! The surgery that carries his name makes him a household word.
9. Jim Kaat. Hello! Like Tommy John, won a staggering number of games and might have been the greatest fielding pitcher ever.
10. Marvin Miller. Hello! Come writers and critics throughout the land, don’t criticize what you can’t understand.
11. Jack Morris. A terrific pitcher, he may make it yet.
12. Billy Martin. Controversial (to say the least) player and skipper.
13. George Steinbrenner. Even more controversial and less compelling in his prime, but changed the economics of baseball. Like Jack Morris, he may yet be elected.
14. Curt Flood. A premier center fielder that did the most to liberate players from owners.
The late Ron Santo as well as Graig Nettles (I know: He batted under .250) surely also deserve consideration.
Guys this list is abysmal, a bunch of famous Yankees and guys who were one or even two steps below Hall of Fame caliber (Hodges #1? The guy wasn’t as good as Dave Parker and no one is advocating Cobra for the Hall).
#1 on any list right now should be Tim Raines by the way – at least he has to make the list! Still the single most electrifying player I have ever seen, Raines and Vlad Guerrero.
Cub fans thank you for including Santo on the list. Have meany memories of his diving catches, rocket-like throws, and tremendous enthusiasm. Bill James ranks him the seventh greatest shortstop of all time.