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What happened?

That's a question asked frequently of a number of players who were, at least in some eyes, seen as "potential Hall of Famers" during their playing days.

Consider -- teammates Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were both mortal locks for Cooperstown once upon a time, but had ... issues. Albert Belle and Carlos Baerga, another pair of teammates, once played at Hall-worthy levels, at least for a time; they had issues, too, though not of the same sort as the vagabond Mets of yore.

Dave Kingman was never really a Hall-worthy player, though he hit home runs like one for a while. Don Mattingly -- nothing wrong with Donnie Baseball, he just plain hasn't been deemed worthy by voters thus far.

So there appear to be five "true outcomes" for those who fell by the HOF wayside ...

  1. Injury ended the career before true HOF standards were reached (Mark Fidrych, Tony Conigliaro)
  2. Career numbers took a steep falloff before true HOF standards were reached (Belle, Baerga --  you can still make an argument for Albert, though I wouldn't)
  3. Career numbers took a steep falloff due to self-induced issues (Gooden, Strawberry)
  4. Big names, big numbers, but not really a HOF candidate in the first place (Kingman, many others)
  5. Just short (at least so far) of being considered induction-worthy (Mattingly, Alan Trammell, Rich Gossage. Tommy John)

So here's your Question of the Day ...
Who fits these categories, as guys who you personaly once legitimately thought "He could be a Hall of Famer" but then ... he just ... wasn't. (And don't hesitate to "project" and include active players who seem likely to meet this same fate!)

More than just Blue Jays, oh ye true Blue fans who once saw Lloyd Moseby through a child-fan's eyes as a Hall of Famer for sure ... 

QOTD: What the Hall Happened? | 19 comments | Create New Account
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Ryan Day - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#171135) #

Belle's career ended due to a hip injury, didn't it?

Roberto Alomar is an interesting case. I think he's still a hall of famer, but not the sure-thing, slam-dunk he looked like early on.  He just totally lost it at age 34; if he could have been even an average player for a couple more years, he'd have ended up with 3000 hits and 500 steals, maybe 250 homers.

I kind of wonder what Tony Fernandez would look like if he'd spent his entire career in Toronto. He just didn't have quite the same magic with other teams.

Mike Green - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#171136) #
The early 20s superstars, Cesar Cedeno, Ruben Sierra, Vada Pinson (to a degree), who for some reason just took steps backwards rather than forwards.  What makes Cesar Cedeno take 2 steps backward from age 21 and Roberto Clemente take 10 steps forward?  It takes a wiser person than me to figure that out.
AWeb - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#171139) #
Mattingly belongs in the steep falloff category by my eye. Done by age 34, peaked in early 20's.

How about Roger Maris. Must've seemed like a shoo-in around 1962 or so.

John Olerud looked like he could've stuck around and tried to reach some milestones, but would be in a similar category to Mattingly.
Dale Murphy is one example that always comes up as one of the best examples of "geeze, what the hell happened to him"
Dave Stieb has been covered here extensively. Unlucky and got injured. Jesse Barfield : great at 25-26, never great again, done by 32.

zeppelinkm - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#171150) #
I always thought this about Juan Gonzalez. He seemed to put up insane numbers then one day I just completely stopped hearing about him.
Magpie - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#171153) #
I would think there's a sixth category - players who obviously are Hall-worthy, who were better players than many of the players at their position who are currently in the Hall - but haven't made the cut. Fred McGriff, Bobby Grich, Darrel Evans, Trammell and Whitaker.
Magpie - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#171154) #
The Sierra-Canseco trade seems to have permanently derailed two players who were both on the fast track to Cooperstown. Weird. Through age 25, both players have truly remarkable resumes.

Ron Guidry always seemed to me like a Hall of Famer. While he was certainly Hall of Fame quality - he started too late and finished too soon, and only had nine years as a top flight pitcher. Not quite sure where he fits in.

CeeBee - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#171160) #
And Tony of the best pure hitters of the mid 60's until knee injuries knocked him out.
GabrielSyme - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#171162) #
Another for the "just not enough" pile - Mark Grace - he never had the string of years where you thought HOFer, though.
daryn - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#171171) #
How about Joe Carter.
I love the guy, but he's "Rondell White" at best...

Could Ken Griffey Jr miss out?

daryn - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 08:54 PM EDT (#171172) #
yea, make the claim THEN do the research.
Joe hit 396HR's, Rondell 194,

That puts Joe in Andre Gallaragha (sp?) territory, Jim Rice... Tony Perez, Albert Belle..
I don't think that's HoF.. not in baseball...

Griffey is 13th all time and will pass Mantle with his next one..
so he'll make it...

but he's not going to be the top of the list, "best ever" like we all thought

daryn - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#171173) #
Yea ummmmm
I ran my research in last year's Laymans database,
so umm Griffey already passed Mickey...  you might have read that in the papers..

can I be banned from posting please?
ok, its my birthday, and I'm drinking a little.. maybe that explains it

CeeBee - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#171178) #
Happy Birthday Daryn... :)  Hope you don't have to work tomorrow ;)
HippyGilmore - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 11:21 PM EDT (#171182) #

I nominate Mark Grace for the Hall of Amazing Batting Eyes. 1.67 walks per strikeout for his career and an amazing 3.39 walks per strikeout in 2000.

Mike Green - Thursday, July 05 2007 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#171184) #
Eric Davis' age 28 BBREf comps tell half a story. He was better than any of them except perhaps Keller, but shared with Keller, Drew and Conigliaro an injury history.  Great player, if not a Hall of Famer due to lack of durability.
Matthew E - Friday, July 06 2007 @ 12:56 AM EDT (#171188) #
I was scrolling down through this thread, ready to pounce with 'Eric Davis', only to find that I was one post too late.

Eric Davis... how can I put this.

Eric Davis could have been greater than Ken Griffey Junior could have been.

Anders - Friday, July 06 2007 @ 01:59 AM EDT (#171190) #
yea, make the claim THEN do the research.
Joe hit 396HR's, Rondell 194,

Well, uh, looking at more of  the numbers

Joe Carter 396 HR, .259/.306/.464 (104 OPS+), 9154 PA
Rondell White 194 HR, .286/.338/.465, (108 OPS+) 5744 PA

GabrielSyme - Friday, July 06 2007 @ 02:18 AM EDT (#171191) #
Andre Dawson seems another obvious choice for not quite enough... he may yet get in, of course.
John Northey - Friday, July 06 2007 @ 07:48 AM EDT (#171192) #
Mattingly a 'real' HOFer?  He hasn't looked like one since the mid-80's.  He had a 6 year stretch where his OPS+ was 128-161, then nothing above 118.  307/358/471 with an OPS+ of 127 for a guy with just 2153 hits and 222 HR's is no where near enough.  It doesn't help that he was viewed as a 'leader' with a Yankee team that never won a division, made the playoffs in just his last year, and his career was surrounded by Yankee teams that made it to the World Series (1981 and 1996).  

For comparison purposes John Olerud.
2239 hits, 255 HR, 298/398/465 OPS+ of 129 lifetime.  Had two years with OPS+ higher than Mattingly ever did (1993-185, 1998-163).

Peak OPS+ for Olerud and Mattingly
185-163-145-137-136-131-126-124-119-115-110-110....98 with a 120 in part time play his rookie year
161-156-156-146-133-128-118-108-103-97 with 113-107-81 in part time play

Part time play are seasons where they played about 100 games, the rest were batting title qualifying years.

So, Olerud had a higher 2 year peak, more solid seasons, a longer career, higher lifetime numbers but is not viewed as having a shot at the HOF despite 2 WS rings and 8 playoff appearances.  Mattingly made it to the playoffs for one round in his final season, played fewer years, had a lower peak, but was lucky enough to put his 3 best years in a row and claim an MVP that should've been George Brett's (Brett played 3B vs 1B and had an OPS of 1.021 vs .938) and come in second to Roger Clemens the next season (Wade Boggs was more deserving imo).

Should Mattingly be in the HOF?  To my mind not a chance.  To put him in is to be in favour of a very, very big hall.

daryn - Friday, July 06 2007 @ 05:47 PM EDT (#171237) #
I DID have a happy birthday thank you
and yes, longevity aside, White and Carter look a lot alike don't they...
but the Hall rewards longevity..

though, I'd like to think there was a place for individual performances to be put in the Hall even if the player wasn't.
Carter's homers, a perfect game, or Delgado's 4 HR game... stuff like that..
Paul Henderson's goal for example...

but here's one.
I think for a while there, Lofton looked like an HoFer.

I thought then that he could have been as good as Griffey could have been.. .
less power but way more speed. and 6 years in a row of 310+ avg. 60+ steals, 100+ runs scored

QOTD: What the Hall Happened? | 19 comments | Create New Account
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