Personal Hall of Fame, Part 6: Filling in the Gaps

Mar 12, 2013 by Adam Darowski

In the first five parts of this series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5), I named 200 players to my Personal Hall of Fame. It turns out, this has become a bigger project, with fellow friends and bloggers Dan McCloskey, Ross Carey, Bryan O’Connor, and Graham Womack taking part. Each is working on his own Personal Hall of Fame, which we’ll then compare, combine, and use to debate players we have yet to agree on.

Before that, I’d been meaning to analyze my Top 200 a bit more. While I don’t feel that every position and era (and combination of the two) needs to be equally represented in a Hall of Fame, I do feel that any glaring holes should be analyzed. That’s what I’m going to do today. I created a visual that shows my 200 initial choices mapped on a timeline, sorted by position. Let’s take a look, position by position.

I’m going to skip over the pitchers because the graphic is so large and there seems to be a good amount represented from each era.


Catcher Timeline

Perhaps the best 19th century catcher isn’t shown here because he played more often at third base (Deacon White). Otherwise, we don’t really have any large gaps, per se. But there are a couple light areas.

First Basemen

First Base Timeline

First base is relatively stacked, but we have a few players here who played significant portions of their careers elsewhere (like Rod Carew, Ernie Banks, Dick Allen, and Harmon Killebrew).

Second Basemen

Second Base Timeline

This exercise is not just to seek players I should enshrine, but also to justify some I did pick. If I were to rank my 200 choices, Bid McPhee and Ross Barnes would be near the bottom. But as you can see here, they really help fill the 19th century gap well. Their main competition comes from Cupid Childs (85 Hall Rating) and Fred Dunlap (72 Hall Rating). Good players, but I’ll take McPhee (95 Hall Rating) and Barnes (87 Hall Rating in nine seasons). There is one gap, however:

Third Basemen

Third Base Timeline

Third base is a hot mess. The Hall of Fame doesn’t have many. I’m not doing any better, picking only fourteen so far. Ten of them played after Eddie Mathews debuted in 1952. From 1871 to 1951, I have just four. One (White) should probably be considered a catcher. One barely squeezes into the Hall of Stats (Jimmy Collins). One is in the Hall of Fame, but as a manager (John McGraw). The last is Home Run Baker. From Baker’s retirement until Mathews’ debut, we have an enormous gap with absolutely nobody.

Beyond the players mentioned above, pre-1950 third sackers include Larry Gardner, Bob Elliott, Lave Cross, and Harlond Clift. I’m not ready to put any of them into my Hall.


Shortstop Timeline

Shortstop is interesting, with all sixteen inductees bunched up in three clumps. That leaves some small gaps to analyze:

Left Fielders

Left Field Timeline

Honestly, this couldn’t look better. But there are still several left fielders I wanted to include. Those include Sherry Magee (one who’s very hard to keep out) and 19th century stars Harry Stovey and Pete Browning.

Center Fielders

Center Field Timeline

This helps justify my inclusion of Paul Hines a bit. Center field is my least populated position, so there are certainly some gaps here.

Right Fielders

Right Field Timeline

Right field actually has a very nice progression, much like left field. There aren’t any noticeable gaps, but it is noticeable that the post-1955 era is represented much more. Part of this can be attributed to expansion. But I don’t think that covers all of it.

Should I Reconsider?

Here are the players I identified as possible additions after this exercise:

Add to that group some of the players I still go back and forth on:

I mean, I could still put them all in and have just a 226 person Hall. I’ll admit—that’s not a terrible idea. Your thoughts?

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