Another player with Orioles ties is a Hall of Fame candidate - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Another player with Orioles ties is a Hall of Fame candidate

Dwight Evans
Photo credit: Owen C. Shaw - Icon Sportswire

Last year, two former players with Oriole ties were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Today’s Game committee. This year, another man who played for the Orioles could join Harold Baines and Lee Smith.

Dwight Evans, who played 19 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, and one with the Orioles, is one of 10 nominees by the Modern Era committee.

The Hall of Fame has four committees to vote on players from the past who might have been overlooked in voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. The committees also vote on managers and executives who aren’t included in the BBWAA election.

Evans is joined on the ballot by Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly,  Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons and Lou Whitaker. Longtime Players Association Director Marvin Miller is also up for consideration again.

Members of the BBWAA who have been active for at least 10 years are eligible to vote in the balloting for recently retired players, but the veterans’ committees are much smaller. They’re comprised of 16 former players, executives and a few media members.

Results of the 10-man balloting will be announced at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on December 8.

Miller, who revolutionized the game, should have long been immortalized, but some of the baseball executives have been opposed to him.

It’s not yet known who’s on the committee but former commissioner Bud Selig, a Hall member and a longtime adversary of Miller, came out for his enshrinement in his recent book, “For the Good of the Game.”

In the both the BBWAA and veterans’ committees, 75 percent is needed for election.

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This is the first time that Evans and Whitaker have been considered by a veterans committee.

Most of the attention in Hall voting is paid to the BBWAA vote, which will be announced January 21. The eligible candidates will be announced on November 18.

But the BBWAA voting is much more transparent, and because of the indispensable work of Ryan Thibodaux, @AskMrTibbs, outcomes are easier to predict.

Thibodaux compiles the votes of members who choose to make their selections public ahead of the announcement. The BBWAA has long been in favor of public votes, but the Hall has declined to press the issue.

The veterans’ committees work is impossible to predict. Baines’ election was a stunner. He played seven years in three iterations for the Orioles and had a lifetime WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 38.7, one of the lowest in the Hall.

Smith, who played just the strike-shortened 1994 season with the Orioles in a career that lasted 18 years, was also picked but his inclusion wasn’t a surprise.

Evans was with the Orioles for the 1991 season and, like Baines, was shunned in the BBWAA vote. Baines topped out at 6.1 percent in 2010. Evans never received more than 10.4 percent of the vote, back in 1998.

His last game was the final one played at Memorial Stadium on October 6, 1991.

Evans was part of an outstanding  Red Sox outfield that included Hall of Famer Jim Rice and Fred Lynn, another former Oriole.

Underappreciated when he played, Evans compiled some impressive stats. Though he had only a .270 average, Evans had a .370 on-base percentage and a healthy .840 OPS. Evans also had 385 home runs and played nearly 2,100 games in right field. His WAR was 67.1.

Whitaker’s election should be a no-brainer. Though his stats are comparable to first-ballot Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, Whitaker was on the BBWAA ballot just once, when he got only 2.9 percent of the vote in 2001.

Two years ago, two teammates on the World Series winning Detroit Tigers of 1984, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, were picked by a veterans committee, and it’s only suitable that this excellent second baseman join them.

Whitaker’s WAR of 75.1 is the 49th highest in baseball history, ahead of even Derek Jeter, who is expected to be easily voted in this year.

Simmons, who played concurrently with the great Johnny Bench, fell one vote shy of joining Morris and Trammell in 2017. Though Simmons is second among catchers in hits and RBIs, he received just 3.7 percent of the BBWAA vote in 1994.

One candidate who received substantially more support among the BBWAA was Garvey, who reached 42.6 percent in 1995. Unlike Evans and Whitaker, whose cases are helped by advanced metrics, Garvey suffers because he has just a 38.1 WAR.

Garvey looks better in the counting stats. He had 200 or more hits six times in seven seasons from 1974-1980. Garvey was a 10-time All-Star and a four-time Gold Glover at first base.

His relatively low .775 OPS is hurt by a .329 OBP. Garvey did have a .294 lifetime batting average.

Garvey was on five playoff teams, all of which made it to the World Series, though only the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers won the Series.

Another excellent candidate is John, and not only because of the surgery that bears his name. He had a 288-231 record and pitched until he was 46. His ERA of 3.34 was sensational, and his stats are comparable to several Hall of Famers, including Bert Blyleven, Tom Glavine, Robin Roberts and Don Sutton.

Next month’s election should result in a worthy selection or two.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Birdman

    November 7, 2019 at 8:57 am

    This raises the question who is more deserving of the HOF: players like Baines and Evans, who were consistently very good, but not great, over an extraordinarily long career; or players like Garvey and Mattingly, who may have been been greater in their peak years, but were not as productive over the long haul?

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 7, 2019 at 9:45 am

      Birdman, Garvey had a 19-year career, which was very long. He was hurt by a relatively poor on-base percentage. Garvey was consistent, but shows poorly in analytics. Mattingly had a 14-year career, cut short by injuries. He, too doesn’t show well in analytics. Evans has drawn greater attention in recent years because his metrics are very strong, much stronger than Baines’ were.

  2. ClayDal

    November 7, 2019 at 11:13 am

    One area where I think they should reform the Hall of Fame is the Veterans Committee. Harold Baines was a good guy and a great hitter, but others were more deserving of the Hall. As I recall, many of Harold’s ex-teammates and manager( LaRussa) were on the committee. Wasn’t thrilled with Bud Selig either. I would like to see the Veterans Committee nominate possible inductees and have the BBWAA vote on them up or down-75%. Plus the BBWAA, should be allowed to vote on managers and contributors such as Miller. If the writers could have voted Marvin Miller would have been in years ago.

    • whiterose

      November 7, 2019 at 11:38 am

      no veterans committee anymore.
      4 era committees.

  3. whiterose

    November 7, 2019 at 11:40 am

    No to all.
    wrong to vote based on comparison to members. just compounds previous mistakes.
    WAR is junk .

  4. Bancells Moustache

    November 7, 2019 at 11:43 am

    Parker is an interesting case. I’m a fan of the Cobra and think he should get in but the seedier side of the 70’s and 80’s is involved here. Should Parker be inducted, he would join Tim Raines as guys who were up to their necks in the Pittsburgh cocaine trials, both of whom were admitted users in that period. So steroid users are banished but doing coke is no big deal? Interesting can of worms.

    • Birdman

      November 7, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      Agree that, statistically, Parker is at least as deserving of the HOF as Baines. Parker’s offensive stats were comparable to Baines, plus Parker was a multiple Gold Glove winner, while Baines played a majority of his career at DH. As you note, Parker’s cocaine history has probably kept him out … whether that’s fair is open to debate.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    November 7, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    I’m not in favor of any of these men being included.

    • Bancells Moustache

      November 7, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      Why? To me, Evans and John are No, Simmons is maybe, and the others are yes.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        November 8, 2019 at 8:23 am

        I just don’t see the ‘all time greatness’ in any of them. Most of them are considered simply due to being pretty danged good players for a loooonnng time. To me, longevity simply isn’t the end-all be-all when measuring greatness. Don’t get me wrong … it counts, but I’d rather see a player play for 10 years, and be able to say that guy’s one of the very best 3 or 4 players in the league, than to see some player who simply compiles numbers because he’s good enough to stick around for 15-20 years. Whitaker is a perfect example of the latter. Guy only hit .300 + in 2 of 18 years? 3 gold gloves? Never got a whiff of the MVP. That’s just not HOF to me.

        I guess of this group, if I had to pick one … I’d go with Dale Murphy. He had about a 6 or 7 year run of being one of, if not, THE best player in the game. The problem I have with him is that he had too many not-so-stellar years towards the end. Back to back MVPs and 6 straight GG’s … yeah … maybe Dale Murphy deserves to be enshrined with the likes of Mays and the Babe…

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 8, 2019 at 8:41 am

      Ken, Lou Whitaker is a no-brainer. His WAR was 75.1, higher than Reggie Jackson, Jim Thome, Derek Jeter, Barry Larkin, Tony Gwynn, Eddie Murray, Carlton Fisk and dozens of others. He has the 49th best WAR in history. Not impressed with his batting average? Check his OBP. He and Alan Trammell were dominant players at their position. In his time, fielding metrics weren’t used in Gold Glove voting. If they were, he would have won many more.

      He’s easily the best eligible infielder to be overlooked in voting.

      • Bancells Moustache

        November 8, 2019 at 9:34 am

        I suppose I just have a lower bar. If we only want to enshrine the Ty Cobbs and Willie Mays of the world, it makes for a very small Hall of Fame. And the Hall is only a museum in upstate New York. Seems like you would want plenty of names from all over up in the board. Baseball is a regional thing, so while you and I may not look at Lou Whitaker as a Hall of Famer, certainly there’s people in Michigan who view him as their hero, the best they ever saw. Why would you want to keep a guy like that out? Because it’s unfair to second baseman who had better careers? They played pro baseball for a living, they’ll get over it.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          November 8, 2019 at 10:49 am

          I understand what you’re saying, and I respect it, but “regional”? To me, that’s an argument to be made for franchises having a ‘ring of honor’ or ‘statue court’ in their park. It’s not an argument for HOF enshrinement. Maybe my standards are too high.

          But in my opinion, if you’re not one of the very, very best players in the game for a substantial amount of your time or era, you simply should not be enshrined with those guys that were.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        November 8, 2019 at 10:38 am

        “No Brainer”. Must be a bunch of stupid guys with votes I guess.

        OK Rich … using that WAR metric to show me that Whitaker was a better player than Tony Gwynn or Eddie Murray simply solidifies my opinion about “WAR” being a silly algorithm for the MIT types to compare players from different positions and eras. OK … maybe “silly” is a bit of a harsh adjective, but you get my drift. I digress … If Whitaker’s 75 WAR makes him a ‘no brainer’, what does that Make Bobby Grich and his 71 WAR? Grich was good, but he is certainly not close to HOF material. Matter of fact, as a life long Strato-Matic- Player….I’d choose Grich over Whitaker any day. WAR? Puhleeeeze.

        I’m just not going to accept that Whitaker is on the same playing field of the Joe Morgans, Rod Carews, Jackie Robinsons, Rogers Hornsbys and Roberto Alomars of the world. Was Whitaker as top 20 2nd basemen? Certainly. But last time I checked, 2nd base was for the kid that wasn’t quite good enough to play short.

        So will the seam-heads remember Sweet Lou in 75 years from now? I’m thinking not.

        • Rich Dubroff

          November 8, 2019 at 11:01 am

          No, Ken. Lou Whitaker was not a better player than Gwynn or Murray, but WAR is a measurement that gauges how much better a player is than an average one at his position.

          As for Grich, many people think he’ll be on the next ballot if Whitaker gets in. I think Whitaker was a top 20 second baseman although I wasn’t old enough to watch Jackie Robinson or Rogers Hornsby. He wasn’t as good as Morgan or Alomar, but he was just a step below that/

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            November 8, 2019 at 1:18 pm

            Rich, I obviously never saw Hornsby or Robinson play either, but really, do you need to watch baseball to follow it? I’ve always maintained that all you had to do was read the box scores on a daily basis to follow the game. And obviously, I never read the boxes daily when Hornsby & Robinson played, but never-the-less….those numbers are available to be read somewhere.

            Let’s face it … how much baseball as kids did we (us old dudes) really get to watch?

            For me, from the ages of 11 to 16, living in Massachusetts (yuck), I got to watch ONLY away games of the hated BoSox. Home games simply were rarely televised. And really, only about ½ of those road games were televised. Throw out the west coast stuff, and I doubt I watched more than 25 or 30 games a year. Can you remember when you’d get excited for the NBC Saturday afternoon game of the week? Sounds pathetic now … but it was all we had back in the day. (I bet BanMo is feeling pretty young reading this ‘eh?)

            No … following my O’s was done strictly through the box scores posted in the Worcester Gazette’s afternoon newspaper, and going to see maybe 5 to 8 games a year at Fenway.

            Baseball counts everything … and the box scores are all you really need to follow the game.

            But don’t get me wrong … I ain’t giving up my MASN and 1080p for nothing!!

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            November 8, 2019 at 1:40 pm

            One more thing Rich … and please do correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that WAR was specifically designed to measure players against each other REGARDLESS of their position … not necessarily against those at the same position? Am I wrong about this?

            And I ask this with all due respect. I certainly am not an analytics guru.

          • Rich Dubroff

            November 8, 2019 at 6:51 pm

            You are correct, but we still compare batting averages of players who play the same position, too.

  6. Diamondguy

    November 8, 2019 at 8:37 am

    I agree with boog! I just don’t see any of them as “legendary”! Not saying that they were not very good players. They had their time in the limelight.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      November 8, 2019 at 10:41 am

      And I agree, that ‘legendary’ should be an acceptable adjective for anybody in the HOF.

      • Bancells Moustache

        November 8, 2019 at 12:32 pm

        But what is legendary? I grew up in the 80’s. Don Mattingly is unquestionably a legend to me. Ditto Dale Murphy and Steve Garvey. Of course, I think its absurd that Roger Maris isn’t enshrined either. Didn’t have an 18 year career and get 3000 hits, but he did something that no human being has done before or since (at least not without chemical assistance). It’s the Hall of FAME. I guarantee you that if you bring up the name Don Mattingly or Roger Maris, casual or even non baseball fans will know the name. You think that happens when you say Don Sutton or Burt Blyleven?

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 8, 2019 at 10:58 am

      Donnie, the veterans committees exist so that players who were overlooked in the past get a second chance. Lou Whitaker certainly fits in that category.

  7. BirdfanVA

    November 10, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    To me, Hall- of- Famers are the players who not only put up very good to excellent numbers for an extended period of time, but they are the players that fans wanted to see, and paid their money to see. In a sense, the players that transcended the game. Did fans pay to see Ruth, DiMaggio, Mays, and players of their caliber? Of course. How many people ever said “Let’s go the game tonight because Dwight Evans or Harold Baines is playing? Not many.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 10, 2019 at 5:13 pm

      VA, I think that you’re applying a far too strict criteria. Excellence is not just the best of the best, Ruth, DiMaggio, Mays, but
      consistently outstanding performances. Many of the players we’re discussing fit into the consistently outstanding. Baines will go
      down in history as an outlier in the Hall of Fame, a very good player who was voted in. Most who are in are either in your category, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Cal Ripken, Ken Griffey or excellent over an extended period, Ivan Rodriguez, Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay.

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