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The 34 Worst Hall of Famers


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I probably agree with most of the guys on this list but I don't like his methodology. Using baseball-reference.com comps is pretty useless since (1) they don't take into account differences in era, (2) they only focus on certain statistics, and (3) they don't account for defense at all. I also don't think you can just look at a list of career OPS+ by position and draw valid conclusions.

For example, take Red Schoendienst. OK, his career OPS+ was 93, which isn't good. But he was a 10-time all-star who also got MVP votes in 6 different seasons. Clearly, at the time he was playing, his peers thought he was an extremely good player, for a very long time. How many players have been 10-time all-stars and are not in the Hall? You can make statistical arguments why he shouldn't be in, but they need to be better arguments than the one made in this article.

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3. Jim Bunning, P - His big accomplishment was that he won 100 games and had 1000 strikeouts in each of the two leagues. But overall he was just 224-184. He was, however, a powerful and influential US Congressman when the Veterans Committee elected him in 1996.

After watching Bunning posture and showboat in Congressional hearings over the years, I wouldn't be surprised one bit if he somehow managed to "influence" his selection.

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Some of his rationale seems weak or even positively false.

Effa Manley, Executive - Apparently picked entirely for PC reasons, she was the wife of the owner of a Negro League team, and is currently the only woman in the Hall of Fame. She was a civil rights activist, which is honorable, but her primary baseball-related activity was her well-documented hobby of sleeping with many of the players on the team.

Since Manley was selected rather recently (2006), over former Negro League players such as Buck O'Neill and Minnie Minoso, one would think that her candidacy would have received a certain degree of rigorous scrutiny. From her bio at the Negro League Baseball Players Association site:

Effa and her husband Abe Manley (shown in photo) started the Eagles team in Brooklyn in 1935, naming it after the local newspaper. The Eagles played in the Brooklyn Dodger's Ebbets Field. In 1936, they purchased the Newark Dodgers franchise and moved the Eagles to Newark. Team management was left to Effa.

Manley was known as a players' advocate.[]/b] She fought for better schedules, better travel and better salaries. Manley recognized that her team was a community resource. Said former Eagles star Max Manning: "The Eagles were to (black) Newark what the Dodgers were to Brooklyn."

According to Monte Irvin, Manley provided the Eagles with an air-conditioned, $15,000 Flexible Clipper bus, a first for the Negro Leagues. Worried about what her players would do for employment during the offseason, she and Abe sponsored a team in the Puerto Rican winter leagues.

Manley served as the treasurer of the Newark chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and often used Eagles games to promote civic causes. In 1939, Manley held an "Anti-Lynching Day" at Ruppert Stadium.

... Under her management, the Newark Eagles won the Negro World Series in 1946, but soon after Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1947, Manley lost the services of Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, and Don Newcombe. She spoke out against the raiding of Negro League teams by major league clubs without compensation, but despite her efforts, the Eagles had to disband in 1948.

From an ESPN article on her selection[/orl]

.... The election was the culmination of a Hall of Fame project to compile a complete history of blacks in the game from 1860 to 1960.

More than 50 historians, authors and researchers spent four years sifting through box scores in 128 newspapers of sanctioned league games from 1920-54. The result was the most complete collection of Negro Leagues statistics ever compiled, according to the Hall, and a database that includes 3,000 day-by-day records and career leaders.

... Candidates needed nine of 12 votes -- 75 percent -- from the committee of researchers, professors and baseball historians for election.

Former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent chaired the committee, which voted by secret ballot. Vote totals were not released.

... Manley co-owned the New Jersey-based Eagles with her husband, Abe, and ran the business end of the team for more than a decade. The Eagles won the Negro Leagues World Series in 1946 -- one year before Jackie Robinson broke the major-league color barrier.

"She was very knowledgeable, a very handsome woman," said Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, who played for the Eagles while the Manleys owned the team, as did Don Newcombe and Larry Doby.

"She did a lot for the Newark community. She was just a well-rounded, influential person," Irvin said. "She tried to organize the owners to build their own parks and have a balanced schedule and to really improve the lot of the Negro League players."

Manley was white but married a black man and passed as a black woman, said Larry Lester, a baseball author and member of the voting committee.

"She campaigned to get as much money as possible for these ballplayers, and rightfully so," Lester said.

Manley used baseball to advance civil rights causes with events such as an Anti-Lynching Day at the ballpark. She died in 1981 at age 84.

"She was a pioneer in so many ways, in terms of integrating the team with the community," said Leslie Heaphy, a Kent State professor on the committee. "She's also one of the owners who pushed very hard to get recognition for Major League Baseball when they started to sign some of their players."

From The African American Registry:

... After Rickey successfully recruited pitcher Don Newcombe away from Newark and convinced him to join the Dodgers, Manley took action. She wrote letters to Rickey asking him to meet with her. Rickey did not respond, but Manley continued to fight for just compensation and speak out against the raiding of Negro League teams without reparation. Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck called Manley in 1947, inquiring about Larry Doby. They agreed to a deal that ultimately paid the Manleys $15,000 in exchange for Doby, who became the first Black player in the American League.

The deal established a precedent, and Major League owners from then on paid an average of $5,000 for each Negro Leaguer they signed. The Eagles folded in 1948, and several other teams in the Negro National League followed suit. Throughout her years in the business, Manley kept a baseball scrapbook. This is now part of the collection at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Until her death in April 1981 at the age of 81, Manley devoted herself to keeping the history of Negro League baseball alive.

In 1976 she published "Negro Baseball ... before Integration," which listed 73 players she felt were qualified for the Hall of Fame. She wrote numerous letters to the Baseball Hall of Fame and publications such as The Sporting News, urging recognition for the league and its players.

From MLB.COM's section on Negro League history

Effa Manley was not afraid to offer advice -- solicited and otherwise -- to the media, to her own players and to fellow Negro League owners. It wasn't always appreciated.

Dan Burley, sports editor for the Amsterdam New York Star-News wrote in 1942, "Effa Manley has long been a sore sport in the N.N.L. (Negro National League) setup ... the rough and tumble gentlemen comprising its inner sanction have complained often and loudly that 'baseball ain't no place for a woman.'"

Although many of the men in the sport resented her -- and grumbled loudly about her brashness -- they certainly respected her. Abe was the league's official treasurer, but in name only. Effa handled not only the Eagles finances, but those of the Negro National League as well.

Manley was also known as a players' advocate. She fought for better schedules, better travel and better salaries.

... Manley helped develop the careers of dozens of players, and treated many like family. She and Abe served as godparents to Larry Doby's first child. They loaned Monte Irvin money for a down payment on his first house.

"After I quit playing, she started me out in business," said former player Lenny Pearson. "She interceded for me and spoke to people and helped me. She financed the first tavern I ever had. A beautiful, beautiful person in all ways."

But in return for her generosity, she expected obedience.

"Mrs. Manley was the disciplinarian of the teams," recalled pitcher James Walker. "She would call you in and tell you how to dress, what to do, who to associate with. When you had your problems, if they were personal, you went to Mrs. Manley, and she was very understanding, as long as you toed the line."

Nick Kapur apparently didn't find (or ignored) all the information on Manley's pivotal role in the Negro League, and doesn't provide sources, so I'm left to wonder where he learned about "well-documented hobby of sleeping with many of the players on the team." I wonder if those allegations originated with her fellow Negro League owners who objected to her advocacy for better playing conditions and salaries?

From a PBS interview with Professor Leslie Heaphy, a member of the HOF committed which selected Manley:

... after Jackie Robinson was signed by Branch Ricky away from the Kansas City Monarchs, J. Wilkinson, the owner, was not compensated for Robinson and he didn't really make a big issue out of it but it was apparent at that point that if Robinson succeeded, others would follow and they would be interested in other players from the Negro Leagues, and Effa Manley was absolutely adamant about the idea that the Negro Leagues should be compensated for those players.

In fact she highly objected to Branch Ricky calling the Negro Leagues -- he said they were nothing more than a racquet - that they had no organization, they had no contracts, therefore they did not deserve to be recognized and there was no need to give them any compensation and she of course insisted that that was absolutely not true that any players of hers that were going to be signed, she should be compensated just like any other team, league that, they were the same. And eventually, she held her ground and she won and when Larry Doby was signed, they were compensated for Doby.

And that was a really tough thing for her to do because that's an example of one of those very, not necessarily completely unpopular ideas, but it was a tough line to walk because some of the other owners didn't -- were afraid to press the issues for fear of looking like they were against integration, and that they were standing in the way of the opportunities for their players. And so that was the tough line she had to walk but for Effa, the bigger issue, was, I have a contract with these players, I'm go going to lose something, I should be compensated and anyone in our league should be compensated just as if they were signing them from anywhere else.

More on that from another MLB.com article:

With other businesses to run, Abe Manley put the Eagles in his wife's hands. She handled the job well. She turned the Eagles into her team. She served as the team's general manager, its traveling secretary, its PR director and its accountant.

As de facto owner, Effa Manley acted like the 1930s version of former Oakland A's owner Charles O. Finley. Like Finley, she spoke her mind. Her candor was refreshing among Negro League owners, even if it wasn't always welcomed.

"Effa and Abe were constantly maintaining that Negro baseball should be run on a more businesslike basis," Negro League historian Lawrence Hogan wrote in his book, "Shades of Glory."

"They advocated an independent commissioner, more reliable scheduling of games, and enforcement of penalties against players who jumped contracts and the owners who happily received the jumpers."

Such high-minded ideals didn't win her friends; those ideals did, however, win her influence and earn her respect. The other owners named Abe Manley as the league's official treasurer, but it was Effa Manley who, in fact, handled the financial ledgers -- for the league and for the Eagles.

As concerned as she was for the league itself, Effa Manley showed similar concern for the men that she employed. Few owners in the history of black baseball had the kind of rapport with baseball players that she did. She showed it with her willingness to pay them better wages.

She doted over her players, much in the way a mother would a child. In her mind, her players were her extended family. Her generosity toward them was well documented, which included a tale about her lending Irvin the downpayment for his first home.

But her openhandedness toward her players came with a high price: obedience. She demanded loyalty from the men who worked for her.

Oh, I did find one allegation that her husband dumped a pitcher who was having an affair with his wife. If I had more time, I might have found more of those "well documented" sources.

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I participated in a project identifying this same thing (except players-only, so no Bulkeley (though he is the single least deserving HOFer), Manley, Yawkey, or Kuhn). Here are the results:

C (2) - Rick Ferrell, Ray Schalk

1B (2) - George Kelly, Jim Bottomley

2B (4) - Red Schoendienst, Johnny Evers, Bill Mazeroski, Tony Lazzeri

3B (3) - Fred Lindstrom, Judy Johnson, George Kell

SS (4) - Travis Jackson, Joe Tinker, Dave Bancroft, Phil Rizzuto

LF (2) - Chick Hafey, Heinie Manush

CF (2) - Lloyd Waner, Earle Combs

RF (5) - Tommy McCarthy, Ross Youngs, Harry Hooper, Kiki Cuyler, Sam Rice

P (10) - Rube Marquard, Jesse Haines, Chief Bender, Herb Pennock, Jack Chesbro, Waite Hoyt, Vic Willis, Andy Cooper, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers

Italicized are the ones this project came up with but were not in the article.

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Didn't Ted Williams say that if the Red Sox had Phil Rizzuto instead of the Yankees....the Red Sox would have won all those championships? Or I am thinking of a different player.

I doubt he said that. Williams played with some pretty good shortstops -- Hall of Famer Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky and Vern Stephens. He did play with an assortment of mediocre shortstops from 1954 to the end of his career, but Rizzuto was basically done after 1953.

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I doubt he said that. Williams played with some pretty good shortstops -- Hall of Famer Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky and Vern Stephens. He did play with an assortment of mediocre shortstops from 1954 to the end of his career, but Rizzuto was basically done after 1953.

Can't find a direct quote, but found this:

Opponent Ted Williams said that Rizzuto made the difference in the sensational Yankee-Red Sox late-season pennant races during those years.


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