Saturday, May 26, 2007
(In a shocking twist, this post is brought to you by OMDQ)
For the last few months, I've been writing a series at One More Dying Quail about the "Bizarro Hall of Fame", a fun little idea I dreamed up as a way of honoring former major leaguers who were good enough to spend a substantial amount of time in baseball and good enough to be listed on the Hall of Fame ballot, but not quite good enough (or memorable enough) to actually pick up any votes in the election.
So far, I've gone through more than twenty elections, counting backwards from 2007 to the current Class of 1985. If you are so inclined, follow me after the jump as I break down the five members of that class.
Class of 1985
Clay Carroll – One of baseball’s best relief pitchers in the early 1970s, Carroll briefly held the major league record for saves in a season when he nailed down 37 contests for the Reds in 1972 (the mark was broken by Detroit’s John Hiller the following year). A two-time All-Star, he boasted a 1.39 ERA in 22 career postseason games, including 1.33 in 20 1/3 World Series innings.
Ed Kranepool – Briefly a member of the original 1962 New York Mets as a 17-year-old first baseman (he appeared in three games), Kranepool spent all of his eighteen major league seasons with the team. As a result, his formative years were spent on some of the worst teams in major league history, but he was rewarded by being a part of the 1969 World Series winning Amazin’ Mets and the 1973 team that lost to Oakland.
George Scott – Although the Red Sox finished a distant ninth in the American League in 1966, there was reason for hope in Boston: in addition to Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Conigliaro and Rico Petrocelli, the lineup featured Scott, a slugging 23-year-old first baseman who hit 27 homeruns while making an All-Star Game appearance and finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting. He spent five more seasons in Beantown (and was a key member of the 1967 Impossible Dream team) before being traded to Milwaukee, where he enjoyed some of his finest seasons (1972-76).
Bobby Tolan – A forgotten member of the early Big Red Machine teams, Tolan’s had his best seasons for the Reds in 1969 and 1970. He missed the 1971 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon, but returned the following year to help Cincinnati to the World Series. He played all seven games in his fourth Fall Classic (he also appeared in 1967 and 1968 with the Cardinals and 1970 with the Reds), hitting .269 with five stolen bases. For his efforts, Tolan received the 1972 Hutch Award, “given to an active player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire to win.” Previous winners included Mickey Mantle, Carl Yastrzemski, Sandy Koufax, and Pete Rose. He later spent one season as manager of the independent Atlantic League’s Nashua Pride.
Roy White – Like Ed Kranepool, White was a career-long New York player (for the Yankees) who survived some dark days before finally playing for several good teams in the late 1970s. He appeared in three World Series with the Yankees, hitting .333 in a 1978 win over the Dodgers.
(Coming soon: the Bizarro Hall of Fame Class of 1984.)
(All Hall of Fame voting results were obtained from the official web site of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Statistical information included in postings for the Bizarro Hall of Fame was, unless otherwise noted, originally compiled by Baseball-Reference.com.)