Like the Early Days Committee, the Golden Days Committee was also put off by the Hall of Fame from last year until this December. I previously put up a post profiling names of potential players for the Early Days ballot. This is to do the same for the Golden Days. As a reminder, the various iterations of the veterans committees involve 16 committee members, and induction requires 12 votes/75%. The committee will consider a ballot with 10 players’ names on it. The Golden Days is for players active in MLB 1950-1969. There is, of course, some overlap. I profiled a few under the Early Days that could have been placed here, and I will go over some that could be under the Modern Days Committee as well.
The following are the 10 names I’d put on the ballot, in no particular order, as I would strongly consider voting for all 10:
- Roger Maris. We all know about “61*” in 1961. He was the AL MVP in 1960 and 1961. He was an AL All Star each year 1958-1962. He was part of 5 straight Yankees pennant winners, with two World Series championships (1961 and 1962). At the end of his career, he helped the Cardinals to two NL pennants, 1967 and 1968, winning the WS in 1967. His career was relatively short (12 years) and marred by injuries in 1963, 1965, and 1966, so his cumulative stats are not typical for a Hall of Famer. Still, he was a lot more than one magic season.
- Bill Freehan. Maybe the best defensive catcher not already in the Hall. In his 15 seasons, he made 11 All Star teams and earned 5 gold gloves. He was an above average hitter as well with a 112 OPS+.
- Tony Oliva. He was an 8 time All Star, 1964 AL Rookie of the Year, and second in MVP voting twice. He was an excellent hitter with a career .304/.353/.476 and a 131 OPS+. He’s narrowly missed induction via veterans committees before and I expect will eventually get the nod.
- Ken Boyer. Third base is an under represented position in the HoF. Boyer racked up 62.9 WAR, 7 All Star selections, 5 Gold Glove Awards, and the 1964 NL MVP in his 15 seasons.
- Tommy John. Besides having a surgery named after him, he pitched in the majors for 26 years, had a 288-231 record with a career 3.34 ERA. 3 times he was in the top 5 of the Cy Young vote and struck out 2245.
- Gil Hodges. He’s notable for having received the highest percentage of votes for the HoF from the BBWAA of anyone not actually elected by them. He played 18 years, lost 2 to WWII. He made 8 All Star teams and earned 3 Gold Gloves. He hit .273/.359/.487 with a 120 OPS+ and 370 home runs.
- Sal Bando. The A’s man on the hot corner for their run of World Series dominance from 1972-1974. He accumulated 61.5 WAR with a 119 OPS+.
- Dick Allen. I profiled him twice last year, after the Phillies retired his number, and sadly after he passed away in December. The Phillies planned to honor him again this year with fans in attendance; thankfully they did not put the whole thing off so he got to enjoy the first honor. He was labeled a malcontent by the media without ever considering the source of the reputation (in at least one case a known racist). He was also the first black player for the Arkansas Travelers and faced overt racism there. He hit 351 homers, .292/.378/.534 with an outstanding 156 OPS+. He made 7 All Star teams, was the 1964 NL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP in 1972.
- Jim Kaat. He had a 283-237 record with a career 3.45 ERA and 2461 strikeouts. He’s also the best fielding pitcher ever not named Greg Maddux. He earned 16 Gold Gloves in his career.
- Al Dark. The 1948 NL Rookie of the Year was a 5 time All Star in 14 years as a player. Then he managed for 13, with a 994-954 record, the 1962 NL pennant with the Giants and 1974 World Series championship with the A’s.
Other deserving real consideration: Rusty Staub, Rocky Colavito, Vada Pinson, Sparky Lyle, Harvey Kuenn, Jim Fregosi, Jim Wynn.
Strong “Hall of Very Good” players who could make the ballot: Dick Groat, Eddie Yost, Mickey Lolich, Billy Pierce, Tug McGraw, Bobby Richardson, Mike Cuellar.