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.
4 thoughts on “The Golden Days Committee”
162 game average stats from Baseball Reference:
Tommy John: 13 W / 11 L 3.34 ERA 111 ERA+ 3.38 FIP 1.283 WHIP 4.3 K/9 26 seasons
Jim Kaat: 13 W / 11 L 3.45 ERA 108 ERA+ 3.41 FIP 1.259 WHIP 4.9 K/9 25 seasons
Mickey Lolich: 14 W / 12 L 3.44 ERA 104 ERA+ 3.20 FIP 1.227 WHIP 7.0 K/9 16 seasons
When Lolich retired he held the MLB record for Ks by a LH pitcher.
I’m not saying Lolich is HoF worthy, but using the comparison to show that John & Kaat were compilers fortunate to be healthy (naturally or surgically) enough to have longer careers. I don’t think either of them belong.
Thanks for rating Freehan so highly. Again, I don’t think he’s a HoF player but he is very under rated. His first and only year on the ballot he only got .5% which is a real shame. But when you look at the players on the ballot in 1982, 14 eventually were elected to the Hall. How often do we see a ballot like that now?
I’m a “big Hall” guy and thus tend to give more thumbs up to players being in than others. No matter where one draws the line, there will always be those who just make it and those who fall just short. Lolich is on my just short list; Kaat and John are on my just made it list. I do give a bit of a bump to Kaat for his glove. If either Kaat or John had compiled just a bit longer, and reached 300 wins—based on the era in which they played—the BBWAA would have already put them in a la Don Sutton (whose ERA+ was also 108). However, I’ve no gripe with anyone who calls them borderline but out on their ballot.
Thanks for all your work keeping this site breathing during the off season!
In 1965 Jim Kaat beat Sandy Koufax in Game 2 of the World Series in a 5-0 Twins win. Kaat went 9 for the win. Sandy left after six, giving up 2 runs (1 earned).
Koufax recovered from his bad outing (relax, it’s a joke!). In Game 5 and Game 7 Sandy pitched 18 shutout innings giving up 7 hits and 4 walks in the two games. Kaat faired poorly in Game 5, 3 IP and 2 ER. In Game 7 Jim 3 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. But Jim Kaat’s name is on a very short list of starting pitchers who beat Sandy Kofax in a world series game. A hell of a pitcher was Kitty.