More quotes from “The Hall of Nearly Great”

High Heat Stats is an affiliate for The Hall of Nearly Great. Follow that link to purchase a copy of the book, and you’ll be supporting this blog as well.

Following are some selected quotes from the electronic book. Please consider purchasing a copy (for just $12!) to support not only a great collection of essays, but also the concept of crowd-sourcing great efforts like this. Note that the baseball card images below are from and are not reprinted in the ebook itself.

Joe Posnanski on Dale Murphy:

“That’s what I mean when I say that Murphy represented the ideal baseball player. He did not drink, did not smoke, and would always pick up the check. He would not give television interviews with his shirt off. The man endorsed milk, for crying out loud.”

Wendy Thurm on Bobby Bonds:

“There must have been a time when Barry Bonds was known as Bobby Bonds’ son. At some point, that changed.”

Jeff Passan, interviewing Marvin Miller for his essay on Andy Messersmith:

‘How are you, Marvin?’ I ask.    ‘Not good,’ he says.

Marvin Miller is 95. He’s tired these days. He says he doesn’t have much time. I tell him I’d like to talk about Andy Messersmith. He talks for 30 minutes straight.”

Sam Miller on Brian Downing:

“Christopher Reeve resemblance aside, Superman isn’t the right superhero for Downing, and neither is the Incredible Hulk. Those guys were strong because of circumstances out of their control; they were merely the vehicles through which power flowed. Every major leaguer worked hard, works hard, puts in effort that we can’t imagine. But they’re, at their core, Superman. They’re the Hulk. They’ve been given their talent. Downing is, if any superhero, Batman: a self-invented force of will. He did something all of us could do, but that, in the end, none of us can do.”


Still not convinced you should buy The Hall of Nearly Great? Read my first review of the book for more excerpts and a more detailed explanation of why this project is so well worth supporting.

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13 Comments on "More quotes from “The Hall of Nearly Great”"

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Jason Z
I will be purchasing this book too. I say too, because I am enjoying “Pinstripe Empire” alot. Thanks again for that Andy. Also, I would like to reccomend The Bronx is Burning, by Jonathan Mahler. You don’t have to just be a Yankee fan to enjoy it. In fact, judging by the reaction to Reggie Jackson’s comments in the recent SI, this blog has many readers who will love it. Baseball is only part of this book, as it examines the 1977 NYC mayoral race, the Son of Sam murders, the fiscal crisis of mid 1970’s NYC and of course… Read more »
Adam Darowski

This is the best book I’ve read in a while. Still working on it, but the writing is simply fantastic.


Nice 1977 Topps Brian Downing. Classic photo.

1977 Topps was the first year where I got my own packs of cards. And then for my birthday I got the whole set. Ordered it from the back of Boys Life magazine.

I remember my first unopened cello pack with Enos Cabell on top. It is another great card. A Spring Training action photo that shows off the great Astros uniform.

Interesting that the first two essays (each of which is well worth reading) cover, respectively, the top Wins Above Replacement centerfielder in the NL in the 1990s and the top Wins Above Replacement centerfielder in the NL in the 1980s. Most WAR over each decade by an NL player whose primary position was CF: 1900-1909 Roy Thomas 1910-1919 Dode Paskert 1920-1929 Edd Roush/Cy Williams 1930-1939 Wally Berger 1940-1949 Pete Reiser 1950-1959 Willie Mays 1960-1969 Willie Mays 1970-1979 Cesar Cedeno 1980-1989 Dale Murphy (Andre Dawson was in right field for most of the decade) 1990-1999 Ray Lankford 2000-2009 Andruw Jones (Jim… Read more »

Ray Lankford? Must have been a bad decade for centerfielders. I remember him as a player who would strike out too often in clutch situations, but drive in a lot of runs after games were already decided.


Lankford was a very good player, and he played every single year from 1990-1999 in the NL; there probably weren’t a lot of players who did that, if any (I didn’t check). He also walked a lot and had good power for a CF and was a pretty darn good player, so it’s not too surprising.

Dalton M

Have been devouring this. Love nearly all the pieces, save for the Norm Cash one, which employed a comparatively less mature writing style and was just as much about the author as the player. Certainly not what I was expecting. But really this is just nitpicking, great book.


I, too, did not care for the Norm Cash essay. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with it, but it was not my cup of tea.

Insert Name Here

I would love to read this book… but is there a version that will be an actual book? As a rule, I do not read eBooks/Kindles/NookBooks/etc. and only read books in their physical, intended state.


Great Enos Cabell card indeed. Interesting, it was a 1977 card – however it is a game action shot from 1975. The Rainbow Uni first appeared that year. But it was the only year that had the number in a white circle on the back which is the version Cabell is wearing.