Circle of Greats: 1929 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 51st round of balloting for the Circle of Greats.  This round adds to the ballot those players born in 1929.  Rules and lists are after the jump.

The new group joins the holdovers from previous rounds to comprise the full group eligible to receive your votes this round.  The new group of 1929-born players must, as always, have played at least 10 seasons in the major leagues or generated at least 20 Wins Above Replacement (“WAR”, as calculated by, and for this purpose meaning 20 total WAR for everyday players and 20 pitching WAR for pitchers).

Each submitted ballot, if it is to be counted, must include three and only three eligible players.  The one player who appears on the most ballots cast in the round is inducted into the Circle of Greats.  Players who fail to win induction but appear on half or more of the ballots that are cast win four added future rounds of ballot eligibility (or six future rounds, if they appear on 75% or more of the ballots). Players who appear on 25% or more of the ballots cast, but less than 50%, earn two added future rounds of ballot eligibility.  Any other player in the top 9 (including ties) in ballot appearances, or who appears on at least 10% of the ballots, wins one additional round of ballot eligibility.

All voting for this round closes at 11:00 PM EDT on Saturday, March 22, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:00 PM EDT Thursday, March 20.

If you’d like to follow the vote tally, and/or check to make sure I’ve recorded your vote correctly, you can see my ballot-counting spreadsheet for this round here: COG 1929 Round Vote Tally.  I’ll be updating the spreadsheet periodically with the latest votes.  Initially, there is a row in the spreadsheet for every voter who has cast a ballot in any of the past rounds, but new voters are entirely welcome — new voters will be added to the spreadsheet as their ballots are submitted.  Also initially, there is a column for each of the holdover players; additional player columns from the new born-in-1929 group will be added to the spreadsheet as votes are cast for them.

Choose your three players from the lists below of eligible players.  The 12 current holdovers are listed in order of the number of future rounds (including this one) through which they are assured eligibility, and alphabetically when the future eligibility number is the same.  The new group of 1929 birth-year guys are listed below in order of the number of seasons each played in the majors, and alphabetically among players with the same number of seasons played.

Sandy Koufax (eligibility guaranteed for 6 rounds)
Lou Whitaker (eligibility guaranteed for 6 rounds)
Ernie Banks (eligibility guaranteed for 3 rounds)
Juan Marichal (eligibility guaranteed for 3 rounds)
Ron Santo (eligibility guaranteed for 3 rounds)
John Smoltz (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Craig Biggio (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Bobby Grich (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Kenny Lofton (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Edgar Martinez (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Willie McCovey (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Ryne Sandberg (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)

Everyday Players (born in 1929, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Jim Piersall
Roy McMillan
Frank Thomas
Wally Post
Elston Howard
Dick Williams
Hector Lopez
Hank Foiles
Bill Tuttle
Gino Cimoli
Ted Lepcio
Danny O’Connell
Red Wilson

Pitchers (born in 1929, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Curt Simmons
Chuck Stobbs
Ray Herbert
Don Larsen
Al Worthington
Bob Purkey
Mickey McDermott
Don Mossi
Steve Ridzik
Jack Sanford
Ike Delock
Billy Loes
Ryne Duren
Bobby Tiefenauer

106 thoughts on “Circle of Greats: 1929 Balloting

  1. 1
    Mike says:


  2. 2
    Andy says:

    Banks, Santo, Marichal

  3. 3
    jajacob says:

    Whitaker, Grich, Lofton

    in homage to one Bill James best samples of writing. Who would fill out the ballot with Don Mossi and what hall of fame would it be?

  4. 4
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Elston Howard played parts of 14 seasons.
    And appeared in 10 World Series’.

    Rey Herbert led the league in Shutouts in 1963 with seven.
    Other than the shutouts, this was statistically just a little-above-average season, with 2.8 WAR.
    He threw 5 of the shutouts in his first 7 starts.

    Don Larsen in September of 1956:
    34.2 IP
    15 H
    2 R
    0.52 era

    And did you know that in his first start in that series, he didn’t get out of the 2nd inning? Anybody know why? He was walking guys, yes. But the play-by-play doesn’t look that ugly. Was he weary from running the bases the inning before?

    Sac Fly
    Pop Out

    And he’s taken out. ???

    Jack Sanford led the league in strikeouts as a rookie.
    And later managed to go 24-7 with only a 3.5 WAR

    Six games against the ’62 Mets were part of that equation.
    That and getting at least 6 runs of support 22 times.

    Rinold Duren, career:

    6.8 H/9
    6.0 BB/9

    • 29
      John Autin says:

      Cool note on Ray Herbert, Vooms. BTW, four of his shutouts were consecutive, making him one of ten pitchers to do that since 1914.
      — Only El Tiante did it twice.
      — Four of the 11 streaks came in 1968.
      — All but one of these streaks were firmly anchored in April-May or August-September. Gibson’s 5 games were in June. Drysdale had one of his six in June, the rest in May. Nobody else touched June or July.
      — Sal Maglie’s streak came in 1950, his triumphant return from the absurd 4-year suspension for “jumping” to the Mexican League. He spent the first half of that year in the bullpen, with just one start. From July 21 on, he went 13-1, and wound up leading the majors in ERA. Shove it, Happy Chandler.

      • 48
        paget says:

        I’m looking forward to the 1917 election when we’ll have a chance to talk about The Barber. Sal Maglie has one of the bizarrest careers ever. How are you supposed to evaluate such an exceptional pitcher whose first legit year in the big leagues occurs when he’s 33? I doubt he’ll generate much support for the COG, but, honestly, I think a case could be made.

        He certainly would make a top 10 list of great players with unusual careers. Sort of the Lefty O’Doul of pitchers.

        • 49
          Doug says:

          To your point:
          – Maglie shares with Pete Alexander, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro and Dennis Martinez the distinction of having 125 IP and a 105 ERA+ in every season aged 33-40.
          – Of 31 pitchers pitchers since 1901 with 30+ WAR aged 33+, Maglie and Charlie Hough are the only ones to compile more than 90% of their career WAR during those seasons. Eighteen of those pitchers (58%) compiled over half their career WAR over those seasons, including nine (29%) who topped 75%.

  5. 5
    Luis Gomez says:

    Whitaker, Marichal, Martinez.

  6. 6
    BillH says:

    Banks, Marichal, McCovey

  7. 7
    MJ says:

    Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich, John Smoltz

  8. 8
    Darien says:

    Banks, Santo, and Lofton

  9. 9
    Dr. Doom says:

    Ron Santo
    Ernie Banks
    Bobby Grich

  10. 10
    RonG says:

    McCovey, Marichal, Grich

  11. 11
    Chris C says:

    Juan Marichal for the win.
    Craig Biggio
    Edgar Martinez

    Shout outs to Red Sox Jimmy Piersall and to Don Larsen for his prefect game in the series.

  12. 12
    Artie Z. says:

    Santo, Marichal, Whitaker

  13. 13
    Hartvig says:

    A few comments about some of our newcomers:

    Jim Piersall- if you haven’t read it yet his autobiography “Fear Strikes Out” holds up pretty well after almost 60 years.

    Ellie Howard- The only player from the new crop I considered voting for. I think there’s a good argument to be made that time lost to segregation, military service and stuck in the minors or platooning in the outfield behind Yogi Berra probably cost him a Hall of Fame career.

    Gino Cimoli- Batted clean-up in a theoretical line-up that Bill James created to see if it made sense to walk Babe Ruth every time he came to bat at his peak with a below-average line-up protecting him. The outcome was that during an imaginary season were Ruth was walked every time Cimoli wound up driving in something like 185 runs and they scored more runs than they would have if they had left Ruth hit normally.

    Ted Lepcio- For reasons I cannot explain (since I would have been about 6 at the time I came into possession of it) I took an immediate disliking to him because of his 1961 baseball card.

    Curt Simmons- My memories of him are as a Cardinal. What I didn’t realize is that they got him after the Phillies released him after 4 bad starts in 1960. He had missed almost all of 1959 with a sore arm but pitched terrifically after the Cards picked him up. Hard to imagine that happening now.

    Al Worthington- I hadn’t realized his career was so chopped up by extended stints in the minors. Plus he was even better during his time with the Twins than I had remembered.

    Don Mossi- How can anyone not root for the captain of the all-ugly team?

    My vote:
    Santo, Grich, Sandberg

    • 25
      no statistician but says:

      I remember seeing the movie version of “Fear Strikes Out” when it first hit the theaters, and Tony Perkins was very sympathetic in the Jim Piersall role that prepared him for “Psycho” and other films depicting the disturbed.

      But the fact is that Piersall suffered then and later from psychological problems that are more easily resolved in instant biographies and Hollywood films than in real life. He was a show-off, not a team player, an instigator of trouble for its own sake, and an uncomfortable person to be around much of the time through his playing days on to his long broadcasting association with the White Sox and beyond.

      Once when he was playing with the Indians I watched a televised game—Cleveland/Chicago—with an interview of him afterwards by Jack Brickhouse, the most stolid, unflusterable announcer of all time, always genial, courtous, and complementary. Piersall was having none of it. I don’t remember what was said, but I do remember thinking more highly of Brickhouse than I ever had before and thinking that Piersall was intolerably boorish and nasty—and also sly. Wondering also whether he didn’t use his history of emotional disturbance to shield himself from criticism for the abuse he aimed at others. He was doing it even then. It didn’t start when he was paired with Harry Caray.

  14. 14
    ATarwerdi96 says:

    Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Bobby Grich

  15. 15
    Jeff Harris says:


  16. 16
    koma says:

    Sandy Koufax, John Smoltz. Craig Biggio

  17. 17
    --bill says:

    Grich, Santo, Marichal

  18. 18
    Bix says:

    Koufax, Marichal, McCovey

  19. 19
    latefortheparty says:

    Lou Whitaker
    Bobby Grich
    Ron Santo

  20. 20
    Scary Tuna says:

    Banks, Koufax, Whitaker.

  21. 21
    JamesS says:

    Marichal, McCovey, Whitaker

  22. 22
    bells says:

    Ah, the fun starts anew with a wide-open field!

    Players ranked on 3 measures: WAR, WAA+, JAWS and given cumulative rankings (all players on the ballot over 50 WAR are considered). Cumulative ranking of 3 would mean a player was ranked #1 in all 3 categories, cumulative ranking of 36 would be 12th in all 3. Numbers in parentheses are rankings on the individual measures.

    Ron Santo 6 (3 2 1)
    Bobby Grich 6 (2 1 3)
    Lou Whitaker 10 (1 3 6)
    Edgar Martinez 16 (5 4 7)
    Ernie Banks 18 (7 9 2)
    John Smoltz 19 (4 5 10)
    Kenny Lofton 20 (6 6 8)
    Ryne Sandberg 20 (7 8 5)
    Willie McCovey 26 (10 7 9)
    Juan Marichal 26 (11 11 4)
    Craig Biggio 30 (9 10 11)
    Sandy Koufax 36 (12 12 12)

    This one’s easy, I’ll go with the guys ranked #1 in each category. Santo, Grich, Whitaker.

  23. 23
    Paul E says:


  24. 24
    Hub Kid says:

    Grich, Whitaker, Elston Howard

    Howard gets my vote for being a steady backstop, and a classy player.

  25. 26
    Richard Chester says:

    Koufax, Banks, Martinez

  26. 27
    Francisco says:

    Juan Marichal, Sandy Koufax, Willie McCovey

  27. 28
    birtelcom says:

    Koufax and Marichal started in the same game only four times that I can find. Koufax won the first two and lost the last two. Marichal lost the first two, won the third and took a no-decision in the last one. That last no-decision was a doozy: that was the famous game in which Johnny Roseboro supposedly ticked the batter Marichal on the ear with a third inning post-pitch return throw back to Koufax, and in an ensuing confrontation Marichal swung at and struck Roseboro with his bat, creating a bloody mess. That was not going to be a complete game for Marichal.

    Overall in the four games that Sandy and Juan started against one another, I calculate a 4.10 ERA for Sandy and a 3.55 ERA for Marichal (plus the one “hit by batsman”). Koufax as pitcher had a net negative WPA for the four games, -0.072, and a net negative RE24,-0.314. Marichal as a pitcher was also net negative on both of those stats: -0.459 WPA and -0.585 RE24.

    • 33
      oneblankspace says:

      My search results, Koufax vs Marichal:
      .3 Jun 1961: Koufax CG-W, 3ER, 7H, 7K; Marichal CG-8L, 4R, 3ER, 9H, 4K
      11 May 1963: Koufax SHO, 0H, 2BB, 4K; Marichal 5 1-3,L, 4ER, 9H, 5K
      24 May 1963: Marichal CG-W, 1ER, 4H, 10K; Koufax 1-3IP,L, 5ER, 5H, 2BB, K
      .9 May 1965: Marichal GF, W, 1 1-3, 0R, 2K; Koufax L, 7 IP+3BF, 5ER, 6H, 11K
      22 Aug 1965: Marichal 3IP, ND, 2ER, 4H, 4K; Koufax CG-8L, 4ER, 4H, 8K

      I’m surprised I hadn’t done that comparison before.

      • 36
        birtelcom says:

        The game that you list that I didn’t include in my stats, the May 9, 1965 game, was a game that Koufax started but Marichal for some reason pitched in relief — only the fifth relief appearance of his career and his first in almost two years. I haven’t checked to see what the story there was.

  28. 30
    Richard Chester says:

    Al Worthington pitched shutouts in his first two ML starts. Others who did it are Johnny Marcum, Dave Ferriss, Karl Spooner and Tom Phoebus.

  29. 31
    Doug says:

    Some random musings on this year’s ballot.
    Bill Tuttle was just the second center-fielder since 1901 with 5 or more qualifying seasons with OPS+ below 90. Six more players have done that since, including the quartet of Otis Nixon, Marquis Grissom, Tom Goodwin and Darren Lewis, who all managed the feat between 1993 and 2000.
    Gino Cimoli was the first player to play exclusively in the outfield for 7 or more franchises in a career of fewer than 1000 games. Only Thad Bosely, Midre Cummings and Ricky Ledee have matched that feat since.
    Ted Lepcio followed Pat Seerey as just the second player to strike out in over 20% of 2000+ career PAs.
    Danny O’Connell led the majors in sacrifice hits in 1961, a feat unmatched by any third baseman since.
    Red Wilson and Frank House split catching duties in Detroit in the mid-1950s. Each had 6 straight seasons (1954-59) with 200-400 PA and more runs scored than strikeouts, with Wilson adding a 7th season in 1960. No catcher since has had a streak longer than three seasons.
    Jim Piersall is the career leader in WAR Fielding Runs for AL center-fielders.
    – Beginning in his debut 1951 season, the Reds’ Roy McMillan would start at shortstop for 582 consecutive games.
    Frank Thomas hit 20 or more HR in 9 of 10 seasons (1953-62), tied with Willie Mays and trailing only Eddie Mathews among NL sluggers over that decade.
    Dick Williams and Frank Thomas are the only players with at least 150 games at each of first base, third base, left field and center field.
    Hector Lopez, Cesar Tovar and Pete Rose are the only player with at least 175 games at each of second base, third base, left field and right field.
    Wally Post followed Mickey Mantle as just the second player with 3 seasons before age 30 exceeding 100 in both strikeouts and OPS+.
    Elston Howard is the only player with 4 seasons (1956-59) of 15+ games at both catcher and in left field. Alone in second spot on that list is teammate Yogi Berra with 3 seasons (1960-62).
    Hank Foiles was a career reserve catcher for 7 franchises. He played for 3 of those teams in the season after or the season before each won a pennant.

    • 40
      brp says:

      I still find it hard to believe I never heard of the “original” Frank Thomas until the tail end of CoG Frank Thomas’ career.


      • 56
        birtelcom says:

        Among the things the “original” Frank Thomas is famous for:
        –most valuable player (highest WAR) on the historically bad 1962 Mets expansion team
        –getting into a fight with teammate Richie (later known as Dick) Allen, an event that helped cement Allen’s reputation as a troublemaker, though many think the fight was Thomas’s fault.

  30. 32
    aweb says:

    Grich, Santo, Smoltz

  31. 34
    Gary Bateman says:

    Santo, Marichal, Banks

  32. 35
    Brent says:

    Whitaker, Santo, Banks

  33. 37

    Most Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

    Grich 43.6
    Santo 43.3
    Whitaker 42.7
    Martinez 41.3
    Smoltz 40.1
    Lofton 39.3
    McCovey 38.9
    Sandberg 38.8
    Banks 36.8
    Bunning 36.7
    Biggio 36.3
    Boyer 34.1
    Marichal 32.7
    Koufax 32.3

    This has to be our most unpredictable round yet.
    Martinez, Smoltz, Banks

    • 64

      On second thought, I think Banks will get in the CoG eventually. This may be Grich’s best chance, so I’ll go with the guy my “system” supports.

      Please change my vote to:
      Martinez, Smoltz, Grich

  34. 38
    birtelcom says:

    With 29 votes in, getting close to half the likely final voting total, Grich, Santo and Marichal are tied for the lead with 12 votes and Whitaker and Banks are just one behind with 11. It’s still early, but an aura of 1967 AL pennant race is beginning to appear. A tie at the end, should it happen, will be resolved with a short runoff election before the next regular voting round.

  35. 39
    JEV says:

    Koufax, McCovey, Banks

  36. 41
    Richard Chester says:

    Billy Loes was present, as either a teammate or a member of the opposing team, when the following players hit 4 HR in a game: Gil Hodges (teammate), Joe Adcock (opponent), Rocky Colavito (opponent) and Willie Mays (teammate). As a member of the Dodgers in 1952, when asked who would win the WS, he said “The Yankees in 7”. In the 6th game of that WS he claimed to have lost a ground ball in the sun.

  37. 42
    oneblankspace says:

    I’m tempted to vote for Whitaker and Banks to create a five-way tie — would the Cubs in that tie have their runoff first?

    Also, some of the eligible newcomers just barely qualify. Wilson was a backup catcher, starting half of his team’s games only once and averaging just over 50 games per season (also mentioned in Doug’s #31). Tiefenauer played 10 years, starting in 1952 and ending in 1968, surpassing 75 IP only once. He had 1.3 pitching WAR in 1963 and 1.4 in his career.

    But here is my vote:
    Larsen (It’s never happened before in World Series history, and it still hasn’t — Y.Berra, who caught that game), who was traded to Kansas City for some outfielder named Maris (among others)

  38. 43
    Low T says:

    Grich, Santo, Whitaker please

  39. 44
    Abbott says:

    McCovey, Biggio, Marichal

  40. 45
    Kirk says:

    Banks, Marichal & Smoltz

  41. 46
    Doug says:

    Some tidbits on the pitchers.
    – Since 1901, only 9 Phillies teams have had two pitchers with 200 IP and a 130 ERA+. Three of those came in 1952-54 with Curt Simmons and Robin Roberts. The 1954 team also had Karl Drews meet those standards, the only time a Phillies team had three such starters until Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee in 2011.
    Steve Ridzick was swing-man on those same 1952-54 Phillies teams. He was the majors’ only pitcher with 100 ERA+ over that span who also posted 5 starts, 15 relief appearances and 80 IP in each of those seasons.
    Chuck Stobbs‘ 1-8 record for the 1959 Senators was then the lowest W-L% for any pitcher with a 130 ERA+ in 90+ innings. Bill Dawley and Tom Henke eclipsed that mark with winless campaigns in 1986 and 1987.
    Ray Herbert is 1st in IP (786.2) and CG (32), and 2nd in Wins (37) while pitching for the Kansas City Athletics.
    Don Larsen, famous for his WS perfect game and for being the last active St. Louis Brown, also still holds the live-ball era record for lowest W-L% (3-21, .125 in 1954) in a season of 200+ IP.
    Al Worthington shutout the Phillies and Dodgers in the first two games of his career, twice as many shutouts as he would compile over his final 600 games.
    – What does Bob Purkey have in common with Jack Chesbro, George Uhle and Justin Verlander? They are the only pitchers since 1901 to lead their league in W-L% and HBP in the same season.
    Mickey McDermott and contemporaries Tommy Byrne and Turk Lown are the only pitchers since 1901 with SO/9 above 5 and a SO/BB below 1 in careers of 1000 IP.
    – Though Don Mossi‘s 1961 AL-leading SO/BB ratio of 2.91 was higher than all but 3 of the AL’s previous 30 season-leading marks, no pitcher since has led the junior circuit with a lower ratio. Ears also bested Sandy Koufax‘s NL-leading SO/BB ratio that season.
    Jack Sanford and Giants’ teammate Juan Marichal matched the Yankee tandem of Whitey Ford and Ralph Terry as the only teams with two pitchers having a .600 W-L% over 800 innings for 1960-63. Sanford’s 96 ERA+ was easily the lowest of those four pitchers and the five others with a .600 W-L%, all of whom posted at least a 113 ERA+ mark.
    Ike DeLock and Pedro Martinez are the only pitchers to record 5 or more seasons of 125 IP for the Red Sox, and to never lose more than 10 games in any season.
    Ryne Duren was the first reliever to record 75 IP and 175 ERA+ in consecutive seasons (1958-59). For the rest of his career, Duren posted an 87 ERA+ over almost 400 IP.
    Bobby Tiefenauer was the first pitcher with a career of 10 or more seasons that did not include a game start. He likewise was the first of the 10-year pitchers to fail to record a winning record in any season.

    • 60
      brp says:

      I wonder how Ryne Duren felt about the Ricky Vaughn character. Was able to find this: but not sure of the veracity. Certainly an interesting guy.

      • 61
        birtelcom says:

        Highest Career Ratio of Walks Allowed to Hits Allowed (min. 250 career IP):
        1. Carlos Marmol 1.04
        2. Mitch Williams 1.01
        3. Herb Score .94
        4. Tommy Byrne .91
        5. Ryne Duren .88

        Marmol, unlike the others, is active (looks set to be on the Marlins staff this season) and so his final place in this list is subject to change.

  42. 47
    wx says:

    Ernie Banks, Juan Marichal, Sandy Koufax

  43. 50
    David Horwich says:

    An interesting round so far. I figured a lot of Whitaker and Santo voters would be coming out of the woodwork, but I’m a little surprised Marichal is well ahead of Koufax, and Grich is doing a bit better than I would have predicted, too.

    Martinez, Sandberg, Santo

  44. 51
    RJ says:

    Interesting clash of the sabermetric favourites (Whitaker, Grich, Santo) vs the easily elected Hall of Famers (Banks, Marichal). I have four of those in, but I’m still not entirely sold on Marichal for the CoG.

    Grich, Lofton, Martinez.

  45. 52
    Andy says:


  46. 53
    bstar says:

    Koufax to win. His World Series pitching record is what’s doing it for me.

    Koufax, Biggio, Lofton

  47. 54
    David Horwich says:

    It looks like brp’s ballot @40 hasn’t been tallied yet. In an election this close, every vote counts!

    • 55
      birtelcom says:

      That’s for sure: now a four-way tie at 15 votes, with a fifth just one behind at 14 and Koufax maybe making a move at 10. Glad you are checking, D.H.

  48. 57
    oneblankspace says:

    My Larsen vote is recorded on the line of the voter below me.

  49. 59
    PP says:

    Tough choice this year after knowing Mantle, Mays and Mathews were getting in.

    Banks, Marichal, Mccovey

  50. 62
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    -Juan Marichal
    -Ryan Sandberg
    – Craig Biggio

    One vote to win, the other two to keep them on the COG ballot.

  51. 63
    Josh says:

    Juan Marichal, John Smoltz, Sandy Koufax

  52. 65
    Nick Pain says:

    Whitaker, Lofton, E. Martinez

  53. 66
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Just throwing this out there…
    In the midst of the other monster offensive seasons that were taking place in 1994, here are Kenny Lofton’s numbers stretched to 162 games:

    232 hits
    46 doubles
    13 triples
    17 homers
    82 RBI
    151 runs

    86 steals
    .349 BA
    355 Total Bases

    10.4 WAR

    No guarantee he hits all those numbers, but…

    Just taking the batting average and the steals,
    only one player has ever batted .349 with 86 swipes.

    Cobb, 1912

    • 67
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      There are a lot of What Ifs? regarding 1994.
      Maybe Buck Showalter goes on to be the iconic Yankees manager, and Joe Torre is only remembered for 1971.

      My point regarding Lofton is that some of the players who were excelling in ’94 went on to be regarded as all-time greats anyways:


      Some fellas, however, fall short.

      Matt Williams

      If Lofton puts up that 350 Total Bases season, and the Indians win the WS that year (they were one game back in their division, and the WC leader). I don’t think that Lofton is remembered as the journeyman slap-hitter.

      He’s certainly not one-and-done with the HOF.

      • 69
        Doug says:

        And, what if the Montreal Expos go on to win the WS that year (they were 6 games up on the Braves, with the best record in baseball) and establish a dedicated following, instead of leaving town 10 years later amid yawning apathy.

        As you say, lots of what ifs.

        • 70
          John Autin says:

          What if the ’94 Rangers go on to win their division at 10+ games under .500, get hot in October and go all the way? Maybe the 3-division setup is one-and-done. Imagine if the Series had been Rangers (projected for 74-88) and Dodgers (82-80).

        • 74
          bstar says:

          The Braves were trailing the Giants by 9 games a year before, in ’93, at the same point in the season and ran down SF in what I’ve heard called, “the last great pennant race”. Atlanta went 37-11 to close out the ’93 season.

          Another what-if: Greg Maddux in ’94, prorated to a full year: 12.3 WAR.

      • 80
        oneblankspace says:

        If 1994 had been played to its conclusion, would we be talking about Jeff Bagwell as the first player to 66 HR in a single season instead of Sosa (who was first to 66 by about an hour) ?

        I seem to recall one reason MLB went to three divisions was they couldn’t decide whether #1 East should play #2 East or #2 West.

        • 82
          John Autin says:

          obs — (a) Bagwell broke his hand in the next-to-last game, and (b) he was only on pace for 55 HRs before that. Matt Williams was on pace for 61 HRs in ’94, if you round up.

  54. 68
    J.R. says:

    Koufax, Biggio, Grich

  55. 71
    T-Bone says:

    Ryne Sandberg
    Ernie Banks
    and not Ryne Duren where Sandberg supposedly got his name,
    but Santo. Still feeling a bit blue I guess.

    • 72
      Hartvig says:

      By my count that makes it:
      Marichal 18
      Banks 17
      Grich/Whitaker 16
      Santo 15
      Koufax 12
      McCovey 10

      with only 46 votes cast so plenty of time for things to change. It also means that all of our holdovers except Lofton (6) and Sandberg (5) have at least 7 votes.

      Looking ahead we have the following players with more than 40 WAR or in the HOF in upcoming years:
      1928- Junior Gilliam, Gil McDougald, Whitey Ford
      1927- Richie Ashburn, Nellie Fox, Billy Pierce
      1926- Duke Snider, Robin Roberts
      1925- Yogi Berra, Minnie Minoso
      1924- Gil Hodges
      1923- Larry Doby, Red Schoendienst
      1922- Al Dark, Ralph Kiner, Hoyt Wilhelm
      1921- Hal Newhouser, Roy Campanella, Warren Spahn
      1920- Stan Musial, Vern Stephens, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn

      I’d guess in the 8 elections from the current one up until 1921 that at least 4 people on our current holdover list will get in.

      • 73
        David Horwich says:

        With 2-part elections in 1928, ’25, and ’22, it’ll be 11 elections from this one to 1921 – even more opportunities for the holdovers.

        • 75
          Hartvig says:

          Yeah, I missed that. And by my reckoning I can’t imagine that more than about 9 of the newcomers (prior to 1921) will get any support at all and at most maybe 3 or 4 could be seen as better than our current holdovers- and even then not by a large margin.

          Going into the teens
          1919- Jackie Robinson
          1918- Bobby Doerr, Pee Wee Reese, Ted Williams, Bob Feller
          1917- Lou Boudreau, Phil Rizzuto, Virgil Trucks
          1916- Charlie Keller, Enos Slaughter, Murry Dickson,
          1915- Willard Brown, Joe Gordon, Dizzy Trout
          1914- Joe DiMaggio, Bill Nicholson, Harry Brecheen
          1913- Johnny Mize,
          1912- Augie Galan, Arky Vaughan
          1911- Hank Greenberg, Joe Medwick
          1910- Dixie Walker, Dizzy Dean

          I figure that at most 13 are serious COG candidates and only about half of them could be argued to be better than our current holdovers.

          I don’t know if any of our redemption round winners will get in during the 20’s or 30’s but I wouldn’t be surprised if they managed to stick around for at least a couple of decades worth of ballots.

          • 78
            Artie Z. says:


            1925 – Yogi
            1921 – Spahn
            1920 – Stan the Man
            1919 (part 1) – Jackie
            1918 – Splinter
            1917 – Rapid Robert
            1914 – Joltin’ Joe

            But that’s all I would venture a guess on. The 1917-1921 years look a little tough for the holdovers to crack, but outside of those years – who knows. This is not to say I don’t think someone like Snider or Mize is a COGer, just that I’m not sure they are shoo-ins.

          • 101
            Michael Sullivan says:

            In 1926, I think Robin Roberts is (or should be) a shoo-in as well. Snider isn’t clearcut, but he’s got as a good a case as most of our holdovers and I expect him to either get in or hang out on the ballot a while.

  56. 76
    Dr. Remulak says:

    Biggio, Koufax, Banks.

  57. 77
    Aidan Mattson says:

    Koufax, Smoltz, McCovey

  58. 79
    Mike HBC says:

    Koufax, Santo, Smoltz.

  59. 81
    paget says:


  60. 83
    mosc says:

    I think the odds of us getting 71 votes and/or lofton and sandberg not getting 7 are both slim so I think everyone’s sticking around. That said I can vote for who I think are the best players here

    Koufax, Smoltz, Santo

    I thought Banks would run away with this round. I’m glad to see he is fairly thought of as a borderline (but likely) case.

  61. 84
    David Horwich says:

    Just wanted to note that the vote change @64 hasn’t been recorded.

    With that change, I have the current tally as:

    Banks 18
    Marichal 18
    Grich 17
    Santo 17
    Koufax 16
    Whitaker 16
    McCovey 12
    Smoltz 11
    Biggio 8
    Martinez 7
    Lofton 6
    Sandberg 5
    Howard 1
    Larsen 1

    Only a few elections have come close to having this many players so tightly clustered at the top (e.g. 1957, 1952 Pt 2).

  62. 85
    Stubby says:

    Banks, Lofton, Sandberg

  63. 86
    Bill Johnson says:

    Whitaker, McCovey, and Smoltz

  64. 87
    jeff hill says:

    Santo, Whitaker, Lofton

  65. 88
    Hub Kid says:

    Hmm… this is a really exciting race. All of the leading candidates are some of my favorite ballplayers, too.

    My strategy: push for the best long-term holdovers now because I think it is more important to get them in if we can.

    I didn’t vote for Santo, Marichal or Banks this time (although I have before and fully believe they all belong) because my guess is those three will eventually get in the COG without anyone near as much struggle, and they are already HOFers.

    I still hope that the COG can do more than sift out the least worthy HOFers – it’s time to recognize more of the overlooked players who are Greats even if the HOF doesn’t think so.

  66. 89
    Voomo Zanzibar says:


    Kenny Lofton (for the win)
    Sanford Koufax
    Juan Marichal

  67. 90
    Jeff B says:

    Banks, McCovey & Marichal

  68. 91
    Mike L says:

    Banks, McCovey, and Sandberg

    But, why these three over the others, I’m having a hard time articulating.

  69. 92
    Mike G. says:

    Santo, Grich, Martinez

  70. 93
    Brendan Bingham says:

    Martinez, Smoltz, Santo

  71. 94
    donburgh says:

    Grich, Santo, Marichal

    • 95
      Hartvig says:

      Holy cow! If my calculations are correct we now have a 3 way tie for first:

      21- Banks, Marichal, Santo
      19- Grich
      18- Whitaker
      17- Koufax
      15- McCovey

      And with 60 votes cast, all 7 are also above the 25% necessary to gain an extra ballots eligibility.

      • 98
        bells says:

        Yeah, what an election. Best thing is, with no ‘slam-dunk’ candidates for a few ballots yet, we’ve got several more of these to look forward to, most likely.

        I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but baseball history suggests to me that it usually doesn’t end well for the Cubs when they’re close to the victory down the stretch, so I’m gonna guess Marichal takes this round…

  72. 96
    The Diamond King says:

    Koufax, Smoltz and Don Mossi!

  73. 100
    opal611 says:

    For the 1929 election, I’m voting for:
    -Ryne Sandberg
    -Edgar Martinez
    -Craig Biggio

    Other top candidates I considered highly (and/or will consider in future rounds):

  74. 102
    Michael Sullivan says:

    Santo, Grich, McCovey

    My third choice would be Whitaker but he is pretty safe for 25%.

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