The baseball world was saddened by the news of Hank Aaron‘s passing, two weeks shy of his 87th birthday. Regarded with Willie Mays as one of the two greatest right-handed hitters in major league history, Aaron will forever be remembered for being the first to surpass Babe Ruth‘s career home run total, long thought to be an unbreakable record. After the jump, more on the career of Hank Aaron.
We continue our tribute to the Hall of Fame players who passed away in 2020. There were seven in total, a new record for any calendar year. In Part 1, we looked at the four whose careers spanned the 1950s, 60s and 70s. In this installment, we look at the remaining three whose careers extended into the 1980s. More after the jump.
The year just ended will long be remembered precisely because it was one we would like to forget. Baseball also took its lumps last year with a severely truncated season, experimental rules and a novel playoff format. The year 2020 was also a forgettable year for its toll on living Hall of Famers. No fewer than 7 Hall of Fame players passed away last year, several of them inner circle members of Cooperstown. After the jump, a tribute to those we lost last year.
Willie McCovey died late last month at the age of 80. In a career spanning four decades, McCovey established himself as one of the most feared sluggers of his era. And what an era it was, with almost half (9 of 20) of the 100 Batting WAR club among his contemporaries. More on McCovey after the jump. Continue reading
Baseball fans everywhere were stunned and saddened by the tragic passing of Roy Halladay, unquestionably one the greatest pitchers of the recent past. Author of a perfect game and post-season no-hitter, Halladay logged over 2500 IP in a sixteen year career with the Blue Jays and Phillies. Eight times an All-Star and twice a Cy Young Award winner, Halladay recorded a 203-105 career record with a 3.38 ERA, striking out more than 2000 while walking less than two batters per 9 innings.
More after the jump on the career of Roy Halladay.
Don Baylor, longtime AL player and later an NL manager, has passed away at the age of 68. Baylor played over 2000 games, all in the AL, in a career spanning 19 years that included an MVP selection in 1979 and appearances in 7 post-seasons and 3 World Series. After his playing days, Baylor was the first manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies, guiding them to a post-season appearance in only their third season. More on Baylor after the jump.
Hall of Famer Jim Bunning has died at the age of 85. Author of the first NL perfect game of the modern era, Bunning recorded over 3500 IP and 200 wins in a 17 year career, mostly for the Tigers and Phillies. While often overlooked among the pioneers of the modern, high strikeout pitcher, Bunning established standards for consistency and longevity that few pitchers since have been able to match.
More on Bunning after the jump.
Marlins’ star right-hander José Fernandez has died tragically in a boating accident, aged only 24. The Cuban-born Fernandez, whose family arrived in America only after three attempts to defect, won the 2013 RoY, underwent successful Tommy John surgery in 2014 from which he returned to action in 2015, and posted a stellar 2016 season, leading the majors in FIP and SO/9.
More after the jump on the brief but brilliant career of José Fernandez.
Tony Phillips died last week of a heart attack, aged only 56. Phillips exceeded 50 WAR in an 18 year career played primarily with the Athletics and Tigers. One of the most versatile players in major league history, Phillips started his career as a shortstop but ended up playing over 400 games at 2B, 3B and LF.
More on Phillips after the jump. Continue reading