Dale Murphy and the Hall of Fame

January, 25, 2013
1/25/13
6:30
PM ET
Wait, another Hall of Fame column? Hey, there's never a bad time to talk about the Hall of Fame.

I was talking to Jim Caple today, and at some point the discussion diverged to Jack Morris and his chances to get in next year ("Unlikely," Jim says) and then I pointed out Joe Posnanski's line about Dale Murphy being the big winner on this year's ballot because he gets booted off the ballot and into Veterans Committee land. Joe's theory being that Murphy has a much better chance now of getting elected.

[+] EnlargeDale Murphy
AP Photo/Rusty KennedyDale Murphy is no lock to be elected into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.
"Not so fast," Jim said, making a good point: The Veterans Committee hasn't exactly been a free ride of late. Sure, it's elected a lot of owners and executives and umpires in recent years, but the only post-integration player elected in the past decade has been Ron Santo last year. And, frankly, he had to die to finally get elected.

In fact, the Veterans Committee has elected very few post-integration players in the past 25 years:

Ron Santo, 2012 (66.6 WAR, 43.1%)
Bill Mazeroski, 2001 (32.2 WAR, 42.3%)
Orlando Cepeda, 1999 (46.1 WAR, 73.5%)
Larry Doby, 1998 (47.0 WAR, 3.4%)
Nellie Fox, 1997 (46.3 WAR, 74.7%)
Jim Bunning, 1996 (56.7 WAR, 74.2%)
Phil Rizzuto, 1994 (38.1 WAR, 38.4%)
Red Schoendienst, 1989 (39.0 WAR, 42.6%)

All of these players had a little something "extra" to help get them in: Santo died, Mazeroski was regarded as the best fielding second baseman in history and hit that Game 7 home run in the World Series, Cepeda was one of the first Latin stars, Doby helped break the color line, Fox and Bunning were just a few votes shy of election by the BBWAA, Rizzuto was a famous Yankee, and Schoendienst also had a successful career as a manager that included a World Series title.

Still, that's only eight players in 25 years. Meanwhile, the Veterans Committee has elected five umpires, nine managers and eight executives (not including the Negro Leagues selections).

So Murphy's case isn't exactly all that much better. He peaked at 23.2 percent on the BBWAA ballot, lower than any of the above except Doby.

The next turn of the Veterans Committee will look at those who made their contributions post-1972, but the rules state players must be retired at least 21 years, so Murphy, who retired in 1993, won't be eligible in 2013.

The last time the VC voted on post-1972 candidates, only Pat Gillick was elected. Dave Concepcion received eight of the 16 votes (12 needed for election), while the other players all received fewer than eight (Vida Blue, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub). So I assume the VC will just recycle through a similar ballot, although it would be nice to add Dwight Evans, Bobby Grich and Willie Randolph to the ballot. Evans and Randolph weren't eligible last time around. Not that any of those players other than Concepcion have a chance.

Plus, with Joe Torre and Tony La Russa also being eligible, those are pretty automatic selections.

David Schoenfield | email

SweetSpot blogger

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