"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Way to Go Joe

Joe Gordon was elected to the Hall of Fame this afternoon.  Gordon spent the first seven of his eleven-year career in pinstripes.

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1 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 8, 2008 2:30 pm

Congratulations Flash. Although brief (partly because of WWII service), Gordon was a Hall of Fame level player in his prime. In addition to being thought of as a top fielding 2B, he also finished his career with an OPS+ of 120 as well as 9 ASG appearances and 8 appearanes on an MVP ballot (including one award and five top-10 finishes).

2 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 8, 2008 2:39 pm

I really didn't see this one coming. I mean, I know they'll NEVER vote in a guy like Dick Allen, who faired poorly again this year, and perhaps he's not a hall of famer, no matter how great an offensive player he was. I've always like Gordon as a choice. Just didn't see it coming.

3 Bruce Markusen   ~  Dec 8, 2008 2:53 pm

My sentiments exactly, AB.

Gordon is an excellent choice. He was a terrific defender at second base, had tremendous power (at a time when most middle infielders didn't hit the long ball), and played much of his career in pennant races and/or for pennant winners.

Unfortunately, the voters did not do themselves proud with the rest of their voting, particularly in saying no to Santo, Hodges, Torre, Allen, Dahlen, and a couple of others.

What does Santo have to do? At worst, he was one of the top ten 3B of all time, at best, he was one of the top five. Either way, that's a clearcut, no-question-about-it Hall of Famer.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 8, 2008 3:18 pm

Again, I can see why a guy like Allen gets little love. He didn't "act" like a Hall of Famer, he was troubled, he didn't have very long career. But I also bet some of the Hall of Famers who are in there and who played with Allen don't want him in on some petty jealousy stuff too, cause they KNOW what a great hitter he was.

Santo getting snubbed again I just don't understand.

5 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 8, 2008 5:10 pm

[4] Santo getting snubbed again is just ridiculous. That poor man should not have to suffer being on the outside any longer.

Good for Joe Gordon, though.

6 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 8, 2008 6:35 pm

[4] I think the whole world agrees about Santo. He is really the one name that seems to draw universal support. For some reason, however, he continues to slip through the cracks. Something tells me is his being hurt by the stigma of being a Cub (i.e., being a loveable loser).

While I could easily live with Dick Allen, I don't have a problem with his omission because of the shorter length of his career. If your sole clame to (Hall of) fame is your bat, I think you need more than 7200 PAs. Basically, Allen is Frank Thomas with 2,700 fewer plate appearances. Those extra times at bat is the difference between a hall of famer and a near miss.

Joe Torre is another near miss for me. Had he been a catcher longer, he woud be a lock. Because he spent so much time at 1B, however, I think that knocks him down a peg. He'll eventually get when his manager duties are taken into account.

Gil Hodges is a not a Hall of Famer, IMHO. He simply did not hit enough for a 1B...neither in his peak nor over the length of his career. Letting Hodges in would be as bad as letting Rice in. Considering that the writers are likely to enshrine the latter, it's a good thing the Veterans didn't compound the problem by electing the former.

Dahlen, about whom Rob Neyer had a nice blog entry today, is an interesting case because if he was as good with the glove as some accounts suggest, his offense numbers more than warrant selection. Considering that he has been bypassed for nearly 100 years, however, I am not sure if I can blame the Veterans committee for doing so again. Still, I think he definitely deserves more serious consideration than he probably received.

7 Bruce Markusen   ~  Dec 8, 2008 7:15 pm

William, Joe Torre's managerial accomplishments already count, as per the Hall of Fame rules. It's just that the majority of the voters have decided that he should have to wait until he retires as a manager. It's another case of HOF voters applying their own rules to the process.

In regards to Hodges, I think that he belongs based on his combined achievements as a player and manager. I wouldn't put him in solely for what he did as a player, but he deserves a large amount of credit for the stunning turnaround that he orchestrated with the Mets in the late sixties and early seventies.

8 Evil Empire   ~  Dec 8, 2008 8:08 pm

Outstanding news about Joe Gordon. [1] I agree with William -- He had a lifetime OPS+ of 120, so his offensive numbers were certainly HOF worthy, especially for a second baseman.

Considering he won 4 rings as a Yankee and played 7 years in pinstripes and only 4 in Cleveland it's a bit of a no-brainer that his plaque will have the interlocking NY.

Here's a question: Will the Yankees retire his number? There's a bunch of non-HOF Yankees (Martin, Guidry, Munson, Maris, Mattingly and Howard) whose numbers aren't retired. It would be especially fun because Gordon wore #6, the same as Joe Torre. Of course the Yanks have set precedent of retiring the same number twice (Dickey and Berra). There are probably other Yankees with NY on their hats in the HOF whose numbers aren't retired (Tony Lazzeri comes to mind and he also wore #6).

Perhaps they can retire the number for Gordon, Lazzeri and Torre and have 6 6 6 in monument park...that would be something.... [Evil is chuckling at his Evil wit!].

9 Evil Empire   ~  Dec 8, 2008 8:09 pm

[8] I meant to write that there are a bunch of non-HOF Yankees whose numbers ARE retired. D'OH!

10 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 8, 2008 8:33 pm

[7] I realize that Torre's managing counts now, but also accept that the voters seem unwilling to consider it until he retires. I am ok with that...and don't see it as Hall voters usurping the rules. If a voter wants to consider Torre's whole body of work, then that seems fair. Besides, what would happen if Torre was found to have passed HGH to his players IN 2009? Because the Hall does have character as a criteria for selection, such an event would be relevant. In other words, I don't see a problem with at least waiting for Torre to retire.

I guess I just don't see Hodge's managerial record as putting him over the top. After all, his career W% was .467. Also, aside from 1969, he never managed a team higher than 3rd place (and each one of those finishes was with a .512 W%). What's more, while the 1969 championship may have been stunning, the Mets immediately returned to being a pretty mediocre team until the mid-1980s.

11 Bruce Markusen   ~  Dec 8, 2008 9:03 pm

William, those Senators teams and that first (1968) team that Hodges managed were simply awful. I doubt that few managers would have had much success with that succession of teams, which accounts for most of Hodges' losing percentage as a manager.

In one year, Hodges managed to take a perenially bad Mets team, vault them to 100-plus victories, and then postseason wins against the Braves and the Orioles, both teams with better talent. Winning a world championship with Al Weis at second base, Ed Charles platooning at third, and Ron Swoboda platooning in right field is a phenomenal accomplishment. Along with the '88 Dodgers, the '69 Mets are perhaps the unlikeliest world championship team in MLB history.

You say that the Mets returned to mediocrity the following two years, but they did win 83 games each of those seasons despite a lineup filled with holes (second base, third base, and right field) and fast declines from Donn Clendenon and Tommie Agee. Given the talent level that Hodges had, I'd still say the Mets overachieved those seasons, just not at the same level as the '69 Mets.

12 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 9, 2008 10:58 am

[11] I am sure if Hodges had managed better teams, he would have won more. The fact of the matter, however, is he did not. I don't think you can excuse his managerial record because he had poor clubs. It would be one thing if, like Torre, Hodges followed up a poor managing career with an impressive run, but he did not do that. All he has on his resume is one amazing run in 1969. I am sorry, but that isn't enough to merit Hall of Fame in my book.

Regardless of the holes on the team, 83 wins is the definition of mediocre (i.e., a .500 team). Besides, if you check out B-R.com, you'll see that the 1970 Mets had a Pythagorean W-L of 88-74, while the 1971 team had a Pythagorean W-L of 86-76. So, if anything, Hodges underachived those seasons.

Hodges seems to be an emotional choice because of the magic of that 1969 year. Unfortunately, the facts just don't seem to support his case. Aside from Jim Rice, the election of Hodges would be a selection (not including ones that have already been made) that I would regret the most (because lobbying would have overwhelmed the facts).

13 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 9, 2008 11:03 am

[11] Also, while the Mets did have a weak offense, their pitching is what drove the team. They had stellar seasons from Seaver, Koosman and McGraw, as well as some above average seasons from a few journeyman (not to mention contributions from a young Nolan Ryan). In other words, the 1969 Mets were not a bumbling group. Their exepected win total was 90 games, so they did overachive that season, but they were not an awful team.

14 The Mick536   ~  Dec 9, 2008 12:15 pm

Didn't realize that Gordon was traded to the Indians for Allie Reynolds, who was a native american and who also appeared on the HOF ballot.

15 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 9, 2008 2:03 pm

[14] Allie Reynolds missed by one vote, which I think is a good thing because he would have been a weak candidate.

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