Looking at the Modern Era Ballot


Baseball's Hall of Fame could soon have an addition (or additions.) The Modern Era Ballot Committee meets on December 8 at Baseball's Winter Meetings. Nine players and one executive are on the ballot, with the induction ceremony set for July 26. We present some notes (not intended to be all encompassing), stats, and since this is Ballpark Road Trips, a look at how each player performed in at least one ballpark. Who would you select from this list?


Dwight Evans, Right Fielder, Boston Red Sox (1972-90) and Baltimore Orioles (1991)


Boston drafted and developed a dynamic outfield in the 1970s, pairing Jim Rice in left, Fred Lynn in center and Evans in right. Evans played for Boston from 1972 to 1990, teaming with Rice from 1974 to 1989. "Dewey" earned eight Gold Gloves and was durable in his prime, playing 162 games in 1982 and 1984. He led the A.L. in walks three times, posting a .370 career on-base percentage. Evans' .402 OBP led the league in 1982 and he ranked in the top 10 six times.


WAR: 67.1


Best BBWAA finish: 10.4% on second ballot in 1998

Ballot notes: Evans' candidacy failed to gain momentum in the late 1990s. He went from 5.9 percent in 1997 to 10.4 percent in 1998. His third ballot featured first-timers Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Robin Yount, Carlton Fisk and Dale Murphy. Ryan, Brett and Yount were all voted in that year, with Evans dropping to 3.6 percent, under the required 5.0 percent to remain on the ballot.


Career numbers: .272 AVG

2446 hits

385 HR

1384 RBI


Best MVP Finish: Third in the strike-shortened 1981 season (.296 AVG, AL leading 22 HR, 71 RBI), led MLB in walks, led AL in total bases


First in AL in OPS twice (1981 and 1984)

Led AL in runs in 1981

Played all 162 games twice


Postseason numbers:

.239 BA over four Postseasons

Batted .308 with two home runs and nine RBI in 1986 World Series


Eight Gold Gloves

Three-time All-Star

Two Silver Sluggers


Ballpark notes: 199 of Evans' home runs came at Fenway Park. He batted .413 (19-for-46) at Toronto's Skydome compared to .220 (50 for 227) at Exhibition Stadium.


Steve Garvey, First Baseman, Los Angeles Dodgers (1969-82) and San Diego Padres (1983-87)


A Dodger from 1969 to 1982, Garvey posted at least 200 hits six times. Garvey played in 1207 consecutive games from 1975 to 1983, a National League record. The streak ended when he broke his thumb in a home plate collision. While he spent most of his career in L.A., Garvey's number "6" was retired by the Padres. Garvey's walk-off homer in Game 4 of the 1984 NLCS is relished by San Diego fans.


WAR: 38.1


Best BBWAA finish: 42.6% on third ballot in 1995

Ballot notes: Garvey remained on the ballot for all 15 years that he was eligible, always receiving at least 20% of the vote. EVERY player who ranked ahead of Garvey from 1993 to 2004 is now in the Hall of Fame. He ranked fifth in his first year (1993), with the top four all eventually reaching the Hall (Reggie Jackson, Phil Niekro, Orlando Cepeda- an eventual Veteran's Committee selection, Tony Perez.)


Career numbers: .294 AVG

2599 hits

272 HR

1308 RBI


Best MVP Finish: 1974 NL MVP (.312 AVG, 21 HR, 111 RBI on Dodgers team that finished 106-56)


Led NL in hits, 1978 and 1980

Led or tied for first in games played six times


Postseason numbers:

.338 avg over five Postseasons (75 for 222)

1981 World Series winner with Dodgers

1984 NLCS MVP with Padres


10-time All-Star

4 Gold Gloves


Ballpark notes: Garvey, a career National Leaguer, played in just 14 Major League ballparks during an era when few stadiums opened. The Florida native batted .350 (166 for 474) at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. He batted .307 at Dodger Stadium (including his time with San Diego.)


Tommy John, Left-Handed Pitcher, Cleveland (1963-64), Chicago White Sox (1965-71), Los Angeles Dodgers (1972-78, missed the 1975 season), New York Yankees (1979-82), California Angels (1982-85), Oakland Athletics (1985), returned to Yankees (1986-89)


The only pitcher on this list, John is known by many younger fans for the surgery that bears his name. The lefty pitched 14 seasons AFTER the procedure, including all three of his 20+ win seasons. Eight of the 10 "Similar Pitchers" listed by Baseball-Reference are Hall of Famers. John's 288 wins rank 26th all-time. 23 of 25 pitchers ahead of John are in the Hall (Roger Clemens, 354, and Bobby Mathews, 297, are not.)


WAR: 61.5


Best BBWAA finish: 31.7% in 2009 (15th and final ballot)

Ballot notes: Many will point to John's low ballot percentages over his 15 years. However, if you look back now, years later, he's the top non-Hall of Famer on four ballots. Take 2005 as an example: he finished 10th, behind Boggs, Sandberg, Sutter, Rice, Gossage, Dawson, Blyleven, Lee Smith and Morris, who all eventually made the Hall (only Boggs and Sandberg were elected in 2005.)


John finished seventh in his final year of eligibility. He and Jim Rice were both on their 15th ballot in 2009, with Rice (76.4%) earning his way to Cooperstown. The top six vote getters from 2009 are all now in the Hall.


Career numbers: 288-231 W-L, 3.34 ERA


Best Cy Young finish: 2nd, twice, 1977 (20-7, 2.78 ERA) and 1979 (21-9, 2.96 ERA)


Top 10 in ERA six times


Postseason numbers:

6-3, 2.65 ERA over 14 games (13 starts)

2-1 personal record over six World Series games, with his clubs losing all three series


Four-time All-Star


Ballpark notes: John went 50-50 (home and visiting) at Comiskey Park, 48-37 (home and visiting) at Yankee Stadium and 47-21 at Dodger Stadium. He was 6-0 at both Shea Stadium (1.79 ERA) and Cincinnati's RIverfront Stadium (1.97 ERA.)


Don Mattingly, First Baseman, 1982-1995, New York Yankees


Mattingly's four-year stretch from 1984 to 1987 ranks as one of the most dominant by any player. "Donnie Baseball" batted .288 or better in each of his full seasons except 1990, when back problems slowed him to a .256 clip. Back injuries proved to be Mattingly's kryptonite as he retired at age 34. Our favorite Mattingly stat? He never struck out more than 43 times in a single season! He hit 35 home runs against 41 strikeouts in 1985. In 1986, he posted 742 plate appearances with just 35 strikeouts, rare numbers for a power hitter. A college commitment led to Don Mattingly slipping to round 19 in the 1979 draft, making him one of the top picks in history.


WAR: 42.4


Best BBWAA finish: 28.2 percent in first year on ballot (2001)

Ballot notes: Mattingly continued to earn enough support to stay on the ballot, however, he couldn't top his first-year totals. He dropped to 9.9% in 2007, rose back into the teens from 2010-2013, and finished with 9.1% in 2015, his final year.


Career numbers: .307 AVG

2153 hits

222 HR

1099 RBI


Best MVP Finish: 1985 AL MVP (.324 AVG, 35 HR, 145 RBI)


Led MLB in doubles three straight years (1984-86)

Led MLB with 145 RBI in 1985 and 238 hits in 1986

1984 AL batting champion at age 23 (.343)

Homered in eight straight games in 1987


Postseason numbers:

Long considered one of the top players to not play in the Postseason, Mattingly's first playoff experience wrapped up his career. He batted .417 (10-for-24) in the 1995 ALDS vs. Seattle. Mattingly's two-run ground-rule double gave New York a 4-2 lead in the sixth. Seattle stormed back, winning a 6-5 thriller in 11 innings.


Nine Gold Gloves

Six-time All-Star (consecutive from 1984 to 1989)

Three-time Silver Slugger


Ballpark notes: Mattingly's best numbers came at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium (.389, 72 for 185), which was open during his prime. He batted .346 at Seattle's Kingdome and .344 at Camden Yards. The lefty hit .313 at Yankee Stadium, belting 155 of his 222 home runs (69.8%.)


Marvin Miller, Executive Director, MLBPA, 1966-1982


Miller transformed baseball's economics as the Players Association's top executive from 1966 to 1982. He added structure to baseball's union while ushering in the first collective bargaining agreement and free agency. Marketing became a bigger part of the equation, with the MLBPA inking major licensing deals. Miller convinced players not to sign their baseball card contracts, forcing Topps to pay more in licensing. Average player salaries were over 17 times higher in Miller's final year than 16 years earlier when he started.


While many believe Marvin Miller is one of the most influential people in baseball history, he hasn't received the support necessary for Cooperstown. Miller passed away in 2012


Thurman Munson, Catcher, New York Yankees, 1969-1979


The heart and soul of the 1970s Yankees, Thurman Munson died tragically in an August 1979 plane crash. Munson batted over .300 five times and was even better in the playoffs, compiling a .357 mark. He won Rookie of the Year honors in 1970 and AL MVP in 1976. The Yankees' captain from 1976 to 1979, Munson's number 15 was retired in 1979.


WAR: 46.1


Best BBWAA finish: 15.5% on his first ballot in 1981

Ballot notes: Munson appeared on the ballot each of the 15 years he was eligible, however, his first year marked his lone season with a double-digit percentage in voting.


Career numbers: .292 AVG

1558 hits

113 HR

701 RBI


Best MVP Finish: 1976 AL MVP (.302 AVG, 17 HR, 105 RBI)


Led AL in games caught three times


Postseason numbers:

.357 avg (46-for-129), 3 HR, 22 RBI in 30 games

Played in three straight World Series (1976-78), with the Yankees winning in 1977 and 1978


Seven-time All-Star in 11 seasons

Three-time Gold Glove winner


Ballpark notes: Munson batted .375 (27 for 72) at Exhibition Stadium against the expansion Jays. The Ohio native compiled a .348 mark (109 for 313) at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.


Dale Murphy, Outfielder, Atlanta Braves (1976-1990), Philadelphia Phillies (1990-1992), Colorado Rockies (1993)


A generation of baseball fans know Dale Murphy thanks to TBS. You couldn't get every MLB game on TV in the 1980s, however, you could regularly watch Murphy and the Atlanta Braves. "The Murph" broke into the big leagues as a catcher, then moved to the outfield. He played in every game from 1982 to 1985, and was one of baseball's best during that span. Murphy won back-to-back MVPs in '82 and '83, then topped his league in homers in '84 and '85. The power was matched by his outfield prowess as he won five straight Gold Gloves. Murphy hit a career-best 44 homers in 1987, though his batting average dipped from .295 that year to .226 in 1988. While some point to overall numbers that are a bit below enshrined outfielders, there's no denying his dominant stretch during the mid 1980s.


WAR: 46.5


Best BBWAA finish: 23.2% on second ballot in 2000

Ballot notes: Murphy made the ballot each time he was eligible (1999 to 2013.) He dipped from 23.2 percent in 2000 to a personal low of 8.5 in 2004. Murphy's numbers regained some traction, reaching 18.6% in his 15th and final ballot.


Career numbers: .265 AVG

2111 hits

398 HR

1266 RBI


Best MVP Finish: Two-time NL MVP (1982 and 1983); batted .281 with 36 home runs and 109 RBI in '82, followed with .302/36/121 in '83


Led the NL in RBI in 1982 and 1983

NL leader in home runs with 36 in 1984 and 37 in 1985

Played all 162 games four times


Postseason numbers:

The longtime Brave played in just three Postseason games, going 3-for-11 in the 1982 NLCS against St. Louis.


Five-time All-Star (consecutive from 1983 to 1987)

Three Gold Gloves (1983 to 1985)

Four Silver Sluggers

1978 NL Rookie of the Year


Ballpark notes: Murphy hit 205 home runs at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, posting a .284 batting average.


Dave Parker, Outfielder and Designated Hitter, Pittsburgh Pirates (1973-1983), Cincinnati Reds (1984-1987), Oakland Athletics (1988-1989), Milwaukee Brewers (1990), California Angels (1991) and Toronto Blue Jays (1991)


A presence at 6'5" and 230 pounds, "Cobra" slugged his way into the spotlight with a .308 average, 25 home runs and 101 RBI for the 1975 Pirates. Parker won MVP honors in 1978, batting crowns in '77 and '78, and led the "We Are Family" Pirates to a World Series win in 1979. The Cincinnati native returned home in 1984. He finished second in the MVP balloting in '85, batting .312 while leading the league in doubles and RBI. Parker produced solid years as a designated hitter, helping Oakland to the 1989 title and making an All-Star team with the 1990 Brewers.


WAR: 40.1


Best BBWAA finish: 24.5% on second ballot in 1998

Ballot notes: Parker made the ballot each time he was eligible (1997 to 2011.) He always received above 10 percent, though he had only two years of at least 20 percent.


Career numbers: .290 AVG

2712 hits

339 HR

1493 RBI


Best MVP Finish: 1978 NL MVP (.334 AVG, 30 HR, 117 RBI)


Back-to-back NL batting champion, 1977 and 1978

Led NL in doubles, 1977 and 1985

Led NL in hits, 1977

Led NL in slugging, 1975 and 1978

Led NL in RBI, 1985


Postseason numbers:

Two-time World Series champion (1979 with Pittsburgh, 1989 with Oakland)

Overall .234 AVG (26 for 111), 3 HR, 11 RBI

Batted .345 (10 for 29) in the 1979 World Series


Seven-time All-Star

Three Silver Sluggers

Three Gold Gloves


Ballpark notes: Parker posted a .341 average (29 for 85) at Fenway Park. The longtime Pirate hit well at Three Rivers Stadium (.325, 88 home runs, includes stats as a guest.)


Ted Simmons, Catcher, First Baseman and Designated Hitter, St. Louis Cardinals (1968-1980), Milwaukee Brewers (1981-1985), Atlanta Braves (1986-1988)


A first-round pick out of high school, Ted Simmons debuted with the Cardinals at age 19. He batted over .300 seven times, including a .332 mark in 1975. Baseball Reference's "Most Similar by Ages" comparison from age 22 to 31 for Simmons is Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Simmons led the NL in games caught three times, including 154 games in 1975.


WAR: 50.3


WAR notes: While Simmons ultimately moved away from catching, his 50.3 career WAR ranks 10th among catchers. The top eight are Hall of Famers, with number nine, Joe Mauer, not yet eligible.


Best BBWAA finish: 3.7% on his first and only ballot in 1994

Ballot notes: Simmons received 17 votes in 1994, with his former St. Louis teammate Steve Carlton (95.6%) earning induction. Seven men from that ballot ultimately earned induction, plus Joe Torre, who was honored as a manager.


Career numbers: .285 AVG

2472 hits

248 HR

1389 RBI


Best MVP Finish: Sixth in NL, 1975 (.332 AVG, 18 HR, 100 RBI)


Top 10 in league in batting average, six times

Top 10 in OPS five times


Postseason numbers:

Hit three home runs for Milwaukee, including two in the 1982 World Series

11-for-59 at the plate


Eight-time All-Star

One Silver Slugger


Ballpark notes: Simmons sizzled in Chicago, batting .360 (27 for 75) at Comiskey and .339 (121 for 357) at Wrigley. He hit just .251 (307 for 1221) at Milwaukee's County Stadium (as a Brewer and as a guest.)


Lou Whitaker, Second Baseman, Detroit Tigers (1977-1995)


20-year old Lou Whitaker and 19-year old Alan Trammell debuted together for the TIgers on September 9, 1977. The double-play duo would be synonymous the rest of their careers, all in Motown. Whitaker earned three Gold Gloves while playing during the era of eight-time A.L. winner Frank White. Sweet Lou retired in 1995, with Trammell playing one more year. Trammell reached Cooperstown in 2018. Will this be Whitaker's year to join him?


WAR: 75.1


WAR notes: Whitaker's 75.1 career WAR ranks seventh among second basemen. The top six are Hall of Famers (Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie, Joe Morgan, Rod Carew and Charlie Gehringer.) Sweet Lou's 75.1 tops recent Hall of Fame second basemen Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar and Craig Biggio. While "WAR" is tough to compare across positions, Whitaker's career mark is higher than Derek Jeter's 72.4.


Best BBWAA finish: 2.9% on his only ballot in 2001

Ballot notes: Whitaker received just 15 votes in 2001, with longtime Detroit teammates Kirk Gibson (13 votes) and Lance Parrish (9 votes) right behind. Eight players on the 2001 ballot are now in the Hall, including another of Whitaker's teammates, Jack Morris (19.6% in 2001.)


Career numbers: .276 AVG

2369 hits

244 HR

1084 RBI


Best MVP Finish: 8th in AL voting, 1983 (.320 AVG, 12 HR, 72 RBI)


Third in AL with .320 AVG, 1983

Top 10 in AL on-base percentage, three times


Postseason numbers:

Whitaker batted just .204 (10-for-49) in the Postseason, though he walked 11 times in 13 games for a .350 on-base percentage.


Five-time All-Star (consecutive, 1983-87)

Four Silver Sluggers

Three Gold Gloves

1978 AL Rookie of the Year


Ballpark notes: Whitaker welcomed Cleveland's move to Jacobs Field, batting .444 (16-for-36) with two home runs. Tiger Stadium was the site for 146 of his 244 home runs (59.8%.)


Thank you for reading! Wow, so many numbers and stats! I serve as my own editor, so if you see errors, please e-mail me. info@ballparkroadtrips.com

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