Over many years at South Side Sox, we conducted our own yearly Hall of Fame voting, to see how the opinions of White Sox fans matched up vs. Hall of Fame voters (spoiler alert: We’re smarter).
Three years ago, we also created our own White Sox Hall of Fame, honoring not only the greatest players in White Sox history, but the most memorable games, teams, contributors, promotions, and so on.
When Harold Baines was elected to Cooperstown via the Veterans Committee ballot in 2018, largely creating furor among writers and fans, it sparked an idea for a third annual round of voting, to correct some of the many oversights Cooperstown has made over the years — and continues to make.
Last week, we winnowed down a ballot of 30 players, comprising our Veterans Committee ballot. While only 10 players advance to this final ballot, every player received at least 5% of the vote, so no one falls off next year for lack of support.
Of the four players who were added to the ballot for 2021, just one, Orel Hershiser, advances to this final vote.
Here are the results of the first round of Veterans voting:
A late flurry pulled Bobby Bonds into a 10th-place tie with Jim Edmonds in the race for the final spot, but rather than a coin flip I’m going to advance the player with the higher career WAR, Edmonds.
All player bios can be found below, with some additional new information, like most comparable player. WAR figures tend to change a bit, but I’ve only updates WAR numbers I had compiled prior to 2019. And if you can bear it, check out the “closest HOF election” figure ... it is positively painful for every one of these players, whether you think they are Hall-worthy or not.
The ballot is right here, and also at the end of bios. You are strongly encouraged to vote for the maximum of four players. Voting for this round ends on January 12.
Next week, we’ll have our regular Cooperstown vote, and then our fourth annual South Side Sox White Sox Hall of Fame election.
note: bWAR = Baseball-Reference WAR fWAR = FanGraphs WAR WARP = Baseball Prospectus WAR aWAR = average WAR across the three measures; aaWAR = adjusted average WAR, accounting for time lost due to labor impasses or institutional racism JAWS = Jay Jaffe’s HOF measure of Top 7 seasons vs. Hall average Similar Player = Baseball-Reference/Bill James formula
First Baseman/Third Baseman
Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A’s (1963-77)
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 161
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B 17
Most Similar Player: Ryan Braun (93.4%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 18.9% (1996)
2019 SSHP Veterans Ballot Result 58%
Core Stats 351 HR, .292/.378/.534, .912 OPS, 156 OPS+
Core Accolades 1964 NL Rookie of the Year, 1972 AL MVP, seven-time All-Star, two Top 5 MVP finishes
One of the all-time hardest hitters, Allen’s path to the Hall has been complicated by a number of “moody” tropes that defy his true role as a clubhouse force, at least proven by his White Sox days. Of course, Allen did also move to the beat of his own drum, which rarely endears.
St. Louis Cardinals, Angels, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds (1993-2010)
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 144
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF 15
Most Similar Player: Lance Berkman (91.1%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 2.5% (2016)
Core Stats 393 home runs, .284/.376/.527, .903 OPS, 132 OPS+
Core Accolades Four-time All-Star, eight Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger, two Top 5 MVP finishes
A highlight-reel defender, with a potent power bat to boot.
Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles (1972-91)
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 138
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF 15
Most Similar Player: Luis González (90.4%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 10.4% (1998)
2019 SSHP Veterans Ballot Result 19%
Core Stats 385 home runs, .272/.370/.470, .840 OPS, 127 OPS+
Core Accolades Three-time All-Star, eight Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, two Top 5 MVP finishes
Evans has managed to be underrated despite some high-profile postseason appearances and status as nearly a career Red Sox. A devastating all-around player.
Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets (1983-2000)
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 225
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP 83
Most Similar Player: Bob Welch (97.4%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 11.2% (2006)
Core Stats 204 wins, 3.48 ERA, 1.261 WHIP, 112 ERA+, 3.69 FIP
Core Accolades Three-time All-Star, 1988 NL Cy Young, NLCS MVP and World Series MVP, 1995 ALCS MVP, Gold Glove, four Top 5 Cy Young finishes
While Hershiser may have somewhat pedestrian regular season stats overall, it was in October he shined, with a career 2.59 ERA and 1.106 WHIP over 132 innings.
Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, Cleveland, Oakland A’s (1963-89)
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 201
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP 85
Most Similar Player: Jim Kaat (92.3%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 31.7% (2009)
2019 SSHP Veterans Ballot Result 51%
Core Stats 288 wins, 3.44 ERA, 1.283 WHIP, 111 ERA+, 3.38 FIP
Core Accolades Four-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finishes
John is Exhibit A for the Jamie Moyer-type pitcher who simply never stopped pitching and thus piled up Hall-worthy numbers. That John was effective, even dominant, after the surgery that now bears his name adds an impressive wrinkle to his mere “piling up.”
Cleveland, Braves, Dodgers, Phillies, White Sox, Pirates, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Astros (1991-2007)
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 100
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF 10
Most Similar Player: Jimmy Ryan (87.6%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 3.2% (2013)
2019 SSHP Veterans Ballot Result 22%
Core Stats 622 stolen bases, .299/.372/.423, .794 OPS, 107 OPS+, 15.5 dWAR
Core Accolades Six-time All-Star, four Gold Gloves, one Top 5 MVP finish
An elite defender who roamed the challenging turf of center field for a long time. Like Brown, Lofton’s mercenary status hopping cities after Cleveland likely dinged his status among voters.
First Baseman/Left Fielder/Third Baseman/Second Baseman/Right Fielder
Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos (1963-86)
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF 5
Most Similar Player: Paul Molitor (67.9%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 9.5% (1992)
2019 SSHP Veterans Ballot Result 48%
Core Stats 3,562 games, 4,256 hits, 2.165 runs, .303/.375/.409, .784 OPS, 118 OPS+
Core Accolades All-time games and hits leader, 1973 NL MVP, 1963 NL Rookie of the Year, 17-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger, four Top 5 MVP finishes, 1975 World Series MVP
Obviously Rose has the numbers to be in the Hall as an all-time great, so his inclusion here is more a referendum on whether unsavory and/or banned actions off the field should affect enshrinement status on it.
Boston Red Sox, Cleveland, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels (1964-82)
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 111
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP 57
Most Similar Player: Catfish Hunter (94.2%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 30.9% (1988)
2019 SSHP Veterans Ballot Result 17%
Core Stats 3.30 ERA, 1.199 WHIP, 114 ERA+, 3.47 FIP
Core Accolades Three-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finish, one Top 5 MVP finish
Tiant’s case is bolstered (though not a determination for his inclusion here) by some heroic postseason pitching and extremely colorful personality.
Catcher/First Baseman/Third Baseman
Atlanta Braves, St.Louis Cardinals, New York Mets (1960-77)
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 176
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B 24
Most Similar Player: Victor Martinez (90.3%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 22.2% (1997)
Core Stats 2.342 hits, .297/.365/.452, .817 OPS, 129 OPS+
Core Accolades 1971 NL MVP, nine-time All-Star, Gold Glove, one Top 5 MVP finish, Hall of Fame Manager
Yes, Torre is already in the Hall as a manager, but he has an even stronger case as a player. His ability to dominate at a grueling position like catcher, then shift into a second elite career at another position(s) should not be taken lightly.
Detroit Tigers (1977-95)
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 76
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B 13
Most Similar Player: Ryne Sandberg (90.1%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 2.9% (2001)
2019 SSHP Veterans Ballot Result 58%
Core Stats 2.369 hits, .276/.363/.426, .789 OPS, 117 OPS+
Core Accolades 1978 Rookie of the Year, five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, three-time Gold Glove
While not the biggest lock of a candidate on this list necessarily, his idiotic bypassing by the Veterans Committee in 2019 helped to create this SSS vote. You’d think almost no one thinks Whitaker is not a Hall-of-Famer at this point, certainly not if Alan Trammell is. But just enough folks on a solitary, punch-dunk Vet Committee did in their last gathering, so labor on we must.
If you didn’t click on the link before the list of player bios, here’s your chance to access the ballot again without scrolling up.
Vote for up to four players. Last year, readers averaged well more than three selections per ballot, which tells me you guys are plenty smart. As with the BBWAA voting, 75% is necessary for induction.