Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
Life Arts

The Anti-war Activist Puts On His Baseball Historian's Hat

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message William P. Homans       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 8/1/11

Author 62250
Become a Fan
  (15 fans)
- Advertisement -

Jessie M. D, Homans, A 4th-Generation Citizen of Red Sox Nation
(Image by self)
  Permission   Details   DMCA
Item: Jacoby Ellsbury, emerging star center fielder for the Boston Red Sox, has not made an error all year, and has thrown out 5 runners so far. If he doesn't make an error for the rest of the season he wins the Gold Glove for center field in the American League.

I was just at a baseball talk site, and the folks were discussing whether Dwight Evans ought to be in the Hall of Fame. He won 8 Gold Gloves in his career as right fielder for the Red Sox. But here's why I think he falls short:


- Advertisement -

I was in Fenway to watch Dewey play in both his early and late career, while missing most of his prime (1979-86). He was a star ballplayer. He had arguably the best arm in the American League, and the best of anyone who ever wore a Red Sox uniform.

But he does not quite have the stats, nor the intangibles-- he was a quiet type-- to put him in the Hall of Fame. His best year might have been 1981, the strike year, in which had he maintained his pace in home runs and RBIs he would have had 33 homers and 127 RBIs.

Now, there are any number of players in the Hall with a .272 or lower BA. Harmon Killebrew hit .258 career. But he had 573 home runs, with 40 or more 8 times, and 100+ RBIs 10 times.

- Advertisement -
Ozzie Smith is in the Hall with a .262 BA. But he was a 15-year AllStar with 13 Gold Gloves, to Evans' 3 and 8, respectively, probably as good a modern example as can be found of a player whose glove got him in the Hall.

Reggie Jackson hit .262 career also. But he had only 10 HR less than Killebrew, career, was a 13 year AllStar, and had an MVP Award (1973), besides the greatest single-game performance ever in the World Series-- 3 homers and 8 RBIs.

Mike Schmidt hit only .270, but he led the National League in homers 8 times, slugging 5 times, walks 4, and won 3 MVPs, plus 9 gold gloves, including 8 years in a row, 12 years AllStar, all but one in a row. Had he hit for average too, Schmidt would be one of the top ten PLAYERS that ever played. He even was a threat on the basepaths, stealing 171 bases over a 16-year career, with a career high of 29 in 1975, while leading the league for his second time in HRs.

Bill James, the eminent baseball historian, in his book, The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, posits four possible definitions for a Hall of Famer. Evans clearly does not fit definitions A or B.

Definition A is, simply, the greatest ever, arguably, to play his position. Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Lefty Grove are examples of that level of HOFer. Mike Schmidt, mentioned earlier, also probably fits this definition, up there with Jimmy Foxx and, today, Albert Pujols, whose place among the all-time greats is cemented, with 432 homers in 11 seasons, the biggest Rookie of the Year season of the century, 2 Gold Gloves and 3 MVPs (with no evidence that he is "juiced") so far, but how high he'll rate is unclear. All three of those arguably-greatest-ever first basemen also played significant time at third base, so they are really comparable.

Definition B says, "one of the greatest ever" at his position. "Such a player should be the dominant player at his position at the time he is active," with the exception of one-of-the-greatest-ever talent doubling up at one position, like Mantle and Mays concurrently in center field. "He should be the biggest star on the field at any time," says James.

- Advertisement -
Evans was not the dominant right fielder in baseball at any time, or the biggest star on any field at any time. He does, however, fit SOME OF definition C for HOFers: he was consistently (especially after he became a power hitter) among the best in the league at his position for a long time.

James says, "Such a player would ordinarily be the biggest star on his team unless it was a pennant-winning team, in which case he would be regarded as one of the most valuable members of the team." Some HOFers James says are covered by this definition include Billy Williams, Willie Stargell (the only one of this list I ever actually watched, in HIS ONLY MINOR LEAGUE SEASON, in Asheville in 1962-- 42 homers in 140 games, off he went to the Pirates after the minor league season was done in September), Johnny Evers and Harry Heilmann.

And sorry, there is no way that Evans comes anywhere close to Heilmann. Between 1921 and 1927, Heilmann, Ty Cobb's teammate, led the American League in hitting four times with BAs of over .390. (In fact, between 1907 and 1927, only five batting titles were won by players who were not Detroit Tigers.) He is one of the select bunch (the last being Ted Williams) to hit over .400 in a full season.

Stargell had 479 homers and was an MVP and World Series MVP in the same season, 1979. He was not the biggest star on the team when Roberto Clemente was there, but thereafter he arguably was.

Next Page  1  |  2


- Advertisement -

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

My name is William Perkins Homans the third, but probably more people know me as the bluesman (and artist) Watermelon Slim.

I've been in the fight against war, fascism, injustice and inhumanity for 40 years. I was at MayDay, and at the moratorium March the week before. I was one of the leaders of the Great New Jersey Turnpike Stall on my birthday, April 25, 1971.

I bear the scar on my left shin from a neoNazi jackboot, when I was one of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War who bounced the NSWPP from Flamingo Park at the Republican National Convention of 1972. My father fought the Nazis in the North Atlantic and Anzio, and I met their spawn in Miami.

My formal education has been first-rate. I wouldn't trade my degrees for Harvard ones. I was raised in the finest private Catholic and Episcopal high schools.

Elementary School: Gibbons Hall, Asheville, North Carolina

High Schools: Asheville School for Boys, Asheville Country Day, Lenox School for Boys. Graduated with honors 1968.

College: Middlebury College, 1968-DNG

1984-86: University of Oregon, B.A., Journalism and History, Departmental Honors in History, 1986.

I was also captain of the U of O bowling team, 1984-1986. High game 299.

1997-2000: Oklahoma State University. M.A., History, 2000, plus the school-teaching curriculum. Mentor: Dr. Ronald Petrin.

This was my second great self-reinvention attempt. In both, I got the degrees, but neither worked. After both, I went back to truckdriving and the blues. and now the latter makes my living. I just am not a button-down enough fellow ever to be a schoolteacher or general-purpose news reporter. But I think and analyze, and so I write...

Youtube videos 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Oregon Standoff: Mr. Bundy Shows His True Colors (All Shades of White)

Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) Technology-- A Threat To The US Or Not?

Ship's Sinking, Rats Are Looking For Escape Ropes

President Obama Feeds the Homeless on Thanksgiving Day: Why Don't We All Love Him?

Whither Revolution in America?

How Can Republicans Win the 2012 Elections? Why Might They?