I figured I’d take the time to go through the HOF candidates and give my thoughts and then break the players down into the following classes: First Ballot HOF, HOF but will have to wait, Borderline HOFer and Won’t Make the Cut. Also for the fun of it I will take a shot at how many votes each player receives (I will assume all 32 owners get a vote). Due to the backlog I think Hayashi and either Coleman/O’Keefe while just miss the threshold to enter the Hall. They are still first ballot HOF in my eyes and would be if Hunter’s HOF started when players first became eligible.
I’ll start with the first ballot HOFers
Felipe Bournigal: His number speak from themselves he is the greatest pitcher that Hunter has ever known. A career era of 2.70, two World Series rings and 6 Cy Young say it all. The only way Bournigal doesn’t go 32/32 in the voting is if someone forgets to vote.
Lou Stevenson: Stevenson’s reign on top was relatively short (7 seasons) however during that team his production was so heroic the duration of his prime has little effect. Had he not been traded to the NL his prime probably would have extended another season or two which would have allowed him to join the 500 HR club. All that said Stevenson goes into the hall on the back of qty (5) MVP’s which is a Hunter record he shares with Magglio Javier.
Elvis Ogea: Ogea is a two-time Cy Young award winner playing in the same league as Bournigal and had Ogea pitched in the NL his Cy total likely would have been 4 or higher. Ogea was also the best pitcher on the 3-time WS champions Washington Generals. The last two seasons of his career were not kind to his stats as he posted a 6+ ERA over his last 130 ML innings. Had he retired two years earlier his 3.25 career ERA likely would have been in the high 2’s.
Kevin Coleman: Coleman has more Cy Young’s (3) than anyone not named Felipe. For the first 10 seasons of Hunter the league average ERA ranged from 4.92.-5.45 Coleman’s ERA was about a run and a half lower than (3.66) than the league average. His ERA becomes even more impressive when put into the following context. He averaged a 6+ ERA over the last 180 IP of his career (when will WIS factor in retiring with dignity), he pitched 22% of his career innings in Coors field, He pitched 400 innings in Tucson’s Electric park which is the third best hitting park (behind Coors and Sante Fe) and for those 400 IP he averaged an ERA of 3.18. So during his extended prime Coleman was clearly an elite pitcher he just had some factors working against his overall stats.
Derek O’Keefe: Mr. O’Keefe was a wanted man, he bounced around Hunter via trades and FA like no other. He played for 13 seasons and he also played in 13 different cities. He only ended up with one Cy Young but he did have three seasons where he posted an ERA sub 3.2 but was split between two league thus negating any chance for more Cy Young nominations. One of the things I find most impressive about O’Keefe was his ability to remain effective until retirement. Unlike other greats: Bournigal, Ogea & Coleman, you did not see the precipitous drop-off in production at the end of this career. In his final ML season he posted a 4.2 ERA.
James Hayashi: For the first 8 seasons of Hunter he was as good as any hitter. Unfortunately he was 28 when the world spawned so obviously there were 4-5 prime years missed. Hayashi ended his career with 470 HR, given another 4-5 seasons that number would have been in the 600-700HR range. I think the number 43 pretty much sums up Hayashi excellence in his prime. 43 is the number of games he played in the AL during Season 4 and he still managed to win the NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP.
Albert Henley: 2 MVP’s, 6-All-stars and .337 career batting average are the numbers that show Henley is clearly hall bound. A lot has been made of Henley’s inflated stats due to his 3.5 season stay in Colorado. While I agree those seasons did inflate Henley’s numbers. At age 37 & 38 with reduced skills he still managed to produce qty (2) 20+ HR seasons with batting averages of .321 & .322. I think his production at an advanced age shows he had a skill set of a HOFer.