Rich: I know Alomar is a controversial choice for “first ballot” Hall of Famer. The spitting incident (though he did apologize and works with the umpire involved on the charity for the ump’s child), alone might be enough to warrant bumping him to second-ballot. However, Alomar was simply the best second basemen that our generation has seen (though a player like Robinson Cano might take that title from him). Four Silver Sluggers along with 10 Gold Gloves show he could do it all with the bat and the glove – which is a rare balance of talent for a middle-infielder.
Adam: Alomar was “spitting distance” from my first ballot. I cannot deny how good he was (the best of my generation) but on the short-list warranting first ballot all-time I needed to create some level of defining line. Alomar is a sure-fire second ballot guy in my book. While minor in the grand scheme of things (and he did make up for it), the “spitting incident” creates my cut line. It was a poor moment in an incredible career and as such drops him to ballot two.
Adam: Career batting average of .333 with 1300 RBI and 741 stolen bases (led the league five times) as a second baseman. Led the league in runs scored three times. A onetime MVP while finishing top-5 six times. Led the league in putouts seven times and is second all-time in putouts. Led the league in second baseman fielding percentage nine times and was top-2 16 times. First all-time in games played at second base.
Rich: Another example of a “line in the sand” victim on my ballot. I have Eddie Collins in my top-5 all-time second basemen and with having voted for Hornsby, Morgan, and Alomar, Collins just missed the cut. There’s no debating Collins’ greatness at second base and if we were solely going off of stats, we could easily have inducted 100 players as “first ballot” Hall of Famers.
Rich: I have Morgan as the second-best second basemen of all-time behind Rogers Hornsby. He won two MVPs, put up over 2500 hits, scored over 1600 runs and had an OPS+ of 132 (during an era where “offense was down”). While his after-baseball career as an announcer is the stuff of legend (and not in a good way), what Morgan did on the field and what he meant to the Big Red Machine of the 70s can’t be disputed.
Adam: I will not comment on his commentary or lack there of. As a second baseman he was sensational. that cannot be denied. Hornsby is number one hands down. I rank Eddie Collins at two all-time. With that, Jackie gets the nod due to his impact on the game of baseball. Joe was great but falls just below my cut line if fielding an all-time best of the best squad. While great, he is at the top of my second ballot.
Adam:Rookie of the year in 1947 and MVP in 1949. First in WAR two times for all players and finished in the top four in batting four times. He was also top four in stolen bases six times. Career batting average of .311, with 734 RBI, 947 runs and a 132 OPS+ in a ten year career compared to Morgans 21 years. All this with a level of mental pressure and anguish most of us could never imagine applied by fans, opposing players and some on his own team. First ballot in my book.
Rich: Not voting for Jackie was tough, and is more than likely controversial. The thing is, his career in MLB was cut short due to issues outside of his control, however, just like Eddie Collins, Roy Campanella, and others, there had to be a line in the sand in each position and Jackie ended up on the wrong side of it.
Up next: Designated Hitter