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(Numbers in parentheses indicate number of ballots on which the player appeared, then number of first-place votes received.)

AL MVP (14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1)

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January 19, 2001 12:00 am

Not Getting His Due


Michael Wolverton

Let's play Name That Player. Today's HOF-eligible mystery player was an outstanding hitter over his long career, finishing with 339 homers (65th on the all-time list), 526 doubles (27th), and 4405 total bases (35th). He is the career leader in Equivalent Runs among all eligible players not yet in the Hall of Fame. He was an outstanding corner outfielder, winning three gold glove awards and gunning down 143 baserunners with his Howitzer arm. He uncorked a throw in an All-Star game that is still the first vision that pops into my mind whenever someone discusses all-time great throws. He won an MVP (deserved), and he played for five division winners and two World Series champions.

Yet this player's name was practically absent from HOF candidate evaluations over the past few months. Rob Neyer's recent ESPN.com column evaluated sixteen different candidates without mentioning his name. Same with CNNSI's Tom Verducci. Jayson Stark did mention him among the 23 players he evaluated in his HOF column, but only for a quick one-sentence dismissal: "a great hitter at times but didn't maintain the discipline to sustain his greatness."

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