The Bizarro Hall of Fame was a series I ran on my old blog, One More Dying Quail, in 2007. It consists of players who appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot but did not receive any votes.
Mike suggested I bring those old posts over to Bus Leagues. I liked the idea, so for the next few months, we’ll re-run a couple each week in addition to our regular content. For the most part, they will be unedited and un-updated, although I’ll make a few minor changes (removing mentions of YouTube videos, for example) from time to time as needed.
Mike Caldwell – For three years after a solid 14-5, 2.95 campaign for San Francisco in 1974, Caldwell’s career seemed to be on the decline. He was dealt from Cincinnati to Milwaukee in June 1977, however, and his career revived for one glorious final act, a 22-9 record and second place finish in the Cy Young voting in 1978.
Roy Howell – The fourth overall pick in the 1972 draft, Howell was traded to Toronto a month into the team’s inaugural season of 1977 and made the American League All-Star team in 1978. He signed with Milwaukee as a free agent following the 1980 season, appearing in three playoff series over the next two years. After a promising start in the 1981 Division Series (4-for-5), he went hitless in fourteen at-bats in the ALCS and World Series.
Jose Morales – Morales finished his twelve-year major league career with a total of 375 hits, nearly one third of which came as a pinch-hitter. His only appearance on Baseball Reference’s “Appearances on Leaderboards and Awards” section comes thanks to his status as the National League’s ninth oldest player in 1984.
Amos Otis – A five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover, Otis hit .478 with three homeruns for the Kansas City Royals in the team’s 1980 World Series loss to Philadelphia. He played fourteen of his seventeen major league seasons in Kansas City, finishing in the top ten in the Most Valuable Player voting four times.
Tony Scott – Not many 71st round draft picks ever make the major leagues, let alone stick around for eleven seasons, but Tony Scott did just that, earning steady playing time with St. Louis and Houston from 1979-1982. The first year was his best, as he used his speed to steal 37 bases and tally ten triples for the Cardinals.
Ken Singleton – A powerful hitter with a good eye, Singleton racked up over 2,000 hits, 1,000 runs batted in and nearly 250 homeruns in 15 major league seasons. His best year was 1979, when his 35 homeruns, 111 RBI and second-place finish in the MVP voting powered Baltimore to the World Series. They lost that Fall Classic to Willie Stargell’s Pittsburgh Pirates, but Singleton got his ring four years later when the O’s beat Philadelphia.
Paul Splittorff – Splittorff was drafted by the Royals in the 25th round of the 1968 draft and made his major league debut two years later. Three years after that, he was a twenty game winner for Kansas City, helping the team to a second-place finish in the American League West. He ultimately won 166 games in fifteen major league seasons, all of them with the Royals.
John Stearns – The second overall pick in 1973 made four All-Star teams in his eleven year career, but was left off the squad in 1978, which might have been his best season (career-high 15 homeruns, 25 stolen bases, 65 runs scored). His career was technically spent with two teams, the Phillies and Mets, but 809 of 810 games were spent with the Mets; he played one game in Philadelphia before being dealt to New York as part of a trade for Tug McGraw.
Champ Summers – Champ was an undrafted free agent who only had 350 hits in eleven seasons, so I’m gonna turn this one over to the Rumors and Rants, which put together a tremendous listing of the various bloggers’ thoughts on their favorite players. In a tremendous coincidence, the all-time favorite of The Wayne Fontes Experience was…Champ Summers. Their thoughts:
“His style of play really struck a chord in a teenaged me. As a left-handed, dead pull hitting, platoon OF/DH, Champ had a swing that was tailor made for Tiger Stadium. Unfortunately, Summers often buttEd Heads with Sparky Anderson, which led to a trade that absolutely devastated me. The best seasons of Summers’ career were spent with the Tigers, while making me a fan for life.”
Dick Tidrow – Tidrow won forty games in his first three seasons, but only managed sixty in his last ten years. He appeared in three straight World Series for the Yankees from 1976-78, posting a 1.93 ERA in the last year.