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.
Brady Anderson – A funny fact about the Baseball Hall of Fame: of the fifteen eligible players who have hit fifty homeruns in a season, only eight are enshrined. Two of the players on the Naughty List, Mark McGwire and Anderson, appeared on this year’s ballot. At least McGwire drew some votes (the exact same total as last year, incidentally); Anderson, long considered one of the poster boys for the wonders of steroids, got himself a big fat goose egg.
Anderson actually turned in one of the more well-rounded fifty homer campaigns in history in 1996, becoming (at the time) just the second member of the completely arbitrary 50-20 Club (Willie Mays was the charter member; Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez have since followed). It was also one of the flukiest – his slugging percentage, for example, which reached .637 that year, never again got higher than .477.
If baseball players were blogs, Anderson would most definitely be One More Dying Quail: we both possess superficially good numbers, but it doesn’t take much digging to realize that those results were artificially enhanced (Anderson was rumored to be a steroid user, I interviewed Erin Andrews).
Jose Rijo – Here’s what I wrote about Rijo’s Bizarro candidacy seven weeks ago:
The most interesting case, in my mind, is Rijo, a dominant righty for Cincinnati in the early 1990s who battled serious arm trouble and went six years between major league appearances later in the decade (he didn’t pitch between July 18, 1995 and August 17, 2001). Because he was retired for the required five seasons, Rijo was listed on the 2001 ballot and received a single vote. Considering he did little to bolster his case (aside from being a great inspirational tale) during a two season comeback in 2001-02, there is a good chance he goes without a vote this time around.
Every so often, I get one of these things right (and sometimes, I get them mostly wrong). Rijo showed incredible mental toughness in coming back from multiple Tommy John surgeries, but his performance in 2001 and 2002 hardly warranted a second appearance on the ballot, let alone another vote.
Oddly enough, however, I tend to think that Rijo deserved better treatment back in 2001. He wasn’t a Hall of Famer by any stretch, and his win totals were unimpressive (about thirteen a year between 1988 and 1994), but I’d be willing to argue that during his peak, he was one of the National League’s best pitchers. It’s surprising that he didn’t come closer to 5%.