Friday, January 26, 2018

What in the Hall?

The day Hall of Fame inductees are announced is always exciting.  As a baseball nerd, I always enjoy looking at the voting results and seeing who is trending up or running out of eligibility.  Gavin posted a great piece yesterday reflecting on when he might see another HoF inductee for the Padres, and it got me thinking.  As a Pirate fan, expecting less has sort of become a given.  The losing streak.  Getting number 1 draft picks in some of the weakest drafts.  Having one significant player in the Mitchell Report.  We can't even cheat properly!

I thought about the next time I might see a former Pirate in Cooperstown.  Bonds, if he eventually gets in.  But he left Pittsburgh when I was 4 years old.  Possibly McCutchen if he can continue to string together strong seasons through his 30's, but he doesn't rack up enough hits or homers to have a chance at any major milestones.

And then it hit me.  I haven't seen a single Hall of Famer play in black and gold on a baseball field.  Don't get me wrong.  I've gotten to see an embarrassment of riches play in Pittsburgh.  They've just always done it on ice or a football field. 

The last time a Hall of Famer suited up in a major league game for the Pittsburgh Pirates was October 3rd, 1982.  Willie Stargell had a pinch hit in the Pirates final game of the season.
That was 35 years ago.  A lot has changed.  In 1982, free agency was six years old.  Since then, we've had seemingly constant player movement between teams.  Seeing a Hall of Famer play for 5, 6 different teams in their career is commonplace.  Steroids helped players extend their peak playing years, playing longer and at a higher level that would keep them in demand to many teams. 

Whether it's a future Hall of Famer like Ichiro eeking out a few more seasons in Miami or a hired gun like John Smoltz hoping to put a playoff contender over the top, it seems like every team but the Bucs has seen a Hall of Famer in recent years.

So I did some digging.

And I was right.  The Pirates have the longest streak in the majors since a Hall of Fame player suited up in uniform for them.  And it's not even close.  Second place is a tie between the Royals, who last had George Brett in 1993 and the Rockies, who have haven't ever had a Hall of Famer play for them (though Larry Walker may change that in the next couple years).
So there you have it.  Insult to injury.  If I wasn't on board with Barry Bonds' Hall of Fame case before, I sure am now.


  1. I’ve always thought Dave Parker should be in, but he wouldn’t help the streak any. His last season in Pittsburgh was 1983.

    1. I totally agree. With the new Veterans Committee setup, I can see him getting in eventually. It's really interesting that the Pirates have the 5th most players in the Hall, but none from the last 1/3rd of a century.

  2. Nice post. I hadn't realized it had been so long. I'd love to see Bill Madlock and his 4 batting titles get in someday.. that would at least get you to '85.

    1. The best outside chance might be Kenny Lofton and his half a season in Pittsburgh (thanks to collusion) in '03.

  3. Besides Bonds... hopefully the veterans committee will take a closer look at The Cobra.