John Herrnstein, who played briefly for the Phillies in the mid-1960s, passed away on October 3, 2017 at age 79.
Herrnstein was the Phillies' starting first baseman for much of their ill-fated 1964 season, then was relegated to the bench for the final 2 months when veteran Frank Thomas was acquired from the Mets.
Herrnstein played sparingly in 1965, because the Phillies traded for another veteran first-sacker (Dick Stuart) in the off-season.
In early 1966, John was included in the trade that sent Ferguson Jenkins to the Cubs. Herrnstein retired after the 1966 season.
Herrnstein has one of the longest Wikipedia pages I have seen for someone with such a short, unremarkable baseball career.
On November 28, 1967 the Dodgers gutted their bullpen and starting catching in an attempt to land a front-line shortstop. They failed miserably.
The Dodgers' top 2 relievers (Ron Perranoski and Bob Miller) along with John Roseboro (their starting catcher since 1958) were sent to the Twins in exchange for shortstop Zoilo Versalles and veteran pitcher Jim "Mudcat" Grant.
Ron Perranoski played for the Dodgers from 1961-67, and was the leader of the bullpen from 1962-65 and again in 1967. He led the NL in games during the '62 and '63 seasons. His 16-3 record in 1963 was the league's highest winning percentage. He never made an All-Star team, surprising given his stats and having played for the high-profile Dodgers. After the trade, Ron led the AL in saves during the '69 and '70 seasons with Minnesota. He was traded to the Tigers during the 1971 season.
Bob Miller played for the Dodgers from 1963-67. Although a starter for much of 1963, we was strictly a reliever after that, taking his place right behind Perranoski on the bullpen ladder. Miller put in 2 solid seasons with the Twins (again behind Perranoski), then bounced around to 7 other teams during his final 5 seasons.
John Roseboro was a three-time All-Star with the Dodgers and had been the starter since taking over for the injured Roy Campanella at the start of the 1958 season. After the trade, John played 2 full seasons as the Twins' starting catcher (including making the All-Star team in 1969), then finished his career in 1970 as a backup for the Senators.
So who did the Dodgers get in exchange for those 3 guys who continued playing at a high level? LA was hoping to find a replacement for Maury Wills (who was traded away a year earlier) but got a whole lot of nothing.
Zoilo Versalles was the AL MVP in 1965, but had been declining since then. After batting .249 and .200 in his final 2 seasons with the Twins, he hit a whopping .196 in his only season with the Dodgers. Left unprotected in the expansion draft, he was selected by the Padres, but was quickly flipped to the Indians for 5-time Topps "Rookie Star" Bill Davis. Versalles was sold to the Senators in mid-year, then cut after the season. Verdict: Bust!
Mudcat Grant was a key starting pitcher for the Indians (1958-64) and Twins (1964-67), and won 21 games in 1965. He pitched mostly in relief for the Dodgers in 1968, then was selected by the Expos in the expansion draft.
(Roseboro's 1st-series card still shows him as a Dodger.)
ADVANTAGE: Twins! The Dodgers got only 1 season each from Grant and Versalles (both sub-par), while Perranoski and Roseboro (and to a lesser extent Miller) put in multiple solid seasons for the Twins.
Billy Williams was the lone inductee this time, joining the 28 others shown below.
Williams was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1961, and a 6-time All-Star. He also finished 2nd in the MVP balloting in 1970 and 1972.
Billy led the NL in hits and runs in 1970, and played in 1117 consecutive games from 9/22/1963 to 9/2/1970. He joined the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.
12 voters participated this time. The polls were open for about 5 weeks, but 11 of the votes were cast in the first week, with the final vote coming in the closing hours of the poll, just barely pushing Williams to the required 75%. One player received less that the minimum 15% to be retained for the next ballot.
I think I will have shorter voting periods in the future, since most everyone who was interested had voted in the first few days of the poll.
(Click the "hall of fame ballot" label below to see all past results.)
Former shortstop, manager, and GM Gene Michael passed away on September 7, 2017 at age 79.
"Stick" played mostly for the Yankees (1968-74), but also for the Pirates (1966), Dodgers (1967) and Tigers (1975).
After his playing career, Michael managed the Yankees twice (who hasn't?). He piloted the team for the split 1981 season, then was brought back midway through 1982 for a short time. He also managed the Cubs for parts of 1986 and 1987.
Michael was also the Yankees' GM twice, from 1980-81 and again from 1990-95. During his 2nd stint, the Yankees acquired many of the players who led them to multiple World Championships. After getting the ax in 1995, he continued to work for the Yankees in scouting positions.
Just appearing on Baseball-Almanac.com in the past day or so is the fact that relief pitcher Dom Zanni passed away on July 6, 2017 at age 85.
Zanni was born and raised in New York City, and was signed by his hometown Giants in 1951.
He played for the Giants from 1958-61 and the White Sox from 1962-63, before finishing his career with the Reds from 1963-66. His best season was 1962 with the Sox, when he reached career highs in wins, strikeouts, games, and innings.
1960s' Senators catcher Paul Casanova passed away on August 12, 2017 at age 75.
Casanova was the Senators' starting catcher from 1966-71. His best season was 1967, when he was an All-Star although did not play in the game. That season he also caught an ENTIRE 22-INNING GAME against the White Sox. Although he went 1 or 9 at the plate, he got the game-winning hit.
He was also the Braves' backup catcher from 1972-74, and caught Phil Niekro's no-hitter in 1973.
Phillies' catcher of the 1990s Darren Daulton passed away on August 6, 2017 after battling cancer for several years. He was 55.
Daulton made his debut with the Phillies in September 1983, then after a year back in the minors he rejoined the Phils in 1985.
"Dutch" was the Phillies' fulltime catcher from 1989 to 1995. He was the team's leader during the early 1990s which included an NL Championship in 1993, and led the NL with 109 RBI in 1992. Daulton was an All-Star in '92, '93, and '95.
After missing most of the 1996 season, he returned to the Phillies in 1997 as an outfielder. Later that season he was traded to the Marlins, and helped them get to, and win the World Series. It was Daulton's only ring, and his final season.
Lee May, the slugging 1st baseman for the Reds, Astros, and Orioles in the 1960s and 1970s, passed away on July 29, 2017 at age 74.
After getting his feet wet in '65 and '66, May began his fulltime major-league career with the Reds in 1967, soon taking over the starting 1st base job from veteran Deron Johnson, and was named to the Topps All-Rookie team that season. He also made the All-Star team in '69 and '71.
May missed out on the Big Red Machine era, as he was famously traded to the Astros after 1971 in a deal that saw the Reds acquire 2nd baseman Joe Morgan. Lee was the starting All-Star 1st baseman in 1972, his first of 3 seasons with the Astros.
He played the 2nd half of his 18-year career with the Orioles (1975-80) and Royals (1981-82). In all, he made 3 trips to the post-season ('70, '79, '81).
Added to the ballot this time is Tigers' pitcher Denny McLain, returning for a second chance* after missing the cut on the inaugural ballot.
Here is the voting history for all the current candidates:
As always, use the sidebar poll to vote for up to half (this time 4) of the players on the ballot. The poll will close on August 31st, and those receiving at least 75% of the votes will be inducted.
In addition to using the poll, I encourage everyone to leave comments about their selections or thought processes, to hopefully spark some discussion about these players. But do not use the comments as a means to vote, because I am only counting the votes in the actual poll widget, since there is no way to know if a vote in the comments is instead of, or in addition to, the poll.
* Long-time voters may remember that the first election included over 60 names, with only the top vote-getter per position inducted regardless of anyone's voting percentage. With a wide-open field, most voters flocked to the biggest names, leaving many worthy candidates with less than the 15% needed to be retained. For example, Lou Brock received no votes the first time, but was later reinstated to the ballot and inducted into the Hall (as were Al Kaline and Carl Yastrzemski).
The rules were changed after the 1st time, to be in more line with traditional voting rules. No "second chances" will be given to players missing the cut under the new rules applied beginning with ballot #2.
Click on the "hall of fame ballot" label below to see the results of all previous elections.