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Too Many Baseball Hall-of-Famers Checking Out in 2020

Too Many Baseball Hall-of-Famers Checking Out in 2020
October 16
20:33 2020

 

Joe Morgan

With more than two months to go this year, the Baseball Hall of Fame has a chance to set a new record.

That would be for the most Hall of Famers to die in a single year.

So far in 2020 six members of the hall have passed away; including two members of the exclusive 3,000-hit club and three of the greatest pitchers of their eras.

Detroit Tigers great Al Kaline – who went straight from high school to the Major Leagues – ended his storied career with just over 3,000 hits. The other player with 3,000 hits was St. Louis Cardinals great Lou Brock, who once held record for most stolen bases in a season and in a career.

This year was a double whammy for the Cards as the Redbirds also bid goodbye to Bob Gibson. Ferocious on the mound, Gibson went to college on a basketball scholarship – and actually played briefly with the Harlem Globetrotters!

Joe Morgan, sparkplug of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine of the 70s, also passed on this year (October 11). Morgan is a contender for greatest second baseman of all-time. He also added many fans for his excellence as a baseball announcer on television.

Purely based on hitting, the GOAT for second basemen is unquestionably Rogers Hornsby, who has the highest career batting average (.358) of any right-handed hitter in history. The Rajah, as Hornsby was known, is also the only player to bat .400 and hit 40 homers in the same season.

But Morgan was no slouch at the plate, with more than 2,500 hits, nearly 270 homers and 689 stolen bases. He was also a better fielder and baserunner than Hornsby.

Pitching legends Tom Seaver and Whitey Ford round out the 2020 list so far.

With six Hall of Famers passing on in the same year 2020 matches the record set in 1972 – depending on how you count.

In 1972 five enshrined players and one executive died.

A few players were no-doubt Hall of Famers, while others more likely belonged in a Hall of Very Good players.

Jackie Robinson

The no doubt Hall members were pioneer Jackie Robinson and  slugging outfielder Zack Wheat. Another was New York Yankees general manager George Weiss.

The others seemed to benefit from cronyism support on the Old-Timers Committee; catcher Gabby Hartnett and slick fielders Dave Bancroft and Pie Traynor.

While Bancroft was a light-hitting shortstop, Traynor was a third baseman, ending with 2,416 hits and a career .320 batting average.

But wait … that adds up to six Hall of Famers dying in 1972! So 2020 does tie the record.

Or does it?

At the end of 1972 Roberto Clemente died, but he was an active player and thus not a Hall of Famer at the time. He was elected to the Hall in 1973 so, depending on your definition, either six or seven Hall of Famers died in 1972.

 

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