Oh, Boy ... get ready for the latest installment of the never-ending debate on the comparative merits of borderline Hall-0f-Famers. As always, I fall into the category that wants more ... and not less ... Hall-of-Famers. I guess I'm in the minority here. As for Joe Gordon, he was a solid, all-around player with excellent power, a good glove and a knack for playing on winning teams. I would have put about 12 or 14 other guys in Cooperstown first, but I really can't complain because I have few more Hall of Fame cards in my collection than I had yesterday ...
He may be a product of guys like Ozzie Smith - once the Hall decided they would accept infielders who were great defensively and only average at the plate, they re-evaluated other such players they passed over. I think Omar Vizquel gets in, if Joe Gordon gets in.
I don't think it's ridiculous. Gordon was a helluva player during a war shortened 11 year career who also contributed a monster year to a WS championship with Cleveland. He also won a MVP award in 1942, even though it should have gone to Williams who won the Triple Crown. I think Gordon's a guy who could have gone in a lot sooner.
I always figured the Gordon-Vern Stephens comparison would spark heated debate between Yankees and BoSox fans, yet I heard no such conversation as each man was nominated this year. Both men were solid players, but neither deserves induction.
I ran into Gordon's daughter Judy many years ago. I had a signed GPC up on eBay, and she happened to see it and thought it was great to see her Dad's signature up for sale. Gordon was such a willing and prolific signer in his brief 63 years on this earth that there will never be a shortage of autographs out there. I will be curious to see what signed items will fetch in the next month. Premium items (single-signed ball, bat, quality photographs) will be sound investments, but cuts and 3X5s, as well as newspaper photos, are very common.
I think Joe Gordon was the worst pick for MVP ever when he beat out Ted Williams in 1942, a year when Williams won the triple crown. I don't think he's a particularly deserving Hall of Famer either, but probably not the worst. I've heard comparisons to Doerr, who I also don't think is a particularly deserving Hall of Famer.
More to the subject of this Board, I've got a few post-war cards of him. Does anyone know what pre-war cards he has?
I would hardly call him great defensively and to mention him in the same breath as Ozzie Smith to defend the pick as a "glove man" is a stretch. Compare their two sets of stats - Smith's were head-and-shoulders above his peers during his tenure; not Gordon's.
He did have some good home run and RBI totals for a second baseman, but nothing else about him really stands out other than his MVP award in 1942.
I'm a Yankee fan and I think this was a bad pick. I would much rather have seen Deacon White or Bill Dahlen have gotten in.
Contained within this link are the voting results and a list of who is on the Veterans Committee.
Results of the 2008 Pre-1943 Players Ballot (nine votes needed for election):
Gordon (10 votes, 83.3 percent)
Allie Reynolds (eight, 66.7 percent)
Wes Ferrell (six, 50.0 percent)
Mickey Vernon (five, 41.7 percent)
Deacon White (five, 41.7 percent)
Bucky Walters (4, 33.3 percent)
Sherry Magee (three, 25.0 percent)
Bill Dahlen, Carl Mays and Vern Stephens (fewer than three).
Edited to add: Under "hopenchange" rules, would it be possible to redistribute one of Gordon's votes -- which he doesn't really need and, as has been pointed out here, deserve -- and give it to Reynolds, who obviously needs -- and possibly deserves -- it more?
What is even worse is that Reynolds almost made it.
Gordon was a good solid ballplayer. He was on some winning teams. He's a minor star. He doesn't belong in the HOF IMO.
At this rate we'll need to reconsider guys like Bill Madlock, Dick Groat, Al Oliver, etc.
Perhaps what needs to be done is to have a HOF which is really a HOF. And then have a Hall of Stars next to it where they can induct people due to being a star for a period of time, or a really great character, or having done something out of the ordinary or very well in the playoffs or for a few years, etc.
I just can't get excited about finding all my joe gordon cards because he's a HOF now.
...and I will open up a Hall of Fame which enshrines nothing but Negro Leaguers without verifiable statistics and mediocre Yankees! Nay, I will simply re-elect Wilmer Fields and Tom Sturdivant year after year. We will have a picnic every Labor Day. There will be jazz. And balloon animals.
While I'm a staunch advocate of everyone collecting what they like and the naysayers be damned, this selection illustrates perfectly why I've always resisted putting together a Hall of Fame (rookie or not) collection.
Yesterday there was a large group of baseball card collectors who could not have cared less about owning a Joe Gordon card. And today, because of a margin of two votes by a relatively small group of voters who are qualified or unqualified -- depending on your opinion -- to make such a decision, those same collectors will be seeking Joe Gordon cards.
Most would agree that there is a core group of Hall of Famers whose cards most any collector would love to own. But if my collecting goals were driven in part by the likes of Veterans Committee members Wade Boggs, Orlando Cepeda and Monte Irvin, I'd have to stop and think twice.
For what it's worth, Joe Gordon was considered a superstar while he was an active player. In his eleven seasons he was named by The Sporting News the top second baseman in the major leagues nine times. In those seasons he was chosen over fellow Hall of Famers Billy Herman, Bobby Doerr, Red Schoendienst and even Jackie Robinson once. I doubt any similarly honored players are not or will not be in the Hall.
Dale Murphy was considered a superstar too I guess we should enshrine him today as well? Joe Gordon does not have the qualifications for the Hall of Fame...arguably there are others already in who also shouldn't be, but that doesn't mean you compound the problem by adding more borderline players.
Thanks for the heads-up guys/gals. I just picked up a 1938 M114 on ebay for $18.00 using BIN. I have to state that the 1936 Overland Candy date listed in the 2009 SCBB must be incorrect as Joe Gordon never played a Major League game prior to 1938 so the issue must be at best a 1936-1938 time span.
Joe Gordon was a second baseman, not a power-hitting outfielder. And he had one less year of 100 RBI than Dale Murphy did. Murphy was a really good player who burned out quickly; Gordon's stellar play lasted a few years longer. He's obviously a border-line HOFer but I still think he merits induction.
To expand on Jeff's point, had it not been for two years lost to the war Gordon would have had a good shot of breaking the HR record for second baseman. In addition I would imagine that he lost a good number of HRs simply because he was a right handed hitter playing in Yankee Stadium.
Rob D. makes an excellent point about HOF collectors being subject to the whims of the committee du jour. I am a Hall of Fame collector myself. And originally I drew the line at players who I thought were unqualified. So, for the longest time, I did not have Harry Hooper, Tommy McCarthy, Roger Bresnahan, Eppa Rixey, and others. But over time, the group I didn't have became smaller and smaller, and, apart from McCarthy, they didn't cost much. So I went ahead and bought them.
Then they elected Bid McPhee. I already had everyone else, so I had to have his card. That was obviously a lot of money for a player I had never heard of.
Then they elected Biz Mackey and friends. Ditto.
Now they've elected Barney Dreyfuss. Ditto again. Still looking for that one.
So, I feel exactly the pain and sense of utter stupidity that Rob D. alludes to. I do occasionally consider selling off the HOFers I don't care about and putting that money into cards I do care about. Maybe some day I'll do it. But for now I'm pretty happy owning all the Hall of Famers except Dreyfuss and Pete Hill.
Not a great choice -- especially in terms of the other candidates in his bracket.
"Missing-years during the war" makes it difficult to evaluate players like Gordon and he played a tough and especially valuable position. Certainly he's entitled to credit for that, and for his role in winning championships.
Even so I have the sneaking feeling that he got in by jumping over a bar that Scooter Rizutto held down for him . . .
Dahlen, for example, was a much better shortstop defensively and his career offensive numbers are vastly superior, especially when you factor in the era in which he played.
Shorter careers with high "peak value" are always problematic because they don't yield the big raw numbers -- look at the career #s for HOFers like Koufax, Dizzy Dean, Kirby Puckett, Ross Youngs, Addie Joss, Hughie Jennings (for starters). . .
I would put him in the lower 40% of the HOF -- not nearly the least worthy SS in the HOF ---> off-hand I think Wallace, Tinker, Maranville, Aparicio, Sewell, & Travis Jackson are all worse.
Edited to add that as a HOF collector Gordon's does not create any hardship -- as Dreyfus did. . . Actually I already have an acceptable Gordon card.
I don't believe anyone could have really done their homework and said,Joe Gordon is the best player not enshrined yet and not still on the baseball writers ballot. For instance, a 2nd baseman named Cupid Childs has stats that would easily fall into the same class as Gordon. Childs got on base as good as anyone when he played and he scored a ton of runs,stole some bases and drove in his share of runs. Plus he compares amazingly well to Gordon defensively and they played basically the same amount of time. Has anyone ever stepped up and said Cupid Childs should be a hall of famer? Well if you think he should,you have a great case now,Joe Gordon wasn't any better than him. Gordon also has a few contemporaries at his position already enshrined while Childs just has Bid McPhee.
It really is a shame that the hall of fame can't get things right and it seems like everytime they do something now it highlights past mistakes. I'm not mad Joe Gordon is in the Hall, I am not one of those people who say only the best of the best should be in because there are too many forgotten great players who aren't in the hall because someone said something along the lines of "Joe Gordon should be in instead of Cupid Childs for no good reason other than I want him to be there"
He was an all-star 9 of the 11 years he played, impressed the voters enough to win the MVP when Williams won the triple crown, was in the top 10 in MVP voting 5 times in 11 years, averaged close to 100 runs batted in a year over his career, hit for power when 2B didn't do that, could steal a bag every once in a while, scored 90+ runs 4 times (and 80+ 4 more), and (contrary to some posts above) was considered to be an absolute acrobat around the bag. He doesn't do too well on the black ink test, and is only mediocre on the gray ink test, but I suspect that's true for every HOF 2B not named Lajoie, Collins, Hornsby, Gehringer, Robinson, Carew (who was a much worse fielder than Gordon) or Morgan
I haven't looked at his fielding stats because they are pretty much irrelevant. Guys who are anchored to the bag can have good fielding stats and kill their team because they have no range and can't get to any balls. Guys with range, which I believe those who saw Gordon play would say he had, get the errors because they get to balls that others wouldn't be able to come close to. Gordon also played his home games in what were among the worst parks for right handed power hitters in that time.
Gordon was probably the best 2B of the 40s, with his only competition coming from Billy Herman. Head to head, he beat Doerr practically every year. When his numbers are considered in context, they aren't too bad.
His election doesn't give me too much heartburn. I wouldn't have picked him as the most deserving of the pre-'40s candidates, but he certainly doesn't drag the membership down
KENNY C....you are one really informed guy....DITTO to everything you said. And, I'll reiterate......
If Doerr and Mazeroski are in the HOF, then Joe Gordon belongs there, too. As a kid, I watched him
play and I'll say that Joe was impressive (even in his later years). His 1948 stats illustrate this......
GA = 144, AB = 550, Hits = 154, HR = 32, R = 96, RBI = 124, BA = .280
One of the last cards of Joe in a Yankees uniform.
I paid a penny for this exhibit card at the boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ when I was a kid.
Joe Gordon belongs: 9 times the best 2nd baseman in majors
December 8 2008, 11:14 PM
Howard has expressed my sentiments well, specifically:
"...Joe Gordon was considered a superstar while he was an active player. In his eleven seasons he was named by The Sporting News the top second baseman in the major leagues nine times..." and
"had it not been for two years lost to the war Gordon would have had a good shot of breaking the HR record for second baseman. In addition I would imagine that he lost a good number of HRs simply because he was a right handed hitter playing in Yankee Stadium."
That Joe Gordon was picked by The Sporting News (THE Baseball Paper) as THE All-Star Second Baseman for the MAJOR Leagues in 9 of his 11 seasons is powerful. Two years of military service must be honored, too, and not merely cited. (Check out Cecil Travis' record before and after WWII and see how much HOF support the late Senator shortstop receives.)
I'm very pleased for family, friends and the few ballplayers still living who knew Joe Gordon and salute his belated election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
I must have something against second sackers with sub-HOF offensive stats. Ted, I backhandedly agree with you! Maz, Doerr and Gordon really don't belong! I obviously never saw these guys play, but I really think that each of these men have benefitted by having friends on the Committee, ergo Greg E's point. I know I have always been a better judge of third basemen than I have of second basemen, but I need some informed justification to convince me of the worthiness of these three fellows.
On a personal note, I know nothing of Maz' personality, have heard that Gordon was a decent guy, and it's safe to say that the entire collecting community knows what kind of man Bobby Doerr is.
My opinion is Gordon is not a Hall of Famer. However, the numbers I've seen here and elsewhere show his was a strong offensive second baseman. Second base is traditionally a fielder's position, where Gordon's type of offensive production is rare. His annual MVP votes show he was considered valuable by the sportswriters of the day.
I understand what you say, and certainly feel that sportswriters from the pre-war era had much more astute eyes for a player's defensive capabilities. It's always struck me as odd that, in the past seven decades of televised ballgames, more emphasis hasn't been placed on defensive play. Far more was made of that aspect prior to when most fans could actually see such feats. Perhaps writers revered the acrobats of their time because it made their jobs so much easier to do! After all, there are only so many ways to describe a home run; the prosaic possibilities in describing a stellar catch are endless!
So as I understand it, the pre-1943 players are voted upon by a 12 man select committee of former players who are in the HOF. The select committee was established as a direct result of the cronyism which resulted in the Mazeroski vote. They showed their complete ignorance of players who played from 1900-1920. I read a while back that someone here flatly stated there would never be another HOFer from pre-1920 and I guess he was right.
The other thing that ticked me off was that for the fourth straight year, (I believe I read that somewhere), the 64 man surviving HOFers who comprise the veterans committee which votes on guys from 1944 on who ran out of time in the regular eligibility, failed to elect anyobody. Santo was very close, Oliva was close, Kaat was close, but no cigar.
Joe Gordon New York Yankee in.
Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat Minnesota Twins out.
Tell me again how players who play in New York don't have a built in advantage...
As I said previously, Bill Dahlen and Gil Hodges are long overdue to be in the HOF....and, I was hoping that they would have
been selected. Also, perhaps Santo, Oliva and Kaat are long overdue. In Santo's case, I think the lack of any post-season
play has hurt him.
Having said all that, and having seen Joe Gordon play, I'm quite happy with his selection to the HOF. And, I find some of the
responses here, to the contrary, somewhat amusing.
I have an advantage over most of you, in that I saw Jackie Robinson, PeeWee Reese, Phil Rizzuto, Bobby Doerr, Marty Marion,
and Joe Gordon play. And, I have a very good memory of the years from 1947 - 1957, when these guys covered their respec-
tive inside positions of the infield. They were in a class of their own......with their defensive and offensive contributions. It is
one thing to read about these players.....but, it's another thing to have seen them play. Videos are available of all the World
Series from 1941 on. I highly recommend viewing them to see these players in real action. Numbers in a BB encyclopedia don't
always tell the real story.
Yes, as Bob said, "cronyism" does have a lot to do with the selection process. HOF Committee members who were Joe Gordon's
peers, like Berra, Boudreau, Doerr, Feller, Kell, Kiner, Musial, Roberts, and Snider would understandably favor him.
I'm still pulling for Blyleven. I find it hard to believe Ricky H. would be the only selection and there are sports writers out there who still hate Jim Rice for being "surly," so BB may have a legitimate chance.
Did anyone notice that although the veterans committee was allowed to vote for 4 candidates for the post 1944 players that the average numbers of votes cast per HOF voter was 3.3?
After taking a day to ponder this new addition, I have to say, what else do we expect from a process that is designed to sift through the otherwise forgotten and previously un-decorated heroes of baseball past? The best that can happen is a marginal player is awarded entry.
I don't understand Santo's continued lack of support, unless it's true that everyone is afraid of Mike Schmidt's disapproval.
It's true that he lost HRs due to the war absence.
But I lost alot of HRs due to my not playing MLB baseball.
I still can't understand how a guy who was the best player at his position in all of baseball for a decade is marginal. I think the prewar aficionados here just like to act curmudgeonly and complain about all the dead ball guys who belong in the Hall.