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Is this a Hall of Famer?

Wednesday 11/29/23

It can be suggestive to separate numbers and achievements in sports from names. Suggestive and surprising, once we learn who we are talking about.

For instance, does this sound like a Hall of Famer to you?

A baseball player who led the league in home runs once and RBI once, in separate seasons. Someone who drove in 100 or more runs six times and hit 30 or more home runs seven times and 40 or more home runs three times.

A player who finished in the top ten in batting average two times, top ten for WAR four times, top ten for on-base percentage five times, top ten for slugging percentage eight times, top ten for total bases eight times and led the league twice in that category, top ten in doubles five times, top ten in home runs nine times, top ten in RBI nine times, had a career OPS+ of 132, was a nine-time All-Star, finished in the top ten in MVP voting four times (and in the top five three times).

Pretty good, right? This person played in the 1950s and is still with us. They got .5% of the vote on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Who are we talking about?

Rocky Colavito!

You think, "Wow! Those are some numbers!" And they are. I think it speaks to how hard it is to make the baseball Hall of Fame. Colavito is very rarely talked about as a potential Hall of Famer. It's not something I encounter in discussion groups. There was never really buzz about him that way, but if I had told you here are some numbers and achievements of a Hall of Famer, you wouldn't have gone, "Hey! That guy doesn't belong! What's going on here?"


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