You and I are starting an all-time Fantasy Baseball Hall of Fame team. We must select one Hall of Fame player at each starting position.

I get the first pick because this is my article, but you can have the second and third picks, after which we alternate selections.

My first pick is Sandy Koufax. I want to prevent you from scoring, and no one can stop a team from scoring better than Koufax, unless it is Pedro Martinez.

Now that you are thinking about the best of the best, I will tell you that my second baseman will be Bill Mazeroski.

Are you surprised? Did you expect me to select Rogers Hornsby (.358), Nap Lajoie (.339), Eddie Collins (.333), Rod Carew (.328), Frankie Frisch (.316), or Jackie Robinson (.311)?

Am I that obsessed with defense that I would select Mazeroski (.260) over the others)? Could he prevent more runs than any one of the others could produce?

Mazeroski was a fine second baseman whom many rate as the best defensive second baseman of all time. He turned the double play better than anyone, but that credential alone should not be enough to elect him to the Hall of Fame.

A Hall of Fame member must be outstanding in many facets of the game.

Mazeroski did not hit for a high average, did not hit with power (except twice during the 1960 World Series), or have great speed.

He was not a threat to get on base (lifetime on base percentage an amazingly low .302), or to steal a base (only 27 lifetime stolen bases).  He certainly did not drive in many runs.

The Rules for Election to the Hall of Fame state that “voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

Despite the lack of specific criteria, one does not require a cook book recipe to determine if a player belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Does anyone question the credentials of Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, or Stan Musial?

No one doubts that Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, and Trevor Hoffman are future Hall of Famers.

Bill Mazeroski is not alone.

One must question the credentials of Rabbit Maranville (.258, 631 career errors, and a lifetime .956 fielding average), Joe Tinker (.262, 648 career errors, and a lifetime .938 fielding average), and Jim Bunning (224-184, 114 ERA+), but that does not justify Mazeroski’s inclusion.

Adding Mazeroski lowers the level of excellence needed to be a Hall of Famer.

Baseball Reference lists batters similar to Mazeroski. Included are Kansas City second baseman Frank White, Cincinnati shortstop Leo Cardenas, Los Angeles shortstop Bill Russell, and Oakland and Pittsburgh second baseman Phil Garner.

All were solid players, but none has been even remotely considered for election to the Hall of Fame.

A Hall of Famer must be the top of the top. There should be little controversy associated with determining if a player is deserving of being elected to the Hall of Fame because the presence of doubt indicates a lack of certainty and a decreased level of excellence.

Mazeroski was a fine baseball player. He was great defensively and had a great World Series in 1960.

He never received more than 42.3 percent of the vote.  The Veteran’s Committee selected him in 2001.


Baseball Reference

Hall of Fame Criteria

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