PSA HoF- Second Base Picks and Third Base Nominees

UPDATED WITH THIRD BASE INDUCTEES

Graig Nettles

***

First off, you may have noticed from my previous posts that I have added in a pretty table that's organized with all the posts I've done in the series so far! Credit to that goes to Adam Darowski, who used a similar HTML code when creating his awesome "Hall of wWAR" series on Beyond the Boxscore.

Here are the results from the balloting for second basemen to be inducted into the Pinstripe Alley Hall of Fame:

Willie Randolph (26/31, 83.4%)

Joe Gordon (17/31, 54.8%)

Gil McDougald (16/31, 51.6%)

Bobby Richardson (12/31, 38.7%)

Snuffy Stirnweiss (4/31, 12.9%)

Horace Clarke (1/31, 3.2%)

Billy Martin (0/31, 0%)

Willie Randolph joins Tony Lazzeri as a PSA Hall of Fame second baseman! Willie might not have made it into the Cooperstown version, but it's nice that Yankees fans have appreciated his efforts so much. Gordon and McDougald came up just a few votes short, and it is a tad surprising that even though Gordon wears a Yankees hat in the Hall of Fame, he was not voted to the PSA Hall of Fame. The people have spoken though. (and whoever nominated Billy Martin didn't even vote for him... interesting).

There were plenty of candidates to sort through at second base, but the field decreases for third base. There were no players automatically inducted, and only three third basemen were nominated: 1930s All-Star Red Rolfe, defensive ace Clete Boyer, and power-hitter/baseball vacuum Graig Nettles. How do they profile? Find out after the jump.

The Nominees

Red Rolfe

(NYY: 1931, '34-'42) Rolfe has become somewhat of a forgotten man in Yankees history, and that is a shame. Rolfe wore number 2 before Derek Jeter's father was even born. Rolfe was a New England boy and a graduate of both Phillips-Exeter Academy and Dartmouth College, every New England family's dream. The New Hampshire boy of course was signed by the Red SoxYankees in 1931 and had a brief appearance in the pros before going to the minors and returning in '34. Rolfe split time in '34 between shortstop, his original position, and third base, but he moved to third once it became apparent that young shortstop Frankie Crosetti was not going anywhere. At third, Rolfe impressed the team with a .300/.361/.404 triple slash in '35 with 4.3 fWAR, helping ensure his spot on the team's four-time World Series champions from '36-'39. Rolfe had one of his best years in '36, hitting .319/.392/.493 with a .403 wOBA and 6.1 fWAR, leading the league with 15 triples and hitting .400 in the six-game World Series win over the New York Giants.

Rolfe appeared in four consecutive All-Star Games from '37-'40, establishing himself as one of the best third baseman in the league on both offense and defense. Rolfe never had a season of negative defensive WAR or Total Zone. During one stretch from '37-'39, Rolfe took advantage of the Yankees' prolific offense and averaged 139 runs scored per year (including an 18-game scoring streak in '39 when he scored 30 runs) . He followed up a 5.6 fWAR year in '38 with his best season in '39, right as the Yankees needed someone to help make up for Lou Gehrig's departure; Rolfe led the league in hits (213), runs (139), and doubles (46) while batting .329/.404/.495 with a .408 wOBA and 130 wRC+, good for 7.3 fWAR, behind only Joe DiMaggio on the team. Rolfe remained a terrific defender, but '39 was his last productive season on offense, although he had a nice final hurrah in World Series play by batting .324/.375/.378 in his final nine postseason games during the team's '41 win over the Dodgers and its '42 loss to the Cardinals. Rolfe retired after the season and later managed the Detroit Tigers, then directed Dartmouth's athletic program for 14 years. The college's baseball field is now named after Rolfe, who was certainly one of the finest players the school ever produced. (B-Ref) (FG)

Clete Boyer

(NYY: 1959-66) Personal story time- when I was in my teens, my family and I made an annual trek to Cooperstown to see the new plaques and artifacts at the Hall of Fame. Every time I visited, there would be a sign outside this one store saying, "Two-time World Series Champion Clete Boyer signing TODAY!" It pretty much became a running joke for us and I actually did get a ball signed by him on my fifth visit to Cooperstown, though he sadly died a year later. Regardless, I was impressed that the man still had an interest in connecting with fans and frequented Cooperstown so much.

Boyer was signed by the Kansas City A's in 1955, but like many of their players, soon found himself in pinstripes. Curiously, like another Yankees World Series champion third baseman, he was a "player to be named later" in a 13-player swap between the two teams in '57. He made his Yankee debut in '59, then won the starting job at third base in '60 from veteran Gil McDougald. His .242/.285/.405 batting line was not overwhelming, but his excellent defense stood out, as it did throughout his career. From '60-'64, Boyer accumulated a commendable 101 TZ and 9.4 dWAR, manning the position with consistent success unmatched in Yankees history. Unfortunately, Boyer could not snare a Gold Glove Award, as he played in the same league as defensive immortal Brooks Robinson. Boyer's offense dipped in '61, but in '62, he had his most productive season with the team; he hit .272/.331/.413 with 18 homers and a 102 wRC+, helping his fWAR reach a career-best 6.0. He also had his best playoff showing, hitting .318/.333/.500 in the seven-game World Series win against the San Francisco Giants. Boyer's offense declined during the next few years, and he also lost the '64 World Series matchup against his brother, Ken. Although the Yankees collapsed after '64, Boyer's hitting recovered, and he hit 32 homers with a 104 OPS+ over the next two years before being traded to the Atlanta Braves after the last-place '66 campaign (Boyer did finally win a Gold Glove in Atlanta). It might be easy to overlook Boyer since he was not as good a hitter as other third basemen in team history like Rolfe and Nettles, but few, if any, have matched his defense. (B-Ref) (FG)

Graig Nettles

(NYY: 1973-83) Nettles was a six-time All-Star and hit nearly 400 homers in his career, but since he played at the same time as all-time greats Mike Schmidt and George Brett, he has been overshadowed in baseball history at an underrepresented position in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. The San Diego State grad was selected by the Twins in the 1965 draft, played part-time on Minnesota's '69 AL West champions, and then was traded to the Indians, where he hit .250/.338/.412 with 71 homers in three years. The Yankees, seeking the team's first offensive threat at third base since Gil McDougald, took notice of Nettles's hitting, and acquired him in a trade prior to the '73 season. The 28-year-old became a star in the Bronx by putting up a .255/.329/.442 triple slash and 119 OPS+ from '73-'78, hitting 161 homers and leading the AL with 32 in '76 (not including two in the ALCS to help sink the Royals and propel the team to its first World Series in twelve years). His tremendous range and arm at third earned him praise throughout baseball and Gold Glove Awards in '77 and '78. His overall fWAR of 35.4 during this period is a testament to how complete a player Nettles was at the time. Nettles was the defensive star of the '78 World Series against the Dodgers, when he kept robbing Los Angeles of hits, prompting LA manager Tommy Lasorda to say, "That was one of the greatest exhibitions of playing third base I've seen in all my career."

Nettles was a close friend of catcher Thurman Munson, and Munson's death in '79 devastated him. The Yankees' "threepeat" streak of division titles ended that year, but Nettles and the team returned to the playoffs in '80 and '81, when the third baseman slugged a combined .416 with a 112 OPS+ over the two seasons. Though the team did not win a World Series in those years, Nettles was named the '81 ALCS MVP after slugging .971 in the three-game sweep of Oakland, and fans often attribute the '81 Series loss to a broken thumb in Game 2 that mostly removed Nettles from the Wold Series. Nettles was named the team captain in his final two years on the team and had a 120 wRC+ season at age 38, but he was traded to the San Diego Padres at the end of Spring Training '84 after criticizing owner George Steinbrenner in his book, Balls. He promptly helped the Padres win their first NL pennant in '84, and then hung around for a few more years before retiring in '88. Nettles was the franchise leader among third basemen in several categories including homers (250) and fWAR (46.8) before Mr. Alex Rodriguez came along, and his contributions to the successful Yankees teams of the '70s and '80s have not been forgotten. (B-Ref) (FG) (SABR Bio)

***

So those are your candidates:

Red Rolfe, Clete Boyer, and Graig Nettles

Here's a quick recap of the rules:

  • Anyone who is a member of Pinstripe Alley can vote! Vote in the comment section!
  • There are no limits as to how many players can be on your ballot- zero is even an option.
  • A player needs to appear on 75% of the commented ballots to make it to the PSA Hall of Fame.
  • Don't assume that a player you think is definitely deserving will make it in! Vote for him, we could see some surprises.
  • Please participate! There's not going to be much of a point to getting the community's input on this series if we're only getting ten ballots per position post.

How many of these guys are Pinstripe Alley Hall of Famers? Sound off with your ballots below! Comments will close Thursday at 5 PM. We will examine the shortstops next.

The Pinstripe Alley Hall of Fame
Catchers | First Basemen | Second Basemen | Third Basemen | Shortstops
Left Fielders | Center Fielders | Right Fielders
Starting Pitchers | Relief Pitchers

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