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Who is the best former Red Sox player not in the Hall of Fame?
Does Cesar Crespo count? If Cesar Crespo counts, it must be Cesar Crespo. I don’t think he met the 10-season requirement, though.
Off the top of my head, I have three candidates: Curt Schilling, Luis Tiant, and Dwight Evans. Schilling got 70 percent of the vote this time around and probably gets in this year, provided he doesn’t say or do anything stupid over the next 12 months that causes some voters to take the character clause into deeper consideration with him. It is an election year, so all bets are off. He belongs in, though. Greatest postseason pitcher I’ve ever seen.
(Speaking of great postseason pitchers, did you see that Brad Penny got a Hall of Fame vote and Josh Beckett did not? I mean, if you’re going to go for one 2003 Marlins World Series hero, the choice is obvious. Some of these voters, man.)
Tiant should be in, too. He doesn’t have the peak counting stats that scream first-ballot Hall of Famer, with 229 career wins and 2,416 strikeouts, not to mention a 3.30 ERA. But his numbers are in the Catfish Hunter/Don Drysdale range, and he was one of the most lovable characters in modern baseball history. The Hall of Fame is lesser without him. It’s a shame he never got more than 30.9 percent of the vote, which he got in his first of 15 years on the ballot in 1988.
Tiant provided 66 wins above replacement in his career, which is considerably less than Schilling (79.5) and slightly less than Evans (67.1). All three are worthy. But if we’re talking best player, it’s Evans to me. The case is a familiar one – he was a finalist on the Modern Era committee ballot in December that ended up giving him serious consideration before electing just former catcher Ted Simmons among his ’70s and ’80s peers.
Evans smacked 385 homers, won eight Gold Gloves in right field, and had a career OPS of .840. He’s pretty similar to a guy that was finally elected Tuesday, former Expos and Rockies great Larry Walker.
I still think Dewey’s time will come, and it will be well-deserved and overdue. To me, he is the best Red Sox player not yet enshrined in Cooperstown.
What does everyone else think? Who is the best Red Sox player not in the Hall of Fame? I’ll hear you in the comments.