Cooperstown opened up its doors to three more players on Wednesday, forever enshrining them in baseball glory. Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez, and Tim Raines are the latest class voted into baseball’s hallowed halls, so I’ll start this blog by offering a heartfelt “congratulations” to them. At the same time…come on. Anybody gets into the Hall of Fame nowadays. Hell, two years ago I even technically had the honor of being voted into the Hall when I impersonated John Smoltz on Twitter (or maybe not technically, not super confident how the word technically works).
Baseball, more than any other sport, makes a point of paying homage to its history. Remembering the greats that set the table for where the sport is today (declining popularity, America’s second past time, etc.). In a way, baseball is kind of like the kid that hits puberty before anyone else. In seventh grade it was dominating the other sports because it was 5’6″ while every other sport was 5’1″. But, now that every sport has caught up and surpassed baseball, the sport needs to do something to make it different.
Every sport honors its greats, so its time baseball honors its averages.
No, not celebrating players’ batting averages, celebrating baseball’s most average players. The role players, the hustlers, the guys you wouldn’t want up in clutch time, but are a solid defensive second baseman. Forgetting about these players is a disservice to baseball fans everywhere, so without further ado, here’s the inaugural Average Baseball Player Hall of Fame class.
Lyle Overbay: A unanimous choice from the average baseball voters of America. In 2003 while playing for the Brewers, Overbay led the league in doubles. That’s about it. Overbay played for 13 years with seven different teams, amassing a .266 average, 151 homers and 671 RBI. The best part about Lyle Overbay’s career? He played 10 games with the Diamondbacks in 2001, so he technically has a ring. Wild stuff.
Tony Womack: Womack was a far more influential piece to the ’01 Dbacks than our boy Lyle. He led the NL in stolen bases for three consecutive years form ’97-’99 and was a one time all star. Also, similar to Mr. Overbay, Womack played for seven teams over his 13 year career. He was a lifetime .273 hitter with 36 HR 368 RBI and 363 SB. Always solid to have a player who steals as many bases as they knock in runs. Womack was a rare “play him anywhere guy too.” In ’98 he played 2B, ’99 RF, then in 2000 SS. But, the biggest reason Womack receives this honor is because of his batting stance. Hard to believe a guy could use that approach and be a big leaguer.
Eric Hinske: Hinske made his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001 and took the league by storm. He won AL Rookie of the Year after hitting 24 dingers and 84 RBI, despite also leading American League third basemen in errors with 22. After that year, Hinske’s career went into what can nicely be described as a “tailspin.” He played 11 years in the bigs with seven different teams and disappointed with just about every one of them. Hinske managed to somehow play third base, first base, and right field over those 11 years, delivering shoddy defense wherever he went. He finished his career batting .249 with 137 HR and 522 RBI. Oh yeah, he’s also got a WILD Japanese tattoo on his back, fun fact.
There you have it revelers, the Average Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017. If after reading this blog you feel like you need more average baseball in your life, I’ve got some great news. Dubs and I just released our podcast Second String where we, among other bits, guess and reminisce over baseball players that never quite panned out. Go ahead and give it a listen. Thank you all for attending the first of many average baseball HOF classes.