Baseball Players Denied the Hall of Fame Inductee Privilege

            The greatest baseball players of all time are supposedly a part of what is widely known as “baseball immortality”-known as the baseball hall of fame. But what about those players that have accomplished great deeds on the field that are not in the hall? You may be asking yourself why greats such as Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Roger Maris aren’t yet inducted? Well, here are profiles of other great players that haven’t yet been given the honor of having a plack on the wall of a certain building in Cooperstown New York.

            One of the great players who is not in the Hall of Game is late Yankee catcher and team captain Thurmon Munson. Munson caught for the Yanks for a period for ten years, starting in 1969, and during this time put up a career a batting average of .292. Munson received many prized awards during his playing time, his first such award was being named Rookie of the Year. In 1976-78 he led the Yankees first to the League Championship Playoffs, and then to the World Series. He hit an average of .329 during the Playoffs and .373 during World Series play. Amazingly, in 1976 during the league championship series against the Royals, Munson hit .435! Then, in that same years World Series, he hit .529 versus the Reds. Munson’s hard during the 1976 season payed off when he was honored with the MVP award. Thurmon had the ability to perform extraordinary feats for a catcher. He made consistent rapid throws to second, and was both known and feared for his quick which cut down many runners attempting to steal on him. Munson won a total of 3 Gold Glove awards. In addition, he hit over .300 and had over 100 RBI’s in three straight seasons.  Tragically, both Munson’s life and baseball career ended, when he perished in a plane crash.

            Donald Mattingly was possibly the greatest left handed first baseball in baseball history. Career-wise he hit .307, had 2,200 hits, 442 doubles, 222 Homeruns, and more than one thousand RBI’s. Mattingly’s baseball career, which stretched from 1982-1995, was one of the best careers by a Yankee first baseman, topped only by Lou Gehrig. During the period of 1984 through 1989, no major league baseball player had amassed more RBI’s than Mattingly, with 684. In addition, Mattingly’s 1,219 hits were the second highest, during that time. In 1984, he led his league with the highest batting average, .343. He won the batting title that year as well. He also led the Majors in statistics for quite a few years: doubles (1984-1986,) hits (’84-‘86) and total bases (’85-’86.) A year later he led the Majors in RBI’s with 145. That year he also hit 35 Homeruns, while winning the AL MVP. Mattingly won 4 straight Gold Glove awards and won one in 7 out of 8 seasons. IN ’87 Mattingly hit 6 grand slams for the season, a still untouched ML record! In addition, he tied the ML record by hitting 8 Homeruns in 8 consecutive games. Despite his terrific numbers, in 1990 he injured his back, and his numbers declined some as a result. From 192 on he hit in the high .200’s and had more than 25 doubles in both ’92 and ’93. He won a career total of 9 Gold Gloves. The back injury cause him to retire in 1995. Mattingly played a total of 14 seasons, although he could have played longer had it not been for his injury.

Although Curt Flood will be best remembered for being the first free agent in Major League Baseball, he also was a seven time Gold Glove Winner. Flood had played for twelve years with the St. Louis Cardinals, but was then traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Flood then decided to talk to the commissioner of baseball and requested to become a Free Agent. Flood said the following regarding his situation: “I believe any

system that produces that result violates my basic right as a citizen and inconsistent with the laws of the United States.” Before 1960 and Flood courageous action their was no such thing as Free Agency. Players were bound to the team that they originally signed with for the rest of their careers; this was known as the Reserve Clause. Flood decided to sue rather then play for the Phillies. On June 19, 1972 the case was taken to the Supreme Court, who ruled 5 to 3 against Curt Flood's suit. Flood did not play in 1970, but in 1971 he played his final year for the Washington Senators. Curtis Flood is a career .293 hitter. He has also earned the reputation as one of the best Centerfielders of all time. He is a two time World Champion and has managed to play in 226 consecutive games with out an error.

            These are just three of the many ball players that deserve to be enshrined in what many call “Baseball Heaven.”