Why Bill Mazeroski Is in the Hall of Fame and Frank White Is Not.

Frank White and Bill Mazeroski had almost identical careers. Mazeroski is in the Baseball Hall of Fame while White is left out. The reason for Mazeroski being in the Hall of Fame can be traced back to a ball he hit on October 13, 1960 and handful of Hall of Fame voters.

The career stats of both of these players are eerily similar:

 


Frank White Bill Mazeroski
Seasons 18 17
First Season 1973 1956
Last Season 1990 1972
Games 2324 2163
PA 8467 8379
Hits 2006 2016
Home Runs 160 138
AVG 0.255 0.260
OBP 0.293 0.299
SLG 0.383 0.367
Gold Gloves 8 8
All Star Games 5 7
WAR 26.9 26.9
Times Getting MVP Votes 0 2
HOF Vote 3.8% and off list 6.1% to 42.3%

 

Both could be described as a great fielding, decent hitting 2nd basemen from a small market team. They ended up with the same lifetime rWAR and have closest careers using Bill James Similarity Scores.

The only difference in their careers has been the timing of their post season home runs. They both hit two home runs in the post season. One of Frank's home runs gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in game 4 of the 1980 ALCS and the other extended the Royal's lead in game 3 of the 1985 WS from 2-0 to 4-0. Mazeroski on the other hand extended the Pirates lead from 3-2 to 5-2 in game 1 of the 1960 WS and the other one shown below was in bottom of the 9th in game 7 that same year.

 

When it came to vote each of these players into the Hall of Fame the heroics by Mazeroski to end the 1960 season seemed to make just enough difference to get him in the Hall of Fame.

 

In 1996, White received 18 votes (the same number as Dan Quisenberry) for 3.8% of the vote. This amount was 6 votes shy of the number to continue onto the next year's ballot. Any chances of White ending up in the Hall of Fame effectively ended that year.

 

In 1978, Mazeroski was the last player to make the 5% cutoff value to be eligible for consideration the next year with 6.1% of the vote. The player right below in the voting, Ken Boyer, was twice as good of player with 58 lifetime WAR and was the 1964 MVP.

 

A player can be on the Hall of Fame Ballot for 15 years and here is Mazeroski's next 14 vote totals:

 

1979 8.3%

1980 8.6%

1981 9.5%

1982 6.7%

1983 12.8%

1984 18.4%

1985 22.0%

1986 23.5%

1987 30.3%

1988 33.5%

1989 30.0%

1990 29.5%

1991 32.1%

1992 42.3%

 

The BBWAA decided that Mazeroski's achievements were not enough to get him voted into the Hall of Fame.

 

The Veterans committee met in 2000 to vote and Mazeroski fell one vote short of being in the Hall of Fame. The next year, he got the extra vote and went into the Hall with Dave Winfield, Kirby Puckett and Hilton Smith.

 

The pair had similar careers, but Mazeroski had the luck of hitting a Game 7 World Series walk off home run. That single home run kept his Hall of Fame chances alive and that was all the luck that he needed.

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