The Time Has Come to Induct Dwight Evans into Cooperstown

Sunday July 22nd, 2012

By Patrick Languzzi (Guest Baseball Writer):

As we embark on baseball’s most exciting weekend, the eyes of baseball fans everywhere will be on Cooperstown, NY for the induction of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Larkin was elected through the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and Santo via the Veterans Committee after falling off the ballot in 1998.

The Veterans committee consists of 16 members made up of veteran media members, executives and current members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. For a player to be elected, they must receive 75 percent or 12 of 16 votes.

But there’s another player that I’ll take a special interest in come the winter meetings of 2013. That’s when the Expansion Era ballot (Veterans) finalists are announced. It’s also when former Red Sox great Dwight “Dewey” Evans becomes eligible again. Evans fell off the BBWAA ballot back in 1999. Now his chance to shine comes up again very soon.

Bill James once wrote, “Dwight Evans is one of the most underrated players in baseball history because he did many things well, rather than having once central skill that people could use to explain his excellence”.

My interest in Evans’ case began when Jim Rice was elected with the class of 2009 and a challenge was thrown down from my wife, simply stating, “If you feel so strongly that Evans deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, then do the research and prove it”.

I quickly went to work. The more I uncovered, the more convinced I became that Evans belonged in the Hall of Fame.  For instance, Evans was the best right fielder in baseball for close to two decades (‘70s, ‘80s). He was selected to the All-Decade Team of the ‘80s, was a three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, won eight Gold Gloves in 10 seasons and was selected by MLB as having one of the nine greatest outfield arms in baseball history.

And when you combine both Evans’ offense and defensive abilities since the inception of the Gold Glove Award (post-1955), it’s truly remarkable what he’s accomplished. For example, for an entire decade (‘80s) Evans has been the only player to lead his league (American) in home runs, with 256, win five-straight Gold Gloves (’81-’85) and lead all of Major League Baseball in extra base hits and runs created. Hall of Famer Henry Aaron is the only other player to lead MLB in both extra base hits over a decade (‘60s), as well as win multiple Gold Gloves with three, in his entire 23-year career. Pretty good company if you ask me.

Since the turn of the century, all the players listed to lead their respective decade in extra base hits through 1980 have been inducted in Cooperstown:

Extra Base Hit Leaders by Decade

1900s – Honus Wagner

1910s – Tris Speaker

1920s – Babe Ruth

1930s – Jimmie Foxx

1940s – Stan Musial

1950s – Stan Musial

1960s – Hank Aaron

1970s – Reggie Jackson

1980s – Dwight Evans

If you were to subtract Evans’ Hall of Fame caliber defense and focus strictly on his offensive numbers, he still compares well as a viable Hall of Fame candidate.  

It’s all right there on: www.calltothehall.com, a website designed to inform baseball fans on Dwight Evans’ Hall of Fame credentials, career accomplishments, Hall of Fame player comparisons, video footage, online petition and much, much more!

When comparing Evans to the average Hall of Fame hitter, he averages higher in runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, base on balls, slugging and OPS.

           Evans Compared to the Average Hall of Fame Hitter
   
Avg HOF           Runs  Hits    2B     HR      RBI      BB      SLG     OPS
Hitter                   1275  2313   395  202   1168   858    .459    .834

     Dwight Evans 1470  2446  483  385  1384   1391   .470    .840

Evans was clutch in the post-season, as well.  In 14 World Series games (two series, ’75, ’86), Evans hit .300, with 15 hits, three HRs, 14 RBIs, seven walks, seven runs, .397 OBP, .580 SLG, .977 OPS with 29 total bases. Dewey even made one of the greatest catches in World Series history. Evans played, however, in the shadow of Hall of Fame teammates Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski and Wade Boggs.

And according to Bill James, one problem voters have had with Evans in the past is that they recall his offensive numbers from the first few years of his career, “the public image of him is a .270 hitter with 20-homer type power set in stone.”

The fact is, Evans went on to be closer to a 30-homer, 100-RBI hitter and was the only player in MLB throughout the ‘80s to hit 20 or more home runs in nine consecutive seasons (’81-’89).

James went on to write in an Open Letter to the Hall of Fame, “Dwight Evans is the very unusual player who had all of his best years in his thirties … Less than 5 percent [of players] have all of their best [offensive] years in their thirties. Dwight Evans is that unusual case.”

Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski said it best: “Dewey was a great offensive player and one of the greatest right fielders to play the game; there is no doubt in my mind that he belongs in the Hall of Fame.”

In closing, I’d like to acknowledge that throughout all my research, I’ve gotten friendly with Evans. And what I’ve found is that Evans is a quiet, classy individual. A man who would not discuss himself as a potential Hall of Fame candidate, in spite of his accomplishments on the diamond, all while caring for two seriously ill young children with a life threatening disease.  To learn more on Evans, please visit: Dwight Evans – Hall of Fame Individual.

Sources: Baseball-reference.com, Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? by Bill James, An Open Letter to the Hall of Fame About Dwight Evans by Bill James

Patrick Languzzi is currently a contributing writer to a nationally syndicated sports blog called the Bleacher Report.

Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PatrickLanguzzi

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage. 

About these ads

Posted on July 22, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Dwight Evans was a great player and definitely worthy of consideration. Baseball has a long history of turning a blind eye towards worthy candidates. Dwight is not an automatic candidate and was overshadowed during his playing days. However, his career accomplishments warrant serious consideration. However, at times, who is considered is more influenced by whose friends are already enshrined and are willing to campaign for them than their relative ability. Maybe Jim Rice can help Dwight get the attention and consideration that he deserves,

    All of the Hall of Fame injustices stem back to the Hall’s origin and the Abner Doubleday myth. In fact, a greater disservice than that done (so far) to Evans is that done to one of the pioneers of the game, Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams.

    The origins of baseball have always been a little murky and shrouded in mystery. Everyone has heard the now discredited myth of Abner Doubleday, a distinguished Civil War general, being the father of baseball. Doc Adams’ contributions to the game compare favorably, and some would argue even surpass early pioneers already recognized and enshrined in the Hall of Fame including Alexander Cartwright and Henry Chadwick.

    Some highlights of Doc Adams contributions to the game:

    1. Played for both the New York Base Ball Club and the New York Knickerbockers, one of the first organized baseball teams which played under a set of rules similar to the game today

    2. Served as the New York Knickerbocker president for 6 years and on the board, in other roles, for another 6 years.

    3. Headed the Committee to Revise the Constitution and By-Laws of the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP)

    o Distance between bases fixed at 90 feet and pitcher’s base to home at 45 feet.

    o Length of games – 9 innings

    o Supported nine-man baseball teams

    o Advocated the fly-game, that is, not to allow first-bound catches.

    4. Created the short fielder, or shortstop, position

    5. Personally made baseballs, not only for the Knickerbockers but also for other New York City-based clubs.

    6. The New York Knickerbocker Base Ball Club awarded him an honorary membership and passed a resolution naming him the “Nestor of Ball Players”.

    I’d like to ask you to take a few minutes to support a petition that will hopefully lead to the recognition of Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams as a pioneer of the game of baseball through enshrinement in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

    https://www.change.org/petitions/base-ball-writers-association-of-america-s-historical-overview-committee-recognize-daniel-lucius-doc-adams-as-a-pioneer-of-our-national-pastime

    Hopefully, Dwight and Doc will eventually get the recognition that they deserve,

  2. Hi Roger,

    This is good stuff, perhaps you could do a guest writer article with what you got here for us? We will take what you have here and put it around with some pictures and a bit more history? DM your thoughts on this.

  1. Pingback: The Patrick Languzzi Interview: The Man Behind the Petition About The Dwight Evans For The ‘BBHOF’ Candicacy Campaign « MLB reports

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,631 other followers

%d bloggers like this: