With Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn ready to make a Central New York appearance at the Hall of Fame this summer, the Hall of Fame Veterans Commitee has the ability to add a player from the past. 

The field includes really good players who captured batting titles, MVP awards, Cy Young Awards and set records by hitting home runs (Roger Maris), or stealing the most bases (Muarry Wills).  The problem with all of these players – **** Allen, Bobby Bonds, Rocky Colavito and others – was that they didn’t play for more than 8-10 years at the All-Star level.

Gil Hodges for example was with Mr. Brooklyn Dodger from 1949-1957, seven straight 100 RBI seasons, when driving in 100 runs meant something, numerous NL Pennants and a World Series Championship in 1955.  But after the Dodgers left Brooklyn and moved to Los Angeles, Hodges was medicore at best.

Wes Farrell won 20 games six times in eight years with the Indians and Red Sox but was below average the rest of his career.  Tony Oliva hit .300 or better in six of his first seven years, but injuries never allowed him to play a full season after that.

After scanning the list of possible players we here at Inside the Chiefs believe that there are only three players who deserve votes: 

Pittsburgh Pirates great Al Oliver, who batted over .300 11-times during his career that included 2743 hits and a .303 career batting average. 

Thurman Munson who in 9 1/2 season had 1508 hits and a .292 batting average.  It’s hard to believe that Munson would not have played another 10 seasons, especially with the DH rule and achieved 3000 hits in his career.

Cecil Travis was a shortstop for the Washington Senators in the late 30’s and 40’s who batted .300 or better in his first seven seasons. In 1941, his last full season in the Major Leagues, he batted .359 after batting .332 the year before.  At 28 years old and in his prime, he left baseball in December of 1941 and joined the US Army where he served for the next three years.  He returned to baseball in 1945 but was never the same.  Clearly one of the best players of his era, Travis should receive something for giving up a Hall of Fame career in exchange for serving his country.

What do you think!

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