Welcome to the Hall of Lame!

Former manager Whitey Herzog and former umpire Doug Harvey were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday by the Veterans Committee. They each garnered 13 votes, the minimal number required for approval of older candidates from this group of veteran selectors.

Herzog missed induction status by a single vote the last time. This time, one of his former players, Ozzie Smith, was a new member of the voting group. You do the math.

Herzog is not one of my favorites as a pick for the Hall of Fame, but what do I know? Maybe six pennants and a World Series victory as manager is enough to punch the ticket. Maybe it made a difference that he sometimes did some “creative” thing, you know, like put a pitcher in right field for a couple of batters rather than remove him from the game and lose him for the rest of the struggle that day. Gee! If that’s what did it, Al Hollingsworth of the old Buffs and half the other managers in the old Texas League ought to be inducted too. With those 19-player rosters of that minor league era, Texas League managers of the 1950s were constantly placing pitchers in right field for a batter or two, just to keep them available for a return to the mound.

This comment is  nothing deeply personal against Whitey Herzog. I just think his induction is typical of how a lot of new members get into the Hall these days. They go through long periods of being almost totally off the radar screen. Then, all of a sudden, a sympathy article comes out, questioning why they were overlooked. Then several years of “near miss” unfold as the public becomes more and more aware again of the old forgotten figure. In effect, induction moves from merely being a sympathetic emotional issue into one that now has political arms and legs working to get that person into the Hall. Whitey Herzog is only the latest example of how that works. It starts with sympathy, moves to empathy, and concludes with the completion of a successful poltical movement.

In that light, I’d like to set in motion a question of my own, about someone whom I think is truly deserving. If Whitey Herzog can reach the Hall of Fame, how can we continue to overlook Larry Dierker? Oh sure, Herzog bagged six pennants and a World Series ring, but look what Dierker did. – Larry led the Astros to 4 playoff appearances in his 5 years as manager (1997-2001) and, while he never reached the World Series, he threw a no-hitter as a pitcher (1976) and posted a 20-win season (1969) and wrote two very thoughtful books on baseball after his retirement from the field. And did I mention the facts too that he also came out of a two-decade other career stint as a baseball tv analyst and baseball historian, just to manage the Astros in the first place?

I’d  like to get some sympathy started for Larry Dierker as an overlooked Hall of Fame candidate right here and now! Are you with me? We’ll worry about how we get the right people added to the Veterans Committee later. Right now, we just need more articles of awareness to Larry’s Dierker’s lonely  plight.

Think: Larry Dierker deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame! It’s a cryin’ shame he’s been overlooked until now!

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7 Responses to “Welcome to the Hall of Lame!”

  1. Ralph Moreno Says:

    I agree.

  2. Bill Gilbert Says:

    Bill-

    Larry Dierker had a great career (in fact several careers) and is one of my favorite people. However, as somewhat of a student of the Hall of Fame, I would find it hard to build a case for Dierker as a player or as a manager because his career in both capacities was a little short compared to others in the Hall. If there were a category for combined achievements, he would be a candidate along with people like Gil Hodges and Joe Torre.

    Incidentally, Dierker won 4 Division Championships in 5 years, not 5 in 6 years.

  3. Steve Herskowitz Says:

    He’s got my vote.

  4. Bill McCurdy Says:

    Bill Gilbert –

    Thanks for the heads up correction to my brain freeze on how long Larry Dierker held the helm as Astros manager. I guess i just wanted to forget Terry Collins even more strongly than I thought. Thanks to you, I’ve now corrected the “E” in the article.

  5. bob green Says:

    YES for Dierker

  6. "longball" Says:

    Larry Dierker deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and is probably the only candidate that has played , managed and broadcasted in the big leagues. His insight into the game is far better than most of the guys in the booth today. He gets three votes from me plus he is one of thoose guys that you meet and you walk away thinking you have known him all of your life. As they say he is,
    “Good People”

  7. vdpittman Says:

    As much as I love Dierker, I don’t think he really has HOF creds.

    Darrell Pittman

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