MLB Hall of Fame: Breaking down the Modern Era ballot

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 29: Former player Steve Garvey stands after being acknowledged by Claire Smith during her speech after being awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award during the 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Doubleday Field at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday July 29, 2017 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images)
COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 29: Former player Steve Garvey stands after being acknowledged by Claire Smith during her speech after being awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award during the 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Doubleday Field at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday July 29, 2017 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images) /
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Catcher Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees slides safe during a game in October of 1978. (Photo by Louis Requena/MLB via Getty Images)
Catcher Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees slides safe during a game in October of 1978. (Photo by Louis Requena/MLB via Getty Images) /

Other factors

So far we’ve viewed the nine candidates purely through the prism of on-field accomplishment. MLB Hall of Fame voters are permitted to take other factors into consideration, and some of those factors may aid candidates who don’t show up as well in the numbers game

Murphy, to cite one example, is often cited as an exemplar of what has come to be known as the ‘character clause.’ His backers are quick to laud his positive role as a teammate and role model.

John is hailed as the eponymous first recipient of Tommy John surgery, the now-common procedure that has restored hundreds, maybe thousands, of pitchers with torn ulnar collateral ligaments to playing shape. Although votes normally aren’t given for the accident of dying young, there’s no question that Munson was on a Hall of Fame track – seven All Star appearances, a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP – when he was killed in that 1979 plane crash.

Simmons has been cited for his leading role in activities of the MLBPA during its formative years of the 1970s. Garvey’s backers cite his exceptional post-season work, which included a career .338 post-season average, 11 post-season home runs and critical roles with the 1974 and 1981 World Series winners.

Backers of Whitaker point to him as one of the increasingly rare examples of one-team players. He played all 2,390 of his games for the Detroit Tigers, almost all of them alongside 2018 Hall of Fame selectee Alan Trammel. Their career stats are close, but it may be worth noting that Whitaker led Trammel in career hits, run batted in, on base average, slugging average. OPS+ and WAR.