Examining the Hall of Fame case for Oakland A’s legend Sal Bando

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 17: Sal Bando #6 of the Oakland Athletics jumps on top of teammates after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series on October 17, 1974 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 17: Sal Bando #6 of the Oakland Athletics jumps on top of teammates after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series on October 17, 1974 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images) /
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Oakland A’s legend Sal Bando may not be the first name that you think of when you think of snubbed players for the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, when you look at his career, Bando has a good case for the Hall.

Oakland A’s legend Sal Bando has a good case for the Baseball Hall of Fame

Sal Bando spent parts of 16 seasons in the majors from 1966 through 1981 and he spent 11 of those with the Oakland A’s.

He started out with the A’s while the team was still in Kansas City but he only played in 58 games for them in parts of two seasons before the team relocated to Oakland for the 1968 season. He really broke out in 1969 and he had some great seasons through the late 1970s with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Bando was the third baseman for the A’s when they won back-to-back World Series from 1972 through 1974 and he was viewed as one of the best players in baseball at the time.

In his career overall, he was a four-time All-Star and he received MVP votes in seven seasons. He was in the top five in AL MVP voting in 1971, 1973, and 1974. He had six seasons with 20 or more homers and six seasons with 80+ RBI. He was a career .254/.352/.408 hitter with an OPS+ of 119.

He had eight seasons with an rWAR of 4.9 or better and three more seasons above 3.0 and a total rWAR of 61.5.

Among primary third basemen, that WAR is 16th all-time. It is a bit low for third basemen but third base is a position that is historically undervalued in the Hall of Fame. That’s part of the reason why WAR is used to compare players across positions.

That WAR is tied for 173rd all-time and there are a lot of Hall of Famers above and below Bando. The Hall of Famer that is closest to him in position and time period is Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.

Killebrew spent the plurality of his career at first base (43 percent) but also spent 35 percent of his career at third base. His career WAR was 60.4 … but he played in six more seasons than Bando. Killebrew was a much better offensive player (143 OPS+ compared to Bando’s 119 OPS+) but defensively, Bando was far better, which is why his WAR is much higher.

Bando’s offense is still very good, though. For comparison among modern third basemen, Hall of Famer Paul Molitor’s OPS+ is 122, Nolan Arenado’s is 121, and Adrian Beltre’s is 116.

Sal Bando has a better case than you might initially believe for the Baseball Hall of Fame but when he was eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time in 1987, he fell off of the ballot as he received just three votes (0.7 percent).

dark. Next. The HOF case for former A's pitcher Tommy John

Hopefully, Sal Bando (and others) will get more consideration by the Hall’s Era Committee in the near future to right some of the wrongs by BBWAA voters, many of which have come in the last 40 years, so some of these former players can get their Hall of Fame recognition while they are still alive.