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    Friday, January 21, 2022

    New Sporcle Quiz: Hall of Famers by Birth Place

    I wanted to do something for the upcoming Hall of Fame announcement, and so, I present a new Sporcle quiz: Hall of Famers by Birth Place. Basically, every state or country currently represented in Cooperstown by a player or manager* is on the list, grouped together by where they were born. All you need to do is list one of them, and you get a full list of every inductee born in the state. You have 12 minutes to think of one inductee from all 46 places (plus three bonus areas for locations represented, but by someone other than a player or manager).

    *Pioneers, executives, umpires, and others are omitted for simplicity’s sake, but Negro League players and managers are included.

    This can be a little bit weird of a metric, since not every guy is most closely associated with their birthplace; for instance, I will always think of Greg Maddux as “from Las Vegas” (thanks in large part to this fun video), but he wasn’t actually born there, and so Nevada remains one of the few states without a current Hall inductee (for now, at least; but we’ll get to that shortly). However, I don’t know that there exists a perfect answer for this issue, so this is a good enough standard to use, and the end result is fun either way.

    As of right now, the quiz is updated to include the four applicable 2022 Veterans Committee inductees (Buck O'Neil and Bud Fowler were inducted as part of the Pioneer/Executive classification, rather than players), and I will update it on the 25th once we know who all the BBWAA has inducted this year.

    I also wanted to write something fun to go along with the piece, though. So once you’ve tried it (or before, if you’re okay maybe seeing spoilers), click through as we take a tour through every state and country listed (plus the states that didn’t make it) to determine who might be the next Hall of Famer from each one!

    Group 1: The Easy Calls

    Georgia (Buster Posey)
    Indiana (Scott Rolen)
    Minnesota (Joe Mauer)
    Missouri (Max Scherzer)
    New Jersey (Mike Trout)
    Nevada (Bryce Harper)
    Pennsylvania (Dick Allen)
    South Dakota (Terry Francona)
    Tennessee (Todd Helton)
    Texas (Clayton Kershaw)
    Canada* (Joey Votto)
    Dominican Republic (David Ortiz)
    France (Bruce Bochy)
    Japan (Ichiro Suzuki)
    Venezuela (Miguel Cabrera)

    This is the group where I feel pretty confident predicting a specific inductee in the near future. David Ortiz is currently leading on the 2022 BBWAA ballot, and trending above 75% at that. He might slip below that mark, but debuting that high up makes it likely he’ll beat Adrian Beltre to be the next Dominican-born Hall member. Ditto Scott Rolen (right around 70% on his fifth ballot) and Todd Helton (above 50% on his fourth).

    I also imagine Ichiro will go in on his first try come 2025, making him Cooperstown’s first Japanese-born member. It can be tough predicting how catchers will fare on the ballot, so they might not get in their first try, but I do think Joe Mauer and Buster Posey will get in before aging off the BBWAA’s side of things, and there isn’t someone more immediate coming up from their home states.

    The active players are a little more difficult, since we don’t know when exactly they’ll be eligible, but I think they’re all on pace to go in five years after they retire. Harper is probably the most questionable one, but I think his second MVP award last season cemented that he’s on the right track, so at the moment I feel comfortable making that prediction for him.

    The manager front is a little more difficult to predict since it’s governed by the oddity that is the Veterans Committee, but I think Bochy and Francona are strong bets to go when they’re up for election. Both represent interesting locales, too: Francona would be the Hall’s second South Dakotan (after fellow manager Sparky Anderson, oddly enough), while Bochy would be the first Hall member born in France (although his father was a US Army member stationed there; again, this method has some weird edge cases).

    And speaking of the VC, I think Allen will finally go in after yet another near-miss last year; it might take a while given the weird cycle the Committee uses (although that process could always change at a moment’s notice), but there aren’t any Pennsylvania natives who look likely to leapfrog him in line in the meantime.

    *I didn’t do as deep a dive for Canada and it’s different Provinces, since generally they aren’t as well represented as most individual states, but for the one-paragraph summary: Votto was born in Ontario, as was Fergie Jenkins. Larry Walker was born in British Columbia, and the options to succeed him aren’t overwhelming at the moment (James Paxton? Tyler O'Neill ??). And Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (born in Quebec) and Mike Soroka (Alberta) would bring new provinces into the Hall, if they can keep it up for another decade and a half or so. I was mildly interested in discussing Russell Martin and what voters should make of his framing stats and value, but despite mostly growing up in Quebec, he was born in Ontario, and he isn’t going to beat Joey Votto to Cooperstown either way.

    Group 2: Multiple Choices

    These are the options where I think there are a few distinct potential options for how things play out, a lot of which will come down to voter behavior. Given how unpredictable that can be, I decided to just run through what I see as the biggest possibilities for each one:

    Alaska: Curt Schilling asking to be taken off the BBWAA ballot so that he can go before the VC might have ignored by the people setting the ballot, but the voters seem to have largely complied; he’s lost over 20 votes already and looks to land somewhere around 60% of the vote. I have no idea where his case goes from here.

    Alabama: I still think that Craig Kimbrel is the active reliever most likely to go into the Hall of Fame one day, but that’s also not a given. Adding to the question marks is George Scales (also know as Tubby Scales), a Negro League star who had a strong first appearance on the Veteran Committee’s Early Baseball ballot this winter. Even if Kimbrel manages a Hall of Fame career, Scales might beat him to induction anyway given that in the best-case scenario, Craig will still have to go through the rest of his career plus the five year waiting period plus however long he’s on the ballot. The Early Baseball ballot is pretty infrequent at the moment (again, barring potential changes), but that’s still a long time.

    California: There will be another California inductee in the near future, we just need to game out who it will be a little bit. Barry Bonds is still trending over 75%, but that might not last, and if it doesn’t, who knows how the Vet Committee will view him? CC Sabathia is probably the safer bet, although given how tough voters have been on starting pitchers as of late, it might take a few tries following his debut on the ballot in 2025. In the meantime, there are plenty of other VC options that might edge him out, including Jeff Kent (who I think will be a VC favorite after he ages off the ballot following next year’s election), Keith Hernandez, Dwight Evans (who got 8 of the needed 12 votes in 2020), managers Dusty Baker or Billy Martin, or pioneer Lefty O’Doul. I believe that Evans is the stiffest competition here, given his close call in 2020, but he only gets one shot before CC hits the ballot (the Modern Baseball committee meets again for the 2024, 2026, and 2029 elections). I think Kent won’t be eligible until the 2025 and 2028 cycles (and he could well be going up against Bonds directly those times), so he’s probably the dark horse in this process.

    Florida: I think Orlando-native Zack Greinke gets in without much fuss, but since he’s still active, there’s a lot of potential to get pre-empted on the “next Floridian” list. I think Fred McGriff has a strong debut on the VC’s Modern Era ballot whenever he becomes eligible (2023 maybe? It’s not always clear) and beats him to it, and if not, he’ll also have to contend with Vic Harris (10 of 12 votes on this year’s Early Baseball ballot); managers Lou Piniella, Buck Showalter, and Davey Johnson; plus Gary Sheffield (who continues to rise in BBWAA voting).

    New York: In his BBWAA ballot debut, Álex Rodríguez hovering in the mid-40s seems rough, but it’s technically an improvement over where Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens started. If you’d like an alternative option, Lou Whitaker’s 2020 debut on the Modern Era VC was strong (6 of 12 votes), and Bill Dahlen is a perpetual almost-ran of the Early Baseball ballot (although, again, they meet much less frequently)

    Ohio: The best eligible players born in Ohio but not in the Hall already are Roger Clemens and Pete Rose, which makes predicting “who’s next” a little difficult. I guess I’d take Clemens there, since betting on shifting attitudes towards PEDs seems more plausible than Rose’s ban getting reversed at this point. Clemens is also still trending over 75% on the ballot this year at least, although that will likely drop. If you’d like a third option, there are a few underrated causes the VC could suddenly take up in the meantime (Sal Bando, Jim Wynn, Thurman Munson, Grant Johnson), plus manager candidate Jim Leyland could throw a wrench into proceedings.

    Virginia: Billy Wagner is hovering right around the 50% mark this year, on his seventh ballot, after holding steady around 10% for his first three years. If he does land around where he is right now, will he be able to make up the last 25% or so that he needs in the next three years? It’s not unthinkable, but his jump in balloting from 2021 to 2022 would be a falloff from his 2020 and 2019 gains, so it’s not guaranteed. And if he falls off the BBWAA ballot, he would be subject to the whims of the Modern Era Veterans Committee. Would he be able to navigate that before Justin Verlander can retire and wait five years? My guess is still “probably”, but it definitely looks less rosy than, say, Rolen or Helton’s trends.

    Cuba: I think Luis Tiant has a good chance at being elected by the Veterans Committee the next time he’s eligible. He has strong traditional and advanced statistics, he appeared on all 15 BBWAA ballots he was eligible for, and he’s a regular sight on VC ballots. The thing that strikes me as especially interesting: Tiant has been vocal about not wanting to be inducted posthumously, and the recent election of Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva makes me think the Committee’s voters might actually be taking that aspect seriously (which is definitely a positive change!). If I’m wrong and Tiant misses out, though, it will probably be a while before Cuba has another inductee; their best chances after him are probably betting on young stars, like Yoan Moncada or Yordan Álvarez.

    Netherlands: Andruw Jones was on a third of BBWAA ballots last year, and this year, he looks to wind up comfortably above 40%, maybe even close to 50%. This is his fifth year on the ballot, meaning he has another five years to pick up around 30% of the ballot. That sounds doable to me, but I do wonder if he slows down as the ballot gets more crowded again, or if there are enough holdouts who don’t trust his defensive stats that he stalls out, and I’m not sure how the VC would evaluate his case. I still think he ultimately gets in on the BBWAA, though, which would make the Curaçao-native the second Hall member from the Netherlands (after Bert Blyleven) and the first from the Dutch Antilles.

    Puerto Rico: Carlos Beltrán hits the ballot in 2023, and obviously has the numbers to merit induction. The big question will be if voters decide to hold off on voting for him for his role in the Astros sign stealing scandal, and I have no idea how to determine what they’re thinking. If he faces any sort of judgment from voters, my guess is it will be closer to the one-year delay that Roberto Alomar saw rather than the indefinite wait most PED users have faced, but I also can’t guarantee that. And if his wait does extend a few years, Yadier Molina is on the horizon, and I think he’ll hit 75% on the ballot with relative ease.

    Group 3: Betting on a Current Star

    This group covers a wide set of outcomes, with the biggest common factor being that I think a single active player is their most likely outcome, but I also think that the active player in question isn’t quite to the point where I feel comfortable putting them in Group 1.

    In some cases, that’s a long bet, but it’s at least the situation is not as hopeless as Group 5 (we’ll get there). In some other cases, there’s an interesting option that the Veterans Committee might decide to induct, maybe even before the player in question; but I also don’t necessarily have a good reason to think that they’ll do so at the moment (but, again, you can never say for certain with the VC). I’ll point those ones out when we get there. Let’s dive in:

    Subgroup “I was tempted to put this in Group 1”: Delaware

    Paul Goldschmidt grew up in and was eventually drafted out of the Houston area, but he was born in Delaware, again highlighting an edge case in this method. I think Goldschmidt is really close to the “definite future Hall of Fame” label, maybe 85% of the way. For example, look at his stats compared to Todd Helton, who looks like a likely future inductee. But ultimately, “85% of the way” isn’t all the way, and I’m not sure if Goldschmidt would make it in if he completely dropped off tomorrow. If he does hold on, he’ll be the first player in Cooperstown born in Delaware (their only current inductee is umpire Bill McGowan).

    Subgroup “Kinda, sorta on pace”: Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina

    What good is having an annual “Future Hall of Fame” series if I don’t get to use the findings when they’re relevant? At this moment, New Mexico’s Alex Bregman is one of the two players that fall above the Hall pace for his age bracket, even with his injuries the last few seasons. That’s good for New Mexico, because they don’t really have a lot of good fallback options to accompany Ralph Kiner (Vern Stephens maybe?).

    The other one above the line is Cody Bellinger, who’s in even rougher shape. He had a miserable enough 2021 that it completely wiped out the little buffer he had built up, and his status for next year’s version of the list is in serious question. But unlike New Mexico, Arizona doesn’t even have a single inductee yet (their highest WAR to date is from Ian Kinsler, who I don’t think will make it more than a few years on the BBWAA ballots, at absolute best).

    The other four have had similar issues that keep them below the line. George Springer (Connecticut) and Walker Buehler (Kentucky) have had their totals hit by late starts and injuries, but at their best, their peaks thus far have looked good. They just need more good seasons, and also some more great ones. Sure, that’s a big ask, but it’s more feasible from players who have at least reached it before. And besides, it’s not like either state has a more pressing candidate.

    Louisiana and North Carolina are a little more crowded, but I still think Aaron Nola and Corey Seager (respectively) are still the immediate favorites for each. Both have dropped below the bar, but they were above the mark at one point and could come back. Of course, they could also be like Madison Bumgarner (another North Carolina native), who has never really recovered from his strong head start. There are also some surprise options who could maybe make the Hall in both cases, though, mostly through the Veterans Committee: North Carolina has Wes Ferrell, Bobby Veach, and Pete Browning; Louisiana has Andy Pettitte, Reggie Smith, Will Clark, Ron Guidry, Albert Belle, Rusty Staub, Vida Blue, Chuck Finley… Actually, Louisiana has a pretty strong bench here.

    Subgroup “Mostly here because the rest of the options are pretty dire, but it’s not unthinkable that they go on to a strong career”: Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin

    None of these active players are especially overwhelming, but there was at least a chance that they continue to grow and perform at a high level. For reference, the players in question are: Kevin Gausman (Colorado), John Means (Kansas), Brandon Woodruff (Mississippi), Alec Bohm (Nebraska), J.T. Realmuto (Oklahoma), Blake Snell (Washington), and Gavin Lux (Wisconsin).

    I think I like Lux’s chances the most, but that’s in large part because Lux is so young and presumably has a lot more room to grow (and his start has been a little better than Alec Bohm’s). Gausman, in contrast, probably the biggest stretch and in part influenced by his big new contract. Both states are kind of without other options, either way.

    The other four states have potential VC picks as well, but I am not super high on any of them specifically. I like Washington-native John Olerud’s case a lot, and would probably put him in the Hall if I had the choice, but I can’t see him getting in right now when Keith Hernandez and Will Clark (among others) have struggled. Ditto Roy Oswalt, who is from Mississippi, but again, I think there are a lot of other modern pitchers who fall ahead of him. Johnny Damon is from Kansas, and I don’t know if I can totally rule him out in a world where Harold Baines is in the Hall, but I also think he needed to land a little closer to 3000 hits to really excite Veterans voters. For Oklahoma… I suppose there’s Allie Reynolds? I’m not huge on his case, but according to Adam Darowski and Graham Womack’s Veterans Committee tool, Reynolds has appeared in their discussions nearly 20 times, and gotten close in a few of them.

    Group 4: Hoping for the Veterans Committee

    Here, we see the states that aren’t totally without hope for the foreseeable future. There are candidates from each that I can imagine getting extra consideration from the Veterans Committee, and a lot of them would even be incredibly deserving of induction! They’re mostly here for convenience; it was easier to group the players with active careers and completed careers together, especially since the only option for these choices can be fickle at times.

    Arkansas: We’re starting off with the longest shot of the bunch. Willie Davis is the best Arkansas-born player not in the Hall by WAR; he’s probably also the best player in modern history to never appear on a Hall of Fame ballot. The BBWAA passed him up completely, which makes sense. His value primarily came from strong defense in center field, great base-running, and also being a slightly-above-average hitter. That’s not a flashy resume, and only got him 2 All-Star appearances. He’s basically Kenny Lofton, but 90% as good. However, that’s an argument that works much better on me (who thinks Lofton is a no-doubt Hall of Famer) than the voters (who let Lofton fall off after one try).

    District of Columbia: Maury Wills is a long-standing Hall dark horse for a large swath of the Hall electorate. He stayed on the BBWAA ballot all 15 years he was eligible, topping out at 40.6%, and has since appeared on half a dozen Veterans Ballots. In 2015, he even picked up 9 of the 12 votes he needed, although he didn’t even get 4 votes in this most recent election. I wouldn’t be shocked if he makes it in at some point, although I don’t really know what his time frame might be.

    Illinois: Bret Saberhagen feels like he should be a strong candidate. If the voters ever correct for how they’ve been underrating pitchers, a high-peak guy like Saberhagen would fit in with several starters already in Cooperstown. Rick Reuschel would also make a fine choice, although I understand why he’s underrated. I also don’t know how to rate Joe Girardi as a managerial candidate yet, as he’s got a World Series and a decent record, but he’ll probably need more than that given that most of his success has been with the Yankees. Either way, though, he’d be the VC’s responsibility.

    Michigan: Bobby Grich is perhaps the best eligible player that the Veterans Committee has never considered, having received no focus after going one-and-done on the BBWAA ballot. He’d be an extremely strong fit for the Hall’s class of second basemen, and analytics-inclined voters have long championed his blend of up-the-middle defense, great batting eye, and power. I’m not really sure what it would take to get him some consideration. Bill Freehan is a solid runner-up here, as arguably the best eligible catcher not in the Hall now that Ted Simmons is in.

    Oregon: Dale Murphy is another one of those players that I feel like VC voters are going to love. He’s still relatively new to the process following his fifteen years on the BBWAA ballot, with only 2 appearances since, but I’m curious to see if his candidacy builds, especially as other players “ahead of him” go in and clear things out a bit. After all, his first go-around in 2018 featured four people (out of ten slots) who have since been inducted (Marvin Miller, Jack Morris, Ted Simmons, and Alan Trammell).

    South Carolina: While we’re discussing second basemen with good all-around value that deserve a second look, Willie Randolph also fits that category. But realistically, he falls behind Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker in that race. The flashier name here is probably Shoeless Joe Jackson, who I imagine would be an easy pick if his ban gets overturned. I have no reason to think that will happen in the near future, but it’s been discussed so much that I don’t know if its odds of happening are ever truly zero.

    West Virginia: He hasn’t ever gotten as close to induction as Bill Dahlen, but Jack Glasscock is another 19th century shortstop with a good all-around game. His career numbers are a little worse, but a large part of that is playing over a decade earlier, when seasons had fewer games overall; I kind of wonder how much of a factor that’s been in Dahlen’s higher support. If you’re looking for a figure who didn’t die prior to the birth of Willie Mays, though, Charlie Manuel appeared on the 2019 Today’s Game ballot. I have no idea if he’ll be a recurring fixture or voter favorite there, but at the very least, he seems to have checked off a lot of the managerial minimums for induction (1 World Series, 2 Pennants, 1000 wins, good winning percentage, liked figure in the games).

    United Kingdom: The UK hasn’t really been a regular source of MLB births, but they have three representatives in Cooperstown from back in the early days of the game (pioneers Henry Chadwick and Harry Wright, and umpire Tommy Connolly). That’s also the source for their most likely future inductee at this time, 1880s pitching star Jim McCormick. He wouldn’t be the worst inductee, but I don’t know that his case is a top priority at this time. Or any remaining uninducted 1880s pitcher, really; that position/time period combo is pretty well-represented in Cooperstown, I think. But, if you do want to go that route, McCormick would be the first Scottish-born member (the other three are all from England), and there’s also Tony Mullane and Tommy Bond, who would expand the Hall’s borders as the first inductees born in Ireland.

    Group 5: Ummm…?

    I was hoping that the number of states that would be totally without good options would be pretty minimal, but unfortunately, it wound up being over a quarter of them. And a large number are states without any Cooperstown members as it is: Hawaii, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming are all searching for their first electee. Idaho, New Hampshire, and Vermont are only doing marginally better, with one each. The quick overview of each case:

    Hawaii: Charlie Hough is the all-time WAR (Baseball-Reference version) leader for the state, so maybe if the VC decides the Hall needs to add a lot of knuckleballers? Kolten Wong and Isiah Kiner-Falefa have a ways to go to even catch him.

    Idaho: Harmon Killebrew is a solid sole representative to have for your state. Their second-best player is probably Larry Jackson, a pitcher in the 1950s and ‘60s who had a solid career but suddenly retired after a 4.0-bWAR season in 1968 because he didn’t want to report to the Montreal Expos after they claimed him in the expansion draft. As it is, he probably falls a bit short of the Hall standard.*

    *Of course, in between writing this and posting the article, I came across a neat point by Adam Darowski about how underrated Jackson is; the environment he pitched in might have been one of the toughest ones for pitchers. By the mid-1950s, integration was in full swing in the NL (the AL was a little slower), but the league didn’t really begin to expand and dilute the talent until the back half of his career (and he obviously missed the second round of expansion entirely). Consequently, he faced a lot of terrifying, all-time great hitters a ton, and held his own. I’m still not sure if it makes him a Hall of Famer, but he’s even closer than I realized.

    Iowa: Iowa doesn’t have much of a backlog of deserving candidates (every Iowa-born player with over 45 WAR is in the Hall), and none of their current players looks to be on a Hall pace. A few years ago, I would have bumped them up a few tiers for A.J. Hinch’s managerial career, but now I have no idea how likely that is to get him to Cooperstown; maybe if he works some magic in Detroit?

    Maine: If you’re a state without an inductee, you could do worse for a “best player” option than George Gore. 40 WAR, and he played primarily in the 1880s, so you can kind of look the other way on falling short of totals. I still don’t think he’s deserving of induction, but maybe people with a better knowledge of 1800s baseball have a different opinion.

    Maryland: This one is a sort-of borderline call; Charlie Keller isn’t a bad VC-style pick. He had a high peak that isn’t too far off from a few Hall inductees (Ralph Kiner in particular), but he’s a little short on games and stat totals thanks to missing time for World War II and back injuries that ended his career early. I know Baseball Think Factory’s Hall of Merit has inducted him, and they generally have good takes on these types of things. The actual VC has basically never considered him, though, despite ample time to do so, which is why I didn’t put him in Group 4. And again, if you want to really debate 1800s players, I suppose they also have some options here (Bobby Mathews, Cupid Childs).

    Massachusetts: Again, there are some not-awful options here, but nothing that has gotten a ton of traction. Charlie Buffinton, for the fans of 1800s pitchers. Wilbur Wood, for fans of more modern pitchers (especially ones with unusual careers that fall just a little short). Mark Belanger, for big fans of defense. But none of them strike me as cases the Veterans Committee will get around to soon.

    Montana: Codi Heuer is the only Montana-born MLB player as of the 2021 season, and he has a long way to go to even match the state’s WAR leader, Dave McNally.

    New Hampshire: Chris Carpenter is the state’s leader in bWAR, with just over 34. Maybe he can get a retired number with the Cardinals, but that’s about it. Which is a shame, because their only current Hall of Famer is Frank Selee, a manager who worked so long ago that his last MLB gig was managing the Cubs when they were called the Orphans, before the team could even win any World Series to get cursed.

    North Dakota: The mid-2000s were North Dakota’s baseball golden age, with their three best players (Darin Erstad, Travis Hafner, and Rick Helling) all active. Since Hafner hung it up in 2013, there have only been five North Dakotans to reach MLB, and they’ve combined to play in 172 games between them. Four of them are still active, though; that’s fairly uncommon for the state, at least.

    Rhode Island: Maybe Rocco Baldelli will go on to have a Hall of Fame managerial career? There aren’t many other options here, unless Jerry Reinsdorf can work his VC magic again and get Paul Konerko inducted.

    Utah: There aren’t any great options here, with Bruce Hurst currently the state’s high-water mark (34.1 WAR). But again, this is a state that doesn’t always have players representing it in the majors at all times, so going from 1 active player in 2019 and 2020 (Brady Lail was the first utah in the Majors since the retirement of Brandon Lyon in 2013) to 3 last season is kind of a victory.

    Vermont: The most recent MLB player born in Vermont is Daric Barton, who last played in the pros 2014. At least they can kind of claim Carlton Fisk, who was born in a hospital in the state since it was the closest one to his hometown in New Hampshire; maybe the two states can share custody of him?

    Wyoming: Brandon Nimmo has a good chance to become the state’s leader in WAR, but that’s about as far as I’d go.

    And as a bonus, here are the foreign countries already represented in Cooperstown without another clear option in sight:

    Germany: This one doesn’t appear on the main quiz, since the only inductee born in Germany was an owner (Barney Dreyfuss). But over the history of the game, there’s been a pretty steady supply of German-born MLB figures, thanks to immigrants and then children born to U.S. Army members stationed overseas. Once upon a time, you might have been able to convince me that Ron Gardenhire would make it as a manager, but his star has faded hard since the start of the 2010s. Max Kepler should be able to take the title of Germany’s best player by WAR, as he’s about 4.5 Wins short at the moment, but that’s still a far cry from Hall status.

    Panama: Rod Carew and Mariano Rivera represent Panama in Cooperstown, and they’ll probably remain the only ones doing so for the time being. It’s quite a dropoff to the third-best Panamanian by WAR (Carlos Lee, with Manny Sanguillen right behind), and the peak of their active leaderboard tops out at 4.0 career WAR (Jaime Barria, although Edmundo Sosa might be able to pass him in 2022).

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