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Rickey, Rice, and some other guy to be enshrined in the Hall today.

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We know all about Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice.

But we don’t know anything about Joe Gordon.

In fact, I’m willing to bet that about only 25 percent of the baseball watching population has any idea that Joe Gordon is even being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame today. The MLB Network is promoting coverage of the ceremonies with absolutely no mention of him other than a blink-and-it’s-gone picture.

Joe Gordon, the most deserving 2009 Hall of Famer.And for Joe Gordon, that’s not fair.

Gordon played from 1938-50, seven seasons with the New York Yankees and four seasons with the Cleveland Indians. Gordon’s career is one of the most illustrious and formidable ever compiled by a second baseman.

In 1938, Gordon broke into the majors with the New York Yankees, clubbing 25 home runs and driving in 97 as 23-year-old.

For the next ten years, that was Gordon’s modus operandi.

From 1939-49, Gordon was named to every American League All-Star team. Outside of his 1946 and 1949 campaigns, he was a factor in the A.L. Most Valuable Player vote, actually winning the award in 1942. That season, Gordon edged out Boston’s Ted Williams when he batted .322, hit 18 home runs, drove in 103, and led the league in games played.

Gordon routinely paced the league in putouts, assists, and double plays. His fleet-feet and quick glove earned him the nickname “Flash,” after the popular comic book character of the same name.

Gordon was a part of five World Championship teams: the incredibly dominant ’38, ’39, ’41, and ’43 Yankees and the ’48 Indians, with which Gordon had, arguably, his best single-season campaign.

Gordon still holds the record for most career home runs by an American League second baseman.

And like so many stars of the time, we may never know exactly how good Gordon could have been; he spent the 1944 and 1945 seasons serving in World War II, his age 29 and 30 seasons.

With those prime seasons under his belt, Gordon would have been a first ballot Hall of Famer, without question.

In what is perhaps the biggest testament to Gordon’s ridiculously underrated career, it took endless lobbying from one of his contemporaries, Boston’s legendary Bobby Doerr, to get him into the Hall.

Doerr, who was elected to the Hall by the Veteran’s Committee 23 years ago, battled Gordon during the fierce Red Sox/Yankees rivalries of the forties. The two share close career statistics and were often a part of the same All-Star teams, which Gordon more often started on.

Doerr was bewildered by Gordon’s up-until-now exclusion from the Hall, stating recently, “I don’t understand why it took so long. I guess I was the only one on the committee who really knew Joe and got to see him play. They didn’t get to see him like I saw him, but he’s finally made it.”

Yes he has.

Trivia: Gordon was part of the only manager-for-manager trade in baseball history when the Indians sent him to the Tigers in exchange for Jimmy Dykes in 1960. That alone should occupy a special corner of the Hall.


One Response

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  1. tracking back Rickey, Rice, and some other guy to be enshrined in the Hall today…. tracking back Rickey, Rice, and some other guy to be enshrined in the Hall today….

    July 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm

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