By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
This weekend, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Modern Era Committee will meet to cast ballots on players from 1970-1987 that may have been overlooked for enshrinement via the traditional writers ballot.
Red Sox great Dwight Evans is one of nine former players on that ballot, and overlooked is the only way to describe his Hall of Fame candidacy for the last 30 years.
It’s time to put Dewey in Cooperstown.
Evans was undeniably one of the greatest defensive outfielders in baseball history, and there is no greater argument for his case for Cooperstown than his play in the field. Everybody knows there was no better defensive right fielder of his time.
He won won eight Gold Gloves in right, a mark only surpassed by Roberto Clemente (12), Ichiro Suzuki (10), and Al Kaline (10). Clemente and Kaline are in the Hall and Ichiro will be a first-ballot inductee.
Nobody needs to be sold on Evans’ defensive credentials, but it was his offensive output that has been under-appreciated for years. It’s why he fell off the writers ballot in 1999 with only 3.6 percent of the vote.
The voters need to take a closer look at what Dewey did at the plate. Once I did, I was sold that he belongs in the Hall.
If you told me that Evans led the 1980’s in home runs, I never would’ve believed you. But it’s true. His 256 home runs were more than any other player in baseball that decade. He also led the 80’s in extra base hits with 605.
In total, Evans hit 385 home runs in his career, three more than his teammate and Hall of Famer Jim Rice. Rice got to Cooperstown on his reputation as a power hitter, so why shouldn’t Evans be there given that he hit more home runs than Rice to go along with his nearly unmatched play in the field?
Stone glove designated hitter Edgar Martinez hit 309 home runs in the steroid era and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Put elite outfielder and better power hitter Dwight Evans in, too.
Evans registered a .370 OBP, equal to that of Ken Griffey Jr. and higher than Rice and Clemente, among others. His .840 OPS is higher than a number of right fielders already in the Hall, including Clemente, Dave Winfield, Andre Dawson, and Reggie Jackson.
Evans is just .001 off the Hall of Fame OPS average of .841.
If you’re a believer in WAR (what is it good for?), Evans’ career 67.1 WAR is just slightly below the Cooperstown average of 69 (nice).
He put up better offensive stats across the board than Fraudulent Hall of Famer Harold Baines, who was elected last year via a similar committee vote and will forever be the low bar by which all potential fringe Hall of Famers of the future will be judged by.
If Harold Baines is in, Dwight Evans sure as hell should be in.
Nobody will ever say that Evans was one of the best hitters of all-time, but his Cooperstown average stats are more than worthy enough to justify his enshrinement given what he did in the field.
Dwight Evans is a Hall of Famer. Let’s just hope the Modern Era Committee agrees.
You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.