Baseball’s Who’s Who of What Ifs

Players Derailed en Route to Cooperstown

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About the Book

The greatest players in baseball history are honored in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Fans and sports journalists often lament about players who might have joined the immortal ranks, if only fate–circumstances, injury or even death–hadn’t intervened.

Presenting a “who’s who of what-ifs,” this book focuses on 40 well known non-inductees, such as Tony Conigliaro, Denny McLain and Jose Fernandez, along with many others all but lost to history, such as Ross Barnes, Charlie Ferguson and Hal Trosky. Also included are more than 100 “honorable mentions” covering all of pro baseball history, from the 1860s to the 2010s.

About the Author(s)

Bill Deane is an award-winning baseball researcher, and author of nine books and hundreds of articles on the National Pastime. He lives in Cooperstown, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Bill Deane
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 324
Bibliographic Info: 31 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8479-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4241-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface  1
The Who’s Who of What Ifs  5
Rick Ankiel 5
Ross Barnes 10
Lyman Bostock 15
Bill Bradley 20
Steve Busby 23
Cesar Cedeño 28
Ray Chapman 34
Tony Conigliaro 39
Jack Coombs 44
Larry Corcoran 50
Tommy Davis 53
Charlie Ferguson 58
José Fernandez 61
Boo Ferriss 66
Mark Fidrych 70
Don Gullett 76
Ken Hubbs 81
Bill Hutchison 86
Charlie Keller 89
Bill Lange 97
Buddy Lewis 100
Jim Maloney 104
Carlos May 109
Austin McHenry 114
Denny McLain 116
Don Newcombe 123
Dave Orr 131
Mark Prior 134
Pete Reiser 138
J.R. Richard 145
Al Rosen 153
Herb Score 162
Louis Sockalexis 169
Karl Spooner 176
Monty Stratton 181
Dickie Thon 185
Cecil Travis 192
Hal Trosky 198
Brandon Webb 202
Joe Wood 207
Appendix A: Honorable Mentions  219
Jim Abbott 219
Harry Agganis 219
Moises Alou 220
Lady Baldwin 220
Gene Bearden 221
Johnny Beazley 222
Albert Belle 225
Paul Blair 226
Steve Blass 227
Vida Blue 228
Tiny Bonham 228
Britt Burns 229
Chris Carpenter 229
Rico Carty 229
Bob Caruthers 230
Dean Chance 231
Spud Chandler 232
Joe Charboneau 232
Ed Cicotte 233
King Cole 234
Hub Collins 235
Jim Creighton 235
Hugh Daily 236
Steve Dalkowski 236
Eric Davis 236
Willie Davis 237
Paul Dean 237
Bill Delancey 240
Jim Devlin 240
Dominic DiMaggio 241
Mike Donlin 241
Dave Dravecky 242
Fred Dunlap 242
Luke Easter 243
Jim Eisenreich 244
Nick Esasky 245
Happy Felsch 245
Jocko Flynn 246
Ray Fosse 246
Nomar Garciaparra 247
Wayne Garland 248
Dwight Gooden 249
Vean Gregg 249
Pedro Guerrero 250
Noodles Hahn 250
George Hall 252
Josh Hamilton 252
Zaza Harvey 254
Willard Hershberger 254
Bug Holliday 255
Charlie Hollocher 255
Dummy Hoy 257
LaMarr Hoyt 258
Tex Hughson 258
Bo Jackson 259
Joe Jackson 259
Jackie Jensen 261
Bill Joyce 261
Benny Kauff 261
Dickey Kerr 262
Darryl Kile 264
Matt Kilroy 264
Silver King 264
Dave Kingman 265
Chuck Knoblauch 266
Harry Krause 266
Terry Larkin 267
Frank Lary 267
Sal Maglie 267
Don Mattingly 268
Carl Mays 269
Von McDaniel 269
Sam McDowell 272
Alex McKinnon 273
Sadie McMahon 273
Minnie Minoso 273
Justin Morneau 274
Ed Morris 275
Mark Mulder 275
Thurman Munson 276
Steve Olin 277
Tony Oliva 277
Mel Parnell 279
Johnny Pesky 280
Rico Petrocelli 280
Jimmy Piersall 280
Arlie Pond 280
Bret Saberhagen 281
Johan Santana 281
Urban Shocker 282
Wayne Simpson 283
Grady Sizemore 284
Dave Stieb 284
George Stone 284
Frank Tanana 285
Oscar Taveras 286
Virgil Trucks 286
Mickey Vernon 286
Zoilo Versalles 287
Eddie Waitkus 287
Dick Wakefield 287
Pete Ward 289
Lefty Williams 290
Dontrelle Willis 290
Don Wilson 291
Jimmy Wood 291
Kerry Wood 292
David Wright 292
Appendix B: Players Who Made the Hall of Fame Despite Careers Cut Short  293
Roy Campanella 293
Orlando Cepeda 293
Roberto Clemente 293
Mickey Cochrane 294
Dizzy Dean 294
Ed Delahanty 296
Lou Gehrig 296
Hank Greenberg 297
Addie Joss 297
Ralph Kiner 298
Sandy Koufax 298
Kirby Puckett 298
Jackie Robinson 299
Amos Rusie 299
Ted Williams 299
Ross Youngs 300
Bibliography  301
Index  305