A Wing of the BBA Hall of Fame
When you picture right fielders, you see big power hitters with bigger arms hanging off their shoulders. Rangy outfielders, daring runners to take third. The BBA has had our share of these guys, and herein you can read about them.
3,009 Hits, 704 HR, 2,307 RBI, 55 SB, .286/.336/.567, 94.3 WAR
Sawywer Silk Award: 1991, 1992, 1995
Zimmer Diamond Glove Winner: 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005
All-Star: 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005
One can argue that Pennemaker's greatest seasons happened in Seattle (where he played from age 19 when he broke in until age 29 when he shipped out to Marquette), and that's not wrong. But he was a powerful force there, too, and for five more seasons in California, where he ended his career at 37. Through most of that time, Pennebaker terrorized opposing pitching and battered down outfield walls. Add in 5 Zimmer awards with the glove, and you've got a consummate player.
2,628 Hits, 92 HR, 827 RBI, 785 SB, .324/.363/.478, 74.8 WAR
1989 Owner's Choice Hitter of the Year
All-Star: 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994
Groves was a top of the order kind of guy, a guy who would always flirt with a .400 OBP and could steal you a lot of bases (785). He scored 100 or more runs 7 times. At his peak (age 26 to 31) he was one of the more dominant lead-off hitters of all time, posting nearly 7 WAR per season. Was still productive after that, but fell off a cliff at age 35, making one wonder what some of those numbers could have been.
1,578 Hits, 560 HR, 1,374 RBI, 20 SB, .245/.324/.588, 36.3 WAR
1986 Owner's Choice Hitter of the Year
Slick Fielder: 1985, 1986, 1990
All-Star: 1984, 1992, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993
What do you say about a guy whose career appears to have ended at age 30, but still contains 1,578 hits--560 of them home runs? His name is all over the league's leaderboards, and his 1986 season (73 HR, 182 RBI, .786 SLG) may never be repeated again. He was 22 when that happened. His 560 career homers still stands at just outside the top 10 all-time.
Given all this, it's easy to close one's eyes and imagine what could have been. Do it now. Give him, say, seven more seasons at, say an average of 30 homers a year, starting at 40 and tapering down to 15 or 20 in his elder days. It could have happened, you know? Add that extra 210 homers onto those 560. Realize that Bopper Kengos had "only" 720. Yes, you can imagine Long Chamberlain as the greatest provider of souvenir baseballs with only a little work.
Yet, Chamberlain disappeared after that fateful age 30 season. Just got up and left. No note. No nothing. Maybe he decided he'd had enough of the limelight. Decided he wanted to raise his kids quiet and off the grid. Who knows? All we can say for sure is that he was one of the greatest power hitters in the history of the BBA.
2,807 Hits, 326 HR, 1,251 RBI, 14 SB, .332/.420/.510, 88.8 WAR
1995 Sawyer Silk Award
All-Star: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2005
Clarke was a player who spanned the ages, spending his pre-95 days in Huntsville and Brooklyn before finding a home in Baltimore, where he got things kicked off with a Silk Award season. That said, Clarke got his work done as a steady hand more than in blazing spurts. Basically, GMs and fans of his era just wrote him down for 5 WAR and let him run. Consistent, eh? That .420 career OBP sits at #5 all-time as of the time of this writing and was #2 at the time of his induction.
2,752 Hits, 427 HR, 1,539 RBI, 122 SB, .280/.351/.479, 67.2 WAR
Zimmer Diamond Glove Award: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015
All-Star: 2006, 2008, 2013
Al Jones may have been the greatest defensive right fielder in the league's history. He finished with 148 outfield kills in his 16 seasons in right, and added 17 more in limited time in left field and center. He broke in with Long Beach, but was a mainstay in New Orleans for the bulk of his career. Jones was an all-around player, a guy who could steal a base or get a key hit. A guy who hit for pretty reasonable power, but got on base lot.
In his 16 years, even as he played out the string to age 39, he never had a sub-replacement year.