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Now that the Human Highlight Reel has played his last Major League game, let’s discuss his chances of making the Hall of Fame.  Jim was a terrific center fielder–one of the best of all-time–who could hit in the heart of the order and play the field like circus acrobat.  He clubbed just under 400 career homeruns, eclipsed 1,200 runs scored and came within one RBI of reaching 1,200 runs batted in.  A gifted slugger, Jimmy retired with a hefty .527 slugging average and a nifty .376 on-base percentage.  He eclipsed 100 runs scored and RBI in four separate seasons, finished with just under 2,000 career hits, made four All-Star teams and won eight Gold Glove Awards.  When you compare Edmonds to great center fielders of yore, he comes off as a modern version of Duke Snider–albeit with a better glove.

Those credentials are quite impressive but Jim did play in the bashing Steroid Era and his greatest deficiency is that he never led the league in any major offensive category.  Edmonds did strike out a lot but this was a time when high whiff totals were the norm and he never paced the circuit in getting fanned either.  But he also failed to reach 2,000 career hits, which can be seen as a drawback as well, but his high on-base percentage helps offset his decent career base hits total. 

When you look at Jim’s entire game, what you get is an amazing talent, but is his talent amazing enough for Cooperstown?  We’ll have to wait and see, but with Snider in the Hall–Jim’s Doppelganger from the 1950s–he has a legit case once his name reaches the ballot.

Nicknamed “The Gause Ghost,” Moore was the leadoffman for the Giants throughout the 1930s.  From Gause, Texas, Moore was a hard-scrabble outfielder who was a difficult strikeout victim throughout his career.  A free-swinging contact hitter, Jo-Jo set the table for Giants run producers like Bill Terry and Mel Ott.  Moore knew that batting atop the order meant that he had to get on base so he was up at the dish determined to never strikeout and he rarely did so.  A well-respected left fielder, Jo-Jo was named to six All-Star Teams during his career.

Moore had cups of coffee with the Giants in 1930 and ’31 but John McGraw’s regular pasture looked pretty stable with heavy-hitting Ott, high average hitter Freddy Leach and Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom.  But Jo-Jo was able to take Leach’s job in 1932–the last year Mr. McGraw was in the dugout.  Managed by Bill Terry the following year, the Giants captured the NL flag with Jo-Jo leading the team’s outfielders with a .292 batting average.  They topped the Senators in the World Series led by the brilliant pitching of Carl Hubbell.

Although Moore was a World Series champion in 1933 he didn’t enjoy his breakout year until ’34.  He led National League left fielders with a .331 batting average and was named to his first All-Star Team.  The Gause Ghost would make five straight Midsummer Classics for 1934 to 1938.  At the top of his game in ’34, Jo-Jo finished fifth in base hits and sixth in doubles.  For his remarkable work, he was third in MVP voting.  In 1935, Moore was a member of Major League’s only all 100 run scoring outfield when he trampled home plate 108 times, center fielder Hank Leiber scored 110 runs and Mel Ott in right added 113 runs.

An All-Star again in 1936, Jo-Jo paced the NL pennant winning Giants with 205 base hits.  The Giants squared off with the Yankees in the World Series but the Bronx Bombers had the Giants number and battered their pitching staff quite handedly.  The Giants World Series staff ERA was 6.79.  Undaunted, the Giants won the NL flag again in 1937 as Moore hit .310 with 37 doubles.  In top form during the Fall Classic, Jo-Jo led all participants with nine base hits in the five game series.  He hit a robust .391 during the series but the Giants as a team only hit .237.

Named to his fifth straight NL All-Star Team in 1938, The Gause Ghost eclipsed the coveted .300 batting average again.  When his batting average fell to .269 in 1939, Moore’s string of All-Star nods came to a close.  He made his final All-Star appearance in 1940 when he led National League left fielders in fewest times struck out.  By 1940 however, the Giants had become a second division ballclub as their stalwarts in the lineup, Moore, Ott and Dick Bartell were in their 30s.  Jo-Jo played one last year in the Majors in 1941.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,335/R 809/H 1,615/2B 258/3B 53/HR 79/RBI 513/SB 46/BB 348/SO 247/BA .298/OBP .344/SA .408

One of baseball’s top power hitters in the mid to late 1950s, Wally Post was a slugging fixture in the Reds lineup during that time span.  A former minor league pitcher converted to the outfield, Post found a home in the batter’s box.  Wally had five 20 homerun seasons and had two seasons with 35 or more dingers.  But Mr. Post’s game didn’t just revolve around taking shots at the moon–he was also a fine defender.  He covered a lot of ground in right field and has the 17th best career “Range Factor” among his position peers.

The Reds gave Wally his first look in the Majors at the age of 19 in 1949.  The youngster from Ohio wouldn’t stick at the highest level until 1954.  Post had a solid showing in his first full Major League season that year when he drove in 83 runs on 18 homers.  But those stats were simply pixy dust when you measure them to his breakout 1955 campaign.  Wally played in every game for Birdie Tebbetts’ Reds that season.  He finished third in runs scored (116), fourth in hits (186), doubles (33) and total bases (345) and sixth in homeruns (40) and RBI (109).  Cincinnati had the best power combo in all of baseball that year as Wally and first baseman Ted Kluszewski hit a combined 87 homeruns–more than Mathews & Aaron (68) or Snider and Campanella (74).

Wally showed that his power stroke wasn’t a one-year fling as he swatted 36 long balls in ’56.  He paced Major League right fielders in that department, blasting ten more homers than young Hank Aaron.  Not just a brawny blaster, Wally also posted a career high 16 outfield assists.  Although Post is best known for his slugging, he rests 32nd all-time in career assists among right fielders. 

When Wally’s homerun output fell to 20 in 1957, the Reds traded him to the Phillies for left-handed All-Star Harvey Haddix.  The Phillies were a last place team in 1958 but Post was able to hike his batting average back up above .280 after two seasons of lesser hitting.  But he had an uncharacteristic twelve homers for the Phillies.  Hoping for more power production out of their right fielder in 1959, Wally delivered with 22 homers and a team leading 94 RBI.  Despite his solid run production, the Phillies remained in the cellar.  After a solid start in 1960, Philadelphia traded him back to the Reds for Tony Gonzalez and Lee Walls.  Shifted to left field to accommodate Gus Bell, Wally swatted 17 homers the rest of the season back in Cincy.

When Bell mysteriously lost his power in ’61, the Reds inserted a youngster named Frank Robinson into right field and the result was an NL pennant.  Post teamed with Robinson and Vada Pinson to give Cincinnati an enviable outfield.  Wally reached 20 homeruns again in ’61 but he was one of the few Reds to bring his bat with him to the World Series.  Wally posted a terrific .924 on-base-plus-slugging for the Fall Classic but none of his mates in the pasture hit above .200 and the Yankees made short order of the boys from Cincy.

Post’s last good year was in 1962 when he clubbed 17 homeruns for the third place Reds.  The Twins purchased his contract early in the 1963 season but Wally never could get going in the American League.  He played briefly with Cleveland the following year–his last Major League action.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,204/R 594/H 1,064/2B 194/3B 28/HR 210/RBI 699/SB 19/BB 331/SO 813/BA .266/OBP .323/SA .485