A couple weeks back, I spitballed the idea of has there ever been a World Series participant who didn’t wind up with a Hall of Famer in their dugout? I went through the history of the modern game (1903-present), with the help of baseballreference.com, and found only a few potential teams that could fit this description.
Two teams that did make the World Series, the 1945 Cubs and the 1944 Browns, are the guaranteed answers at this point. It is hard to look through their lineups and find 2 worse teams that played in World Series history. The reason they even made it this far was that so many of MLB’s top players during 44 and 45 were serving their country in WWII. So let’s put an asterisk* on these 2 teams, exclude them from our list and see what other World Series clubs might fit this description.
The first club that I could find without a current Hall of Fame player is the 1984 Tigers. Hopefully, the travesty which is Alan Trammell not being part of the Hall will be rectified, but for now the only person in the dugout for this team who is in Cooperstown is Sparky Anderson. There is still an outside chance that Jack Morris will make it, as well, but I’m going to include Sparky, so they pass the test. One interesting note about them is the 1984 Tigers were arguably the best team of the decade, as only the 1986 Mets won more games and outside of the Red Sox tripping all over themselves, the Mets wouldn’t have even won that Series.
The next team on this list is the 1989 San Francisco Giants. I suspect that during the next few years, they will go off the list, as Goose Gossage is catching steam with the voters. The 14th best first baseman according to Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (2001) was the leader of this team, Will Clark. Clark is right there with Don Mattingly, just barely out of reach of the Hall.
A lot of teams during the 1990’s don’t have a current Hall of Famer, but it is just a matter of time for most of them, as the Maddux, Glavine, Alomar, Larkin, and Sheffield inductions which happen in the future will guarantee. The only one possible question mark is the 1993 Phillies, but I suspect that the big game dynamics of Curt Schilling will get him a plaque in upstate New York.
So if Gossage and Schilling make it to Cooperstown that means that every World Series team during the game’s first century will have one player or manager on it’s roster. Looking at this decade, all the teams so far seem to have 1 future Hall of Famer, with only 2 exceptions.
The 2002 Anaheim Angels are a team with some possibilities, but no guarantees so far. Troy Glaus is on pace to hit over 500 homeruns, but his low average and constant injury issues make him a real question mark. Now this one is scary, but at the age of 35, Garrett Anderson has 2205 hits. If he makes it to 3000, you know they will vote him in, despite his incredibly dubious career. The 2002 Angel that I believe is the best bet for Cooperstown is Francisco Rodriguez, as he is on pace to break all records for a closer. While betting on a 25 year-old closer for this type of immortality is very risky, but of the currently active only Rivera, Hoffman, Smoltz, and maybe Wagner are better bets at this point.
So now we come to the 2007 Rockies. Sure their roster is filled with a lot of young, promising players, so who can really know, but let’s speculate. On the surface, Todd Helton would seem to be a slamdunk, but his home/away splits are so wildly disparate that he’s going to have to reach 3000 hits and keep his Road OPS around where it is at to get my coveted HOF vote. I would put this at a less than a 30% chance of happening. Considering the time period and home park factors, I rate Will Clark and Don Mattingly over Helton, but he has time to change this perspective. Troy Tulowitzski is off to a great beginning, but his splits are pretty shocking, showing a major Coors Field effect.
So we come down to the 2002 Angels and 2007 Rockies being the 2 World Series teams* without a pretty clear-cut current or future Hall of Fame member(s). According to my standards, managers are eligible. I’ve got to take Mike Scioscia over Clint Hurdle in that particular futures game, as if Scioscia wins a couple more championships, he probably will make it in. (Let’s say if a certain free agent was to join the team, don’t you think this might help his chances.) It will take quite awhile until we know how these will ultimately play out, but my bet is on Rockies being the first team to hold this dubious destinction, when we look back 25 years from now.