Carey: Are there 40 future Hall of Famers playing today?

From SABR member Ross Carey at Replacement Level Podcast on August 12, 2015:

The record for the most Hall of Famers appearing in a MLB single season is 53. This happened in 1928, 1929, and 1930. However, not all of the best players were playing in Major League Baseball at the time. Many were playing in the Negro Leagues as well. In 1926 21 future Hall of Famers were active in the Negro Leagues and 52 played in MLB that year too. That’s 73 future Hall of famers playing across baseball in one year. That record will never be approached for a variety of reasons. Segregation is only one of them. Corrosive politics and a Veterans Committee led by Frankie Frisch caused the 1920s & 1930s to be the most overpopulated decades in the Hall of Fame.

The record for an integration era MLB season (1947-present) is 38. This happened in 1965, 1967-1969, 1971, 1972, and 1974. This made me wonder if 38 future Hall of Famers are playing now in 2015. The answer is almost certainly no, but here’s my attempt at finding those 38.

Keep in mind there are four types of players in every Hall of Fame. 1) The all-time greats. Players considered to be the best ever to play the game or the best ever at their position. (Ruth, Mays, Williams, Maddux, Johnson.) 2) The obvious Hall of Famers. These guys may not be the best ever but there is little doubt they belong. (Gwynn, Carew, F. Thomas, Ryan, Jenkins.) 3) Borderline guys. One can reasonably make a case for or against them. (Dawson, Wheat, Perez, Ford, Drysdale.) 4) Mistakes. Every Hall of Fame has players that fall so far short of the standards they just simply don’t belong. The Baseball Hall is no different. (McCarthy, L. Waner, Lindstrom, Marquard, Hunter) are among the dozens in this group with plaques in Cooperstown. All four types of players will eventually be represented from this generation as well.

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Originally published: August 13, 2015. Last Updated: August 13, 2015.