Neyer: Has Don Newcombe been cheated out of the Hall of Fame by his ‘missing’ years?

From SABR member Rob Neyer at on April 10, 2015, with mention of SABR member Adrian Burgos Jr.:

Upon the passing of Minnie Miñoso, we saw a number of tributes, all of them no doubt well-deserved. Many of those did make the case, off-handedly or not, that Miñoso has long belonged in the Hall of Fame.

But this one, from historian Adrian Burgos Jr., included a new one (at least for me):

The Hall of Fame has long enforced its rule that individuals could only be considered for the Hall of Fame as either a player in the major leagues or in Negro Leagues, an umpire or team/league executive. This has meant that Miñoso would either be considered as a Negro Leaguer or as a major leaguer, but voters could not take into consideration what he accomplished in the other circuit in casting one’s vote.

Enforcement of this rule has harmed Miñoso and fellow integration pioneer Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe, more than any other candidates from the “Golden Era” of baseball history. Both Miñoso and Newcombe performed three years (or more) in the Negro Leagues, and then waited several seasons in the minors, and not because they lacked big league skills. Rather, they were victims of the slow pace of integration in the majors. Moreover, they had the ironic misfortune of having signed with big league organizations (Cleveland and Brooklyn) that were aggressive in signing talent from the black baseball world.

Burgos’s point is essentially that if Miñoso and Newcombe had not been signed by relatively enlightened franchises, they might have hung around in the Negro Leagues long enough to pile up big numbers there. Monte Irvin’s the best example of someone who did that.

I’m not going to get into Miñoso here, because that’s a long, long essay and I’ve written at least a couple of versions already. What’s new here is the idea that Newcombe has also been jobbed by the Hall’s rules (not to mention racism, segregation, etc.)

Read the full article here:

Originally published: April 10, 2015. Last Updated: April 10, 2015.