2020 was a tough
year for the entire world. And the world of baseball was especially hard-hit with
a shocking number of legends dying over the course of the year. Those players
represented the very best of the game over the years and fans will forever grieve their loss.
The memories of the horrid year are refreshed with the death of baseball legend Hank Aaron on Friday. The ‘Home Run King’, who struck 755 home runs over his career and became an icon with his stand against racism, will undoubtedly leave a huge void in the sport.
Over the course of 2020, as many as
43 former players died, and while every one of
them were legends in their own right, seven were in their own league. Those
seven players were Hall of Famers and like Aaron, left the brightest spark in the sport
over the course of their distinguished playing careers.
players are Lou Brock Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline, Whitey Ford, Phil
Niekro and Joe Morgan. With the death of those seven Hall of Fame players, 2020
became the joint-worse year for the Hall, tied with 1972, when seven such had
died as well.
a look at each of their careers:
Lou Brock (18 June, 1939 – 6 September, 2020)
Lou Brock began
his 19-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the 1961 Chicago Cubs, he
spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. A renowned speedster, he
was known for his stolen bases, for which he held the all-time record at the
time of his retirement and is still second with 938. A six-time MLB All-Star with
two World Series titles, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
Whitey Ford (21 October, 1928 – 8 October, 2020)
16-year MLB career began and ended with the New York Yankees. “I’ve been a
Yankee fan since I was 5 years old,” Ford is quoted as saying on the MLB website
after he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974. Nicknamed “Chairman of the
Board”, Ford won six World Series titles with the Yankees and featured in the
All-Star lineup 10 times.
Bob Gibson (9 November, 1935 – 2 October, 2020)
Gibson played the entirety of his 17-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Nicknamed “Gibby” and “Hoot”, Gibson tallied 251 wins, 3,117 strikeouts and
2.91 earned run average (ERA) over his career. A nine-time All-Star and two-time
World Series champion, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.
Al Kaline (19 December, 1934 – 6 April, 2020)
Tiger”, Albert William Kaline spent all 22 years of his MLB career with the
Detroit Tigers. An outfielder known for his strong throwing arm, Kaline won 10 Gold Glove Awards and finished his career with an
astounding 18 All-Star appearances, and one World Series title. He was inducted
into the Hall of Fame in 1980.
Joe Morgan (19 September, 1943 – 11 October,
General’ Joe Morgan won two World Series championships with the Cincinnati Reds
and was named the Most Valueable Player (MVP) on both those occasions. A ten-time
All-Star and five-time Golden Glove Award winner, Morgan was inducted into the
Hall of Fame in the year 1990.
Phil Niekro (1 April, 1939 – 26 December, 2020)
career was just as illustrious as long. Making his MLB debut at the age of 25
with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in 1964, the legendary pitcher went on to
play for 24 seasons, 20 of them with the Braves. Nicknamed “Knucksie”, Niekro
is a five-time All-Star, five-time Golden Glove Award winner and was inducted
into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
Tom Seaver (17 November, 1944 – 31 August,
a number of franchises over his 20 seasons in MLB, including the Cincinnati Reds,
the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox, George Thomas Seaver was best known
for his stint with the New York Mets. A 12-time All-Star and World Series champion
in 1969, “Tom Terrific” became a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1992.