HOF ’09: Mo Vaughn


“I always wanted to be like Kirby Puckett. I’d want Reggie Jackson’s power and Carlton Fisk’s attitude and love of the game. But mostly, I’d wanted to be like Kirby Puckett.” — Mo Vaughn.

Mo Vaughn was born and raised in Norwalk, Connecticut and arrived in the Major Leagues after playing college at Seton Hall.

He played for the Red Sox for 8 years, hitting 230 home runs and batting over .300  five times. He was MVP once and voted in the Top Five two other times. Mo had 40+ homers twice with another year of 39.

A free agent after the 1998 season, Mo signed a six-year, $80 million deal with the Angels, making him the highest-paid player in the game at that time

Moving west to wear the Halo, he had designs on lifting his new club to new heights in 1999, despite playing in the Big A, a more difficult hitters’ park.

“I learned a lot from Mo. He showed me some things that were very helpful in terms of driving the ball. He was a great player and a good teammate for me.” — Garret Anderson.

In the first inning of his first game at home in an Angels uniform, Vaughn slipped on the dugout steps and tumbled down in pursuit of a pop fly by the Indians’ Omar Vizquel, spraining an ankle. Playing with pain all season and limited to 139 games in 1999, Vaughn managed to produce 33 homers and 108 RBIs.

Healthy the following season, Vaughn played 161 games, matching his career high. He clouted 36 homers and 117 RBIs. Injuries forced him to miss the entire 2001 season, after which Vaughn was dealt to the Mets in exchange for starter Kevin Appier.

In 10 full Major League seasons and parts of two others, Vaughn hit .293 with 328 homers and 1,064 RBIs for the Boston Red Sox, Anaheim Angels and New York Mets.

Statistically, the five most similar career players to Mo Vaughn (among those retired long enough to be eligible for the Hall) are Ted Kluszewski, David Justice, Kent Hrbek, Hal Trosky and Joe Adcock. None are in the Hall of Fame.

My Opinion: From 1995-1998, he put up Hall of Fame numbers. There isn’t enough supporting play before or after to merit his selection.

  Hall of Fame

Hall of Very Good

  Why is he even on the Ballot?


While we wait for January 12 ballot results, The Baseball Zealot will be profiling those players who are on the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.  Read the rest the of the profiles.

3 Responses to “HOF ’09: Mo Vaughn”

  1. I almost drafted this guy for my APBA team, but his bat seemed slow as a rookie, .260 & 4 HRs as a rook, then .234 & 13 HRs in his 2nd season, but then he exploded! His nickname was the Hit-Dog, he wore #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, he wore his socks pulled up high, he was very cool, but I thought, oh no, he’s Sam Horn! At Seton Hall Vaughn played with Craig Biggio, John Valentin, & Marteese Robinson, you can read all about his college days in a great book called, The Hit Men and the Kid who Batted Ninth.

  2. DonS,

    Great post.

    a little off-topic but the quote about Kirby Puckett reminded me of a bit that Bill James wrote in his Historical Abstract in the Yogi Berra section.

    To paraphrase, he says that Puckett once said he had a fantasy about having a body like Glenn Braggs… slender, 6’3″, fast etc.

    james makes the point that Puckett may have been short and squat but he was 10 times the player that Braggs was.

  3. All numbers and MVPs aside, being named in the Mitchell Report is likely a kiss of death for any player. A guy like Vaughn who isn’t a “lock” for the Hall loses enough much needed votes that he surely won’t have a chance. (He was named for HGH.)

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