Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

‘The Hall of Nearly Great’ now for sale

I’m happy to announce that “The Hall of Nearly Great,” an e-book with chapters on 42 ballplayers worth remembering despite falling short of the Hall of Fame, is now for sale for only $12. To make a purchase, click the image at right. 

The book includes my chapter on former Dodger outfielder Reggie Smith. Other former Dodgers in the book include Dick Allen, Ron Cey, Eric Davis, Kenny Lofton, Fred McGriff, Andy Messersmith, Fernando Valenzuela and Robin Ventura, as well as manager Don Mattingly. Here’s more on the project from its intrepid editors, Sky Kalkman and Marc Normandin:

The Hall of Nearly Great is an ebook meant to celebrate the careers of those who are not celebrated. It’s not a book meant to reopen arguments about who does and does not deserve Hall of Fame enshrinement. Rather, it remembers those who, failing entrance into Cooperstown, may unfairly be lost to history. It’s for the players we grew up rooting for, the ones whose best years led to flags and memories that will fly together forever. Players like David Cone, Will Clark, Dwight Evans, Norm Cash, Kenny Lofton, Brad Radke, and many others.

This is not a numbers-driven project (although our contributors lean analytical in their views). Our plan isn’t to be overbearing with stats and spreadsheets to convince you that these players are worth remembering. What we aim to do, instead, is accomplish that same task through stories. Think of your favorite players growing up: they have their moments, games, seasons, quirks, personalities, and legends worth remembering and sharing. Now, combine the best of everyone’s forgotten favorites, and you’ve got a Hall of Nearly Great. Ask the people who have those memories and love for these players to write essays about them, and you have The Hall of Nearly Great ebook.

It takes a talented writer to give these players their due honors, and we’ve collected forty-two talented writers to do just that. These are All-Star writers, some of our favorite must-reads in today’s expansive baseball coverage landscape. They have diverse voices, diverse backgrounds and diverse interests, but they all love baseball and have a passion for the players they’re writing about.

R.J. Anderson * Cee Angi * Tommy Bennett * Ted Berg * Jon Bernhardt * Jon Bois * Grant Brisbee * Craig Brown * Dave Brown * Craig Calcaterra * Carson Cistulli * Cliff Corcoran * Bradford Doolittle * Craig Fehrman * Chad Finn * Steven Goldman * Owen Good * Jay Jaffe * King Kaufman * Jonah Keri * Matthew Kory * Will Leitch * Ben Lindbergh * Sam Miller * Rob Neyer * Marc Normandin * Eric Nusbaum * Bill Parker * Jason Parks * Jeff Passan * Joe Posnanski * Old Hoss Radbourn * David Raposa * David Roth * Jon Sciambi * Emma Span * Cecilia Tan * The Common Man * Wendy Thurm * Jon Weisman * Josh Wilker * Jason Wojciechowski

This is an ebook, available in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats, suitable for reading on a computer, iPad, Kindle, Nook, other e-reader, smart phone or tablet which may be similar to that artist tablet with screen. It is DRM-free, not because we want people to steal it, but because we’d rather put our efforts into making better products than limiting their convenience. Buy now for immediate download for only $12.

Note: If you buy a copy of the book using any of the links on this page, I will get a $3 slice of the payment. So thanks in advance for your support.

Click here to buy the book


Fife digs the groundball in effective debut


Jim Eisenreich, baseball hero, Dodger nemesis


  1. Anonymous


  2. Reggie Smith is a great choice for this book. I hope that Jimmy Wynn and Dick Allen are included as well.

    • Anonymous

      No Toy Cannon!?  When does  the Nearly Near edition come out?

      • Anonymous

         I loved his 1974 season.

        • Anonymous

          I saw him hit his three dingers against the Padres that year.

          • Anonymous

            That year was the only Series I attended personally (all three games in Oakland). I specifically remember Ferguson’s cutting in front of him to throw out a runner at the plate, because Wynn’s arm was weaker than Juan Pierre’s.

  3. Anonymous

    Thanks for the ‘heads’ up’ on the e-book Jon….
    On last night’s game…. I found one thing particularly interesting…. The Bellesario Inning.
    He’s got this ‘kinda short-arm pitch’ with a lot of movement ‘in on a right-handed hitter’….
    Belly seems to just ‘sling it’ up there, and it’s been really effective for him…
    However, last night… after he got the first 2 outs… it seemed to betray him.
    I think he was trying to throw that same pitch when he plunked Ruiz…
    I told my wife…” When that pitch is working for him…it’s a thing of beauty…”

  4.  Other former Dodgers in the book include Dick Allen, Ron Cey, Eric Davis, Kenny Lofton, Fred McGriff, Andy Messersmith, Fernando Valenzuela and Robin Ventura, as well as manager Don Mattingly. 

  5. foul tip

    Amid reports as many as 10 teams are after Dempster, Fox says Dodgers and Braves are his top 2, according to MLB sources.  Notes he’s good friends with Lilly.

    Almost an interesting typo…first had “fiends” instead of “friends.”  Come to think of it, if he comes to LA and maintains what he’s doing this year, and Lilly comes back anything like before, maybe they could be good “fiends”… just on opposing batters.

    The Cubs supposedly are trying to move him before his next start.  As a 10/5 player he can veto any deal.

    • Anonymous

      It’s all going to depend on how much the Dodgers will have to give up to acquire him.

  6. foul tip

    Piece pointing out that trading isn’t as simple as a lot of fans like to think:

    Related, this may be blowing in the wind.  But some Dodger fans (fans of all teams, for that matter) seem to think their team could or should “make” trades happen.  Too simplistic.  Other teams have a say with competing offers, and these days players have almost as much say as their teams.

    It’s shocking for Dodger fans, but some players don’t want to play for them. At least one major trade target in the last few years didn’t want to come to the West Coast, IIRC.  End of story. Yet some fans still refused to accept that the Dodgers couldn’t have made that deal.

    There’s a bit of that right now with how well Youk is doing with the White Sox.  Yeah, the Dodgers may not have gone after him, or not hard enough, or not have made much of an offer…in short, they could have “blown” it.

    But it never was as simple as the Dodgers just decide to trade for him, make an offer, and he becomes a Dodger.  Just wasn’t, and isn’t, for any player.

    If the Dodgers, or several other teams, had any idea he’d be this rejuvenated with a new team, they’d all have been very aggressive.  But it’s not hard to reason that given his age and his lower production in what chances he’d had this year, risk was we were seeing the beginning of a sharp falloff.

    Dodger-specific, not hard to wonder if Ned didn’t look at him and see the falloff and think Andruw Jones redux and not want to consider going there, not even for a couple months.

    Also not hard to think maybe the Dodgers decided to keep what limited trading powder they had dry to go after players they thought made more sense.  Unfortunately no team has a working crystal ball, Dodgers included.

    • Anonymous

      There are also some who don’t want to play on the east coast. I, for one, don’t.

      • foul tip

         There you go, messing up another good Dodger trade in the works for WBBsOs.  ;-])

        • Anonymous

           At least not on the east coast of North America.

    • Anonymous

      and when Ned looked at Carlos Lee he thought…

      • foul tip

         Who knows?  None of us.  We’re all outside spectators. 

        He may–or may not–have thought the same thing.  Older player, numbers down, risky….but maybe the price was less than whatever Boston asked for Youk.  Could have thought that if he were going to take a shot at one of the two veterans possibly in decline, he’d go with Lee…familiar with the NL and all that.  Maybe scouts were more favorable on Lee.  Maybe Don was.  A lot we dunno.

        Wouldn’t want to try too hard to read Ned’s mind.  Quite possibly a dark and scary place. 

        I would expect that the Jones fiasco scarred him.  It would have anyone.

        No one should read into this that I’m a big Ned supporter.  I’ve said differently here several times.  I think he’s been thoroughly mediocre, a mixed bag.

        • Anonymous

          We’re NOT outside spectators if we spend money at the stadium, make the broadcast ratings incrementally higher by watching, buy dodger gear, or live and/or work in the city of LA, especially downtown.

          Sports teams are quick to define themselves as public institutions when they want to fleece the taxpayer (knocking down half of a giant convention center which is much younger than me comes to mind).  O’Malley sure didn’t mind using the political process to clear out the ravine in the first place.

          Granted, it’s a stretch to use that logic in terms of on-field management choices.

    • Anonymous

      Comparing trading for a player-Youk-in the last year of a contract and signing a FA-Jones, is nonsensical.

      • Anonymous

        Its very easy to compare Jones and Lee weight-wise :)

      • foul tip

        Speculation was only what impact seeing down numbers this season for Youk might have had for Ned in light of the Jones fiasco…meaning he may have thought he didn’t want to take a chance on another older player with down numbers, period, nothing else considered.

        No mention was made or thought given contract status, FAs, and such.  Simply the above.  I didn’t go where you assumed I did. See also “not even for a couple months.”

        • Anonymous

          If another player with lousy numbers is going to hurt this team it is doomed anyway! :-)

    • Maybe Kasten was like so you signed this guy for three years and 20 something million, now you want to trade two prospects to replace him? Nah, you ride your horses Ned. We will replace him, you, Loney, Rivera in the offseason. 

      • Anonymous

        WS gave up a no hit utility player and a mediocre young pitcher. We have stockpiles of each. RS paid vast majority of Youk’s salary, tho he does have a 1 mil buyout for next year. Just seemed low risk, high reward to me.

        •  Oh I totally agreed with you then and now. Why on earth would pass him up and then go for Carlos Lee is beyond me. It’s one thing if they just passed him up..I get the risks, but Lee wasn’t exactly risk free. His OPS on the road is .689 and Loney’s at home is .712. But wow, Loney on the road his OPS is .552! yikes.

  7. Rancho Cucamonga Quakes pitcher Angel Sanchez is one of many young Dominicans who’ve come to the United States with the dream of playing Major League Baseball.

    Sanchez’s path, however, is a departure from the typical Dominican experience.

    • Anonymous

      Attended the first university in the Western Hemisphere, no less.

  8. Anonymous

    Can I get a copy signed by Pete Rose?

  9. Anonymous

    The e-book looks great.  How did Maury Wills fall short?

  10. Anonymous

    Seriously, though, the non-DRM thing is great, Jon.

    My business has the same approach, and it has worked really well for us.

  11. ICYMI, Rainn Wilson throws out first pitch and then introduces Dodgers lineup in last night’s game:

    Matt ‘Shawn’ Kemp

  12. KT

    Going to miss today’s game live…trying to shake up things…I think I’ll watch it at 1600…Root our guys on for me

  13. Anonymous

    Bad throw by Uribe, but Loney woulda had it.

  14. Kris Freyermuth

    Definitely a book to buy.  I’m sorry there is not a chapter on Gil Hodges. 

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