After a two-year (not season, year) hiatus, the TWML Hall of Fame is back. A small Veterans Committee has been constructed to allow the Hall to catch up on all the classes it has missed.
Here’s how it works: TWML Historian Adam Darowski (that’s me) constructs the ballots and makes recommendations for induction. Then, a six person committee (consisting of Mike Wilson, Adam Darowski, Mike Darowski, Robert Frasier, Paul Patrone, and Cory Muzyka) either approves the recommendation or contests them. If they are contested, they go to a vote (this is to speed up the process).
As I started building the ballot, a few things became clear. One was that real players and fictional players are different beings. So, what I’ve decided to do first is close the book on Real players, have one more ballot for the guys still in limbo, then create a separate wing for them and move on. Then we’ll start catching up on the fictional players.
Today, I’m announcing the induction of four new players into the Hall of Fame. All received various levels of write-in support every year. But each have now entered the Hall of Fame uncontested.
But first, we have a couple other men to induct to the Hall.
Adam Bailey moved the Jamaica Queens Rastafarians to Plympton, MA for the 2009 TWML season. While Bailey never really dove into ownership headfirst, he did pass the team off to coworker Mike Linegang. Linegang owned the team through the 2027 season. Linegang’s Wrecking Crew won championships in 2017 and 2025.
Trent took over for the Oak Street Mafia and moved them to Rock Rapids in 2004. His RiverKats were always one of the league’s top franchises. Known for their Coors Field-esque ballpark, the RiverKats featured TWML legends Manny Ramirez and Brian Giles. Trent won what is, for me, one of the most memorable TWML titles ever. While stationed in Iraq, he lost the first two games of the TKLCS. He then rattled off eleven straight wins to take the 2007 TWML title. Trent operated the RiverKats through the 2030 season (and then briefly again in 2031).
Both owners will be dearly missed, but will forever be Hall of Famers.
Now, on to the players:
Tolar, who played his entire career in the TWML, was the SSL’s Rookie of the Year in 2001. He went on to win the SSLCS MVP two times for the Dakota Destroyers. While he never won a Cy Young Award (or twenty games), he was a consistent performer to won 223 games. He reached 16 victories three times, 15 four times, and 14 three more times.
|2016||4.41||10||12||0||31||2||0||194.0||95||72||116||DAK, OHA, PWC|
Hampton, the ace of the Fort Worth Stray Cats, won an SSL MVP Award during the Cats playoff run in 2001. He won 22 games in MLB in 1999, then paked at 17 wins in 2007 in the TWML. He fanned 200 twice in the TWML. Despite injury troubles (he threw 190 innings just once from 2002 to 2011), he won 224 games with a solid 3.55 ERA.
|2000||3.00||15||7||0||32||0||0||213.3||71||78||205||CAL, FWS, SS|
One of the most dominant relievers in TWML history, Rocker has received more write-in support than any other player. In 2022, he returned to the main ballot after being written in on 50% of all ballots. Rocker was an electric setup man for the early Rats dynasty. His righty setup partner, Matt Mantei, and closer, Armando Benitez, have already been enshrined. Rocker fanned a staggering 1396 batters in 1049 innings (12 Ks per nin innings).
Edgar Martinez, the TKLCS MVP in 2001, has been viewed as one of the Hall’s most egregious snubs for quite some time. His .922 OPS trails only Manny Ramirez, Brian Giles, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas, and Jeff Bagwell (while tying with Chipper Jones). That’s it, among dozens of Hall of Famers. Because of his late start and surprisingly early retirement, Edgar doesn’t have the career totals other players have. But he still has over 2000 hits and 267 homers. With those rate stats, that is definitely enough for induction.
When the TWML introduced the Manny Ramirez Award, it was to allow pitchers a better shot at the MVP award. While this year’s MRA winners also happened to win the MVP Award, pitchers did have a decent showing (with the SSL runner-up and TKL third place finisher being hurlers). But the voters decided that hitters were again the most valuable this season and Anthony Martin of Brooklyn and Vinny Rios of Fall River took both MVP and MRA honors.
Martin’s MVP win was nearly unanimous (he took 7 of 8 votes) while his MRA win was completely unanimous. Patrone’s Lydon Brunstetter, the second place finisher in both races, took the final first place MVP vote. Seattle pitcher Jerry Simms finished third in the MVP race while Mike Morton (RRR) and Rick Loden (PWC) tied for third in the MRA voting.
Rios, however, narrowly edged teammate (and pitcher) Rod Strub for the MVP award, taking 22 points (4 first place votes) to Strub’s 19 (2 first place votes). Fall River’s Craig Wilson also finished tied for third with Chicago’s Ernie Hernandez, each taking one first place vote. In the MRA race, it was Rios over Toribio Fontañez of Long Beach, 34 points to 27. Rios took five first place votes while Fontañez took the other three. Somewhat curiously, Strub managed to receive a third place vote in the MRA race (despite going 1-for-73 on the season).
It was Rod Strub and Jerry Simms taking Cy Young honors, with Strub missing unanimity by one vote (on a ballot he was completely left off) while Simms took six first place votes. In The Kid League, Steve Johnson finished second and Ken Ensminger finished third, each taking a first place vote. Strub finished ahead of Reggie Blizzard, who was a unanimous second place choice—except that he too was left off the ballot Strub was left off. Ken Bollaert and Ernie Hernandez tied for third in the SSL.
Despite the fact that Brent Bakin of Rhode Island took 5 of the 8 Rookie of the Year votes (and was the only player with more than one), he narrowly defeated Brooklyn’s Rigoberto Muñoz for the award, 28-24. Carolina’s Neil Tomaszewski finished a distant third (and collected a first place vote along with Rhode Island’s Oro DeSalvo). In the SSL, Cristian Martinez (then of Denton, now with Vancouver) won the award 34-14 over New York’s Terri Conquer. Fall River’s Willie Gratton finished a point behind Conquer.
Finally, in the Executive of the Year voting, Brooklyn’s Max R prevented a Darowski sweep of the award, beating Mike Darowski of the Rats by two points. Each took four first place votes and were named on all eight ballots. The difference was the Max getting three seconds to Darowski’s two. Adam Darowski of Fall River took the award unanimously in the SSL with Knuckleball Lover of Nagano taking five second place votes and Darren Bertini of Chicago taking three.
See the entire voting results at this Google Spreadsheet.
The TWML Hall of Fame Class of 2023 invites one more new member today. Longtime Rhode Island Rat Juan Hernandez received just enough votes (11 of 14) to gain induction with 79%. Hernandez, who owned a career slash line of .273/.357/.479 (.836 OPS), clubbed exactly 400 home runs in his career while driving in 1427 runs. He also drew over 1000 walks. Hernandez joines Chipper Jones, Eric Chavez, La-Vel Payne, Adrian Beltre, Troy Glaus, Scott Rolen, and Dave Hernandez as Hall of Fame third basemen.
Vida Williams and Carlos Carraway, who both finished with 69% of the vote in 2022, had strong showings. Williams increased his percentage to 71% (10 votes) while Carraway took a dip to 64% (9 votes). John Rocker, who worked his way back to the ballot with 50% of the vote via write-ins last season, upped his percentage to 57% (8 votes). The last player to remain on the ballot is Monte Brown (7 votes, 50%), who will return to the ballot for a third time. Among the remaining names on the ballot, only Chico Claytor managed more than 25% of the vote (4 votes, 29%).
|Edgar Martinez (write-in)||2||14.3|
|Jesse Bob (write-in)||1||7.1|
|Mike Hampton (write-in)||1||7.1|
|Kevin Tolar (write-in)||1||7.1|
|Johnny Damon (write-in)||1||7.1|
It’s that time of year again! Here are the 2023 Hall of Fame candidates:
* denotes returning candidate
|Carraway, Carlos *||CF||2516||9311||2590||448||87||445||1542||1384||554||2165||421||219||.278||.319||.488||.807|
|Rocker, John *||794||81||40||111||0||0||1049.1||320||531||1396||2.74|
|Brown, Monte *||1174||100||77||231||0||0||1479.2||513||305||1325||3.12|
|Williams, Vida *||593||223||191||0||59||19||3826.2||1514||863||2507||3.56|
The following players earned a major award in their careers:
2006 SSL ROY
2008 TKL ROY
2018 SSLCS MVP
2016 TKL MRA
2011 SSL ROY
2014 WS MVP
Want to see the yearly stats? Check ‘em out.
Remember, I have a sortable list of the current Hall of Famers. Use it to see where these guys stand.
Send your votes to email@example.com. Thanks!