All-time "career too short" Cooperstown team.

For each position, the best player whose career lasted 9 or fewer seasons. (Negro Leagues count).

Mark Mulder’s attempted comeback inspired me to finally post this.

Active players excluded, BTW.

Addie Joss pitched for 9 years for Cleveland (1902-10). Had the second lowest career ERA of 1.89, with a career W-L of 160-97, strike outs 920, WHIP 0.97, shutouts 45. He pitched a perfect game in 1908. He died of tubercular meningitis in April 1911 at age 31

Of course, if you mean also not in the Hall of Fame, then he’s not eligible. The Hall of Fame waived the requirement for Joss in 1977 and he was elected in 1978.

Yup, non-HOF only

I don’t know enough about the Negro Leagues to dredge up an example that specific.

According to Baseball Reference the greatest player in baseball history to play fewer than 10 seasons is Robinson Cano, but he’s active so ineligible.

C - Chief Meyers
1B - Wes Parker
2B - Snuffy Stirnweiss, who played IN 10 seasons but really didn’t play 10 seasons
SS - Ray Chapman
3B - Whitey Kurowski
OF - Rusty Greer
OF - Grady Sizemore (his career appears to be over)
OF - Ripper Collins
DH - Ferris Fain
UT - Tom Tresh

SP - Brandon Webb
SP - JR Richard -also played In 10 seasons but did not actually serve 10 years in the bigs
SP - Ewell Blackwell
SP - Teddy Higuera
SP - Jim Bagby

If you can find your closer, nice team Rick.

Hoss Radbourn had a couple seasons out of his 10 cut short - he pitched barely over 200 innings in '88 and '91 and didn’t manage 25 complete games in either season.

Bill Koch had his moments, I’ll take him. He pitched in only six seasons and saved 163 games with an ERA+ of 120, not shabby.

Koch was an okay pitcher who didn’t have great control but threw hard as hell, so he could get out of a lot of the jams he created. His career was ended by - I’m not making this up - that “Morgellons Disease” crazy people think they have when they claim threads are growing out of their skin. It caused Florida to release him, and then he signed with Toronto again, pitched okay in spring training - he got horribly lit up a couple of times but pitched well a few other times and he looked good to me - and then they unceremoniously dumped him out of the blue, still in spring training, despite his having signed a guaranteed contract. He’s had a number of personal problems and issues since then and so I’m assuming that I get the Billy Koch who was pretty good in 2000-2004, not the insane version.

For one of the OF positons, I nominate Tony Conigliaro, who’s career as a top hitter was pretty much ended by his beaning at the age of 22, in August 1967.

Tony C. was a pure, pull hitter, playing in the “Old” Fenway (before the erection of a luxury box deck behind home plate) where the sea breeze provided a jet-stream for balls hit to left field. He led the AL in homers at the age of 20, and, at the time, became the youngest to reach 100 career homers, at the age of 22. He also struck out a lot, had a low walk-rate, and, missed parts of 3 of his first 4 seasons because of injuries sustained by a HBP. He hung over plate so that he could pull pitches on the outside.

He lost sight in one eye, after the '67 beaning, but it did come back, in part, a couple years later and he had two more good power seasons in 69-70, although he had trouble with his vision in the field.

If Conigliaro had remained healthy, he would have been on pace to get to 500 HRs by his mid-30s, and been eligible for the HOF when the 500 HR mark was a free pass. And there’s a chance, that he might have matured into a more disciplined hitter – although he was known as a hard-headed kid.

Honorable mention to Hack Wilson, who is not eligible because a) he played parts of 12 seasons (although only 9 full seasons), and b) Duh! The Veterans committee placed him the HOF in 1979.

Wilson’s career was shortened by booze. He only ended up with 244 HRs, with almost 1/4 of that total coming in a single season. In 1930, Hack set the NL record for Homers with 56 (which stood until McGwire*/Sosa*/Bonds*. He also set the still-standing RBI record of 191 – which used to be 190 until a few years ago when they dug up another one. Which saddened me, since, as a kid, when I got the first Baseball Encyclopaedia in 1969, I discovered the most amazing fact-- Wilson was listed at 5’6" and hit 56 homers, and his weight was 190 and hit 190 homers. (Do you think Mike Trout will ever do 62, 230? Miguel Cabrera go 64 240?

This is the tough part of finding players, since some were HOF-worthy before their affliction, and then tried to play through it, played crappy and their career averages took them out of elite status.

There must be scores of young pitchers that were so good when they came up, that they were over-used, broke down, as a result, and then tried numerous attempts at comebacks. Dusty Baker probably managed half of them.

My parochial pick for closer is Dick Radatz, who had “monster” years from 1962-1964, but, due to overwork(157 IP in 79 G as a finisher/closer), was less than mediocre the last 4 years of his career.

And Billy Martin the other half.

On the whole, a very good list… but is Wes Parker really the best we can do at 1st base? He was, by all accounts, a superb glove man (he’s always cited, along with Gil Hodges and Keith Hernandez as one of the greatest defensive 1st basemen ever), but the guy was a weak hitter at a position where teams normally expect big offensive production.

Yeah, thanks for reminding me about Mike Norris,who, in 1980, at the age of 25, went 22-9 for Billy Martin’s Oakland As. Norris through 284 IP in just 33 starts, with 24 Complete Games. (5.9 WAR in 1980) He had a good year in 1981, but arm problems started to plague him mid-season, and he was essentially done, with cocaine use also hastening his demise. He did, technically, play parts of 10 seasons, although only 200 appearances overall.

Not sure if he qualifies as a shoulda/coulda/woulda HOF candidate, since he really was just a one-and-a-half year wonder.

Herb Score, pitcher for the Cleveland Indians in the 1950s, whose career was ruined by being hit with a batted ball in his face, in the 2nd month of his 3rd MLB season.

Score was a lefty flame-thrower who was the first starting pitcher to average greater than a K per inning (since achieved by many). 38-20 before the injury in just over 2 seasons. 17-26 over the remainder of his career (parts of 5 seasons)

If he’d stayed healthy and had a 15 year career, he would had a good chance to be just the 2nd pitcher to reach the 3,000 K milestone (Walter Johnson being the 1st.)

I think Radatz pushes Koch to setup man. Great pick.

I’d also like to make Al Rosen my third baseman. Rosen, again, played IN 10 seasons but barely at all the first three and so does not have ten years of actual MLB service. Rosen was ludicrously good.

astorian**, Parker was a better hitter than you give him credit for. Little power but he could get on base.

I decided to try to find the best single season by a less-than-10-years-who-isn’t-playing-now player but, problematically, if you go by WAR almost all the best seasons ever are credited to 19th century pitchers. We’d have to make Jim Devlin the starting pitcher - he amassed 18 WAR in one of his three seasons - if you believed the 1876 NL was comparable to real Major League baseball, which I don’t. Al Rosen, mentioned above, put up a 10.1, so he may be the winner if you allow him.

Mark Fidrych’s rookie season was gigantic, too, and he did not last long at all.

Moonlight Graham

Don Newcombe just made it to 10 years, but deserves honorable mention. In his hey-day with the Dodgers, he was the only pitcher (until Verlander) to win ROY, CY and MVP, He had incredible numbers in 5/6 seasons, which, were interrupted, btw, by 2 full years of service during the Korean War. After his 6th season, however, his career went in the dumber, and Newcombe has acknowledged that it was due, in part, to his alcoholism, at that time.

Give him back the 2 years lost to the service (plus the year following his return) and he’d be a HOF candidate, especially in light of his high-profile role in all the Yankee-Brooklyn WS.

Lyman Bostock is also a good candidate. He was shot in murdered in 1978, in just his 4th season. In his only 2 full seasons, he had posted OPS+ of 130 and 144. Good fielder, with speed, high average, but who had yet to show much power, although he was still only 27 at the time of his death.

How about Erubiel Durazo? A good hitter who never got a good chance until he was 29, and only had two full seasons of at-bats…

I forgot all about Durazo. he played for the DBacks before the A’s, right? Did his career end with shoulder problems?

IMO, he didn’t do enough to positon himself as having HOF potential IF things had turned out differently, but you could say that about some of my picks. But Wes Parker had more of a career, and he was also considered one of the best defensive first basemen… ever.

Parker was, as I said, a great glove man. And as you say, his on base percentrage was a good deal better than his (often) anemic batting average.

Still, a lifetime OPS of 111 isn’t great at a position where you generally expect some big offensive numbers. A shortstop or second baseman with an OPS of 111 would be AWESOME, as far as most teams are concerned. And pretty good for a catcher. But for a first baseman, that’s weak.

Regardless, Wes Parker STILL wouldn’t be anywhere close to HOF material even if he’d had 5 more full seasons with his usual batting numbers. He’s NOT a guy who missed out on the Hall of Fame because his career wasn’t long enough. Even at his peak, he wasn’t regarded as a future Hall of Famer.