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  1. How are either of those players (nomar and giles) going to receive HOF consideration? Giles must be a sarcastic joke… and Nomar averaged 100 games a season for his career.

    Comment by Tom B — March 12, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

  2. Follow the links he posted above about each player and their respective careers.

    Comment by all4tookie — March 12, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  3. Berkman is probably a good candidate for the “Hall of the Very Good for a Long Time.”

    Comment by MikeS — March 12, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  4. There are two other things that may help him (though I agree he’s been awesome but nowhere near a safe bet for enshrinement)

    1. He was (presumably) clean during the PED era.

    2. (And this one’s more significant in my opinion) He’s put up these awesome numbers as a switch hitter.

    Comment by Resolution — March 12, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

  5. Assuming that he recovered from his injury, and played from age 35-39 with a typical decline phase, he would be a marginal Hall of Fame candidate (with a little less than 60 WAR) on merit.

    Berkman is pretty much anonymous though, so unless he ends up in a high profile place beginning in 2011, I don’t like his chances.

    Comment by Mike Green — March 12, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

  6. I don’t think comparisons to Kirby Puckett should ever be factored into HOF conversations. Puckett was a fan/media favorite with a tragic story. He kind of got HOF “bonus points” for the career he would’ve had. You apparently only get these for non-injury related physical disability. (Sorry Nomar, Albert Belle, et al.).

    My point being that while Berkman compares favorably to Puckett, so do a whole lot of guys on the outside of the HOF looking in.

    Comment by Jamie — March 12, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

  7. His near identical comp when he’s finished, I think, will be Larry Walker (and, actually, another Rockie-Todd Helton). And whatever happens to Walker will follow for Berkman.

    Giles just didn’t have the raw numbers (or even the advanced numbers) to match Berkman in a serious HoF comp. Garciaparra’s short period of production in his career precludes him from comparison.

    Comment by JR — March 12, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  8. This is far from a scientific appraisal, but Lance doesn’t feel like a Hall of Famer. Keep in mind, too, that getting into the Hall is going to become increasingly hard, since there are more qualified, nearly qualified and just qualified enough to dilute the voting candidates who will indeed dilute the voting and make it more and more diffficult to get the requisite 75% of votes.

    Within a few years of each other, the voters will have Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz on their ballots.

    Comment by SharksRog — March 12, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

  9. I’d say this question depends much on how mainstream sabermetric studies become. A huge portion of Berkman’s value is his ability to take a walk (15.4% over the course of his career, and over 16% after 2002), but the Hall doesn’t care much about walks at this time.

    Another wild card in his favor is that he is one of the best switch hitters of all time, something which is at least unique and may set him apart in the minds of voters, though it’s a distinction of dubious real-world value.

    It’s very hard for me to see Berkman making a push for 500 HR, much less 3,000 hits, but 2,000/400 should be within reach if he cares enough to pursue those milestones.

    Comment by OremLK — March 12, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

  10. I’m sure he meant something like staying on the ballot for a few years and topping out at 25 votes. Neither guy is going to be part of a legitimate debate.

    Comment by Stan S. — March 12, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

  11. I think it will be interesting to see what happens to Edgar Martinez. Berkman is better than Edgar in every way- longevity (presumably), length of his peak, actually played a position and provided some value there.

    Personally, I don’t see any way Edgar should be in, but if he is, then Berkman skates in easily.

    Comment by Stan S. — March 12, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

  12. I unscientifically concur. And since HOF voters vote on “feel”, it probably matters more than facts. It won’t help Berkman that he a) never won an MVP, b) led the league in RBI one season, doubles in two, and nothing in the rest and, c) spent the first few years of his career as the third best player on his own team.

    Comment by Jamie — March 12, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

  13. I love Berkman- he’s from my alma mater. But he is fading very quickly. I think his relative lack of “athleticism”, relative to other star players, not to you and I, is really catching up with him.

    Comment by JayCee — March 12, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  14. You may be correct, but it’s worth noting that Berkman on his best day could never carry Larry Walker’s jock er glove when it came to defense. Walker in his prime was one of the best RFers of the modern era.

    Comment by JayCee — March 12, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

  15. oh, thanks. i hadn’t thought of that.

    Comment by Tom B — March 12, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  16. I agree, and the Puckett debate is getting old. It’s lazy. Everytime someone references a borderline HOF, the Puckett comparisons come out. Puckett won 2 World Series championships in 12 years, and had a career cut short by injury — one that was on a HOF path. So with all due respect to the Jim Rice (he eventually made it in), Albert Belle, Dale Murphy type candidates, comparisons to Puckett do not work.

    Comment by cptspandex — March 12, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

  17. You are probably correct in that walks are not noticed by Hall Voters, but I think OBP is far more valuable. The sad thing is, OBP trumps BA in every way, yet voters still get hung up on a number like .300. He obviously won’t reach the counting stats, so he needs a philosophical shift towards sabermetrics to get him in.

    Voters are still too hung up on mainstreat generic stats, and that’s the OLD way of doing things.

    Comment by cptspandex — March 12, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

  18. Length of career shouldn’t factor into a HOF choice? Why shouldn’t Puckett be penalized b/c his career was cut short and he didn’t accumulate as much value over the course of his career as other more deserving candidates did?

    Comment by Scottwood — March 12, 2010 @ 4:57 pm

  19. Scottwood, you miss the point ENTIRELY. Puckett does not make a good comparison for that very reason. Unless, of course, you want to start including all hitters with similar numbers to Puckett — Jamie notes.

    You don’t use a player with career-shortened statistics as a measuring stick.

    Comment by cptspandex — March 12, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

  20. Hard to win an MVP award competing with Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols throughout your prime.

    Comment by OremLK — March 12, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

  21. Nomar played several seasons in a huge media market where he was the best position player on the team. He will definitely be considered on that basis alone.

    I agree that Giles will not receive any consideration.

    Also keep in mind the author is not acknowledging the validity of the case, simply stating it will be brought up.

    Comment by Bill — March 12, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

  22. Agreed. Bad form on my part with the Puckett argument.

    Comment by Joe Pawlikowski — March 12, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

  23. I should mention that as an Astros fan, I would, of course, love to see Berkman get into the Hall alongside Biggio and Bagwell. I would think that all three of the greatest “Killler B’s” getting in would seem very appropriate to any Houston fan.

    Comment by OremLK — March 12, 2010 @ 9:49 pm

  24. Martinez is far superior to Berkman. While its far from definitive, Martinez has 67.2 Wins above replacement, #66 all time among position players, Berkman is at 44.7 or 220th among position players.

    Comment by Rob — March 12, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

  25. He ranked 3rd, 5th, 5th, and 2nd in wOBA among left fielders from 2001-2004, and 7th, 3rd, 8th, 2nd, and 12th among 1st basemen from 2005-2009. He did all of this primarily in a very hitter friendly environment while playing defense at about an average level (at the bottom of the defensive spectrum). You could certainly make the argument that he was among the better players at his positions in this era (although he likely doesn’t sit nearly as high on the list at first), but I really can’t see a good argument that he’s a hall of famer. There really wasn’t even a season where you could argue that he was the best player in the majors at his position. He’s a very good player, but he’ll likely never even get within sniffing distance of the hall without some major chemically enhanced late career numbers.

    Comment by SchmidtXC — March 12, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  26. I don’t think this is really a fair way to look at it. You have to look at the era in which Berkman has played.

    Four of the top ten all time leaders in career OPS played in their prime at the same time Berkman played in his: Barry Bonds (LF), Albert Pujols (1B), Manny Ramirez (LF), and Todd Helton (1B).

    Lance Berkman is currently 16th on that same list (career on-base plus slugging).

    Comment by OremLK — March 13, 2010 @ 12:05 am

  27. Looking at a rate stat like that is great at the end of a guys career, but you’re currently comparing a guy just entering his decline phase to players who have already got that phase included in their rates. That stat is likely at the highest point it will reach for the remainder of his career. By the time he retires several other guys from his era will likely be ahead of him (Walker and Thome are near certainties, and there are quite a few other possibilities), and there will be several others that reach 3000 PA’s and surpass him by qualifying for the list (as well as several youngsters who are just entering their primes that will likely pass him). There are also several other guys from the current era who are ahead of him (McGwire, Thomas) even though their primes were several years apart from Berkmans. If he managed to play 5 more seasons at that OPS, he’d likely have a very good case, but it’s highly unlikely.

    Comment by SchmidtXC — March 13, 2010 @ 12:49 am

  28. And I don’t really think that OPS is the best stat to look at here. If you’re going to use a rate stat, wOBA does a far better job at valuing OBP and power. He’s currently 52nd all time, but it’s reasonable to assume he won’t be in the top 100 when he retires unless he does it very soon.

    Comment by SchmidtXC — March 13, 2010 @ 12:58 am

  29. OPS is probably a lot closer to what Hall Voters will evaluate based upon, SchmidtXC, and we’ll be lucky if it’s that. More likely they’ll pay more attention to batting average, number of hits, home runs, and championships won.

    Comment by OremLK — March 13, 2010 @ 1:58 am

  30. Oh, and steroids (or lack thereof), which is probably one of the biggest factors in favor of Berkman, when he’s going to be compared to a bunch of hitters who are known to have used them.

    Comment by OremLK — March 13, 2010 @ 2:00 am

  31. With all due respect, as soon as I saw the headline of the story I guessed that the author must be be no more than 25 years old. Lance Berkman, though a good player, has literally dozens of non-HOF comparables. If Berkman is near the end of his career we will need Albert Belle, Dick Allen, and Juan Gonzalez to get serious HOF consideration (and they never will) before we can talk about Lance getting in. If Berkman has 6 more really good seasons he might be mentioned with Gary Sheffield who will probably have a hard time getting in himself. Heck, Berkman isn’t a lot better than Ken Singleton at this point and the sentence I am writing right now is the first one ever to include both “Ken Singleton” and “Hall of Fame”.

    Comment by mookieljl — March 13, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

  32. Are you kidding? You’re joking, right? Ken Singleton had .824 career OPS in 14 seasons, Berkman has .967 in ten. They’re not even close. If you prefer wOBA, how about .370 for Singleton versus .408 for Berkman?

    Berkman would have to decline MASSIVELY to be even close to comparable. He is a much better hitter than Singleton ever was.

    Comment by OremLK — March 13, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

  33. Can Derek Bell at least get a small “Operation Shutdown” display in a Cooperstown closet somewhere?

    Comment by Rick — March 14, 2010 @ 12:43 am

  34. “With all due respect, as soon as I saw the headline of the story I guessed that the author must be be no more than 25 years old.”

    I know this isn’t a good agument but there are worse players in the HOF now than Berkman, Juan Gonzalez, Albert Belle, and Dick Allen.

    Fangraphs should just make their own hall of fame, have the fans and the writers do a vote or something.

    Comment by SF 55 for life — March 14, 2010 @ 4:15 am

  35. Maybe this has been stated already- but the hall doesnt just vote on perormance
    “voting shall be based upon the individual’s record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the game” some people get in being a very good player but much better in these other areas, personally i don’t think its too far fetched to see more emphasis put on the integrity, character, contribution to the game categories in the future- because of the “steroid era”

    Comment by bjj6569 — March 14, 2010 @ 11:13 am

  36. How about a trade of Aaron Poreda, Logan Forsythe, Saywer Carroll, and Will Venable for Grady Sizemore and Justin Masterson. The Padres lineup becomes:
    1. Everth Cabrera
    2. David Eckstien
    3. Grady Sizemore
    4. Adrian Gonzalez
    5. Kyle Blanks
    6. Scott Hairston
    7. Chase Headley
    8. Nick Hundley

    Comment by -------- — March 14, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  37. Your problem with the switch hitter argument is that he’ll probably be going in at the same time as or a little after Chipper, who’ll be ahead of him in every offensive category and has more balanced numbers from both sides. If Chipper goes in before Berkman comes up then the switch hitter argument for Berkman loses luster, but if Chipper’s not in when Berkman comes up the question will become, how can we vote Berkman in if we’ve turned down Chipper?

    Comment by deadpool — March 14, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  38. As an aging non-Astros fan I get the careers of Bagwell and Berkman blurred so I’m surprised people aren’t saying how Bagwell does in HOF voting (same market, mostly same postion, mostly same postseason exposure) would indicate what voters will say about Berkman.

    Comment by Gilbert — March 14, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  39. Nope, not kidding at all. Ken Singleton through age 33 had a career OPS+ of 139. Berkman has a 147 through 33. Yes, Berkman is better but not by a mile. KS was in the top 10 in OBP 9 times in his career vs 8 times for Berkman. Both guys had pop and walked a ton. Both guys were top ten 6 times in runs created. Berkman played in an era when way more HRs were hit so his stats look better on the surface but the two guys are actually quite similar. Singleton would be one of those players that sabre guys love if he played today.

    Comment by mookieljl — March 14, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

  40. Good point. Bagwell is actually a pretty great comparison.

    Comment by OremLK — March 14, 2010 @ 9:48 pm

  41. Exactly what I was thinking – how about a little love for the 4th “Killer B” !! Who inexplicably wore pajama bottoms as pants.

    Hey, even if you’re killing team chemistry and not the baseball, you’re still killing *something* …

    Comment by Jason B — March 14, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

  42. This is incredibly relevant to the Berkman HOF discussion. I can’t believe, with all the germane arguments and counter-arguments being tossed about, that everyone left out this make-believe Indians/Pads trade…

    Comment by Jason B — March 14, 2010 @ 10:43 pm

  43. Giles was a better hitter than Andre Dawson and Jim Rice, and they are both in the HOF.

    Comment by PL — March 14, 2010 @ 11:04 pm

  44. All I know is that Andre Dawson wasnt very good at hitting and doesnt deserve to be in the HOF and if Rice never had Fenway as his home field he wouldnt be in either.

    Giles and Berkman arent even in the same discussion as Dawson and Rice, they are simply so much better than them its an insult to the term “good hitter” when talking about them as a group.

    Comment by PL — March 14, 2010 @ 11:06 pm

  45. All I know is that Andre Dawson wasnt very good at hitting

    whoah, slow down there. Andre Dawson hit 438 HRs and slugged .482 over about 10,000+ plate appearances. He had an OPS+ greater than 110 in 12 seasons and a career OPS+ of 119.

    He was, by any objective measure, “good at hitting”.

    Now, his sub-par OBP certainly clouds his HOF resume and makes him a borderline case that possibly (probably) did not warrant inclusion. I am not debating this.

    But to say that either Dawson or Rice were not “good hitters” is simply insane. By definition, if you are a borderline HoF case, even if you are on the “out” side of the line, you were pretty “good” at baseball.

    Comment by Steve — March 15, 2010 @ 10:18 am

  46. Serious question: Why does the “switch hitting” thing matter? Are you saying that if you had two players with the exact same numbers, and one player accumulated his hitting from one side of the plate and the other from both, you’d give the nod to the latter over the former? Why?

    Comment by Steve — March 15, 2010 @ 10:21 am

  47. I think Sheffield will get in, probably for the wrong reasons. He will get in b/c his “bat waggle was INTIMIDATING” and for a slugger, he has very low strikeout totals. Writers will love that. Getting over the 500 HR plateau was big too.

    He’s tainted with the steroids issue, but writers will probably identify at least part of his career with the era before the “steroid era”. I think he sneaks in.

    Comment by Steve — March 15, 2010 @ 10:30 am

  48. Go Rice! Berkman is one of those guys that is more athletic that he looks. Not saying he is now, but he could move around.

    Comment by mymrbig — March 15, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

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