Celebrating the Worthy on Hall of Fame Weekend

Today is the beginning of “Hall of Fame Weekend”, where the Baseball Hall welcomes new members and celebrates its history. As you probably know, the Hall will not induct any living people this weekend, as the celebration will focus on former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, umpire Hank O’Day, and Deacon White, the man credited with inventing the wind-up. White is the only player going in, as he was the Veteran Committee’s choice this year, and the BBWAA famously decided that there were no worthy candidates for this summer’s inauguration.

I happen to disagree with my peers in the BBWAA, and think there is a very long list of deserving players on the ballot. I am admittedly a larger Hall guy, preferring that the game’s premier museum represent a large share of history rather than being a shrine to only the inner circle, but regardless of where you draw the line, there are HOF eligible players worthy of celebration. Let’s do just that.

Rate among players at position by WAR.

Mike Piazza, C: 5th (+63.7)
Jeff Bagwell, 1B: 8th (+80.1)
Craig Biggio, 2B: 10th (+65.2)
Alan Trammell, SS: 15th (+63.6)
Tim Raines, LF: 14th (+66.9)
Kenny Lofton, CF: 15th (+62.5)
Larry Walker, RF: 11th (+69.9)
Edgar Martinez, DH: 4th (+66.6)
Curt Schilling, SP: 18th (+83.5)

Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re one in the conversation to be one of the 15 best players of all time at your position — Edgar Martinez would rank 11th in WAR if you called him a third baseman, by the way — then I think you probably deserve a spot in Cooperstown. WAR isn’t perfect, and ordinal rank shouldn’t be the deciding factor of in or out, but you can’t fluke your way into these kinds of positions. These numbers are the reflection of great careers. Even setting aside Bonds and Clemens and the issues that cause voters to leave them off the ballot, you could nearly field an entire team out of worthy of Hall of Famers who weren’t voted in this year.

Someday, most of these guys will get elected. It’s a shame it’s going to take that long. Hopefully, they all get the chance to receive their award while they’re still alive to appreciate it.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Mike Green
Mike Green

As Dave points out in his theoretical ballot, linked to here, Kenny Lofton would be a perfectly fine choice. If you move Edgar to third base, you have a Hall of Fame starting nine, National League-style.


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