Lance Berkman: Hall of Famer?

When Lance Berkman had to be helped off the field on Saturday, he feared his knee issue was serious. Today’s MRI will give an official confirmation, but early word is that he’s suffered a torn ACL and is done for the season. His comments about that possibility yesterday indicated that this might be a career ending injury for Berkman:

“If I’ve re-torn my ACL or something like that, I’d certainly get it fixed but you don’t know how psychologically you’re going to come back from something like that,” Berkman said. “I’m not talking from the standpoint of being scared of hurting it again. I’m talking about doing everything it takes to come back and play again at an elite level. I think that’s a legitimate question I’m going to have to answer if, in fact, it turns out to be something more serious than we hope that it is.

If this really is the end for Berkman, then the next question about his career becomes whether or not he accomplished enough to be worthy of induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

There are 25 players enshrined in Cooperstown that have a listed position of first base on the Hall’s official website, and while Berkman split his time between 1B and the outfield, he was never a defensive wizard and will likely be compared with others who accumulated their value at the plate.

The last player to be inducted (rather than elected by the Negro League’s committee) was Eddie Murray back in 2003. Despite the proliferation of quality hitters at the position, the voters haven’t looked too kindly on most modern day first baseman, keeping out Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire due to their ties to performance enhancing drugs and keeping out Jeff Bagwell because they think that he might have used despite a lack of evidence, which is an embarrassment to the HOF and especially the voters who have kept him out.

However, Berkman is unlikely to face the same hurdles that those three have encountered, as he’s never been linked to PEDs, and he doesn’t have Bagwell’s physique or career arc. Hopefully, Berkman will be evaluated on the merits of what he did on the field, and not some guilty-until-proven-innocent self-righteous witch hunt. So, if Berkman’s numbers are assumed to be “clean”, are they enough to get him in?

He’s not getting in on counting stats, that’s for sure. With just 7,472 plate appearances, Berkman’s career simply hasn’t been long enough to accumulate the big round numbers that often get you HOF consideration. He has just 1,836 hits, 359 home runs, 1,115 runs scored, and 1,197 RBIs, so for voters who make their decision based on those career counting, Berkman’s going to look more like Tino Martinez or Derrek Lee than a guy who belongs in Cooperstown. Berkman just doesn’t have the career totals to sway that voting bloc, so his only chance at getting the necessary votes is to show that he was as dominant in his time as other short career guys who got elected.

And despite flying under the radar for a significant portion of his career, Berkman was a dominant force during his time. Among first baseman with at least 7,000 career plate appearances, Berkman’s 146 wRC+ ranks 11th all-time, just behind Bagwell’s 149, just ahead of guys like Willie McCovey and Willie Stargell. Unfortunately for his chances, a large chunk of his value came from drawing walks and hitting doubles, both under-appreciated skills in HOF voting. But, as the voting populations gets smarter, the value of walks and doubles should increase, and in five or six years, Berkman’s offensive contributions may be seen in a more positive light. A 146 wRC+ over 7,500 plate appearances is at least worthy of consideration.

However, that’s essentially the same argument that people have been making in favor of Edgar Martinez, and he’s stalled out between 30-40 percent of the vote in his first three chances at induction. Martinez and Berkman were actually very similar hitters (.312/.418/.515 for Edgar, .296/.409/.546 for Berkman) and have similar arguments for induction – Berkman will get credit for playing the field that Martinez did not, but he’s also 1,200 plate appearances shy of his Edgar’s total, so his offensive line essentially includes two fewer seasons worth of value. Berkman may pick up some of the voters who are leaving Edgar out because they don’t like the DH, but he’ll likely lose some who see the playing time difference as being too large to put Berkman in before Edgar.

Berkman is something of a classic bubble candidate. His career lines up very well with Orlando Cepeda, who got inducted, and he’s better than the low-hanging fruit of guys who shouldn’t have gotten in (insert Jim Rice comment here), but there are also quite a few guys with better career numbers still on the outside looking in. The 60-70 career WAR range holds a number of players who have garnered support, but also includes a lot of players who have had enough warts on their resume to end up sticking around on the ballot but never actually getting inducted.

For a voter mostly concerned about how good a player was in his prime, Berkman is a legitimate candidate. From age 25-34, he accumulated +52.0 WAR, a mark only matched by 16 other first baseman in baseball history. He had a 10 year stretch where he played at a HOF level, then added one more fantastic year at age 36. However, this knee injury is likely going to prevent him from getting to numbers like 400 home runs or 2,000 hits, so he’d have to get overwhelming support from the voters willing to elect short career guys.

Given his numbers and his peers, my guess is that Berkman ends up with guys like Martinez and Todd Helton – hitters who specialized in the wrong skills. Had he stayed healthy and put together a couple more strong seasons, Berkman would have been a really solid candidate for induction. If this is really it for him, however, he probably doesn’t have the numbers to get in.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

80 Responses to “Lance Berkman: Hall of Famer?”

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  1. Hurtlockertwo says:

    Berkman looks more like Mattingly to me, he was heading toward the HOF until injuries diluted his career numbers.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      Berkman >>> Mattingly, and this is coming from a Yankee fan. Donnie’s injuries never really gave him a chance. Berkman’s injuries pulled him up when he was just short.

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    • Cardsfan says:

      Let’s see – Berkman isn’t anything like Mattingly, he was never on the path to the HOF (as Cameron says, he specialized in the wrong things), and, overall, injuries did not have a significant impact on his career until his age 36 season.

      Other than that I agree.

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    • Psst says:

      Helton and Mattingly are much closer comps

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  2. Josh says:

    We’ve seen lots of players get emotional and frustrated after a major injury. Furcal had only a 1-2 month injury in early 2010 and talked about just giving up. the level of emotion is understandable, given the effort they put forth.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if a team like the Rays comes knocking next year and he caves in. he has to rehab the knee anyway, and it’s not as if speed is critical to his success.

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    • CJ says:

      But there is a huge difference between rehabbing the knee to be able to jog around and play catch with his kids or whatever and rehabbing it to be able to play almost 150 straight days of baseball at a highly competitive level.

      He can reach the first one without even approaching the second one.

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      • Keith says:

        I was just having this discussion with a couple of people maybe 2 weeks ago. We were comparing Chipper and Berkman’s HOF credentials. I came to the conclusion that if Berkman made it maybe 3 more years, his numbers might surpass Chipper’s if he played really well, or he’d AT LEAST be a lock for the HoF with any kind of meaningful offensive production. It really sucks that he mgiht miss the HoF over this, so I hope he comes back.

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      • Keith says:

        I replied with the wrong comment. What I was going to leave here (the other was meant to be a separate post) was that if a team like the Rays DID come calling, he could easily be healthy enoguh to DH, in my opinion. Playing a 2-way game (offense and defense) is a much bigger drain than just having to hit.

        I’m not a fan of the DH, but I am right now, in the hopes it can keep Berkman going long enough to make the Hall of Fame, in the event he cannot field well enough (and stay healthy while fielding enough) to make it in the NL.

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      • Josh says:

        I think it’s a given that if he comes back, he’d DH most of the time, playing 1B and maybe OF in a pinch. that certainly lowers the barriers for him to return to baseball.

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      • Robbie G. says:

        I’m not getting a Chipper Jones-Lance Berkman comparison. Chipper Jones is, at worst, the sixth-best 3B in the history of the game, behind five huge names (Mike Schmidt, Alex Rodriguez (if we’re calling A-Rod a 3B rather than a SS), Eddie Mathews, Wade Boggs, and George Brett. Berkman is not anywhere close to ranking #20 all-time among 1Bs, much less #6 overall. Chipper’s career is absolutely spectacular for a 3B, in other words, whereas Berkman’s career is very good but hardly spectacular for a 1B.

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      • Bill says:

        I have an irrational hatred for Robbie G because he left Brooks off his list of third basemen.

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  3. Kyle says:

    He may not make the Hall, but I don’t know how he couldn’t at least be considered one of the best hitters of the last 15 years.

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  4. richard justic...dick liberty says:

    lack of evidence is not evidence of lack

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    • Keith says:

      Yeah, but is it fair to make a judgement based on lack of evidence and a preference to be suspicious? I’m all against letting juicers in the Hall (the whole “everyone did it” argument doesn’t sit with me–cheating is cheating), but I’m not for throwing a blanket of assumed guilt on everyone from the era.

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    • Josh says:

      it was a known unknown.

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  5. Phantom Stranger says:

    He’s never going in on the writer’s ballot with his counting stats. As a player not known for his defense or baserunning, all his case has to rest on are the offensive numbers. He would need at least 3 to 4 more years of prime production to make it. He’s classic Hall Of The Very Good at the moment.

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  6. stan says:

    He has a better case than Edgar Martinez, so for all those that clamor about Edgar every winter, you should be jumping up and down for Lance too. Edgar has 9.4 more WAR, but he also played several more seasons. In terms of WAR per at bat or per season Big Puma is much better. And, if ever there was a guy who could claim that his career would have been longer if he’d have been in the AL, Lance is the guy.
    Having said that, I think Berkman is going to need some luck to get in.

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  7. iorggarth says:

    Speaking of self-righteous, is this supposed to be an analysis of Lance Berkman’s career or a overblown polemic about the horrors of not letting Jeff Bagwell into the HOF on his first two ballots?

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    • cards fan says:

      I agree, its almost as if Cameron’s just using this as another excuse to drum up discussion about his favorite offseason project(s): If you vote for Lance, you have to vote for Bags and Edgar too!

      There’s also a pretty big asterisk on both Bagwell and Edgar too: you know, how they each gained 30 pounds of muscle right in the middle of their careers and suddenly became power hitters….

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      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        Yeah dude, Bagwell was definitely juicing.

        Everyone knows that baseball players can’t get any better after age 25…

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      • The Real Neal says:

        Yeah, Sammy Sosa just got better too.

        A huge growth in muscle mass over a single off-season is evidence… Research shows that if someone eats correctly and lifts weights religiously, they can gain about 18 pounds of muscle mass over a year. “Well, he just hit the weights hard” is what plenty of the head-in-the-sanders (and I was in this group) thought about Sosa, Canseco and Big Mac as well.

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    • joser says:

      Three sentences in a thousand-word article is an “overblown polemic”? Ok. I guess when you need to feed some pre-existing hunger, you find what you need to find.

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  8. jim says:

    short answer: no
    long answer: his rate stats are hall-worthy, but he lacks the playing time necessary to get in

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  9. KCDaveInLA says:

    I think the biggest problem with Berkman, Bags, and Martinez is that they had the audacity to play for non-East-Coast teams.

    Oh wait, Berkman was a Yankee for brief time? Lulz, he’s in.

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  10. Joebrady says:

    “keeping out Jeff Bagwell because they think that he might have used despite a lack of evidence, which is an embarrassment to the HOF and especially the voters who have kept him out”

    Sorry, I like your columns, but this is ridiculous.

    First, as others have mentioned, he is down to his last 13 years of eligibility.

    Secondly, it’s not like they are keeping out an elite player on suspicion. He is a 4-time AS. He doesn’t have the usual requisite numbers such as 500 HRs or 3,000 hits. Compare him to Dale Murphy. He’s got a few more HRs compared to a 2-time MVP with 5 GG’s in CF.

    What’s embarrassing is comparing Bagwell, a very good player, to guys like Trammell and Murphy, who should’ve been in there long ago.

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  11. Angelsjunky says:

    Isn’t Jeff Bagwell the eligible player with the highest WAR total that isn’t in the Hall? Other than Rose, of course. It is also interesting to see who is on that list that has a higher WAR total than Jim Rice, who for me is the recent player that was most undeserving and set’s a new (modern) low bar. If Rice is in, why isn’t Dewey (and Darrell) Evans or Dick Allen or Bagwell, Edgar, Whitaker, Trammell, Raines, and probably a bunch of others that I’m forgetting?

    I think the easy answer is that Rice had the sexy .298 BA and high RBI totals. Dewey Evans hit .272 (although with a .370 OBP, compared to Rice’s .352) and a lower SLG (.470 vs .502). Dewey also had fewer RBI (1384).

    As for Berkman, he has had a better career than plenty of recent inductees: not just Rice, but Andre Dawson and Tony Perez come to mind. Rice, in particular, seems like the worst player in recent years – a class Hall of the Very Good who seemingly looks better in fuzzy hindsight.

    What’s the difference between Rice and someone like Dave Parker, who is unlikely to ever get in? That seems to be the current bar.

    Rice: .298/.352/.502 with a 128 OPS+, 382 HR and 1451 RBI in 2089 games
    Parker: .290/.339/.471 with a 121 OPS+, 339 HR and 1493 RBI in 2466 games

    Rice was a bit better, and hit more HR in less games. Parker also had a strong early peak and then a lot of mediocrity. I’m happy with Rice being a historically better player, but neither should be in the HOF, imo.

    I think Berkman will be in the The Hall of Better Than Many Famers That Don’t Get Voted in. Ron Santo WAS the founding member, now it looks like Dick Allen is the old man of the group, and has been joined by Dwight and Darrell Evans, Edgar Martinez, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Bobby Grich, Larry Walker, and soon to be Jim Edmonds. All of these guys were great players that, in my mind, are worthy choices for the Hall of Fame, and more worthy than many players voted in.

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    • Eric R says:

      “I think the easy answer is that Rice had the sexy .298 BA and high RBI totals. Dewey Evans hit .272 (although with a .370 OBP, compared to Rice’s .352) and a lower SLG (.470 vs .502). Dewey also had fewer RBI (1384).”

      But even the difference in SLG is just an artifact of the difference in AVG… ISO, .198 vs .204, essentially the same.

      In his extra 1511 PA, Evans had about the same number of hits, triples and home runs. Sure, that seems like a negative. But consider that Rice had an extra 113 singles and Evans an extra 110 doubles, and that would seem to make up for some of the difference. Oh, yeah, he also had an extra 721 walks in those extra 1511 PAs!

      Here are the slash stats for the differences in their careers:
      -.008/.466/.131… for for the sake of simplicity, it is as if Evans stuck around for 2.5 extra full seasons, drawing walks half of the time and creating an out otherwise [FWIW, in the extra 1500 PA he GIDPed -88 times :)]

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    • stan says:

      Rice isn’t the current bar for getting in, he’s the current bar for being an embarassment for being it (Tony Perez is really glad the Rice took that title away from him). If a player’s career is within shouting distance of Jim Rice, than that player shouldn’t even be considered.

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  12. jrogers says:

    The closest recent comp that came to my mind is Larry Walker. Maybe initially because they’re both kind of big and goofy-looking, but the WAR graphs line up pretty closely: http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=548,455

    Walker was known as a better defender and baserunner, and had the best two seasons, but Berkman’s extended peak (best ~7 years) looks to be a little higher.

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  13. jpg says:

    Berkman is also probably one the best switch hitters of all time, probably top 5 ever. I might be missing an obvious name but Mantle, Chipper and Eddie Murray are the only better ones to come to mind.

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    • The Real Neal says:

      Is this a point of trivia or an argument? Switch hitting should be an advantage, or you shouldn’t do it.

      If it was like he originally was a switch hitter, but broke his shoulder and had to go to batting only right handed (sort of like the Dawson’s knees argument), I could see it being slightly relevant. As it is, it’s about as important to his HoF candidacy as the number of freckles on his nose (two).

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      • Heathbar09 says:

        I wouldn’t say it’s irrelevant. Keep in mind how difficult it is to hit a major league pitch from 1 side of the plate. I’m referring to the tidbits of swings mechanics, etc. It is hard enough to keep 1 swing working well at a MLB level, let alone 2 swings.

        Sure, switch hitters have the advantage of a favorable match up against every pitcher, but they had to work twice as hard get that advantage.

        If switch hitter was easy, everyone would do because of the advantage it provides. But not many do it, and the select few that have become great at should be recognized.

        (I’m not saying Berkman’s, Chipper’s, etc. stats should be weighted more, just that voters shouldn’t completely ignore the fact that they became proficient at something very few others have become experts at).

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      • TKDC says:

        Switch hitting can also help if you are good against lefties and righties, and more importantly it allows you to avoid lefties and righties that specialize in facing lefties or righties – which for great hitters often happens in high leverage situations.

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    • Bill says:

      Matt Wieters is also a switch hitter. Don’t forget him.

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    • Phrozen says:

      Really, who cares if he was a switch hitter? I mean, yeah, it’s a skill, but not one relevant to the discussion.

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  14. kid says:

    Berkman’s career line of .296/.409/.546 (.403 wOBA) is incredible. That he did it as a switch hitter is icing on the cake. In recent history we’ve looked at counting number milestones (500 HR, 2000 RBI, 300 wins, etc) as near-requisites for HOF induction. But after guys like Arod, Thome, Jeter and Manny are retired, what current players have any realistic chances of reaching those traditional milestones? Pujols, definitely, but then who? Baseball’s current generation of “stars” got started far too late to even have a snowball’s chance of amassing the playing time required. And even the youngest “best” players – Justin Upton, Hanley Ramirez, etc – have enough questions about their abilities to play at elite levels *this season*, let alone for the next ten. Berkman should be in on the merit that he’s been in the discussion for the best non-Bonds or Pujols bat for the past decade, with remarkable consistency. No, he doesn’t have the romantic-looking counting stat line, but that way of thinking is going the way of the dodo, anyway.

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    • d.t. says:

      If you are counting just those stats, you’re probably right, but if Ichiro wants to stick around he will have 3000 hits.

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    • James k says:

      I expect Paul konerko to reach 500 home runs

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    • I think there’s actually a pretty good chance that Berkman misses out on the Hall of Fame during his normal 15 years of eligibility, but is later inducted by the Veterans Committee. That will become much more likely if any of his former teammates wind up on the committee, of course. But, generally speaking, the Veterans Committee has been the group that has circled back around and picked up people who have been missed by the writers — hey, they even got Santo.

      In another 20-30 years, they’ll probably get Murphy and Grich. If a late-blooming internet movement takes off behind Trammell and he gets in, that will help Whitaker’s case with the Veterans, and I expect that he’ll get in within 40 years, too — a bit like Phil Rizzuto and Pee Wee Reese, middle infielders who got in decades after they stopped playing.

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    • Phrozen says:

      The only way Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t get 500+ homeruns is if he’s injured in some horrific way.

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      • Jason B says:

        “The only way Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t get 500+ homeruns is if he’s injured in some horrific way.”

        False. Laughably and demonstrably false. I’m not sure you know what ‘only’ means.

        “One way among many possibilities with varying probabilities…is if he’s injured in some horrific way.”

        /fixed/

        All kidding aside, one might consider, for instance, that not every can’t-miss prospect doesn’t quite live up to their advance billing. Sure, his career is off to a fantastic start. Lots of other players were too before they hit the skids, LONG before they got to within shouting distance of a milestone like 500 HR. That’s a pretty exclusive club and pretty rarified air up there at 500+.

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  15. Jon L. says:

    I really disagree with your strongly-worded opinion on Jeff Bagwell, and not because I have anything against Jeff Bagwell. (I don’t.)

    “Innocent until proven guilty” exists in court because courts decide whether a citizen will be left free or stripped of his or her rights. It has nothing to do with most ordinary decisions, and it most certainly has nothing to do with bequeathing a great honor upon someone. Entry into the HOF is a one-way ticket, and it makes perfect sense to be cautious in awarding it. Voters need to use their minds and judgment, and it’s appropriate for them to choose based upon their relative certainty that the honor is merited.

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    • stan says:

      That’s a great analogy. We use “innocent until proven guilty” and “beyond a reasonable doubt” before we convict anyone of a crime because its such a serious thing that we want to be right. If we’re throwing around terms like that for the HoF, shouldn’t we be reversing them, as in “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the guy belongs? As Ron Santo just showed, a player can get in any time. However, once they’re in they can’t be removed.

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      • Jon L. says:

        I agree that the reverse logic holds in a case such as this. “Innocent until proven guilty” reflects reasoning in one sort of situation. The more generic rule is that irreversible decision-making ought to lean away from whichever result has greater potential for negative consequences.

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    • Ian R. says:

      I’d argue that the presumption of innocence applies in any context. If my boss accuses me of violating a policy at work, the burden of proof is and ought to be on him to demonstrate that the policy really was broken. It’s a less serious issue than a criminal case, which is why he doesn’t need to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, but some proof still needs to be there.

      Likewise, when it comes to Hall voting, we should be assuming players are innocent unless there is at least some evidence of guilt. I can understand leaving out admitted users like McGwire and guys who failed drug tests like Palmeiro, but someone like Bagwell? Really? We’re leaving him out of the Hall of Fame because we maybe think he might have been on steroids?

      Furthermore, while it’s true that a non-induction can always be reversed, it’s also true that retired players have a limited amount of time to actually enjoy their induction. Ron Santo didn’t even live to see his own induction. Bagwell has the advantage of still being fairly young (he’ll turn 44 next week), but if his career has earned him a place in the Hall of Fame, he deserves as much time to enjoy being a Hall of Famer as possible.

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  16. Stringer Bell says:

    Berkman is better than Eddie Murray, who only got in because he played for eons and was able to accumulate stats. So, there’s that.

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    • Cidron says:

      part of a career is longevity. are you saying that Hank Aaron doesnt belong simply because he hit homers over a very long time, yet never did hit over 40 in a single season?

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    • Rich Johnson says:

      Naughty, naughty. Bill James would not be happy. Sounds like you might be trying to use the “If/Then” argument concerning Big Puma and Steady Eddie. Read The Politics of Glory (softcover is called Whatever Happened To The Hall of Fame?) when you get bored.

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  17. Jack says:

    Right or Wrong, I think Berkman may be tied to his long time Astros teammates in Biggio and Bagwell. The consensus has generally been that he was the least impressive of the three. Since the Astros only made one WS appearance with them all (and that was only in the twilight of Biggio’s and Bagwell’s careers) some voters might be hesitant to vote in the third best player on a non-championship team, even if he’s otherwise worthy. He’s a fringe player by modern statistics, even if he’s probably on the right side of the fringe. The lack of team success combined with the players on the roster might impede his chances.

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    • My echo and bunnymen says:

      But wouldn’t last year’s championship, at least for Puma, discount that?
      Him playing with Pujols, Holliday (possibility) and possibly (though uncertain) Yadier Molina one day?

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      • Jack says:

        Eh, while the WS championship is a boon, he still was the third best hitter on that team, and will still be more likely grouped with Bagwell and Biggio than Holliday and Pujols. Its not just that he didn’t have a championship until then, its that in his prime, he was the third best player on a team that only made it to one World Series. I’d compare it to Curt Schilling with the 2007 Red Sox. Yeah, he won the World Series, but he’ll be remembered mostly for his years with the D-Backs and the 2004 World Series. Or Brett Favre will be remembered, eventually, for his Late 90′s Packers, not the 2009 Vikings.

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  18. ben says:

    I think it’s too early to say. If he can put together a few more solid seasons then I say he makes it.
    And I think Todd Helton makes it (and I think he deserves it).

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    • ben says:

      woops. skipped the intro (like i often foolishly do on fg) and didn’t realize the dude’s career might be over. nvm.

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  19. Adam Stein says:

    If Berkman is really done, no way does he get in. I wouldn’t fault someone who votes for him on peak but too many people (quite reasonably) are going to view his total accomplishments as not enough.

    If he comes back and plays a couple of seasons, there’s a good argument. He’d join what seems to be a large list of recent players who were worth 55-65 wins over their career. > 65 seems to be automatic induction, or at least clear Hall of Famer perhaps slowed by voter ignorance; < 50 seems to be nice career but not Hall of Fame. There are a number of < 50 players in the Hall and almost every one is controversial.

    The players in the 55-65 range tends to lend themselves to a lot of discussion and debate, but Berkman isn't there yet.

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  20. My echo and bunnymen says:

    I agree with both sides on most of their issues, but I ultimately would vote in him.
    I value peaks very highly, especially when their career is long enough to get them into the HoF conversation. However, even with my vote for him, it is not a strong vote and I know that if it came to most individuals they would be split down the middle on him. He’s not a definite HoF guy for me (unlike Bagwell, Martinez, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Pujols, and more). That’s where I falter, I won’t defend him harshly, but I also won’t let him fade to obscurity. He’s been great, and I really hope he comes back to a level above replacement to keep adding more to his resume. He deserves that shot.

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  21. Darrell Berger says:

    While steroid issues have clouded the Hall of Fame voting, that is no reason to editorialize as to who is “self-righteous” anymore than it is to characterize others who “condone cheating.” Unless that is, one wants to hash this whole issue over again. Let’s not. Let’s just stick with the issues and leave opinions about others out of the discussion.

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  22. matt1101 says:

    He’s definitely a bubble candidate. If he wants to make it a lot closer I’d say he needs two good years (4-5 WAR).

    Otherwise his counting stats just aren’t there.

    He’s a real fine ball player, but not an all time great, despite some post season heroics last year.

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  23. Mark says:

    It was only last Oct that Berkman was written up here as one of the greatest switch hitters in MLB history. Yes, HOF.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-greatest-switch-hitters-in-mlb-history/

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  24. Paul says:

    Berkman, great player, glad he got his ring last year, hope he can come back as a DH (Houston in the AL perchance?) and eke out a couple of useful years to get closer to the HoF numbers – but isn’t Berkman at this point a less longeveous Larry Walker without the stellar defence and baserunning extras? (I see Larry as a HoF by the way)

    And for the guy who never gets the credit he is due, how about some Helton love? Don’t we like 2B and BB here?

    Whether people here like it or not, Helton will have a hell of a HoF case, and it is difficult to vote up Edgar but not Helton.

    Helton is equal to or better than Edgar in every ‘standard’ counting stat (H, 2B, HR, R, RBI and BB by the end of the year) – fine the advanced stats rightly value Edgars bat value slightly higher (after park adjustments etc), but I really don’t see the HoF cut off being between them – hopefully Helton can last a couple more years to hit some nice round figures (2500-2750 H; 1500 R/RBI, 4000 ToB)

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  25. Joebrady says:

    “Agreed from another Braves fan. Bagwell just played in the wrong era. Despite this, his career OPS+ is still 28 points higher than Dale.”

    28 points in OPS is meaningless compared to a 1B v a GG CF, and 2-time MVP.

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    • CJ says:

      Uh, 28 points in OPS+ is pretty big there. It’s the difference between league-average and backup catcher, I believe.

      28 OPS points is totally obliterated by CF/1B adjustment. 28 OPS+ points, not so much.

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  26. Joebrady says:

    “I hope one day the Veteran’s Committee will understand how undervalued Raines was and votes him in. He deserves it.”

    I really hope I’m not wrong on this one, but doesn’t Raines have 10 years of eligibility left?

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  27. Horned Owl says:

    Berkman is similar to a lot of these guys. I think that his WS title does give him a bit of an edge over players like Edgar and his Astros teammates, though. To me, the best comp is a worse fielding Larry Walker. I’d like to see both get in the Hall (shocking to hear from a Rice alum that grew up in Denver…), but I could see arguments that call them borderline.

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  28. bookbook says:

    If Montero catches, He’d be an awfully attractive DH option for a team like the Mariners that’s always one (or more) batters short of playoff contention.

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  29. Bobby says:

    The Killer B’s:

    Bagwell
    Biggio
    Berkman

    It would be nice for the Astros if all three made it. I would support it.

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