Why Should We Care About the Hall?

Because we care about the players and the players care about the Hall of Fame.

The average player probably was on his high school team and before that may have played some little league or grade school ball. From there either he went to college or straight to the minors. There are exceptions to that, but again this is the average player. Some players last through their 30s; others burn out. Either way, that’s at least a decade of dedication to the game. Hate Barry Bonds for any reason you want, but his first wife is baseball and his long-time mistress is breathing.

The pay is good and the fame is probably pretty sweet at times too, but let’s not ignore the disappointment that some of these guys feel when the Hall call never comes. Yet we care about the snubs. We make case after case for the snubs. The competitiveness and glory-seeking doesn’t simply vanish upon filing of retirement papers. Jon Heyman Tweeted that if Jack Morris played on non-World Series teams, he wouldn’t consider Morris a Hall of Famer. Think about that for a moment. His vote for Morris is based almost entirely on luck; meanwhile, Bert Blyleven’s candidacy is in the shadows over bad luck with certain metrics. Life is funny, isn’t it?

The guys like Blyleven and Tim Raines have a type of fan support that some would describe as obnoxious. They’d say that some people need to remove their nose from the spreadsheet because the game isn’t played on Baseball-Reference.com. Besides being a silly thing to say, those people miss the point. Rich Lederer, Jonah Keri, and Tom Tango didn’t waste those words to come off as omniscient or as holier than the non-believers. They spent those words because they care about those players and 99.9% of all Hall cases are based on numbers, just not the numbers that make sense to people like them.

And you know why those guys care about the players? Not because of their numbers – although they certainly help – but because in the end, those players enhanced the game-watching and -attending experience. Keep that in mind the next time someone writes a piece bemoaning the deserving nature of a future candidate. The motive isn’t to be a pain in the neck or trendy. It’s an exhibit of appreciation earned through merit.

Isn’t that what the Hall should really represent?




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88 Responses to “Why Should We Care About the Hall?”

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  1. Bobo says:

    Is someone really saying we shouldn’t care about the Hall? I haven’t heard or seen comments to support that position.

    And who cares what someone else’s metrics are that make up one of the probably 15 or so points to determine if someone is Hall worthy. There aer too many voters, each with his or her own criteria to dig into one persons silly comment becuase you likely have a bias against them.

    In general, I think is safe to say when someone “Tweets” something, it likely is not a real thought out coherent memo with support, analysis, footnotes, research, so please don’t treat it like the bible.

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    • Joe R says:

      It’s Heyman. Heyman has been a notorious Heyman backer / Blyleven hater.

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      • Jason B says:

        Heyman is a Heyman backer?

        *Morris* backer, methinks you meant. /fixed/

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      • Joe R says:

        Bah. Humbug.
        I’m a statistics student for a reason; not much reading involved.

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      • Jason B says:

        Well, Heyman and Morris should BOTH be considered to get in the Hall…

        …if they buy a ticket and get in the ‘visitor’ line with the rest of us.

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      • Joe R says:

        I personally wouldn’t fret if Jon Heyman got the Rose treatment from baseball.

        He calls a front office, tweets to us what they tell him, gets paid lots of money for it, and then this somehow gives him the power to tell us how to think, and obviously doesn’t give a damn about the players.

        Would I be mad if Morris made the Hall? Of course I wouldn’t be mad. I would put it into the Rice category of hype, though (statistics did not play a factor in Rice’s induction, it was all a belief generated by guys like Shaughnessy that Rice’s exclusion was a result of an outside-Boston media conspiracy against him). I only get mad about players left out.

        Blyleven should be in.
        Raines should be in.
        Martinez should be in.
        Dawson, eh, maybe, he did play a good CF and hit lots of HR. Better candidate than Rice was, IMO.

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      • Ezra says:

        SI_JonHeyman
        @adamdadkins on bert, i think its amusing that folks who saw very little or none of his career are so sure about it.

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  2. Joe R says:

    Post of 2009.

    Born in ’86, I can safely say growing up, there were two right handed hitters that I wanted to emulate. Frank Thomas and Edgar Martinez. These are both Hall of Famers.

    They made the game fun. Their merit is not based on subjective criteria, but on their performance.

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    • rocco says:

      Frank is a hall of famer. Edgar is not.

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      • Joe R says:

        Justify this.

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      • Evan_S says:

        They’re both deserving of entrance into the Hall. Frank Thomas was the better player, but Edgar was a spectacular hitter who should absolutely be voted into the Hall of Fame. His career .405 wOBA is equal to Hank Aaron. He has a .312/.418/.515/.933 line, 309 homers, 514 doubles and was even a solid third baseman for one third of his career.

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      • Joe R says:

        21 players with 3000+ PA have a higher career OBP than Martinez. 18 are Hall eligible. 15 of those 18 are in.

        The ones that aren’t:

        Joe Jackson – maybe threw a series / made an example of
        Ferris Fain – short career, SLG was only league average
        Max Bishop – short career, no SLG

        And here’s two guys, using bp’s useful translated batting stats.
        Player A: .319/.424/.559, 391 HR, .327 EqA, 1528 EqR
        Player B: .308/.398/.535, 522 HR, .310 EqA, 1855 EqR

        Player A is Edgar Martinez. Player B? Roger Connor, probably the greatest 19th century player (or 2nd to Cap Anson).

        Martinez also out-WAR’d Alomar, yet Alomar seems to be getting all sorts of support.

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      • Joe R says:

        @ Evan_S

        I love when people bash Edgar Martinez for being a DH, implying 1) it was his fault for how his manager used him, and 2) that bad defense > no defense.

        He was probably better defensively than a lot of guys put into the Hall without blinking.

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      • heyyoo says:

        Rocco

        I agree with Joe. Edgar should be considered a HOF player. Joe made a good enough case, so I won’t add to it. Edgar is what a “feared” hitter really looked like.

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      • Xavier says:

        Bad defense > No defense.

        Unless you’re some sort of Adam Dunn level butcher, or there’s a compelling case such as your team having excellent defenders at the positions you play.

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      • Joe R says:

        Bad defense is not > no defense.

        If a guy is a butcher and is hurting his team with his glove, than he has not a bigger asset than a DH.

        If you have two players with the exact same stats, one’s an average 1B, one’s a DH, then the 1B is more valuable, and better. But if the 1B fields like a blind man, than the way he is utilized makes him less valuable than the DH. If utilized the same, he’s exactly that, the same. We judge every other player based on value added, why is Edgar Martinez held to a different standard?

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      • Xavier says:

        Right, I agree with you Joe. Unless you’re implying that a blind person could play a better first base than Adam Dunn; I think that’s basically a toss-up.

        I’m just saying “replacement-level” defense, which is what you have to play to be valuable, isn’t very good. Most players should be able to play replacement-level defense.

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      • JoeR43 says:

        And if you look at the Mariners, most of the time, there WAS a compelling case to keep Martinez at DH. Tino Martinez was there until his age 33 season (when a lot of 3B’s slow down defensively), and then Olerud came in a few years later. Martinez could play defense, as he proved early in his career. There was just no reason to run an older player out there when you could DH him.

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    • Bri P says:

      The Big Hurt was the best RH hitter in the early 90′s, Martinez despite being only a hitter was never the best hitter in any decade. Good and very good shouldn’t get you into the hall.

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      • Joe R says:

        The criteria for entry is being the best hitter of a decade?

        This is news.

        BTW, I’d like a list of players whom you consider “very good” to see what company Martinez keeps.

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  3. Evan_S says:

    Jon Heyman should be banished from baseball, the BBWAA, and journalism for that absurd comment.

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  4. NEPP says:

    Lets not compare Thomas and Martinez. Thomas was the best hitter in baseball for several years in a row. Martinez was not.

    Thomas is a surefire HoF candidate and Martinez will probably eventually make it in but he’s not a 1st ballot guy. Getting a late start and being a DH will be held against him, right or wrong.

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  5. NEPP says:

    Frank Thomas’s “peak” (1991 – 1997):

    182 OPS+, .330 AVG, .452 OBP, 1.084 OPS

    Edgar’s “peak” (1995 – 2001):

    163 OPS+, .329 AVG, .446 OBP, 1.020 OPS

    Yeah, the raw numbers are somewhat similar but Thomas was a far superior hitter if you look closer….not to take anything away from Edgar.

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    • Joe R says:

      I don’t think anyone’s arguing Edgar’s better than Frank (I’m sure not). I just argue against the insanity of people thinking Orlando Cepeda is the minimum standard for 1B, when Frank Thomas is the standard for DH’s. He has the 4th highest OPS+ of players I’ve grown up watching (behind Bonds, Pujols, and McGwire), and even though I’m not exactly one of those people who make a big stink about steroids, Bonds and McGwire are just clouded for me. I’d easily put Thomas in the top 3 hitters I’ve gotten to witness firsthand. Since when have you have to be a top 3 hitter in ANY era to meet the Hall of Fame standard? We have George effin Kell in there (over 1000 less PA’s than Martinez, 111 OPS+).

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      • NEPP says:

        I agree completely. I was referring to the tendency of some people to say “Well Frank Thomas was basically a DH and he’ll get in, so why not Edgar?”

        Its not a good comparison. Edgar could very well make it in but he’s not even close to the same caliber of player that Thomas was.

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      • Joe R says:

        Yeah, that’s a bad argument on two fronts. One, it’s wrong. Two, you can easily compare Edgar to other HoF shoe-ins and show why he belongs.

        Anyone who uses the “If Frank, than Edgar” argument, you’re not helping.

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  6. JimNY says:

    I think that knocking Heyman for his comment on Morris kind of misses the point. Yes, he’s giving credit for something based wholly on luck — but the Hall of Fame is about a whole lot of things that don’t necessarily come from statistics. Dizzy Dean made the Hall largely because of his personality and the aura he had around him; Rabbit Maranville was largely the same. You can make all the arguments you want about their numbers, but at the end of the day, it is the Hall of FAME, not the Hall of Statistically Great. Dean is arguably the most famous pitcher in the history of baseball, though certainly not the greatest — it would be a travesty for him not to be in.

    I don’t agree with Morris’ candidacy, but I can certainly see the argument that that particular 10 inning shutout should be given much more weight than far more statistically substantive aspects of his career, and there’s certainly a logical argument that somebody who was a great player who flashed moments of extreme brilliance is more deserving of the Hall of Fame than somebody who was a better player but always toiled in obscurity.

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  7. Jason B says:

    Also, voters (like the rest of us) have differing ideas as to how much of a “big tent” the HOF should be. Some likely abide by the “more is generally better” rule and tend to look more favorably upon marginal candidates like Rice, Dawson, Murphy, and Morris. Some prefer to keep it to the game’s truly elite (although they can’t undo some of the injustices of past selections) and would argue that these guys don’t quite cut it. I think there is a reasonable place for voters with both points of view, as long as those philosophies are reasonably supported and applied fairly consistently. As Neyer points out, there is an OK case to be made for Morris as a HOF candidate. An even better one to be made for Blyleven (regardless of whether one uses traditional stats, or those new-fangled SABR-types). But the inconsistency in supporting Morris *over* Blyleven seems to be the thing that’s truly vexing.

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    • Joe R says:

      Exactly.
      I think a lot of the complaint with people like us, is that they think there’s some sort of formula to determine a Hall of Famer. There isn’t. It’s being consistent with your selections.

      Blyleven, for example, is probably the best on this ballot in terms of total career. If someone thought he was the only “true great”, fine. If you prefer to pick your top 10 and try to make the Hall vote as unsubjective as possible, that’s fine, too. But WHY is the Hall of Fame such a political issue? Why does Morris get the vote and not Blyleven? Why does Dawson and Parker get votes, but not Raines? If a cherry picked count stat is the criteria for the Hall of Fame, then everyone should just start laying down bunts and legging them out until you hit 3000 hits, regardless of whether you maximize your value in the process or not. Heyman will vote for you via your impactaliciousness.

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    • JimNY says:

      There’s no inconsistency so long as you understand that “Hall of Fame” voting does not equal “Best Players” voting. To take an extreme example; you can make at least a colorable argument (though I wouldn’t) that Jim Abbot deserves at least some discussion for the Hall of Fame because he was able to compile a reasonably long and productive baseball career with one hand, even though he wasn’t a particularly good ballplayer.

      If you think of the end goal of the Hall of Fame as being a place to take kids to ooh and aah them and teach them about the history of the game and get them interested in the game (which I think it should be), good stories probably matter more than good numbers. And on those terms, Jack Morris is more deserving than Bert Blyleven, because it’ll be a lot easier to get a 10 year old to become a lifetime baseball fan by telling them about Jack Morris and the 1991 World Series than about Bert Blyleven and his numbers (though I wouldn’t vote for either of them).

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      • Joe R says:

        That’s all well and good, but is that fair that HoF credentials should be weighed most heavily towards being able to tell a 10 year old a story?

        Obviously there’s room for special cases. The basketball Hall of Fame routinely elects members who were mediocre to bad NBA players for basketball-related accomplishments elsewhere, like with the Globetrotters, or for increasing the sport’s visibility in another country. I have no issue if baseball ever wanted to do the same and if the VC wanted to elect Jim Abbott to the Hall (hell, I’d probably cheer that).

        That being said, the ultimate reason for the Hall of Fame should be for admitting the best players, and allowing their careers to be honored. If they want to put in Francisco Cabrera for killing the Pirates franchise for 2 decades, be my guest. Just don’t do it at the expense of players more deserving to have their careers remembered.

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      • JimNY says:

        Actually, I think it’s completely fair and just that HoF credentials should be weighed most heavily towards being able to tell a 10 year old a story.

        Baseball franchises, in essense, have two goals: to win and to make money. These aren’t mutually exclusive, but they’re also not both necessary (you can operate a team like a business and try to make as much profit as you can while ignoring success, or you can do everything you can to win as many games as possible without any regard to profit or loss, or you can fall somewhere in between). There are theoretically other goals, of course; you could ignore winning or losing and profit entirely, and run your franchise in order to best position yourself to meet Gordon Brown, but that’s less likely.

        The Hall of Fame, however, should have one purpose, and one purpose only: promiting the long term fan base and drumming up interest in the game of baseball. You do that by reeling in kids when they’re young and making them fans for life. Whatever you need to do to do that, you do it. Regardless of whether some mathematically deserving, but emotionally uncompelling, players get left out in the cold.

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      • Jason B says:

        I flatly disagree with the notion that a HOF candidacy should be predicated on whether a player can make a 10-year-old ooh and aah. It’s a nice enough concept I guess, but we may as well throw out just about anyone who played before the 1940′s (who are these old guys in the black and white pictures? BO-RING!); let in Jim Abbott (look daddy! a one-handed pitcher!) and Eddie Gaedel (midgets = fun for everyone), etc etc.

        While we’re at it, we may as well let in Mark Whiten (cool nickname + 12 RBI in one game), Al Hrabosky (crazy hair!), Glenallen Hill (went on the DL because he fell through a glass table after having nightmares about spiders, or some such), etc.

        Yeah…that idea is just heinous on its face.

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      • Joe R says:

        Wrong, wrong, and wrong.
        Maybe I’ll care about this viewpoint when Robert Horry is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Or when David Tyree is in the NFL Hall of Fame. Get Gerard Phelan in the College Football Hall of Fame. Why’s Lorenzo Charles not in the College Basketball Hall of Fame? Remember Alex Tanguay’s Game 7 heroics that helped get Ray Bourque a Stanley Cup finally? Hall of Fame. Derrike Cope once won the Daytona 500, Racing Hall of Fame?

        Awarding inferior players over superior ones in order to promote the game is dumb. You don’t need to drive all the way to Cooperstown, NY just to see Jack Morris’ 10 inning WS game performance. Buy a DVD.

        And honestly, does ANYONE forget about Kirk Gibson? Why do we NEED to kiss the ass of players who did something noteworthy? Should we put Rick Monday in the Hall of Fame with the song “Real American” playing on a loop next to his plaque?

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      • Joe R says:

        Essentially, inducting based on moments and the “impact” they had is taking almost all the control from players in terms of their legacy. If you don’t pass the “Hey, remember when…” test, you’re out. Totally fair system to the players.

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      • JimNY says:

        I have to admit I’m somewhat puzzled by the notion that “good stories” don’t belong in the Hall. No, one signature moment isn’t enough to get you in the Hall, or else Don Larsen and Bill Wambsganss and Johnny Van Der Meer would be in the Hall of Fame. But they most assuredly do matter, and they most assuredly do need to be fit into the rubrik.

        No, four homers and 12 RBI’s aren’t enough to get a mediocre player like Whiten into the Hall. But if it was four homers and 12 RBI’s in a pennant race, by a player with a real borderline candidacy (say, Sherry Magee?), you best believe that voters would take that into account in deciding on him, and you really can’t say they’d be wrong for it.

        Also, I find it extremely laughable that you’d think kids would be bored by pre-1940′s players in black and white photos. The first baseball book I ever read as a kid (maybe 8 or 9 years old) was a chronological history of baseball, and my first baseball idol was Ross Barnes (what kid wouldn’t be awed by stories of a player who cheated the rules by hitting pitches where fielders couldn’t possibly get to them?). And this wasn’t that long ago, late 80′s / early 90′s. Tell a story in the right way, and you’ve hooked a kid in to baseball for life, which is what you really need to get the sport to thrive. That’s what the Hall of Fame, and other baseball museums, are all about.

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      • JimNY says:

        JoeR, life isn’t fair, and baseball most assuredly isn’t fair. If you think otherwise, look at any given pitcher’s BABIP numbers year over year. Most things are entirely out of one’s control, so any argument that boils down to “it’s not fair” is a non-starter.

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      • Joe R says:

        So, why didn’t you say that to begin with?

        You pretty much agreed with everyone and didn’t even know it. Sherry Magee is a very borderline guy w/ a story, THAT is justification.

        He had a 136 OPS+ over 8,546 career PA.

        But what you were arguing, or looked to be arguing, was that any ole mediocre schmuck who has a memorable moment or two should get in over a far better player who lacked a big moment.

        That’s NEVER what the Hall has been about. No matter how convoluted and weird some arguments for the Hall have been, voters have always tried to get in who they think most contributed to winning baseball games. Hell, they even put Fred Lindstrom in there, and the only thing he’s actually famous for anymore is his historic fielding gaff in the 1924 World Series.

        I’d applaud a Sherry Magee induction. I’d even tolerate a Jack Morris one. But I don’t want to see it happen over more deserving players. That’s not the least bit fair to them.

        And if you think for one second that Blyleven and Raines don’t care that their careers are scoffed at by guys with a ballot because they “weren’t considered superstars” or “lacking impact” while they see inferior players get huge pushes, just because they earned a lot of money, you’re wrong.

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      • Joe R says:

        And we have the worst point ever.

        Out of 129 pitchers to throw over 3000 innings, the mean BABIP for all of them (unweighted) is .283. The SD of the sample is .011. Only five pitchers are greater than 2 SD from this mean (Hunter, Palmer, Hough, Brown, Matthews). 91 of 129 are within 1 SD of the mean. THINGS NORMALIZE OVER TIME AND GIVE US PERSPECTIVE OF A CAREER RATHER THEN LOOKING AT ONE DAMN SEASON.

        You’re trolling now, but I’m taking the bait anyway. Who cares about one season’s BABIP? BABIP normalizes over time, and while some pitcher will routinely have higher ones like strikezone pounder Curt Schilling, or lower ones, is almost entirely detached from luck over a large sample size / career.

        And this isn’t even the point. The point is, honoring inferior players over superior ones based on subjective criteria is a disservice to the players. And the Hall of Fame is ultimately for them as much as us, and I’d like it if the criteria involved more than “Jack Morris was a big game pitcher and had a bitchin’ moustache. HALL OF FAME”.

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  8. waynetolleson says:

    I guess it’s part of “what you do,” but sentences like “Bert Blyleven’s candidacy is in the shadows over bad luck with certain metrics. Life is funny, isn’t it?” strike me as pretentious and condescending.

    Did you ever see Bert Blylevyn pitch? I caught the tail end of his career. I can’t say that when I saw Bert Blylevyn, I often felt as though I was watching a Hall-of-Fame performance.

    I understand the argument that Blylevyn played on a lot of bad teams; this argument has some validity to it. Some of Bert Blylevyn’s less-than-stellar W-L records can certainly be explained by his pitching for some horrendous teams. However, I can point-out several years where Blylevyn posted poor, or mediocre, W-L records while pitching for good, or decent, teams.

    In 1970, the Twins went 98-64. Blylevyn went 10-9.
    In 1977, The Rangers went 94-68. Blylevyn went 14-12.
    In 1979, the Pirates went 98-64. Blylevyn started 37 games, and went 12-5.
    In 1980, the Pirates went 83-79. Blylevyn went 8-13.
    In 1988, the Twins went 91-71. Blylevyn went 10-17.

    I ever-so-slightly favor Bert Blylevyn’s being in the HOF. I don’t, however, think he’s a slam dunk.

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    • Joe R says:

      1970, rookie year
      1977, we’re holding this, this, and this against Blyleven.
      1979, we have this, this, and this to discredit Blyleven with.
      1980, Blyleven picked up losses or no-decisions here, here, and here.
      1988, well, he was bad in 1988. But when you have 11 seasons of > 120 ERA+ (yes, I’m counting the year he only threw 159 1/3, deal), you can have a bad year.

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      • waynetolleson says:

        I guess I’m not as persuaded by ERA+ as you are. Basically, Javier Vazquez seems to be this generation’s Bert Blylevyn – great K/BB ratio and high strikeouts every year, but not a great W-L record – and I don’t think Javier Vazquez is punching his ticket to Cooperstown.

        I would agree W-L record is overrated. It’s not, however, irrelevant. When you’re a starting pitcher, your main assignment isn’t to have a great K/BB ratio and a great FIP; your assignment is to win the game.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Not really. Vazquez has an ERA+ of 107, Blyleven 118 (including decline phase). Of Circle Me Bert’s top ten comps, eight are in the Coop and the other two are also borderline cases. In particular, Vazquez is subject to the longball much more than Blyleven was, leading to Blyleven out-FIPing him, 3.19 to 3.83.

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      • Joe R says:

        And he’s 27th all time in wins, ahead of:
        Robin Roberts
        Fergie Jenkins
        Jim Palmer
        Bob Feller
        Red Faber
        Bob Gibson
        Pedro Martinez
        Randy Johnson
        Whitey Ford

        And fact, he’s only 114th in ERA+.

        And Wayne, WTF? Having a great K/BB and great independent pitching statistics are NOT mutually exclusive from winning the game. In 1974, Blyleven went 17-17, with a 2.66 ERA over 281 innings, a 142 ERA+, and a 3.23 K/BB. 9 seasons when Blyleven qualified for the ERA title, he posted an ERA of under 3. He was in the top 10 in ERA+ in his league twelve times. Nolan Ryan was named to the all-century team, and only did that 7 times. Tom Seaver, who was even better than Ryan, and was elected to the Hall near-unanimously, did that 13 times. Only 16 pitchers in history have had a career length of over 4900 innings pitched. Blyleven is 4th among those in FIP and 3rd in K/BB.

        Essentially, there is no logic why this guy is in the Hall, but Blyleven is not.

        But by all means, attempt to show how Blyleven didn’t do his job.

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      • waynetolleson says:

        I actually lean towards Bert Blylevyn’s being in the HOF. All I’m saying is that most pitchers who make the HOF have at least a few career-defining seasons, seasons where they assert themselves as one the most dominant players at their position.

        Blylevyn slowly and steadily accrued wins and strikeouts, while posting good ERA’s, eating-up large chunks of innings, and displaying good control. Blylevyn, however, never seemed to have that one season where it just all came together, where he became an unstoppable force, the anchor of a team’s rotation.

        For all his positive numbers, Blylevyn, it would seem, was never really thought of as an “ace.”

        (I understand that a post containing no mention of numbers or metrics must appear absurd on Fangraphs, but I still believe the above points are valid.)

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  9. Luke Appling says:

    Writer and vote bias for luck in Hall of Fame selection could be a small factor in free agent decisions and current roster construction…

    For example, the Bert Blyleven situation as a noteworthy example to players like Jason Bay. Blyleven plays on several sub-.500 teams, doesn’t get his World Series exposure, and just misses Hall benchmarks (such as 300 wins) for reasons mostly out of his control. A hypothetical-future Jason Bay wins with a couple WS rings with the Red Sox in 2011 and 2013, throw in a theoretical WS game-winning HR, and he’s elevated into Jack Morris status; baseball lore.

    Heyman votes for him; meanwhile, Carlos Beltran toils away without recognition in Citi Field for another Omar team.

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  10. NEPP says:

    Why is Jim Rice a HoF but not Dwight Evans?

    The closest Evans got was 10.4% of the vote in 1998.

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    • Joe R says:

      Rice got the hype in Boston, plain and simple. Evans committed the same error as players like Ron Santo, Darrell Evans, and Bobby Grich, which is being a good all around player without flash.

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  11. NEPP says:

    It was more a rhetorical question. That was my biggest argument against Rice…he wasn’t even the best OF on his own team.

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    • Joe R says:

      My mistake.
      But I’m a Bostonian. Ask anyone between the ages of 40-60 here, they LOVE Rice. Despite the fact that he didn’t hit on the road. And that he’s a prick. And that he couldn’t take a walk. And that he probably was a major reason why Wade Boggs was run out of town (.428 OBP in Boston, what a douche). And that he went .225/.313/.366 in 80 career postseason PA.

      Evans, on the other hand, is just an old-timey player. He gets his ovations, but no one thinks of him as an all-time elite player, when he could very well be.

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  12. CircleChange11 says:

    “It’s an exhibit of appreciation earned through merit.”

    That’s the gist of the argument … we don’t agree on “earned” and “merit”. There seems to be lots of different, individual, criteria, and it appears to move all over the map.

    But, not all events are treated the same. How many regular season wins is Morris’s game 7 shutout worth? 5? 10? 15? 20? 50? This ain’t the CYA where regular season doesn’t count. You can’t just strike it up as “luck” since a player cannot control where he is placed. This site does that a LOT and I don’t get it. Just because “clutch” or “big game” doesn’t have a strong correlation or predictive value doesn’t mean it’s not important (even if there is some randomness or luck involved). But big play in the biggest moments does carry extra weight.

    I like and support Blyleven for HoF, but I do see a case for him not being viewed as “Hall of Fame Great”, but just having a REALLY long good career. Was he a dominant pitcher of his era? But, only 3 top 5 CY seasons. I think he was, and he was also successful in the playoffs for TWO world series winners. I support him, but see a strong case for him just being “very good” and not “great”.

    Raines suffers from being viewed as a “poor man’s Rickey” by many (right or wrong). Being “Rickey’s little borther” and still being considered for the HoF speaks more the Henderson’s greatness than it does Raines’s merit.

    Raines didn’t get 3K hits, despite hitting lead-off for 23 seasons. That’s significant since he’s going to be a BA/OBP/SB guy, and not a power hitter. He never stole 100 bases in an era where Henderson stole 130 (100+ 3 times)and Coleman stole 100+ in each of his 1st 3 season (again, we compare guys to their peers and era). I like Raines and his OBP and speed, but I would not vote for him for HoF. He’s in the Hall of Very Good. I know people here HATE that term, but seriously, if the HoF gets what some fans want it will incude Adam Dunn, Edgar Martinez, John Olerud, Bernie Williams, Cesar Cedeno, Johnny Damon, etc. Actually, Tim Raines and Kenny Lofton are likely going to be in similar situations (and KL has 4 GG’s).

    The HoF certainly has had marginal and controversial admissions in the past. I don’t think they should serve as loopholes to admit more marginal players (I mean someone has to be in the bottom 1/3 of HoF players, right?). I’m glad I don;t have to make decisions on this that count because there are some very good players that are “right at the line” for induction or exclusion. We seemingly (or perhaps have been) at the balance of inducting everyone that might have earned it or trying to maintain the prestige and exclusivity of the HoF. While my preference would be to keep it “elite” (that sounds hilarious given the quality of players we are talking about … the best), I would not oppose the HoF being a “Who’s Who” of the “very goodest” players from each era. I’d still want to take my kids on the tour.

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    • jpdtrmpt72 says:

      no. you are wrong. I don’t care enough about you to write a big long essay like you did, you are just wrong. only 3 top 5 cy youing votes? realy? how many times has chase utley been in the top 5 for the MVP? 0
      name three position players who were better than him in any year since 06. its kinda tough to do. award voting is a stupid criteria for hall of fame candidacy (sp?)

      therefore, you are stupid.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Fine, I’m stupid.

        Did you miss where I said I think he should be in the Hall of Fame?

        If I were basing my case AGAINST him by using the “only 3 top 5 CY” seasons, then you’d be spot on.

        But, I wasn’t saying that at all. But, I’m glad I gave you an opportunity to pull out an insult. Do you feel better now?

        Personally, I find these discussions to be sort of a weird place to be, as those of us who likely never played professional baseball are analyzing the elite of the game and voicing opinions on whether they were “elite enough” to be enshrined versus just being very good. It’s awkward to say the least.

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      • wrencis says:

        @jpdtrmt
        I looked at all of those MVP races back to ’06. I love Chase and I’d love to have him on my team but he didn’t deserve to be in the top 3 any of those seasons.

        You can’t just go look at the WAR leaders and say that Chase was 2nd in his league every year so he must be getting snubbed. Do you really think Ben Zobrist was better than Pujols and Mauer this year? Stats are good, but they don’t tell the whole story. WAR is good, maybe the best we have right now, but it isn’t infallible.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Not just that, but WAR tells us how good a player is over a replacement at HIS position.

        By no means does it mean that Zobrist contributed more overall fielding and batting runs than did Pujols. Zobrist’s (and Utley’s) WAR goes way up due to the positional adjustment.

        Also, as you mentioned, Utley was going up against MONSTER season by Fielder, Howard, Pujols, Braun, etc over the past few seasons.

        If you look at the numbers BEFORE positional adjustment, Pujols’ bat alone was worth more runs than Zobrist’s bat and glove.

        One really could go on and on with the numbers, but we all know the reality is that the MVP is won with the bat. We can argue whether it should or should not be, but with the realization is that it IS.

        WAR will always make the top C, 2B, and SS look dramatically better than 1B, 3B, etc … not because they had such more spectacular seasons, but because of the decreased average production of their positions (and for good reason).

        WAR is what it is. I DO think Utley deserves MORE consideration, especially since he was 4th in the NL in wRC in ’09. Zobrist was 9th in the AL. (Is that Shin-Soo Choo in the 5th spot?)

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      • Al Dimond says:

        @wrencis: Zobrist and Utley are odd cases because so much of their WAR value comes from UZR. In Zobrist’s case, his UZR had never been in the black before this season, so there’s reason to think something might be up. Bias in the subjective elements? Weird sample size issues (like that he got easier than average plays within each “bucket” — we wouldn’t really talk about hitters in this way, that they faced easier than average pitching or something, but it feels like more of an issue with fielding metrics for some reason)?

        It seems unlikely to me that Zobrist really saved 26.4 runs on D over average players at each of the positions he played. If he did then he was absolutely more valuable than Pujols (Zobrist might get a very small additional bump for being defensively flexible if it truly helped the Rays put their best lineup on the field every day, while Pujols, due to injury, can really only play 1B at this point). He might have been better than Mauer, too, although it’s harder to account for Mauer’s defense as a catcher.

        As for Utley, his UZR has been good for years, so the sample-size issues go away. There are a few ways to believe Utley is not worth his WAR. One is that the subjective elements of UZR have been biased towards Utley for years. Another is that there are significant ways that players contribute to their teams winning games that aren’t accounted for in WAR and that Utley performs poorly at relative to other MVP candidates. It’s very possible that either or both of these are the case… but absent a compelling case for one of them I’m inclined to believe Utley is basically worth his WAR.

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    • waynetolleson says:

      I pretty much agree with you. I generally support Blylevyn’s being in the Hall, but understand the argument that he falls just short.

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  13. pinball1978 says:

    It’s not I don’t care about the HoF – though that institution at Cooperstown is a horrible insult to museums and baseball history alike (though MLB rather deserves such a place). It’s that I no longer care about the process that selects fine players like Bruce Sutter or Jim Rice over Raines, Evans, Grich, BB, etc.
    I despise the average HoF voter, the BB writers who seem to do whatever they can to make the game a stupid, empty, false experience, and whose sense of its history is a biased, stupid lie.

    Wouldn’t everyone agree that the annual votes are times of dread for those who loves the sport? How wrong is that?

    Something terrible is wrong, and cannot be fixed by anything save vast periods of time.

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  14. recca says:

    I wouldn’t call the voting period a time of dread. It has some genuinely beautiful moments like when Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. were both voted in the same year, first ballot. It’s great to see players you enjoyed watching rewarded this honor.

    There are other times where I don’t understand what the hell is going on and feel terrible that deserving players are clearly going to fall short of being inducted. It’s a love-hate relationship, if you concentrate on the negatives though you will miss the beauty of seeing some of the most talented players rewarded baseball’s highest honor.

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  15. recca says:

    @circlechange
    So Tim Raines can’t be in the hall of fame but Lou Brock can? Why because Lou Brock has 3000+ hits? Add Tim Raines’ hits and walks and Tim Raines will have the higher total. Maybe it’s the stolen bases Brock does have over 100 more? Yet Raines stole bases at an above 80% clip while Brock hovered around 75%.

    Add in the fact that Raines walked more, hit for more power, and played good defense and their is no reason for a player like Raines to be left out while Lou Brock is regarded as a sure fire hall of famer.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Point taken.

      But, there’s more to it than that. Since you brought it up …

      [1] Lou Brock did have 3K hits in the era where such a milestone was a HoF “lock”. (for better or worse).
      [2] Lou Brock, at the time of his retirement, was the single season steals record holder. (Probably carries *some* weight)
      [3] Lou Brock started on 3 World Series teams. (This likely matters to some voters)

      I think one could say that Raines was the better base stealer, especially given that Brock’s 118 was the only time he stole more than 75 bases.

      I would NOT say “Raines goes in because Brock is in”, but rather “maybe Brock should NOT be in” … but then you have the 3K hits obstacle to get over. [Note: I am NOT saying 3K is MY automatic enshrinement milestone, only that it has been in the past.]

      So basically …

      Brock = .294/.343/.410, 938 SB, 121 wRC+,
      Raines = .294/.385/.425, 808 SB, 137 wRC+

      So, the BIG differences between the 2 are …

      [1] Single season SB record
      [2] 3000 hits for Brock
      [3] Brock started on 3 WS teams, 2 Winners.
      [4] Raines better OBP and SLG

      My guess is voters put a lot of stock in 1, 2, and/or 3.

      I’m not gonna get all ruffled if Raines is enshrined. My only gripe is the argument that ‘Player X is in and Player Y is about the same, so Player Y should go in’, even though the guys may be from completely different eras, and had completely different levels of team success. For good or bad, being on winning teams seems to drastically help exposure/consideration …. especially if you were on the 50/60s NYY.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Forgot a BIG one …

        [5] Brock, at the time of his retirement, was also the career SB record holder.

        Had Raines retired with BOTH the single season and career records for SBs, he’d likely be a “lock” …. just like both guys that did retire with both records.

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      • Joe R says:

        137 wRC+ to 121 wRC+ is a big gap. That’s ’09 Ryan Howard to ’09 Adam LaRoche.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Point taken.

        Still, I think the big differences with Brock deal with [1] 3K hits, [2] 3 WS (2 Winners), [3] Single Season SB record, [4] Careers SB record.

        I don;t know what type of numerical value you can put on either of those characteristics, only that they are significant pluses on the side of Brock.

        Owning all-time records in significant categories is huge in terms of HoF, as is being a significant starter on champion teams.

        I think Raines *could* go in, but not by stating that he’s “better than Lou Brock” or even equal to …. given the milestones, records, and rings Brock has. Sometimes, we tend to look at certain metrics in isolation, such as comparing Raines’s and Brock’s wRC and OBP, without looking at Brock’s milestones, championships, and records held.

        For example, I’m sure we can compare some (isolated) metrics of Johnny Damon and Adam Dunn to current HoF’s and use that as criteria to enshrine both of them …. without looking at the total package. This has been done elsewhere, and while Dunn’s OBP and OPS are in line with others, people fail to mention that he’ll likely end up about 1K hits shy of the guys he’s being compared to (even though he’ll likely make it to 500 HRs). The 1K hits is a monumental gap to bridge even if other metrics are close. As in some might say something like, “He’s the only .900 OPS guy NOT in the HoF” as if it were the decisive metric/comment.

        It’s a tough deal, because we have to put values on EVERYTHING, and some things such are tough to quantify (records held, championships won, reputation, dominance over peers, etc). We’re also comparing guys from different eras, which makes it even tougher (IMHO).

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  16. wrencis says:

    Dawson is a worse omission than Raines.

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  17. wrencis says:

    And Edgar was really good but not great. His HOF case rests on OPS which heavily privilages walks. He had no MVPs, few Allstar selections, and no defense to bolster his brief resume. Not having to play defense is easier and causes less wear, which has to raise the standard a DH must meet w/ his bat.

    If his contemporaries didn’t see a player as great (w/ MVPs or CYs, as appropriate), they need clear statistical backing. Edgar wasn’t good enough, long enough, to merit induction.

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    • JoeR43 says:


      You realize it’s statistically proven that OPS undervalues the OBP part of the formula, right?

      This argument is retarded. Dale Murphy has 2 MVP’s. Terry fucking Pendleton has an MVP. Steve fucking Stone won a Cy Young, and justified that selection by being out of baseball a year later.

      But you’re right, let’s base our opinions solely on popularity contests.

      WHAT STANDARD DOES A DH HAVE TO MEET? The replacement line for a DH is already higher than any other position. He still blew replacement out of the water. He’s listed 66th of all time on Sean Smith’s database among positional players, so stop being a bullish moron and accept that the DH is a legitimate position.

      AND HE PLAYED UNTIL HE WAS 41.

      Holy Christ, this ridiculous standard some people put on Martinez is retarded.

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      • wrencis says:

        How old are you? I doubt you are an adult because adults don’t get that exercised about a baseball discussion.

        If you have an argument, make it. Name calling just makes you look desperate and your argument look weak.

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      • wrencis says:

        Further, you fail to make a case for Edgar, just against others. Edgar doesn’t have a strong case without reliance on rate stats.

        And DH isn’t a position. Positions are on the field, as in defense. DH is a role. They pinch hit 4 times a game.

        We can debate what the standard should be if you can be civil and rational.

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      • Joe R says:

        You discussed his HoF credentials (or lack thereof) using popularity contests and said somehow that relying on his numbers to get him in is a black mark. Where does discourse even begin?

        I don’t know how many times people are supposed to rehash the same ole argument. He accumulated more PA’s than Johnny Bench (yes I know he was a C, deal), Billy Herman, Ed Delahanty, Bill Mazeroski, Jim Bottomly, Lloyd Waner, Pie Traynor, Joe Medweck, Joe Keller, Kiki Cuyler, Bobby Doerr, and almost 1000 more PA than Joe Dimaggio (lost time in the war, sure. Martinez lost time by being held in AAA too long).

        And since we’re obsessed with count stats, I’ll give some good ones instead of obsessing over some cherry picked ones like Hits or Home Runs.

        69th all time in wRC.
        48th in wRAA.
        40th all time in wRC+ (tied with McCovey and Stargell, ahead of Killebrew, Thome, Lajoie, Hack Wilson, Roger Connor, Frank Howard, Jesse Burkett, among others).

        And out of everyone ahead of him in OPS+ w/ 3000+ PA (38), 34 are Hall eligible. All of those w/ 5000 or more PA’s are in the Hall of Fame. You have to drop all the way to Norm Cash on the OPS+ list to find someone who a) accumulated at least 6,000 PA, and b) isn’t in the Hall of Fame. And Cash is probably better than a lot of recently induced 1B’s. Martinez was more valuable than Cash.

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    • wrencis says:

      Thank you for making your case. I respect it but I just have a different opinion. It seems to me that a player who faced less injury risk and endured less wear/expended less energy would need to be better than in the 40ish range all-time. It’s not just that he didn’t contribute on D, he avoided the work involved in defending – that is a clear advantage over position players.

      With those advantages (although I do believe he could have been at least an average 3B), it seems we should ask for significantly more accomplishment – perhaps top 20 or so. If all you do is hit, you should probably be rewriting the record book to merit HOF induction. For instance, if Pujols was a DH I don’t think he’d have any problem getting in.

      I was an Edgar fan. When I watched him play in the 90′s I though he was underrated. I’m afraid the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. If he gets in, I’ll have no problem with it. He will be far better than some players already there. I’m just not sure I’d vote for him if I had a ballot.

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  18. joser says:

    Why Should We Care About the Hall?

    We shouldn’t. And some of us don’t.

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  19. Breadbaker says:

    I stopped reading after the comment that appears to equate being on a World Series team with luck. Luis Sojo on a World Series team was luck; Jack Morris’s teams made the World Series because they had Jack Morris.

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    • Joe R says:

      That MIGHT be justifyable in 1991. 1992 he was the 2-3 starter behind Juan Guzman. Dan Petry was the ace of the 84 Tigers staff. Those Tigers were also first in runs scored, first in OBP, and 2nd in SLG, so life wasn’t exactly difficult, pitching for the 1984 Tigers.

      Jack Morris is the Kirk Gibson of pitchers (albeit healthier). Some great seasons, couple good seasons, over a good player whose actual value is skewed by a lot of people by a big moment or two.

      And yes, yes it was luck. Ernie Banks was unlucky cause his teams almost always stunk. Morris got to play on good teams.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Again, TWO completely DIFFERENT situations.

        Don;t poeople ever get tired of comparing apples tooranges, even when they use it in support of their arguement.

        IF Banks played in the Free Agent Era, he would have certainly played for winning teams. The best teams go after the best players and vice versa. You are comparing two players from completely different situations, to make some sort of point about “lucky” players are to be on good teams. It’s ruckin fidiculous.

        Morris had more to do with his teams being good than not. How do these teams get “good” if it’s not by the players? Orel hershieser was just lucky to play on that great Dodger team?

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  20. Joe H. says:

    Joe R mentioned we should let Frank Thomas in because “George effin Kell” is also in. While I believe that Thomas is one of the 90s two best first basemen (Bagwell being the other), I think it’s important to avoid these kinds of arguments in the long run. The Hall of Fame was capriciously set up in the late 30′s without a great set of rules for election. Those rules have come over time, and only in the past few decades do I think the BBWAA has done a good job of more or less getting the right candidates into the Hall.

    I think James’ Black Ink Test is the best metric for determining Hall of Famers (the Grey Ink Test might be a little too lax), but then again I’m all for a smaller Hall of Fame. I like Black Ink because it’s pretty strict and compares players to those they played against.

    That being said, Edgar falls WAY short in both gauges – Thomas is one point better on the Black Ink but far superior on Grey Ink. Bagwell is better than both on the Black Ink test, but falls short of Thomas’ mark in Black Ink (probably due to 4 less season ~600 less plate appearances).

    Appreciate any feedback.

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    • Joe R says:

      The Kell point wasn’t so much as to say “Let them all in” as showing the arbitary and ridiculous nature of subjective voting, and how I feel that people are holding Martinez to a much, much higher standard than is fair. His standard, like everyone else, should be a replacement level player (in his case, a league average hitter). And Martinez was so much better than league average.

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  21. NEPP says:

    Bagwell could only dream about being as great a hitter as Thomas…and that takes nothing away from Bagwell as he is also a lock for the Hall.

    Most of the BS HoFers are a result of the old Veterans Committee. Overall, things have been pretty good since that was modified. Other than the occasional borderline guy who gets in ~coughs~ Rice ~coughs again~ its been pretty good. The standard is a bit high and some guys get screwed but overall, most of the guys that have been elected in the past 20 years have deserved it.

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    • Joe R says:

      I agree, though if anything, I think the Hall of Fame should work on the side of letting more borderline guys in than out. It is not going to hurt the credibility of the Hall of Fame to have Ron Santo and Bobby Grich in there, no matter what the HoF elitists say.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        “It is not going to hurt the credibility of the Hall of Fame to have Ron Santo and Bobby Grich in there, no matter what the HoF elitists say.”

        That’s a very good point, worth considering. Thanks.

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    • Joe H. says:

      I tend to agree with most of your post, and also might agree that Thomas was a better hitter than Bagwell (which is tough for an Astros fan to admit). However, I look at Bagwell’s 200 career SB – Griffey, Jr. doesn’t even have 200 – and his stingy defense, and my suggest that he was a better PLAYER than Thomas was.

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  22. Matt Hanna says:

    RJ I think you hit the nail on the head right out of the box. We should care about the Hall because it matters to players. Going along with that we should care about the Cy, MVP, etc because it matters to the players and impacts their percieved worth. Instead of belittling those awards and honors the goal should be to attempt to change (incrimentally of course) the criterion used. I know advanced stats and what not weren’t meant to create some “holier than thou” perception, but that is what the average Joe thinks. Education will take place over time and before you know it the Hall and the major awards will be far more accurate.

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  23. recca says:

    I think this site should start there own Hall of Fame. Give us a random sampling of Hall of Famers and borderline guys every week or so and let everyone vote.

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  24. Andy says:

    Wilbur Cooper fans represent

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  25. jerseys says:

    Top-notch information it is actually. My father has been waiting for this content.

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