Visual Baseball:  Is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer?

Hi there. I’m back after a prolonged offseason hibernation. Over the last several months there’s been a fair amount of the annual “Is he a Hall of Famer” debate. There’s the “the numbers tell me” argument, which tends to help players like Bert Blyleven. And there’s the “my eyes tell me” argument, which tends to favor players like Jack Morris. Here’s a fusion of the two, using our “eyes” to look at “the numbers” courtesy of Rankometer.

With Rankometer, we examine a pitcher’s career by visualizing how his WAR stacked up against his peers each season. Since a Hall of Famer should be performing at an elite level, we look at the top 30 starting pitchers in each season, since they would seemingly represent the “elite” (each team’s ace, the top 20 percent, however you want to look at it). So let’s take Rankometer for a spin and see what our eyes tell us.

Let’s first look at a first ballot Hall of Famer, Greg Maddux. What do my eyes tell me? He was the best among the best for a long stretch. Consistent dominance for an extended period of time. The big block of color says “Hall of Famer” to me.

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Now let’s look at a borderline candidate, Mike Mussina. Rankometer reveals a lesser pitcher than Maddux, but still an elite pitcher for an extended period of time, with some off-years here and there. Hard to say with Mussina, but after looking at his Rankometer I am more of a believer.

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Now, let’s look at Andy Pettitte. What do your eyes tell you when you look at his Rankometer? To me, the visual doesn’t come close to Mussina’s (let alone Maddux’s). I know we’re not considering his postseason resume, which this doesn’t capture (maybe a future revision could). But still, my eyes don’t tell me “Hall of Famer” when I look at this visual. What do you see?

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Click “more” to see more Rankometers for Randy Johnson and a PED-infused Roger Clemens.

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Kevin Dame is a writer and visual designer who brings sports information to life in new and meaningful ways. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter @kevintdame.

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8 Comments on "Visual Baseball:  Is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer?"

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Jacob Rothberg
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Jacob Rothberg

Could you do one of these for Halladay?

Tim
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Tim

I would love to see Blyleven. Still don’t believe he belongs in the HOF.

Jacob Rothberg
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Jacob Rothberg

I’m also happy to see anything to that takes the shine of off the Pettite for HOF case. The guy was a mediocre pitcher who got a pass for taking PED’s by doing the ‘apology without saying what I’m apologizing for’ dance and was just never as good as Yankee fans wanted everybody to believe.

Ed
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Ed

I love these charts. I second the request for Blyleven.

Noodle
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Noodle

Please tell me why you think Morris is more deserving than Pettite. It can’t be his post-season, since Pettite has him beat (19-10 versus 7-4). It can’t be his great W-L percentage or his ERA or ERA+ or just about anything. No, I would not vote for Andy P; but given one vote that I must use, he beats Jack M.

Kevin Dame
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Kevin Dame

Noodle, I am not saying anything about Jack Morris and his candidacy for the HOF (although a Rankometer for him would surely suggest that he doesn’t make the cut).  I was simply using him as an example of how people “use their eyes” (ie. “I saw him pitch 10 innings of shutout baseball in Game 7”) as an example of how some people evaluate performance.  kd PS – Why the name “Noodle?”

Noodle
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Noodle

Guys called me that in HS – I thought it was because I was smart; but after gradutaion someone told me I got the nickname in the shower after gym class.

In any case, I hate those guys who say “I saw him”. Anyone who saw one game – say Game 5 of the 1956 WS – would have an opinion on the greatest pitcher in ML history is, which has no basis in reality. Much like the Jeter GG voters I guess.

Paul
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Paul

Halladay vs. Santana ‘on HoF if careers ended today’ please

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