A logical approach to the Baseball Hall of Fame

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Mindy’s trip to Cooperstown to meet Bob’s 19th century committee friends and spread some of his ashes

Hey Terry,
Sending you a few pics from this past weekend. Caitlin and I went to Cooperstown to spread some of Bob’s ashes and did so when the 19th Century Committee was having their annual meeting so some of his friends could come.

This year the Overlooked Legends crew which Bob was a part of were selected to be on the panel discussion (Bob knew about it and was really excited for the guys). I don’t know who the third guy on the right is…that is where Bob would have been…other members are Joe Williams and Adam Darowski. The moderator, John Thorn, spoke of Bob at the beginning of the discussion and Caitlin and I were lucky to be there.

At the Hall of Fame are statues on the side and that’s where Joe, Marjorie Adams (Doc Adams’ great granddaughter), Bob’s brother John, Caitlin and I went Saturday night to spread a few ashes. I included a couple of those pics as well.

It was great to see everyone and we took a bunch of Bob’s books (4 boxes) for people to take if they wanted…all of them got taken. We auctioned some as well for the memorial here in town. Some are going for to a group who do a Christmas party for kids surviving cancer every year and there’s always requests for baseball books. I still have more. Even with technology…Bob loved the actual books.

I’m glad Caitlin went with me. It was bittersweet, not the same without him and I have no plans to go back but who knows.

I have also attached a picture of the quilt I made out of Bob’s favorite shirts. I sleep with it every night and it’s comforting.

The monument has been made and is in town for the first major league game in Fort Wayne. We don’t have a definite date yet but will be in May some time for the dedication. Bob would have been so very excited.

It’s been good for me to have things to focus on that honor him. He was my best friend…miss him so much…but I wouldn’t have him hang on for me. He fought like hell for years and I’m grateful for every day.

Love,
Mindy

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2018 Results (written by Dan Marks)

The ballots have been submitted and tallied.  Here are the results….
There were 64 ballots submitted this year, surpassing the 55 that were submitted in 2017.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to submit a ballot and for continuing to support the memory of our friend Bob Gregory and his brainchild.
Remember that points were awarded MVP-style:  10 players per ballot, in order, with 14 points for each 1stplace, 11 points for 2nd place, 8 points for 3rd, then 7-6-5-4-3-2-1.
Below are the results, sorted by point total.  Also, it shows the breakdown of how many of each “place” they received (# of 1st place votes, # of 2nd place votes, etc.), as well as the number of total votes (that is, how many ballots that the player was included on), the % of ballots in which the candidate was included, and the total points received.
No player was named on all 64 ballots, and 37 players received at least one vote.
According to the structure of this voting, the top 2 point recipients are inducted into the Gallery of Renown.  Congratulations to Chipper Jones and Tom Glavine!  We’ll start working on the plaques immediately.
Chipper was a runaway winner, earning more than half of the first place votes.  Jim Thome gave Glavine a run for his money, but had to settle for 3rd place.
Place
Name
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
# of Ballots Named On
% of Ballots Appeared On
Total Points
1
Chipper Jones
34
9
5
7
3
1
2
1
62
96.9%
698
2
Tom Glavine
7
13
8
9
6
7
1
2
5
2
60
93.8%
461
3
Jim Thome
3
10
17
5
4
4
8
4
3
1
59
92.2%
418
4
John Smoltz
5
4
8
4
9
8
7
6
4
2
57
89.1%
356
5
Mike Mussina
4
4
2
6
12
6
6
4
6
1
51
79.7%
309
6
Vlad Guerrero
2
4
7
6
8
6
6
6
1
5
51
79.7%
297
7
Manny Ramirez
2
12
2
3
3
5
4
2
1
1
35
54.7%
265
8
Curt Schilling
3
4
4
5
4
7
5
5
6
2
45
70.3%
261
9
Gary Sheffield
1
3
5
4
2
3
4
7
29
45.3%
129
10
Larry Walker
1
1
2
3
6
4
5
2
5
29
45.3%
121
11
Scott Rolen
1
4
3
6
3
3
20
31.3%
65
12
Trevor Hoffman
1
2
1
3
3
4
4
18
28.1%
61
13
Sammy Sosa
1
1
2
1
1
1
2
3
12
18.8%
55
14
Jim Edmonds
2
1
3
2
2
2
12
18.8%
43
14
Dave Stieb
2
1
4
7
10.9%
43
16
Rafael Palmiero
1
1
2
3
2
9
14.1%
40
17
Kevin Brown
1
1
2
1
4
9
14.1%
37
18
Bernie Williams
1
2
1
1
4
9
14.1%
32
19
Kenny Lofton
1
1
1
3
5
11
17.2%
29
20
Jeff Kent
1
1
2
2
1
7
10.9%
25
21
Jorge Posada
1
1
1
4
7
10.9%
23
22
Johan Santana
1
1
1
1
4
6.3%
20
23
Willie McGee
1
1
1
3
4.7%
18
24
Carlos Delgado
1
1
2
4
6.3%
16
25
Andruw Jones
1
2
2
5
7.8%
14
26
Billy Wagner
1
1
1
1
4
6.3%
11
26
Matt Williams
2
1
3
4.7%
11
26
Jamie Moyer
1
1
2
3.1%
11
29
David Cone
1
1
3
5
7.8%
8
29
Omar Vizquel
1
1
2
3.1%
8
31
Orlando Cabrera
1
1
1.6%
5
32
Kevin Millwood
1
1
1.6%
4
33
Nick Johnson
1
1
1.6%
3
34
John Olerud
2
2
3.1%
2
34
Tony Phillips
1
1
1.6%
2
36
Tim Wakefield
1
1
1.6%
1
36
Hideki Matsui
1
1
1.6%
1
Vacant
1
1
1.6%
1

Terry’s 2018 GOR comments

Kevin Brown (1.2) – Based on historical trends, his 1.2 should get him a plaque eventually, but a lot of history happened before there were 30 teams pumping D-level candidates into the pool. Brown is on the good side of the D group, though, and he was truly great for a couple of years. The Hall of Fame has always preferred a little great over a lotta good.

Orlando Cabrera (0.0) – Ed Renteria, without the postseason highlights.

Mike Cameron (0.1) – Centerfield is one of the hardest positions to rate based on defensive statistics, because opportunity itself is too small a sample size in any given season. How slow is too slow? We really don’t know, because nobody lets Pete Incavilia play centerfield for 150 games.

Guys like Cameron often play centerfield, despite steadily declining range, well into their thirties, and they always seem to land on contenders. Their careers usually end about 15 minutes after their managers decide they are too slow to play centerfield.

I called Cameron a second-wife centerfielder last year, but I should have said “truck stop waitress.” He kept a lot of teams warm, helping contenders when their prospects failed, until he lost his looks; now he works at Mel’s Diner. Kiss my grits.

Chris Carpenter (0.7) – He’s impossible to rate on a systematic scale. He was a big-game pitcher who spent much of his career injured, so he has no volume in his record. He spent several years in Toronto getting his brains beat in, ruining his metrics. His St. Louis career looks a lot like Jose Rijo’s career: a condensed version of a Hall of Fame career. He was 95-44, 133 era+, and had three top-3 finishes in the Cy Young award voting, winning in 2005. He finished with a 10-4, 3.00 era postseason record; he was 7-1, including 3-0 in the World Series, during the Cardinals’ two championship runs.

David Cone (1.0) – Cone’s Achilles heel is his win total. The BBWAA barely looked at him, but the Veterans might give him a harder look. If the current crop of pitchers are any indication, there might not be a bunch of 250+, let alone 300+ winners to look at when he is getting serious looks. His other stuff – postseason, hardware, reputation and style points – all point in the right direction.

Francisco Cordero (0.0) – He made the ballot because he saved 329 games. His eras don’t look all that impressive for a reliever, until you compare him to the league averages. His 3.38 career era translates to an era+ of 135.

Johnny Damon – (0.9) – Damon rides the border on a lot of the Test questions; he could be anywhere from 0.4 to 1.8, depending on how thumbsy you are, and which side of the scale you are thumbing. His career numbers are superficially impressive, but they are about as puffed up as any you’ll ever see. On the good side, he was certainly famous. Had he just stayed in Boston, rather than taking the enemy’s money, his chances would be a good bit better. The Test says he’s a slight underdog to get a plaque. I think he’ll get one, but I doubt I’ll live long enough to see it.

Carlos Delgado (1.0) – He looks like Eddie Murray or Willie McCovey in the book, but he looks more like Gil Hodges once you take the air out of his numbers. He’s like Bobby Bonds was before the PED era, the guy whose numbers jump out of the book but don’t look so dominating on closer inspection.

Jim Edmonds (1.1) – Nobody ever talks about the time factor; that’s one of the fundamental fallacies of the Hall of Fame discussion. Edmonds is a controversial candidate, a popular, gold glove-winning, highlight reel filling slugger with good numbers according to the most popular value metrics, but also a guy who didn’t win big awards or lead the league in stuff. He’s part of the in-or-out argument; guys like that never get elected quickly.

Is he a Hall of Famer? Sure. There at least a dozen comparable players – already enshrined –  who lose in a comparison to Edmonds. His numbers will keep him in the room forever, or until somebody asks him to dance. How long will it be? Now we’re getting somewhere. My guess is 40 years, give or take a few here, a hundred there. It will depend on how many dancers the Hall of Fame old timers are looking for, and if Edmonds is having a good hair day when they come looking.

Tom Glavine (2.3) – My crafty lefty mountain is Warren Spahn, Glavine, Whitey Ford and Tommy John, with honorable mention to Eddie Plank.

What would be the opposite? The not-so-crafty lefty mountain? I’ll go with Mitch Williams, Sam McDowell, Rube Waddell and John Candelaria. Waddell and Tommy John, as celestial bodies, would be the two left corners of the universe.

Who would the right corners be? I’ll go with Cy Young and Nolan Ryan. Since I’m here:

Crafty righty mountain is Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Jim Palmer and Gaylord Perry. The not-so-crafty mountain is Nolan Ryan, Ryne Duran, Denny McLain and Doc Gooden.

Vlad Guerrero (2.2) – When I’m in a bad mood, Vladdie is the modern Joe Medwick. When I’m in a good mood, he’s the modern Al Simmons. And Jim Rice has to wear the duck costume.

Livan Hernandez (0.0) – Was he basically a more thoroughly tanned replacement for Bill Gullickson? Gullickson retired after the 1994 season, and Hernandez came up in 1996. Both had memorable high-strikeout games, early in their careers, and then spent forever throwing glorified batting practice and sometimes winning a lot of games. Gullickson finished 162-136 with a 98 era+, Hernandez 178-177 and 95.

Trevor Hoffman (0.6) – That score isn’t fair to Hoffman, who is going to get in to the real Hall of Fame as soon as this year. The Test isn’t well suited to relief pitchers, and particularly poorly suited to one-inning pitchers. I could make one for relievers, but I don’t think the Hall of Fame itself has defined lines of separation yet. For example, I don’t see a clear line separating Hoffman and, say, Lee Smith.

Orlando Hudson (0.1) – He barely registers on the Test, but he was as good as several of the honorable mention types of second basemen who made it into the Historical Abstracts. His defensive numbers are genuinely impressive, “proving” his 4 Gold Gloves. He was an above average hitter in his prime. He’s famous for being brittle, or at least I remember him as a brittle player, but he qualified for the batting title every year but one from ages 25-33.

Aubrey Huff (0.2) – If you buy into the Rick and Morty infinite universes theory, Huff was Don Mincher in a bunch of them.

Jason Isringhausen (0.0) – I’m sure you remember back when Izzy, Paul Wilson and Bill Pulsipher were supposed to be “Generation K.” Buster Olney and the rest of the Met-fan platoon of New York writers always freaked out about any Mets pitcher with a decent fastball and a recent birth certificate, so eventually we all got a little jaded. Even the most recent crop of guys, who had genuinely impressive fastballs, had more Tommy John surgeries than all-star appearances when Olney started humping on their legs.

Nick Johnson (0.0) – Johnson wasn’t necessarily fat, but he always looked a little soft, a little pudgy. I think of him as a Mike Hargrovish player, probably a little more talented but the same basic model. Hargrove had a butt you could store furniture in, but he managed to stay on the field. Johnson’s body kept breaking down, unable to withstand the strain of competing with the perfectly chiseled bodies of the PED era. They both lasted 12 years, but Hargrove played twice as many games, 1666-832.

Andruw Jones (0.8) – Speaking of asses you could store a cannon in … I don’t know that Andruw actually has one in there, but I’m not going to stand behind him in the buffet line.

Jones is a weird case; he has no chance of getting in through the BBWAA, but he  will become a SABR darling as soon as he shows up in front of the Veterans Committee. His case relies heavily on his defensive metrics. The writers won’t pay much attention to them – they don’t have to; Jones is too far below the BBWAA line for them to dig deeper into his case – but the vets might. They will still be there, long after all the writers who remember him – and how he shot from one end of the defensive spectrum to the other faster than a cannonball (sorry) – are gone.

Chipper Jones – (2.7) – Jones has some tweener problems in his numbers. They won’t keep him out of the Hall – don’t be silly – but they might keep him out of the penthouse. He was always on the high side of good, but only ticked up over the great line for that one insane hot streak toward the end of the 1999 season. His numbers are tremendous for a thirdbaseman, but he wasn’t a particularly good defensive player, so that’s a fairly empty comparison.

Still, he’s one of the 3-5 best hitters to ever play the position, and he wasn’t a terrible defender. He wasn’t as famous as he could have been, mostly because the Braves kept falling short in the playoffs, so he’s a B- rather than a B+, but he’s a solid, no-brainer B. He’s most likely going to get elected to the GOR – and the real Hall of Fame – in his first try.

Adam Kennedy (0.0) – I don’t remember why I listed him – all I know about him is that he hit 3 homers in a playoff game and he batted lefty. There used to be a law, I think, that Cardinal secondbasemen had to have names that left no doubt whatsoever that they were white. Ted Sizemore, Mike Tyson, Ad- oh, wait. Never mind.

Jeff Kent (1.1) – If elected, his would be the most backloaded career elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA since Dazzy Vance in 1955. He’s more likely to wind up sharing Veterans Committee ballots with Jim Edmonds.

Carlos Lee (0.3) – He hit 358 career homeruns, but he never finished higher than 10th in any season, and he only finished 10th once. He was known as an RBI man, but he only finished in the top 5 once, higher than 10th 3 times. His career RBI total, compiled in the highest offensive context in baseball history, barely cracks the top 100. His top BBR comp is Orlando Cepeda, but I think he was more like a poor man’s Lee May. His .285 career batting average would have been more like May’s .267, had they played at the same time, and May had a lot more power.

Brad Lidge (0.1) – Did that ball ever come down?

Kenny Lofton (1.3) – I generally don’t have pet candidates, but if I did Kenny Lofton would have his own supper dish. He changed teams nine times between 2001 and 2007, and the only time he missed the playoffs was when the Phillies had him (in 2005; Lofton hit .335) and didn’t trade him. He changed teams seven times in his playoff career. I don’t know if that’s a record, but I bet it would be hard to top.

If Mike Cameron was a truck stop waitress, Lofton was a high class hooker. He was expensive, but always on short-term contracts, and he always landed in prime spots. He played 47 postseason games for five teams after he turned 35, and all but one of them won a playoff series.

I wonder what Ed Taubensee is doing these days.

Hideki Matsui (0.4) – Godzilla may have been the most overrated outfielder I ever saw, not because everybody thought he was great, but because most people failed to realize just how awful he was. He ran around out in left field like a hummingbird with a busted GPS. The ugly bastard could hit, though. He was 29 when he came to the States, and he didn’t leave the lineup until his fourth year. He put up a 125 ops+ in his first five years, ages 29-33. It would be interesting to see what a Matsui Brock2 (or whatever number it is now) would look like.

I don’t know what it means, but if you type “hide” into BBR’s search engine you get four Japanese players.

Willie McGee (0.4) – The perfect E candidate. If the Hall of Fame expanded its circle to the next hoop out, Willie would be a terrific addition.

Kevin Millwood (0.0) – After leaving the Braves, Millwood started 283 games over the final 10 years of his career without making a single relief appearance, posting an era+ of 100. In short, Millwood was a perfect LAIM (league-average innings muncher). Mike Torrez, eat your heart out.

Jamie Moyer (0.5) – If you hit a major league homerun, chances are Jamie Moyer gave it up. He gave up an alltime record 522, in just over 4,000 innings. He was 33 years old when he finally got it together, with Boston in 1996. From there through the age of 45 he went 187-109, with an era of 4.05 but an era+ of 111.

Is he a Hall of Famer? I doubt it. His career era+ is just 103 and his 4.25 career era would be the worst by a good bit. But he won 269 games. There are only a few guys who won that many and aren’t in. One of them, Tommy John, is probably Moyer’s closest comp, though that only works one way. John’s comps are mostly guys who were a good bit better than Moyer.

Mike Mussina (1.7) – Deeply closeted Yankee fan Bob would yell at me all the time when I said Moose was more of a back-end C level candidate than a slam dunk, but the first time we Tested him, Bob had him lower than I did!

John Olerud (0.8) – The modern Joe Judge. Olerud was several inches taller, but they were both line-drive hitting lefties with good batting eyes and good gloves who had enough pop to hit in the middle of the order. Judge hit 57 of his 71 career homers on the road and came up five years before the clean ball era began. Had he came up in 1990, I see no reason why he wouldn’t have matched Olerud’s power, plate discipline and ops+ statistics.

Rafael Palmiero (1.3) – Will Clark was as good or a little better than Palmiero, even if you ignore the PED accusations. Their comparison is one of the best examples I’ve found to illustrate how much air has to be let out of the 1990s-early 2000s numbers, even before you adjust for chemicals.

Palmiero, Jeff Kent and several other PED-accused players played seemingly forever, never seeming to age. If you adjust for PED factors, don’t forget to look at longevity and aging patterns.

There’s a report that Raffy wants to come back, at 53 years old. He’s subject to a suspension if he does, I think, so maybe he’s just trying to clear that off his desk.

Tony Phillips (0.3) – Baseball’s Dennis Rodman. Neither one ever ranks high on greatness lists, but both would be immensely valuable as role players in contests between historical greats.

Jorge Posada (0.9) – One of the most consistent players ever, his case won’t come up any time soon. When it does, it’s going to ride or die on his defensive reputation.

Manny Ramirez (2.6) – Manny owns the highest single season RBI total since the 1930s, driving in 165 for Cleveland in 1999. It was his only RBI title. He led in batting in 2002 and homeruns in 2004, giving him a best-ball triple crown. I don’t know how many players did that, but it ain’t as many as you might think.

Manny’s reputation is larger than life, but his career numbers, while outstanding, don’t match up with the pantheon level players. His career black ink total is 21 (average Hall of Famer 27), his grey ink 154 (average 144). If I take the Test questions about fame and impact out, Manny is pretty much a solid C player, averaging around 2.0.

The Mannycomps timeline, updated every year (I don’t know why):

 

Pete Browning
Heinie Zimmerman
Joe Jackson
Hack Wilson
Babe Herman
Gus Zernial
Rico Carty
Manny Ramirez

Scott Rolen (1.4) – Had steroids never been invented, I think Rolen would have been a no-brainer Hall of Famer. His career profile scans as a guy who was clean in Philly, dirty in St. Louis for a couple of years, then clean again after 2004, when testing got going in earnest. I haven’t looked at it much, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if there were a coupla dozen players –  maybe several dozen – who show that clear back line between 2004 and 2005.  Pudge Rodriquez famously lost 40 pounds (and 40 ops+ points) over that winter.

Rolen has the metric profile of a Hall of Famer, but not the bulk numbers or the superstar reputation. Had he not been competing with a bunch of Michelin men, his impressive balance of good offense and outstanding defense might have made him a lot more famous. His relatively early fade (his last good year came at 35 years old, and he sputtered after he turned 30) wouldn’t have looked so sickly if relative mediocrities in their 20s, like Jeff Kent for example,  hadn’t lasted a decade longer than their natural talent deserved.

Johan Santana (2.1) – Several reader posts threads have argued Santana’s case, but always under an assumed name. I think one called him “Koufax” and asked what his case would be like if he was missing his final season. Another called him “Kershaw” and asked if he would make the Hall of Fame if he retired immediately. Toss in Joe Wood and Addie Joss, mix thoroughly, and pour over Dizzy Dean.

Is Johan a Hall of Famer? His Test score predicts a BBWAA election, but it’s hard to see them voting for him with just 139 career wins. Dizzy Dean only won 150, though, and he pitched when pitchers routinely won 25; he himself once won 30. The BBWAA elected him. Roy Halladay (RIP) is getting in without too much trouble. The writers who are going to vote him in all covered Santana, and they all know Santana was the alpha dog of the two.

Johan put up a 150 era+ over a nine year period. There are others who have done that, but I doubt it was more than 15-20 guys, and most of them were from the early days, when competitive balance was comparatively weak. There are only two starting pitchers who beat 150 era+ in their career, and one of those (Kershaw) is still active.

Santana’s case will get better if pitchers stop winning 300, and it’ll get great if they stop winning 250. The Hall of Fame voters historically have chosen ephemeral greatness over sustained goodness, so Santanta has that going for him. Which is nice.

Curt Schilling (2.2) – I don’t have to eat dinner with the guy, and his finger, foot and bloody sock prints are all over the game. Let the KKK give his dinner,  put his plaque between Satchel and Campy, and move on with your life.

Gary Sheffield (1.7) – You could have made a lot of money in early 1992, betting a parley on whether Sheffield would be (1) alive (3/5), (2) not in jail (9/5), (3) a serious Hall of Fame contender (100/1), and (4) working in television (what?).

Put Curt Schilling and Gary Sheffield in a room, turn on the cameras, and lock the door. How fun would that conversation be?

Ben Sheets (0.1) – Would Sheets make the “best players who were still colossal disappointments” team? He flamed out early, retiring with a losing record after being hyped as much as Kershaw or Clemens. But he was actually pretty good; his career era+ was 113, and he accumulated 45 points of gray ink.

In his case, it’s obvious what happened. He posted a 162 era+, a league-leading 8.25-1 k/bb ratio and 264 strikeouts in 2004, at age 25. He wasn’t the same pitcher after that. Was it the workload (237 innings), or the PED wall? It don’t suppose it matters now. He’s retired, restoring old cars, coaching his kid’s little league teams and burning dead cows in his back yard.

John Smoltz (2.2) – I was surprised when he got elected immediately, but he was a certainly a solid choice. Did anyone think he would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in the spring of 1995? He was 28 years old, 78-75 in his career and coming off a 6-10, 4.14 era season. He was Ben Sheets.

In the following 13 years – 1995-2007 – he went 129-70 with a 142 era+. He missed a year and spent four years in the bullpen; he won 6 games in those 5 years. He still got to 200 wins and 3,000 strikeouts.

Sammy Sosa (2.0) – I think he’s a Hall of Famer, but he’s likely going to have to wait awhile. Without the juice, he was Chuck Klein or Jose Canseco. Even with the juice, he didn’t dominate. He didn’t lead the league in homers in any of his 60 homer seasons. I have him at 2.0, but realistically he should be seen more as a 1.4 or 1.5. The writers aren’t going to give him a pass for the PED stuff; his use was too prominent. He will have to wait at least until McGwire gets in.

Dave Stieb (0.9) – He has an argument for being the unluckiest Hall of Fame candidate of his time. He should have won more games, he should have won more hardware, he should have been involved in more postseasons, and he should have been more famous. It’s hard to overcome that sort of 0-4.

Matt Stairs (0.0) – He looked like the catcher on a slowpitch softball team, but he had some good years and lasted forever. His grandkids will be thoroughly entertained.

Jim Thome (2.4) – Somebody looked at the young 6’4”, 240-pound Peoria farm boy incarnation of Jim Thome and decided he was a thirdbaseman. In his first two major league trials his fielding percentages were .900 and .882. He continued to play third for another four years, better than that but still pretty bad.

Thome, especially early in his career, looked as scary at the plate as any player I ever saw. He looked like one of those slowpitch softball ringers the boss hires to wash his car, and everybody just walks him every time he comes up. Major league pitchers weren’t all that excited to see him, either, walking him over 100 times in nine different seasons.

Thome got a lot of flack for not driving in runs when he was young, and I know people who swear, to this day, that he’s retarded. He isn’t, of course; it’s just what gets out in the air when you look like Moose from the Archie comics.

Omar Vizquel (0.9) – I think he’ll be treated a little better than that Test result; I expect the Vets to elect him while he’s still alive to enjoy it. His 11 Gold Gloves will keep him on the radar until he gets elected, assuming he doesn’t go win four titles as a manager and get in that way first.

Billy Wagner (0.4) – A better pitcher than Hall of Fame candidate, given his unfortunate big-game record. There is just no way to explain away his big game history to the writers who watched him play. He might emerge as a good candidate down the road, when his regular season numbers might win an argument with writers who didn’t watch him fold like a cheap lawn chair every time a big game was on the line.

Tim Wakefield (0.1) – Wakefield has just one knuckleballer on his age 44 comp list. That seems weird.

Larry Walker (1.4) – Walker might wind up battling Sosa and McGwire for votes a decade or so from now. If so – considering his clean reputation – he might have a pretty good chance.

Bernie Williams (1.2) – Williams had one of the few lasting, successful first-wife centerfield marriages of his era, surviving one famous rough patch when he threatened to go marry Richard Burton the Red Sox.

Bernie eventually got old and passed away retired, though, so the Yankees had to move on. First, they had an affair with high-priced hooker Kenny Lofton, and then they Liz Taylored Eddie Fisher stole Johnny Damon from the Red Sox. The lovely couple was happy for a couple of years, but they went through their own rough patch, when the Yanks started messing around with the younger, supposedly hotter Melky Cabrera. Damon suffered in silence over in right field for a year or so, then rode off on the back of the Tigers’ motorcycle.

The surprisingly flat-chested powerless Cabrera was a horrible wife, never learning how to cook or clean or turn on a fastball, and he put on weight, so the Yankees dumped him and stole Debbie Reynolds’ husband the Tigers’ centerfielder, Curtis Granderson. Meanwhile, Melky moved to Kansas City and got a boob job Victor Conti’s phone number.

Matt Williams (1.1) – Matty is the meat in the Hall-candidate thirdbase sandwich. Graig Nettles and Darrell Evans are the bread. They kill each other’s chances, because, well … they ain’t all getting in. But which one do you pick?

They should have one of those Highlander things where they chop off everybody’s head until there is only one. Or how about a reality show? The Hot Corner. Bring in all the borderline guys and vote them off thirdbase until there is only one left. Toss that guy a plaque, and make him give a speech.

Once one gets in, his election will be the basis for every argument in defense of the other two.

Kerry Wood (0.1) – What do they call that useless flap of skin surrounding Wood’s 20-strikeout game? His career. Get it? Ah, nuts to ya.

I’m just kidding … Wood had a tremendous season in 2003, striking out 266 and pitching great in the playoffs until that disaster of a 7th game. Dusty Baker has ruined more young right arms than Hugh Hefner.

Carlos Zambrano (who the hell knows but it ain’t a lot) – Gawd was he fun to watch, no matter what he was doing. He had a huge, violent lefthanded swing that led to 24 career homeruns and a lot of Chicago’s reputation as the Windy City. He even stole a base, which should have gotten that catcher fired; he ran the bases like a fat tourist looking for the food court, five minutes before the mall closed.

As a pitcher, he did something that I bet used to be common, and might come back. He’d throw 89-91 mph fastballs all day long, 2-seamer after 2-seamer. He threw a few changes, and I heard rumors that he had some sort of breaking ball, but mostly he just tossed up that 2-seamer at 90 percent capacity, over and over – except every once in awhile he’d cross the seams and air out a chest-high, 96 mph 4-seamer. I think his ability to pace himself like that allowed him to fade Dusty’s influence, but his career ended at 31 anyway because he couldn’t fade the food court.

 

The board takes on Bob’s Johnny Mize Keltner

May 11, 2017

Tigerlilly

Who’s Better – Hank Greenberg vs Johnny Mize

Earlier today, I was surfing the website Terry set up to honor Bob and came across a Keltner List Bob had done of Johnny Mize. In his discussion, Bob noted that it was a close call as who was the better player Mize or Hank Greenberg. Well, Bob’s right, it is a close call as to which of these two was the better player. I thought I’d take a close look at the two and see what the BJOL readers have to say about it.

Before I start, below is a link to Bob’s Keltner List for Mize

http://boards.billjamesonline.com/sh…or-Johnny-Mize

Let’s start by seeing how these two look in the encyclopedia.

Hank Greenberg 1930, 1933-41, 45-47, Ages 19-36, DET 1930-46, PIT 1947
1394 G 6098 PA 5193 AB 1046 RS 1628 H 379 2B 71 3B 331 HR 1274 RBI 58/26 SB/CS 852/844 BB/K .313/.412/.605 158 OPS+ 3142 TB 66 GDP 16 HBP 35 SH

Johnny Mize 1936-42, 46-53 Ages 23-40, STL 1936-41, NYG 42-49, NYY 49-53
1884 G 7370 PA 6443 AB 1118 RS 2011 H 367 2B 83 3B 359 HR 1337 RBI 28 SB 856/524 BB/K .312/.397/.562 158 OPS+ 3621 TB 99 GDP 52 HBP 20 SH

Now a look at their careers on a season by season basis using Win Shares.

AgeHGJM
19 00 —
20 — —
21 — —
22 14 —
23 31 26
24 34 34
25 03 28
26 33 33
27 34 33
28 24 26
29 31 32
30 02 — (MS for both)
31 MS MS
32 MS MS
33 MS 22
34 16 32 (MS for 1/2 season for HG)
35 31 30
36 14 12
37 — 12
38 — 11
39 — 04
40 — 03

Tot 267 338
162 31.03 29.06

Not much to choose from in their prime is there? Determining each man’s Raw WS Value (car WS + Top 3 Sea + Top 5 Cons + WS/162) results in the following totals – 121.93 for Mize and 117.52 for Greenberg. I’m not going to do a year by year study under WAR, but I will note their JAWS scores. Mize has 70.8 career WAR and a WAR7 of 48.8 good for a JAWS of 59.9 which is 8th all time among 1B. Greenberg’s career WAR is 57.5, his WAR7 is 47.7 so his JAWS is 52.6 (16th all time among first sackers).

One thing I like to look at is how often players reach some arbitrary OPS+ each year they’re a regular. For Mize & Greenberg I chose 150.

Greenberg 158/ 172,171,170,169,162,156,156
Mize —– 158/ 178,177,176, 173, 162, 161, 160, 156, 156

Greenberg had only 9 seasons in which he qualified for a batting title, and Mize ten, Greenberg’s 7 seasons and Mize’s 10 seasons with an OPS+ of 150 or more is pretty darn impressive.

Let’s see how each player does in relation to his peers;

Greenberg
Black Ink 46 (31)
Gray Ink 171 (62)
HOF Monitor 188 (53)
HOF Standards 46 (111)

The numbers in parentheses are the man’s ranking in that category. Neither Gold Gloves nor Silver Sluggers existed at the time. Greenberg played in 5 All Star Games in his career competing against the top 2 first basemen (Gehrig & Foxx) of all time. Greenberg won 2 MVP’s – one as a 1B for the pennant winning Tigers in ’35 and the other as a LF for another pennant winning Tigers squad in 1940. Overall, he has a MVP Award Share total of 3.69, the 19th best total in baseball history. He received MVP votes in eight seasons, including six top ten finishes. Greenberg was selected to The Sporting News post-season Major League All Star team twice – once as a first baseman in 1935 and once as an outfielder in 1940.

Based on WAR, Greenberg would have been an AL All Star three times (1937 & 1945 as a 1B and 1940 as an OF). Also, per WAR, Greenberg was one of the top 10 players in MLB five times with another two seasons in MLB top 20. His high finish was third which happened three times (1937-38 and 40).

Doing the same exercise using WS also results in 3 AL All Star berths (1935, 38 & 40). He was one of the best players in the majors four times (on a fifth occasion he made the top 20) with high finish of second place in 1938.

Mize
Black Ink 50 (26)
Gray Ink 202 (40)
HOF Monitor 175 (61)
HOF Standards 47 (103)

Mize played in 10 ASG. Mize never won an MVP, but he did finish second twice and ended his career with an Award Share score of 2.46 (60th). He received MVP votes in 11 seasons including 6 top 10 finishes. He was The Sporting News post-season major league All Star 1B three times (1942, 47-48).

Doing the same WAR & WS exercise for Mize results in the following;

WAR NL All Star – 7 (1937-40,42,47-48)
WAR MLB Top 10/Top 20 Player – 8 T10, 9 T20 – Hi – 3rd 1940

WS NL All Star – 8 (1936-40,42,47-48)
WS MLB Top 10/Top 20 – 7 & 9 – Hi finish – 2 (1940 & 47)

Both players performed well in the post-season.

Although Greenberg’s career with the Tigers coincided with an era of Yankee dominance, his Tigers won four AL pennants and went 2-2 in the World Series.

Greenberg’s WS stats;

23 G 85 AB 17 R 27 H 7 2B 2 3B 5 HR 22 RBI 13/19 BB/K .318/.420/.624

Mize never played in the World Series during his peak seasons with the Cards and Giants (his Cards finished 2nd three times). He did play in five World Series as a part time player with the Yanks from 1949-53 as the Yanks won five straight championships. Mize contributed to those 5 straight World Championships;;

18 G 42 AB 5 R 12 H 2 2B 0 3B 3 HR 9 RBI 5/3 BB/K .286/.362/548

Now on to the things that are harder to quantify – defense, base-running and intangibles.

Defense
My knowledge is that both of these players were considered as adequate defensive first sackers. In his career, Greenberg played 1138 games at first and another 238 games in left field. His career dWAR is -4.3 and he had no season in which he was ranked among the league top 10 in dWAR, while Bill graded him as an A- first basemen in his Win Shares book. His career fielding percentage at 1B is .991 vs a league .990.

In his career, Mize played 1667 games at first and 8 games in RF. His career dWAR is -6.5 and he also never finished among the league top 10 in this category. Bill graded him as a B at 1B. His career fielding percentage at 1B was .992 vs a league .990. Your guess is as good as mine as to which rates the edge as a defensive player.

Baserunning

Baserunning was not a major factor in either man’s game. Greenberg stole 58 bases at a 69% clip in his career (CS totals were kept for his career except for 47 in which he had 0 SB). Mize stole only 28 bags in his career, but until he moved to the Yanks in the AL we have no info on his CS totals. The AL did not keep track of GDP until the 1939 season. From ’39 until the end of hsi career, Greenberg hit into 66 DP’s in 2784 PA or 15.65/660. The NL kept GDP during all of Mize’s career and his GDP rate is a low 8.87 per 660 PA. Each man hit a fair number of triples, but since both were first class power hitters, it’s hard to know how much credit for the triples totals should go into the baserunning category.

Intangibles

From what I know both were fine gentlemen and good teammates.

These two are awfully close as players and they have quite a bit in common. Greenberg, even though he had his first cup of coffee in 1930 vs Mize’s major league debut in 1936, is only 2 years older than Mize. Both started out in the shadow of the two greatest first baseman of all time (Gehrig & Foxx) and both lost a significant portion of their prime seasons to World War II. Greenberg missed almost all of 1941, all of 1942-44 and about half of 1945 to military service. Mize missed three full seasons (1943-45). I thought I’d prorate each man’s pre and post war seasons to figure out career totals with their war service.

First, Greenberg. No one missed more time to military service during World War II than Greenberg. Reviewing the Tiger game logs at Baseball Reference, Greenberg missed 658 games from 1941 through 45. Below are his pro-rated numbers as I see it;

Greenberg Career Totals without military service

2000 G 8725 PA 7380 AB 1519 R 2288 H 513 2B 93 3B 503 HR 1797 RBI 1269/1206 BB/K .310/.411/.609 158 OPS+ 4496 TB

Greenberg ends his career in 1947 with 390 WS and 79.4 WAR

Mize missed three full seasons or 462 games.

Mize Career Totals without military service

2299 G 9163 PA 8001 AB 1414 R 2493 H 450 2B 102 3B 458 HR 1677 RBI .312/.397/.565 160 OPS+

Mize would’ve retired after 1953 with 426 WS 90.4 WAR

Giving each man credit for their war years, both are somewhere in the next group of first basemen below Gehrig and Foxx (and now Pujols).

Greenberg retired the minute his game slipped a notch at age 36 while Mize hung around as a platoon/bench player through age 40. I wanted to see what Mize’s numbers would look like if he hadn’t hung around (and picked up all those World Series winners checks).

Mize through 1949 – 1522 G 6424 PA .319/.405/.577 164 OPS+ with a WS/162 of 32.78 & a WAR/162 of 7.15

As a reminder, here’s Greenberg’s career numbers

1394 G 6098 PA .313/.412/.605 158 OPS+ with a WS/162 of 31.03 and a WAR/162 of 6.68.

Greenberg made the Hall of Fame through the BBWAA in 1956, while Mize had to wait until 1981 when a Veteran’s committee finally saw fit to select him. I can see why Greenberg made the HOF ahead of Mize. He played in the more offensive league and in the best hitter’s park, thus putting up bigger counting numbers (a 58 HR season, a 184 RBI season, 168 RBI, etc). He won 2 MVP’s and his team won four pennants. He was more famous and the bigger star and all that time he lost to military service and his Jewish heritage probably also worked in his favor. That said, there’s very little of separation between these two. If I had to choose though, I’d rate Mize a hair ahead of Greenberg. I think he was the slightly better hitter and the slightly better player at his peak.

What do you think?

***

Marisfan61

Nice job!
I wouldn’t have thought that Mize stacks up so well against Greenberg, maybe even being better.

I’d say Greenberg was better because he had a higher batting average (.313 vs. .312).

Just kidding.

Indeed they’re extremely close as hitters. To me, it’s splitting hairs to say on that basis which is better. I have a couple of quibbles with what you say, the main one being that I don’t think it’s meaningful in such a situation to say that one guy is “a hair” better — because such a degree of supposed difference based on what we’re able to know is completely dwarfed (pardon the political incorrect word; honestly I’m not sure why the word has become improper) by whatever differences there may be in the things we can’t know very well, particularly fielding and baserunning. It’s an “order of magnitude” issue; I just don’t think it’s meaningful to say that such a minuscule difference (if any) in offense determines anything when there are those other things that we just can’t assess very well. Unless and until we get a lot better on those, I’d have to say this is too close for us to call. If we wanted to insist on having an answer, I think we’d get a more reliable answer by looking at contemporaneous comments about them and doing our best to assess those.

Also I’m not sure why you say that Greenberg’s being Jewish helped him to be the bigger star. (That was probably riskier than my using the word “dwarf.”)
I think we could just as easily say that being Jewish got in the way of his being regarded as a star.

For what it’s worth, I’ve assumed that Greenberg was better/greater, for several reasons that I realize aren’t necessarily telling.

— The 58 HR season. I’m big on big-big seasons. (Surprise.)
— I think of Mize mostly as a part-time player and pinch hitter late in his career. I know that isn’t fair.
— This other one also probably isn’t that fair; most people here would say it’s totally unfair: Greenberg got into the Hall of Fame much sooner, and he was always a Hall of Famer since I started paying attention, while Mize wasn’t until much later. I tended to think that this means something, even if I had no idea what. In this case, while it’s never like I was comparing the two guys, I guess subliminally I was figuring that Mize either wasn’t that good of an all-around player or that his offense was more 1-dimensional, notwithstanding his very good overall offensive numbers. (I know that this was what I assumed about Ralph Kiner when he didn’t make the HOF for so long, and I did ever after, as the explanation of why it took so long.)
— I give a lot of weight to Greenberg’s 2 MVP wins, and I’d guess the HOF voters did too. Mize did great in MVP voting too, but to me 2nd’s and 3rd’s don’t count nearly as much as 1st, and back then, few if any of the voters had it in their minds who ever finished 2nd or 3rd.

BTW, Greenberg’s 1934 World Series, despite the terrific numbers, seems actually to have been considered poor in some quarters. I remember that around 1960, one of the major magazines, probably SPORT, had a thing about it, maybe even calling him the “goat” of the series, saying that while his numbers were good, he failed in key situations. I don’t mean that I agree, just saying. (From a ‘modern’ perspective, it sure doesn’t sound right, does it….)

***

Tigerlilly

Oh, no – I didn’t say Greenberg was a bigger star because he was Jewish. I said he was the bigger star period (for the reasons I mentioned – the bigger numbers, the MVPs and so forth), and that was why the BBWAA voted him into the Hall long before Mize. I probably shouldn’t have even mentioned anything about his being Jewish. As you know, at that time, being Jewish was an obstacle that made things more difficult. However, in Greenberg’s case part of his fame was that he was the great Jewish ballplayer. I think that on balance that may have aided him with the HOF voters only because of the circumstances of his military service. My reasoning is that Greenberg’s counting stats are lower than most Hall of Famers and in his case the voters would’ve also been aware of why that was so – he lost more of his playing career to the war than anybody else (well, except for Feller) and 1) this was well known at the time (that he and Feller lost more time than any other stars), and 2) I think more voters than not may have given him credit for this especially since the most dangerous of those enemies we fought was also responsible for the Holocaust. In any event, it’s just speculation on my part and doesn’t change the basis of his Hall of Fame case.

***

David32

I initially thought that Mize would have been a better fielder, just because he earned the nickname “Big Cat” because of his smooth fielding. (Before Andres Galarraga came along and shared the sobriquet.) But the stats for both are pretty equal.

Mize got stuck in the minors (behind the Cards’ Ripper Collins) when he was 18, and stayed there for five years, batting .337, .326, .358, .352, and .317. And despite being a power hitter, in the 12 seasons in which he had at least 400 plate appearances he averaged fewer than 40 strikeouts. (Including being the only player to hit 50 homers and strike out less than 50 times.)
Mize was the baseball coach at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, after his playing career was over, and he came and spoke to my high school team on a couple of different occasions.

I think that choosing between Hank Greenberg and Johnny Mize is a perfect example of one of Bear Bryant’s “paper bag” choices. Put ’em both in a paper bag, shake it up, and pour one out. I’ll take either the one who falls out or the one still left in the bag and be happy.

My favorite Hank Greenberg story (though I suspect it’s apocryphal): When Greenberg joined the army, he was at the induction station with all the other recruits. While they were all sitting around in one of the army’s notorious “hurry up and wait” sessions, an anti-Semitic redneck from Alabama decided he’d show everyone how “tough” he was. So he stood up, balled up his fists, glared around, and asked: “Anybody here named Goldstein or Goldberg or anything like that?”
Hank stood up slowly and answered, “My name’s Greenberg. Is that close enough?”
The redneck looked at Hank, who was about three inches taller and 30 pounds heavier, and shook his head: “Nah, I said Goldberg. You don’t qualify.”

***

Steve161

A tossup on numbers, Greenberg on fame–for whatever that’s worth, which ain’t much but might be more than nothing.

***

Good comparison, and a great essay Tigerlily. The two are indeed very very close. What stands out the most to me is how shocking it was that it took so long for Mize to get into the Hall of Fame. I mean, Greenberg has the flashier seasons, and maybe folks weren’t paying a lot of attention to park and league context back then, but it’s not like Mize’s stats weren’t impressive …not at all!

If I had to pick one I guess I’d go with the Big Cat.

***

Doncoffin

I went into this thinking Greenberg, but came out thinking Mize. Their career rate stats are reasonably close (BA/OBA/SA/OPS) with Greenberg having about a 3-4% edge in OBA and a 7% edge in SA (and about 6% in OPS):

Hank: .313/.412/.605/1017
John: .312/.397/.562/957

But if we ended Mize’s career age 36, Greenberg’s edge shrinks considerably (Mize is .319/.404/.577/981 through age 36)…an edge to Greenberg, but smaller, and we’d probably need to start looking at things like fielding, and intangibles, to separate them. Fielding doesn’t help much…through age 36, neither one seems to have been a gifted 1B–they look very similar, so we’re left with intangibles.

After age 36, Greenberg, of course, did not play. But Mize did, albeit at a much lower level of productivity: .264/.340/.464/.804 (OPS+ always above 100). So the question is whether additional 850 PA of diminished (but above MLB average) performance pushes Mize past Greenberg. I voted for Mize, but it’s an incredibly close race…I’d be comfortable with option 3: Who was better,
Greenberg or Mize–or were they essentially tied–I’ pick essentially tied.

***

Ventboys

My opinion is closest to Marisfan’s. They are too close to call as players; the gray area is larger than any tangible difference between them. Greenberg would have a higher Test score because of the MVPs and higher fame and legacy grades, and I think that’s represented in the their respective Hall of Fame election results. Greenberg wasn’t a better player, but he was part of some big stories, many of which he starred in. Mize was part of some good stories and one great one (Yankees 5-straight), but his Oscar would have been as a supporting actor, while Greenberg would have been up for leading actor trophies in 1934-35 and 1940 and a “best cameo” in 1945.

I think Mize could have been Greenberg, placed in the same place at the same time … and he was unlucky within his own timeline, too. When he should have been a candidate, he (1) was separated from his peak by 20 years and two wars, and (2) had imprinted the public’s brain with visions of a part-time slugger who didn’t hit for a good batting average – a memory that misrepresented who he was at his best.

Mize might have been the unluckiest player ever in this narrow sense – the player whose Hall of Fame path most under-represented his actual Hall of Fame candidate viability. If there was such a thing as an HOF quotient – fundamentally it would be “how many years should it take his doppleganger to get in the Hall of Fame?” – Mize’s number would have been in the 8-15 range. It took him what … 28 years? Who – other than some of the old-timers who predated the Hall of Fame – had to (undeservedly) wait longer?

***

Bearbyz

In 1940 Hank Greenberg a first baseman for years moved to left field to get Rudy York into the lineup. He won the MVP that year and the Tigers won the pennant. Greenberg had the best OPS on the team and York was second. That for me gives Greenberg the edge over Mize.

***

Marisfan61

Didn’t know that! Or actually, probably forgot. I think I came across it years ago.

That’s enough for me to cast the vote for him. I was leaning to him, mainly because of the 2 MVP’s (plus my long-time “assumption”), but thinking that “by a hair” isn’t enough to pick one. I still think the answer is mostly “it depends what you mean by better” and “we can’t tell anyway.” I’d been planning on not voting till the end and then just voting for whoever was behind to try to make it a tie. But if I have to pick one, it’s Greenberg.

Although just by the same margin as their batting averages (wink).

Some more about Win Shares and 1B’s:

In the New Historical Abstract, Bill has Mize ahead. He’s #6, Greenberg is #8. I’m a little surprised that in the bit about Mize, Bill didn’t say anything about it having taken so long (which he almost certainly thought was unjustified) to get into the HOF.
The guy between them is Killebrew.

But check this out: Look who he had ahead of them.

Gehrig, Foxx — OK.
But then — #3: McGwire. Even granting that this was in 2000, before we knew that much about PED’s (some say it was known way before that, but it wasn’t, and even if you think it was, for sure it wasn’t that much discussed and wasn’t viewed as prominently as after that) …..even granting that this was in 2000, I’m very surprised Bill would have seen fit to put him anywhere near that high. It doesn’t even seem justified by the Win Share numbers. Looking at those (and even not taking PED’s into account), I’d put him at about 10 or 11.

And #4 and #5: Eddie Murray, Jeff Bagwell.
On at least one of those guys I’m sure I’m being influenced by certain issues as well as nostalgia (i.e. in favor of the older guys), but also by rationale. I don’t see them that high.

Bill’s order:
1. Gehrig
2. Foxx
3. McGwire
4. Bagwell
5. Murray
6. Mize
7. Killebrew
8. Greenberg
9. McCovey
10. Thomas

Of course it’s possible that Bill would put them differently now.

(then: Anson, Mattingly, Perez, Clark, Allen, Keith Hernandez)

It’s very hard to see why Bill has McCovey below Killebrew. McCovey is ahead on each and every one of the Win Share categories, yet he’s 2 spots behind.

I think my order would be more like:

1. Gehrig
2. Foxx
3. Greenberg & Mize
5. McCovey
6. Killebrew
7. Murray
8. Bagwell
9. Thomas
10. Mattingly
(McGwire not in the top 10; granted, with hindsight)

***

Mike137

Interesting. I had not realized that there were so many similarities between Greenberg and Mize. But there are also important differences. If you want to understand why Greenberg made the HoF so much more easily than Mize, you must ignore irrelevancies like WAR, Win Shares, and OPS+. By the standards of the time, Greenberg was a much better player than Mize.

Mize never drove in more than 138 runs in a season. Greenberg had 184, 168, 150, 147, and 139. That was in a span of 7 years, in one of which he hardly played. Mize average 115 RBI per 162 games played. Greenberg averaged 148. Cutting off Mize’s career afetr age 36 would hardly make a difference. Greenberg averaged 122 runs per 162 games, Mize averaged 96. A slugger’s job was to produce runs, and Greenberg was far better at that than Mize.

***

Gfletch

I wonder how seriously we should take Bill’s rankings in specific cases. I think he has evolving methods for judging player careers and has even written that sometimes he will fiddle with them just…well, just because. Didn’t he write that he dropped Quisenberry down a few notches just because he didn’t want to be seen as having a home town bias? I think he also wrote at some point (maybe about middle infielders or catchers) that after the top 25 or so, the next 75 on his list were so close by his methodology that they were virtually indistinguishable…so, what the hell?

Moving along now…I remember Bill once wrote something about how “Everybody’s got a list.” Not meaning to offend anybody, but that is not only true, but tedious. Every time someone wants to measure player productivity in some way, here comes another list. My reaction, probably most reactions, are “whatever.” I think the ranking of players, especially historically, is mostly just an excuse or an opportunity to write about them. What’s left after you take out the ‘mostly’ is an opportunity to discuss some close comparisons.

***

Marisfan61

Stealing a sentence from that baseball card book (“The Great American Card Flipping….”), here’s a real pip for you.

I looked into a few under-the-surface things about Greenberg’s career, including whether it makes any sense to say he was sort of the “goat” of the ’34 World Series despite his good numbers (I think arguably it does….BTW what’s weirder is that he hit SIXTH in the lineup for most of that series; in fact he mostly hit 6th for that season.)

I also noticed that in what I called his “big big year” — 58 HR’s and all that — he was only 3rd for MVP (he won his 2 MVP’s when he hit far fewer HR’s), which I think actually makes sense if for no other reason than that his team only finished 4th, although the team of the guy who won (Foxx) was only 2nd.

But that’s not the thing.
Here’s the thing.

Here are the top 7 for MVP that year, leaving out #5 for now:

1. Foxx
2. Dickey
3. Greenberg
4. Ruffing (21-7, 3.31 ERA, 138 ERA+)

6. DiMaggio
7. Cronin

The #5 guy for MVP, ahead of DiMaggio and Cronin, both of whom had super years, was:

BOBO NEWSOM: 20-16, 5.08 ERA (below league average, 98 ERA+)
In case you’re thinking, maybe he had some super games that got a lot of press, he was tied for last in the league in shutouts, with 0.
Yes, he had a very good year on Win Shares, but just 2nd on his team — the 7th place team.

It’s one of the oddest little MVP finishes I’ve seen. I’m sure there were reasons for it, but I sure can’t tell what they were.
Oh — I got it — he kept the Browns from finishing last although I’d give more of that credit to Harlond Clift.

P.S. I looked into it a little (looking through articles in NY Times).
I guess the main thing is, this thing that’s sort of the obvious thing: He won 20 with a bad team.
And also, it was noted that unusually few pitchers won 20 games that year. Ruffing was the only other one in the A.L.
Plus, he was a “story” throughout the year, always the focus of the games where he pitched, including the bad ones of which there were many, and including that he did very well against the Yanks (who ran away with the pennant), and he did have several outstanding games although no shutouts. It was a mildly big story when his manager said he’d try having Newsom pitch both games of a doubleheader. He didn’t do well in the second game, but…..it was a story.

He led the league in innings and complete games, by a lot, and tied for the lead in starts. Because of the huge number of innings, he shows well on “WAR” (7th among pitchers, although behind a guy I never heard of) despite the mediocre E.R.A. It was a noteworthy season, and it’s not insane to have wanted to give it recognition, although I think we’d all agree that 5th for MVP is pushing it.

BTW I learned that Bobo wasn’t his main nickname at the time, at least to the NY Times.
They called him Buck Newsom.
Looks like they never called him Bobo till 3 years later.

***

Ventboys

I think of Newsome as the Rick Reuschel of his time – and if I was choosing sides I’d choose him over a good dozen Hall of Fame pitchers. Maybe more. Newsome, Reuschel … Wes Ferrell … none of them are really strong Hall of Fame candidates by traditional methods, but they were better players than many who were.

***

Doncoffin

That sounds plausible, but…the run environments were remarkably different in the AL and the NL during the period in which their careers overlapped in the 1930s (1936-1941). On average, AL teams scored 5.2 RPG during that period, while NL teams scored 4.45 RPG–16% more.

Greenberg ratio of RBI to PA was 0.222 between 1936 and 1941; for Mize, 0.182. But it you adjust that for the run environment, Mize’s 0.182 RBI per PA is (essentially) equivalent to 0.212. (I’m going to ignore RS, because, other than HRs, neither guy drove himself in, but Greenberg homered in 6% of his PA, while Mize homered in 4.4% of his.) I’m not sure I want to build any sort of case on the difference between those ratios of RBIs to PA, adjusted for run environment…

***

Bearbyz

I looked at every at bat for the series yesterday and will do a write up tomorrow. He did make some clutch outs, but also got a couple of key hits. I noticed he batted 6th after the first couple of games. I thought maybe he got hurt. Interesting.

***

Jwilt

Why was Newsom traded so much? Was it because he was eccentric, which seems to be the case looking at his online bios? Is eccentric code for he drank a lot? He was quite inconsistent, with full season ERA+s everywhere from 168 to 77. Maybe teams traded for him expecting the MVP candidate and often got an average or below-average pitcher? He was traded twice in the midst of seasons where he eventually got MVP votes, and at least once during a season where he made the All Star team.

***

Ventboys

Other than Detroit, Bobo didn’t pitch for any good teams (correct me if I’m wrong). I noticed that he didn’t stick until he was on his third team and one of those teams WAS good (1932 Cubs won the pennant), so your theory (drinking) could be it. I don’t know enough to speculate, though … and once a player is traded he’s like a baseball slut, freely passed around like the guitar player’s ex-girlfriend at Burning Man. Bobo was “damaged goods” before he established himself, and his first five years were spent in the nether regions of the league.

***

Fireball Wenz

This is more of an impression rather than anything else – was the Amercian League the better league during that period? In terms of MVP voting, etc., it sure seems that the AL had the bigger names during their career periods.

***

Gfletch

I don’t know…you may think a league is better if some of the players have fantastic raw statistics. But that could simply indicate an uncompetitive situation.

***

Mike137

Yes, the runs scored per game were very different in the two leagues, but my impression has always been that the AL had a high proportion of the top hitters. Maybe the NL had better pitching? I don’t know that they is any way to tell.

***

Bearbyz

Marisfan said write-ups talk about how Greenberg was the goat of the 1934 World Series. Even though his statistics are good, batting average .321, 1 home run, 7 RBIs, 4 runs scored OPS of .978 he didn’t hit in the clutch when it was needed. I decided to go thru Greenberg’s World Series at bat by at bat to determine if this was true.

Game 1.

Pitching for the Cardinals was Dizzy Dean with Greenberg batting 4th. Greenberg spent a lot of the season batting 6th, but batted clean up at the end of September.
In the bottom of the first the score was 0-0 and Gehringer was on first ahead of him with two outs. Greenberg grounded out. While it would be nice to jump ahead that wasn’t a very crucial at bat.
The Cardinals scored 2 runs in the second and a run in the third to take a 3-0 lead. In the top of the third Greenberg made an error that led directly to the run scoring. When Greenberg came up in the third the Tigers already had scored a run and had men on second and third with two outs. A very critical at bat as a single could tie the game. Greenberg stuck out. The Tigers chance to win went down by 7 percent. Needless to say the 3rd inning wasn’t good for Greenberg.
By the time Greenberg batted in the 6th the Tigers were down 8-1. With one out and no one on base he singled and later scored to make the score 8-2. In the bottom of the 8th he homered to make it 8-3. I remember a story that Dean laid it in there to see how far Hank could hit it.

Game 2.

Pitching for the Cardinals was Bill Hallahan. Greenberg again batted 4th.
In the bottom of the first man on first two outs Greenberg grounded out.
The Cardinals led 2-0 when Greenberg came up in the third with two on and two outs. He struck out. Greenberg must have been hating the third inning.
The Tigers scored a run to make it 2-1 in the fourth. Greenberg came up in the fifth two out and a man on first. He walked to put the tying run in scoring position, but Goslin flew out.
In seventh still down 2-1, again 2 outs and a man on first Greenberg struck out.
In the bottom of the ninth the bottom of the Tiger lineup put together a run to tie the game extra innings.
Bill Walker came in to pitch for the Cardinals in the bottom of the 10th. With a man on first and no outs Greenberg flew out. This out cost the Tigers a 8 percent chance of winning and the Tigers didn’t score.
In the 12th with one out and a man on first Greenberg walked putting the winning run on second. Goslin singled to win the game. So without a hit Greenberg made a contribution to the winning rally.

Game 3

Pitching for the Cardinals was Paul Dean. Greenberg again batted 4th. The 3rd game was in St. Louis.
In the first Greenberg batted with a man on first and two outs. He fouled out.
In the third, the Tigers came to bat already down 2-0. With one out they had men on second and third when Greenberg came to bat. He stuck out and the Tigers didn’t scored that inning. After the game Greenberg petitioned that they skip the third inning for the rest of the Series.
The score was the same in the fifth when Greenberg led off with a walk and went to third on a single with one out. However, Owen and Fox both stuck out. In the bottom of the 5th the Cardinals scored two more runs.
Greenberg led off the seventh by grounding out.
With two outs in the ninth, Greenberg tripled in the Tigers only run in a 4-1 loss. His only hit and RBI again came too little and too late. He did get a walk to lead off the 5th to try to help put the Tigers back in the game.

Game 4

Tex Carleton started for the Cardinals. Greenberg batted 6th, maybe because it was less likely he would bat in the third.
The score was 0 – 0 when Greenberg batted with out in the second. He singled, but was stranded on first. The Cardinals scored in the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 lead.
Detroit rallied in the third after the first two men were retired. Four straight men got on base in front of Greenberg. The Tigers led 2-1 with men on first and third. Greenberg singled to left field to increase the lead to 3-1, increasing the Tigers chance to win by 9 percent, a clutch hit.
By the end of the fourth the score was tied 4-4. In the fifth Greenberg came to bat with one out and one on. He flew out.
The score was still tied in the seventh when Greenberg came to bat with men on first and third. Pitching now for the Cardinals was Billy Walker. Greenberg doubled for the lead 5-4. Now this was a really clutch hit. A lead taking RBI in the late innings. I consider 7 thru 9 the late innings. It improved the Tigers chance of winning by 17 percent.
In the 8th with the same score and one out, Billy Rogell hit a two run single in front of Greenberg to make the score 7-4 and put men on first and third. Greenberg followed with a double to make the score 8-4.
The Tigers won 10-4 to tie the series. This was a big day for Greenberg statistically and in the clutch.

Game 5

Dizzy Dean started his second game of the series and Greenberg again batted 6th. The game was played in St. Louis.
Greenberg with one out in the top of the second in a scoreless game and walked. Pete Fox one batter later knocked in Greenberg for the 1-0 lead.
In the Fourth, Greenberg came up with men on first and third and no one out. A chance to put the game away or at least take a two run lead. Greenberg stuck out and the Tigers didn’t score that inning leaving the score at 1-0.
Charlie Gehringer led off the 6th with a home run to make the score 2-0. Greenberg came up with one out and a man on third. He hit a sacrifice fly to bring home another insurance run and give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
The Cardinals scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to make it 3-1. With two outs in the 8th and no one on Greenberg fouled out.
Even though Greenberg didn’t have a great day he was directly involved with two of the three Tiger runs. He walked and scored the lead run and later knocked in a second insurance run on a Sacrifice fly. Not a bad day for not getting a hit. The Tigers were now up 3 games to 2, with the last two games at home. Greenberg was a big help in winning both the last two games. He and the Tigers must have been feeling pretty good heading back to Detroit.

Game 6

Paul Dean made his second start for the Cardinals. Greenberg batted 6th.
The Cardinals jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first. Greenberg struck out with one out in the second.
The Tigers tied the game in the top of third. Greenberg fouled out with two out and nobody on in the fourth.
The Cardinals scored two in the top of the fifth to make the score 3-1. In the bottom of the sixth the Tigers rallied. They had scored one run and had runners on first and third with two outs when Greenberg batted. Greenberg singled to left field to tie the game, another clutch hit.
However, the Cardinals pitcher Paul Dean drove in Leo Durocher who doubled to deep center field to give the Cardinals back the lead. This was a big letdown, as Durocher was never much of a hitter and Dean had 3 RBIs in 87 at bats for the season.
Detroit tried to rally in the bottom of the 8th. With one out Gehringer and Goslin singled putting them on first and third. Billy Rogell flew to center, apparently not deep enough to score Gehringer. Greenberg came up with the game in hand. He fouled out to first base, a big opportunity missed.
The Tigers went down 1, 2, 3 in the ninth.

Game 7

Dizzy Dean started his third game. Greenberg batted sixth.
In the bottom of the second with a man on third one out Greenberg struck out.
With one out in the top of the third Dizzy Dean doubled. Pepper Martin singled on a ground ball to first. I don’t know if this was a hit that Greenberg could have prevented or not. From what I remember reading Greenberg was not a graceful or great fielder. I don’t remember reading about this particular play. After a Jack Rothrock walk, Frankie Frisch hit a three run double. Dizzy Dean the Cardinal pitcher doubled and score the winning run, a day after his brother Paul drove in the winning run. The Cardinals scored seven runs in the inning, for the most part putting the game away.
Greenberg led off the bottom of the 5th with a single. With one out Pete Fox doubled him to third. However, the pitcher Tommy Bridges came up next and struck out. Why Cochrane didn’t pinch hit for Bridges I don’t know. Greenberg ended up stranded on third.
It was 11-0 when Greenberg struck out in the seventh and still 11-0 when he struck out with men on first and second in the ninth.
In the series Greenberg had both good and bad clutch moments. However, overall I say he had a good series with the bat. I pulled all my data from Baseball Reference.

***

He (Bobo Newsom) liked to drink, he had little or no respect for authority (although Clark Griffith liked him a lot, it was said Bobo could always find a spot on the Nats because Griffith enjoyed their pinochle games together), he was very much a “character”, maybe more genuinely so than even Ol’ Diz (Newsom once showed up for spring training in a Caddy set up with flashing lights that spelled out B*O*B*O and a couple of blondes in the back seat). It was said by some that he did not regard the game with sufficient seriousness.

He must have had a ton of raw talent though. And he could totally bear down when he wanted to. One time he pitched a complete game even though a line drive had fractured his kneecap in the third. (He lost the game.)

***

Tigerlily

I’d say Greenberg has nothing to hang his head about regarding the ’34 series.

DaveNJnews

Amazing that Greenberg and Mize ended up with Hall of Fame careers despite both missing 3 full seasons each for World War II. Greenberg also missed most of 1941 and half of 1945; I am not sure about Mize and the seasons preceding and following his 3 years out. Both would be a lot higher up the all-time home run list with that time in the service of their country added back in.

***

OwenH

I’m especially impressed that both players started raking immediately upon returning to the majors after three-plus years in the service — almost as if they hadn’t been gone at all. I know other men did this too (Williams, DiMaggio), but it’s still impressive.

***

DaveNJnews

Agreed. They would have had to stay in shape in the service, really good shape, and that would have helped some, but I would have thought it would have been a tough transition.

Hall of Fame Shares and Win Shares by Team – Douglas Byzewski

I remember when I was a kid and the game programs would list the hall of famers who played on the team saying you got to watch these hall of famers and could be watching them now. They listed a few guys who didn’t play that much for the team, sometimes showing a player who played for the team for two months before he retired. I decided to find out the number of hall of famers there are for all 30 teams based on a formula (called hall of fame shares), I developed using win shares.

I started the formula for hall of fame shares:

 

  • I recorded (by hand) the number of win shares for hall of fame player (221 total players) by team for each year the player played. I found this in my win share book and in BJOL for players who played after 2001.
  • I then looked for anything else that should be considered for hall of fame shares. I thought of two things, post season play and awards. I eliminated awards because if the player received an award most of the time they would have a high amount of win shares. I did include post season play as follows. If a players team won the World Series I multiplied his win shares by one and a half, for playing in the World Series I multiplied the win shares by 1 and a quarter and for making the playoffs I multiplied the win shares by 1 and an eighth. On all three of these I rounded down to the nearest integer.
  • Lastly, I calculated the number of “hall of fame” points for each team the player played for and assigned a percentage to each team. For example Hank Aaron:
Hank Aaron
Team Win Shares Bonus Total Total Team
1954 Braves 13 13 13
1955 Braves 29 29 42
1956 Braves 30 30 72
1957 Braves 35 17 52 124
1958 Braves 32 8 40 164
1959 Braves 38 38 202 Braves 658 97.92%
1960 Braves 35 35 237 Brewers 14 2.08%
1961 Braves 35 35 272 0 0.00%
1962 Braves 34 34 306 672
1963 Braves 41 41 347
1964 Braves 33 33 380
1965 Braves 31 31 411
1966 Braves 27 27 438
1967 Braves 34 34 472
1968 Braves 32 32 504
1969 Braves 38 4 42 546
1970 Braves 25 25 571
1971 Braves 33 33 604
1972 Braves 21 21 625
1973 Braves 20 20 645
1974 Braves 13 13 658  
1975 Brewers 9 9 9
1976 Brewers 5 5 14
643

The numbers from left to right are column 1 the number of win shares each season, column 2 the post season bonus for each player, column 3 the sum of the two columns or hall of fame shares, column 4 the total hall of fame shares for the team. So the Braves get .98 of Hank Aaron and the Brewers get .02 for him. I know I didn’t explain the formula very well, but I have already done the work for each player (220 total players) in the hall of fame. I didn’t do players who made it primary as managers, except John McGraw and Joe Torre. Next I will do a couple of more examples and then start with the ranking of teams from last to first based on the number of hall of famers my formula shows they have.

 

Here is what I did for Babe Ruth:

 

Babe Ruth
Team Win Shares Bonus Total Total Team
1914 Red Sox 1 1 1
1915 Red Sox 23 11 34 35  
1916 Red Sox 37 18 55 90
1917 Red Sox 36   36 126
1918 Red Sox 40 20 60 186
1919 Red Sox 43 43 229 Red Sox 229 24.76%
1920 Yankees 51 51 51 Yankees 694 75.03%
1921 Yankees 53 13 66 117 Braves 2 0.22%
1922 Yankees 29 7 36 153 925
1923 Yankees 55 27 82 235
1924 Yankees 45 45 280
1925 Yankees 13 13 293
1926 Yankees 45 11 56 349
1927 Yankees 45 22 67 416
1928 Yankees 45 22 67 483
1929 Yankees 32 32 515
1930 Yankees 38 38 553
1931 Yankees 38 38 591
1932 Yankees 36 18 54 645
1933 Yankees 29 29 674
1934 Yankees 20   20 694
1935 Braves 2 2 2
756      

 

 

I also have a rule that if a player played for a team that team would get as a minimum .01. Steve Carlton had a few of those the last two years he pitched. So Babe is .75 a Yankee, .24 a Red Sox and .01 a Brave.

One more Roberto Alomar as he played for a lot of teams.

 

Roberto Alomar
Team Win Shares Bonus Total Total Team
1988 Padres 22 22 22
1989 Padres 23 23 45
1990 Padres 19 19 64
1991 Blue Jays 25 3 28 28
1992 Blue Jays 34 17 51 79
1993 Blue Jays 30 15 45 124 Padres 64 14.99%
1994 Blue Jays 13 13 137 Blue Jays 153 35.83%
1995 Blue Jays 16 16 153 Orioles 78 18.27%
1996 Orioles 31 3 34 34 Indians 100 23.42%
1997 Orioles 21 2 23 57 Mets 23 5.39%
1998 Orioles 19 19 76 White Sox 6 1.41%
1999 Indians 35 4 39 39 Diamondbacks 3 0.70%
2000 Indians 20 20 59 427
2001 Indians 37 4 41 100
2002 Mets 16 16 16
2003 Mets 7 7 23
2003 White Sox 5   5 5
2004 White Sox 1 1 6
2004 Diamondbacks 3   3 3
377

 

When I put this originally in BJOL, a reader (thank you Tigerlily) suggested I include number of win shares earned by each player. I did that again using the Win Shares book and BJOL. One reader DMBBHF found an error, thank you. I corrected that error and 8 or 9 I found while putting in the number of win shares per team. My worst error was I somehow skipped Kid Nichols. This correction moved up the Braves in the standings.

 

Here is a start of a list of teams:

30 Rockies – No one. The Rockies haven’t had anyone who ever played for them elected to the hall of fame. The closest might have been Dale Murphy. They do have two possibilities for the future Larry Walker and Todd Helton. They are the only one of the 30 teams to never have a hall of famer play for them.

 

29-Marlins Number of Win Shares
Andre Dawson 0.02 6
Mike Piazza 0.01 0
0.03 6

 

The Marlins had Piazza for 5 games before trading him to the Mets. I have a formula combining Hall of Fame Shares and Win Shares just multiply them together. For the Marlins the total would be .18, still in 29th place.

 

28 Rays Number of Win Shares
Wade Boggs 0.03 12
12

 

I gave the Rays the edge over the Marlins as they had the player with the highest total playing for them. I figured they made a better effort getting a good player. It turns out I was correct. The Hall-Win shares number for the Rays is .36.

 

27 Diamondbacks Number of Win Shares
Randy Johnson 0.48 151
Roberto Alomar 0.01 3
0.49 154

 

Randy Johnson helped the Diamondbacks win a World Series. Their Hall-Win shares number is 75.46.

 

26 Blue Jays Number of Win Shares
Roberto Alomar 0.36 120
Paul Molitor 0.17 60
Dave Winfield 0.09 27
Frank Thomas 0.04 18
Ricky Henderson 0.01 3
Phil Niekro 0.01 0
0.68 228

 

Alomar, Molitor, Winfield and Henderson all played on World Series champion Blue Jay’s clubs. Their Hall-Win shares number is 155.04.

 

25 Rangers Number of Win Shares
Fergie Jenkins 0.28 90
Nolan Ryan 0.16 56
Gaylord Perry 0.15 57
Bert Blyleven 0.1 36
Goose Gossage 0.01 3
0.7 242

 

All pitchers. I will tell you now the bottom 14 are the expansion teams and the top 16 teams are the teams that have been around since 1901. The biggest factor in these rankings is time as a franchise. So Texas, one of the four original expansion teams probably should be a little disappointed it to be this low. However there best years have been in the 21st Century. Their Hall-Win shares number is 169.4.

 

24 Royals Number of Win Shares
George Brett 1 432
Orlando Cepeda 0.01 0
Harmon Killebrew 0.01 5
Gaylord Perry 0.01 3
1.03 440

 

Thank goodness for George Brett, who spent his entire career as a Royal. Their Hall-Win shares number is 453.2.

 

23 Mariners Number of Win Shares
Ken Griffy Jr. 0.7 282
Randy Johnson 0.4 135
Gaylord Perry 0.03 13
Goose Gossage 0.02 4
Ricky Henderson 0.01 7
1.16 441

 

They might be adding some more players in the future, with Edgar Martinez and Alex Rodriquez (depending on his steroids issues). Their Hall-Win shares number is 511.56.

 

 

22 Angels Number of Win Shares
Nolan Ryan 0.44 149
Rod Carew 0.27 102
Reggie Jackson 0.13 67
Bert Blyleven 0.09 30
Frank Robinson 0.08 43
Don Sutton 0.07 24
Dave Winfield 0.07 30
Hoyt Wilhelm 0.03 9
Ricky Henderson 0.01 1
Eddie Murray 0.01 0
1.2 455

 

A lot of players but all but Ryan came at the tail end of their career. Their Hall-Win shares number is 546.

 

21 Nationals Number of Win Shares
Gary Carter 0.68 239
Andre Dawson 0.64 216
Pedro Martinez 0.24 65
Tony Perez 0.13 49
Randy Johnson 0.01 2
1.7 571

 

Basically some really good talent from the Expo days. When Raines is elected they will be over 2. Their Hall-Win shares number is 970.7.

 

 

20 Astros Number of Win Shares
Craig Biggio 1 428
Nolan Ryan 0.32 105
Joe Morgan 0.31 176
Don Sutton 0.08 25
Nellie Fox 0.04 14
Randy Johnson 0.03 11
Robin Roberts 0.03 11
Eddie Mathews 0.02 10
1.83 780
   

 

If Bagwell is elected they would move to 17th in both hall of fame and Hall-Win Shares number. Their Hall-Win shares number is 1,427.4.

 

19 Mets Number of Win Shares
Tom Seaver 0.7 266
Mike Piazza 0.46 147
Gary Carter 0.28 83
Tom Glavine 0.17 58
Pedro Martinez 0.1 28
Nolan Ryan 0.08 24
Eddie Murray 0.07 35
Joe Torre 0.06 18
Roberto Alomar 0.05 23
Richie Ashburn 0.04 12
Ricky Henderson 0.03 17
Duke Snider 0.03 13
Willie Mays 0.02 16
Warren Spahn 0.01 4
2.1 744

 

The Mets are 18th in hall of fame numbers, but the Brewers edge them out in the combine number. Their Hall-Win shares number is 1,562.4.

 

18 Brewers Number of Win Shares
Robin Yount 1 415
Paul Molitor 0.74 313
Rollie Fingers 0.21 41
Don Sutton 0.07 23
Hank Aaron 0.02 14
2.04 806
   

They kept their two young guys longer than the Expos. Their Hall-Win shares number is 1,644.24.

 

17 Padres Number of Win Shares
Tony Gwynn 1 398
Dave Winfield 0.4 172
Rollie Fingers 0.23 49
Goose Gossage 0.18 42
Roberto Alomar 0.15 64
Ozzie Smith 0.15 52
Willie McCovey 0.1 45
Gaylord Perry 0.09 34
Ricky Henderson 0.07 42
Greg Maddox 0.03 14
Mike Piazza 0.03 11
2.43 923
   

Bill has talked about the talent the Padres have developed. They helped San Diego be the number 1 expansion team. Their Hall-Win shares number is 2,242.89.

 

16 Twins Number of Win Shares
Walter Johnson 1 560
Kirby Puckett 1 281
Harmon Killebrew 0.99 366
Sam Rice 0.98 320
Rod Carew 0.73 282
Bert Blyleven 0.53 178
Joe Cronin 0.53 173
Heinie Manush 0.44 122
Rick Ferrell 0.33 68
Early Wynn 0.21 66
Stan Coveleski 0.16 40
Ed Delahanty 0.1 37
Paul Molitor 0.09 41
Al Simmons 0.06 27
Tris Speaker 0.03 21
Dave Winfield 0.03 15
Steve Carlton 0.01 0
Lefty Gomez 0.01 0
Clark Griffith 0.01 1
George Sisler 0.01 0
7.25 2598

Again the Twins are 16th of the 16 non-expansion teams. There is always hope with Oliva and Kaat. Their Hall-Win shares number is 18,835.5. Notice they have about 8 times more Hall-win shares than the Padres. Length of time as a franchise is a very important factor in these rankings.

 

 

15 Tigers Number of Win Shares
Charlie Gerhringer 1 383
Al Kaline 1 443
Hal Newhouser 0.97 257
Ty Cobb 0.95 688
Hank Greenburg 0.95 253
Sam Crawford 0.87 383
George Kell 0.56 129
Jim Bunning 0.51 132
Heinie Manush 0.26 77
Mickey Cochrane 0.23 58
Al Simmons 0.05 20
Earl Averill 0.04 10
Waite Hoyt 0.03 9
Eddie Mathews 0.02 6
Larry Doby 0.01 1
Hugh Jennings 0.01 0
Sam Thompson 0.01 0
7.47 2849

I thought the Tigers would have done better. Their Hall-Win shares number is 21,282.03.

 

14 Orioles Number of Win Shares
Jim Palmer 1 312
Cal Ripkin 1 427
Brooks Robinson 1 356
George Sisler 0.87 256
Eddie Murray 0.71 307
Satchel Paige 0.6 27
Bobby Wallace 0.59 203
Frank Robinson 0.39 176
Luis Aparicio 0.36 99
Rick Ferrell 0.33 69
Hoyt Wilhelm 0.26 68
Heinie Manush 0.22 64
Roberto Alomar 0.18 73
Jesse Burkett 0.18 72
Robin Roberts 0.14 51
Rube Waddell 0.14 34
George Kell 0.08 19
Eddie Plank 0.06 24
Reggie Jackson 0.05 25
Jim Bottomley 0.04 12
Hugh Duffy 0.03 8
Dizzy Dean 0.01 1
Rogers Hornsby 0.01 2
8.25 2685

Not as many win shares as the Tigers. The Orioles didn’t become good until they went to Baltimore. Their Hall-Win shares number is 22,151.25.

 

13 Reds Number of Win Shares
Johnny Bench 1 356
Barry Larkin 1 320
Edd Roush 0.81 252
Tony Perez 0.79 270
Ernie Lombardi 0.71 152
Eppa Rixey 0.66 211
Bid McPhee 0.58 176
Joe Morgan 0.55 262
Frank Robinson 0.5 278
Jake Beckley 0.38 122
Ken Griffy Jr. 0.29 116
Chick Hafey 0.28 59
Tom Seaver 0.19 78
Joe Kelley 0.18 56
Deacon White 0.17 32
Sam Crawford 0.13 63
Jim Bottomley 0.11 32
Kiki Culyer 0.11 36
King Kelly 0.1 28
Buck Ewing 0.07 18
Rube Marquard 0.07 17
Candy Cummings 0.04 5
Mordecai Brown 0.03 11
Hoss Radbourn 0.02 9
Clark Griffith 0.01 0
Jesse Haines 0.01 1
Christy Mathewson 0.01 1
Amos Rusie 0.01 0
Al Simmons 0.01 0
Dazzy Vance 0.01 0
Lloyd Waner 0.01 3
8.84 2964

 

The Reds lost .2 points because I had Burleigh Grimes on their team by mistake dropping them behind the Phillies. So they are now the lowest National League team. The National League has the advantage of the 19th Century, which is a bigger advantage than I thought it would be. Their Hall-Win shares number is 26,201.76.

 

12 Phillies Number of Win Shares
Mike Schmidt 1 467
Richie Ashburn 0.88 289
Ed Delahanty 0.86 305
Robin Roberts 0.82 277
Chuck Klein 0.78 188
Steve Carlton 0.74 276
Sam Thompson 0.7 166
Pete Alexander 0.5 238
Billy Hamilton 0.49 165
Jim Bunning 0.45 115
Elmer Flick 0.38 111
Eppa Rixey 0.34 104
Dave Bancroft 0.32 92
Nap Lajoie 0.19 93
Tim Keefe 0.09 38
Hugh Jennings 0.08 17
Chief Bender 0.06 16
Roger Connor 0.06 24
Joe Morgan 0.04 19
Dan Brouthers 0.02 9
Pedro Martinez 0.02 4
Tony Perez 0.02 6
Hugh Duffy 0.01 4
Johnny Evers 0.01 5
Jimmy Foxx 0.01 8
Fergie Jenkins 0.01 2
Tommy McCarthy 0.01 2
Lloyd Waner 0.01 4
Hack Wilson 0.01 0
Kid Nichols 0.02 11
8.93 3055
   

Their Hall-Win shares number is 27,281.15.

 

11 – As Number of Win Shares
Chief Bender 0.91 209
Eddie Plank 0.87 308
Mickey Cochrane 0.77 217
Catfish Hunter 0.73 149
Home Run Baker 0.71 201
Al Simmons 0.71 257
Rube Waddell 0.7 165
Lefty Grove 0.67 248
Jimmy Foxx 0.64 265
Ricky Henderson 0.64 338
Rollie Fingers 0.56 98
Reggie Jackson 0.54 238
Eddie Collins 0.49 258
Dennis Eckersley 0.4 113
George Kell 0.12 27
Nap Lajoie 0.12 58
Jimmy Collins 0.07 19
Frank Thomas 0.07 25
Billy Williams 0.07 24
Ty Cobb 0.05 34
Herb Pennock 0.05 14
Waite Hoyt 0.04 9
Enos Slaughter 0.04 17
Don Sutton 0.03 9
Nellie Fox 0.02 6
Goose Gossage 0.02 5
Joe Morgan 0.02 12
Zach Wheat 0.02 7
Orlando Cepeda 0.01 0
Stan Coveleski 0.01 1
Elmer Flick 0.01 2
Willie McCovey 0.01 0
Satchel Paige 0.01 0
Mike Piazza 0.01 5
Tris Speaker 0.01 6
10.15 3344

The As developed a lot of hall of famers, but had to give them up early. There one of the two original 16 teams without a hall of fame player play their entire career for them. The other team had four players score higher than Chief Bender.  Their highest player in win shares Ricky Henderson I only have him having 64% of his career as an A. Their Hall-Win shares number is 33,941.6.

 

10 White Sox Number of Win Shares
Luke Appling 1 378
Red Faber 1 292
Ted Lyons 1 312
Ray Schalk 0.99 191
Ed Walsh 0.99 265
Nellie Fox 0.94 284
Frank Thomas 0.89 362
Early Wynn 0.21 64
Luis Aparicio 0.54 162
Eddie Collins 0.51 316
Carlton Fisk 0.51 186
George Davis 0.38 142
Hoyt Wilhelm 0.34 90
Harry Hooper 0.22 80
Goose Gossage 0.16 40
Larry Doby 0.14 41
Clark Griffith 0.14 38
Al Simmons 0.14 61
George Kell 0.11 24
Tom Seaver 0.09 37
Roberto Alomar 0.01 6
Chief Bender 0.01 0
Steve Carlton 0.01 4
Johnny Evers 0.01 0
Ken Griffy Jr. 0.01 5
Edd Roush 0.01 0
Red Ruffing 0.01 0
Ron Santo 0.01 3
10.38 3383
   

Their Hall-Win shares number is 35,115.54.

 

9 Indians Number of Win Shares
Bob Feller 1 292
Addie Joss 1 191
Bob Lemon 1 232
Lou Boudreau 0.97 269
Earl Averill 0.95 270
Larry Doby 0.85 226
Stan Coveleski 0.82 203
Joe Sewell 0.8 229
Nap Lajoie 0.69 345
Elmer Flick 0.61 178
Tris Speaker 0.52 338
Satchel Paige 0.39 15
Joe Gordon 0.3 80
Gaylord Perry 0.27 99
Roberto Alomar 0.24 92
Early Wynn 0.58 179
Bert Blyleven 0.16 57
Dennis Eckersley 0.14 46
Eddie Murray 0.06 27
Ralph Kiner 0.05 11
Cy Young 0.05 32
Hal Newhouser 0.03 7
Phil Niekro 0.03 13
Hoyt Wilhelm 0.03 8
Sam Rice 0.02 7
Steve Carlton 0.01 3
Frank Robinson 0.01 8
Dave Winfield 0.01 0
11.59 3457
   

Their Hall-Win shares number is 40,066.63.

 

8 Dodgers Number of Win Shares
Roy Campanella 1 207
Don Drysdale 1 258
Sandy Koufax 1 194
Pee Wee Reese 1 314
Jackie Robinson 1 257
Zach Wheat 0.98 373
Duke Snider 0.96 337
Dazzy Vance 0.93 229
Don Sutton 0.75 238
Burleigh Grimes 0.57 169
Mike Piazza 0.49 161
Rube Marquard 0.32 67
Willie Keeler 0.29 97
Billy Herman 0.23 71
Joe Kelley 0.23 70
Joe Medwick 0.22 67
Arky Vaughan 0.16 57
Hack Wilson 0.16 39
Eddie Murray 0.15 68
Dan Brouthers 0.14 50
Monte Ward 0.09 38
Hugh Jennings 0.09 19
Max Carey 0.06 22
Heinie Manush 0.06 18
Dave Bancroft 0.05 17
Pedro Martinez 0.05 13
Waite Hoyt 0.04 11
Kiki Culyer 0.03 8
Ernie Lombardi 0.03 6
Tommy McCarthy 0.03 5
Paul Waner 0.03 15
Gary Carter 0.02 7
Greg Maddox 0.02 7
Rabbit Maranville 0.02 5
Frank Robinson 0.02 14
Jim Bunning 0.01 3
Ricky Henderson 0.01 1
Tony Lazzeri 0.01 3
Freddie Lindstrom 0.01 1
Juan Marichal 0.01 0
Lloyd Waner 0.01 0
Hoyt Wilhelm 0.01 3
12.29 3539

I thought the Dodgers would be in the top 5. They aren’t even in the top 5 of the National League. They had a lot of great-great players with short careers, thus a lack of win shares. Their Hall-Win shares number is 43,494.31.

 

 

7 Red Sox Number of Win Shares
Bobby Doerr 1 281
Jim Rice 1 282
Ted Williams 1 555
Carl Yastrzemski 1 488
Harry Hooper 0.78 241
Wade Boggs 0.75 301
Pedro Martinez 0.59 146
Jimmy Collins 0.51 133
Carlton Fisk 0.49 182
Joe Cronin 0.46 158
Tris Speaker 0.44 265
Cy Young 0.41 247
Rick Ferrell 0.34 69
Jimmy Foxx 0.34 161
Lefty Grove 0.33 143
Dennis Eckersley 0.28 90
Herb Pennock 0.25 70
Babe Ruth 0.24 180
Red Ruffing 0.14 57
George Kell 0.13 30
Luis Aparicio 0.1 32
Fergie Jenkins 0.08 28
Jesse Burkett 0.06 22
Tony Perez 0.06 24
Lou Boudreau 0.03 8
Orlando Cepeda 0.03 13
Waite Hoyt 0.03 9
Andre Dawson 0.02 8
Tom Seaver 0.02 7
Jack Chesbro 0.01 0
Ricky Henderson 0.01 4
Juan Marichal 0.01 3
Al Simmons 0.01 1
John Smoltz 0.01 0
Heinie Manush 0.01 4
10.97 4242
   

The Red Sox are only 9th in hall of fame shares. They have a lot of win shares by their players, in a large part thanks to Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. Their Hall-Win shares number is 46,534.74.

 

6 Pirates Number of Win Shares
Roberto Clemente 1 377
Bill Mazeroski 1 219
Willie Stargell 1 370
Pie Traynor 1 274
Lloyd Waner 0.96 235
Max Carey 0.94 329
Hans Wagner 0.92 598
Paul Waner 0.92 388
Arky Vaughan 0.84 299
Ralph Kiner 0.8 194
Fred Clarke 0.72 282
Jake Beckley 0.39 125
Kiki Culyer 0.35 96
Vic Willis 0.35 93
Jack Chesbro 0.32 68
Pud Galvin 0.25 100
Rabbit Maranville 0.24 76
Burleigh Grimes 0.19 59
Waite Hoyt 0.16 50
Freddie Lindstrom 0.16 32
Bert Blyleven 0.12 38
Goose Gossage 0.11 26
Rube Waddell 0.06 16
Hank Greenburg 0.05 14
Chuck Klein 0.04 10
Jim Bunning 0.03 7
Joe Kelley 0.02 6
Deacon White 0.02 4
Joe Cronin 0.01 2
Billy Herman 0.01 0
Heinie Manush 0.01 0
Dazzy Vance 0.01 0
13 4387
   

Their Hall-Win shares number is 57,031.

 

5 Cards Number of Win Shares
Bob Gibson 1 317
Stan Musial 1 604
Jesse Haines 0.99 206
Lou Brock 0.93 320
Dizzy Dean 0.9 163
Enos Slaughter 0.86 285
Jim Bottomley 0.85 214
Ozzie Smith 0.85 273
Red Schoendienst 0.78 210
Chick Hafey 0.72 137
Rogers Hornsby 0.71 361
Joe Medwick 0.69 215
Frankie Frisch 0.52 196
Joe Torre 0.45 142
Bruce Sutter 0.4 62
Orlando Cepeda 0.26 68
Jesse Burkett 0.24 93
Steve Carlton 0.22 83
Bobby Wallace 0.19 65
Pete Alexander 0.16 69
Roger Bresnahan 0.16 41
Jake Beckley 0.14 44
Burleigh Grimes 0.14 32
Roger Connor 0.11 39
John McGraw 0.1 21
Cy Young 0.08 57
Dennis Eckersley 0.06 16
Rabbit Maranville 0.04 12
Dazzy Vance 0.04 10
Vic Willis 0.02 7
Pud Galvin 0.01 5
John Smoltz 0.01 0
Hoyt Wilhelm 0.01 4
Kid Nichols 0.06 27
13.7 4398
   

Their Hall-Win shares number is 60,252.6.

 

4 Braves Number of Win Shares
Hank Aaron 0.98 629
John Smoltz 0.98 288
Warren Spahn 0.98 405
Eddie Mathews 0.96 434
Kid Nichols 0.92 440
Phil Niekro 0.9 336
Tom Glavine 0.83 255
Rabbit Maranville 0.69 205
Hugh Duffy 0.68 202
Greg Maddox 0.65 246
George Wright 0.65 33
Vic Willis 0.63 193
John Clarkson 0.5 183
Joe Torre 0.49 155
Tommy McCarthy 0.44 75
Billy Hamilton 0.43 145
Jimmy Collins 0.39 112
King Kelly 0.28 78
Hoss Radbourn 0.22 86
Dave Bancroft 0.2 61
Jim O’ Rourke 0.2 61
Johnny Evers 0.18 45
Orlando Cepeda 0.14 50
Red Schoendienst 0.15 32
George Sisler 0.12 36
Joe McGinnity 0.11 30
Rube Marquard 0.09 22
Deacon White 0.09 16
Dan Brouthers 0.08 28
Ernie Lombardi 0.07 16
Bruce Sutter 0.07 13
Rogers Hornsby 0.06 33
Hoyt Wilhelm 0.06 15
Billy Herman 0.04 13
Paul Waner 0.04 20
Joe Kelley 0.03 9
Al Simmons 0.02 9
Earl Averill 0.01 0
Burleigh Grimes 0.01 0
Joe Medwick 0.01 3
Gaylord Perry 0.02 7
Babe Ruth 0.01 2
Enos Slaughter 0.01 0
Ed Walsh 0.01 0
Lloyd Waner 0.01 3
Cy Young 0.01 2
14.45 5026
   

The Braves are the highest team without a hall of famer who played their whole career for them. They seem to trade great players as their careers are ending. Have they ever got a good amount of talent for any of them? I forgot Kid Nichols when I did this originally. He made it easy to have the Braves ahead of St. Louis. Their Hall-Win shares number is 72,625.7.

 

3 Cubs Number of Win Shares
Cap Anson 1 381
Ernie Banks 1 332
Ryne Sandberg 1 346
Frank Chance 0.99 236
Ron Santo 0.99 321
Gabby Hartnett 0.98 319
Joe Tinker 0.93 222
Billy Williams 0.93 350
Mordecai Brown 0.86 237
Johnny Evers 0.8 218
Hack Wilson 0.73 165
Billy Herman 0.72 214
Clark Griffith 0.66 182
Fergie Jenkins 0.63 203
Bruce Sutter 0.53 93
Kiki Culyer 0.51 152
King Kelly 0.5 141
John Clarkson 0.42 166
Pete Alexander 0.34 169
Andre Dawson 0.32 110
Greg Maddox 0.3 131
Al Spalding 0.19 62
Chuck Klein 0.18 40
Ralph Kiner 0.15 37
Rogers Hornsby 0.14 66
Dennis Eckersley 0.12 36
Roger Bresnahan 0.1 26
Monte Irvin 0.1 11
Dizzy Dean 0.09 19
Hugh Duffy 0.09 27
Richie Ashburn 0.08 28
Lou Brock 0.07 28
Rube Waddell 0.07 17
Deacon White 0.07 13
Freddie Lindstrom 0.05 8
Goose Gossage 0.02 4
Burleigh Grimes 0.02 7
Tony Lazzeri 0.02 5
Jimmy Foxx 0.01 1
Rabbit Maranville 0.01 4
Robin Roberts 0.01 0
Hoyt Wilhelm 0.01 0
16.74 5127
   

I think the Cubs benefited as much as anyone from the 19th Century. Their Hall-Win shares number is 85,825.98.

 

2 Yankees Number of Win Shares
Yogi Berra 1 375
Earle Combs 1 227
Bill Dickey 1 314
Joe DiMaggio 1 387
Whitey Ford 1 261
Lou Gehrig 1 489
Mickey Mantle 1 565
Phil Rizzuto 1 231
Lefty Gomez 0.99 185
Tony Lazzeri 0.96 243
Red Ruffing 0.85 265
Babe Ruth 0.75 574
Joe Gordon 0.7 162
Herb Pennock 0.7 158
Waite Hoyt 0.69 169
Jack Chesbro 0.67 141
Goose Gossage 0.46 94
Dave Winfield 0.4 171
Willie Keeler 0.32 106
Home Run Baker 0.29 100
Reggie Jackson 0.28 114
Catfish Hunter 0.27 57
Wade Boggs 0.22 81
Ricky Henderson 0.21 122
Joe Sewell 0.2 48
Joe McGinnity 0.14 38
Clark Griffith 0.13 37
John McGraw 0.09 19
Enos Slaughter 0.09 27
Randy Johnson 0.07 23
Phil Niekro 0.06 25
Roger Bresnahan 0.05 12
Joe Kelley 0.03 8
Frank Chance 0.01 1
Stan Coveleski 0.01 1
Burleigh Grimes 0.01 0
Gaylord Perry 0.01 2
Dazzy Vance 0.01 2
Paul Waner 0.01 0
17.68 5834
   

The Yankees have more career hall of famers who stayed on one team by far. They shouldn’t feel too bad for coming in second. The National League had a big start and the hall of fame is always behind. For example Derek Jeter should be elected on his first ballot. Their Hall-Win shares number is 103,145.12.

 

 

Tigerlily and I thought the Yankees would have more win shares than the Giants. Boy were we wrong.

 

1 Giants Number of Win Shares
Carl Hubbell 1 305
Travis Jackson 1 211
Mel Ott 1 528
Bill Terry 1 278
Ross Young 1 206
Christy Mathewson 0.99 425
Juan Marichal 0.98 260
Willie Mays 0.98 626
Amos Rusie 0.97 283
Monte Irvin 0.9 87
Willie McCovey 0.89 363
Freddie Lindstrom 0.78 152
Mickey Welsh 0.78 275
Roger Bresnahan 0.68 149
Buck Ewing 0.65 157
Roger Connor 0.63 228
Joe McGinnity 0.63 166
Orlando Cepeda 0.55 179
Rube Marquard 0.52 102
George Davis 0.49 202
Frankie Frisch 0.48 170
Tim Keefe 0.44 181
Dave Bancroft 0.43 99
Jim O’ Rourke 0.42 129
Gaylord Perry 0.42 154
Monte Ward 0.39 160
Hoyt Wilhelm 0.25 59
Ernie Lombardi 0.19 44
Edd Roush 0.1 34
Hack Wilson 0.1 20
Rogers Hornsby 0.08 40
Joe Medwick 0.08 27
Joe Morgan 0.08 43
Red Schoendienst 0.07 20
Burleigh Grimes 0.06 19
Jesse Burkett 0.04 14
Jake Beckley 0.02 6
Gary Carter 0.02 8
Goose Gossage 0.02 4
Gabby Hartnett 0.02 6
John McGraw 0.02 5
Dan Brouthers 0.01 0
Steve Carlton 0.01 0
Waite Hoyt 0.01 5
Randy Johnson 0.01 4
Willie Keeler 0.01 4
King Kelly 0.01 1
Tony Lazzeri 0.01 1
Ray Schalk 0.01 0
Duke Snider 0.01 2
Warren Spahn 0.01 3
20.25 6444
130491

Do the Giants thank Frank Frisch or the 19th Century for their victory? I think it is a combination of things. They had the most players listed. Their Hall-Win shares number is 130,491.

 

2017 Player comments summary

The number in parenthesis is his grade on my Test. I listed them in Test score order.

—————————–

Ivan Rodriguez (3.0) – Dan spent a lot of time on him. I might just put him at the top of my ballot and hope he wins this year, so I can stop worrying about why he lost 40 pounds and 40 ops+ points in less than six months.

Manny Ramirez (2.6) – Manny’s player-only profile (leave out the personality) is that of a solid, C-level Hall of Fame candidate. I imagine he is perceived as more of a B-level candidate.

Tom Glavine (2.3) – I think Glavine’s best historical comp is probably Whitey Ford. Glavine was a poor man’s Warren Spahn or a rich man’s Eddie Plank, and the four of them were similar enough in style, handedness and success that they might be seen as a knot, if not a family. Are they the Mount Rushmore of the Crafty Lefty nation? It would seem strange to leave Tommy John off the hill.

Vladimir Guerrero (2.2) – Here’s a link to his Test.

Curt Schilling (2.2) – Schilling’s closest historical comp is either John Smoltz, Don Drysdale, or Rudy Guliani.

John Smoltz (2.2) – He might be Schilling’s main competition for the pitcher slot on the non-Yankee postseason all-impact team, except he spread his goodness around, rather than stuffing most of it into one bloody sock.

Craig Biggio (2.1) – He won four gold gloves, played in eight consecutive all-star games, and lasted long enough to put himself way up most of the counting lists.

Sammy Sosa (2.0) – Without the juice, he was Chuck Klein or Jose Canseco. Even with the juice, he didn’t dominate. He didn’t lead the league in homers in any of his 60 homer seasons.

Mike Mussina (1.7) – I rank the big four pitchers on the ballot Glavine-Schilling-Smoltz-Mussina in an accomplishment-based discussion, but I would rank them almost the exact opposite way in a value-based discussion. They are in a knot on my Test, all mid- to high- level C candidates.

Gary Sheffield (1.7) – The Dick Allen of the PED era. As he matured he seemed to exorcize his demons, but in the end he was still just as sour as he had always been. It was like he went from being a brat to a prick to a curmudgeon. The whole time we kept expecting him to go postal, but he never really did. I’m sure he has a very nice lawn now, which we can all get the *%$# off of.

Larry Walker (1.4) – Walker is another player who inspires memories of reading Chuck Klein’s statistics in an encyclopedia. Klein and Walker’s teammate Todd Helton may be the only serious Hall of Fame candidates with more air in their statistical profiles.

Kenny Lofton (1.3) – Lofton may have been the most prolific second-wife center fielder of all time. He was the Liz Taylor of quickie baseball marriages and (mostly) amiable divorces. He returned to Cleveland as a free agent twice, which I think makes the Indians Richard Burton. The Atlanta Braves, who acquired him in a trade earlier in his career, lost him back to Cleveland the following year. That makes Lofton Eddie Fisher, and the Braves Debbie Reynolds.

Rafael Palmeiro (1.3)
– Will Clark beats Palmiero, based on my TBA formula, 5.77 to 5.68 runs per game. That’s before any adjustments are made for park context, league context, or pharmaceutical context. That means Clark, without any benefit of the doubt about PEDs or giving him any extra credit for doing most of his best hitting before the high-offense 1990s, was still a (slightly) more effective offensive player than Rafael Palmiero.

Kevin Brown (1.2) – We had a long, spirited discussion about his strikeout rates during last year’s GOR election. Here is a link to last year’s GOR if you want to read up on all that.

Bernie Williams (1.2) – He was a good first-wife centerfielder, a rarity in the modern game. The Yankees spent several years trying to make Melky Cabrera a good first wife, but they eventually gave up. Cabrera then moved to Kansas City, got a boob job, and eventually married the Blue Jays despite going to jail for a short time. I may have him mixed up with a reality television show wife.

Matt Williams (1.1) –
He’s the meat in the middle of the Darrell Evans/Graig Nettles third base sandwich. If there was only one he would be a fairly obvious choice, but there are three of them. Maybe they need to have one of those Highlander things, run around and chop off everyone’s head until there is only one, then make him give a speech and hang himself in the ground floor atrium.

Jim Edmonds (1.1) – WAR occasionally spits out a weird number when all the little, normally self-cancelling wrinkles line up in the same direction for a player. Edmonds, like Larry Walker, ranks significantly higher on the WAR list than on other lists.

Jeff Kent (1.1)
– It won’t bother me if Kent makes the Hall of Fame, but Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker might have a beef if he gets in before they do.

David Cone (1.0) – I actually think Cone will develop some momentum as a Hall candidate once he’s eligible for the old timers committees.

Carlos Delgado (1.0) – Delgado is like Bobby Bonds and Chuck Klein … Jack Morris, Rick Reuschel and Don Drysdale. The contrarian candidates. If they are in they suck. If they are out they are underrated. They are the line between C and D on the Hall candidate scale.

Jorge Posada (0.9) – Posada was one of the most consistent hitters you could ask for, hitting between .268 and .281 eight times in his 12 year prime period, hitting 20 homers and driving in 80 runs in eight different seasons. Dave Fleming took some time to explain his take in the articles section.

Dave Stieb (0.9)
– He belongs on the Graig Nettles/Rick Reuschel all-star team of players who nobody can remember what order to put the vowels in his name.

John Olerud (0.8)
– He never looked gassed or sweaty. He was as smooth as melted caramel, trickling down a warm spoon. He always reminded me of that cartoon turtle, what was his name? He was always saying, “hello Day- vee …”

Trevor Hoffman (0.6) – I don’t think he meets the established standards for a BBWAA-worthy Hall of Famer. He never pitched even 90 innings in a season, and he only had a couple of sub-2 eras. His career era+ was 141. For comparison, Mariano Rivera’s career era+ was 205.

Lee Smith (0.6)
– Electing one-inning closers is a little like electing kickers to the NFL Hall of Fame. A few should be in, but only a few.

Julio Franco (0.5)
– He’s probably still playing out there somewhere, his wiggling bat barrel winking at the mound while he waits for his pitch.

Billy Wagner (0.4)
– If Wagner had pitched well in his big-game situations, he might be the anti-Hoffman candidate, but he didn’t. He melted under pressure like a wax candle in a microwave oven. He was more toothless than a meth-addicted hockey player. He blew up like a bottle rocket stuck in a lump of C4 and shot out of a cannon into a pile of gunpowder. He sucked worse than a hillbilly girl with a gay brother. I’m exaggerating, but how many Hall of Famers have double figure postseason eras?

Willie McGee (0.4) – (from 2016) He has no chance in hell at the moment, but there were years in the GOR where he would have been a contender.

Edgar Renteria (0.4)
– I think his long term chances will come down to how his defense is perceived. His offensive career could be best described as “not disqualifying.”

Dontrelle Willis (0.4) –
The .4 is all about the fame, ‘bout the fame, no numbers. Has anyone else noticed that he sits on the Fox Sports set like he used to stand on the mound, with his back to everyone? He never really turns his shoulders, either, to face who he’s talking to. He just turns his head and throws his words out like he’s curving them into his listener’s ears.

Jason Varitek (0.3)
– Varitek and Derek Lowe combined for just under 60 career WAR. Heathcliff Slocumb’s WAR in 1997, when the M’s traded for him, was -0.6. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Tony Phillips (0.3)
– If it was possible to put together an all-time great multipositional all star team, who would be on it?

Garret Anderson (0.1)
– Anderson is unlikely to make the Hall of Fame, but his counting numbers mean he’ll be jumping out of encyclopedias as long as baseball retains its basic statistical shape.

Mike Cameron (0.1) – Guys like Cameron and Lofton, Johnny Damon … they might lose a step or two, but they can still play out there for winning teams well into their thirties. They are the centerfield version of a great second wife. They don’t wear white and nobody throws a big wedding for ‘em, but they can keep you awfully warm out there in center field when you get tired of all the young “prospects” who don’t know what they are doing.

Magglio Ordonez (0.1) – Magglio was probably a decent match for Ray Boone or Bob Johnson, somebody like that, once you let the air out of his numbers – and frankly I might be overstating his contribution. There is a lot of air in his numbers.

Jose Rijo (0.1) – Rijo was a Reader’s Digest-condensed Hall of Famer. His career World Series era was 0.59, and he won the 1990 World Series MVP. His era+ between 1988 and 1994 was 147, based on an era of 2.63. He was 87-53 during his prime with the Reds, starting 192 games in 7 years. He was among the leaders in k/9 every year, and led the league in strikeouts the one year he pitched a full schedule.

Tim Wakefield (0.1) – Joe Niekro is the only knuckleballer on his full-career comps list, and only Charlie Hough landed on his age-44 comps list. I would have expected a few more on the age-44 list, given how few pitchers last to that age.

Javier Vazquez (0.1) – As a pitcher he was the opposite of Mike Torrez, but somehow they wound up in the same basic place. Torrez finished at 185-160, 4.07, Vazquez 165-160, 4.22. It was like two rabbits lit out from the briar patch in different directions, tore up completely different gardens, and wound up in the same fox’s stomach.

Pat Burrell (0.0) – Where would he rank all time? I think he’s in the top thousand, maybe even the top 700-800, but I can’t really say for sure.

Orlando Cabrera (0.0) – He ain’t making the Hall, but he was a shortstop who made it to 2000 hits so I think he deserves to be on the ballot.

J.D. Drew (0.0)
– I think Drew, among all the players whose reputations were stained by the greed of Scott Boras, was the most profoundly stained.

Derrek Lee (0.0) – Derrek’s father Leon and his uncle Leron both played in Japan for many years, and Derrek spent a lot of his childhood over there. He still travels extensively, teaching baseball skills to children all over the world.

Rich Harden (0.0) – From 2005-2008 he was 25-9 in 348 innings, with 378 strikeouts and a 2.56 era (an era+ of 171). He was one of the all-time great table-game pitchers, but he was never healthy enough to put up the numbers on the field that he put up on the table.

Melvin Mora (0.0)
– If the pool is limited to full seasons only, Mora’s 2004 might make some fluke-season lists. He was almost as good in 2003, but in a partial season. His ops+ was 155 in 2004, 143 in 2003 – but only 117 in 2005, his second best full season.

Matt Stairs (0.0) – He looked like a Keebler elf who spent too much time in the sample room, or that guy on your softball team who everybody calls “Spanky.” Put him on the team with Johnny Bench, Phil Roof, and Ed “Carpet” Burns.

2017 Player Comments

Garret Anderson (0.1). Anderson is unlikely to make the Hall of Fame, but his counting numbers mean he’ll be jumping out of encyclopedias as long as baseball retains its basic statistical shape. He finished 2nd in range factor at his position six times, and finished 3-2-2 in 1997-1999, respectively, in left field, right field, and center field. Ranks around 100th all time in most of the counting categories, 48th all time in doubles.

Anderson illustrates one of the logical absurdities that pop up – at both ends of the defensive spectrum – because of how WAR counts defense. He was, by all accounts, an above average fielder – one of the best at his position in the league – yet his career defensive WAR (BBR) is negative 4.6 games. Since replacement value is whatever produces a record similar to the expansion Mets, that’s an awfully negative statement.

I understand that the onus on the right end of the spectrum is heavily tilted towards offense, but how much of that is by choice? In other words, is left field unimportant defensively because it doesn’t matter, or because some teams choose not to care?

The other side of this particular coin is second base, where the logical disconnect goes the other direction. A lot of plays happen at second base – hence its perceived value – but the skill set required doesn’t imply a degree of difficulty matched by the higher volume.

Craig Biggio (2.1). Bigs is in the real Hall, having been elected in his third year of eligibility. He was never the clear best player in the league – Bill’s NHBA article notwithstanding – and he had the feel of a second fiddle more than a face of the franchise type, but he won four gold gloves, played in eight consecutive all star games, and lasted long enough to put himself way up most of the counting lists.

Kevin Brown (1.2).
Brown failed to receive 5 percent of the vote in the 2011 Hall election, his first. I think he’s an eventual Hall of Famer, but I would put the odds against him still being around to make the speech. We had a long, spirited discussion about his strikeout rates during last year’s GOR election. Here is a link to last year’s GOR if you want to read up on all that.

Pat Burrell (0.0). Where would he rank all time? I think he’s in the top thousand, maybe even the top 700-800, but I can’t really say for sure. His career WAR doesn’t rank among the top thousand. He finished his career with the 234th best ops ever (.834) and pulled up just short of 300 homers, but his only defensive value was something like the guy who holds the camera during a home orgy. It can be summed up as “he was willing to get out of the way.”

Burrell was the first overall pick in the 1998 amateur draft and made the majors in early 2000, after slashing .333-.438-.631 for AA Reading in 1999. He came up as a first baseman and played 58 games there as a rookie – about half his total games – but the Phillies moved him to left in order to play Travis Lee, then Jim Thome, then Ryan Howard. Burrell never played first again; those 58 games as a rookie were his career total.

He was a pretty bad outfielder – slow, with bad instincts and a weak arm – but he wasn’t Greg Luzinski. In strat terms he would have been a 3(+1) in a few years, a 4(+1) the rest of the time. Luzinski would have needed his own X-chart, like a pitcher hitting card. A Luzinski fielding card. If anyone makes one, I recommend that you use it for Hanley Ramirez, too.

Orlando Cabrera (0.0). He ain’t making the Hall unless they build on and double – maybe triple – the guard, but he made it to 2000 hits so I think he deserves to be on the ballot.

I mostly remember him for two things. First, he had a Denny Doyle-esque, magical season in 2004, when he came in to replace Nomah, hit .294, and helped the Sox win their first World Series since Babe Ruth was a pitcher.

Second, he drove in lots of runs for a guy who profiled as a bottom of the order hitter. He drove in 96 for the 2001 Expos, but the real fun season was 2007, with Anaheim. He hit .301, scored 101 runs, and drove in 86. His adjusted ops+ was 95, which turned out to be the second highest of his career. The year he drove in 96, his adjusted ops+ was 92. There must be a list to generate there .. best players who drove in more runs than their ops+ or something?

Mike Cameron (0.1).
Cam ain’t going to the real Hall, but he was a consistent, winning player for a surprisingly long time, for a surprisingly large number of teams. He played full seasons with at least 100 games in center field for six different teams, and at least 40 games in center field for eight teams.

I watched his four homer game. Two things: first, he missed a fifth by maybe 10-15 feet. He drove a ball to right center field in his final atbat that was caught right at the front of the warning track. Second, all four homers were off of curve balls.

Cameron was amazingly consistent. The M’s dumped him at 30 years old, thinking he was in decline, and at the time it looked like he was, but he was just getting started. He had a remarkable run of seasons in his thirties that look amazingly alike on the back of his baseball card, bouncing around the league but – like late-career Kenny Lofton – landing on a lot of good teams.

Do we think about Willie, Mickey and the Duke first when we think about center field? I know I do, and I think it colors my judgment about what a good center fielder actually looks like. It’s sort of like reading a Victoria’s Secret catalogue right before heading to Match.com.

Guys like Cameron and Lofton, Johnny Damon … they might lose a step or two, but they can still play out there for winning teams well into their thirties. They are the centerfield version of a great second wife. They don’t wear white and nobody throws a big wedding for ‘em, but they can keep you awfully warm out there in center field when you get tired of all the young “prospects” who don’t know what they are doing.

David Cone (1.0).
I actually think Cone will develop some momentum as a Hall candidate once he’s eligible for the old timers committees. His win total (194) won’t be such a detriment once the writers get used to the lower cumulative win totals being put up in recent years, assuming they don’t go back up again.

Cone, like a lot of pitchers, dirtied up his record a bit at the end. He was 180-102 (.638), 3.19 after the 1999 season, an adjusted era+ of 129. He wound up at .606 and 121.

Carlos Delgado (1.0).
Delgado is like Bobby Bonds or Chuck Klein. They are the contrarian candidates. Jack Morris, Rick Reuschel and Don Drysdale are pitcher versions, same idea.

If a contrarian candidate gets elected to the Hall of Fame, the discussion will be almost evenly divided between those who think “it’s about time” and those who think “what a joke.” If they are in, the majority of their ink will be about what crappy Hall of Famers they are. If they are out, the majority of their ink will be about what an injustice it is that they aren’t in.

They can’t win, and they can’t lose. Once in they are only remembered in mocking tones, but even if they never get in they will always jump out of the book. They don’t define the bottom of the Hall – that’s where the Frischian Candidates are (shut up Ludlum) – but the middle. They are the bottom line of the BBWAA Hall, and the line between C and D on the Hall of Fame tier structure.

J.D. Drew (0.0). I think Drew, among all the players whose reputations were stained by the greed of Scott Boras, was the most profoundly stained.

I would occasionally hear nice things about Drew, from people who dealt with him directly – and had no reason to lie – but those voices were always drowned out by the constant, grinding distain and mockery of the Jim Rome world of smack talk radio and the very loud internet voice of Boston homer – and Drew hater – Bill Simmons. Was he a good guy, or a bad guy? I honestly have no idea.

Jim Edmonds (1.1). Edmonds was a hell of a player – very stylish, in my memory – and I always liked him, but I don’t like him as much as some of the other BJOL guys do. Edmonds is a future Hall of Famer, I think, but he’s going to have to wait a while.

Nobody ever turned on a high fastball like Edmonds did, and we have all seen the over the head catches on Sportscenter. As a hitter I liken him to Will Clark, probably because they shared some physical traits and had similar swings. As a fielder he wasn’t fast, but he was fearless and he had tremendous instincts. He’s another one of those great second wife center fielders.

Julio Franco (0.5). I don’t completely discount Franco’s Hall of Fame chances, but he might need a loosening of the belt. It’s been a few years since anyone has called for a less exclusive Hall of Fame.

Tom Glavine (2.3) – I have Glavine as a high C level Hall of Famer, but an argument can be made that I have him too low – that he’s actually a B. He won 300 games and 2 Cy Young awards. He finished in the top 3 of the voting in 6 different Cy Young award elections. He won a World Series-clinching game with a 1-0 shutout, giving the Braves the only championship during their remarkable run, and their only championship in nearly 60 years.

His World Series earned run average, in 58 innings, was 2.16. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first eligible year, despite some stiff competition. Incidentally, he was a pretty good hitter, with a .186 career batting average. He had no power – 1 career homerun – but he drew over a hundred walks and laid down 216 sacrifice bunts. For context, only one 21st century player had more sacrifice bunts. I’ll put his name down at the bottom, so you can guess who it is. The next highest, after Glavine, had 180 and was also a pitcher. I’ll put his name down there, too.

I think Glavine’s best historical comp is probably Whitey Ford. Glavine was a poor man’s Warren Spahn or a rich man’s Eddie Plank, and the four of them were similar enough in style, handedness and success that they might be seen as a knot, if not a family. Are they the Mount Rushmore of the crafty lefty nation? It would seem strange to leave Tommy John off the hill, given his status as the namesake of a certain type of crafty lefty.

Speaking of Eddie Plank, was he the only major league player to die at Gettysburg? Did Eddie Grant die at Harvard, in the Argonne Forest, or on Electric Avenue?

Vladimir Guerrero (2.2)
Here’s a link to his Test. I had forgotten that Vladdie was a big base stealer at one time. He is one of just 6 players to reach 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in back-to-back seasons. I’ll put that list down at the bottom, too. He was one of two players to miss a 40-40 season by a single homerun. I’ll put that down there, though my guess is most of us know who the other guy was off the top of our heads.

Trevor Hoffman (0.6) –
It looks like he’ll sail into the real Hall of Fame … I’m not the one to make his case, though. I don’t think he meets the established standards for a BBWAA-worthy Hall of Famer. He never pitched even 90 innings in a season, and he only had a couple of sub-2 eras. His career era+ was 141 – a good number, certainly – but in San Diego, pitching one inning at a time?

For comparison, Mariano Rivera’s career era+ was 205.

I suppose he’s the first true one-inning closer. That’s something. One thing about him that impressed me was how he survived the loss of his good stuff. At one time he had a big fastball, but by the 1998 World Series I doubt he was hitting even 90 on the gun. He managed to pitch another dozen years after that, accumulating over 400 saves.

Jeff Kent (1.1) – When I do the Test, I don’t make any specific adjustments for PED use, but I take a lot of air out of the statistics for certain factors specific to the period. Three of those factors are direct hits on Jeff Kent.

  • He had an unusually long career for a player of his type and apparent level of ability.
  • He peaked unusually late. He hit 270 of his 377 career homers after he turned 30 – 299 after he joined Barry Bonds in San Francisco at age 29 – and he had a post-30 ops+ of 131 after a pre-30 ops+ of 106. His best five year WAR stretch came at ages 30-34, and over half his career WAR came during his age 32-37 years. His WAR pre-30 was 14.5, post-30 40.7. He drove in 100 or more runs 8 times, the first at age 29.
  • Despite superficially impressive numbers, both single season and career, he never led the league in anything. He had zero points of black ink. He only had 77 points of gray ink.

His 1.1 on the Test indicates a mid-level D candidate, a guy who is a bit more than 50-50 to eventually make the Hall of Fame based on their previous history. That’s probably fair, because by the time he becomes a serious candidate nobody is going to question the fact that his aging pattern was as suspicious as Pamela Anderson’s cup size when she moved to Hollywood.

I personally don’t care – or mind – if Kent makes the Hall of Fame, but Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker might have a beef if he gets in before they do.

Derrek Lee (0.0) – He put up twin 131 ops+ numbers in 2002-2003, then his ops+ seemed to leap off its moorings. His ops+ movement between 2004 and 2010: -13, +56, -62, +18, -21, +37, -40. His 2005 season jumps off the page like Jim Gentile’s 1961, maybe … but Lee had another year in 2009 that, while it wasn’t as good as 2005, was good enough that it probably eliminates him from all the fluke-season lists.

Derrek’s father Leon and his uncle Leron both played in Japan for many years, and Derrek spent a lot of his childhood over there. Leon hit .308 with 268 homers in 10 seasons in Japan, while Uncle Leron hit .320 with 283 homers in 11 seasons. Derrek was 3 when his father moved to Japan, 12 when he returned, and he spent summers over there through high school. He still travels extensively, teaching baseball skills to children all over the world.

Kenny Lofton (1.3) – If Tim Raines was Rickey Henderson lite as an offensive player, then Kenny Lofton was Tim Raines lite. Lofton’s career pattern – several brilliant years early, then a long career at a lower level of production – matches up with Raines. Both were speedy revelations as rookies, then put up their best five year stretch shortly after (Lofton in years 2-6, Raines in years 3-7).

Lofton’s overall value was similar to Raines, depending on how you factor in his defense. WAR has them essentially even, while Winshares gives a significant advantage to Raines. I think Winshares has it right – that Raines was the more valuable player overall – but that’s mostly because I don’t buy into how WAR figures defense and position adjustments. There seems to be an assumption that, because some teams don’t care about defense in left field, it doesn’t matter. As a result, all left fielders are position-adjustmentally treated much like first basemen/designated hitters, while center fielders are given a far less demanding offensive “book” to cover. I don’t buy the premise.

Anyway …

Lofton may have been the most prolific second-wife center fielder of all time. He was the Liz Taylor of quickie baseball marriages and (mostly) amiable divorces. He switched teams nine times between 2002 and 2007. He was traded in midseason in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2007. Every team that picked him up made the playoffs, too. He played in the postseason every year from 2001-2007 except 2005, when he hit .335 for the Phillies but, for some reason, they were unwilling or unable to find a suiter for him. He returned to Cleveland as a free agent twice, which I think makes the Indians Richard Burton. The Atlanta Braves, who acquired him in a trade earlier in his career, lost him back to Cleveland the following year. That either makes them Michael Todd, or makes Lofton Eddie Fisher and the Braves Debbie Reynolds.

Willie McGee (0.4) – I might as well reprint what I wrote last year; it’s not like his situation has changed.

He has no chance in hell at the moment, but there were years in the GOR where he would have been a contender. The MVP, three gold gloves, two batting titles, a rookie of the year award, and several postseasons give him considerable stage value, and he finished with well over 2000 hits. It’s not impossible that he will get the call someday.

Melvin Mora (0.0) – At the time he turned 30, he looked like a guy who was probably going to be out of the league by the time he was 32 or 33, having made between one and two million dollars. He wound up playing til he was 39 years old and walking away with over 40 million dollars. Whatever he did or didn’t do, who could possibly blame him? It takes an awfully stiff neck to turn down a thumb-rub like that.

If the pool is limited to full seasons only, Mora’s 2004 might make some fluke-season lists. He was almost as good in 2003, but in a partial season. His ops+ was 155 in 2004, 143 in 2003 – but only 117 in 2005, his second best full season.

Mike Mussina (1.7) – I rank the big four pitchers on the ballot Glavine-Schilling-Smoltz-Mussina in an accomplishment-based discussion, but I would rank them almost the exact opposite way in a value-based discussion. The highest ranked, according to the Test, is Glavine at 2.3 and the lowest is Moose, at 1.7. They are in a knot, wrapped tightly around the C grade.

Moose is more famous for his work with the Yankees, but if you ask me he was a far better pitcher with the O’s. His record with Baltimore was 147-81, 130 era+. With the Yankees he was 123-72, era+ 114.

He had the sickest splitter I have ever seen in the 1997 playoffs, when he outdueled Unit twice. It was almost bugs bunny-ish, the way it stopped and dropped. It was unhittable.

John Olerud (0.8) – A local kid – WSU was his college – Olerud was one of my favorite players. Some statheads like him even more than I do. Like Edmonds and a few other players, he gets overrated some by the decentralization effect of the high-offense era he played in. He had a big year with Toronto in 1993, another big year with the Mets in 1998, and a couple of good years with the M’s in the early 2000s – but that’s it. He was basically a league average hitter for his position the rest of his career, and his career 129 ops+ isn’t impressive for where he landed on the defensive spectrum. He was a good defender, which matters, but he wasn’t Keith Hernandez.

Those four years count, of course, and I think Olerud is a slightly below average D candidate for the Hall of Fame, roughly 40-60 to eventually gain admission according to historically established trends and criteria. I would be thrilled to see him make it. A lot will depend on how the voters see him; was he famous, or wasn’t he? He was on famous teams, but he was always sort of a quiet, unassuming presence, and not really a force.

One thing people might not realize about Olerud was how streaky he was within a season. He was mostly a guy who tried to drive the ball to center-left center, but occasionally he would get into a groove where he could pull just about anything the pitcher tossed up there. He would hit a rash of homers, never seeming to even swing hard … then it would be gone and he would spend the next couple of weeks hitting weak pops and corny cans to left center. Eventually the weak pops would turn back into line drives, then he’d pull one … and the cycle would repeat.

He never looked gassed, or intense, or sweaty. He was as smooth as melted caramel, trickling down a warm spoon. He always reminded me of that cartoon turtle, what was his name? He was always saying, “helooooooo …. Daaaaaay- vee …”

Magglio Ordonez (0.1) – Arod’s huge 2007 season shafted Magglio, who finished second in the American League MVP vote. Looking at the results, I noticed something strange. In the National League, five of the top seven players in the vote were white. In the American League, just one of the top twelve were white. Just two of the top twelve in the American League vote were born in the United States, while the top eight in the National League vote were all born in the U.S.

Ordonez averaged 32 homers and 118 rbi between 1999 and 2003. His only top five finish in either category was in 2002, when he finished 2nd in rbi with 135. He posted four consecutive .300-30-100 seasons, and missed a fifth by a solo homerun (29 hr, 99 rbi). His highest MVP finish during the run was eighth, and in two of the years (1999 and 2001) he failed to receive a single vote.

He has the barest of chances to make the Hall of Fame. It seems strange to say that about a career .309 hitter with well over 2000 hits and nearly 300 homeruns, but what else can I say? Magglio was probably a decent match for Ray Boone or Bob Johnson, somebody like that, once you let the air out of his numbers – and frankly I might be overstating his contribution. There is a lot of air in his numbers.

Rafael Palmeiro (1.3) – Will Clark beats Palmiero, based on my TBA formula, 5.77 to 5.68 runs per game. That’s before any adjustments are made for park context, league context, or pharmaceutical context. What the means is Clark, without any benefit of the doubt about PEDs or giving him any extra credit for doing most of his best hitting before the high-offense 1990s, was still a (slightly) more effective offensive player than Rafael Palmiero.

Tony Phillips (0.3) – If it was possible to put together an all-time great multipositional all star team, who would be on it?

Jorge Posada (0.9) – Posada was one of the most consistent hitters you could ask for, hitting between .268 and .281 eight times in his 12 year prime period, hitting 20 homers and driving in 80 runs in eight different seasons – only Mike Piazza and Yogi Berra did it more often, 10 times apiece (Johnny Bench also did it eight times) – and putting up an offensive WAR between 3.3 and 6.5 every year between 2000 and 2007.

Hip-hip was weirdly consistent getting on base. He put up onbase averages over .400 four times, but the rest of the time he was within a few percentage points of .360, ranging from .350-.374 except for one down year, when his oba was .341. Dave Fleming took some time to explain his take elsewhere on the site.

Manny Ramirez (2.6) –
I gave him an A on the fame question and B’s on the other impact questions and both career statistics questions. He only got C’s on what I might call the “winning” series of questions. He never won an MVP award. He never led the league in WAR or offensive WAR, and he never really came close. His black and gray ink were below the norms for the Hall of Fame.

Part of the problem was the size of the league, of course, but his player-only profile (leave out the personality) is that of a solid, C-level Hall of Fame candidate. I imagine he is perceived as more of a B-level candidate.

Manny being Manny was the 2000s version of a long, proud line of a specific player type: The hitting savant. The players share characteristics beyond their ability to square up the barrel of the bat on a baseball. Their primary shared characteristic is an obsession with hitting, almost to the exclusion of everything else. They tend to be bad fielders. They tend to have flaky personalities. They tend to have reputations as lovable eccentrics from a distance, and rank assholes up close. Their careers often end badly, and their reputations usually circle the drain along with their batting averages. Here are a few examples:

Pete Browning
Heinie Zimmerman
Joe Jackson
Hack Wilson
Jeff Heath
Ted Williams
Gus Zernial
Ferris Fain
Rico Carty
Dave Kingman
Manny

Teddy Ballgame, Heath, Fain, and Kingman were angry rather than buffoonish, so they should probably be considered cousins more than brothers. Wade Boggs, Pete Rose … they can be second cousins; their obsessions weren’t limited to hitting, but they had plenty of obsessiveness to go around.

Manny’s family line would be Browning, Zimmerman, Wilson, Zernial, Carty, and then Manny. I am sure I missed a few, and probably somebody obvious.

Edgar Renteria (0.4)
– I think his long term chances will come down to how his defense is perceived. His offensive career could be best described as “not disqualifying.” He had 2372 career hits and enough other stuff – stolen bases, .330 batting average seasons, 100 run seasons, even a 100 rbi season – to cover the offensive book for a gold glove quality shortstop with some big moments in the postseason.

Was he a good defensive shortstop? Are you asking me? Oh wait, I asked myself. Well, if I ask me, I would say “maybe, but the evidence is sketchy.” He won a pair of gold glove awards, but I doubt he deserved them. His range and error rates were consistently below average, and his double play data was poor. He played for several teams, and his below average numbers followed him around. His range factors in his two gold glove-winning seasons were a good 50 plays below average. Would you give a batting title to a player who had 50 hits below average?

Jose Rijo (0.1) – He had a modest little 4-game winning streak that began on July 25, 1995 and ended on May 3, 2002. He made 23 mound appearances in between, not losing a game for 2,473 days. Making the majors at 18 years old, according to BBR he was the 12,470th oldest player to debut in the major leagues. Belongs with Gary Nolan, Jim Maloney, Mario Soto, Jim O’Toole and Don Gullet on the Red’s all-time “dominant table game pitchers as long as you don’t play innings limits” team.

Rijo was a Reader’s Digest-condensed Hall of Famer. His career World Series era was 0.59, and he won the 1990 World Series MVP. His era+ between 1988 and 1994 was 147, based on an era of 2.63. He was 87-53 during his prime with the Reds, starting 192 games in 7 years. He was among the leaders in k/9 every year, and led the league in strikeouts the one year he pitched a full schedule.

Ivan Rodriguez (3.0) – His overall grade might be a little high. I chose the higher grade on every close call, and there were a lot of close calls. Pudge 2.0 was a B- player, I think – not quite a B, but far too substantial to be stuck in with the C’s. If I did his Test again tomorrow, in a bad mood, he might drop into the low 2’s. If I did decimals, or plus-minus like Bob used to do, he would probably be in the 2.6-2.7 range.

Dan spent a lot of time on him, more time than I will. My take on Pudge is that his defensive accomplishments were plenty to get him in the Hall of Fame but, absent whatever made him huge during the wrap-around years at the turn of the millennium, as a hitter he was like Renteria: just another guy, a compiler but never a force.

He was still a baby when he met Canseco, so we’ll never know how good a hitter he really was. He took a 158 point tumble in his ops (42 in ops+) the year he lost all the weight, and he was below 100 in ops+ the rest of his career. He was into his 30s by then, though, so it’s not fair to assume he would have never been a good hitter. Was he good enough to compare to the other BBWAA Hall of Famers? Honestly …. Probably not.

He was a winner, though, and I really hate putting him in a negative light. I might just put him at the top of my ballot and hope he wins this year, so I can stop worrying about the fact that he lost 40 pounds and 40 ops+ points in less than six months.

Curt Schilling (2.2) – What pitchers would rank ahead of him on a postseason all-impact team? How many of them never played for the Yankees?

Schilling’s closest historical comp is probably John Smoltz; well, Smoltz or Don Drysdale.

Gary Sheffield (1.7)
– The Dick Allen of the PED era, Sheff might be the missing link between the angry cousins and the multi-obsessives in my Manny Ramirez comment. As he matured he seemed to exorcize his demons, but in the end he was still just as sour as he had always been. It was like he went from being a brat to a prick to a curmudgeon. The whole time we kept expecting him to go postal, but he never really did. I’m sure he has a very nice lawn now, which we can all get the *%$# off of.

Lee Smith (0.6) – Like Hoffman he might be a Hall of Famer, but he wouldn’t make the top 500 pitchers in a value ranking. He was probably one of the top 500 based on his established skills, but he wasn’t used often enough to compare to all the guys who threw 200 plus innings a year. Electing one-inning closers is a little like electing kickers to the NFL Hall of Fame. A few should be in, but only a few.

John Smoltz (2.2) – He might be Schilling’s main competition for the pitcher slot on the non-Yankee postseason all-impact team, except he spread his goodness around, rather than stuffing most of it into one bloody sock.

He gets mixed reviews for his broadcasting skills; I personally think he’s terrific. I think he has a shelf life, like all the good color guys. There is only so much any single person has to say.

Sammy Sosa (2.0) – Without the juice, he was Chuck Klein or Jose Canseco. Even with the juice, he didn’t dominate. He didn’t lead the league in homers in any of his 60 homer seasons.

Matt Stairs (0.0) – He came up as a second baseman, then there was talk about him moving to third base. You know how many games he played in the infield (first base doesn’t count) in his 20 year career? One. One inning at second base. When did he play there? In 2001, with the Cubs at the age of 33, in his tenth season. He played one inning. Well, he stood there for one inning – he didn’t have any chances. He might have taken a throw from the outfield or something.

Stairs eventually played for 12 teams, but he never played for either New York or Los Angeles team. He did play a season in Chicago, for the Cubs. He retired in 2011, having played 20 years and made 19 million dollars. He may go down in history as the last player with a long career to not average a million dollars a year.

He was a strange choice to play first base. He was listed as 5-9, but that seems generous. He looked like a Keebler elf who spent too much time in the sample room, or that guy on your softball team who everybody calls “Spanky.”

Put him on the team with Johnny Bench, Phil Roof, and Ed “Carpet” Burns.

Dave Stieb (0.9) – From 1980-1990 Stieb started at least 31 games every year except one (25) and went 158-115 with an era of 3.29 (127 era+).

Stieb, like Rijo, missed several seasons before coming back to pitch. He had a modest little 4-game losing streak that lasted for 1,947 days between 1993 and 1998. He belongs on the Graig Nettles/Rick Reuschel all-star team of players who nobody can remember what order to put the vowels in his name.

Jason Varitek (0.3) – His career WAR is only 24 and his career offensive production, even without taking some air out for Fenway and the high offensive era, is in the mid-700s among the 2600 players who had at least 2000 career plate appearances. He was a terrific player, but it would be a hefty stretch to get him into the top 500 position players, let alone the top 300 or so where he would become a legitimate Hall of Fame contender.

I still think he might wind up being a fringe Hall of Fame candidate, because – well, Rick Ferrell. If Rick Ferrell is a Hall of Famer, Varitek’s name is going to come up in those fringy, “well, if this guy is in … “ sorts of arguments. Varitek did some cool things in the postseason; unlike most players with his metric profile, he does not score at 0.0 on the Test.

Not to beat it to death, but Varitek and Derek Lowe combined for just under 60 career WAR. Heathcliff Slocumb’s WAR in 1997, when the M’s traded for him, was -0.6. This … THIS is why we can’t have nice things.

Billy Wagner (0.4) – Wagner was, like Lee Smith and Trevor Hoffman, a consistent, effective one-inning closer for many years. He saved 422 games, and his career 2.31 era in just over 900 innings is a good bit more impressive than either Smith or Hoffman were able to put up. His career k rate is among the best ever.

A lot of people wonder why Wagner isn’t a stronger Hall of Fame candidate.

Wagner’s career postseason era is 10.03. That’s not a typo, and that’s an accurate reflection of how well Billy Wagner pitched in the postseason. He pitched in 1 division series, giving up 2 runs in 2 games, 1 inning (18.00 era). He pitched in one World Series, giving up 5 runs in 3 games, 2.2 innings (16.88 era). He pitched in six championship series, giving up 6 runs in 9 games, 8 innings (6.75 era).

You just thought, “Well, he wasn’t that bad in the championship series,” didn’t you? I did, while I was writing it. He was so bad in the other ones that a 6.75 era started looking good, didn’t it? Overall, he gave up 21 hits and 3 homeruns in 14 career postseason games, 11 1/3 innings. I’d have to check the box scores to see how many saves he blew, but he was the closer in six different postseasons without a single save. He did save three for the Mets in 2006 while giving up 6 runs in 6 games, 5 2/3 innings.

I’m a sucker for a big fastball, and I always liked Wagner. If he had pitched well in his big-game situations. I think he would be a strong Hall of Fame candidate.

But he didn’t. He melted under pressure like a wax candle in a microwave oven. He was more toothless than a meth-addicted hockey player. He blew up like a bottle rocket stuck in a lump of C4 and shot out of a cannon into a pile of gunpowder. He sucked worse than a redneck virgin with a gay brother.

He might get in anyway, but he’s probably going to have to wait for the old timers. He pulled just over 10 percent in his first time on the BBWAA ballot.

Larry Walker (1.4) – I think Walker is a legitimate Cooperstown candidate, but he’s below the C/D line and he ain’t going to get a reservation from the BBWAA. He’s going to have to wait in the bar. I doubt he’ll mind, though. He always struck me as a patient guy, a guy who wouldn’t mind spending some time wrapped around a drink, telling stories about the good old days when there were only two outs in an inning.

Bernie Williams (1.2) – Bernie would be below the D line had he played for anyone else but the Yankees, but he was a good ballplayer and one hell of a good first-wife centerfielder, a rarity in the modern game.

The Yankees slutted around with one second wife (Lofton in 2004) before stealing the Red Sox’ wife (Damon) to replace him. I have no idea how to metaphorically explain Melky Cabrera, but Damon was moved to make room (trophy wife? Or just a young bride who wouldn’t be so demanding?). Cabrera, after never being very good for the Yankees, moved to Kansas City and got a boob job while the Yankees went and got Detroit’s first wife.

While Bernie played his guitar.

Matt Williams (1.1) – He’s the meat in the middle of the Darrell Evans/Graig Nettles third base Hall of Fame candidate sandwich. If there was only one he would be a fairly obvious choice, but there are three of them. Which one do you pick?

Maybe they need to have one of those Highlander things, run around and chop off everyone’s head until there is only one. Or how about a reality show? The Hot Corner. Bring in all the borderline guys and vote them off the base until there is only one left, then toss that guy a plaque and make him give a speech.

Tim Wakefield (0.1) – This is how weak the incoming class of pitchers is. Wakefield is their best hope. He was tremendous in his 1992 rookie season, going 8-1 with a 2.15 era in 13 starts, 92 innings before completing and winning both his starts in the Pirates’ playoff loss to the Braves.

Wakefield wound up pitching 17 seasons with the Red Sox, mixing good years in with not so good years, ultimately winning 186 games and striking out over 2000 batters for them. He was awful in the playoffs after his initial success, going 3-7 with an era of 8 in 54 innings with the Red Sox.

Joe Niekro is the only knuckleballer on his full-career comps list, and only Charlie Hough landed on his age-44 comps list. I would have expected a few more on the age-44 list, given how few pitchers last to that age.

Javier Vazquez (0.1) – He was the guy with great stuff and better k/bb ratios who never seemed to get as much out of his talent as he should, or get as lucky as he deserved. In this narrow way he was the opposite of Mike Torrez, who always had terrible ratios and always seemed to get more out of his stuff than he really deserved.

Somehow they wound up in the same basic place: Torrez finished at 185-160, 4.07, Vazquez 165-160, 4.22. It was like two rabbits lit out from the briar patch in different directions, tore up completely different gardens, yet they wound up in the same fox’s stomach.

Dontrelle Willis (0.4)
– The .4 is all about the fame, ‘bout the fame, no numbers. Has anyone else noticed that he sits on the Fox Sports set like he used to stand on the mound, with his back to everyone? He never really turns his shoulders, either, to face who he’s talking to. He just turns his head and throws his words out like he’s curving them into his listener’s ears.

Rich Harden (0.0)
– I only listed him because it was a slow year for pitchers, and to mention that his career era+ through the age of 26 was 137. From 2005-2008 he was 25-9 in 348 innings, with 378 strikeouts and a 2.56 era (an era+ of 171). He was the pitcher version of Eric Davis, the “man, if he could only stay healthy for a full season” pitcher of the early 2000s. He never could, and he was done at 29 years old.

*****

From the Tom Glavine comment –

Omar Vizquel was the only 21st century player with more career sacrifice bunts than Tom Glavine’s 216. Greg Maddux was 2nd to Glavine among pitchers, with 180.

From the Vladimir Guerrero comment –

Back-to-back seasons of 30 homeruns and 30 stolen bases: Bobby Bonds*, Alfonso Soriano**, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds***, Vladimir Guerrero and Ryan Braun.

*- missed 40-40 by a single homerun in 1973
**- Went back-to-back twice, in 2001-2002 and 2004-2005
***- Did it three years in a row, 1995-1997 (Bonds had a power/speed number of at least 30 in 9 consecutive seasons, 1990-1998)