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Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Happy 2007!!!

From all your friends at FJM.

In other news:

I love it when people write articles explaining who is and who is not worthy of inclusion in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Such articles are almost always straight-up nutso.

Jon Heyman, a BBWAA Hall of Fame voter, has told us for whom he intends to vote. Let's take a look-see, shall we? (I will skip the explanations when they are logical or when it suits me to do so.)

My Hall of Famers

1. Cal Ripken Jr.

Excellent choice.

2. Jack Morris.


He doesn't receive nearly the support he deserves. Beyond being the winningest pitcher of the '80s, he made 14 Opening Day starts and was the ace of three World Series winning teams, not to mention the MVP of the 1991 Series. He was one of the best ever.

I think there is a theoretical argument for Jack Morris. He threw a ton of innings at good ERA+ for many years. His 10-inning masterpiece in '91 was one of those "signature moments" which voters tend to look for, despite the fact that they are the definition of "Small Sample Size." But I don't think you could argue he was a "dominant" pitcher -- he was very good, but his K/BB ratio for his career isn't even 2:1. His numbers are generally south of Don Sutton's, but Sutton pitched longer and more efficiently. Get this: Sutton walked 47 fewer guys than Morris did, despite throwing 1400 more innings. Think about that! That's nuts! And Sutton, many people think, is borderline for the HOF, so Morris, well, he's one of those second-tier guys, who had wonderful careers but don't quite measure up to the Hall.

Anyway, Heyman didn't say any of this. What he said was:


I bolded and 'talicized that for you, so you can more easily focus your eyes on it. I need you all to focus your eyes on it, so that you can realize how moronic it is to say that (a) someone should be in the HOF because he started opening day 14 times. And (b) how truly, madly, and deeply insane it is to claim that Jack Morris is one of the best pitchers ever. That is criminally, indubitably, fantastically insane.

3. Goose Gossage. I agree with him when he says he is one of the greatest closers ever.

A new voting process: ask the players themselves if they think they were good enough.

4. Tony Gwynn. Eight batting titles makes him an automatic selection.

No argument from me. I would cite his .306 career EqA instead of his stupid batting titles, but still, no argument from me. Side note: Did you know that Tony Gwynn struck out only 434 times in 9288 AB? Wowsers. (This also allows me to bring up one of my favorite stats ever: that in 1950 Yogi Berra struck out, in 597 AB, twelve times.)

Anyway, Tony Gwynn, absolutely, no argument from me.

5. Dave Parker.

Argument from me.

A great all-around talent who practically goes unnoticed at this time every year, quite possibly because he used drugs (though not the performance-enhancing kind). He could do it all, placed in the top five in MVP voting five times and was a better all-around player than Jim Rice, who also makes my ballot.

Dave Parker, career:

.290/.339/.471/.810 (121 OPS+)
683/1537 BB/K
339 HR
EqA: .284

He had five WARP3 years over 8.0 (I'm counting his 7.9 in 1985), including a stellar 10.3 in 1977. The rest of the years are a lot of 2s, 3s and 4s. He was very good at baseball. But:


Dave Parker: 86.3 (2466 games)
Dwight Evans: 119.1 (2606 games)
Jim Rice: 89.2 (2089 games)
Paul O'Neill: 98.6 (2053 games)

That's just the first three guys I decided to look up.

6. Andre Dawson.


A tremendous all-around talent who lasted 21 years on ravaged, wrecked knees, which was long enough to hit 438 home runs and steal 314 bases. While I don't believe he should have won the 1987 MVP as a member of the last-place Cubs, he'll always be a Hall of Famer to me. Unfortunately, not enough other voters agree.

I think you meant fortunately, not enough other voters agree.

I've been through this before on this site, but (a) who cares if he had wrecked knees? You don't get extra HOF points for that. And (b):


.279/.323 (!!!!!!!!!)/.482
.285 EqA
1509 Ks and 589 BB in basically 10,000 at bats.

I think I could walk 589 times in 10,000 at bats.

Andre Dawson was below the league average in OBP 14 out of 21 years he played. That = not good. He did have a 109.5 career WARP3 in 2627 games. But that's still far less than Dwight Evans with the same career length. And no one ever talks about how Dewey should be in the HOF.

7. Rice. The one player I've changed my mind on. His six top-five MVP finishes reflect that he was one of the game's best players for a decade. He was fairly one dimensional and didn't play long enough to crack 400 home runs, but I'll give him a "yes" for the second time.

It pains me to say this, but I don't think Jim Rice should be in the HOF. He simply wasn't good enough for long enough. He was feared, dominant, all those things. He had back to back years of an OPS+ over 150. But come on. Is he one of the best players ever? With a .287 career EqA and basically 11 years of play? (Just for comparison, at random, I chose Reggie Jackson and Willie Stargell for career EqA: Reggie is .303 and Willie is .315). Sorry, Jimmy.

8. Steve Garvey. A consummate winner, at least during his playing days.

Not a qualification for inclusion.

It's a wonder he doesn't get more support, what with a record 10 All-Star appearances at first base, eight .300 seasons and a litany of fielding records and NLCS hitting records.

All-Star appearances are complete and utter bullshit. Meaningless, pointless, unimportant, stupid bullshit. .300 seasons are fine indicators of the possibility that you are a valuable player -- not actual indicators that you are a valuable player. NLCS hitting records? Are you kidding me? Bernie Williams holds like every ALCS record ever, because he is a pretty good baseball player and because his team is always in the ALCS. How in the world can you use, as a criterion for anyone, records that can only be attained if your team happens to be good enough to reach the playoffs a bunch of times?

Also, just for poops and chortling:

Steve Garvey, Career EqA: .281
Cecil Cooper, Career EqA: .281
Kenny Lofton, Career EqA: .287
Al Oliver, Career EqA: .287

And because I cannot resist, ever:

David Eckstein, Career EqA: .260 (also league average)

9. Dave Concepcion.


Career OPS+: 88
Number of his 19 years he had an OPS above the league average: 7
Career SLG: .357.

Read that again.

Career SLG: .357.

Let it rattle around your brain.

Career SLG: .357.
Career SLG: .357.
Career SLG: .357.
Career SLG: .357.
Career SLG: .357.

Sorry. Got carried away.

Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.Career SLG: .357.

Oops. Again, sorry. Let's just move on to the next--

Career SLG: .357.

That's the last time. Promise.

Do you know what Joe McEwing's career SLG is? .355.

He wasn't the player A-Rod or Derek Jeter is, but in his time he was the standard for shortstops, making nine All-Star teams and quietly helping the Big Red Machine be what it was.

You know what's funny about juxtaposing "All-Star teams" and "Big Red Machine?" The fact that there is a very famous scandal involving Reds fans stuffing the All-Star ballot boxes and getting every single dude on the Reds on the All-Star Team. Remember that, Jonny? Still want to vote for him?

Amazingly, Davey C. does have 109.7 career WARP3 -- but it's entirely due to his fielding. His career EqA is .257, or 3 pts below the average MLer. And in case some of you want to argue that he deserves to be in the HOF on fielding alone, Ozzie's career WARP3 is 139.3, in only like 100 more games. And Ozzie's career EqA is .262.

Close but not quite

10. Don Mattingly. It's not a bad case. He had a very similar career to Kirby Puckett and was one of the game's best for at least a half-decade before a bad back sapped him of his greatness. Mattingly also was one of the finest-fielding first basemen of all-time, not to mention a legend in New York (and very likely the next manager of the Yankees).

Fun FJM Home Game: Which of these things is relevant to the argument that Don Mattingly should be in the Hall of Fame?

A. Not a bad case.
B. Similar career to Kirby Puckett
C. Bad back sapped him of greatness
D. Legend in New York
E. Likely next manager of Yankees
F. D and E
G. None of the above

11. Alan Trammell. The best argument I have heard for Trammell is this question: Would the Tigers ever have traded him straight up for Ozzie Smith? While the answer probably is no, Smith gets extra points for fame, acrobatics and probably being the greatest ever defensively.

I only include this uncontroversial paragraph so I can lay this little stat on you:

Ozzie Smith FRAA, Career: 288
Alan Trammell FRAA, Career: 64

Wow. Ozzie was good.

Also, real quick -- Dave Conception's career slugging percentage was .357.

12. Tommy John.

If you tell me he should be in the HOF because he has a surgery named after him, so help me God...

The man lasted forever, and he won 288 games, which is certainly Hall-worthy. He also gets an extra point for being the guinea pig for the game's most famous surgical procedure.

What did I just say?!

He was not among the best often enough during those 26 years, though.


15. Bert Blyleven, Stat freaks love this guy. It's true that his 3,701 strikeouts (fifth all-time) and 287 career victories are numbers that are generally good enough for enshrinement, but unlike a lot of those stathounds, I saw the entirety of his career and he was rarely one of the best.

New requirement for inclusion: Heyman has to witness your career and declare it "best-worthy."

And I resent being called a "stathound." I prefer: "Collector of Vintage Erotica."

Labels: ,

posted by Anonymous  # 10:39 PM
From Richard:

Blyleven had 12 Opening Day starts, according to I guess the magic HOF number for that stat is 13.

Opening Day starts: 12 (Blyleven) vs. 14 (Morris)
Wins: 287 vs. 256
Strikeouts: 3701 vs 2478
ERA+: 118 vs 105
Innings: 4970 vs 3824

From Christopher:

I just thought you would like to know that Carlos Zambrano’s career slugging percentage is also .355 and on an upwards trajectory. I feel he should be in the HoF for his hitting.
Reader Chris chimes in with a few excellent points:

First, I don't really think Concepcion is a HOFer. He was the best shortstop in his league for a decade, but he probably falls just short.

A couple things, though:

1. That ballot-stuffing incident occurred in the 1950s. Gus Bell was one of the guys taken out of the game, if I remember correctly. Concepcion was definitely a legitimate choice for all-star during the 70s. Who were the alternatives? Larry Bowa? Bill Russell?

Mea culpa, friends. The ballot-box-stuffing scandal occurred in 1957. I would have bet literally dozens of dollars that it was like 1974 or something...but no. 1957. Dave Concepcion is clean on that one.

2. Which leads me to this: As much as you want to mock a .357 career SLG (strangely, Lee Sinins' sabermetric encyclopedia has him at .359), that figure is pretty good for a '70s shortstop. Here are all shortstops who had at least 5000 plate appearances between 1965-1990, with a career SLG better than Concepcion:

1 Cal Ripken .456 .456
2 Robin Yount .427 .427
3 Alan Trammell .420 .420
4 Garry Templeton .371 .371
5 Rick Burleson .361 .361
6 Dave Concepcion .359 .359

Two HOFers, one arguable case, a guy who couldn't really field (and who gave up 30 pts of OBP to Concepcion), and another who only played 7 real seasons.

Again, I'm not saying Concepcion is a HOFer (he's giving up 60-100 pts to the real stars on the list), but a .357/9 SLG in the '70s isn't nearly as pathetic as it is now.

Again, fair enough. Although arguing that someone with a lower SLG than Rick Burleson should be in the HOF is still nutso.
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