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September 26, 2007

But does he SMELL like a Hall of Famer?

***Note: The following was submitted by E. Check him out HERE!***

Usually, these pages are reserved for discussing the Hall-worthiness of marginal players like Kent Tekulve and Ken Phelps...I myself still have hopes for Jack Clark and Jeff Leonard. But I thought I'd change it up a little, and talk about someone who actually WILL make the Hall sooner than later.

One of the previous entries discussed the Hall-worthiness of a couple of second basemen. I'd like to throw another hat in the ring: Craig Biggio, the newest (and, unless Bonds finds a new team next year, probably the last for a while) member of the 3000 Hit Club. Three thousand hits is one of the last hitting stats guaranteed to put you in the Hall, but I've been hearing a lot of buzz about Biggio NOT being good enough for the Hall. And I can understand this, because it's CRAIG BIGGIO.

When talking about the great players of this era, he's not a name that enters the discussion. He's not flashy, nor has he put up any super numbers; he's gotten where he is by being boringly consistent. He just doesn't pass the Hall of Famer "smell test."

However, I think he's a Haller...and a first ballot one, at that. And to make my case, I'll compare him to another converted middle infielder and 3000 hit Hall of Famer who played his entire career with one team: my arch-nemesis, Robin Yount.

These two are actually a pretty good comparison, as, by the time Biggio retires at the end of the year, they will have played the same number of years, and be close in games and plate appearances.

Yount is another case of a guy who kinda played in the shadows. Not flashy, not a great fielder, not particularly popular (playing in only three All-Star Games), playing on a not particularly-good, small-market team that would have 11 straight losing seasons after he retired...yet he somehow won two MVPs. Of the 3000 hitters...Yount's stats are some of the weakest. He was not a consistent power hitter, he didn't drive in a lot of runs, he didn't hit for average, he didn't steal bases. This guy didn't put up super numbers every year. He just went out there and put up the same stat line, year after year...not a great stat line, at that, but consistency DOES count for something.

And baseball writers realized the shallowness of his numbers, inducting him by a mere 12 votes. It didn't help that Nolan Ryan and George Brett, both 98% vote-getters, became eligible the same year.

But, he went in first ballot, nonetheless.

As far as stats go, Biggio is about as close to Yount as you can get. Their stat lines are remarkably similar, with a slight edge (I think) to Biggio. In fact, with the exception of hits, triples, and RBI, Biggio's numbers are better across the board in fewer games. I'm willing to give a pass on the RBI thing, because, while both players usually batted second in their respective lineups, Biggio batted behind a myriad of unremarkable squids (and pitchers). Yount batted behind Paul Molitor.

You tell me who's gonna have more RBI!

Biggio has some additional pluses in his column. He was a four-time Gold Glove winner, he played in all but three All-Star Games in the '90s, his 666 (and counting) doubles are good for fifth all-time, his 1840 and counting runs are good for 12th, and he will probably end his career as the all-time leading hit batsman.

Now, mind you, Biggio's great-but-not-awesome stats are somewhat skewed to the high side due to Biggio's high number of games and plate appearances.
To get an understanding what I mean...look at Ken Griffey Jr's numbers, and consider the fact that The Kid has played nearly 500 FEWER games than Biggio.

But, playing in every game didn't stop Yaz or Hammerin' Hank from going into the Hall...and shouldn't be a problem here.

Biggio also ranks 10th in outs, but considering that everyone (excepting Ralph Palmeiro) in the top 20 is in the HOF, it's a good thing to get out. His company on the strikeout list, where he currently ranks 11th, is not as Hall-worthy.

All that being said, I'll conclude my case by paraphrasing a comment I made in the Sandberg/Alomar debate: If you put Yount in, you gotta put Biggio in.

Plain and simple.

We'll see how it pans out in 2013.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

its a good article and all, but where the hell is jesus? this blog is going to die... you stop checking back when something is posted two three times a month. its a great niche blog, it could get huge if someone put a little effort into it. the articles are well written.. dont take this the wrong way, its a complement and constructive criticism.

Jesus said...

Thanks for the comments, anonymous. I'll start by putting it this way, I've maintained all along that I would try and get something every week...and I think I've been living up to that the last couple of months.

Now with the inclusion of E...we'll be able to get more out there. Trust me, we think similarly enough that his writings won't detract from overall picture...but we don't share the same mind, so we'll be able to offer different opinions.

Regarding the niche...again, I appreciate the compliment.


Trouble is...there is only a finite amount of things to write about before you devolve to "look at the other shit I found" or "look at this YouTube video!"

We'll (yes, "WE") will do everything we can to make this more worthwhile to you.

Adam Godson said...

Nice piece. A couple quick points --

Yount played in a very muted offensive era, while Biggio played in the greatest offensive era in history. That's a bit of a difference.

In Biggio's defense, he did play three premium defensive positions, C, CF, 2B throughout his career and was very much a team player. For longevity and being the face of the Astros for 20 years, he's a sure-fire HoF.

Matt Sinclair said...

Just noticed your discussion of Biggio. In my opinion, topping 3000 hits will guarantee Biggio makes the Hall, and I'm pleased. Had he remained a catcher his entire career, he'd never have made it even though he was an excellent catcher; he would have been another Ted Simmons or Randy Hundley. As this article states, Biggio was a team player and played the game the right way. I actually played against him once in college and met him at a Seton Hall clinic when I was in high school and he had the same approach to the game then that he demonstrated over his Astros career. Hopefully, five years from now the voters will see it that way too.

Connie said...

GOD forbid a player has to be "flashy" to earn a spot in the HOF. Biggio is IN. One of the best everyday gamers ever.