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September 18, 2009

"The Hall" versus "THE Hall"

Since Jesus was first fitted for sandals, philosophers have questioned whether or not a tree falling in the woods makes a sound. In today's age, a better question might be whether or not a blog or website actually exists if no one is reading it.

Well, I am here to tell you that thanks to guys like Rob Neyer and Jimmy Traina, sites like RBI Magazine, Seamheads, The American Mustache Institute and plenty of're reading.

So when I saw that fellow blogger (yes, I hate that word...but we are what we are) Jake Rake mentioned The Hall in his latest post I had to check it out.

You should too...then return and let's discuss. Go THERE and return in...






Now that you're back...let's break down the players that Jake would not include in his version of Cooperstown.

Paul Molitor: I would say that it’s pretty weird that Molitor got voted in while Harold Baines did not, considering their near-identical careers as designated hitters (Molitor: 21 seasons, 122 adjusted OPS+; Baines: 22 seasons, 120), except for the fact that there is little rhyme or reason to who the BBWAA elects to what is supposedly baseball’s highest honor.

Let me start by saying once again...I am a HUGE supporter of Harold Baines being enshrined in Cooperstown. I've made my case and can't figure out how the BBWAA can't seem to give him more than 5.9% of the vote.

After three years on the ballot and considering Edgar Martinez will get all the DH-friendly votes, I'm wagering 2010 will be the last for him.

And that's a shame.

Now, Molitor, on the other hand, he's a slam dunk, no? Let's break it down without using OPS+ as a reason for any of it. Molitor gets in because because he has 3300+ hits, close to 1800 runs scored and more doubles than all but 10 players. Even looking at and comparing their careers as designated hitters is ridiculous given Baines has more than 1300 more plate appearances than Molitor.

Nearly identical? Not hardly.

Neither Baines nor Molitor will find themselves in Jake’s Hall of Fame, but both have unquestioned claims to residency in the Hall of Very Good. Fun fact: Baines and Molitor were even selected two picks apart in the 1977 Draft, with Baines going first overall to the White Sox and Brewers taking Molitor third.

Here's another "fun fact" for ya, outside of Molitor, there have only been three players selected in the top ten of their respective draft classes that have been enshrined...Reggie Jackson (drafted second overall in 1966), Robin Yount and Dave Winfield (selected with the third and fourth picks in the 1973).

And while we're talking "fun facts", also selected in that same draft...Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (more on him later), two-time World Champion manager Terry Francona, could-be Hall of Famer (depending on who you ask) Tim Raines and former NBA Executive of the Year Danny Ainge.

Dave Winfield: Maintaining an adjusted OPS+ of 130 over the course of a 22-year career is impressive, however, a corner outfielder who only finishes in the top five in that category once during those 22 years is not a Hall of Famer. He’ll be right up there with Molitor and Baines in the Very Good ranks though.

Pop quiz...can you name the players with a higher career batting average, more hits, home runs and RBI than Winfield? Let me help you out...Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray. Yeah, that's it, man, just those four.

Add to that Winfield's twelve straight All-Star Games and seven Gold Gloves and I think you know why he garnered close to 85% of the vote in 2001.

Ernie Banks: The first half of his career was epic, with a line of .290/.353/.552 as a shortstop in a low-offense era; however, after becoming a full-time first baseman in 1961, he managed to hit just .260/.310/.454, making him a league-average bat at what is supposed to be a high-offense position for more than half of his career.

"Mr. Cub"? Really?!? Anyone who knows me knows that I've done my fair share of Cubs bashing. That being said...I don't know that I've ever said anything bad about the on field achievements of the two-time MVP. I know that the rub against Banks is his play at first base, but considering while he played short he hit 40 home runs or more in four consecutive seasons (at the time, only Babe Ruth had done it more)...he was pretty much a shoe-in.

Consider this, when Banks retired with 512 home runs in 1971...he was SEVENTH on the all-time list behind only Aaron, Babe Ruth, Mays, Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams. Just behind him on the list were Harmon Killebrew and Frank Robinson. Connect the dots...this one is an easy one.

Nellie Fox, Bill Mazeroski, & Red Schoendienst: Finishing one’s career with an adjusted OPS+ below 100 is grounds for immediate disqualification unless your name is Ozzie Smith.

Oh no...more OPS+ arguments! C'mon...all three of these guys were middle infielders, not known for their stick AND voted in thanks to the Veterans Committee. Yes, the same Veterans Committee that can't seem to get their act together when considering the resumes of Luis Tiant, Jim Kaat and Dick Allen.

In short, I'm going to pass and move along to...

Bruce Sutter: Being an elite closer isn’t enough if you only play for 12 seasons. Off the top of my head, the only relievers I’m taking are Mariano Rivera, Goose Gossage, Trevor Hoffman, and Dennis Eckersley.

I can (and have) made comments against the inclusion of Bruce Sutter. Honestly, I'd put in Dan Quisenberry before Sutter...and I'm not even sure I could do that without being high on NyQuil. That being said, how could anyone conveniently leave Rollie Fingers and Lee Smith out of their closers equation?

Rivera, Goose, Hoffman and
The standards are pretty tough for Jake's Hall of Fame I guess. Given he's only got four relievers (only two are Hall-worthy) in his Hall and players like Winfield, Banks, Molitor and Pete Rose (read this gem) paying for their admission like normal folks...I have to wonder who DOES smell like a Hall of Famer to this guy?

BallHype: hype it up!


E said...

Wow. Yount is in, but Molitor is out.


And I'm guessing this guy must have a broken hand, because, with that big bulky cast on, he mistyped "Rollie Fingers" as "Goose Gossage."


Dean Hybl said...

Articles like this one from Jake are exactly what you can expect when people take a relatively meaningless made-up statistic like OPS+ and suddenly start using it to determine player greatness.

He seems to have very little interest in career statistics or performance, but values the OPS+ as if it is the end-all of determining player value.

I know these kind of statistics were created to try and create comparisons over eras and maybe have a legitimate place among a number of measures, but when used as the primary tool (like done by Jake), you end up with foolish articles that try to minimize greats of the game.

I think they need to put a warning label on OPS+ (should be used only as a complimentary tool when discussing player greatness).