Year Inducted: 1973 (Veteran’s Committee)
Statistics can tell you a lot about a baseball player. In the case of George Kelly, they don’t say nearly enough.
That quote is from Kelly’s SABR Bio page. In fact, it’s the very first two sentences of their article on him. When the group of people who have dedicated their lives to advancing baseball analytics and avoiding the “eye-test” and using their perceptions of a player to judge them says that about a guy in the Hall of Fame, it’s something to take notice of. When they start their biography on him that way, it’s sad.
The purpose of this project wasn’t at any time to say that someone should be removed from the Hall of Fame. There have been some lackluster selections from both the Veterans Committee and the BBWAA, but that will always happen with humans in charge. And, even though this is almost entirely a statistics based ranking, it is important to recognize that some players’ place in history transcend their numbers. A player like Jackie Robinson is of immense importance to what the game means, that it doesn’t matter what his numbers are, he should be inducted and placed on the highest pedestal. A more modern example is Ichiro. While he’s having a great season right now and approaching 3000 hits for his career, he doesn’t need them to justify either his place in history (being the first truly successful Japanese position player that found success at both the MLB and Japanese levels is astonishing and culturally significant), nor to ensure his inclusion into the Hall of Fame when he retires. There is definitely a place in Cooperstown for those who were good players, but were important beyond their numbers. George Kelly just isn’t one of them.
But, he had to do something to at least be put on the radar for induction. What was it? Continue reading
Year Inducted: 1971 (Veterans Committee)
There are some players that score low simply due to not playing much. It’s not a coincidence that the bottom three players in this ranking all played in fewer than 1300 games in their careers. Of those three, Chick Hafey is probably the best, deserving on talent but not on results due to unfortunate injuries. Let’s see what Hafey has in his favor for induction. Continue reading
Year Inducted: 1946 (Veterans Committee)
Tommy McCarthy was a selection to the Hall of Fame that, according to Wikipedia, was instantly controversial.
If ever there were a player that was inducted that someone wanted to use as evidence to the Hall of Fame being broken, this is probably the guy.
Year Inducted: 1946 (Veteran’s Committee)
Frank Chance comes out last in these rankings. Does this mean he’s the worst player in the Hall of Fame? As a player, probably, but that has more to do with whom he is getting compared to rather than anything about him. Does it mean that he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame? No, and both positions can be held easily.
First, let’s go over a little bit of Chance’s career as a player.
Before we go over the actual rankings, I thought it would be a good idea to explain how I determined my rankings for the Hall of Fame. I looked at all of the Major League Players only. This means that any players from the Negro or other Leagues will be looked at. Sorry, I love Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson as much as everyone else, and recognize them as true Hall of Famers, but there aren’t very good records kept for those leagues, so it’s hard to objectively compare them to players in the Major Leagues.
I also am doing this purely statistically. What I mean is that players that have important social implications, but only played for 10 seasons, may come out fairly low in my rankings. That doesn’t mean I think they should be kicked out of the Hall of Fame, or that they are undeserving of being inducted. It’s just that short careers have to be Koufax-like dominant in order to be ranked highly, and there’s really only one Koufax.
I’ve been a rabid baseball fan for nearly 30 years now, and one of my goals in life is to write a book about baseball. I’ve started and stopped several projects over the years, but finally just decided to write a blog instead. I figured it would be a lot less pressure, and may actually be the thing that kick starts my writing.
My main project over the years has been a ranking system for the players in the Hall of Fame, and a way to more objectively determine future candidates. Along with that, there are just so many things that happen during the baseball season that I thought it would be fun to have a place to talk about what happens.
Most of my posts are going to be about the Baseball Hall of Fame. I’ll be putting up my methodology tomorrow and then, starting on Friday I’ll be putting up my rankings every 2 days, with any thoughts about the season as they come.