Year Inducted: 1975 (Veterans Committee)
There are times when some players in the Hall of Fame feel redundant (for lack of a better word). Many of the First Generation Starting Pitchers, for instance, feel similar. A fair question to ask is, if Player A is already a Hall of Famer, should Player B be as well, if they have similar numbers? The answer is not always easy. If both players had similar competition, or both had similar offensive environments, then they absolutely should be inducted together. One of the best reasons to not induct Jack Morris (3.90 ERA, 95 ERA-) is that his career has similar numbers (or worse) to players like David Wells (4.13 ERA, 93 ERA-), Dennis Martinez (3.70 ERA, 94 ERA-) or Jim Kaat (3.45 ERA, 93 ERA-), instead of all-time greats like Tom Seaver or Phil Niekro. A great example of this is Bobby Doerr (covered yesterday) and Billy Herman, today’s player.
Herman manned second base for 15 seasons, mostly for the Chicago Cubs, and put up a line pretty similar to Bobby Doerr’s. Herman hit .304/.367/.407 for a wRC+ of 115. Doerr had more power than Herman, but Herman was able to maintain a higher batting average while not losing anything in OBP. The main difference between the two, and the reason why Herman ranks higher than Doerr, is that Herman played more often. Herman had roughly 600 more PA, basically an additional season, and was able to gain slightly more value than Doerr because of it. Herman was also the better baserunner of the two, being worth nearly 30 more runs on the base paths than Doerr, helping offset the difference in their slugging. In the field, Herman was excellent. He was worth over 100 runs defensively, slightly more than Doerr was.
Like yesterday, it is interesting to think about why Herman was overlooked by the BBWAA. Similar to Doerr, the lack of a championship and the lack of milestone numbers hurt him. Herman and Doerr also suffer due to the lack of comparisons to other second basemen, something that they wouldn’t have to worry about as much today. Thankfully, the Veterans Committee was able to rectify that mistake in 1975, one of the best decisions the 70’s Veterans Committee made.
Stay tuned for the next update.
On deck 10/3/16: The first great Jewish sportsman in history.