Hall of Fame Hopefuls-Third Basemen

Third basemen tend to be players with limited range, but quick reflexes and strong arms.  Ever since Eddie Mathews hit the scene, third basemen have needed to possess some power in order to get noticed, with the exception of great OBP skills (Wade Boggs) or tremendous defense (Brooks Robinson).  Third base is criminally underrepresented in the Hall of Fame with merely a dozen inductees.  The median score for third basemen is 27782, which is between Robinson and Ron Santo.  Let’s see how well some outsiders rank for potential Hall of Famers. Continue reading

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Hall of Fame Hopefuls- Second Basemen

Second basemen tend to be the smaller, less powerful players on a team.  Most are good base runners, and most hit for a high average.  Like at first base, there are twenty second basemen inducted in the Hall of Fame, ranging from Rogers Hornsby to Johnny Evers.  Second basemen check in with a median score of 24104, ranking between Ryne Sandberg and Joe Gordon.  Let’s see where a few outside players rank: Continue reading

Hall of Fame Hopefuls-First Basemen

First basemen are typically big sluggers (ie Willie McCovey and Harmon Killebrew) that are poor to average defenders, but there will occasionally be one that hits for a high average without a ton of power (ie George Sisler) or is a good defender.  The Hall of Fame currently hosts 20 first basemen, ranging from Lou Gehrig to Frank Chance.  The median score for first basemen is 21066, which ranks between Hank Greenberg and Jake Beckley.  The best way to determine a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy would be to calculate what his score will be, then compare it within his position.  If he grades out with similar Hall of Famers, then he probably would be a good candidate.  If he grades only with low-ranking Hall of Famers, then he probably shouldn’t be inducted.  While the following list isn’t meant to be exhaustive (and isn’t for any position that will be covered here), here’s a list of former, current and future candidates for induction at first base: Continue reading

John and Bud

A little less than a month ago, the Hall of Fame announced the first two members of the 2017 Induction Class.  These two people were also special as they are the first inductees under the new set of rules for the Veterans Committee, now known as the Era Committees.  This year, the panel was to look at a group of players and executives whose main contributions came after 1988 (so called Today’s Game).  The ballot consisted of the following people:

  1. John Schierholtz, GM of the Braves
  2. Bud Selig, Commissioner of Baseball
  3. George Steinbrenner, Owner of the Yankees
  4. Lou Pinella, Manager
  5. Davey Johnson, Manager
  6. Harold Baines, DH
  7. Albert Belle, LF
  8. Will Clark, 1B
  9. Orel Hershiser, SP4
  10. Mark McGwire, 1B

First impressions of the ballot were that the executives and managers are all interesting decisions, but the players are mostly lackluster.

Let’s start with the two guys that got in.  John Schierholtz was the architect of the greatest team of the 1990’s, drafting, developing and acquiring several Hall of Fame players and consistantly fielding a team that was in the upper third of the NL every year.  Schierholtz gave the Braves players like Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Fred McGriff, David Justice, Gary Sheffield, JD Drew, Tim Hudson, and many others that may not be current or future Hall of Famers, are certainly some of the best of their times.  He’s basically the modern day Ed Barrow who founded talents like Fred Clarke and Honus Wagner.  In short, Schierholtz absolutely deserved induction.

Bud Selig, on the other hand, was probably not nearly as easy a decision, despite getting all but one vote (Schierholtz got all 16).  Selig did a lot to grow the game internationally, made MLB a media mogul both in TV (MLB Network is the best single-sport network out there) and on the Internet.  Baseball is an incredibly profitable industry, and a lot of that has to do with what Selig did.  He does have enough on his record to deserve induction.

However, many fans were upset with Selig’s induction due to the Steroid Era that occurred under his tenure.  While it is true that Selig didn’t really try to stop steroids, it’s also true that none of the owners, players or media did either, so it is impossible to put the blame solely on him.  It’s also important to remember that Selig sought some of the toughest penalties on PED’s of any sport, barring the olympics, and did a very good job leading the fight to clean up the game.  He certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame more than Bowie Kuhn, whose efforts nearly destroyed the game in the 80’s with labor tensions (which Selig did his best to prevent from happening).  So, yes, Selig was a very good pick for induction.

The two managers on the ballot (Pinella and Johnson) were weak picks.  Pinella has a decent number of wins, but only 1 World Championship and no other trips to the World Series beyond that.  It’s tough to say that Pinella should be inducted when in Seattle he had some of the best assemblies of talent (Ken Griffey, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, heck even guys like Jay Buhner and John Olerud) and only won three division titles and a wild card.  There definitely is the case, though, for Sweet Lou as a baseball lifer, being a very good player in his career and a decent enough manager for more than 20 years.

Davey Johnson is in pretty much the same boat, but the advantage he has to Pinella is his winning percentage was much higher.  Both he and Pinella have strong cases as lifers, but the Hall of Fame doesn’t recognize that category yet.

The players on the ballot only had two guys that merited much thought.  Mark McGwire, despite the PED ties, has the numbers to be a Hall of Famer much in the line of Harmon Killebrew (their careers are nearly identical with the exception of games played).  Statistically, if Killebrew is a Hall of Famer, then so is McGwire.  The PED’s will probably always keep him out, but if baseball didn’t police it during McGwire’s career it’s hard to use that to justify it as a reason for keeping him from induction.

The other interesting player is Albert Belle.  Belle may not have been active enough to get on people’s radar for the Hall of Fame, but in 12 years hit nearly 400 homers, had a .933 OPS and 41 fWAR.  A hip injury ended his career early, but there may be enough of a peak in there to be inducted, at least worth a decent look.

Hershiser would have been a Hall of Famer had he not blown his arm out before 1990.  He came back in 1991 and was solid, but really wasn’t anything special and by 1994 he was done as a top pitcher.  Will Clark was a very underrated player for most of his career, but a first baseman with only 284 homers doesn’t stack up well against guys with twice that total.  Harold Baines had a lot of hits, but took an incredibly long time to get them (2800+ hits in over 11000 plate appearances) and did so as a DH, so no bonus points for a position.

Overall this was a fairly soft way of rebooting the Veterans Committee.  In future, they need to put better players on the ballot or not even bother.

Starting on Monday, I’ll be looking at each position and going over who, based on the system used here, still deserves induction and who doesn’t.

On deck 12/26/16, first stop is first base.

Split-stats: Teams in the Hall of Fame

While looking over each player, it’s easy to wonder which teams have the most Hall of Famers, or which teams have the best Hall of Famers.  According to the categories on the right-hand side of the screen, the top 10 teams in terms of numbers of Hall of Famers are:

1- NY/SF Giants (24)

2- NY Yankees (19)

3- Chicago Cubs (15)

3t- St Louis Cardinals (15)

5- Cleveland Indians (14)

6- Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (13)

7- Pittsburgh Pirates (12)

7t- Philadelphia Phillies (12)

9- Boston Red Sox (11)

10-Baltimore Orioles (St Louis Browns) (10)

10t- Chicago White Sox (10)

10t- Brooklyn/LA Dodgers (10)

10t- Philly/KC/Oakland Athletics (10)

Most of these should be pretty straight forward.  All 13 teams here were part of the original 16 teams (Senators, Reds and Tigers on the outside looking in).  The Giants get a big boost from the Frisch/Terry coalition of the Veterans Committee, and the Yankees have been arguably the best baseball team of all-time.  The Indians are interesting, as are the White Sox, since neither team has a long history of success.  The Dodgers feel like they should be higher, but most of their great players came in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

What would be more interesting would be to see which teams actually had the best quality of Hall of Famers inducted.  Here’s how the teams above average Hall of Fame player scored:

  1. Giants- 20995
  2. Yankees- 26289
  3. Cubs- 19690
  4. Cardinals- 23750
  5. Indians- 23974
  6. Braves- 23025
  7. Pirates- 21544
  8. Red Sox- 32662
  9. Phillies- 24441
  10. Orioles- 26055
  11. White Sox- 24151
  12. Dodgers- 23065
  13. Athletics- 27356

The Red Sox pretty much blow everyone else there away.  Why is that?  Well the Sox have only two players ranking below 150 (Jimmy Collins and Harry Hooper), while the Yankees have seven that far down (Phil Rizzuto, Earle Combs, Herb Pennock, Waite Hoyt, Tony Lazzeri, Red Ruffing and Jack Chesbro) which will hurt their average score.  The Cubs rank so low because they have four players below 200 in the Hall of Fame (Frank Chance, Johnny Evers, Hack Wilson and King Kelly) and their best players (Cap Anson and Ernie Banks) rank only 41st and 44th respectively.

An aggregate ranking would be difficult, but based on the number of players in each of the top 25 marks (25, 50, 75, etc.) would yield this:

  1. Yankees
  2. Giants
  3. Red Sox
  4. Cardinals
  5. Indians
  6. Athletics
  7. Tigers
  8. Cubs
  9. Phillies
  10. Orioles
  11. White Sox
  12. Braves
  13. Pirates
  14. Dodgers

That list looks fairly accurate, with another surprise at just how good the Indians have been over the years.  Another interesting surprise is the appearance of the Tigers, who had 9 Hall of Famers so far.  However, the Tigers did manage to get three players in the top-50 (Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer and Al Kaline) and only one player ranked below the top-150 (George Kell).

What teams have done the worst in the Hall of Fame?  Several teams have only one or two players inducted, and only four teams have yet to have an inductee (Angels, Rockies, Rays and Marlins).  Of the original franchises, the Senators/Twins and Reds have both seen the fewest inductees with only 8.

Believe it or not, I will still have a double update today.  The next one will go up at 7:00 am EDT.

#1- Babe Ruth, RF

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Year Inducted: 1936 (BBWAA, ballot #1, 215/226)

Score: 65705

In 1947, much as they did to honor Lou Gehrig, the Yankees held a tribute day to honor one of their greats.  Thirteen years after he had worn a Yankee uniform, the Bronx Bombers were honoring Babe Ruth one more time before his inevitable end due to throat cancer.  Thousands of people packed Yankee Stadium, with millions more listening via radio and speakers lining the streets of New York, as former opponents, managers, teammates and friends saluted a man who reinvented the game of baseball and was truly the game’s greatest player.  The sight of this once great man, this giant who always was larger than the game itself as now a frail, suffering man pulled at everyone’s heartstrings.  Ruth would give a small speech as his voice was practically gone that, while not on Gehrig’s level in terms of grandness, was still as emotional and impactful as ever as Ruth, one final time, walked off the field as the greatest player who ever lived.

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#2- Hank Aaron, RF

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Year Inducted: 1982 (BBWAA, ballot #1, 406/415)

Score: 60884

Bobby Thompson is forever known as the player that hit the “Shot Heard Round the World”, a home run to win the 1951 NL Pennant for the New York Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers on the last game of the season.  Three years later, Thompson found himself on the Milwaukee Braves.  In Spring Training of 1954, Thompson broke his leg.  While he was sidelined, the Braves decided to give one of their young players a chance in the outfield.  Twenty years later, that player stood taller than anyone ever thought possible as he passed Babe Ruth for career home runs.

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