Year Inducted: 1945 (Veterans Committee)
The value of the walk is something that is continuously debated even to this day. Is it more valuable that a player try to expand his zone and try for a hit while running the risk of hitting into an out, or is it more valuable for him to just take the walk while not making an out and adding an additional baserunner? Those that adhere more to traditional stats lie on the side of the possible hit being more valuable, while those that adhere to analytics believe the walk is fine. There are merits to both schools of thought, and the true answer is that it probably depends upon the situation. Back in the early years, stats like OBP weren’t really tracked that much, so some players that were good at drawing walks ended up being overlooked over the ones that would get the hits. That is why a player like Dan Brouthers is so special; he could do both.
Year Inducted: 2013 (Veterans Committee)
The Veterans Committee has been lambasted enough around here. And, while picks like Tommy McCarthy, Lloyd Waner and Bill Mazeroski deserve criticism, it is also important to praise the Veterans Committee when they get it right; even if it takes almost 80 years to do so. Remember that the Veterans Committee largely has had these tasks:
- Induct those players that the BBWAA, for whatever reason, overlooked that deserve induction.
- Induct the greatest players of the early years of the game so they aren’t lost to sands of time.
Don’t induct Jack Morris. Just don’t.
- Buck O’Neil still needs induction. You should get on that.
And while the first task is difficult, as the BBWAA has done an historically decent job being the gatekeepers of the Hall of Fame, the second gets increasingly difficult as time goes by. Although the information available to everyone has increased, the connection to the past decreases over the years, so the names of players like Roger Connor and Cap Anson get shoved further down the list. And one of the players that deserved the honor much sooner than he got it was Deacon White.
Year Inducted: 1965
It’s tough to compare pitchers to each other since the role has changed over the years. When baseball first started, it wasn’t uncommon to see rotations being only 2-man, hence why innings pitched by starters from the pre-1900 pitchers could reach as high as 400 or 500 in a season, where today very few pitchers top 200. Velocity, pitch types, and increased batter strength also affect how we view pitchers (hence why Pedro Martinez is looked at so highly, having low ERA’s when the league average ERA was over 5). The value of the win has also changed over the years. Pitcher’s wins made much more sense back in the early eras of the game, when pitchers would pitch every inning of a game and therefore have much more of an effect on the entire game (where pitchers currently pitch roughly 6 innings most nights). Because of all these changes, it’s useful to break pitchers into “generations” or “groups”, rather than just lumping all starters together. First Generation starters pitched most of their careers before 1910, with the latest pitcher in the group (Cy Young) retiring in 1911. Today’s subject is one of the earliest pitchers to make the Hall of Fame- Pud Galvin. Continue reading