The Hall of Fame ballots are out and, as an Old School fan, who do you think deserves to join Mantle, Mays, Williams, Dimaggio and other players of your era?
[Mark Malone, West Bablylon, NY]
As always, I eagerly anticipate reading the opinions of our readers about the Hall of Fame ballot; here is my subjective take on the 2014 Hall of Fame candidates. Please be sure to cast your votes in the poll following this article.
To begin, I think this is one of the best HOF pools in history.
"For Red Sox fans, Roger Clemens: YES; Curt Schilling: NO."
He should be a unanimous choice; send any BWAA member who fails to vote for Greg Maddux should be banned from further HOF voting.
300 Ws…WAR 104.6 [8th All-Time]…best pitcher of his generation…All-Time Pitchers’ Top Ten…355-227 record with a 3.16 earned run average and 3,371 strikeouts in 5,008 1/3 innings; led the NL in ERA four times and won at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons, another record.
"and he made it look easy."
Tom Glavine YES
300 Ws…Most consistently successful LHP of his era. Baseball Reference ranks him in good company: #44. Joe McGinnity… #45. Eddie Plank… #46. Jim Kaat… #47. TOM GLAVINE… #48. Hal Newhouser… #49. Early Wynn…two-time NL Cy-Young Award winner (1991 and ’98) and 10-time All-Star, was 305-203 with a 3.54 ERA over 22 seasons combined with the Braves and New York Mets. The left-hander was a five-time 20-game winner and won four Silver Slugger Awards.
Roger Clemens YES
Let’s get this straight: he was not found guilty in the PED-related trial. He never admitted to using PEDs. We apply “innocent, until proven guilty” and “jury of peers” and “a society of Law” and that trumps personal opinions and suspicions.
I don’t care if some member of the BWAA “suspects” or “is pretty sure” that Clemens used PEDs, or if “most people” believe it, or if unidentified “sources” say it…
How do you deny a pitcher who is rated by Baseball Reference as the 28th best pitcher in baseball history?
W% .658, 354 Wins, 17-9 Career Average Season, 4,672 Ks to just 856 Ws, Career ERA 3.12 [well below the AL League season averages], Career Average WAR 3.39 over 24 seasons.
Awards (yr lg award)
1986 ML AS MVP
1986 ML Major League Player of the Year
1986 AL pitching_title
1986 AL MVP
1986 AL TSN Pitcher of the Year
1986 AL Cy Young
1987 AL Cy Young
1990 AL pitching_title
1991 AL TSN Pitcher of the Year
1991 AL pitching_title
1991 AL Cy Young
1992 AL pitching_title
1997 AL Triple Crown
1997 AL TSN Pitcher of the Year
1997 AL Cy Young
1997 AL pitching_title
1998 AL Cy Young
1998 AL TSN Pitcher of the Year
1998 AL Triple Crown
1998 AL pitching_title
2001 AL TSN Pitcher of the Year
2001 AL Cy Young
2004 NL Cy Young
2005 NL pitching_title
From what is said about him in the media, he seems to be a Texas jackass off the field, but he has the stats on the field that deserve his induction into the HOF.
More proof? See chart in Jack Morris listing below.
Frank Thomas YES
Thomas won consecutive American League MVP Awards with the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and ’94, placed in the top three in the voting five times overall, finished his 19-year career with 2,468 hits, including 521 home runs. He drove in 1,704 runs, scored 1,494 and had more walks (1,667) than strikeouts (1,397).
Craig Biggio YES
Career: 3,060 hits and was a seven-time All-Star while playing three positions (catcher, second base, outfield), was 39 votes shy last season. Biggio played three different positions at All-Star level; catcher is a premium position. Biggio appeared on 68.2 percent of the ballots last year and looks like a safe bet to jump over the 75 percent threshold this winter.
|Player||Peak rWAR||Career rWAR||Positional rWAR||JAWS|
As you can see, all four players meet the criteria for the Hall of Fame based on their career totals.
Jeff Bagwell YES
Bagwell, the 1994 MVP, had 449 career home runs, 2,314 hits and drove 1,529 runs in a 15-year career. He was also the 1991 Rookie of the Year. He was left off the ballot last year due to suspicions that he had used PEDs.
Mike Piazza YES
The greatest hitting catcher in baseball history, was a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He was a lifetime .308 hitter with 427 home runs in his 16-year career.
His average war for 16 seasons: 3.7. [184 on All-Time list.]
Lifetime Fld. % .989
[94 on All-Time list.]
Jeff Kent YES
His 377 home runs are the most ever by a second baseman (by a lot) and he’s also 16th all-time at the position with 55.1 WAR. Total Bases: Career 4,246 (64th). Extra base hits: Career 984 (39th). Kent has the metal awards, and peer recognition:
Career 2,034 (12th)
Extra-Credit: He despised team mate Barry Bonds and took him on several times.
Jack Morris NO
Let’s inject a relevant chart.
From 1979 to 1993, pitchers with the most starts where they went 8+ innings:
In his final year on the ballot, Morris won 254 games, had 175 complete games and 28 shut outs in his 18-year career. He was also one of the best World Series pitchers as he won three world championships with three different teams (Tigers, Twins and Blue Jays).
His career-ERA of 3.90 would be the highest of any inducted player. Since his career was so lengthy (at 18 seasons) it makes his numbers high in a lot of categories. He’s high in wins, but also high in losses; he’s high in complete games, but also high in wild-pitches.
Some note that Morris was a big part of four championships on three different teams, but that has as much to do with the luck to pitch for talented teams.
Although I am an Old School fan, who fondly recalls the days when pitchers went more than 5 innings for “quality starts,” I see Morris as a durable pitcher with a long career with a .577 W%, who makes me want to say yes, but emotion must be balanced by cold stats. Very good pitcher; great team mate, but just short of the Hall of Fame.
Mike Mussina NO
He didn’t win 300 games, falling 30 short.
He didn’t reach 3,000 career strikeouts, ending with 2,813.
No Cy Young’s, No MVP awards.
Postseason Mussina was a pedestrian 7-8 with a 3.43 ERA in the playoffs.
No World Series ring.
One 20-win season.
One sub-3.00-ERA season.
Tim Raines NO
Tim Raines is one of three players in modern-day baseball eligible for the Hall of Fame with at least 1500 runs scored, but not enshrined (Jeff Bagwell has 1,517 and Rafael Palmeiro with 1,663). The previous record holder was Dwight Evans with 1,470, until Raines topped him by a lot, with 1,571 runs scored.
Tony Gwynn: 3,141 lifetime hits, eight batting titles, the 14th-highest JAWS score among rightfielders, and a bronze plaque in Cooperstown, receiving 97.6 percent of the 2007 Hall of Fame vote.
The second player [below] is Tim Raines: 2,605 hits, a batting title, the eighth-highest JAWS score among leftfielders.
|Avg HOF LF||61.7||39.7||50.7|
During this season, he admitted to using cocaine, infamously sliding headfirst to avoid breaking the vials in his back pocket. After the season, he checked into a rehab facility, and by all accounts successfully kicked his habit.
A 5-year plateau (1983-1987) He ranked third or fourth among NL position players in WAR in four of those five years, and sixth in the other; for the period as a whole, only Wade Boggs, Henderson and Cal Ripken — all AL players — were more valuable.
But, it is not fair to cherry pick–to take the five peak years of a player’s career–to make the case for the HOF; a player’s career stats and his ranking at his position in his era must be weighed.
Raines was the “Rickey Henderson” of the NL; he was the dominant speedster of that era in his league and was over-shadowed by Henderson in the AL.
Raines won the NL batting title in 1986, hitting .334 and leading the league with a .413 on-base percentage.
No MVP or Gold Gloves.
Via JAWS, Raines is more impressive, exceeding the career standard for leftfielders by 4.5 WAR, and the peak standard by 1.4, putting him three points above overall.
Of the seven leftfielders above him, five are in the Hall of Fame — Williams, Henderson, Carl Yastrzemski, Ed Delahanty and All Simmons — with 2013 BBWAA ballot debutante Barry Bonds and the banned Pete Rose (classified here because he had more value at that position than anywhere else) the other two.
Fourteen other Hall of Fame leftfielders are below him in the rankings, including the BBWAA-elected Willie Stargell (15th), Ralph Kiner (18th), Jim Rice (25th), and Brock (32nd0.
Raines doesn’t have 3,000 hits like Henderson, his 808 stolen bases rank “only” fifth all time, and while his 84.7 percent success rate is the best among thieves with more than 300 attempts (better than Henderson’s 80.8 percent).
Gwynn went HOF, because of his 3,141 hits, five 200-hit seasons, and eight batting titles. Raines won only one batting title, and never reached 200 hits due to his ability to generate so many walks.
Raines did not have the same skill set as Gwynn and was the “second best base-stealer” in his era and playing in Montreal, then treated as a baseball outpost in Canada, did not help his case.
His sub .300 Career BA is a negative stat but, in his favor, Baseball Reference places him in historic company in their All-Time list:
A very close call.
Yes, a solid case can be made for Curt Schilling on his stats, but I confess that my personal feelings toward him; based on media reports, I am led to the opinion that he is an ego-driven jerk, but I will keep an open mind, if someone else can make a convincing case for him.
But, yes, his bloody sock belongs in the Hall of Fame as a testament to endurance and courage.
Martinez may be the greatest DH of All-Time, but my disdain for the DH denies me the willingness to consider him.
Moises Alou*, Luis Gonzalez*, Don Mattingly, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Kenny Rogers*, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.
Maybe the best DH of the Post-1976 era, but I despise the DH; no incomplete players go Hall.
Armando Benitez*, Sean Casey*, Ray Durham*, Eric Gagne*, Jacque Jones*, Todd Jones*, Paul Lo Duca*, Hideo Nomo*, Richie Sexson*, J.T. Snow*, Mike Timlin*
Nomo was a dominant force for a while, but the career stats are not there.
In terms of on-field performance, maybe these players deserve to be in Cooperstown.
But the stats cannot be validated as unaffected by PEDs.
[Ask Earl will appear every TUESDAY on the BSI website.]
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