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Monday, December 24, 2007

2008 BBTF Hall of Fame Ballot Discussion

As in past years, anybody can pretend he is a BBWAA voter at BBTF!

We’ll have one week of discussion and then the ballot thread will be posted next Sunday (the election will end on Jan. 6).

The eligible candiates are: Brady Anderson*, Harold Baines, Rod Beck*, Bert Blyleven, Dave Concepcion**, Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston*, Chuck Finley*, Travis Fryman*, Rich Gossage, Tommy John, David Justice*, Chuck Knoblauch*, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Rob Nen*, Dave Parker, Tim Raines*, Jim Rice, Jose Rijo.*, Lee Smith, Todd Stottlemyre* and Alan Trammell.

Just to make sure everyone knows the rules, as we did last year, each ballot should follow BBWAA rules. That means you can have up to 10 players on your ballot in no particular order. Write-in’s are acceptable to add to your ballot (sorry, Dan :-), but as in reality, they wont count.

* 1st-year candidates

** Last year of eligibility

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2007 at 02:05 AM | 229 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. PreservedFish Posted: December 27, 2007 at 09:55 PM (#2654706)
Oh right, this is the discussion.

I'm on the fence about Trammell and Dawson. Both of them had HOF type peaks. Dawson just has too many seasons where he is nothing special as a corner outfielder, and lost his speed/defense too quickly. I could probably be convinced on Trammell but right now he doesn't smell like a HOFer to me.

For Gossage, I really dislike relievers in the Hall unless their case is overwhelming. Actually, now that I look at it, he was a monster of a reliever for about 10 years, then he was Steve Reed for 8 years. Not a bad resume. I may turn around on this one.

For McGwire, I buy into the argument that his most significant attribute was hugely boosted by steroid usage, enough that he doesn't get my vote. I'm not likely to delve into the cases of any of the other players.
   102. kwarren Posted: December 27, 2007 at 10:03 PM (#2654712)
But if the other guy scores a run in the top of the 1st, I got 9 shots at 'im. If he scores in the bottom of the 9th in a tie-game, it's lights out.

I don't see how those aren't different.



When the guy scored in the bottom of the 9th, you still had shots at 'im. You simply blew them. There's no particular advantage to scoring your runs when your are down, as compared to when you are tied, as you are inferring.
   103. sunnyday2 Posted: December 27, 2007 at 10:11 PM (#2654719)
Look at all the guys with 4.00+ ERA(s) putting up 30+ saves


Well, I'm not convinced that ERA is much good for eval these guys either. I mean, what about a guy who gets a save 45 out of 50 opportunities and gets creamed 2-3 times. He could easily give up 25 ER for an ERA of 4.50. But for all practical purposes he's about as good as a guy who gets 45 out of 50 and gives up 10 runs. Now that comparison says something about the inanity of the "save," true. But ERA is not the proof of that.

I could be wrong but Saves/Blown Saves and Quality Starts don't seem like bad measures. How many times and what percent of the time did a guy give his team a chance to win? ERA has too much to do with how it goes those other times than with how a guy throws most of the time, how often he helps his team win. Meanwhile, of course, W and S are team measures.
   104. Dan Turkenkopf Posted: December 27, 2007 at 10:30 PM (#2654736)
When the guy scored in the bottom of the 9th, you still had shots at 'im. You simply blew them. There's no particular advantage to scoring your runs when your are down, as compared to when you are tied, as you are inferring.


Which is true from on a team level - but I'm not sure it's true for all members of the team.

I'm still not sold on the merits of WPA as a value stat, but I think it makes some sense to apply the concepts to relievers because of the choice associated with their work. So I might or might not consider the actual WPA, but I do give some credence to a reliever's leverage. I've seen people in the past multiply innings of work by the average leverage which I think could serve as an upper bound to the value of a reliever's workload. (I'll say upper-bound because I'm not convinced that a 2 LI situation should really count twice as much as a 1 LI situation for measuring workload).

Here are the leveraged innings results for Gossage, Smith and Sutter:

Pitcher LI  EquivIP
Gossage   1.53   2768
Smith  1.79   2308
Sutter 1.92   2000 


Gossage's year as a starter brings down his LI somewhat, but also raises his actual IP, so I'll call it a wash (without looking into it further).
   105. Dan Turkenkopf Posted: December 27, 2007 at 10:32 PM (#2654739)
Preliminary Ballot

Definites
Raines
Blyleven
Trammell
McGwire
Gossage

On the Fence
Dawson
Smith

Out, but felt the need to mention
Rice
Murphy
John
Parker
Concepion
   106. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 27, 2007 at 10:48 PM (#2654753)
The interesting set of names for me are the outfielders. I'd rank them about like this:

Raines
Dawson (his HOM election and the discussion leading up to that boosted him in my eyes)
Murphy (2-time MVP, GG CF)
[Belle - how did he fall off the ballot?]
Parker (1 MVP in the NL)
Rice (1 MVP in the AL)
Baines (I like to see some kind of peak)

It seems clear to me that the in/out line runs somewhere between these guys, but I'm not entirely sure where. Right now, I'd lean toward running the in/out line right below Murphy, leaving Parker, Rice, and Baines out.

As far as the rest of my ballot, I'd support the usual suspects: Gossage, Trammell, Blyleven, along with Concepcion (I'm persuaded by Dan R.'s WARP work).

I'm undecided on Morris, John, and Lee Smith, too, who I'd probably rank in that order. I know the "most wins in the 80s" thing is derided, but Jack Morris has a case for being the best starting pitcher born between 1951 (Blyleven) and 1962 (Clemens) (unless I'm forgetting somebody obvious). I know that's a little arbitrary, and there are other guys who might have better arguments (Stieb, maybe Guidry), but it seems to me that pitching is a significant enough part of the game that the best pitcher of a 10-12 year period, be it best pitcher of the 1980s or best pitcher born from 1952-61, should be in the Hall of Fame. I'm not convinced that Morris IS that best pitcher, but he's the best one still on the ballot. If I were an actual voter and Jack Morris was actually close to getting 75% of the vote, I might reconsider, but for now, I'd lean toward voting for him.
   107. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 27, 2007 at 11:00 PM (#2654768)
Oh, yeah, and like I said earlier (post #43 or so), I'd vote for McGwire. I think steroid use was prevalent enough that I'd give it a pass in the pre-testing years when McGwire appears to have benefitted from it.

That puts 9 guys on my ballot for now. I might go ahead and add Parker or John just to fill the ballot. I haven't decided.
   108. Al Peterson Posted: December 27, 2007 at 11:02 PM (#2654770)
Prelim, in order:

1. Raines
2. Blyleven
3. McGwire
4. Gossage
5. Trammell
6. T. John
7. L. Smith
8. Dawson

From HOM voting I supported the first 5, the others never got a ballot slot but that was due to other players who had my support remaining on the ballots year after year. Dawson is the grey area selection but I'm willing to add him here. The next ballot slot would be Mattingly(!) but let me draw the line above him.
   109. Srul Itza Posted: December 27, 2007 at 11:57 PM (#2654800)
I'm waffling on Lee Smith. There's a chance that I just want him in the Hall so that Trevor Hoffman has a better case.

I think Trevor will make it on his merits. There are not a lot of relievers who have been as effective as he has, for as long as he has.

Mariano is in another class, even before considering his post-season work.
   110. CrosbyBird Posted: December 28, 2007 at 12:58 AM (#2654840)
I think Trevor will make it on his merits. There are not a lot of relievers who have been as effective as he has, for as long as he has.

The ship has already sailed. I think it's pretty much a slam dunk for Hoffman if Sutter is a HOF.

Hoffman will pass him in innings, and his numbers are better in the Steroid Era, which will could for something too.

Gossage is going to eventually get in. I think your borderline HOF cases for relievers are now guys like John Franco or Lee Smith.
   111. Srul Itza Posted: December 28, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2654867)
I think your borderline HOF cases for relievers are now guys like John Franco or Lee Smith.

Smith is borderline, because of the "record"

I expect Franco will drop off the ballot immediately
   112. kwarren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 02:50 AM (#2654878)
McGwire
Blyleven
Raines

How Could They Not Be In

Belle
Santo


Given the fact that Fingers and Sutter are already in, the fact the most voters really don't have a clue of how good Raines & Blyleven were, and the fact that somebody ought to be elected - Gossage will be a slam dunk inductee.

It is indeed unfortunate that the voters have deemed relief pitchers as bonafide baseball Hall of Famers. It is analgamous to having super utility players like Tony Phillips being inducted, or field goal kickers in football, or 6th players in basketball. In fact it is quite likely that Phillips was far more valuable to his team than any relief pitcher has been to his team. A cursory summary of Win Shares or WARP, by both season and career, shows that elite relief pitchers have nowhere near the value of starters or position players. But because of the save statistic and "leverage" the closer is king when it comes to winning games in which we already had a lead of up to three runs.

Some things that can't simply be rationalized away:

1) every closer has at some point in his career been a starter who for one reason or another (injury, lack of stamina, lack of an effective third pitch, lack of talent) couldn't succeed in that role. No pitcher (other than Papelbon who wisely made the decision himself) is made a reliever, even a closer, if their team thinks they can be a successful starter.

Eckersley & Smoltz excelled in both roles and are reasonable candidates, although I don't think either one is a slam dunk.

2) On a team where the closer gets 40 saves, a mediocre reliever with an ERA between 3.50 and 4.00 would get about 38 saves. Compare this to a slugger who hits 50 HR. Does anybody really believe that an average player who took his place would hit 45. It would more likely be about 10. Using saves as a measure of skill or a unit of accomplishment is simply silly. Another misleading think about saves is that a blown save does not equal a loss. In 2005 teams that blew saves still won the game 46.3 % of the time. It may be a "save" for the starting pitcher getting a win, but often makes no difference to whether the team wins or not.

Coming into the 9th inning with a 4-1 lead, giving up two runs and leaving the bases loaded to escape with a 4-3 victory is not an achievement to be rewarded but the save rule does.

Coming into the 7th inning with a 4-3 lead and the bases loaded and nobody out, and then allowing a run to score on an error and striking out the next nine batters, is not a performance to be punished, but the save rule does just that, shackling the poor guy with a "blown save".

Meanwhile a guy who gives up a 5-1 lead in the 9th inning does not get credit for a blown save. What's up with that?

3) Leverage is a dubious concept at best, and is continually abused and misused by it's disciples.

Also from the 2005 season, here is the winning percentage of teams of home teams that pitch scoreless innings during a game. We exclude road teams because they don't pitch a 9th inning in games they are winning.

1st - .554
2nd - .546
3rd - .538
4th - .534
5th - .532
6th - .534
7th - .533
8th - .534
9th - .535

In actual fact it is more advantageous to pitch a scoreless inning in the 1st or 2nd inning than in the 9th. Chalk up at least one leverage argument for the now maligned starting pitcher.

4) Relief pitchers often have impressive looking stats when compared to starters, but this a totally unfair comparison. Starters throw three times as many innings, need a more varied arsenal, face the same hitters three or four times in a game, frequently pitch while exhausted, need to pace themselves, and don't get the ERA benefis of starting in the middle of an inning or walk-off losses. A relief pitcher pitching in a tie game in the bottom of the 9th or later can go BB, BB, BB, Tr and escape with one earned run allowed. If this happened to a starter he'd be looking at least four earned runs against.

Virtually any competent starter can become a quality closer. The successs rate for this position change is very high. Even hopeless starters can become top-notch relievers. Look at the recent examples: Gagne, Rivera, Nathan, Dempster, Hawkins, Lidge, Zumaya, R. Soriano and on and on.

How soon we forget about the rather meagre qualifications required to become a major league reliever when the ERA suddenly starts looking gaudy and the saves start piling up. It's like the NFL giving it's most valuable player award to a field goal kicker who kicks game winning field goals in five consecutive games including the Super Bowl.

The idea of a relief pitcher being a Hall of Famer is absurd to say the least, but thanks to the miracle of media hype and the human mind's tendency to remember the end of a game much more clearly than the rest of the game (recency effect) it is obviously becoming a reality. And then to set the bar so low as to allow Suttter and Fingers to be elected opens the floodgates to allow a bunch more. It now appears that Rivera and Hoffman are locks to get in in their first year of eligibility; and there will be more. And yet in reality they are nothing more than glorified back-up pitchers. Very glorified.
   113. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 28, 2007 at 02:59 AM (#2654882)
My HoF vote in alphabetical order:

Blyleven
Gossage
Raines
Trammell

My HoVG vote, again in alphabetical order. There are several of these I'd like to see in the HoF, but whom I can't see as qualifying:

Baines
Concepcion
Dawson
John
Mattingly
Morris
Murphy
Parker
Rice
Smith

If this were a HoM thread instead of a HoF one, I'd add McGwire to my list.
   114. Posada Posse Posted: December 28, 2007 at 05:17 AM (#2654975)
Bert Blyleven
Rich Gossage
Tommy John
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell

I think your borderline HOF cases for relievers are now guys like John Franco or Lee Smith.


I'm tempted to vote for Lee Smith also, but if it means setting a precedent for guys like Franco and Jeff Reardon, then I'd rather not go there.
   115. Jim Sp Posted: December 28, 2007 at 06:11 AM (#2655023)
Prelim:

Bert Blyleven
Dave Concepcion
Andre Dawson
Rich Gossage
Tommy John
Mark McGwire
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell
   116. sunnyday2 Posted: December 28, 2007 at 04:29 PM (#2655168)
1) every closer has at some point in his career been a starter

We've covered this before but this proves nuttin'. Most ML players are failed SS or catchers. So what? If there's a role and they fill it, that's the deal.
   117. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 28, 2007 at 04:48 PM (#2655184)
We've covered this before but this proves nuttin'. Most ML players are failed SS or catchers. So what? If there's a role and they fill it, that's the deal.


Isn't there a wee bit of difference between an outfielder who couldn't handle the defensive aspect of the SS role and a pitcher who couldn't handle the pitching aspect of the SP role?
   118. AROM Posted: December 28, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2655201)
Its a tough question. You might be able to make a case for Gossage based on pitching excellence + leverage that he was worth as many wins as a starter at the lower rungs of the HOF (like Bunning or Hunter).

But Gossage did not do well as a starter. Was he uniquely suited to excel in one role or could just about any near-great starter have pitched as effectively as Gossage had they been put in the bullpen? Like Smoltz and Eckersley.

What would Ron Guidry's career have looked like as a closer? Orel Hershiser? David Cone?
   119. rawagman Posted: December 28, 2007 at 05:23 PM (#2655224)
a pitcher who couldn't handle the pitching aspect of the SP role?

It's kind of a weak argument. Baseball, as with almost all games, involves rolls. When you decide that a given RP failed as a starter, you should ask yourself when that "failure" took place?
What prompted the switch? In most cases, you'll probably find that the pitcher was simply seen as a pitcher who would provide more value to his team in that role. If all RPs were failed starters, then all failed starters should become relievers. That is not the case - many failed starters are simply failed pitchers, while many RPS are simply pitchers who were thought to be able to provide more value in a given role. At some point later in that pitcher's career, he was simply too accustomed to that role to revert to the previous one.
   120. rawagman Posted: December 28, 2007 at 05:25 PM (#2655225)
Ryan Dempster - mediocre starter, mediocre reliever.
Derek Lowe - above average starter, above average reliever.
   121. sunnyday2 Posted: December 28, 2007 at 05:35 PM (#2655234)
Isn't there a wee bit of difference between an outfielder who couldn't handle the defensive aspect of the SS role and a pitcher who couldn't handle the pitching aspect of the SP role?


Exactly. A wee bit.

Otherwise, as rawagman says, it's just roles. SS to OF is a change of roles, the player goes to a role that his team needs and he can better fill. SP to RP, same thing.
   122. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 28, 2007 at 05:42 PM (#2655236)
I think there is a specific profile teams look for in converting starters to relief (hard fastball, weak secondary pitches after the best two, strong platoon splits).
   123. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 28, 2007 at 05:55 PM (#2655249)
Otherwise, as rawagman says, it's just roles. SS to OF is a change of roles, the player goes to a role that his team needs and he can better fill. SP to RP, same thing.
No; positions aren't the same thing as roles.

First, positions require different (though obviously overlapping) skill sets, while roles don't. That is, RP is a subset of SP, but OF is not a subset of SS. Obviously at a low enough amateur level, that's not the case; most positions (modulo TL vs. TR) are interchangeable. But by the time we're talking about people good enough to play professionally, that no longer holds. Most major league OFs were minor league OFs and college OFs and even high school OFs. Not all -- some players are versatile -- but most. Whereas most major league closers were starters as a professional and in college and in high school.

A relief pitcher is more analogous to a pinch hitter than to an OF. You would never make someone good enough to start into a pinch hitter; that role is limited to those who can't handle a starting role for one reason or another. (It's not perfectly analogous, in that relievers get more playing time relative to starters than PH do relative to starters, but the relationship is the same.)

Second, and related to the skill set issue, you need people to fill different positions; you don't need people to fill different roles. Someone has to play SS, but nobody has to close. You can't field a team if you have 14 OFs on the roster and no SSs or Cs. You could field a team with 11 starters on the roster and no closers or other designated relievers.
   124. Uncle Willy Posted: December 28, 2007 at 05:55 PM (#2655250)
My choices:
Blyleven
Dawson
Gossage
John
Mattingly
McGwire
Murphy
Raines
Rice
Trammell

I'm definitely a big hall guy; the only ones I wouldn't vote for if there was unlimited room are Anderson, Beck, Dunston, Finley, Fryman, Knoblauch, Nen and Stottlmyre. It wouldn't bother me if the next 50 most qualified non-HOFers of all time were inducted.

Apropos of nothing, in my only visit to Wrigely (about 1989), we sat in front of some guys who were convinced that Dunston (and most other then-Cubs) would definitely get into to HOF. That's the first thing that I think of when I see that name.
   125. CrosbyBird Posted: December 28, 2007 at 06:01 PM (#2655257)
Its a tough question. You might be able to make a case for Gossage based on pitching excellence + leverage that he was worth as many wins as a starter at the lower rungs of the HOF (like Bunning or Hunter).

I don't think Bunning and Hunter are in the same class.

Hunter had five or six below average seasons and his career ended at age 33. He's like a pitching version of Jim Rice, only less good, with 3 very good seasons (but nothing historically great), 5 above-average seasons, and nothing else special. He didn't play for a long time and he didn't win a lot of games considering the quality of his teams and being a pitcher in the 4-starter rotation. He's riding the benefit of having his best years for very good teams that won rings.

Bunning has a stronger case, but he's still a pitcher that added very little quality in his last 4 seasons. He does have the benefit of a lot more seasons that are well-above average, and he was jobbed out of the 1960 CY award.

I am uncertain whether Bunning would be in my personal HOF; Hunter certainly would not.
   126. Chris Fluit Posted: December 28, 2007 at 06:32 PM (#2655289)
It is indeed unfortunate that the voters have deemed relief pitchers as bonafide baseball Hall of Famers. It is analgamous to having super utility players like Tony Phillips being inducted, or field goal kickers in football, or 6th players in basketball.


You mean like Jan Stenerud, place-kicker in the pro football hall of fame? Or like Kevin Butler (placekicker) and Ray Guy (punter), who are both in the college football hall of fame? Or do you mean somebody like Kevin McHale, who won back-to-back sixth man of the year awards in '84 and '85 and was eventually elected to the NBA Hall of Fame?

Relief pitching is a part of the game and those who excel at it should be honored as such.

Your analogy breaks down when you compare relief pitching to pinch hitters and super utility players. The best players in those roles are eventually moved up into more permanent and prominent roles. The best utility player eventually becomes a full-time position player (as happened with Hank Aaron, who played three different positions in at least 25 games in 1955 before eventually becoming a full-time right fielder; and as happened with Albert Pujols, who played four different positions 55, 43, 39 and 39 games in his rookie season of 2001). Likewise, the best pinch hitters eventually get a chance at becoming everyday players (Chris Duncan was a primarily a pinch hitter in 2006 before being given an everyday job in 2007; Al Kaline was an 18-year old pinch-hitting September call-up before becoming a regular right fielder). Sometimes, those utility players and pinch hitters can't cut it as everyday players and go back to those smaller roles in which they excel (John Mabry is a recent example). But the best players are promoted from those roles into full-time positions.

That isn't necessarily true of relief pitchers and closers. Bruce Sutter entered the major leagues as a relief pitcher and stayed a relief pitcher. He never started a game. Trevor Hoffman has never started a game. Neither has John Franco, or BJ Ryan, or Armando Benitez. The best closers are not necessarily converted into starters, as is the case with the best utility players and pinch hitters. If Tony Phillips was a better hitter, he would have been given a permanent starting position. But if Trevor Hoffman was a better closer, he would not have necessarily been given a spot in the starting rotation. The comparison just doesn't hold up.

Yes, some closers are converted starters. Mariano Rivera actually started 10 games in 1995 before the Yankees found out he was better suited as a reliever. And some successful relief pitchers are moved into the starting rotation (though it happens more often to unsuccessful ones like Kelvim Escobar). But that doesn't happen universally or consistently. And it rarely happens to the best relief pitchers and the best closers. Furthermore, it's ludicrous to keep the best closers out of the Hall of Fame because they were unsuccessful as starting pitchers (as is true of Goose Gossage, who had a bad year as a starter in 1976 after an excellent year as a closer in 1975). That would be like keeping Ron Santo out of the Hall of Fame as a third baseman because the experiment of playing him at shortstop didn't work when he was 22 or Craig Biggio out of the Hall of Fame as a second basemen because he couldn't quite cut it as a catcher (his primary position until he was 25).

The best relief pitchers and closers are kept in relief pitching and closing positions. And the better they perform in those roles, the less likely that they will be given a different role. It simply is not comparable to utility players, pinch hitters or late inning defensive specialists. It's not just a role. It's a position and a part of the game. And the best players should be honored.
   127. AROM Posted: December 28, 2007 at 06:59 PM (#2655309)
I am uncertain whether Bunning would be in my personal HOF; Hunter certainly would not.


Won't disagree there. Gossage, by win shares, is around 220. That's about an average of Bunning and Hunter. I just skimmed through the Bill James historical handbook, some of the pitchers he ranked around Gossage who had similar win share totals were Bob Lemon, Wes Farrell, and Lon Warneke.

Gossage ranks much better among other relievers than Ron Guidry does as a starter. But was Gossage a better pitcher? When they were teammates did the Yankees consider Gossage the more important of the two?

I don't know how to figure it out. I've put together some comprehensive valuations for position players. I can do as much for starters, but relievers are tougher because I'm not sure where replacement level is, because of the leverage issue, and how to best combine them.

For replacement level, I've seen Tangotiger make a good case that a replacement level reliever should be about the same as the league average ERA, because pitchers perform better in relief and you can usually get an average reliever by converting a bad starter. But what's true in the days of 70 appearances, 55 innings may not work at all in the days of 75 appearances, 130 innings.
   128. AROM Posted: December 28, 2007 at 07:01 PM (#2655311)
Or do you mean somebody like Kevin McHale, who won back-to-back sixth man of the year awards in '84 and '85 and was eventually elected to the NBA Hall of Fame?


McHale did not remain a 6th man for very long, just as Willie McCovey did not spend his career as a platoon player.
   129. kwarren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 07:01 PM (#2655312)
We've covered this before but this proves nuttin'. Most ML players are failed SS or catchers. So what? If there's a role and they fill it, that's the deal.

Relief pitchers are back-up pitchers. That's the role they fill. It just so happens that:

1) managers don't want their starters throwing 125 + pitches

2) a fresh closer could probably pitch better than an exhausted starter for a one inning stint

Your argument is like saying that a world class miler, could have a high school sprinter run the last 100 metres for him, since that woule result in a faster overall time and therefore more wins. Surely nobody would say that the high school sprinter was in the same class as a "runner", as the world class miler.

But we are now taking pitchers who throw 10 to 15 pitches at the end of a game that their team is already winning, and thanks to the ERA and save stat are assigning great value to this contribution where very little actually exists. And now we are making the suckers Hall of Famers. Egads !!
   130. kwarren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 07:03 PM (#2655315)
But Gossage did not do well as a starter. Was he uniquely suited to excel in one role or could just about any near-great starter have pitched as effectively as Gossage had they been put in the bullpen? Like Smoltz and Eckersley.

What would Ron Guidry's career have looked like as a closer? Orel Hershiser? David Cone?


Exactly.
   131. kwarren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2655322)
When you decide that a given RP failed as a starter, you should ask yourself when that "failure" took place?
What prompted the switch? In most cases, you'll probably find that the pitcher was simply seen as a pitcher who would provide more value to his team in that role. If all RPs were failed starters, then all failed starters should become relievers.


As much as you might like to think so, this is simply not true. No team would/has moved a pitcher to a relief role if they could be a successful starter for them.

There's no if involved. All relief pitchers are essentially failed starters. The reason that all failed starters aren't relievers is simply that there isn't enough jobs for them.
   132. flournoy Posted: December 28, 2007 at 07:14 PM (#2655330)
Ballot:

Bert Blyleven
Mark McGwire
Dale Murphy
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell
   133. sunnyday2 Posted: December 28, 2007 at 07:26 PM (#2655342)
Someone has to play SS, but nobody has to close


Nobody has to hit HR either. Nobody has to throw the ball 100 mph. But if somebody can do it, it helps your team.

You're making a difference of degree into a difference in kind.
   134. DCW3 Posted: December 28, 2007 at 07:28 PM (#2655345)
Blyleven
McGwire
Raines
Trammell

The leverage arguments haven't swayed me on Gossage. John and Concepcion are close, but fall just short for me. I'm not really seeing it on Dawson--long career, but there's a lot of filler in there, and his peak wasn't quite HoF-level to me. Nobody else is really close.
   135. AROM Posted: December 28, 2007 at 07:29 PM (#2655349)
I stand corrected. I thought McHale was more of a starter, but he was primarily a 6th man for his first 5 years, and then only a starter for 4 before going back to 6th man.

But the situation isn't that comparable since you can come back into basketball games after you leave.

Also, while a 6th man because he did not start a majority of games, McHale's rank in minutes played:

1981-82: 4th
1983: 3rd
1984: 4th
1985: 4th

Then returning to 6th man in 89-90, he started 25 of 82 games, but only Bird played more minutes.
   136. AROM Posted: December 28, 2007 at 07:33 PM (#2655355)
2) a fresh closer could probably pitch better than an exhausted starter for a one inning stint


While this is true, lets keep in mind Gossage had a lot of multi-inning saves and wins. He's got an advantage value-wise on the Hoffmans and Wagners.
   137. kwarren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 08:29 PM (#2655433)
You mean like Jan Stenerud, place-kicker in the pro football hall of fame? Or like Kevin Butler (placekicker) and Ray Guy (punter), who are both in the college football hall of fame? Or do you mean somebody like Kevin McHale, who won back-to-back sixth man of the year awards in '84 and '85 and was eventually elected to the NBA Hall of Fame?

Does anybody want the Baseball Hall of Fame to be like the NFL Hall or the College Football Hall of Fame. I hope not. Let's try to honour excellence, not back-up specialists.

McHale certainly didn't get elected to the NBA Hall of Fame on the basis of his sixth man awards. That was a really silly comment.


Relief pitching is a part of the game and those who excel at it should be honored as such.

Relief pitching is part of the game, just like pinch-hitting and defensive substitiutionss. Let's honour it appropriately for what it is, back-up pitching.


The best utility player eventually becomes a full-time position player (as happened with Hank Aaron, who played three different positions in at least 25 games in 1955 before eventually becoming a full-time right fielder; and as happened with Albert Pujols, who played four different positions 55, 43, 39 and 39 games in his rookie season of 2001).

You're argument for putting relief pitchers in the Hall of Fame has now morphed to trying to convince us that Aaron and Pujols were utility players who made good. Right. Thanks for the enlightment.


Likewise, the best pinch hitters eventually get a chance at becoming everyday players (Chris Duncan was a primarily a pinch hitter in 2006 before being given an everyday job in 2007

Not that this has much to do with anything, but Duncan had 314 plate appearances in 06 in 90 games. How is this primarily a pinch-hitter? I know LaRussa is a genius, but even he can't use the same pinch hitter more than once in a game, and Duncan came to bat three or four times in each game he played.

Your analogy breaks down when you compare relief pitching to pinch hitters and super utility players. The best players in those roles are eventually moved up into more permanent and prominent roles

The truth of the matter is that players become utility players after they have failed at auditions at full-time roles - Ramon Martinez, Cintron, Ozuna, Graffanino, Punto, Hocking, Neifi Perez, Michaels, Dellucci etc. These are guys who play a similar role to relief pitchers. Just like pitchers who become relievers when their team decides that they won't succeed as a starter.


Trevor Hoffman has never started a game.


He started 11 games in 1992. You could look it up.

Neither has BJ Ryan, or Armando Benitez.

Ryan has started four games, and Benitez three. You need to get your facts a little more straight.

Mariano Rivera actually started 10 games in 1995 before the Yankees found out he was better suited as a reliever

67 IP, 11 HR, 31 BB, 5.51 ERA -

yea, I guess he was better suited as a reliever. So now he's a Hall of Famer and Gossage who couldn't start is going in this year. I'm amazed that this doens't bother more people.


And some successful relief pitchers are moved into the starting rotation (though it happens more often to unsuccessful ones like Kelvim Escobar).


Escobar has always been primarily a starter.

1994 - 11 games, 10 starts
1995 - 14 games, 14 starts
1996 - 28 games, 28 starts
1997 - 35 games, 7 starts (31 IP as a reliever in ML debut)
1998 - 22 games, 10 starts
1999 - 33 games, 30 starts
2000 - 43 games, 20 starts
2001 - 59 games, 11 starts
2002 - 76 games, 0 starts (failed to make the Jays rotation, stuck in bullpen)
2003 - 41 games, 26 starts
2004 - 33 games, 33 starts
2005 - 16 games, 7 starts
2006 - 30 games, 30 starts
2007 - 30 games, 30 starts

To categorize Escobar as a poor reliever to was converted to starter is simply laughable. He was a starter who was sent to the bullpen when there wasn't room for him in the rotation.


The best relief pitchers and closers are kept in relief pitching and closing positions. And the better they perform in those roles, the less likely that they will be given a different role. It simply is not comparable to utility players, pinch hitters or late inning defensive specialists. It's not just a role. It's a position and a part of the game. And the best players should be honored.


To put it simply "pitcher is" a position, relief pitching is a back-up role. Similarly for position players shortstop and outfielder are positions. Pinch hitting, utility infielder, and defensive replacements are back-up roles. Relief pitcher is not a position anymore than pinch hitter, defensive replacement, or utility infielder is.

I can understand why baseball writers and announcers can't/don't grasp this, but intelligent people who really understand baseball should actually get it.

What causes the problem for writers and announcers is that ERA is equally applied to both starters and relievers and of course the relievers come out looking pretty good. Saves are treated as wins, as though Joe Average reliever wouldn't get almost as many saves and the fact that a team still wins a large percentage of games in which a save is blown is conveniently ignored. In fact I think that both Win Shares and WARP treat ERA equally for both starters and relievers even though there are several reasons totally unrelated to ability that make relievers ERA(s) much lower on average that starters. It would actually be nice if ERA+ actually compared starters to starters and relievers to relievers. This would still give relievers a huge advantage since they are being compared to a far weaker group of pitchers than starters are, but it would at least eliminate some of the favourable bias that now exists for relievers.
   138. kwarren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 08:42 PM (#2655452)
Nobody has to throw the ball 100 mph. But if somebody can do it, it helps your team.

There were two pitchers in the NL who threw more than three pitches at 100 mph or more - Lindstrom 9, and Jimenez 7. The leader in 95+ mph pitches is Julio Jorge.

If this is how you measure pitching success, then giddy-up. I'm sure you'll love having these three guys anchor your staff.
   139. Fridas Boss Posted: December 28, 2007 at 08:52 PM (#2655478)
As much as you might like to think so, this is simply not true. No team would/has moved a pitcher to a relief role if they could be a successful starter for them.

This is patently false. Smotlz, Eckersley, Brett Myers were all successful starters converted to relievers.
   140. The District Attorney Posted: December 28, 2007 at 09:14 PM (#2655512)
This is patently false. Smotlz, Eckersley, Brett Myers were all successful starters converted to relievers.
And Papelbon. And this:
All relief pitchers are essentially failed starters
is also patently false, as many relievers (especially recently) literally never started at any level higher than high school. Furthermore, I'm betting that there are all-time great SP who would have been completely godawful closers (Glavine?)

However, none of that matters. It doesn't matter the least bit who had which "skills." The SP did what they did, the RP did what they did, and you evaluate the value of what they did based on how much their performance helped the team.

If it's impossible for a RP to help the team as much as a SP, then why do stats like WS and VORP that give huge credit for mere playing time nonetheless rank RP highly? In '75, Goose was 9th in the AL in VORP; in '77, 8th in the NL; I dunno what his career total is, but he pitched 22 seasons and hardly ever had a bad year, so I'm betting it's pretty good. And as mentioned, Goose has as many WS as perfectly legitimate SP HOF candidates. And again, these are stats whose biases are working against the low-IP pitcher.
   141. rawagman Posted: December 28, 2007 at 09:35 PM (#2655550)
kwarren - weren't you the guy who once submitted a ballot in a HIM election based solely on career WARP scores?
   142. AROM Posted: December 28, 2007 at 09:37 PM (#2655554)
Escobar has always been primarily a starter.


This isn't true, especially when you post his 2002 line of 76 games, all in relief. Escobar's situation is that he had (and still has) a great arm but the Jays were trying to find the role where he could be best used. He wasn't really successful in any of them, because he was more a thrower than a pitcher. He seemed to figure things out in mid-1993, just before hitting free agency, and has been a very good starter since. His relief time with the Angels in was due to the team having found a capable replacement in Ervin Santana, and concern about Escobar's health after he missed a few months due to bone chips. His pitching in relief at the end of that year was great - better than he had ever been in Toronto's bullpen - because he had improved control and knew what he was doing. His only flaws were having Doug Eddings umpiring behind the plate and indecision on whether to tag a runner out or throw to first.
   143. rawagman Posted: December 28, 2007 at 09:42 PM (#2655567)
kwarren - if, as you claim, you understand baseball, you have to learn to look beyond the numbers. You need to understand context. The numbers, even the most sophisticated among them, mean absolutely nothing without context.
   144. Ron Johnson Posted: December 28, 2007 at 09:45 PM (#2655572)
But nobody is required to do so under BBWAA rules, so nobody needs to do so here.


The way I'd put it though is that if you're not prepared to write a column explaining your vote you simply shouldn't have a vote.

And I'm going to start my campaign here.

My first rule is that a player must be clearly better than the bright lines. Dick Allen's not included because he's out for character issues.

But Jim Rice isn't clearly better than Minny Minoso and he's got plenty of minor character deductions.

As for Raines. Didn't play much center, true. When he first came up he was raw and there was a better defensive player. He did see regular CF play for a year (1984 -- Dawson's knees had become an issue) and did an adequate job. Moved from there because of concerns about his arm strength. Not that teams had run wild on him.

As for any form of leadoff bonus. He doesn't need it. Repeat the little Mays/Henderson experiment that Bill James ran in one of his Baseball books.

Specifically compare him to Rice that way. Get a copy of a good baseball sim. Run a whole pile of seasons with the 1979 Red Sox. Repeat replacing Rice with Raines' 1985 (adjust for context. Raines should come it at roughly .327/.415/.495) and bat Raines third.

For this particular comp if the sim is any good, two things will happen. The Red Sox will get a pile fewer rbi out out the third hole (but will score an indistinguishable number of runs) and their record will be the same (within noise)

Repeat the experiment, matching Rice's best seasons with Raines'. Despite not using Raines to best advantage Raines will start to leave Rice behind quite quickly. (I've checked, but will leave reporting to somebody else)


Blyleven -- no candidate on the sidelines who's clearly better. Doesn't match up against the absolute top, career or peak but that's not the standard. Buries the mistakes, so what. Eliminate both groups and you're left with the "ordinary" HOFer. And whether you use peak or career, Blyleven's in.

Tommy John -- Don't see a pioneer bonus for him. After all the surgeons learned more from (say) Steve Hargan than John.

Gossage -- only have fragmentary WPA. Still, I'm confident that "era+ of 126, only 1809 innings" understates his impact substantially. Still, Saberhagen has an era+ of 126 in 2560 innings. I'm pretty sure Gossage had greater value and Saberhagen's not exactly chopped liver.

All in all ... borderline, but he gets my vote.

Alan Trammell -- Easily qualified. He's not Wagner. He's not even Vaughan, but you can sensible compare him to any other HOF SS.

Mark McGwire -- If you don't hand out a steroid discount (and I don't) he's easily qualified.

Dawson falls just short. OBP is life.
   145. kwarren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2655578)
Smotlz, Eckersley, Brett Myers were all successful starters converted to relievers.

In every one of these cases there were reasons the teams didn't want the the pitchers to continue to start:

Smoltz - had just come of arm surgery (missed almost two seasons) and the Braves wanted to minimize the risk of further arm problems. Once they were confident that he could handle it, they put him back in the rotation, clearly feeling that he was more valuable as a starter even though he had just posted 1.12 and 2.76 ERA as a closer.

Eckersley - had just come of a 6-11 season with a 88 ERA+. The Cubs then traded him to the A's for three minor leaguers (Brian Guinn , Dave Wilder, and Mark Leonette). The A's decided to give him a shot in the bullpen and the rest is history. Neither the Cubs or the A's wanted Eckersley to start anymore.

Myers - He is going back to starting in 08, so that seems to be where the Phillies see him having the most value. Nobody seems to know why he went to the bullpen. There was a Baseball Factory thread when this decision was made (April 24/07) where most people thought it a really dumb idea. So even the perception on this site is that good starters should be starters rather than releivers. But many of them want relievers in the Hall of Fame. It doesn't make much sense to me.
   146. kwarren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 09:57 PM (#2655593)
Papelbon made the decision to relieve in 2007 on his own, and the Red Sox acquiesed. The Red Sox clearly wanted him to try starting. In any event he has never been an established major league starter, so it's not is if he was converted to closer.
   147. rawagman Posted: December 28, 2007 at 10:15 PM (#2655628)
o it's not is if he was converted to closer.


What would you call it? Closer by osmosis?
   148. kwarren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 10:32 PM (#2655670)
many relievers (especially recently) literally never started at any level higher than high school.

Excuse me. Who would those many relievers be?


Furthermore, I'm betting that there are all-time great SP who would have been completely godawful closers (Glavine?)



Well, I would bet the opposite.


If it's impossible for a RP to help the team as much as a SP, then why do stats like WS that give huge credit for mere playing time nonetheless rank RP highly? And as mentioned, Goose has as many WS as perfectly legitimate SP HOF candidates. And again, these are stats whose biases are working against the low-IP pitcher.


Career Win Shares:

Gossage 222.4
Fingers 188.3
Franco 183.0
Sutter 167.7

Mariano Rivera 193.0
Trevor Hoffman 169.0

Now Some Starters

Jim Bunning 256.7
Bob Lemon 232.6
Luis Tiant 253.4
Tom Glavine 313.0
Jim Kaat 272.2
Bert Blyleven 338.6
Dennis Martinez 234.1

Smoltz 286.0
Eckersley 298.2

Clemens 437.0
Maddux 392.0

And Some Non Pitchers

McGwire 343.1
Trammell 317.7
Concepcion 271.2
Raines 388.8
Dawson 341.1
Parker 324.0
Murphy 292.0
Rice 279.8
Belle 243.7
Barry 705.0

Palmeiro 395.7
Bagwell 387.0
Santo 324.3
Grich 330.5
Whitaker 352.8
D. Allen 341.9
   149. The District Attorney Posted: December 28, 2007 at 11:03 PM (#2655714)
many relievers (especially recently) literally never started at any level higher than high school.
Excuse me. Who would those many relievers be?

First of all, try not to be an insufferable snot. I guess Jon Papelbon is one of them, considering that:
it's not is if [sic] he was converted to closer.
I don't buy that logic myself, personally, but someone said it.

Let me give you some more guys who were not "converted starters." Chad Cordero started zero games in either college or pro ball. Huston Street didn't start in college, and his one pro "start" was a minor league rehab assignment (he went one inning.) Gregg Olson wasn't a starter after freshman year of college. Trevor Hoffman had 92 minor league games, 11 of which he started. B.J. Ryan had 90 minor league games, 4 starts. Tom Henke had 233 minor league games, 18 starts. Armando Benitez had 170 minor league games, 9 starts. Troy Percival's starting career consists of three minor league injury rehab starts, and one in the majors last year. Jose Valverde's consists of one start in the minors. Have I made my point yet? Please don't tell me that you think it matters whether they started a literal handful of games. These players were not "converted starters."

Your argument about Papelbon is also dippy. Regardless of whether he wanted to close or not, if the Sox thought there was no way he could be as valuable as a SP, they would have told him to suck it up and start. They agreed to it because they thought he could have comparable value to a SP closing.
Furthermore, I'm betting that there are all-time great SP who would have been completely godawful closers (Glavine?)
Well, I would bet the opposite.

Fine, we can't prove that one either way. Soooooo... this argument is stupid. Are you just going to ignore the point about how it doesn't matter who could have done somebody else's job, it only matters how much value they had in the job that they did? Because that is the actual, relevant point here, and personally, I think it's self-evidently true.

As for your stats, yes, I am aware that Goose Gossage was worse than Greg Maddux. I have no idea why you listed 50 guys. Being in the company of marginal HOF candidates Lemon, Bunning, and Tiant suggests that Goose might be a HOFer. Being in the company of D. Martinez suggests that he might not be. This is why we have discussions. As for Rivera, you need to add in his postseason performance (and weigh it more per inning than regular-season performance); that is a huge part of his case.
   150. sunnyday2 Posted: December 28, 2007 at 11:33 PM (#2655750)
Nobody has to throw the ball 100 mph. But if somebody can do it, it helps your team.


I can't wait to hear your clincher re. HR.
   151. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: December 28, 2007 at 11:35 PM (#2655753)
I mostly agree with kwarren about the exaggerated importance of relief pitchers. Their job is essentially that of pinch-pitcher (wouldn't that be a more accurate name for them?) and it's really tough for them to have anywhere close to the value of starters. It's possible, though. My personal Hall of Fame would include Wilhelm and Gossage, and I'd probably add Rivera when he retires. I haven't carefully evaluated Eckersley, but he might make it, too. That's about it for relievers in the whole history of MLB.

I'm giving some small measure of credit to these relievers by way of acknowledging that they're not necessarily used optimally by their managers.
   152. Fridas Boss Posted: December 28, 2007 at 11:55 PM (#2655781)
There's a mile of difference between "relief pitchers' importance is exaggerated" and the extremists position kwarren is taking...
   153. kwarren Posted: December 29, 2007 at 12:01 AM (#2655789)
Being in the company of marginal HOF candidates Lemon, Bunning, and Tiant suggests that Goose might be a HOFer. Being in the company of D. Martinez suggests that he might not be. This is why we have discussions.

I don't really think too many people seriously consider Lemon, Bunning, Tiant, or D. Martinez as HOF candidates. It's true, that Gossage belongs in this group, but he's going in with a huge majority of the voters supporting him. Apparently people correctly percieve him as better than Sutter and Fingers, and rationalize that since they're in Gossage has to be in too.

Now if Gossage, Fingers, and Sutter were simply compared to other pitchers none of them would be getting any serious consideration. But because they are the best of the back-up pitchers, they somehow are entitled to representation in the Hall. Not good.
   154. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: December 29, 2007 at 12:13 AM (#2655803)
There's a mile of difference between "relief pitchers' importance is exaggerated" and the extremists position kwarren is taking...


True, which is why I added my two cents as a compromise to cool down the argument. I'm tempted to ask kwarren whether he thinks DH is a role or a position just to see what happens, though.
   155. kwarren Posted: December 29, 2007 at 12:21 AM (#2655811)
As for Rivera, you need to add in his postseason performance (and weigh it more per inning than regular-season performance); that is a huge part of his case.

If you tell me I have to do it, then I guess I have to. But I think it's a little unfair to the pitchers who don't get to the post-season every year. This is the same rationale that people use to give Sandy Koufax's career value a little boost, but it least in his case it was legit.

The Yankees post-season record with Rivera closing has not exactly been stellar. And wasn't Rivera credited with both a blown save and a loss in both Games 6 & 7 when the Yankees blew the 2001 World Series to Arizona. Then there was the fiasco against the Red Sox in 2004 when he was again on the mound and blew saves in both games four and five when the Yankees were on the verge of eliminating the Red Sox. So it's quite likely that Rivera's late inning post-season failures have cost the Yankees two World Series titles. I wonder how many voters will adequately take this into account.

I really believe that people have selective memory when it comes to Rivera's post-season heroics. How many other pitchers could have blown the lead in four such crucial games, costing their team two World Series titles, and still be worshipped as icons. Yankee fans find it much easier to blame A-Rod or Torre for their post-season failures.
   156. kwarren Posted: December 29, 2007 at 12:35 AM (#2655826)
I'm tempted to ask kwarren whether he thinks DH is a role or a position just to see what happens, though.

Is this a trick question. I suppose that anybody who can convince themselves that relief pitcher is a separate position from pitcher (with the same level of difficulty and contribution to team achievement as starting pitcher) might see DH as a role.

The way I see is that there are nine positions in NL baseball, and ten in AL baseball. Every team must have one player at each position at all times during a game. During a game the player who plays each position can change. This is where the idea of roles comes in - relief pitcher, pinch-hitter, defesive specialists, back-up infielders and outfielders, utility players etc.

A role is simply of way of describing the way a player is being used other than simply referring to his position.

Pitching is the position - starters and relievers are the roles.

All other positions - can be filled by starters, back-ups, pinch-hitters, defensive replacements at any given point in time.

DH - is a position in the AL which can be filled by a starter, pinch-hitter, or back-up.
   157. AROM Posted: December 29, 2007 at 12:36 AM (#2655827)
I suppose if someone talked about Tony Gwynn being a great contact hitter you could provide retrosheet links to his 400+ career strikeouts.

Rivera postseason:
76 games
117 innings
10 ER
0.77 ERA
8 wins
1 loss
34 saves
   158. kwarren Posted: December 29, 2007 at 01:14 AM (#2655853)
I suppose if someone talked about Tony Gwynn being a great contact hitter you could provide retrosheet links to his 400+ career strikeouts.

And if the more memorable of those strikeouts cost the Padres World Series titles, people might not need retrosheet links to remember them.

Anyways, if you're going to praise and reward closers for their ability to come through in the clutch, and preserve wins for the team that they are already winning, there should likely be some accounting for failures of such a large magnitude. Or are closers now on such an elevated level that we can't hold their failures against them. Just look at the artificially low ERA(s) and high save totals and be grateful that they're on our team.
   159. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: December 29, 2007 at 01:20 AM (#2655856)
AROM, thanks for the outfielder analysis you linked on one of the Rice threads. Maybe you should put it up here, too.

I have both Dawson and Murphy on my HOF ballot, but in my mind there's no question as to which one is more deserving. A lot of people frame the discussion as career vs peak/prime considerations. I disagree. I look at it as performance vs circumstances.

Simply put, Dawson was a better player everywhere they played. During Murphy's career, no NL teams switched ballparks, there was no interleague play, and expansion didn't occur until his extremely abbreviated final season. His entire career basically took place in 12 ballparks, and Dawson is nearly his exact contemporary. They played in the same league at the same time, and Dawson's post-Murphy career was below replacement level and consisted of just 3% of his NL plate appearances.

Their career OPS+ in the NL is roughly identical. However, Dawson has a higher OPS in 10 of 12 ballparks. In 8 of those 12 ballparks, Dawson's OPS is more than 50 points higher. Shea is the only ballpark in which Murphy's OPS is more than 50 points higher. There's no illusion here. The stats were put up in the same seasons and the same run environments. Dawson was a much better hitter than Murphy in 8 of 12 ballparks and slightly better in 2. Dawson was also a much better defender in CF and a better baserunner. Dawson was a better player.

The primary reason Murphy looks to be comparable is that he had the advantage of playing in the best hitters park in the NL. Atlanta Fulton County Stadium earned its reputation as The Launching Pad, as just about every decent hitter put up very good numbers there. Meanwhile, Dawson spent the first decade of his career in a much worse hitting environment that was especially bad for power hitters. If their situations had been reversed, it's hard to believe that Dawson wouldn't have outperformed Murphy in Atlanta and that Murphy wouldn't have been much worse than Dawson in Montreal.

I hope that some of those who are still trying to evaluate their candidacies find this comparison helpful.
   160. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 29, 2007 at 01:36 AM (#2655867)
But Gossage did not do well as a starter

He didn't do as well as when he relived, but 219 IP and a 93 ERA+ is around average. I think teams prefered his 140 IP and 212 ERA+ a little better.
   161. sunnyday2 Posted: December 29, 2007 at 01:39 AM (#2655873)
I don't really think too many people seriously consider Lemon, Bunning...as HOF candidates


Hey, that's what it says.
   162. Chris Fluit Posted: December 29, 2007 at 06:03 PM (#2656265)
Does anybody want the Baseball Hall of Fame to be like the NFL Hall or the College Football Hall of Fame. I hope not. Let's try to honour excellence, not back-up specialists.


The argument was made that the Hall of Fames of other sports don't enshrine less-valuable positions and therefore baseball shouldn't either. That argument was proven to be false. The other Hall of Fames do honor and have enshrined players from these positions. Then the argument is made that, well, who wants to be like those other guys anyway? Come on. I realize that the two arguments were made by different people. But it shows that irrationality is not confined to one side of the argument.

Are the best relievers less valuable than the best starters? Yes. Nobody is claiming otherwise. There's a reason why Maddux will fly into the Hall of Fame with 98% of the vote and why Gossage is scrambling to get in on his ninth year of eligibility.

But does "less valuable" automatically equate to "no value"? No, it does not. And the most valuable relievers, even though they are less valuable than the most valuable starters, deserve to be honored for their exploits.

Picking up some other strands of the discussion:
I mentioned Kelvim Escobar, not because he was primarily a closer who was converted to a starter. I mentioned him because he did spend some time as a closer. It was because he was only moderately successful as a closer than he was converted back to a starter. The more successful he had been as a closer, the less likely that it would have been for him to be re-converted to a starter.

As for John Smoltz: the Braves didn't decide to move him back to the rotation because they knew he was more valuable as a starter. The organization actually wanted to keep Smoltz as a closer because they'd had so much trouble filling that position. It was Smoltz who demanded his return to the rotation, over the objections of the organization. Smoltz, like Papelbon, is proof that organizations (rightly or wrongly) consider the closer position to have some value.
   163. sunnyday2 Posted: December 29, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2656336)
Rivera postseason:
76 games
117 innings
10 ER
0.77 ERA
8 wins
1 loss
34 saves

160. kwarren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 07:14 PM (#2655853)

Anyways, if you're going to praise and reward closers for their ability to come through in the clutch, and preserve wins for the team that they are already winning, there should likely be some accounting for failures of such a large magnitude. Or are closers now on such an elevated level that we can't hold their failures against them.


And speaking of irrationality. There they are. 10 ER, a loss. Openly acknowledged. Followed by the claim that we can't hold their failures against them. Well, we do hold those 10 ER and that loss in 76 G and 117 IP against Mariano, in black and white.

But wait. AROM didn't list his BS! An obvious cover-up! Well, we all know there've been a few. Sigh.

Apparently you can pick one or the other. Either closers are so elevated that we can't hold their failures against them. Or they're just a bunch of bums who really ought to be taken out into the bullpen and just shot. It's gotta be one or the other, I read it here.
   164. kwarren Posted: December 30, 2007 at 01:12 AM (#2656589)
Are the best relievers less valuable than the best starters? Yes. Nobody is claiming otherwise. There's a reason why Maddux will fly into the Hall of Fame with 98% of the vote and why Gossage is scrambling to get in on his ninth year of eligibility.

But does "less valuable" automatically equate to "no value"? No, it does not. And the most valuable relievers, even though they are less valuable than the most valuable starters, deserve to be honored for their exploits.


I agree with all of this. And I agree that Gossage's value/talent was on a par with a lot of very good starting pitchers. But it's not Hall of Fame worthy.

What bothers me is the amount of support that Gossage is getting both here and in the real world, compared to starting pitchers, to say nothing of all the position players who had much better careers. It's as if we are all in a rush to induct relievers all of a sudden, as it we owe them something. They are important, and they are good, but there is no rationale way to say that the best relievers are as good as the worst starting pitchers who are being elected.

Don Sutton's career WS total is 318.8 compared to Gossage's 222.4 and there is a lot of debate about whether Sutton should even be in. In fairness to Gossage it should be pointed out that his best three seasons are 26.0, 22.8, & 20.1 which compare favourably to Sutton's 23.5, 22.0, 20.9, especially in terms of best season.

Other pitchers who maybe should be inducted ahead of Gossage are:

Blyleven 338.6 (28.8, 23.2, 22.5)
Bunning 256.7 (30.2, 26.7, 26.3)
Tiant 253.4 (28.6, 28.1, 22.0)
Tanana 241.4 (26.5, 22.0, 20.4)
K. Brown 241.0 (25.9, 25.4, 23.1)
Koosman 241.0 (25.5, 22.8, 22.7)
Reuschel 240.3 (26.1, 19.6, 19.6)
D. Martinez 234.1 (21.3, 19.9, 19.5)
Lemon 232.6 (30.7, 26.3, 25.3)
Hough 232.2 (21.1, 20.4, 18.3)
L. Jackson 222.4 (25.3, 22.2, 21.0)
Lolich 222.4 (29.1, 26.4, 20.1)

and then there is this guy who, for some reason, gets all kinds of support, but who is actually a worse candidate than Gossage

J. Morris 222.8 (21.3, 19.9, 19.5)
   165. Mark Donelson Posted: December 30, 2007 at 01:22 AM (#2656594)
Other pitchers who maybe should be inducted ahead of Gossage are:

Um, as sunnyday alluded to above, Bunning and Lemon are in the HOF already. (I think Lemon is a mistake, but obviously someone considered them viable candidates...)
   166. Jesus Melendez Posted: December 30, 2007 at 01:34 AM (#2656603)
Other pitchers who maybe should be inducted ahead of Gossage are:


I'm sure I don't need to point this out, but two of these guys are already IN the Hall and several are no longer on the ballot. Even they they aren't eligible yet, I am big on Tiant and Martinez though...I will admit it.

I've written about some potential Hall of Famers over at my blog...The Hall of Very Good. Check it out!
   167. Mark Donelson Posted: December 30, 2007 at 02:14 AM (#2656638)
Oh, crap, Jesus Melendez owes me a Coke. That can't be good.
   168. rawagman Posted: December 30, 2007 at 07:43 AM (#2656752)
kwarren - a little exercize for you - divide win shares by IP. See what conclusions you can make of that.
   169. kwarren Posted: December 30, 2007 at 01:56 PM (#2656795)
divide win shares by IP. See what conclusions you can make of that.

World record holder in the mile 3:45.

Mediocre high school quarter miler 0.52.

Lets look at time for 100m for each athlete.

World record holder = 14.06 sec for each 100m

High school quarter miler = 13.00 sec for each 100m.

See what conclusions you can make of that.

Since you seem to be suggesting that Gossage is a better pitcher than Reuschel because his WS/IP are far better I can only guess you would also argue that a high school quarter miler is a better runner than the world record holder in the mile because of his distance travelled/sec is more. And in a way you would be right. Especially if you feel that that is the key evaluation metric. And similarly your are right about Gossage. Are there any starting pitchers in history who could boast a WS/IP as impressive as Gossage's. Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens.....I doubt it. Gossage is better than them all. And Mariano Rivera is better yet. I have seen the light. We have our magic metric. WS/IP......what an idea. Starters have been over-valued all this time, and we never knew.


It's pretty obvious that an inferior pitcher can pitch better than the best starter in the world for a short time period. What does tha prove. If Gossage could maintain his WS/IP ratio for 200+ IP a season he would be the greatest pitcher of all time. He can't do it. We all know he can't do it. So actually it's a pretty useless metric, unless you want compare relievers to relievers. But even then, all you're doing is punishing the pitchers who pitched the most innings. Not sure that this is appropriate.

To suggest that WS/IP is a useful evaluation tool is just like saying that distance traveled/sec is a useful way to compare quarter milers to milers to see who is better. All track & field people would say that this was absurd. But there are actually baseball people who think that comparing relievers to starters on the basis of WS/IP is reasonable. This is doing the exact same thing. What some people won't come up with to support their hair brained beliefs.

If your sole objective is to simply make relievers look better relative to starters then why not just use ERA+, K/IP, K/BB, or WHIP or any other indicator where pitchers who pitch fewer innings per appearance have over-whelming advantages.
   170. Paul Wendt Posted: December 30, 2007 at 04:22 PM (#2656821)
As for Mark Donelson (one of the few participants I know I've met):
Why no Dale Murphy?
I would suppose that 1980-87 is essentially the whole story for both Murphy (8 seasons) and Raines (7). At 30+ Win Shares that period includes all four of each man's good seasons. At 27+ it includes all 6 of Murphy's good seasons and 6 of 7 for Raines.
(1980-87 is the time period that casts Murphy in the best light, unless that is 1980-86 before vacating center field. Setting the threshold at 27+, nine "wins" rather than ten, and prorating 1981 at rate 1.50, is favorable to Raines, whose rookie season is the only "27" for either player.)

Some say that a vote for Rice leads inevitably to votes for Parker, Murphy, and Dawson. Certainly it should. Here are the best seasons of this quartet plus newcomer Raines by win shares.
bold 1981 prorated, rounding down
under best seasons that are consecutive

36 34 32 32 29 28; 27 25; 21 Raines (best five consecutive, 1983-87)
33 32 32 31 29 28; 22; Murphy (7 in 8 yrs, 1980-87)
37 33 31 29; 26 23; 20 Parker
37 29 28; 26 24 22; 21 20 20 Dawson
36 28 28; 26 24 22; 21 20 Rice

It's true that Murphy didn't do much outside the 8 years that include his six big seasons. But to find their seventh best seasons we need to go down to 20-21 WS for Parker, Dawson, and Rice.
   171. Mark Donelson Posted: December 30, 2007 at 04:34 PM (#2656824)
As for Mark Donelson (one of the few participants I know I've met):
Why no Dale Murphy?


Have we met? I'm not remembering, though my memory isn't what it used to be.

Regardless, you have a good point...I promoted Dawson to this prelim ballot even though he's not in my pHOM, based on the "vote for anyone you think is remotely qualified because of the 5 percent rule" theory. But if I do that, you're right, I need to include Murphy as well. I have them both around the same place, near Kirby Puckett (I like Dawson slightly better than both, but only slightly). I may need to include Parker as well. Rice, not so much--he's much lower.

I suppose I was letting the HOM consensus be my guide there, but you're quite right that it isn't consistent to do so without the other two. I'll fix that on my final ballot, one way or the other...
   172. Paul Wendt Posted: December 30, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2656835)
Did they get it backward?
Top Five in MVP election
6 Rice
5 Parker
3 Dawson
2 Murphy
1 Raines
   173. Paul Wendt Posted: December 30, 2007 at 05:07 PM (#2656838)
Mark,
If I recall correctly, I met you and John Murphy at Gretzky's in Toronto, perhaps with Joe Dimino and Jim Furtado (not first meetings).
   174. Howie Menckel Posted: December 30, 2007 at 06:01 PM (#2656863)
Ah, Win Shares, the Holy Grail for some. Who needs nuance?
:)

Don Sutton is debatable to many people because he was so average for so long. Win Shares is kind to that sort of player. But that doesn't mean it's a perfect system.

Sutton qualified for the league ERA title a record 22 times.
He once had an ERA+ of 78.
Six times he had ERA+s of 92 to 99.
Four more times he was between 100 and 106.
Four more times he was between 110 and 112.

That's 15 seasons of 112 or below. 7 of them below average.

Now, he also had a peak of 161-60-44, with a 127-26-21-19 chaser.
He's a legit HOFer.

But I don't quarrel with anyone who wants to debate the value of 10 seasons of ERA+s between 92 and 106. Presumably in most years he was better than the team's alternative, and that provides some value. But I'd question whether that's a key item on a Hall of Fame/Merit resume.
   175. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 31, 2007 at 12:05 AM (#2657029)
Mark,
If I recall correctly, I met you and John Murphy at Gretzky's in Toronto, perhaps with Joe Dimino and Jim Furtado (not first meetings).


I don't remember meeting Mark at that convention, Paul. Are you thinking of Max Parkinson?
   176. Gambling Rent Czar Posted: December 31, 2007 at 12:12 AM (#2657032)
Not a big HOF guy. The whole thing is FUBAR so why bother is my motto. But here goes.

Bert Blyleven
Andre Dawson
Mark McGwire
Tim Raines
   177. kwarren Posted: December 31, 2007 at 01:31 AM (#2657068)
I would suppose that 1980-87 is essentially the whole story for both Murphy (8 seasons) and Raines (7). At 30+ Win Shares that period includes all four of each man's good seasons. At 27+ it includes all 6 of Murphy's good seasons and 6 of 7 for Raines.

There is actually a huge difference between Raines and Murphy.

Raines - 388.8 - (35.8, 33.8, 32.1)

Murphy - 292.0 - (32.5, 31.8, 31.6)

Wynn - 305.2 - (36.3, 32.3, 31.9)

Rice - 244.2 - (35.8, 28.0, 27.8)

In addition to how much better Raines was than Murphy outside of their peak years, Murphy's best season was about equal to Raines' third best season, significantly worse than Raines second best year, and far below Raines' best seasons.

I'm not saying that Murphy isn't a bonfide candidate, but Raines looks like a no-brainer and is far superior.

I do find it interesting that Murphy and Rice get so much support and Wynn gets none. One thing that can be said on behalf of Murphy is that he is leaps and bounds ahead of Rice, and Rice is probably gonna make it.
   178. Mark Donelson Posted: December 31, 2007 at 01:56 AM (#2657084)
If I recall correctly, I met you and John Murphy at Gretzky's in Toronto, perhaps with Joe Dimino and Jim Furtado (not first meetings).

John's right, that wasn't me, I'm afraid. I have, unfortunately, never met any of the HOM crew in person.
   179. Oklahawg Posted: December 31, 2007 at 03:01 AM (#2657108)
McGwire.

Maybe Lee Smith.
   180. Honkie Kong Posted: December 31, 2007 at 03:10 AM (#2657111)
I think Murphy really really suffers from his short and sudden decline. IMO he is the best of the remaining OFs ( Rice, Dawson ). Raines has a case over him because how he lasted into the 90s.
Dale Murphy is on my ballot.

Didn't vote McGwire. I am laying off on the steroid era for now, and waiting for all the by blows of the Mitchell report to see how prevalent steroid use is.

Voted Alan Trammell, because I don't he should have to go the VC to get elected. Second best all round SS of the 80s. Just like Raines was the second best leadoff man ( who I voted for ).
And I circled Bert!
   181. Honkie Kong Posted: December 31, 2007 at 03:12 AM (#2657114)
No edit function here. I also voted Gossage. Wasn't going to vote for 2 relievers on the same ballot, and I thought Gossage was the better pick.

And to show off the sportswriter in me, I am sure Gossage will have a funnier induction speech too!
   182. AROM Posted: December 31, 2007 at 03:15 AM (#2657118)
AROM, thanks for the outfielder analysis you linked on one of the Rice threads. Maybe you should put it up here, too.


Here it is.
   183. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 31, 2007 at 03:39 AM (#2657126)
Parker, Rice and Dawson are all three good OF, and Parker and Dawson have the added advantage of being stellar defensively. The problem for me with each of these is that they were not the MVP of their team (in my opinion) during that team's best season(s). I'll pass on all three.


(this quote is from the Ballot thread)

Two things: First, why have you left Raines and Murphy off this list? Murphy, in particular, was clearly the best player on the only two Atlanta Braves teams worth a damn over about a 20-year stretch.

Second, while this is an odd standard, I don't see how Parker, in particular, doesn't meet it. The best Pirates team of the past probably, what, 35 years, was the 1979 Pirates. Granting that Stargell shared the league MVP that year, if you actually look at the stats, it's pretty obvious that Dave Parker was the best player on that team.
   184. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 31, 2007 at 04:07 AM (#2657136)
I would also point out that Parker was NOT a good defender. He had a good arm, but people still ran on it anyway because (a) his arm was erratic and (b) he liked to show it off, making a lot of throws where he had no chance to make a play. The upshot was that Parker allowed more extra bases due to errors and runner advances when he overshot the cutoff man than he saved by gunning runners down.

-- MWE
   185. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 31, 2007 at 04:13 AM (#2657139)
Isn't there a wee bit of difference between an outfielder who couldn't handle the defensive aspect of the SS role and a pitcher who couldn't handle the pitching aspect of the SP role?


It's not that the pitcher couldn't handle the *pitching* aspect of the SP role, in most cases, but that he couldn't handle the *in-game longevity* part of the role - he couldn't throw 85-90 pitches in a game, start after start.

-- MWE
   186. StHendu Posted: December 31, 2007 at 05:21 AM (#2657155)
Didn't vote McGwire. I am laying off on the steroid era for now,


I have heard people talk about the 'steroid era' for awhile, and I am trying to figure out the exact dates of this era. Tom House claimed that he and many other pitchers took steroids in the 1970's to enhance their baseball careers. Anabolic steroids date back to the 1930's. So apparently, the start of the baseball 'steroid era' is between the 1930's and 1970's.
Every candidate listed in the parent played during the 'steroid era'.
Candidates from the 'steroid era' include(d): big feared muscle guys who hit the ball hard (Jim Rice); people with uncommon durability (Ripken); big strikeout pitchers (Blyleven); and big power middle infielders (Trammell).
I am not picking on anyone in particular. I just think we should revisit what we think is true about steroids in baseball, including that we think we know that steroids definitively cause more home runs.
   187. Oklahawg Posted: December 31, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2657527)
Allow me to expand upon my McGwire and "maybe" Lee Smith vote.

1. HOF is for the players who were the best at their position during their prime. Or,
2. HOF is for the players who were perennially near the top of their position and had a career year that stands out amongst their peers. Or,
3. HOF is for those players who, thorugh career longevity, excelled at more than one role in their career.

Rice, Dawson, Raines and Parker all get consideration for #2, as they all had an amazing year or two. Dawson and Parker (in particular) were stellar defensively. Dawson (in particular) was critical in the clubhouse for two different clubs. They were not as good as Winfield, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson (I realize we are crosing eras a bit here), or Paul Molitor (part-time OF). I'd rank them Dawson, Raines, Parker and then Rice. All might get in at some point but not on my ballot this year.

McGwire was the top power hitter for his generation. Take out 86 of his HR (putting him at 500) and he's still HOF material.

Relievers must match the Eckersley profile and that is a toughie. He was unhittable on WS teams for more than one year. I think that longevity is critical for relievers. It separates the likes of Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman from the Eric Gagne's of the world (with Gagne maybe be as unhittable as Hoffman or Rivera...just not for the number of years).

I anticipate in a decade we'll be asked to consider set-up men. The game has changed, and so should our views of what it means to be OF, ie, the best the game has seen.
   188. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2007 at 08:42 PM (#2657534)
It's not that the pitcher couldn't handle the *pitching* aspect of the SP role, in most cases, but that he couldn't handle the *in-game longevity* part of the role - he couldn't throw 85-90 pitches in a game, start after start.


Then he couldn't handle the role. I fail to see the significance of the distinction you're making.
   189. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 31, 2007 at 10:25 PM (#2657653)
I fail to see the significance of the distinction you're making.


I was responding to the comment in #118:

Isn't there a wee bit of difference between an outfielder who couldn't handle the defensive aspect of the SS role and a pitcher who couldn't handle the pitching aspect of the SP role?


Starting pitching has two aspects - quality of pitches and stamina - just as playing a position has two aspects - hitting and defense - and being able to handle only one of the two aspects means you can't handle the role. Most successful relievers can handle the quality aspect, but not the stamina aspect.

-- MWE
   190. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 31, 2007 at 11:10 PM (#2657679)
Starting pitching has two aspects - quality of pitches and stamina - just as playing a position has two aspects - hitting and defense - and being able to handle only one of the two aspects means you can't handle the role. Most successful relievers can handle the quality aspect, but not the stamina aspect.


But there is a big difference (the wee was sarcastic) between them. Among position players, as you move across the spectrum, the defensive aspect lessens but the offensive expectations increase. Ultimately, each position is fairly equal in terms of responsibility to the team's success (or should be).

That isn't the case when you move someone from the starting rotation to the bullpen. You are lessening the responsibility that pitcher has. And while a closer may have more value than the typical reliever, he's not as valuable as a SP, which is why few teams move successful starting pitchers to the bullpen unless there are extenuating circumstances (injury). The only one that really jumps to mind, besides Myers who is going back, is Righetti. And that was 20 years ago, and may not have happened if the owner wsan't overvaluing the closer's job.

I fail to see how the two are really comparable.
   191. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2007 at 11:13 PM (#2657680)
Starting pitching has two aspects - quality of pitches and stamina - just as playing a position has two aspects - hitting and defense - and being able to handle only one of the two aspects means you can't handle the role. Most successful relievers can handle the quality aspect, but not the stamina aspect.
But couldn't an awful lot of starters handle the quality aspect if they weren't asked to handle the stamina aspect? If you said, "Don't pace yourself, don't worry about whether other opposing batters will get to see your stuff, all you have to do is get three outs," I think you'll find many bad starters suddenly being successful.
   192. Paul Wendt Posted: January 01, 2008 at 02:13 AM (#2657744)
Quoting myself in email format ("> ")
> Mark,
> If I recall correctly, I met you and John Murphy at Gretzky's in Toronto,
> perhaps with Joe Dimino and Jim Furtado (not first meetings).

John Murphy clarified,
I don't remember meeting Mark at that convention, Paul. Are you thinking of Max Parkinson?

If Max Parkinson was there, certainly yes. Probably I have imagined that I know the author, reading either Mark Donelson or Max Parkinson contributions since then.


> I would suppose that 1980-87 is essentially the whole story for both Murphy (8 seasons) and Raines (7).
> At 30+ Win Shares that period includes all four of each man's good seasons.
> At 27+ it includes all 6 of Murphy's good seasons and 6 of 7 for Raines.

kwarren replied
There is actually a huge difference between Raines and Murphy.

We know Raines is about a century up on Murphy by win shares, lifetime.

That was a description or caricature of Mark Donelson's perspective, which is well-known in the Hall of Merit. --forum, not pantheon
But it isn't terribly different from my own. Dale Murphy and Jimmy Wynn, ok.

Murphy - 292.0 - (32.5, 31.8, 31.6)

If those are season win shares to the first decimal place, and there is no change in the system since 2002, there must be very few players who do as well as Murphy by roundoff error: best seasons in print 33 32 32 31 29 28, 22, kerplunk.

I do find it interesting that Murphy and Rice get so much support and Wynn gets none.

Murphy gets so much support? He remains on the ballot, you mean?
Wynn isn't on the ballot because he didn't get "so much" support in that sense.
If you were a baseball fan during Dale Murphy's career, it's remarkable that he gets so little support for the Hall of Fame. He was exceptionally popular, the five-year foreshadow of Kirby Puckett. Maybe if he retired in May 1989 or after that season, speechifying that he knows he can't be Dale Murphy any more.
   193. Paul Wendt Posted: January 01, 2008 at 02:16 AM (#2657745)
Further, if they would elect Murphy,
our John Murphy wouldn't have to read annually about his peak, collapse, goody two-shoes, and so on.
   194. Mark Donelson Posted: January 02, 2008 at 05:41 PM (#2658304)
That was a description or caricature of Mark Donelson's perspective,

Gosh, I have a rep! Actually, even I at my peakiest still have Raines way ahead of Murphy, even just on peak/prime (I've become more that of late than pure peak). I don't vote for any of Murphy/Dawson/Parker (they're in my top 50 backloggers), while Raines was number 1 on my last HOM ballot. Not that it really matters.

And of course if Wynn were eligible, I and many HOM voters, at least, would be giving him tons of support (we did elect him some "years" back, after all).
   195. AROM Posted: January 02, 2008 at 05:46 PM (#2658309)
I saw a few people put Chuck Finley on their ballots in the other thread and I have to wonder why. (I hope they see this - seems this thread is more appropriate for a discussion).

I'm as big a Chuck Finley fan as anyone, and he certainly had a fine career. If you're voting for him because you don't think he'll get elected but deserves a few tokens, I'm cool with that.

But Finley seems a bit short on both career length and in peak. His ERA+ is less than Blyleven's with about 70% of the career starts. He was never the best pitcher in baseball, maybe top 10 at his best. Would you also vote for David Cone? He appears to be comparable but comfortably ahead of Finley. If I took the time I could probably say the same about 10-15 other guys.
   196. Paul Wendt Posted: January 02, 2008 at 07:29 PM (#2658426)
I saw a few people put Chuck Finley on their ballots in the other thread and I have to wonder why. (I hope they see this - seems this thread is more appropriate for a discussion).

Certainly.

I'm not one of the Finley voters. I wonder whether they overestimate the decline in lifetime totals for pitchers because so many Finley contemporaries have been durable. That is, he benefits from retiring at the right time to get a few serious votes.

--
The Hall of Merit recently completed catching up with history, and it is now at the beginning of its first annual cycle. It has 234 members including six on the 2008 BBWAA ballot and nine more from the BBWAA ballot are in the standings with points in the latest election. David Cone is ahead of all nine (surprise to me).

Hall of Merit 2008 status of candidates on 2008 BBWAA ballot

<u>Elected</u>
Blyleven, Gossage, Raines, Dawson, Trammell, McGwire

<u>Standings in latest HOM election</u>
rank points
12 208 Cone -- included by special request; enjoys points from 17 of 50 voters
19 157 Concepcion
25 135 Murphy
32 109 John
35_ 86 Smith
----- below this line, points represent only 1-3 of 50 voters
70T 27 Rice
76_ 22 Parker
80_ 17 Finley
83T 14 Mattingly
91T_ 9 Morris

(I think that's all - 15 from the current BBWAA ballot plus Cone.)
   197. Paul Wendt Posted: January 02, 2008 at 07:34 PM (#2658433)
Perhaps "Welcome to the Baseball Hall of Merit" can be edited to include a few links directly, such as the Plaque Room and the 2008 Election Results? I am thinking of new people who visit during the course of the year, supposing that some do arrive via the HOM home page.

2008 Election Results - Hall of Merit
   198. DL from MN Posted: January 02, 2008 at 09:06 PM (#2658542)
> Would you also vote for David Cone?

I absolutely support Cone. I voted for Finley not because I believe he should be elected, but because he is close to the in-out line. He's basically the next eligible guy over the line for me and I wanted to highlight that.
   199. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 09:43 AM (#2658869)
Here are the leveraged innings results for Gossage, Smith and Sutter:


Pitcher LI Equiv. IP
Gossage 1.53 2768
Smith 1.79 2308
Sutter 1.92 2000


Now how much do we subtract from ERA+ (of your preferred stat) given the much shorter stints relievers put up vis-a-vis starters?

1) every closer has at some point in his career been a starter

We've covered this before but this proves nuttin'. Most ML players are failed SS or catchers. So what? If there's a role and they fill it, that's the deal.


Don't you mean SSs or CFers? At any rate, there's a far greater difference between a guy who gets moved from SS to LF, and a guy who gets moved from the starting rotation and thereafter only pitches 70-80 innings a year.
   200. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 05:15 PM (#2659056)
To answer number 201, we subtract nothing for that. That's the trade-off, fewer innings, better rate.

You can reduce the LI for 'chaining' meaning the closer isn't replaced by the replacement player, he's replaced by the setup man, who is replaced by the #2 setup man, who is replaced by a long reliever who is replaced by another long reliever who is replaced by the replacement pitcher.
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