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Monday, September 04, 2006

Catfish Hunter

Eligible in 1985.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 04, 2006 at 12:03 AM | 142 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 04, 2006 at 12:11 AM (#2166775)
Well, at least the nickname is not overrated, despite its contrived origins...

As a 8 year old Mets fan in 1973, I was in awe of Catfish and his teammates during that famous World Series (the first I ever saw). Oh, I hated those mustachioed guys in green, but what a team!

I'm not really in awe of him anymore, but I still respect him. A hard guy to dislike.
   2. Sean Gilman Posted: September 04, 2006 at 12:21 AM (#2166782)
Lazy stadium night
Catfish on the mound.
"Strike three," the umpire said,
Batter have to go back and sit down.

Catfish, million-dollar-man,
Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

Used to work on Mr. Finley's farm
But the old man wouldn't pay
So he packed his glove and took his arm
An' one day he just ran away.

Catfish, million-dollar-man,
Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

Come up where the Yankees are,
Dress up in a pinstripe suit,
Smoke a custom-made cigar,
Wear an alligator boot.

Catfish, million-dollar-man,
Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

Carolina born and bred,
Love to hunt the little quail.
Got a hundred-acre spread,
Got some huntin' dogs for sale.

Catfish, million-dollar-man,
Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

Reggie Jackson at the plate
Seein' nothin' but the curve,
Swing too early or too late
Got to eat what Catfish serve.

Catfish, million-dollar-man,
Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

Even Billy Martin grins
When the Fish is in the game.
Every season twenty wins
Gonna make the Hall of Fame.

Catfish, million-dollar-man,
Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.
   3. OCF Posted: September 04, 2006 at 01:48 AM (#2166846)
RA+ PythPat equivalent record 206-178. Comparable to Lolich, and to the people Lolich is comparable to, except that he has better top years. I have his best three years as an equivalent 24-13 (1975), 23-12 (1974) and 21-11 (1972).

(I had Lolich at 215-189 with top years of 23-14, 25-17, and 18-14.)

In Hunter's case, his actual record of 224-166 is quite a ways ahead of his RA+ equivalent record. He was obviously well-supported. That, and his ERA looks superficially better than it might just because he pitched his whole career in pitchers parks. I would put him ahead of Lolich because of the top years - but that's not going to be among my top 30.

Appears to be a Cooperstown mistake.
   4. DavidFoss Posted: September 04, 2006 at 02:30 AM (#2166877)
Interestingly, Hunter is younger than Sutton, Palmer, Carlton, Seaver, Jenkins, Niekro and Perry. He's also younger than non-HOFers like John, Tiant and Kaat.

You could argue that the early retirement allowed him to be inducted early and kept him from being buried in the backlog beneath superior contemporaries.
   5. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 04, 2006 at 03:58 AM (#2166975)
"Catfish" is probalby one of the lowlights for me of the Bootleg Series...not one of Bob's most bestest moments. Though better, say, than "Wiggle Wiggle."

Catfish was a pretty good hitter for a latter-day hurler (career OPS+ in the 50s). Perhaps entering the DH era skimmed a share of two off his career total. I wouldn't autobunt a pitcher with a .226/.234/.287 career line (from the period low-run era of 1965-1972). That translates to a modern SLG of .327 per BP. Hey, better than Pokey Reese!
   6. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: September 04, 2006 at 04:00 AM (#2166976)
Few things about Hunter:

Terrific hitting pitcher. His OPS+ of 52 beats Gibson and Drysdale. In 1971 he had an OPS+ of 120, better than four of Oakland's starters and equal to Rick Monday.

Had a half-season's worth of pitching in the post-season. Surprisingly mediocore W-L record, but a good ERA, especially considering the quality of competition ('71 O's, '74 Dodgers, '76 Reds, etc).

One other thing to through out there, as I just mentioned on the Lolich thread I'm right now going through a process of looking at starting pitcher leverage over the years. I figure out AOWP, TOWP, and then AOWP+. AOWP is Average Opponent Winning Percentage. Number of starts against a team, multiplied by that team's W/L percentage, added up for all times and divided by all starts. TOWP is the same thing, only that T stands for Team. TOWP tells you what the 1973 A's average opponent winning percentage was. Or 1974 A's, or 1876 Louisville. Whoever.

To figure leverage, take AOWP, divide by TOWP, and multiply by 100. That's AOWP+. It's almost impossible to score an AOWP+ of 105 without being intentionally leveraged. Checking 1000ish seasons from 1965-2005 with at least 20 GS reveals 4-5 seasons with an AOWP+ of 105, and none better. Believe me, it was much more common than that earlier.

Now Catfish Hunter pitched in the era when it's difficult to separate via AOWP+ any minimal levels of leveraging from random usage luck. . . . But there's something there. Out of 80ish post-1965 pitchers I've checked on, Catfish Hunter had the highest career AOWP+. From memory, he had 10-11 consecutive seasons where his AOWP was better than the Athletics' TOWP. One of those rare post-1965 AOWP+s belongs to Hunter. The man wasn't leveraged much, but he was leveraged more than those around him.

(Joe, if you check what I just wrote with what I sent you a ways back, you won't see it match. I changed stuff around some for post-1957 pitchers since then).
   7. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 04, 2006 at 04:49 AM (#2167005)
Picking up on a jokey idea expressed by someone else, somewhere else among the recent HOM threads, I've always loved running Hunter's name together with another pitcher to form this blended name:

Jim "Kaatfish" Hunter
   8. Sean Gilman Posted: September 04, 2006 at 06:38 AM (#2167047)
"Catfish" is probalby one of the lowlights for me of the Bootleg Series...not one of Bob's most bestest moments. Though better, say, than "Wiggle Wiggle."

Ouch. I dig it a lot. That low-fi late-night drunken blues-style.

I got as a free gift with the new album a sample episode of his XM radio show, the theme is baseball. All kinds of old weird baseball tunes Bob dug up along with an. . . interesting version of him singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Fun stuff.
   9. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 04, 2006 at 06:58 AM (#2167050)
Of course, "Catfish" was co-written with Jacques Levy, so it's hard to say how much of it is Dylan's, and how much Levy's. Why did Bob Dylan need a lyricist, anyway?
   10. Sean Gilman Posted: September 04, 2006 at 07:19 AM (#2167059)
For the hell of it, of course: he thought it would be fun to collaborate.

FWIW, "Catfish" seems all Dylan to me, I was surprised to see Levy had a credit on it.
   11. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: September 04, 2006 at 08:29 AM (#2167074)
I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer for the first to be considered for the Green and Gold Oakland Athletics Cap.
   12. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 04, 2006 at 12:55 PM (#2167097)
"Catfish" is probalby one of the lowlights for me of the Bootleg Series...

Sean, to each their own, and no offense meant. Though I could have been a bit less boorish in my phrasing. Sorry about that.

Perhaps not coincidentally, I've never like Bob's Desire album (written with J. Levy) very much at all. I'm one of like three people in the world who doesn't like "Hurricane" and other than "One More Cup of Coffee" I can't say it's ever really grabbed me. So pherpas I'm not an entirely reliable narrator.

But among the Bootleg's lo-fi tunes, "Santa Fe" is, for me, a big fave.
   13. sunnyday2 Posted: September 04, 2006 at 01:55 PM (#2167114)
"Hot chili peppers in the blistering sun..." Great, great stuff, though my desert island Dylan would be Highway 61 (doh!, but I would also have to smuggle in a copy of "Jokerman." (I'm not sure, is that about Bert Blyleven? Bill Lee?) Great peak, great prime, great career.
   14. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 04, 2006 at 02:30 PM (#2167124)
Dylan does have a Dave Parkeresque sag in the middle of his career (the born-again through pre-Oh Mercy portion), but his prior peak and his subsequent rejuvination---writing with Walt Hriniak?---keep his career in the Ruthian area, inner circle. Hey, the Babe had 1925, Bob had 1977-1987....

Compare to the Beatles who have a ten-year peak/prime and nothing else. If you're a peak voter you might take them over Bob by a whisker, and if you give death/break-up credit it could be close, but for career voters, I think Dylan's got the depth and breadth that the Beatles can't match. (Naturally this assumes that you don't give MLE credit for their Quarrymen phase).

; )
   15. AndrewJ Posted: September 04, 2006 at 03:43 PM (#2167152)
FYI: Jacques Levy directed the original production of "Oh, Calcutta!"

Catfish was a pretty good hitter for a latter-day hurler

He went 3-for-4 at the plate the night he pitched his perfect game.
   16. Spahn Insane Posted: September 04, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2167156)
Perhaps not coincidentally, I've never like Bob's Desire album (written with J. Levy) very much at all.

Seconded. I've never been able to get through "Desire" in a single sitting, and it's one of only a couple Dylan albums I own that I haven't bothered to rip into iTunes.

I've heard the Levy collaborations praised by a lot of people as "great stories," but to me they're too wordy and too literal, lacking the clever wordplay that Dylan showed in his best work. (People talk about "Desire" as a sort of tandem "great" album with "Blood on the Tracks," but I think it sort of heralds the point where Dylan ran out of ideas for a good long stretch. I associate it more with "Street Legal" than with "Blood on the Tracks.")

I'll say, though, his latest peak's been worth the wait. "Modern Times" is his third exceptional album in a row (though he now produces them every 4-5 years, rather than once [or more] a year).
   17. rico vanian Posted: September 04, 2006 at 04:16 PM (#2167161)
Modern Times is terrible due to Dylan's vox. Great lyrics, though. Obviously he was never a "great" singer, but his croaking has gotten to the unlistenable stage for me.

I highly recommend the "Blood On The Tapes" bootleg- which are the Blood On The Tracks songs in different versions...Tangled Up In Blue with different lyrics, Idiot Wind acoustic style, etc.

Also, on Dylan's satellite radio show, he devoted a whole episode to Baseball songs.
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 04, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2167171)
Modern Times is terrible due to Dylan's vox.

Wasn't that a silent film?! I hope his acting was better there than in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

;-)
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: September 04, 2006 at 05:37 PM (#2167197)
ERA+s, must pitch 154/162 IP, and at least 100 ERA+

Which of these is not like the others?
Take away Pierce's 201 (why, I have no idea), and Pierce STILL comes out ahead on peak.

Catfish had 3 terrific seasons, and his team won World Series in two of those years (1972/1974). After a great year in 1975 at age 29, it seemed to many he was headed to the Hall of Fame. He never had another notable season and was done at age 33, but somehow the mystique continued.

Seems to have been a very nice man, and condolences to friends and family members that he's gone way too soon. But he just doesn't belong in this discussion, even with a postseason bonus.

CaHunter 141 40 34 14 12 07 03
BilPierce 201 48 41 36 33 24 15 13 08 07 07 05 04 03
RWaddell 179 79 65 53 26 25 23 21 07 02
Marichal 169 66 65 44 32 22 19 16 13 00
Drysdale 154 49 40 29 28 22 18 17 15 13
JBunning 150 49 43 42 34 32 29 14 14 04
EarlWynn 154 42 36 35 26 18 15 10 09 03

CaHunter top 10 in IP: 1 2 4 5 6 10
BiPierce top 10 in IP: 3 3 3 5 5 7
RWaddell top 10 in IP: 3 4 4 10
Marichal top 10 in IP: 1 1 3 5 5 6 8 8
Drysdale top 10 in IP: 1 1 2 2 4 5 5 5 9 9 10
JBunning top 10 in IP: 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 5 6 8
EarlWynn top 10 in IP: 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 6 6 6 6 7
   20. Sean Gilman Posted: September 04, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2167200)
I like Desire alright, it's not one of his great albums, merely very good. I like the live versions on the Rolling Thunder Bootleg Series disc more than the album versions (Romance In Durango, Hurricane, Isis, Sara). Joey is one of my least favorite Dylan songs ever, though. I don't think I've ever managed to listen to the whole thing in one sitting.

I read that the remastered version of Street Legal is a significant improvement over the original, but I haven't heard it yet.

We discussed baseball analogs for Dylan a few "years" ago, didn't we conclude he was Satchel Paige?

Bob Dylan has the greatest voice in the history of rock music.

Modern Time is great. I think he's repeating his late-60s peak in slow motion:

Time Out Of Mind = Highway 61 Revisited
Love And Theft = Blonde On Blonde
Modern Times = John Wesley Harding
   21. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 04, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2167211)
Dylan does have a Dave Parkeresque sag in the middle of his career (the born-again through pre-Oh Mercy portion), but his prior peak and his subsequent rejuvination---writing with Walt Hriniak?---keep his career in the Ruthian area, inner circle. Hey, the Babe had 1925, Bob had 1977-1987...

The five year period between Nashville Skyline and Planet Waves was also pretty fallow, with only New Morning a "keeper" from that period. And that was at a time when major artists were expected to release an album a year. And Self Portrait still stands as the worst "real" album in Dylan's catalogue.

There were some great individual songs from the 1977-87 period - "Neighborhood Bully" and "Jokerman" from Infidels, "Every Grain of Sand" from Shot of Love, "Dark Eyes" from Empire Burlesque, that always made you realise the guy still had it, and made you think that the next album might be the one...

I also really like Desire, but that's OK. :-)
   22. rico vanian Posted: September 04, 2006 at 06:15 PM (#2167223)
When Dylan and The Grateful Dead performed "Joey" in concert, 60,000 Deadhead's immediately came down off their acid highs!!!!!!!
   23. Sean Gilman Posted: September 04, 2006 at 06:30 PM (#2167233)
I think Self-Portrait's great.

<ducks>
   24. CraigK Posted: September 04, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2167239)

You could argue that the early retirement allowed him to be inducted early and kept him from being buried in the backlog beneath superior contemporaries.


It's not like he really retired early on purpose; the diabetes and (as we'd later find out) the ALS pretty much killed off his career at 33.
   25. sunnyday2 Posted: September 04, 2006 at 10:34 PM (#2167392)
>ompare to the Beatles who have a ten-year peak/prime and nothing else. If you're a peak voter you might take them over Bob by a whisker,

1. Frank Zappa
2. The Beatles--remember I'm a peak voter
3. Bob Dylan
4. Bruce Springsteen
5. Pink Floyd

>Hey, the Babe had 1925, Bob had 1977-1987....

Au contraire, lots of great stuff in there including Jokerman, his greatest song ever not on Highway 61.
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: September 04, 2006 at 10:35 PM (#2167393)
PS. Anybody see Zappa Plays Zappa yet? I'm going on October 20.
   27. Ardo Posted: September 05, 2006 at 04:55 AM (#2167901)
I never really understood Catfish's career shape until tonight. It's a shame he fell off the table after 1975, for he was squarely on the "late-developing HoM pitcher" track until then.

As it stands, I would like to vote for him, but his record doesn't measure up.
   28. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: September 05, 2006 at 05:11 AM (#2167907)
It's not like he really retired early on purpose; the diabetes and (as we'd later find out) the ALS pretty much killed off his career at 33.

The ALS had nothing to do with it. I read an interview with him a few years before he died. He first started showing sypmtoms of ALS years after he retired. I'm not sure how much the diabetes had to do with it either. His numbers took a major dive two years before doctors gave him the bad news. His drop came not-so-coincidentally right after the Yanks had him throw 30 CG in a season in 1975. No one's bested 30 CG in a year in over a half-century. I once used Tangotiger's basic pitch count estimator to look at Hunter's entire career, and he was worked far harder that year than at any other point.

And it's not like his pre-1975 workload was in his favor. Here's a list of the winningest liveball pitchers prior to turning 30:

1. Hal Newhouser 188
2. Catfish Hunter 184
3. Robin Roberts 179
4. Bob Feller 177
5. Wes Ferrell 175

Three guys had there arm fall off entirely in their early 30s. The other two were just shells of themselves. Feller arguably would've been worse had it not been for WWII. The workload's what destroyed him.
   29. DavidFoss Posted: September 05, 2006 at 06:52 AM (#2167923)
It's not like he really retired early on purpose

I didn't mean to say he did. Catfish was clearly done in 1979. Its just an interesting case of the effects of eligibility-timing.

A similar pitcher to Catfish from the following generation is Jack Morris. Morris has had a much harsher reception from the BBWAA -- largely because all of those aforementioned greats (Sutton, Palmer, Carlton, Seaver, Jenkins, Niekro and Perry... non-HOFers like John, Tiant and Kaat... plus slightly younger guys like Ryan & Blyleven) all passed through or were still on the ballot. The bar for BBWAA induction had effectively been raised. Time may cause that bar to slip back down eventually, but its still up there.
   30. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:11 PM (#2168065)
I highly recommend the "Blood On The Tapes" bootleg- which are the Blood On The Tracks songs in different versions...Tangled Up In Blue with different lyrics, Idiot Wind acoustic style, etc.
Are some of these songs on the Bootleg Series (disks two and three)? I seem to remember "Call Letter Blues" and a couple alternative takes on "Tangled Up in Blue" and the doleful, powerful, undermentioned "If You See Her"

The five year period between Nashville Skyline and Planet Waves was also pretty fallow, with only New Morning a "keeper" from that period. And that was at a time when major artists were expected to release an album a year. And Self Portrait still stands as the worst "real" album in Dylan's catalogue.

Absolutely correct. Worth noting that "The Man in Me" was recorded in this period (IIRC), which would later make many, many Big Lebowski fans very happy.

There were some great individual songs from the 1977-87 period...
I'll tack "Blind Willie McTell" onto this list. It's on the Bootlegs, and wasn't released regular like, but it's a great tune.
   31. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:12 PM (#2168069)
Oh, and Sunny only likes Bob because Zimmy's from Minnesota....

KIDDING!!!!

[And no, I'm not wild about Live due to Central PA...]
   32. sunnyday2 Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:30 PM (#2168081)
>I highly recommend the "Blood On The Tapes" bootleg- which are the Blood On The Tracks songs in different versions...Tangled Up In Blue with different lyrics, Idiot Wind acoustic style, etc.

Dylan recorded all of the songs on Blood on the Tracks with Eric Weissberg and Deliverance, then decided he wasn't entirely happy and re-recorded about half of the songs with some Minneapolis session guys (including Jimmy Johnson who has been Steve Miller's bass player for 25 years). Half of the record is Weissberg's band, half the Minneapolis band. But the record sleeves had already been printed so the Minneapolis band was not (and never has been listed) on the record's packaging.

I saw the second "Blood on the Tracks Band" play a concert 1.5 years ago consisting of all of the tunes on the record (with Eric Weissberg as guest, just for good measure, and with various guests doing the vocals). It was a fabulous concert. Cannot find a recording of it to my massive surprise.

I assume the bootleg of which you speak includes or consists of the Weissberg versions that did not make it to the original record.
   33. Paul Wendt Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:33 PM (#2168087)
Reggie Jackson at the plate
Seein' nothin' but the curve,
Swing too early or too late
Got to eat what Catfish serve.


The amazing thing is, the only two guys from Hibbing Minnesota anyone ever heard of, and they square off time and again in the eye of the storm
   34. DavidFoss Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:36 PM (#2168091)
The Beatles--remember I'm a peak voter

It was a short time on the calendar, but they put out a ton of albums with at least as much stylistic evolution as most bands ever go through. Anyhow, I just find the idea of the Beatles being a high-peak candidate in the HOM sense a bit weird due to the wealth of their output. When I think of peak candidates, I think of guys like the Stone Roses.
   35. DavidFoss Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:45 PM (#2168104)
The amazing thing is, the only two guys from Hibbing Minnesota anyone ever heard of, and they square off time and again in the eye of the storm

Who is the other guy? Kevin McHale or Roger Maris? (Or maybe Vincent Bugliosi if you are a true-crime buff :))
   36. Guapo Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:53 PM (#2168116)
Reggie Jackson at the plate
Seein' nothin' but the curve,
Swing too early or too late
Got to eat what Catfish serve.


Reggie Jackson vs. Catfish Hunter, career:

9-29 (.310), 2 2B, 2 HR, 10 K. They only faced each other in 1975 and 1976.

Reggie was 3 for 15 against Catfish in 1975, all singles, with 6 Ks. Catfish's record against the A's that year: 4 GS, 4 CG, 4-0, 0.75 ERA, 36 IP, 16 H. He may have known a few things about those guys.

In 1976, Reggie joined the Orioles and lit up the Fish. 6-14, with the 4 XBH. Obviously, he heard the song and it enraged him.
   37. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 05, 2006 at 03:53 PM (#2168117)
When I think of peak candidates, I think of guys like the Stone Roses.

Stone Roses = Charley Ferguson

With era and QoP adjustments the Beatles only put out seven supremely great records in ten years, because Rock Shares sees their first several records as essentially interchangeable with the real stylistic innovations starting on Hard Day's Night: that is it was easier to put out a whole bunch of samey pop records in the period 1960-1964, but much harder to compete with the various innovations in music once all the London art-school lads start graduating to rock 'n roll in the mid sixties.

Meantime, you should see what the QoP does to The Small Faces....
   38. Sean Gilman Posted: September 05, 2006 at 06:34 PM (#2168272)
There were some great individual songs from the 1977-87 period - "Neighborhood Bully" and "Jokerman" from Infidels, "Every Grain of Sand" from Shot of Love, "Dark Eyes" from Empire Burlesque, that always made you realise the guy still had it, and made you think that the next album might be the one...

I can't say I've ever liked "Every Grain Of Sand", but I know I'm in the minority there.

I'm not fond of the album version of "Jokerman", but I've got a bootleg of Dylan's appearance on Late Night with David Letterman from the early 80s where rips through the song at about three-times album speed that just blows the original away. They also do a fine, closer to album, version of "License To Kill".
   39. JPWF13 Posted: September 05, 2006 at 06:56 PM (#2168293)
I didn't mean to say he did. Catfish was clearly done in 1979. Its just an interesting case of the effects of eligibility-timing.

A similar pitcher to Catfish from the following generation is Jack Morris.


A similar pitcher from the same generation was Luis Tiant (CatFish's #1 BBREF comp)- Tiant hung around until 1982- he was an effective pitcher until 1980 (20/20 hindsight- he really should have retired in 1979- it would have been nigh near impossible even for the typical BBWA writer to vote for Catfish and not Tiant)

Unfortunately for Tiant the 300 win/ 3000 K wave was fully known even to the BBWA by the time he was eligible.
   40. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: September 05, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#2168314)
it would have been nigh near impossible even for the typical BBWA writer to vote for Catfish and not Tiant)

Blarney. Hunter always had a much better reputation than Tiant. Hunter won a Cy Young, came in 2nd in CYA voting once, third another time, and fourth yet another time. He ended with a little over 2 full CYA voting shares. Tiant only received votes 3 times and never did better than fourth. That was the year Hunter won his CYA. Tiant was selected to three all-star teams; never in consecutive years. Hunter made it to 8 mid-summer classics, including five in a row. It would've helped Tiant and hurt Hunter if they were on the ballot together, but Hunter would've done better than Tiant no matter what.
   41. JPWF13 Posted: September 05, 2006 at 08:21 PM (#2168363)
It would've helped Tiant and hurt Hunter if they were on the ballot together, but Hunter would've done better than Tiant no matter what.


Intitially you are right
but people would have pointed out a few inconvenient facts:
Tiant: 229-172 3.30
Hunter: 224-166 3.26

Hunter had 5 20 win seasons but Tiant had 4...

The obvious similarities in their career records (remember 5 years after they retired) would have given many writers who thought Catfish but not Tiant some pause- perhaps enough to keep Hunter from winning- and a delay of just 2-3 years quite possibly could have meant that the BBWAA never votes in Catfish.

Plus, I was around then too- Tiant and Catfish's reputations were starting to converge (as they should have) near the end there- especially after 1975/76 when Tiant was brilliant in the WS.

Catfish- while playing- was regarded as a sure fire HOFer- so what, so was Steve Garvey (I don't mean to smear Cayfish by comparing him as a person to Garvey- just as a baseball player)- so was Don Mattingly.

Catfish came in at 68%% in 1986 (Bunning was at 66%) - in 1987 Catfish was inducted with 76%, (Bunning was at 70%) - with Catfish off the ballot in 1988 Bunning went up to 74.24 (so close)- Tiant first time on was at 31%

The next year, Bunning dropped to 63% and Tiant plummeted to 10%- Perry, Jenkins and Kaat were on the Ballot (How on earth Bunning's support didn't completely evaporate like Tiant's has always baffled me)
The next year, Bunning dropped to 58% and Tiant to 9% (if Bunning was demonstrably better than Tiant- well that eludes me too...) (of course in 1996, for reasons known only to them- sympathy for his politics???- the vets committe voted in Bunning...)

Just a guess- if Tiant was on the ballot a year or two ealier- Catfish never gets in.
   42. DavidFoss Posted: September 05, 2006 at 08:26 PM (#2168369)
of course in 1996, for reasons known only to them- sympathy for his politics???- the vets committe voted in Bunning...

Well, we voted him in here too and I think people are at best indifferent to his politics here.

Fewer superior contemporaries would seem to be the main thing Bunning has going for him over 'similar' guys from the following generation.
   43. JPWF13 Posted: September 05, 2006 at 10:12 PM (#2168438)
Well, we voted him in here too and I think people are at best indifferent to his politics here.

Fewer superior contemporaries would seem to be the main thing Bunning has going for him over 'similar' guys from the following generation.


I was pretty much baffled that he was voted in here too- what he had going for him in the HOM election was a reasonable argument for being [one of] the best candidates then eligible.

When 1996 rolled around in the real world- any argument that Bunning was the best pitcher not yet elected to the HOF was ludicrous.
   44. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 05, 2006 at 10:53 PM (#2168471)
When 1996 rolled around in the real world- any argument that Bunning was the best pitcher not yet elected to the HOF was ludicrous.

Timing is everything. In 1996, the best unelected pitchers were guys who belonged to the 1970s superheroes of starting pitching, namely Ryan (erroneously thought of as the best pitcher ever by a generation raised on going another naaaaaaaaahn innings), Blyleven somehow still not in, Sutton, Niekro. Bunning has a totally different kind of argument than these guys, one more in the Drysdale v. Sutton vein, and with so many 280+ winners out there for the taking, a lot of folks would have agreed. But I think we'll eventually all agree that Sutton is a close shave and probably not as high caliber of a candidate as Bunning. But for that matter, Dave Stieb was recently retired at that juncture, a similar kind of career, and Jack Morris, a guy a lot of people think of as the best pitcher of the 1980s, was too. For that matter, Wes Ferrell, Bob Caruthers, and Billy Pierce were also out there. I mean, pick your poison, right? The fact is that Bunning fits well in the group of unelected pitchers as of 1966 and was a respectable choice given how well he stacked up against other guys enshrined in the Drysdale model.

I have much bigger qualms with Fox, Asbhurn, Willis, Day, Rizzuto, Fingers, Lazzeri, Cepeda, Perez, Puckett, and Mazeroski, all elected within five years in either direction of Bunning.
   45. DavidFoss Posted: September 05, 2006 at 11:12 PM (#2168487)
For that matter, Wes Ferrell, Bob Caruthers, and Billy Pierce were also out there.

Bunning was a VC choice. That committee was likely still living in the pre-"300W/3000K Bonanza" mindset. Kaat, John & Blyleven weren't on their radar at all. It was basically guys like Ferrell & Pierce that he was up against. I heard Mel Harder got some attention from this crew as well (Ted Williams liked Harder).
   46. BDC Posted: September 05, 2006 at 11:16 PM (#2168491)
Ryan (erroneously thought of as the best pitcher ever by a generation raised on going another naaaaaaaaahn innings

And anyone in Texas who does not love him is considered a sore haid and asked to take a coupla Advil :) I do hope y'all elect Nolie on the first ballot.

Speaking of Texas Ranger pitching legends, the guy who's similar to Hunter in peak results is Dave Stewart: 20-game winner several times for an Oakland dynasty, lots and lots of innings pitched, superior postseason record. Stewart wasn't as good a pitcher and didn't last as long as Hunter, but the simple fact of being on the mound for so many big victories -- even if there were other pitchers who would have been more successful in their stead -- made both Hunter and Stewart very famous pitchers in their day.
   47. JPWF13 Posted: September 07, 2006 at 08:44 PM (#2170794)
I heard Mel Harder got some attention from this crew as well (Ted Williams liked Harder).


If Bunning: 224-184 ERA+ of 114 makes it, why not Harder: 223-186 ERA+ of 113?
(And neither man makes the other's top 10 comp list).

or better yet, why not Billy Pierce: 211-169 ERA+ 119

or even better- Urban Shocker: 187-117 ERA+ of 121- career interrupted by death...
or Bob Welch: 211-146 ERA+ of 106
or Tommy Bridges 194-138 ERA+ of 126
or Freddy Fitzsimmons
or Lolich, or Jim Perry or Milt Pappas, or Rick Reuschel
or Carl Mays (I'm sure he didn't mean to kill the guy)
or Lew Burdette

If Bunning why not David Wells??? Jerry Koosman? David Cone? Dwight Gooden??? Wilbur Cooper?
Curt Schilling,
Tommy John is 288-231 with an ERA of 110- why Bunning and not him?????
   48. Loren F. Posted: September 07, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2170801)
The difference between Hunter and Tiant, as well as Hunter versus most of these guys -- is that only "Catfish" had his own comic strip (although probably little remembered today). For whatever reason, Hunter was more famous. I'm not saying that's a reason to elect him to anything, just making an observation.
   49. OCF Posted: September 07, 2006 at 09:37 PM (#2170840)
My RA+ equivalent records for everyone in JPWF13's post:

Bunning: 238-180. I also have a "big years" score; for Bunning that score is 44.
Harder: 208-173 [20] Part of that during WWII.
Pierce: 218-150 [36]. Yes, I do vote for Pierce.
Shocker: 181-117 [29]. His problem is that it isn't much bulk. But close to Bridges.
Welch: Not his turn yet. Hasn't been figured. Same applies to Rueschel, Wells, Koosman, Cone, Gooden, Schilling, and John.
Bridges: 190-124 [17]
Fitzsimmons: 195-163 [0]
Lolich: 215-189 [15]
J. Perry: 196-169 [6]
Pappas: 195-159 [1]
Mays: 189-146 [13]
Burdette: never figured him in the first place. There hasn't been much clamor for him.
Wi. Cooper: 220-166 [23]. Partly-deadball IP totals.

I happen to believe that of the currently HoM-eligible pitchers on this particular list, Bunning is easily the top candidate, with Pierce as the second-best. I agree with Bunning's election. (To the HoM, not to the Senate.)
   50. fra paolo Posted: September 08, 2006 at 10:30 AM (#2171252)
Factoids:

If you take my prime seasons' PRAA for Lolich and Hunter, and look for the standard deviation, Lolich comes out at 16.9, while Hunter comes out at 19.1.

I don't know why, but this surprised me. Lolich had one big negative season (1966) while Hunter had two scores higher than any of Lolich's (1974 and 1975). Overall, Hunter has a marked lead on Lolich in PRAA 101 v 89.

The other factoid is that Lolich has a lower SD than Bucky Walters, 16.9 v 17.8. (Or Hunter has a higher one.)

I've been looking for a way to estimate consistency for pitchers, which I think is more meritorious than Big Seasons. (I take the opposite view for position players.)
   51. Howie Menckel Posted: September 08, 2006 at 11:10 AM (#2171257)
Bunning was 12-31 combined in 1955 and 1968 and 1971, with ERA+s of 60, 75 and 65 in 321 total IP.
I consider him to be worthless in those years.

Based on your post, JPWF13, I guess you consider him to be "less than worthless."

Bunning is 212-153 without those years.
Take away a 3-11 with 75 ERA+ for Pierce in 1963 (99 IP), and Pierce is 208-158. Their ERA+s also would be nearly identical, I believe, with Bunning having about 225 or so extra IP.
I found Bunning and Pierce to be similar; I voted in Bunning, and Pierce is near the top of my ballot.

Without the adjustment, you could have a scenario where a guy like Bunning "pitches himself out of the Hall of Merit" with a lousy end to his career, which seems a little silly to me.
   52. baudib Posted: September 08, 2006 at 11:12 AM (#2171258)
Jeez you gotta be kidding, right? Bunning's big years blow away those guys.
   53. Dizzypaco Posted: September 08, 2006 at 01:02 PM (#2171286)
I don't know why people are having such difficulty understanding why Hunter is more famous than the other guys. It seems pretty obvious to me - he was probably the best pitcher on a team that won five consecutive division titles and three consecutive championships. His records are very impressive in each of the five years, granted that he probably had good run support/defensive support.

I'm not saying this to argue that he was better or more deserving of HOM than some of the other guys. Just that its not at all difficult to understand why he was remembered more than the other guys, and the major reason he made it to the Hall of Fame. He didn't make it to the HOF because of his career record.
   54. jimd Posted: September 08, 2006 at 05:57 PM (#2171511)
he was probably the best pitcher on a team that won five consecutive division titles

Actually, Hunter wasn't there for the 5th title. He was providing "veteran presence" to the Yankees, and teaching them "how to win" as the first big free-agent signing post Messersmith decision. The Yankees learned so well they won three pennants and back-to-back championships with Catfish, though he didn't play a large role in those, other than providing said presence and some below average innings.
   55. JPWF13 Posted: September 08, 2006 at 06:20 PM (#2171526)
I happen to believe that of the currently HoM-eligible pitchers on this particular list, Bunning is easily the top candidate, with Pierce as the second-best.


I'm not really arguing with that- what I am arguing is that
1: He's not that much better
2: "of the currently eligible"- so what- when you KNOW that much better guys are going to be eligible very soon- you don't HAVE to put Bunning in because in a particular year he's the best guy on teh ballot at his position

as has been explained to me, the HOM is supposed to be the same size as the real HOF- Bunning is not an obvious mistake like the Frankie Frisch VC 1970s picks- but he is borderline enough that a wait and see attitude should have been adopted- his inclusion COULD in the end take up sapce that a more meritorious candidate would otherwise take up.

Jeez you gotta be kidding, right? Bunning's big years blow away those guys.


??? Top 2 ERA+ were 150 & 149 (300ip each year- but mid 60s)
Tiant had a 184 in 258ip
Reuschel had a 158 and 157 (250 & 198 ip)
Pierce had a 201 (206 ip) and a 148 (271 ip)
Lolich had a 126 in 376 ip (yikes)

Bunnings "big years" may have some more value because he carried a hefty inning load- but "blows away"???
   56. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 08, 2006 at 06:22 PM (#2171531)
Feller arguably would've been worse had it not been for WWII. The workload's what destroyed him.

Probably so, but what really destroyed his arm was his 1947 midseason injury, which happened in Philadelphia when he slipped off the mound while following through on a pitch. Before that, he was on a pace for nearly 400 strikeouts. After that, he was no longer even a premier power pitcher. Check the record book if you doubt this. Feller had terrific mechanics, kept himself in great overall condition, and could very well have wound up as his generation's Nolan Ryan (in terms of longevity and career strikeouts) had it not been for that one bit of bad luck.

Actually, Hunter wasn't there for the 5th title. He was providing "veteran presence" to the Yankees, and teaching them "how to win" as the first big free-agent signing post Messersmith decision. The Yankees learned so well they won three pennants and back-to-back championships with Catfish, though he didn't play a large role in those, other than providing said presence and some below average innings.

Actually, Hunter's first year with the Yanks was his arguably his best statistical season, considering the dropoff in the talent behind him. And his mediocre 1978 overall record is deceptive, because during the second half he pitched like his old self and was an important part of the Yankee comeback.
   57. DL from MN Posted: September 08, 2006 at 06:24 PM (#2171533)
You can't just "wait and see" and not vote in an election. You have to rank your top 15.
   58. JPWF13 Posted: September 08, 2006 at 06:42 PM (#2171546)
he was probably the best pitcher on a team that won five consecutive division titles

1971- Vida Blue
1972- yep it was Catfish
1973- Holtzman
1974- Catfish again
1975- Vida Blue (would have been Catfish...)

Vida Blue, another, "can I try this career over" guy...
   59. JPWF13 Posted: September 08, 2006 at 06:58 PM (#2171556)
You can't just "wait and see" and not vote in an election. You have to rank your top 15.


Structural voting flaws can be changed
   60. Dizzypaco Posted: September 08, 2006 at 07:16 PM (#2171570)
When I mentioned the best pitcher on the early 70's A's, I didn't mean the best pitcher each and every year, but the best pitcher over the five year period, and certainly the most consistent. This was especially true of the three championship years (72 to 74), when Blue's records didn't look all that impressive.

I don't know how many people will be elected from those teams to the HOM, but I can imagine the answer being only one (Jackson), with Hunter and Fingers being close. Has there ever been a team as dominant with only one HOM? Its possible, I just can't think of one.
   61. Dizzypaco Posted: September 08, 2006 at 07:22 PM (#2171576)
Continuing this line of thought, the teams I consider dominant over a few year period might include (from 1900-1980):
Cubs (06-10)
A's (10-14)
Red Sox (12-18)
Yankees (21-...)
A's (29-31)
Cardinals (42-46)
Dodgers (63-66)
Orioles (69-71)
A's (72-74)
Reds (70-76)
Yankees (76-81)

What's the smallest number of HOM likely from any of these teams?
   62. DL from MN Posted: September 08, 2006 at 07:26 PM (#2171580)
> Structural voting flaws can be changed

Go create your own hall then, that's not the point of the exercise. The point was "let's see what group you get if we follow these rules". Changing the method midstream because you don't like Jim Bunning as much as recent pitchers doesn't make sense.

There are about a dozen pitchers I have ranked worse than Jim Bunning that have been elected to the HoM and we're a little short on pitching - only 45 pitchers elected out of 165 (27%). Who is on your list of the best 50 pitchers retired before 1980?
   63. JPWF13 Posted: September 08, 2006 at 07:32 PM (#2171585)
Has there ever been a team as dominant with only one HOM? Its possible, I just can't think of one.


Poor hitter's park coupled with relatively low offensive era (almost as low as the 60s) made teh offense look worse than it was and teh pitching better than it was.

Gene Tenace was a catcher with a career OPS+ of 135 (of course he had a short career and played 1/3 of his games as a 1B)- but a catcher with an OPS+ of 135- that's HOM caliber talent given a long enough career...

Sal Bando's OPS+ of 119 matches Darrell Evans (the "most underrated player in baseball history")


A lot of very good players- most of whom are going to fall short of HOM- career too short or peak too short.
   64. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 08, 2006 at 07:33 PM (#2171586)
Hunter wasn't there for the 5th title. He was providing "veteran presence" to the Yankees, and teaching them "how to win" as the first big free-agent signing post Messersmith decision.


Hunter actually became a free-agent pre-Messersmith, because Finley breached his contract.

-- MWE
   65. DanG Posted: September 08, 2006 at 07:34 PM (#2171587)
Structural voting flaws can be changed

Which gets me to thinking, of course.

If there is a flaw in the structure it is in this: discussion threads for players are not posted until the week before they are up for election for the first time. It would probably be better to discuss them for a couple months before eligibility (soon after their retirement year). It may gave voters a better handle on where newbies should rank.
   66. DavidFoss Posted: September 08, 2006 at 08:09 PM (#2171608)
Cubs (06-10) -- 2 (Sheckard, Brown)
Tigers (07-09) -- 2 (Cobb, Crawford)
A's (10-14) - 3 (Baker, Collins, Plank)
Giants (11-13) 1 - (Mathewson)
Red Sox (12-18) - 2 (Speaker, Ruth) (Only 1 season of overlap)
Yankees (21-...)
Yankees (21-23) 1 - (Ruth)
Giants (21-24) 2 - (Frisch, Groh)
Yankees (26-28) 2 - (Ruth, Gehrig)
Cardinals (26-34) 2? - (Hornsby/Frisch, Alexander/Medwick)
Cubs (29-38) 3 - (Hornsby/Herman, Hartnett, Hack)
Giants (33-37) 3 - (Ott, Hubbell, Terry)
Yankees (36-43) 4 - (Dimaggio, Dickey, Ruffing, Gordon)
Yankees (49-53) 3+ - (Dimaggio/Mantle (not much overlap), Ford, Berra)
Dodgers (47-56) 4 - (Reese, Robinson, Campanella, Snider)
Yankees (55-58) 4 - (Ford, Berra, Mantle, Slaughter)
Yankees (60-64) 3 - (Ford, Mantle, Berra)
A's (29-31) - 4 (Cochrane, Simmons, Grove, Foxx)
Cardinals (42-46) 2 (Musial, Slaughter)
Dodgers (63-66) 2 (Drysdale, Koufax)
Orioles (69-71) 3 (Robinson, Robinson, Palmer)
A's (72-74) 1 - (Jackson) +Fingers?
Reds (70-76) 3 - (Rose, Morgan, Bench) +Perez?
Yankees (76-81) 1 - (Jackson) + Winfield-only-in-81

Some teams famously rolled over their talent quite a bit while maintaining dominance (STL 26-34, NYY 49-53) so they are hard to track.

The A's did three-peat, but they did it with a deep roster of 'very-very-good' players (Tenace, Rudi, Bando, Holtzman, Hunter, Blue). They did it in the weaker league and they did it without having monster regular season records that we usually associate with great teams. Their knack for winning short series in October is what immortalized them.

(I probably missed tons of guys and a few teams. I'm sure there were a few 'loaded' teams that didn't win much. For instance, the Indians are nowhere on the list and they have a slew of caps.)
   67. jimd Posted: September 08, 2006 at 08:12 PM (#2171613)
Hunter actually became a free-agent pre-Messersmith, because Finley breached his contract.

I should have remembered that. Thanks for the correction, Mike.
   68. jimd Posted: September 08, 2006 at 08:17 PM (#2171617)
Their knack for winning short series in October is what immortalized them.

4-0 in "Game 7" in 72 and 73.
(I know it was actually Game 5 in the ALCS, but you know what I mean.)
   69. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 08, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#2171633)
4-0 in "Game 7" in 72 and 73.

And then in 1974 the A's put up maybe the best stretch of well pitched games by one team in modern postseason history, beginning with game 2 of the LCS through the end of the World Series: 12 runs and 48 hits over an 8 game stretch. There's been better runs over a short series but nothing like this for that many games.
   70. sunnyday2 Posted: September 08, 2006 at 09:03 PM (#2171645)
That's a bit unfair as nobody had "that many games" until 1969.

I don't know yet but along with Reggie, the A's have some HoM candidates in Bando and Tenace, maybe. (Maybe.) Don't cry for Catfish and don't cry for the A's yet.
   71. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 08, 2006 at 09:11 PM (#2171654)
And his mediocre 1978 overall record is deceptive, because during the second half he pitched like his old self and was an important part of the Yankee comeback.

Until the last day of the regular season, when he got bombed in Cleveland to force the Bucky F Dent playoff game. He also took one for the team in game 2 of the 1977 WS so Billy Martin could get his rotation back in sync after pitching everybody's arms off down the stretch and in the LCS. I loved it when Reggie Jackson went off on Martin for disrespecting Hunter that way, and Catfish told him to STFU.

That doesn't mean he belongs in the hall, of course, but he earned my undying respect and admiration by the way he went about his job (both on the field and in the clubhouse) during those decline years.
   72. fra paolo Posted: September 08, 2006 at 09:21 PM (#2171668)
It would probably be better to discuss them for a couple months before eligibility (soon after their retirement year).

I agree with this. I don't think we have enough time to debate players' records and reputation before they come up for a vote. Backlog players can always have their threads revived, but newbies tend to be subject to snap judgments. It would be interesting to know whether any electees regarded by a large minority as 'mistakes' went in quickly after eligibility.
   73. sunnyday2 Posted: September 08, 2006 at 09:52 PM (#2171689)
As a control, we ought to compare that to how many electees regarded by a large minority as mistakes went in after time in the backlog.
   74. jimd Posted: September 09, 2006 at 12:18 AM (#2171794)
It would be interesting to know whether any electees regarded by a large minority as 'mistakes' went in quickly after eligibility.

Red Faber?
   75. Brent Posted: September 09, 2006 at 05:25 AM (#2171976)
# 11 on the 1984 Ballot Results thread lists 24 HoMers who were elected with less than 50% of the maximum possible points. Of these, only 4 were elected in their first year of eligibility, so I'd say that the most controversial elections have tended to come from the backlog.

(The 50% criterion isn't ideal, in the sense that as the ballot has become more fractionalized over time, more and more candidates are being elected with less than 50% of the vote. Some of the HoMers elected in early elections with more than 50% support should be considered just as controversial--for example, Pearce, Thompson, Caruthers, Hill, Magee, and Wallace.)
   76. DavidFoss Posted: September 09, 2006 at 04:21 PM (#2172083)
Red Faber?

I agree.

There was major teeth-gnashing for Bill Terry's first ballot induction. Sisler's induction 30-odd years later has somewhat vindicated Terry in retrospect (i.e. "we would have inducted him eventually anyways")

The bar for induction was definitely raised after the early 40s thanks to the plethora of NeL greats that flooded the ballots in the following fifteen years along with golden age MLB-ers as well. We saw this flood coming, so there was a bit of a now-or-never urgency to some of those backlog elections which led to great disappointment when guys like Terry & Faber surprisingly flew in mainly on mid-ballot support. It took us until around 1960 until we elected another guy from the pre-1940 backlog (Jennings?) and we've inducted others since then (Griffith, Sisler) which meant there we didn't have to worry about the 'never' back then.
   77. rdfc Posted: September 10, 2006 at 05:30 AM (#2172513)
Catfish actually won 6 games less in his career than his run support and runs allowed figures suggest he should have, according to the resarch I did about 8 years ago.
   78. Catfish326 Posted: September 14, 2006 at 05:53 PM (#2176911)
In discussing Catfish's Hall worthiness, above his perfect game is mentioned only once...and it was mention to show how good a hitter he was (going 3 for 4 in that game). Catfish is in the Hall, and he belongs there.
   79. Mark Donelson Posted: September 14, 2006 at 06:15 PM (#2176932)
Catfish is in the Hall, and he belongs there.

Because of his perfect game? Warm up the plaque for Don Larsen...
   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2176953)
Because of his perfect game? Warm up the plaque for Don Larsen...

:-)

Lets bring up a more realistic one, Mark: David Cone. He has also a perfect game on his resume and was a much better pitcher. However, hardly anybody talks about him as a HOFer.
   81. DavidFoss Posted: September 14, 2006 at 07:02 PM (#2176980)
David Wells, Kenny Rogers, Dennis Martinez.

All of these guys pitched perfect games, had solid 200+ Win careers with ERA+ = 105-110, but are not likely to be HOM-ers.
   82. Catfish326 Posted: September 14, 2006 at 07:37 PM (#2177023)
A perfect game is not a ticket to the Hall (no one said it was) . . . but to leave it off the resume? Also, Catfish gets bonus props for all the postseason work he had, and how well he did, and how many championships he was a part of. And, he was amazingly popular, which maybe shouldn't count, but it does. I always think of Joe Namath being in the Football HOF, which is really rediculous when you compare is average stats to countless others that had far better numbers, who are not in.
   83. DavidFoss Posted: September 14, 2006 at 08:18 PM (#2177086)
Lefty Gomez and Allie Reynolds pitched for lots of champions and have better World Series Records. Gomez was wildly popular. Heck, Don Gullet has 6 pennants and four rings. The perfect game is nice, but 1968 was otherwise not a good year for him. Give him a 3 WS bonus just for that game, and its still a very weak season.

Obviously, you are a Catfish Hunter fan, so I don't want to get too deep into a debate with you. There is a difference between HOF and HOM. Namathian players don't fair as well here.
   84. Catfish326 Posted: September 14, 2006 at 08:41 PM (#2177118)
David, Allie Reynolds only won 20 games once (and had 182 total), and Lefty Gomez WAS elected to the Hall in 1972. As for Don Gullett, having him in the same breath as Hunter is a joke. He never won 20 games (finsihed with only 109), and finished in top 10 ERA only once (and he was sixth that season)....and my count gives him 5 world series appearances and only 3 rings.
   85. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 14, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#2177125)
Here's what a perfect game gets you: 1 win, some points off your seasonal ERA, and fame. It doesn't get you 50-75 more wins, three more years of good pitching, or 10-20 points of ERA+.
   86. Catfish326 Posted: September 14, 2006 at 09:09 PM (#2177150)
Ask Nolan Ryan what 7 no-hitters got him. Considerably more than 7 wins......
   87. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 14, 2006 at 09:22 PM (#2177159)
Ask Nolan Ryan what 7 no-hitters got him. Considerably more than 7 wins......

Nolan Ryan also has over 300 wins and almost 6,000 strikeouts. He could have zero no-hitters and still would have made the HOF.
   88. DavidFoss Posted: September 14, 2006 at 09:28 PM (#2177166)
Ask Nolan Ryan what 7 no-hitters got him. Considerably more than 7 wins......

Catfish, you're new here. Perhaps you found this thread at BTF's main topics section. This isn't Cooperstown. This isn't how we think Cooperstown should vote, this is the Hall of Merit. We look at the players entire career from a value perspective. Generally (though not exclusively), we use full seasons as the shortest quantifiable portion of players career and generally (though not exclusively), we use sabermetric tools. Sort of like a pennants added approach.

We haven't been stressing too much the individual game accomplishments (cycles, 4-hr games, no-hitters, perfect games). Johnny Van der Meer got considerable HOF support, but didn't get a single vote here. Roger Maris didn't get many votes here. Nolan Ryan will likely get inducted on sheer career length, but most here likely think he was nowhere near as good as several of his contemporaries.

Welcome to the board, but read our Constitution and read some of our other player threads (for example the uninducted Lefty Gomez & Dizzy Dean) just to see where we are coming from.

Anecdotes are always welcome in this thread, of course, to give a full picture of a player. If you have any good stories about his post-season exploits or his interactions with other notable teammates, please share.
   89. sunnyday2 Posted: September 14, 2006 at 10:10 PM (#2177193)
Read the Dickey Pearce thread!
   90. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 14, 2006 at 11:30 PM (#2177253)
Ask Nolan Ryan what 7 no-hitters got him. Considerably more than 7 wins......

Well, no. In terms of wins, it got him exactly 7 of them, to which he was duly entitled I might add.

Wilson Alvarez for the Hall???? ; )

Seriously, though, Hunter and Brock are, in some respects, the same kind of candidate: more famous than meritorious. Hunter has the aforementenioned fame-building credentials to go with several fine seasons (and several lousy ones) as a member of nearly annual winning teams. Hunter exceled at things that had much more meaning back in the day than they do today, namely completing games, racking up wins, and having a big moustache. OK, admittedly, having a big moustache never really goes out of style. And he was never out of the headlines from around the time of the PG through the WS appearances, and then with the Finely/Free Agency issue, then being part of the next Yankee dynasty, then a comi-tragic figure in Sparky's The Bronx Zoo.

Though Brock wouldn't scratch the headlines so much, he was similar in as much as he racked up glamour stats that are viewed with somewhat more skepticism today in some circles...such as this one: 3000 punchless hits not accompanied by walks, 800+ steals (at a good pct though), and some .300 averages out of the leadoff spot. He played for several very good winning teams and played for friggin ever, racking up PAs by leading off. In other words, he was perfectly situated to be a famous player by virtue of his role, his type of player, the times he played in, stuff like that.

Switch David Cone or Kevin Appier or Chuck Finleywith Jim Hunter and there's not too much difference (I'dve said Kevin Brown or Kevin Appier or Orel Hershiser, but they are slightly better pitchers, IMO). Switch Brock with Jose Cruz and you get a very similar player. Brock's advantages are like 20 runs worth of thefts, 250 or so games played (or about 1.5 seasons), leading off, and not playing in a graveyard that supresses offense and so also suppresses at bats, which all shows up to some degree in Cruz's trailing Brock by 30 career win shares---Brock's WS rate is slightly lower than Cruz's, and if Brock had the same PAs per game that Cruz did, he'd actually have about 10 fewer shares than Cruz. [note: Trammell, Yount, and Franco also come up as very similar to Brock via the SBE, but I chose Cruz because he was at the same position, essentially.]

Hunter's timing helped him stay in the spotlight, be in the right place to win a lot of games, sign a big contract, get into a best selling book, and get into the Hall of Fame on his famousness supported by just enough wins to look legit. Today he'd probably been under 200 wins and looked a little, um, fishy. Lou Brock timed his career to have subtler, but no less important and compelling advantages go his way, advantages he might not get in today's more OBP-oriented time. It's a somewhat interesting parrallel.
   91. BDC Posted: September 15, 2006 at 12:00 AM (#2177288)
more famous than meritorious

Over in a Chipper-turned-Smoltz thread, I speculated that John Smoltz is another in this group, at least as of today. People seemed to think that Smoltz was an easy Cooperstown pick, and they may be right: he has some of the Catfish resume, including a big-win Cy Young season and perennial playoffs. Neither one seems to me markedly greater than Hershiser, Cone, Stieb, Saberhagen -- who are not going to Cooperstown, and maybe not to Merittown either.
   92. Howie Menckel Posted: September 15, 2006 at 12:11 AM (#2177298)
Well played, David Foss.

We will continue to get more and more visitors here, and I hope we can welcome them while also clarifying what this four-year exercise is about.

I don't think that any of us who remember watching Catfish Hunter pitch see him in a negative light. He had 3-4 great years on some great teams and helped some of them win championships. He also had a few other solid workhorse years.

But overall, we just don't see him contributing as much to his teams as many others....
   93. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 15, 2006 at 12:17 AM (#2177305)
Over in a Chipper-turned-Smoltz thread, I speculated that John Smoltz is another in this group, at least as of today. People seemed to think that Smoltz was an easy Cooperstown pick, and they may be right: he has some of the Catfish resume, including a big-win Cy Young season and perennial playoffs. Neither one seems to me markedly greater than Hershiser, Cone, Stieb, Saberhagen -- who are not going to Cooperstown, and maybe not to Merittown either.

Smoltz will be a tough one when he's finally eligible due to his hybrid career. I will say that he's significantly better than Hunter. I like him better than Bulldog and Saberhagen, too. I'm not sure about Steib at the present time, though.
   94. sunnyday2 Posted: September 15, 2006 at 12:29 AM (#2177314)
And Smoltz goes nowhere until we take care of Eck.
   95. karlmagnus Posted: September 15, 2006 at 12:59 AM (#2177352)
2929IP at 126 vs 3285 at 116. I'd say Smoltz was better than Eck, surprisingly enough. My main memories of Eck are from the 1980-81 Red Sox, (I got here for the 2nd time in late '79) from which I simply don't remember him as a great or even a very good pitcher, and looking at the data tells me my memory is correct.

Just checked this year. Another 206IP at 3.86 (110ERA+?) and another 12-9. Smoltz is going to be TOUGH to keep out.
   96. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 15, 2006 at 01:15 AM (#2177367)
2929IP at 126 vs 3285 at 116. I'd say Smoltz was better than Eck, surprisingly enough.

At the very least, he's starting to look comparable. But you may be right in the long run, karlmagnus.
   97. sunnyday2 Posted: September 15, 2006 at 01:19 AM (#2177372)
OTOH if you are going to elect either one of them, and if there's a reason to do so, it would be:

1. Eck relieving
   98. Howie Menckel Posted: September 15, 2006 at 01:22 AM (#2177374)
Yeah, Smoltz was awful as a closer, lol (note how one horrible April outing can skew an entire relief stat season, for example).

But I'll save the rest for 5-10 yrs from now...
   99. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 15, 2006 at 01:30 AM (#2177380)
Smoltz will be a tough one when he's finally eligible due to his hybrid career. I will say that he's significantly better than Hunter. I like him better than Bulldog and Saberhagen, too. I'm not sure about Steib at the present time, though.

Steib's the easiest call: in all the way, best pitcher in his league in his time for a good long while. Smoltz and Hershiser will be tougher than Cone. Hershier, for whatever reason, looks really great because he had some nice big peak seasons, and I can't seem to see past the distortion they are causing me. Smoltz is right on the very edge as of last year, and I bet with this season, he'll add enough bulk to move up beyond the borderline. Cone's about as good as Hunter I think, while Saberhagen appears to be very, very, very close as well. Big peak years, nice career ERA+, superb peripherals, everything but the innings...and even so, he was four times among the top 10 in innings, and double that number of times among the leaders in CG. Of course they will all suffer by comparison to previous generations' innings totals, and we're going to need to be EXTREMELY cognizant of this fact in that moment.

But I hate, hate, hate Dennis Eckersley and his obnoxious LaRussacized career, and I think he, not Smoltz, is the one whose case will require the closer scrunity.

(And as for Chipper, if he's a 3B---which he is and will be---he's probably already in, and his resume is still growing---if incrementally.)
   100. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 15, 2006 at 05:29 AM (#2177477)
Cone's about as good as Hunter I think


Cone similar to Hunter? Cone was a lot better than Hunter, IMO - not close. Hunter has more innings but compared to the pitchers of his generation, Cone pitched more innings than Hunter.

Cone has a 120 ERA+ to Hunter's 104. A 3.79 DERA to Hunter's 4.37.

They aren't on the same planet, IMO. I haven't run the numbers, but I think Cone is going to be comparable to Billy Pierce, not Catfish Hunter.
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