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Hall of Merit
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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Harvey Kuenn

Eligible in 1972.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 05, 2006 at 10:08 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 05, 2006 at 10:11 PM (#1884374)
Anybody keen on Kuenn?
   2. DavidFoss Posted: March 06, 2006 at 04:54 PM (#1885453)
Part of the big challenge trade just before the start of the 1960 season. Batting Champ Kuenn to Cleveland for Home Run Champ Colavito -- straight up.

Both slumped that season (Colavito more than Kuenn, actually), but Colavito recovered in 1961 and Kuenn was never able to repeat his 1959 campaign.

Often cited as one of the worst trades in Cleveland history. The subsequent thirty-plus year drought from competitiveness has been blamed on the 'Curse of Colavito'. :-)
   3. sunnyday2 Posted: September 26, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#2188412)
b;-)mp
   4. OCF Posted: September 28, 2006 at 05:09 AM (#2190137)
I had never run Kuenn through my RCAA-based offensive system, but I decided to do so now.

His career offensive value in that system is quite close to that for Sewell, Wallace, and what Reese would be without WWII credit. That would be a good neighborhood to be in - if he were a shortstop. Unfortunately for him, he has nearly twice as many games in the outfield as at SS. Furthermore, that overall offensive RCAA-based value is heavily influenced by three years (1958-59-60, especially 1959) during which he was an outfielder.

Here's my offensive take on Kuenn the shortstop:

H. Kuenn, 1953-1957: 9, -1, 26, 33, -6
O. Smith, 1984-1988: 11, 16, 16, 36, 13

[Note: Kuenn's OPS+ during those years was generally a little better than Smith's, but Smith is such an extreme OBP-better-than-SLG case that OPS+ doesn't measure him very well, and Smith also has substantial baserunning value.]

Again, this would be nice for Kuenn if he were an outstanding defensive shortstop. Of course he was such an outstanding defensive SS that they went and made an outfielder out of him. (He was getting some MVP votes during all of his years at SS - they were impressed by .300 hitters.)

Kuenn's league-crossing trade between 1960 and 1961 provides an interesting measuring stick for the notion that the NL was the superior league. He didn't hit nearly as well in the NL, but he was also already 30 years old when he came to the new league, so that's quite a biased measurment.

OK, one last 3-year scaled RCAA display - this is for Kuenn, the outfielder:

H. Kuenn, 1958-1960: 24, 45, 24
W. McCovey, 1968-1970: 79, 98, 75

Let's just say that we may be headed toward the single largest gap between the lowest and second lowest consensus scores that I've seen - unless there's someone else planning to not vote for McCovey.
   5. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: January 08, 2009 at 11:50 PM (#3047016)
Kuenn had 1,372 hits through age 28, more than Pete Rose. His OPS+ was just 112 (.314/.360/.426). A while back someone mentioned that the fact that a player has the most hits in major league history does not mean he's necessarily a Hall of Fame player. I can't help but wonder how cool it could have been if Kuenn had been ridiculously durable and played until age 45... He definitely had the skill set to be the worst 3,000 hit man in history.

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