Oddly enough, some people believed that Rube could have possibly followed the same path as the woman had his winning streak continued. Players from Brooklyn’s squad commented after Marquard had made it nineteen wins in a row that a few more consecutive victories would have made him a prime candidate for the bughouse.
“Did you ever work at a given task until you felt it was ‘getting’ to you – that you couldn’t think of anything else when you were awake and that your sleep was troubled with dreams of it?” pondered Marquard. “It was getting on my nerves. Why, several nights I went to bed and the moment I closed my eyes the air became full of baseballs, gloves, and bats. I could see players running to me as though they were going to annihilate me. When I would finally get to sleep, I was pitching ball all night. When I awoke in the morning I felt as if I hadn’t rested a bit.”
Baseball’s Hall of Fame will honor “The Simpsons” on May 27 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show’s “Homer at the Bat” episode.
First televised on Feb. 20, 1992, “Homer at the Bat” featured future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ozzie Smith among the ringers on Homer Simpson’s Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team. Voices of actual players were used in the episode, which also included Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Mike Scioscia and Darryl Strawberry.
Boggs and Smith are scheduled to appear at a round-table discussion at the Hall on May 27 that also includes episode executive producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss, director Jim Reardon, executive story editor Jeff Martin and casting director Bonnie Pietila.
“Pat Hentgen told me years ago, he goes, ‘Man, you know how they’re using that WAR a lot, that stat?’ I go, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘They use that like crazy now to gauge how good someone really is.’ He goes, ‘If they looked at that when you were playing, you would have won four Cy Young Awards in a row,’” Stieb said, noting it would have been 1982 through 1985 when he led for WAR three consecutive years and finished second the fourth.
Whitaker, who played from 1977 to 1995 with the Detroit Tigers, ranks among the best second basemen in baseball history by various sabermetrics — sixth by Wins Above Replacement, seventh by Wins Above Average, and 12th by JAWS according to Baseball-Reference.com. But Whitaker drew just 2.9 percent of the vote for Cooperstown in 2001, his only year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s ballot, disqualifying him from future consideration by the writers.
So what’s taken Trammell and Whitaker so long? Why haven’t the 1984 Detroit Tigers, who won 104 games and the World Series, had a single Hall of Famer?
“We were just consistent,” Whitaker said. “We were a team with consistent players. We played, we won.”
The Hall of Fame, though, isn’t always great about rewarding consistent players who are good in a number of areas but seemingly not elite at any. Just ask Trammell, Dwight Evans or Bobby Grich.
Twice in his 22-year career, Baines and his fellow major leaguers were robbed of games due to labor stoppages. In 1981 and again in 1994, the owners and the MLB Players Association came to loggerheads and shut down the game. Could those two labor disputes have caused Baines the hits he needed to get to 3,000? If Baines has 3,000 hits on his ledger when he debuts on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2007, does he garner only five percent of the vote?
Joe Mauer hasn’t squatted behind the plate since 2013. But he’ll still be a Hall of Fame catcher someday. Won’t he?
Only six catchers have been regulars on three or more World Championship teams. There’s the Yankee contingency: Yogi Berra (with eight), Bill Dickey (seven), and Jorge Posada (four); then there’s Posey, Mickey Cochrane, and Johnny Roseboro with three each. Yogi, Dickey, and Cochrane are in the Hall of Fame, and coincidentally, they (along with Buster) are the only three-time champion catchers to also win the MVP award.
Curt Schilling has said that his politics are costing him votes for the Hall of Fame. The other day here at NRO, Aaron Goldstein argued specifically that in the most recent balloting, earlier this winter, baseball writers backed away from Schilling because he supported Trump last year in the presidential election.
A few problems dog that theory. One is that Schilling did better in the 2017 voting than he’s done on average in his five years of eligibility.
(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)
Sabermetrics reaffirm Vizquel as a good defensive shortstop, with his 127.6 runs saved while fielding 18th-best among all shortstops in baseball history. But his minus-244.3 runs worse than average as a hitter paint him as the 13th-worst hitting shortstop of all time. Adjusting for his era, Vizquel would be just about the worst-hitting position player in the Hall of Fame.
Sabermetrics aren’t everything, of course, particularly to the type of Hall of Fame voter who might support Vizquel. But advanced stats hint at controversy that could swirl this fall. Put another way, Vizquel’s popularity with Cooperstown voters is going to anger some people. Already, Forman got into it with longtime Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly over Vizquel. Similar debates are sure to follow elsewhere.
That said, the chart Forman posted hints at a potential silver lining for statisticians and historians: As fans, voters and others dig into Vizquel’s candidacy, there’s a good chance they could notice the many fine, underrated shortstops who rank in front of him — some of whom could use considerably more help getting in the Hall of Fame.
Waves of shortstops have been inducted before. Could Vizquel’s induction help kick-start another wave?
Idelson said the Hall’s leadership is “comfortable” with its current rules, despite the surge in support that has lifted Bonds and Clemens to more than 50 percent of the vote and to within about 100 votes of being elected.
“Rules are always a topic of conversation and thought,” Idelson said. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about any of our sets of rules for election.
“[But] bottom line is, we still feel very comfortable with the character, integrity and sportsmanship portion of the rule that asks that those characteristics be evaluated in terms of candidacy for election. Could they change in the future? It’s always possible. But sitting here today, we’re comfortable [with those rules] as they are.”
In one way, Mike Schmidt is the prototypical third baseman: he was a great hitter and provided excellent defense. In another way, though, he isn’t: a prototype is a model on which subsequent reproductions are based. But no other third basemen has ever reproduced Schmidt’s accomplishments. He’s the best third baseman ever.
There’s a view that’s prevailed for some time to the effect that third basemen are just like first basemen except slightly more mobile. This was never really the case, though — and, on offense, third basemen now have a lot more in common with second basemen than there counterparts on the other corner of the diamond. This view likely cost Ron Santo the chances to enter the Hall of Fame by way of the writers’ ballot and, ultimately, prevented him from living to see his own induction.
A very similar player, Scott Rolen, will appear on the ballot for the first time in 2017. Based on the value he provided both on offense and on defense, Rolen deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
Even if you buy the idea that his defensive WAR is overestimated, he’s still a poor defensive player. I don’t believe this is a winning argument for his candidacy.
The math problem then amounts to this: If you’re willing to consider that Sheffield’s negative defensive numbers might be overblown by 15 to 25 percent, you’re looking at a case that ranges from, “Well, he’s definitely better than Tony Gwynn,” to “Um, yes, we need to enshrine turn-of-the-millennium Reggie Jackson.”
Considering “factors that lie outside those player’s control” is a rabbit hole not worth entering.
And this is where WAR’s usage becomes tricky. It is extremely helpful in comparing the values of a competent shortstop who can hit and a not-very-good right fielder who can mash. But it is a formula, and it can’t fully account for the many factors that lie outside those player’s control; the logical breakdowns that might occur in the course of reality.
Look, I know the range data shows he wasn’t really a modern Ozzie Smith. But this just in: Nobody was. Still, those 11 Gold Gloves—the third most by any infielder in history—tell us exactly what the rest of baseball thought of Vizquel in his prime. Plus, I think I can make a case he was the most sure-handed shortstop ever.
I can throw lots of numbers at you, but my favorite is this: Incredibly, he had three seasons in which he played at least 140 games and made five errors or fewer. That’s as many seasons like that as all the other shortstops since 1900 combined.
And one more thing. Despite Vizquel’s offensive limitations, he still finished with 2,877 hits. And here’s your complete list of players with as many hits and Gold Gloves as Vizquel: Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and that’s it. So is there a Hall of Fame argument for this man? Heck yeah, there is.
Elected: Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Theo Epstein
Executives have to be retired for five years to be considered or 70 years old if they’re still active. This is the year Theo will turn 70. He could have 10 World Series titles by then, he could be commissioner of baseball, he could be president, or he could simply be retired and watching YouTube clips of cats clawing at dogs.
I am extremely honored and humbled to have received the call today that I will be enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s the perfect way to cap my 23-year career. When I began playing professional baseball, I just wanted to be one of the best at my position. I wasn’t thinking of Cooperstown. But now that I will be inducted next summer, I am overcome with a wave of emotion and I am so excited to share this honor with my family. I would like to thank everyone who helped me become who I was on the baseball field, including my family and teammates. I would like to thank everyone in the media who advocated for my Hall of Fame candidacy. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that this honor was so important to you as well. Lastly, I want to thank the fans from all of the cities that I played in. You gave me strength and support to do things I did on the field. And merci Montreal. See you all in Cooperstown this summer.
The Hall of Fame only started publically releasing voting percentages for the Era and Veterans Committees elections in 2003, yet in that short period of time the tiny electorate has had five candidates miss being voted into Cooperstown by a single tally. Each of those five candidates have appeared on both the Veterans Committee and Era Committee ballots where their Hall of Fame candidacies have been affected by the frequent changes in the format used by this voting body
Fairly or not, last year’s election of Piazza also helped Bagwell’s case. As home run hitters who played in the steroid era, each long faced similar obstacles to election. Both have been suspected by writers of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs despite never failing a drug test or showing up in the Mitchell Report. (Both also admitted using the testosterone-boosting androstenedione back when it was legal in MLB.)
His career ERA+, however, was 104. To put it another way, if Tim Lincecum comes back and pitches for five seasons at an Ervin Santana level, he’s basically the modern day Catfish Hunter. Yet, there’s no way Lincecum would get the same kind of Hall of Fame support that Hunter did. What’s the difference?
My theory is that Catfish Hunter was one of the best baseball names ever, and it added to the mystique whenever he came to town and blew your team away. Scott Kazmir (who also has a career 104 ERA+) is too ... too Scott. But Catfish Hunter was an imposing fella before he even threw a pitch. Right there in the name, it is.
This allows us to introduce the Catfish Theory Equation of Hall of Fame Qualifications:
Good player + High visibility + Badass Name = Hall of Fame player
You can call the Kirby Puckett Theory if it will help your cause more. Use Harmon Killebrew if you need. I’m not selfish. Badass names make the world go ‘round.
With this in mind, we need to go back in time, and rename some very good players to get them into the Hall of Fame. Some of these players are borderline candidates, at best, but they’re all comparable to Hunter in career value. It’s time to give them a PR makeover that starts with a really cool name.
Better argument than I could have made, and he’s my favorite Phil since Schmidt, but I guess he comes up short…
Utley was part of the core that led the Phillies during the most successful period in their history and to a championship. He may not have hit 58 home runs or stole more than 40 bases in a season like Ryan Howard or Jimmy Rollins, but he was arguably the most valuable part of that team. Utley is worth 63 career WAR, the highest among 2007-2011 Phillies not named Roy Halladay (65.6). In comparison, Rollins is the next highest at 49.4.
Some people don’t know how to use a check book. That doesn’t mean nobody should have a checking account.
Wins Above Replacement
Like RBIs and saves, Wins Above Replacement is a semi-junk stat. Bill James has no use for it, yet some writers wield it incessantly. It is a measurement of nothing. It is an approximation, an attempt to roll everything about a player into one number. So it’s useful as a rule of thumb, like walking off the distance between two points and using your strides to “calculate” the distance. It tells you something, but I don’t want my contractor building my house like that. Yet writers are using WAR as an exact measurement, including the folly of using numbers after decimal points to split hairs. If you blindly believe in a stat that considers Bobby Abreu better than Yogi Berra, Lou Whitaker better than Reggie Jackson and Jeff Bagwell better than Joe DiMaggio, you better do some more homework.