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Friday, January 04, 2013

BPP: The 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame, Version 3.0

With entries by Dan Szymborski! Eugene Freedman! Josh Wilker!...(Can’t read it now as I’m busy chasing down a HOF voter who’s tracking bowling lanes on Abu Dhabi Island)

19-Tie. Bobby Grich, 90 votes (Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? 68 yes, 21 no, 1 N/A), written by Dan Turkenkopf of Baseball Prospectus:

There are two reasons Bobby Grich isn’t in the Hall of Fame: a .266 lifetime batting average and Darrell Evans Syndrome. Come to think of it, that’s probably why Darrell Evans isn’t in the Hall of Fame too, but that’s a different story.

If you want to make Cooperstown and have a batting average that low, you’d better be a 500+ home run hitter, the GOAT defensively or a catcher. Bobby Grich is none of those things. What he is, is an extremely well-rounded player. Despite the batting average, Grich’s .371 on-base percentage is around average for any Hall of Famer (not just middle infielders.) His .158 ISO places him in the midst of players like Ryne Sandberg, Don Mattingly and Roberto Clemente. And while Grich won plaudits (and four Gold Gloves) for his excellent fielding percentage, he had some range too– leading to 8+ defensive wins.

That leads us back to Darrell Evans. Bill James once used Evans to illustrate how well-rounded players received less fanfare than players who had a noticeable trait. So, how did well-rounded Bobby Grich do in HOF voting? 11 votes in 1992, a quick exit from the ballot and a hope the Veterans Committee will someday be kinder. Thus far, it hasn’t.

Repoz Posted: January 04, 2013 at 06:24 AM | 54 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 04, 2013 at 09:26 AM (#4338763)
Piazza hit 35 homers in 1993 and won the NL Rookie of the Year, then went on to top 30 homers in nine of his 16 seasons, eight consecutive). And it wasn’t all home runs: 201 hits in 1997 were the most by a catcher in MLB since Joe Torre hit 203 in 1970, and the resulting .362 average tied Bill Dickey for second all time and best for a catcher since 1900.


I realize Torre wasn't a full time catcher, but why again is he not in the HOF, as a player? I assume he's in the Hall of Merit.
   2. bobm Posted: January 04, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4338768)
38. Jack Morris, 64 votes (Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? 30 yes, 34 no):
   3. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 04, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4338807)
cold

torre was a horrible defensive catcher. and he ran like a 3-legged rhino.

good guy. and he could hit.

very definition of 'on the cusp' and somebody has to be that player.

it would bug me if torre got in before simmons
   4. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 04, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4338814)
to me the most egregious oversight by the writers is lou whitaker. time raines belongs in the hall but i can 'kind of' understand because raines was fighting a lot of battles. where he played, when he had his best years, wasn't in the postseason when he was at his best, etc

but lou whitaker didn't have any of those things. lou whitaker was a name. he was on all star teams. he was really good for a long time. he was on multiple winning teams. lou contributed all over the diamond. it's just bizarre that the writers, who claim to look for intangibles, couldn't see a guy who had like seventy bazillion things in his favor to be voted into the hall of fame.

lou, dwight evans and ted simmons have all gotten scr8wed to an extent where i want to ban any selections of players who did not play after 1970. guys from the 70' and the 80's are just being tossed aside and it's crazy
   5. LargeBill Posted: January 04, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4338817)
3. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 04, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4338807)

it would bug me if torre got in before simmons


Well, get ready to be bugged. Simmons was a better overall player, but Torre is going in first. He'd probably go in quickly as a manager even if never played. Then again without his playing history would he have gotten his multiple managing opportunities? Chicken meet egg.
   6. John DiFool2 Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4338835)
It's strange how the 1984 Tigers, a great, great team, has gotten very short shrift from the voters, as in, absolutely no mythologizing at all, which for a great team is very strange. Maybe it's because their World Series triumph was over a very lucky/mediocre team in a sweep, when they "should" have played the Cubs instead, thus the entire season is seen in anticlimactic terms.
   7. DL from MN Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:20 AM (#4338842)
It would bug me if Whitaker got in before Trammell. I'd like to see them go in together.

I agree with Torre - he's worthy as a player and then you throw a bunch of world series rings as a manager on top and it's surprising he hasn't made it already.
   8. winnipegwhip Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4338844)
I saw Dave Stieb mentioned. I did a search on that page and failed to find Steve Rogers name anywhere. While I am not saying either is HOF worthy I would say that Rogers would be in the same conversation as Stieb.
   9. DL from MN Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4338857)
Big problem with this article - way too focused on recent baseball. I have Don Mattingly as the 170th best player not in the Hall of Merit and he's 30th on this list.
   10. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4338863)
Big problem with this article - way too focused on recent baseball. I have Don Mattingly as the 170th best player not in the Hall of Merit and he's 30th on this list.


Yeah, this seems like a list of "50 best players from the 70s, 80s and 90s not in the Hall, plus Shoeless Joe and Bad Bill Dahlen." There's almost certainly a selection bias at play.
   11. The District Attorney Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:52 AM (#4338876)
It's strange how the 1984 Tigers, a great, great team, has gotten very short shrift from the voters, as in, absolutely no mythologizing at all, which for a great team is very strange.
Overall, I think that team underachieved by only having one great year. Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker deserve to be in the HOF, and Jack Morris will get there at some point. Chet Lemon is a hugely underrated player -- he was really good (223rd all-time in WAR). I'd imagine Lance Parrish is a top-30 all-time catcher or thereabouts. How many teams in the history of baseball have been better up the middle than this? Then you look to RF, and you see Kirk Gibson, who won an MVP for not playing any better than he did with the Tigers. Darrell Evans and Frank Tanana had HOF-type peaks, such that they were still useful even as old guys in Detroit. You may or may not "credit" the Tigers with Howard Johnson, whom they gave away. This team had the talent to consistently dominate even a very tough AL East.

Of course, the 1986 Mets should also have won multiple World Series and nonetheless are mythologized. That's the difference between playing in NY and Detroit. But I'm not swayed by an argument that the '84 Tigers should get "great team" credit.
   12. jobu Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4338878)
Big problem with this article - way too focused on recent baseball. I have Don Mattingly as the 170th best player not in the Hall of Merit and he's 30th on this list.

It's a reflection of the votes that Graham got. Presumably, from baseball fans interested enough to take the time. You can find Ben Chapman, Joe Judge, Benny Kauff, etc. down amongst the zero vote getters.

I think it's interesting for what it is--a popular ranking, mostly of the guys not picked over by the VC. The top of the list is pretty solid: Raines, Biggio, Bagwell, (Shoeless Joe), Trammell, Clemens, (Rose), Bonds, Edgar, Whitaker, Piazza, Dick Allen, Dwight Evans, Raffy, Schilling. You could put all those guys in Cooperstown (save Jackson and Rose) and you'd be well above the established standard.
   13. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4338882)
I echo Rickey's statements on the 70s, 80s, 90s, though I was impressed Dahlen placed as high as he did. I was one of I believe four voters to pick 19th century first baseman Joe Start, but most of the voters don't have any idea who Start was. Regardless, this lists are always fun. It's nice to see overlooked guys like Dwight Evans, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Grich, Whitaker and others get some attention.

Simmons and Torre are likely to both be nominees for December's Vet Comm Expansion Era ballot. Torre, of course, will go in as a mgr.
   14. AROM Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4338886)
It's strange how the 1984 Tigers, a great, great team, has gotten very short shrift from the voters, as in, absolutely no mythologizing at all, which for a great team is very strange. Maybe it's because their World Series triumph was over a very lucky/mediocre team in a sweep, when they "should" have played the Cubs instead, thus the entire season is seen in anticlimactic terms.


Problem is if the Cubs had won the NLCS, there wouldn't be a HOF, or baseball, or even recognizable life on earth today. Oceania and Eurasia would have started something nuclear.
   15. BDC Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4338894)
To be fair, the players of the pre-1970s eras have been picked over pretty cleanly. It's hard to argue that there are a huge number of great players from, say, the 1930s, still on the outside of the HOF, though there's the occasional Stan Hack who certainly deserves to be in a top 50 (TFA has Hack at about 83rd-85th, AFAICT).

The most similar hitter to Joe Torre is John Olerud, across the board. In fact, it's so close that each had a single batting championship with a mark of exactly .363. And that encapsulates Torre's problem with the HOF voters, because as noted he doesn't have much going for him in terms of speed or defense (Olerud, by contrast, was an excellent 1B, at least, and isn't much of a HOF candidate). To elect Torre to a Hall (as the HOM voters did) you have to stress positional adjustment, or recuperate his defense somehow. Otherwise, ~2,300 hits and ~250 HR doesn't look very special.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4338903)
lou whitaker was a name. he was on all star teams.


From what I can recall, Lou would frequently pass on being named a reserve on AS teams, which deflates his AS total quite a bit. I think he stopped going after 1987, when he probably could have been named to another 5-6 AS games. I wonder what happens if he goes to those AS games.
   17. zack Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4338910)
And that encapsulates Torre's problem with the HOF voters, because as noted he doesn't have much going for him in terms of speed or defense (Olerud, by contrast, was an excellent 1B, at least, and isn't much of a HOF candidate)

Was Torre slower than Olerud? That'd be an impressive feat.

The question for me with Whitaker will always be how to deal with the platooning. Has there ever been a great hitter who took anywhere near 73% of his PA with the advantage? 76% of his starts came in games started by RHP.

He was a top-of-the-order hitter, so he's still up near 10,000 PA. Was he below replacement level against LHP, so that would have actually reduced his value had he played more? I think there has to be some penalty beyond just missing those games, similar to Walker or Larkin (except not as bad, since a team can expect and prepare for Whitaker's in-season weakness).

   18. The District Attorney Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4338911)
Olerud, by contrast, was an excellent 1B, at least, and isn't much of a HOF candidate
I'm sure you're right that he'll get basically zero support, but it's not clear that Olerud shouldn't be a HOF candidate. Bill James for one thinks highly of his candidacy.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4338934)
Here's who went as reserves instead of Lou.
1988 - Lou hit .276/.380/.457 6 HR 32 BI at the break
Who went:
Johnny Ray (only Angels rep) .307/.344/.421 2 HR 46 BI
Harold Reynolds (only Mariners rep) .286/.325/.389 2 HR 21 BI

1989 - Lou hit .264/.366/.490 18 HR 47 BI
Steve Sax .324/.363/.401 2 HR 37 BI

1990 - Lou had a crummy first half, and Julio Franco deservingly went

1991 - Lou has an okay first half, but again Franco deserved to go

1992 - Lou hit .294/.420/.494 10 HR 29 BI

Carlos Baerga .323/.360/.469 12 HR 53 BI
Chuck Knoblauch .303/.397/.366 1 HR 35 BI

1993 - Lou hit .319/.428/.519 7 HR 40 BI

Carlos Baerga .296/.328/.503 15 HR 63 BI

1994 - Lou hit .279/.369/.489 11 HR 35 BI

Chuck Knoblauch .320/.377/.482 4 HR 41 BI

I think Lou definitely should have been in 1988, 1989, 1992, and maybe even 1994. That would make him a nine-time All-Star. The only second baseman to be named to more 9 or more ASG are Robbie Alomar, Bill Mazeroski, Nellie Fox, Red Schoendheist, Joe Morgan, Bobby Doerr, and Joe Gordon. And they're all HOFers.

Its really a shame that Lou not only didn't get in, but didn't even get a discussion among writers.
   20. zonk Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4338935)
Overall, I think that team underachieved by only having one great year. Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker deserve to be in the HOF, and Jack Morris will get there at some point. Chet Lemon is a hugely underrated player -- he was really good (223rd all-time in WAR). I'd imagine Lance Parrish is a top-30 all-time catcher or thereabouts. How many teams in the history of baseball have been better up the middle than this? Then you look to RF, and you see Kirk Gibson, who won an MVP for not playing any better than he did with the Tigers. Darrell Evans and Frank Tanana had HOF-type peaks, such that they were still useful even as old guys in Detroit. You may or may not "credit" the Tigers with Howard Johnson, whom they gave away. This team had the talent to consistently dominate even a very tough AL East.



Heh...

It's been mentioned many times, but it's sort of the very definition of WTF that Jack Morris will probably the first/maybe only '84 Tiger in the HoF, while three far more deserving candidates that played on that team are probably doomed to forever be on the outside looking in.
   21. BDC Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4338940)
it's not clear that Olerud shouldn't be a HOF candidate

Fair enough. Olerud is well up in the HOVG ranks, at least.

I'm not sure if Torre was slower than Olerud, but he was painful to watch in his later years. Torre is still the only player in NL history to ground into four double plays in one game. He was 35 at the time, but it's still quite a feat.
   22. AROM Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4338945)
The question for me with Whitaker will always be how to deal with the platooning. Has there ever been a great hitter who took anywhere near 73% of his PA with the advantage? 76% of his starts came in games started by RHP.


Yes. Ted Williams. 80% of his PA came in games started by a righthander. For the years/games where retrosheet has play by play data, 76% of his PA came against lefties.

He obviously was not platooned. Maybe there just weren't enough lefties in the 40's/50's (the work of sadistic nuns smacking the sinister hand, or the red fear run amok) or else teams were just hesitant to start any lefty in Fenway Park.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4338959)
I can't see how Whitaker was platooned, at least not early in his career. He played in 139 games or more every year til age 32 except his second year when he missed two weeks with injury, the strike year, and 1989 when he missed September due to injury. That doesn't strike me as a player being platooned that often.
   24. Karl from NY Posted: January 04, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4338968)
I agree with Torre - he's worthy as a player and then you throw a bunch of world series rings as a manager on top and it's surprising he hasn't made it already.

The BBWAA is instructed to vote only on playing career. He can't get combined credit from them for playing and managing. Only the VC can do that, and they haven't had yet had a managerial election since Torre was still an active manager (2010).

Why didn't Torre make it as a player? I'm guessing the same problem Piazza is having, the voters don't know how big the positional adjustment for catcher should be.
   25. Karl from NY Posted: January 04, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4338977)
I can't see how Whitaker was platooned, at least not early in his career. He played in 139 games or more every year til age 32 except his second year when he missed two weeks with injury, the strike year, and 1989 when he missed September due to injury. That doesn't strike me as a player being platooned that often.

You want to look at PA or PA/G for platooning, not just games played, since platooners will usually appear as a PH. But Whitaker had over 4 PA/G in all these seasons, most 600+ PA, and a couple of 700+, so yeah he wasn't platooned.
   26. bjhanke Posted: January 04, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4338978)
I think that Torre suffers from the comparison to Simmons, which he clearly loses. Simmons suffers from comparison to Johnny Bench, which he clearly loses. People don't realize just how good the catchers of the time were. I don't know what the voters' problem is with Simmons, unless it's personality (Ted had himself an ego), but unless you consider his managing, Torre has to wait in line as a player.

Torre has similar saw stats to Olerud, but John played in much better times for hitting, so I think there's a serious edge for Torre there. He was slow, but I've spent the last 5 years watching Yadi Molina, and he was nowhere near as slow as a Molina. On the other hand, he couldn't break in a Molina catcher's mitt on defense. Large Bill wonderd why he got so many shots at managing. Well, the basic answer is that he is very charismatic and interviews very well. If his personality had been grafted onto Ted Simmons' career record, that guy would already be in the Hall.

Teams were MUCH more reluctant to start a lefty in Fenway than in anywhere else. I knew this famous myth by the time I was 12. I can still remember the Whitey Herzog telling us all that we should not judge John Tudor on his record at Boston; he would be better in Busch Stadium. Which he was. But he wasn't bad in Fenway because his game was all to induce ground balls. He did what we now call "pitching to contact." Ground balls = no homers = an OK record for a lefty. And the ONLY way for a lefty to be OK there.

Dahlen has a chance to rise up into the Veterans' Committee; he's received a recent groundswell of support in the Hall of Merit. He played a long time with a spectacular glove, and he could hit. His reputation got swept aside by Bobby Wallace, who was perceived to be the better glove. Then there were Honus and Hughie Jennings and George Davis. Brutal, brutal competition at shortstop. There's probably enough time since Wallace got into the HoF (I'm pretty sure he's there) for that to have drifted away leaving people looking anew at Dahlen. I, personally, have moved him up seriously due to analysis this year. He's a decent candidate, way over the in/out line defined by Jim Rice and, possibly in a few days, Jack Morris.

I found out about Joe Start when I first got into the Hall of Merit voting. Joe was a player of serious quality at first base for about a decade before the National Association arose in 1871. Then he was a star / near-star for several years in the organized leagues. A first baseman, which was a very serious defensive spot at the time. He got overlooked because no one had any idea what to do with his record before the time of leagues. I believe it was Paul Wendt who worked up Start and presented the HoM case, but it was before my voting time, so I'm not sure. - Brock Hanke
   27. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 04, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4338981)
torre was slow out of the womb so i don't think age mattered in his case

though an olerud/torre match race would have been fascinating to watch.

john olerud remains one of the weirder players for me to watch in all my years.

one, he looked frail yet the ball would pop off his bat

two, his swing looked weak but again, the ball would sail off his bat to the gap or over the fence

three, he was thin but ran as if he was drowning in quicksand

fourth, he stood out at first base like a guy waiting for a bus but would snag grounders/liners/bad throws with aplomb

fifth, the helmet

if you were to name an all awkward team he would be on it. or calculate in some manner awkward to success ratio again he would be on it.

just an amazing player.
   28. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 04, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4338985)
brock

writing that someone is not near as slow as yadier molina is akin to saying that the campire you got going isn't nearly as hot as the sun.

there is slow and then there is slooooooowwwwwww

and yadier isn't as slow as benjie

   29. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 04, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4339019)
Why didn't Torre make it as a player? I'm guessing the same problem Piazza is having, the voters don't know how big the positional adjustment for catcher should be.


I would guess most voters don't think of him primarily as a catcher. His most prominent season came while playing third base, and he never played a single inning behind the plate after turning 29. He then became very visible as the player/manager/first baseman for the Mets.
   30. Ron J2 Posted: January 04, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4339029)
#17 When I did a study of the platoon advantage I only had 13 years of data to work with. In that period Whitaker and Andy Van Slyke had the largest platoon splits of any regular LH hitter (1000+ PAs vs LHP). For the time frame I had, Whitaker hit .223/.310/.329 vs LHP and .289/.382/.484 vs RHP.

Sparky Anderson was smart enough to get him a first rate platoon partner (Tony Phillips).
   31. BDC Posted: January 04, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4339030)
Torre has similar raw stats to Olerud, but John played in much better times for hitting, so I think there's a serious edge for Torre there

Their career OPS+ are identical (129), though that's of course only one of the adjusted metrics, and others vary, some favoring one, some the other.
   32. Matt Welch Posted: January 04, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4339039)
Lou led MLB 2Bmen in WAR 2 times, was 2nd twice, 3rd 3 times, 4th 3 times, 5th 5 times, and 7th once. (Or 2/2/3/3/5/0/1.) That's 16 times in the top 25% at his position, 15 times in the top 20% (either of which are good stand-ins for comparative All-Star level of performance). Grich, who I think deserves it more, was 2/3/2/0/1/0/1.

Another fun way of diddling w/ WAR -- take a guy's best year, best 3 consecutive, 5, 10...then his career as a starter, then career, period, and see where he ranked in position-player WAR during those time periods:

NM 1 3 5 D S C
BG 4 3 2 4 4 5
LW 6 7 14 8 4 7

I like peaks, so I'll take Grich's 4 years of 7+ WAR (adjusting for 162-game seasons) over Whitaker's 0, but Lou's quality longevity was something else.
   33. zack Posted: January 04, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4339050)

You want to look at PA or PA/G for platooning, not just games played, since platooners will usually appear as a PH. But Whitaker had over 4 PA/G in all these seasons, most 600+ PA, and a couple of 700+, so yeah he wasn't platooned.


But Whitaker was a leadoff/two-hole hitter which would inflate his PA/G.

Obviously to do this right, you'd need the starter in each game the team started, rather than just Whitaker, as well as Whitaker's availability for each game. But just looking at the data that is easily available, I think you can show Whitaker was platooned. For his prime, it looks like maybe a "hard lefties" platoon, and for his late career, a strict one. I don't know how atypical this is for a great LH hitter, but it seems different to me. For most of his career, Lou only started in around 80% of the games he played with a LH starter. From 1990-on, he barely started against LH starters at all, whereas he started nearly every game he played with a RH starter throughout his career.

See this spreadsheet.
   34. AROM Posted: January 04, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4339054)
Best as I can tell, Lou was not platooned until 1990, when Tony Phillips joined the team. Phillips wasn't the primary starter at any position but played (superbly) every day. Against lefties, he was the starting 2B. This went on for a few years. In 1994, Phillips played mostly other positions, it looks like Chris Gomez became the platoon partner. In 1995, Lou Whitaker played more 2B than anyone else, but barely. He had the plurality of innings but not the majority. Gomez and Scott Fletcher got a lot of starts there, with Whitaker DHing quite a bit. Lou had his best hitting season by rate at age 38, then retired.
   35. zack Posted: January 04, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4339060)
For example, Ted Williams was noted as another guy who had the platoon advantage in a huge number of his PA. But Ted started 92% of the games he played in with a LH starter, compared to Lou's 72%.

Obviously, this stat would be worthless if the player was rested for entire games, rather than entering later as a PH once the LH starter was gone, but I am supposed to be working.
   36. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4339062)
john olerud remains one of the weirder players for me to watch in all my years.

one, he looked frail yet the ball would pop off his bat

two, his swing looked weak but again, the ball would sail off his bat to the gap or over the fence

three, he was thin but ran as if he was drowning in quicksand

fourth, he stood out at first base like a guy waiting for a bus but would snag grounders/liners/bad throws with aplomb

fifth, the helmet

if you were to name an all awkward team he would be on it. or calculate in some manner awkward to success ratio again he would be on it.

just an amazing player.


And despite being an awkward looking first baseman, he had an amazing arm that was good enough for teams to consider making him a first round draft pick as a pitcher.
   37. BDC Posted: January 04, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4339087)
Obviously, this stat would be worthless if the player was rested for entire games, rather than entering later as a PH once the LH starter was gone, but I am supposed to be working

I'm not :) I looked at Ted Williams in 1957, when he hit .388 in 132 games and it would be natural to suppose that, of any year, he might have benefited from some platooning. But all year long (except for a stretch in September when he was injured), Williams missed just three games started by an opposing LHP: and two of those were games in double-headers. In one of the two double-headers, he faced a LH starter in the game he played (it was Jack Harshman of the White Sox; Williams skipped Billy Pierce that day). In another doubleheader, on the 4th of July against the Yankees, Williams played against a LHP (Bobby Shantz) but not against a RHP (Don Larsen).

One year of data, but Ted Williams doesn't seem to have gotten all that much selective platoon rest. And remember that he turned 39 in August of that year.
   38. Ron J2 Posted: January 04, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4339264)
#22 I know Casey Stengel didn't like to use Whitey Ford in Fenway (only 19 games there, and probably a bunch of those were from 1961 on).

If 1/7 of the teams make a serious effort to avoid using lefties (and Stengel probably wasn't alone, though I don't feel like digging into this) in Boston home games, it's going to skew the number of lefties that Williams would see.
   39. Eugene Freedman Posted: January 04, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4339281)
I was personally surprised by the results. My voting was mainly for the top guys who I would vote in now- Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza, Raines, Biggio, Schilling, Trammell, Palmeiro, Lofton, Edgar, Walker and then like my article states, the underrepresented positions- third basemen and catchers for the most part. Ted Simmons, Torre, Freehan, Lance Parrish, Gene Tenace, Nettles, Buddy Bell, Boyer, Bando, Darrell Evans, Robin Ventura and the sadly passed over Dwight Evans, Lou Whitaker, Grich. That makes up only about half of the 50 I voted for. But, it was the basis for my writing on Darrell Evans.

But, the question was bifurcated. List your top 50 not in- okay done. Then, for each of them, should they be in the HOF or not. Totally separate issue- I added Rose and Shoeless Joe to those who were in the top 50, but should not be in the HOF. They are strictly barred under the rules. However, for everyone else, I put them in.

Oh, and on the pitcher side- I didn't have too many, at least who made the list's to 50. Tiant, Stieb, Kevin Brown, David Cone, maybe Tommy John, Saberhagen, Appier. Lee Smith.

Can't remember the rest off the top of my head.
   40. cardsfanboy Posted: January 04, 2013 at 07:13 PM (#4339332)
Obviously to do this right, you'd need the starter in each game the team started, rather than just Whitaker, as well as Whitaker's availability for each game. But just looking at the data that is easily available, I think you can show Whitaker was platooned. For his prime, it looks like maybe a "hard lefties" platoon, and for his late career, a strict one. I don't know how atypical this is for a great LH hitter, but it seems different to me.


I remember looking into this last year and finding out that yes he was somewhat platooned, but ultimately he still faced roughly the same number of lefties as the league as a whole faced. I will have to look up the numbers I got, but I believe that ultimately it led to him missing out about 180 plate appearances fewer against lefties over the course of his career than an average lefty everyday player(note: star lefties in todays game face higher than average because of the loogy)

Ultimately I decided that for my viewpoint, that I accept his numbers as is and judge him based upon that and stop worrying about the platooning, it didn't hurt his career performance noticeably.
   41. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 04, 2013 at 07:29 PM (#4339341)
#22 I know Casey Stengel didn't like to use Whitey Ford in Fenway (only 19 games there, and probably a bunch of those were from 1961 on).

1950: 3
1951-52: DNP, military service
1953: 1
1954: 1
1955: 1
1956: 2
1957: 1
1958: 0
1959: 2
1960: 1
1961: 3
1962: 1
1963: 1
1964: 0
1965: 2
1966: 0
1967: 0
   42. Walt Davis Posted: January 05, 2013 at 01:35 AM (#4339487)
There aren't many long platoon careers but if you want to see what one looks like:

Richie Hebner: 1301 starts vs RHP, 294 vs LHP
Matt Stairs: 1198 starts vs RHP, 140 vs LHP

I think you've be hard-pressed to find a player platooned more heavily than Stairs.

Whitaker's numbers were 1651 vs 517. And yeah, it was 1990 when it really started -- 36 LHP starts in 89, 13 in 90, only 28 total from 90 to 95. It looks like they platooned him a little bit starting in 85 -- his LHP starts dropped from 40-50 a year to 30-35 (except for 87).

In comparison -- trying to think of LHB of that era with long careers. Evans (before Whitaker really) had a similar GS pattern. Grace (a bit later) was a bit under 3:1. Brett Butler had about 30% of his starts vs LHP. O'Neill was well over 3:1 but not 4:1. Somewhat surprisingly Boggs was exactly 3:1. My personal cause Larry Walker is almost exactly 3:1. Gwynn is probably as close as you can get to a true full-time and he was a little about 31%. Looks like basically you're in the 22-30% range. The difference between his rate and Boggs' rate is 100 starts for Whitaker which, given he often entered those games later, might amount to no more than 300-350 PA. Even if those were all against LHP, that's no worse than adding another half-season of his age 23 to his record.

I wouldn't worry about his platoon status much. He's getting some advantage in rate stats and therefore may look a little better, even in WAR terms, than another player with the same PA. But even Morgan was platooned a bit at the end of his career (about 29% for his career though). Taking off as many as 4 wins or adding 1000 replacement level PAs would surely be over-penalizing him but he's still look HoF-worthy.

By the way, Sandberg was left off the 9+ AS games list, he had 10.
   43. OCF Posted: January 05, 2013 at 03:43 AM (#4339512)
I realize Torre wasn't a full time catcher, but why again is he not in the HOF, as a player? I assume he's in the Hall of Merit.

Yes, Torre is in the Hall of Merit. When we did our positional ranking vote a few years ago, Torre placed 14th out of 20. But there's not much space between Torre and those behind him, and Torre did have one voter who placed him 20th. Simmons was 13th on the same vote, but there's a much clearer separation between Simmons and Torre than between Torre and those behind him. (My own personal vote had Simmons 10th and Torre 14th.)

There were 8 post-WWII major league catchers among the 20, and here's their relative rank:

Bench
Berra
Carter
Fisk
Campanella
Simmons
Torre
Freehan

Since we did this before we elected Piazza, the question of Piazza's relative placement on this list cannot be stated with any certainty. The 20 HoM catchers at that time can be divided into the following groups:

19th century: 4 (Ewing, White, Bennett, McVey)
Early 20th century major league: 4 (Dickey, Hartnett, Cochrane, Bresnahan)
Negro League: 4 (Gibson, Santop, Troupe, Mackey)
Late 20th century major league: 8 (listed above)

Player/manager combination cases can get a little weird and inconsistent. John McGraw is in the HoM as a player, although it took nearly a century of ballots for him to get there. Frank Chance is not in the HoM, although he's had plenty of support over the years, and cannot be totally written off even now. Torre, as noted, is in the HoM. All of this is voting for them purely as players. On the other hand, Red Schoendienst is in the Hall of Fame, and never got a single HoM vote. Schoendienst is pretty clearly not a Hall of Fame worthy player, unless you have an irrational BA fetish and forget that he wasn't 100% a 2B. I also don't see him as being at the Hall of Fame level purely as a manager - he had a couple of pennant winners, and he was a trusted man in his organization, but that doesn't seem like enough. His truly must be a combination case.
   44. PreservedFish Posted: January 05, 2013 at 04:23 AM (#4339515)
I want to see the "All Awkward" team. Can I nominate Hunter Pence?
   45. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 05, 2013 at 09:21 AM (#4339543)
pf

certainly

1b: john olerud
2b: uggla kind owns this right now. but back in the day that guy easley. glenn beckert. grudzelanek
ss: craig counsell. love him to death but boy, awkward. ichabod crane on a ballfield. tom veryzer.
3b: ron cey i would think. jim presly
c: mike macfarlane? jody davis? ernie whitt? i am trying to keep it recent so we get a discussion gosh there are so many

lf ibanez. derrick may
cf: kevin mcreynolds. cheating here since i think he played more left field but i know he spent some time in center. cesar geronimo
rf: pence

taht's a first pass. feel free to add/subtract/question/comment
   46. just plain joe Posted: January 05, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4339554)
Is Greg Luzinski awkward or just slower than a herd of Molinas? In more of than 50 years of following baseball, Luzinski has to be the worst outfielder with a substantial career, he was a virtual statue in LF.
   47. BDC Posted: January 05, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4339555)
Being awkward as a pitcher is an advantage. I think of Tiant, Valenzuela, and Nomo as guys who threw with motions anybody else would quickly get uncomfortable with, to say the least; yet they had great success.
   48. Howie Menckel Posted: January 05, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4339561)
"Torre is still the only player in NL history to ground into four double plays in one game. He was 35 at the time, but it's still quite a feat."

He also erased all four of teammate Felix Millan's singles with the DPs! Astros P Ken Forsch got Torre alll 4 times.

http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1975/B07210NYN1975.htm

METS 1ST: Unser flied out to left; Millan singled to center;
Torre grounded into a double play (pitcher to second to first)
[Millan out at second]

METS 3RD: Sanders grounded out (shortstop to first); Unser
singled to left; Millan singled to right [Unser to second];
Torre grounded into a double play (shortstop to second to first)
[Millan out at second]

METS 6TH: Millan singled to right; Torre grounded into a double
play (second to shortstop to first) [Millan out at second]

METS 8TH: On a bunt Unser singled to third; Millan singled to
right [Unser to second]; Torre grounded into a double play
(shortstop to second to first) [Unser to third, Millan out at
second]

an aside: does anyone currently choke up half as much as Felix did?

http://amzn.to/VqCQPi

http://bit.ly/13a0p3m
   49. stanmvp48 Posted: January 05, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4339602)
Did anyone calculate Bonds on the left right issue? I seem to remember looking at 93 and he had 40% of his PAs against lefties which always struck me as very high. I actually remember Houston bringing in a lefty to pitch to him with two outs in the 9th and SF leading 7-2
   50. beer on a stick Posted: January 05, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4339810)
From what I can recall, Lou would frequently pass on being named a reserve on AS teams, which deflates his AS total quite a bit. I think he stopped going after 1987, when he probably could have been named to another 5-6 AS games. I wonder what happens if he goes to those AS games.


Whitaker was kind of a strange cat. One year he forgot to take his uniform jersey to the AS game, and they actually had to grab a shirt from the souvenir store, and magic marker his number on it (I remeber seeing it and wondering, WTF?). IIRC the team was not too happy about being embarrassed like that. I also remember he rarely did any interview stuff, apparently because whenever a reporter would ask him a question, he would start evangelizing (I think he was a Jehovah's Witness). The press just kind of stayed away from him. Maybe that's part of the reason why he was ignored when it was time to vote on him.

Great ballplayer, though. I swear he could hit the 385 mark on the right center wall on a bet. He seemed to do it about once a game. Damn doubles machine is what he was.

He should be in the (now stupid and irrelevant to me) HOF, that's for sure. Lou and Tram both. Around the time Whitaker retired, he and Tram had almost identical career numbers. Why they aren't and everybody is arguing about Jack Morris mystifies me. Morris wasn't the best pitcher on that team, let alone the best player.

Good team, but not great. But man, what a start. I'll never forget that first month as long as I live.
   51. beer on a stick Posted: January 05, 2013 at 08:24 PM (#4339812)
Dupe
   52. BDC Posted: January 05, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4339837)
One year he forgot to take his uniform jersey to the AS game

Pete Rose did the same one year, and played the game in a T-shirt. Of course, that became evidence of Pete's childlike joy in baseball :)
   53. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 05, 2013 at 10:02 PM (#4339844)
Being awkward as a pitcher is an advantage. I think of Tiant, Valenzuela, and Nomo as guys who threw with motions anybody else would quickly get uncomfortable with, to say the least; yet they had great success.

The All-Awkward Team's pitcher has to be Kent Tekulve.
   54. vivaelpujols Posted: January 06, 2013 at 02:35 AM (#4339899)
Russell Branyan 684 starts vs. RH, 99 vs. LH. 5 times as many PA vs. righties.

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