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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Caputo: By any standard, Morris and Trammell belong in Baseball Hall of Fame

The always entertaining Pat Caputo HOF ballot (Maddux, Glavine, L. Smith, Trammell, Morris, Thomas, Raines, McGriff)...now pull up the Ativan, I’m hopping in.

It’s led to this constast evaluation of Morris for what he wasn’t as pitcher instead of what he did present, which was extraordinary.

What is not taken into account enough is the era Morris pitched.

His ERA was higher because much of his career took place during the height of the so-called steroids era. Offensive numbers were inflated across the board.

...But Sabermetrics has its flaws. One of them, for evaluation purposes regarding the Hall, is not accounting enough for statistics era to era. A 3.00 ERA in 1968 didn’t mean nearly as much as a 3.00 ERA in 1995, for example.

A Hall of Fame pitcher Morris compares to a lot is Don Drysdale. The difference, the game overall was much less offensively porductive in the 1950s and, especially the 1960s, when Drysdale did his most impressive work. Hence, Drysdale had a much lower ERA.

Maybe it’s a Detroit whine, but there does seem to be a slanted view with voters, which doesn’t give Morris and Alan Trammell, his shortstop with the Tigers, their due. It’s absurd Lou Whitaker didn’t stay on the ballot past his first season of eligibility. I don’t hear the battle cry from the Sabermetrics crowd for Trammell, who has not come close to election, even though he had a better career WAR than Barry Larkin, and isn’t much behind Derek Jeter and Ozzie Smith. Whitaker had a far better WAR than Craig Biggio, who will probably get in this year, and so did Trammell. In fact, Whitaker had the same career WAR, essentially, as Reggie Jackson, and much higher than Roberto Alomar.

Repoz Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:41 AM | 64 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. SouthSideRyan Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:55 AM (#4620691)
Finally, some fish in a barrel
   2. bjhanke Posted: December 19, 2013 at 07:24 AM (#4620694)
Well, I have standards, and I don't think Morris belongs in the Hall. I do think that Trammell does. Am I supposed to feel insulted now? - Brock Hanke
   3. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2013 at 08:12 AM (#4620697)
I don’t hear the battle cry from the Sabermetrics crowd for Trammell

Wait...what? This guy is nutty, buddy.

edit: Also, I love the bizarre shot at the sabrmetrics crowd and then the contextless use of WAR to make his case. That is good stuff right there.
   4. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 19, 2013 at 08:30 AM (#4620702)
But Sabermetrics has its flaws. One of them, for evaluation purposes regarding the Hall, is not accounting enough for statistics era to era. A 3.00 ERA in 1968 didn’t mean nearly as much as a 3.00 ERA in 1995, for example.

Uh... WHAT?

Also: Jack Morris was retired by 1995. Before you start talking about the era when Morris pitched, you might try actually learning when that was.
   5. The District Attorney Posted: December 19, 2013 at 08:32 AM (#4620703)
wow, just wow
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2013 at 08:37 AM (#4620704)
wow, just wow

It's time to reappraise our worst president, the one who enslaved innocent Africans and led to the dissolution of our mighty union. If only someone had killed Abraham Lincoln at a theater some night we wouldn't be in this mess we're in now.

--Pat Caputo
   7. TJ Posted: December 19, 2013 at 09:14 AM (#4620708)
As both Pat Caputo and Lynn Henning are from the Detroit chapter of the BBWAA, could this be the first time the best and worst HOF ballots came from the same one?
   8. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: December 19, 2013 at 09:17 AM (#4620709)
It's probably not the worst ballot, but it's a contender for the worst logic. I mean, not even the most die-hard steroid zealot thinks the height of the steroid era was before 1993.
   9. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: December 19, 2013 at 09:19 AM (#4620710)
His ERA was higher because much of his career took place during the height of the so-called steroids era. Offensive numbers were inflated across the board.


Also: Jack Morris was retired by 1995. Before you start talking about the era when Morris pitched, you might try actually learning when that was.


It's funny, that argument would actually be a good one to make for Mussina. Maybe Caputo thinks they are the same person?
   10. jdennis Posted: December 19, 2013 at 09:42 AM (#4620720)
Baseball-statistically, calling the eighties the height of the steroids era is bunk, but do I think there were a ton of people on roids in the 80s? Absolutely. They just weren't as good at exploiting the advantages of it as the users of the post-internet age were/are. I'm kind of annoyed when I sometimes see commentary that implies that players started using in the mid nineties.

And I will echo the sentiments of this guy being completely out of touch. The sabermetrics crowd definitely does clamor for Trammell, and sabermetric stats account for different times in the history of the game, that's kind of the point of them.
   11. JRVJ Posted: December 19, 2013 at 09:53 AM (#4620724)
   12. AROM Posted: December 19, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4620728)
Maybe it’s a Detroit whine, but there does seem to be a slanted view with voters, which doesn’t give Morris and Alan Trammell, his shortstop with the Tigers, their due. It’s absurd Lou Whitaker didn’t stay on the ballot past his first season of eligibility. I don’t hear the battle cry from the Sabermetrics crowd for Trammell, who has not come close to election, even though he had a better career WAR than Barry Larkin, and isn’t much behind Derek Jeter and Ozzie Smith. Whitaker had a far better WAR than Craig Biggio, who will probably get in this year, and so did Trammell. In fact, Whitaker had the same career WAR, essentially, as Reggie Jackson, and much higher than Roberto Alomar.


If you haven't heard it, then you aren't paying attention. Whitaker falling off the ballot is considered a near-universal injustice in Saberland. For the most part we have been behind Trammell for years. It's tough to support him now because the HOF voters have failed to put deserving people in, resulting in the mess of a ballot we have now.

But the saber-thinking voters are the ones who have brought Trammell from the teens to 30+%. I agree he should be in. Look to the number-phobic crowd, they are the ones who turn in ballots of 1-4 names. Why do they hate Trammell?
   13. John Northey Posted: December 19, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4620730)
Very weird ballot.
Obvious choices: Maddux, Glavine
Good choices: Trammell, Raines, Thomas
Not HOF'ers: L. Smith, Morris, McGriff

Just 2 open slots, which is good, but 3 votes for non-HOF'ers (as much as I want McGriff to be one).
   14. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2013 at 10:14 AM (#4620734)
Why do they hate Trammell?

Because Trammell did all the little, non-glamorous things that help a team win--defense, baserunning, etc that only the practiced eye of a sportswriter can appreciate. If they vote him into the HOF, then every schmuck with 20 bucks for a ticket will know what they already know--that Alan Trammell was a great player. If the general public knew this, there would be chaos.
   15. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 19, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4620756)
Because Trammell did all the little, non-glamorous things that help a team win--defense, baserunning, etc that only the practiced eye of a sportswriter can appreciate.


Exactly. It's the same way the sportswriters were able to recognize that Mike Trout was the MVP even though Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown.

This really is one of the most bizarre things I've read this Hall of Fame season. Criticizing statheads for a lack of Alan Trammell love is like criticizing Amnesty International for their strong pro-death penalty stance.
   16. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 19, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4620759)
Pos's take on this column.


I’m sure this column will be covered at length by the folks over at Baseball Think Factory. Fish. Barrel.

Has Poz ever posted here?
   17. JRVJ Posted: December 19, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4620767)
He certainly is aware of "here".
   18. John Northey Posted: December 19, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4620784)
The good thing is he did vote Maddux/Glavine/Thomas thus helping increase the odds of clearing a bit of backlog space. Skipping Palmeiro, Sosa, Mussina will help in the reverse (sub 5%). I get the feeling Kent will be safe but Mussina will not be. Clear out those 6 from the ballot and next year will have 'just' 4 over 80 WAR, 4 in the 70's, 6 in the 60's and Piazza/Kent/McGriff plus Giles in the 50's. Bit surprised Delgado is in the 40's almost a dead heat with Garciaparra. Mattingly's final ballot is 2015 plus Lee Smith will get his votes. Sheesh - still 8 very qualified (70+ WAR), 8 strong cases plus McGriff/Giles/Delgado/Garciaparra/Mattingly/Lee Smith who will each get their votes. And that is a 'best' case of 3 getting in and 3 dropping off.
   19. vivaelpujols Posted: December 19, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4620806)
This is awful, just not even close to being true.
   20. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4620807)
Has Poz ever posted here?

He used to.
   21. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: December 19, 2013 at 11:32 AM (#4620811)
It's early, so I read the "Sabermetrics has its flaws" as "Saberhagen has his flaws." Comparing Jack Morris to Bret Saberhagen could be a thing.
   22. Andy McGeady Posted: December 19, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4620839)
Does Caputo ever write for The Onion? Did he submit the wrong copy?
   23. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4620857)
Poz makes a good point in his post about this:

There is nothing like a good baseball argument. But to have a good baseball argument, you need both sides to bring with them at least a beginner’s idea of what the argument is about.

This is a lot like Joe Morgan vs. Moneyball. Sometimes we forget that a lot of people out there still think "sabermetrics" means garbage stats like "batting average on a Tuesday against a left-handed Florida-born reliever" (ha ha).

It's still an uphill climb, folks.
   24. zonk Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4620870)
Must... focus... on... Raines... and... Trammell... votes....
   25. Moeball Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4620874)
I think his brain has gone Kaput-o.

Wow, I would be embarrassed to put an article like this into print.
   26. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4620889)
He's totally right about Whitaker. So there is that. Not a total disaster.
   27. Sunday silence Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4620926)
why is the title: "by any standard" and then the logic is using his own, and dismissing the Sabermetric, standard..? I could understand a title like "By some standards" or "By certain standards." It's surely not by any standard.
   28. Bob Tufts Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4620931)
why is the title: "by any standard"


His logic is more American Standard....be sure flush twice to make the thought process used for this ballot go away.
   29. Bob Tufts Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4620932)
Enough! Let's just vote on the ten WORST players to play ten years and be eligible for the HOF - and do the same for executives...
   30. Baldrick Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4620934)
Okay, so it's got lots of spelling errors and incoherent sentences. Fine. And it demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of such difficult concepts as 'what year did things happen in' and 'people can support some Tigers players but not others.' Sure. But let's not lose sight of the very important point he makes:

"It’s ridculous, too, that Morris’ feats in the postseason aren’t more acknowledged. Nor his durability"

Yes! Finally someone speaking truth to power and bringing up Morris' work in the postseason.
   31. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4620936)
Enough! Let's just vote on the ten WORST players to play ten years and be eligible for the HOF - and do the same for executives...

I vote for Johnny LeMaster!
   32. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4620954)
Enough! Let's just vote on the ten WORST players to play ten years and be eligible for the HOF


by WAR, 7 players, 3 pitchers (rounded):

Bill Bergen -13
Doug Flynn -7
Tuck Stainback -7
Johnny Disaster -5
Ed Romero -5
Tom Thevenow -5
Kevin Jarvis -4
Randy lerch -4
Frank LaCorte -3
   33. Chris Fluit Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4620960)
It's early, so I read the "Sabermetrics has its flaws" as "Saberhagen has his flaws." Comparing Jack Morris to Bret Saberhagen could be a thing.


I'm one of the few Morris supporters on this site but Saberhagen wins that duel.
   34. BDC Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4620966)
Hey, I remember Randy Lerch, and I remembered him as a good hitter, and I was sort of right. He had an excellent season at the plate in 1978 (.250/.303/.450 in 68 PAs), and for his career is +1.8 WAR as a batter. He gets a reprieve from the Ten Worst List, I think :)
   35. Ron J2 Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4620970)
Huh LeMaster beats out Hal Lanier for worst long term Giant middle infielder. I suppose. Lanier was a genuinely good defensive second-baseman and not bad at short.

But Lanier get extra credit for playing a key role in keeping a team with Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Perry and other really good players from winning any pennants during his tenure as a regular. An absolutely awesome achievement.
   36. Chris Fluit Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4620976)
LeMaster's list of appearances on leaderboards is outstanding. He was 7th in stolen bases for 1983, but also 3rd in caught stealing. He was 6th in sacrifice hits in 1978. That's it for hitting. Then, he was 5th in errors in 1980, 2nd in errors as a SS that same season and 5th for his position in '83. He rebounded a bit in 1984, cracking the top five for putouts, double plays turned, range factor per 9 innings, range factor per game and fielding percentage. Oh, and he was the 7th youngest player in 1975.
   37. AROM Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4620980)
Interesting exercise, worst 10 to play 10.

Doug Flynn is a good candidate, he was a no hit, good field player except that he actually wasn't a good fielder. He just fooled people into thinking he was because he didn't make errors.

Ed Romero was a bad hitting utility guy, but was replacement level other than the fielding (-50 fielding runs, -5.2 WAR). But he played 7 positions, all but pitcher and catcher. It's tough to play well defensively while moving around so much, but a team does get some value from a guy who can play all over. I think he was a perfectly cromulent bench player.
   38. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4620988)
As a homer, my default argument against Jack is Orel Hershiser. He has the post season-fu. Bulldog had an 8-3 record in the Ps with a 2.59 Era. Morris was 7-4 with a 3.8 Era and they pitched in roughly the same era. Orel's decline years did actually happen in the the steroid era unlikr Jack.

Morris gets credit for 700+ more innings, but I'm still not sure that makes him better than Bulldog.

//fark slashies.Bulldog is in my personal HOF and I love him. But he isn't a HOFer.. and neither is Jack
   39. Baldrick Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4620989)
The more I think about it, there really is kind of a Grand Unified Theory of Jack (The Jack).

Lots of wins but a mediocre ERA: pitching to the score!
Most wins of the 80s: pitching to the era!
Lots of CGs/8+ inning starts: pitching to the ninth!

I'm not sure how to work Game 7 into this, though.
   40. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4620991)
LeMaster's list of appearances on leaderboards is outstanding.


remarkably long career for such a terrible MLB player, would have been a below average starter in AAA,and yet played over a 1000 games in the bigs, and was whiny to boot, complained about being demoted from the leadoff spot (1983 Giants, Darrell Evans had 30 home runs and an OPS+ of 150, slugged .560 with men on base, but only 80 ribbies, because he batted 2nd, behind LeMaster and the pitcher... 1985 40 homers, only 94 ribbies despite hitting .290/.419/.580 with men on...
   41. EddieA Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4620997)
Pretty cool that Doug Flynn and Darrell Chaney, another 10-year negative WAR guy, were the backup DP combination for a team that won 108 games.
   42. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 19, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4621008)
Pretty cool that Doug Flynn and Darrell Chaney, another 10-year negative WAR guy, were the backup DP combination for a team that won 108 games.


You can tell by Flynn's PA/inning breakdown that he was used as a late inning defensive replacement by the Big Red Machine, plus he mysteriously OPS+'d in the 80s for the Reds, so back when you had 10 pitchers and 15 hitters on your 25 man roster he actually added some value to the team, as a starter later in his career he was horribly overexposed
   43. DanG Posted: December 19, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4621012)
Looking at the Worst question from another angle.

Most seasons with 1.0 WAR or less, 100+ G, since 1890

Rk                   Yrs From   To
1       Lenny Harris  11 1989 2002
2     Dante Bichette  10 1990 2001
3         Doc Cramer  10 1933 1945
4      Charlie Grimm  10 1920 1933
5       Mark Loretta   9 1997 2009
6        Brad Ausmus   9 1994 2007
7    Alfredo Griffin   9 1980 1991
8       Bill Buckner   9 1971 1988
9      Don Kessinger   9 1965 1978
10        Tommy Dowd   9 1891 1901 
Harris, of course, was primarily a pinch hitter in most of those eleven years. It's the next three we would look at for the title "Worst player to play ten years".

The pitcher list is less interesting, I think.

Most seasons with 1.0 Pitching WAR or less, 100+ IP, since 1890

Rk                Yrs From   To
1   Jason Marquis   8 2001 2013
2     Jamie Moyer   8 1987 2010
3   Mike Caldwell   8 1972 1984
4     Jim Lonborg   8 1965 1978
5   Bill Dietrich   8 1935 1945 
   44. Moeball Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4621213)
The more I think about it, there really is kind of a Grand Unified Theory of Jack (The Jack).

Lots of wins but a mediocre ERA: pitching to the score!
Most wins of the 80s: pitching to the era!
Lots of CGs/8+ inning starts: pitching to the ninth!

I'm not sure how to work Game 7 into this, though.


Pitching to the very, very end!



   45. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4621216)
But Sabermetrics has its flaws. One of them, for evaluation purposes regarding the Hall, is not accounting enough for statistics era to era. A 3.00 ERA in 1968 didn’t mean nearly as much as a 3.00 ERA in 1995, for example.


I kind of admire this debating tactic, where you just flagrantly invent things with no regard for accuracy or sense.
   46. Moeball Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:41 PM (#4621218)
Most seasons with 1.0 WAR or less, 100+ G, since 1890


Rk Yrs From To
1 Lenny Harris 11 1989 2002
2 Dante Bichette 10 1990 2001
3 Doc Cramer 10 1933 1945
4 Charlie Grimm 10 1920 1933
5 Mark Loretta 9 1997 2009


Mark Loretta may be on the list of most number of mediocre seasons but, in a rare lucky convergence of the stars, it was while he was with my Padres that he had his two best seasons, finishing as the best second baseman in MLB during the 2004 season and just about the best over the two year period 2003-2004. The really weird thing was that 2004 was the opening season at Petco Park, and while Loretta clearly had better numbers overall on the road than at home (which just about everyone has done since Petco opened), he actually hit a whopping 11 HRs at home while only 5 on the road. Someone hitting twice as many HRs at home as on the road is almost impossible at Petco and Loretta is about the only player I can think of who did this. I remember, all season long, I was wondering "who is this guy?" because he just wasn't having a Mark Loretta-type season.
   47. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:47 PM (#4621227)
I'm not sure how to work Game 7 into this, though.

Pitching to the series.
   48. Moeball Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4621228)
His ERA was higher because much of his career took place during the height of the so-called steroids era. Offensive numbers were inflated across the board.


It's funny, that argument would actually be a good one to make for Mussina.

Hmm. Was just thinking about a couple of things. One of the things that's annoying about articles like this is that even though this writer is clearly pro-Morris HOF, he does such a poor job of arguing his case. Even if I don't necessarily agree with someone's argument I would at least like to see some logical thought behind it. But this guy doesn't even do that. It's more of the BS thread again. But seeing the Mussina comment in #9 did made me think of something.

One of Mussina's strong points was that he was pretty consistently solid in ways most people don't notice but which is extremely helpful to his team. To illustrate:

In 1999 Mussina had what I would guess was a typical Mussina season. 18-7 W-L record (excellent) with a 3.50 ERA (pretty good, but not eye-popping like Pedro's was). One would not normally expect a pitcher with Mussina's numbers - either in ERA, or RA/9 (3.9), or slash line (.268/.312/.411) to produce such a good W-L record. Come to think of it, a slash line like that doesn't usually result in a 3.9 RA/9, does it? Shouldn't he have been giving up close to 5 runs per game instead of 4? At any rate - yes, he had some good run support which is part of his excellent W-L record but it goes beyond that. I looked at the game logs and found about half a dozen (ok, actually 7) of Mussina's 31 starts that season where he was just wretchedly bad. Like allowing an RA/9 of about 10. That's horrible. When you go only 4 or 5 innings in a start and give up 6 runs or so, you've already probably put your team way behind in the game and it's extremely difficult for the team to come back and win in such circumstances. Miraculously, Mussina did get one win from these 7 horrible starts.

But in his other 24 starts, Mussina gave up only 45 runs total - that includes unearned runs. That's less than 2 runs per start. Given that in 1999 teams were typically scoring 5 runs/game, a pitcher holding the opposing team to 2 runs a game was giving his team a better than 80% chance to win those games. That's huge. That's where Mussina picked up 17 of his wins that year and is the biggest reason why he had such an outstanding winning %. In almost 80% of Mussina's starts he gave his team a better than 80% chance of winning. Doesn't every team wish their whole rotation could do that?

So, the question for anyone who wants to actually do the research - do you think that maybe Morris was the same way? Maybe he had a high ERA because of a few putridly bad starts each season but was a brilliant pitcher the vast majority of the time? If this were the case, then that would at least be a much better argument to advance for his cause than the "most wins in the eighties, pitched to the score" arguments that one usually hears.

Just curious.
   49. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4621238)
I don’t hear the battle cry from the Sabermetrics crowd for Trammell,


This is just a weird statement. It's the saber guys who are rattling the cage for players who are really good at many things, thus displaying how great they were overall. I wouldn't imagine that without the saber support noise Trammell wouldn't be getting half the votes he's getting now.

And this fascination with Smith is just beyond my understanding. IMHO I see relief pitching as purely a part time job who's importance is way overblown. Only the absolute best of all time(Mariano) or guys who did some combination of starting and relieving like Eck or Wilhelm should even be considered. The impact that a guy who only throws 1000 innings in a career is minimal.
   50. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4621248)
Doug Flynn is a good candidate, he was a no hit, good field player except that he actually wasn't a good fielder. He just fooled people into thinking he was because he didn't make errors.

Flynn should also get bonus points on a list of this type for being part of the Tom Seaver trade. Not only did the Mets trade away the best player in franchise history, they then proceeded to play Flynn regularly or semi-regularly for the next four years. His nickname should have been "insult to injury."
   51. Moeball Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4621249)
OK, another question.

Morris' backers really sell the 1991 Game 7 10-inning shutout thing. What I wonder is - had Lonnie Smith not been fooled into stopping at third base in the 8th inning of that game - and had Atlanta been the 1-0 winner instead of Minnesota - would Morris even still be on the ballot today? Which also makes me wonder - are there any other pitchers who might have been so closely associated with a historic Game 7 that a lucky break one way or the other could have pushed them over the top into HOF territory or destroyed an otherwise HOF-worthy narrative? I think of Jim Kaat. He was the loser of the 1965 Game 7 to Koufax, 2-0. He had already beaten Koufax once earlier in the Series but couldn't match up with Koufax on that particular day. Had Kaat been able to match zeroes with Koufax in Game 7 and eventually come away with a Series-clinching win, thus building the "he beat Koufax twice in a WS" narrative - could that have been enough to push Kaat over the top? Any other pitchers come to mind where such a change in luck could have made a big difference to their case?
   52. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4621250)
I don’t hear the battle cry from the Sabermetrics crowd for Trammell,

This is just a weird statement.


It's less weird than it seems at first, because the rest of the article indicates that the author has never heard the actual battle cries from Sabermetrics for anything, ever.
   53. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:18 PM (#4621252)
As pointed out above, it's great that he's got Maddux, Glavine and Thomas there. I too would have Raines and Trammell on my own ballot, so no issues with that either. The rest is just odd, the explanations are weird and he left 2 spots empty; which is unforgivable considering how many qualified guys are on the ballot.
   54. Howie Menckel Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4621253)

"Sabermetrics has its flaws. One of them, for evaluation purposes regarding the Hall, is not accounting enough for statistics era to era. A 3.00 ERA in 1968 didn’t mean nearly as much as a 3.00 ERA in 1995, for example."

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't see that as clearly claiming that Morris pitched in 1995. It seems to be making the point that "for example" 1968 was a lower run-scoring enviro than 1995. which is true. It doesn't help a push for Morris, but it does explain that the world is crying out for a way to compare the run-scoring enviros.

Excuse me, I think I'm on to something - I am going to invent a way, and call it "ERA+." Just don't tell anyone.

   55. TJ Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4621257)
And this fascination with Smith is just beyond my understanding. IMHO I see relief pitching as purely a part time job who's importance is way overblown. Only the absolute best of all time(Mariano) or guys who did some combination of starting and relieving like Eck or Wilhelm should even be considered. The impact that a guy who only throws 1000 innings in a career is minimal.


Yup, which leads to one of my HOF pet peeves- BBWAA voters who will argue til they are blue in the face for Lee Smith but won't vote for Edgar Martinez because he was "a part-time player"...

   56. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:24 PM (#4621261)
Doug Flynn is a good candidate, he was a no hit, good field player except that he actually wasn't a good fielder. He just fooled people into thinking he was because he didn't make errors.


Exactly, he looked good out there, if he got to the ball he made the play, he seemed to seamlessly make the DP pivot at 2nd, it's just that he never made any play that someone else couldn't make.

1982, Mets had finally rid themselves with Flynn and replaced him with Wally Backman, Wally was no worse a fielder and a vastly better hitter... but the announcers and casual fans just constantly ragged on Backman's perceived fielding woes, he just looked awkward where Flynn hadn't, but he was more athletic than Flynn, sure he may have screwed up plays Flynn wouldn't, but he also made plays Flynn wouldn't have. So Backman was dumped*, Backman later had a career because his AAA manager, Davey Johnson, became the MLB manager and knowing that Wally could play, brought him up with him.

*The Mets also viewed Backman as a mere place holder and were wedded to the idea that Brian Giles was the 2B of the future. Giles LOOKED like a player, he looked like a hitter, he slugged .486 in the IL, but never hit a lick in the majors... played forever, minors, Mexico, Indy ball...
   57. puck Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:45 PM (#4621281)
Also: Jack Morris was retired by 1995. Before you start talking about the era when Morris pitched, you might try actually learning when that was.


I think he's giving Jack Morris war credit.
   58. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4621293)
His logic is more American Standard

5-card majors and a 15-17 no trump?

Yeah, the Morris thing is hilarious. If you can't even grok ERA+
   59. Rob_Wood Posted: December 19, 2013 at 07:12 PM (#4621307)

As an American I have always believed in the wisdom of systems with appropriate checks and balances (ingrained in me since elementary school civics lessons). So I have an ardent hope and expectation that there exists a brave sports editor at Caputo's newspaper that will absolutely "check" Caputo into the unemployment line. If this column does not demonstrate complete lack of judgment about and knowledge of the subject matter presumed to be the purview of a veteran baseball sportswriter, than nothing does. How this jackass has a Hall of Fame ballot, let alone a newspaper column, boggles the mind!
   60. Tony S Posted: December 19, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4621310)
Morris' backers really sell the 1991 Game 7 10-inning shutout thing. What I wonder is - had Lonnie Smith not been fooled into stopping at third base in the 8th inning of that game - and had Atlanta been the 1-0 winner instead of Minnesota - would Morris even still be on the ballot today?


Probably not. There are two things that Morris has that meet Hall of Fame standards -- his career won-lost record, and his World Series performances (especially game 7). Besides those two markers, Morris doesn't have much of a case (except for contrived stats like wins in the 80's). Game 7 is the hook, much like Mazeroski's HR was in 1960 -- it was a big, dramatic moment that's kept him in the Hall conversation for years. Without that hook, he's at the level of Rick Reuschel, Orel Hershiser, Dennis Martinez -- a very fine pitcher whom no one really regards as Hall of Fame material.

Does Bill Mazeroski get into the Hall if Rocky Nelson makes the play on Mickey Mantle in the top of the ninth?

As an aside, I think it's a little unfair to blame Lonnie Smith for the Braves' failure to score in the eighth. Duped or not, at least he didn't get thrown out, and the Braves still had two men in scoring position and nobody out after his "gaffe". Ron Gant and Sid Bream had more to do with the Braves being shut out in that inning than Smith.
   61. Sunday silence Posted: December 19, 2013 at 07:55 PM (#4621332)

Does Bill Mazeroski get into the Hall if Rocky Nelson makes the play on Mickey Mantle in the top of the ninth?


Again, thinking that baseball is like beer league softball and defense amounts to nothing.

Go back to sleep SABR america! Here's some American Gladiators for you...
   62. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 19, 2013 at 08:22 PM (#4621345)
I don’t hear the battle cry from the Sabermetrics crowd for Trammell, who has not come close to election, even though he had a better career WAR than Barry Larkin,


By bWAR: Trammel - 70.3; Larkin - 70.2. I believe Larkin was slightly ahead before WAR was reconfigured. Larkin is four ahead by fWAR.

Trammell is well deserving. There's no need to oversell his case on a misleading technicality.
   63. BDC Posted: December 19, 2013 at 08:32 PM (#4621352)
I don’t hear the battle cry from the Sabermetrics crowd for Trammell

TRA-AA-AA-AA-YAYAYA-AAAA-MELL!
   64. Walt Davis Posted: December 20, 2013 at 08:34 PM (#4621962)
I looked at the game logs and found about half a dozen (ok, actually 7) of Mussina's 31 starts that season where he was just wretchedly bad. Like allowing an RA/9 of about 10.

This sort of thing isn't unusual. The true elite have very few bad games of course, but something like 1 crappy start out of 5 is pretty typical for very good pitchers. Even crappy pitchers tend to have 40-50% QS.

Even Kershaw had 3 starts totalling 16.1 IP, 14 R, 12 ER. Greinke had 3 consecutive starts totalling 13.1 IP, 15 R, 13 ER and that was part of a 9-start stretch with an ERA over 5 (he had two more really bad starts and a 7 IP, 4 ER in that stretch). Scherzer's worst 6 starts were 32 IP, 29 R, 27 ER. Sale's 6 worst were 32 IP, 35 R, 35 ER.

Those were just the first 4 I quasi-randomly checked, all with seasonal ERAs under 3.10 and in the top 20 of 2013. That's just typical pitching -- the good ones are the ones that only get hammered about 20% of the time.

Moving further down

#28 Burnett: 30 IP, 32 R, 28 ER
#44 Locke: 36 IP, 41 R, 40 ER
#61 Guthrie: 69 IP, 57 R (avoided true disasters for the most part but lots of 6/5, 7/5, 7/6, etc.)
#77 Kennedy: 61 IP, 63 R

But even Kennedy had 14 QS plus a few 5 to 5.2 IP starts with 2 runs. In those quality starts I get 91 IP and 26 runs so just 2.60 R/9. On the year, Kennedy had a 75 ERA+ and an ERA near 5 despite half of his innings being excellent (or "excellent").

And for Kennedy there was very little in-between ... the terrible and excellent stretches are 152 of his 181 innings.

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