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Friday, December 21, 2012

Christie: Is Joe Mauer a lock for the HOF?

Well…seeing that Paul Lo Duca is his 3rd most similar (lab-ears Goldfrank’s Toxicologic).

Looking toward the future and projecting the rest of Mauer’s career, it is easy to think that he will get strong consideration for the Hall of Fame. His health will continue to be something to watch especially since he is close to 6-foot-6 and he has a lot of weight on those precious knees every time that he squats behind the plate. The Twins will continue to use him at other positions as he ages but his tie to greatness is his ability to be a catcher.

When some try to name the best catcher in the history of the game, Johnny Bench usually tops most lists. Yogi Berra, Carlton Fisk, and others are also thought of highly. These men racked up a lot of innings behind the plate and it doesn’t look like Mauer will be a full-time catcher for the rest of his career. These men were solid as catchers in a gritty era of baseball.

Bench played 17 seasons and caught close to 14,500 innings, Bera caught over 12,000 innings, and Fisk racked up 18.500 innings. Mauer currently sits at 7,224 innings as a catcher and he has averaged 858.2 innings per season. Last season, he logged a little over 600 frames at catcher, which were the fewest he had in a season that he played over 100 games. If this trend continues, it could take away some of his votes when it comes to election time.

At this point, it doesn’t seem like Mauer would be a lock for the Hall of Fame. It will likely take multiple more seasons at his current rate of production for him to be a lock. Twins fans will get to watch Mauer on every step of his journey and hopefully that path will lead him to the gates of Cooperstown.

Repoz Posted: December 21, 2012 at 06:16 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, twins

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   1. shoewizard Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:34 AM (#4329914)
Joe Torre
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:51 AM (#4329918)
Judging by how many voters think MIKE PIAZZA isn't a HOFer, I'd say definitely not.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:55 AM (#4329919)
Rough comps through age 29

Mauer, 4552 PA, 323/405/468, 135 OPS+, 37 WAR
Torre, 5481 PA, 297/362/465, 130 OPS+, 40 WAR
Simmons, 5888 PA, 297/365/454, 126 OPS+, 38 WAR
Pudge II (22-29), 4361 PA, 315/352/516, 118 OPS+, 40 WAR (only 30 oWAR)

Those aren't great. Piazza had a 160 OPS+ and as many WAR in about 1000 fewer PA. There aren't any particularly good hitting comps anywhere -- expansion era, BA>300, OBP>400, ISO<180 only turns up Boggs. Some that aren't too far off:

Raines 303/391/442, 133
Madlock 314/375/453, 128
Greenwell 307/375/466, 127
Jeter 317/389/462, 121

They aren't getting any better. Ahh, Olerud, 301/403/484, 135. Chipper and Abreu aren't too bad but obviously more power.

The not-so-shocking conclusion -- if he can stick at C, he's got a good shot. I'm a bit surprised he doesn't stand out more from Torre and Simmons though.
   4. Chris Fluit Posted: December 21, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4329930)
If you look at the slash lines, Mauer is way ahead of Torre and Simmons on both average and on-base. The other two close the gap in slugging thanks to more isolated power. But the real reason why Torre and Simmons are so close to Mauer in WAR is more about playing time. Torre is 900 plate attempts ahead of Mauer, Simmons is 1300. That's roughly 2 and 3 seasons worth of at-bats. Mauer's candidacy is currently held back by his health- or rather his lack of it. To belabor the point, Mauer needs to stick at C and stay healthy to make it to the Hall of Fame.
   5. DL from MN Posted: December 21, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4329931)
If he transitions to 3B he still has a shot. Like you said his bat is a lot like Boggs.

Mauer will hit until he's 40, he just won't be catching at that age. I see a long set of Molitor-type DH seasons from Joe. That will look better than Ted Simmons and Torre but neither of those guys are in.
   6. Cris E Posted: December 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4329973)
If they go light on the innings behind the plate his health might improve considerably. Last year he was in the batting race deep into the season, and that was in a lineup without many reasons to pitch to Mauer. If he can maintain 80g or 700 Innings behind the plate over the next four years (ie half time) he'll have piled up a comfortable record as a catcher rather than just being considered a Gwynn or Boggs style hitter. But if that drop in defensive value improves his availability overall then it's a smart trade-off (especially when coupled with the whispered notion that he's not the defensive catcher he once was.)
   7. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 21, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4329983)
PAs thru age 21
Mauer: 122
Torre: 691
Simmons: 907
I-Rod: 1261

This is why Mauer looks paler by comparison in WAR, which is driven by playing time.

With 37 WAR, an MVP, and three batting titles, Mauer has plenty of peak credentials. His career right now is already more impressive than the MLB portion of Campy's. With another season or two his career WAR will slip past Lombardi, Bresnahan, Posada, Freehan, Munson, Tenace, all of whom have their advocates or their plaque...none of whom probably has as impressive a peak. Simmons, Cochrane, and Torre will be within easy reach, and Piazza will be next on the radar. But with that peak, Mauer may not need huge career totals to draw the attention of what will probably a more savvy electorate in around 2025-2035. In fact, Cochrane will be a great comp for Mauer. Very similar peak, very similar offensive profile, and Mauer is about 11 career WAR away. Close enough that even if he declines 0.5 WAR for each of the next four years, he'll match him by age 33... Cochrane was done at 34.
   8. shoewizard Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4330091)
Yeah, but there is only a 5 point difference in OPS+ between Mauer and Torre through age 29.

I said Joe Torre simply because it looks like Mauer is playing catcher less than half the time going forward, and I am guessing within two years not playing catcher at all. So he will need to stick around for a long time at a high level while playing 1st base or DH. Thats hurt Torre because his counting stats were not high enough to make it as a corner guy, and he didnt stay at catcher long enough. Mauer has never played a professional inning at 3rd either. Are they talkng about moving him there ? If not.....then what happens when his average slips a bit ? Without the homers, how much playing time will he get at first base in the long run ?

Also, when you look at the seasons prior to 2009 he had a 127 OPS+, and in the 3 seasons since, he's had a 132 OPS+. I think he needs another season like 2009..another MVP season, or very close to it, in order to get over the hump...especially if he is not at catcher.

   9. DL from MN Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4330143)
guessing within two years not playing catcher at all


Depends on whether the Twins are contending. If they have a good team in 2014 he might stick it out longer.
   10. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4330145)
When I try to name the best catcher in the history of the game, Josh Gibson tops my list. What the heck is a "gritty era of baseball"?
   11. BDC Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4330237)
I don't have many thoughts on Mauer, but the headline got me thinking about how great a player has to be in his first nine years in the majors to be a "lock" for the Hall of Fame as soon as he becomes eligible by playing a single game in his tenth. There are obvious 9-year locks: I don't think anyone here disagreed that Albert Pujols was one. Cobb, Hornsby, DiMaggio, Musial, Williams, Mays, Mantle, Bonds among position players; Johnson, Alexander, Seaver, Grove among pitchers. (The one really peculiar case, of course, is Babe Ruth, whose career 1914-22 was that weird hybrid of star pitcher and home-run god manifesting himself. But Ruth had an off-season in 1922 [.315/35/99, didn't even win the HR title], and he hadn't yet led the Yankees to a WS title – I wonder – I suspect he's in anyway as a pioneer of a new style and big celebrity, and a Series winner in Boston.)

Going by the WAR lists through age 29 as a quick checklist, it's hard to draw an exact line. Eddie Mathews and Mike Schmidt are 11th and 12th in position-player WAR through age 29, and they'd shown most of what they needed to, but both added considerably to their cases. I was a toddler after Mathews's ninth season, but I remember Schmidt's exceedingly well: an MVP and a World Series victory, which were huge items in his case: and yet, after [ie "as of the end of"] 1980 Schmidt had a batting line of .259/283/787. I actually don't think the Hall goes for that.

Down around 12th/13th on the pitching WAR leaderboard you come to similar cases. The two there through age 29 are Robin Roberts and Bert Blyleven. Roberts in particular had already shown everything he was going to show to establish his greatness, but he would not be in the Hall if he hadn't plugged along and won another 100 games; let alone Blyleven, who'd be no candidate whatsoever, except perhaps among the more discerning HOM voters. (And these two are not late bloomers, obviously; they're among the greatest pitching careers ever through age 29.)

Edit for clarity
   12. BDC Posted: December 21, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4330465)
And I guess I should have added a conclusion to that rambling: there are extremely few players who really have such a strong first nine years that they are a lock for the HOF at the start of their tenth.
   13. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: December 21, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4330470)
[11] A-Rod is the first guy that came to mind as a candidate for me.
   14. Srul Itza Posted: December 21, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4330471)
On his comparables list, through his age 29 season, he has 6 HOFers, plus Jeter and Biggio.

He is more than on pace -- a catcher with 3 batting titles and an MVP has fulfilled the "peak" requirement for a HOFer. He is not a full lock, though -- this is good but not a Koufax-esque or Big Hurt-like domination of the league. He still needs to hang around long enough that he builds some bulk, without driving his .323 BA down too far.
   15. AROM Posted: December 21, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4330474)
Walt's comps in #3 remind me of just how good Ted Simmons was. He should be in the hall.
   16. RJ in TO Posted: December 21, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4330482)
He is more than on pace -- a catcher with 3 batting titles and an MVP has fulfilled the "peak" requirement for a HOFer. He is not a full lock, though -- this is good but not a Koufax-esque or Big Hurt-like domination of the league. He still needs to hang around long enough that he builds some bulk, without driving his .323 BA down too far.

He certainly does need the bulk. Ernie Lombardi, who had a similar offensive skillset (and a not as great defensive rep), had two batting titles, and an MVP, and still had to wait almost 50 years for induction to the HOF.
   17. BDC Posted: December 21, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4330510)
A-Rod is the first guy that came to mind as a candidate for me

AROD is 23rd on the career WAR-through-nine-seasons list. He's below some guys who probably wouldn't have been locks at all at that point (Frank Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr) , but it's somewhat misleading, because AROD played very sparingly in his first two major-league seasons. If you take AROD's first nine full seasons, he's already with the Yankees, having won three HR titles and an MVP in Texas; he's a much stronger case.

At first I read your comment as "IROD," which was intriguing. Pudge's 9th seasons was his MVP year, and when he started his tenth he was as good as he'd ever be. But of course he continued to add a lot of value, and play in a couple of World Series, after that.
   18. BDC Posted: December 21, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4330524)
I guess my full list of "9-year-locks" would include:

Position players: Cobb, Hornsby, DiMaggio, Musial, Williams, Jackie Robinson, Mays, Mantle, Bonds, Pujols. There are a couple of other cases like AROD's: Tris Speaker and Lou Gehrig played very little in their first two seasons.

Pitchers: Mathewson, Walsh, Johnson, Alexander, Grove, Feller, Seaver, Clemens. I doubt Pedro Martinez, even though he'd won all three of his Cy Young Awards by then; he only had 125 victories (he only had 132 after nine full seasons; his first was a cup of coffee).

There are two interesting Walsh-like cases among position players: Arky Vaughn and Johnny Mize. Neither one did a whole lot after their first nine seasons, so their cases are largely based on those nine years anyway.

And then there's Wade Boggs, seventh on the "through-9" WAR list. He had won all his batting titles by then, in fact had all his career "black ink" by then except some IBB titles. But he had 1,784 hits. I think the BBWAA would have concluded that Boggs was great for a while, but no chicken for him.
   19. RJ in TO Posted: December 21, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4330538)
And then there's Wade Boggs, seventh on the "through-9" WAR list. He had won all his batting titles by then, in fact had all his career "black ink" by then except some IBB titles. But he had 1,784 hits. I think the BBWAA would have concluded that Boggs was great for a while, but no chicken for him.

Through 9 years, he had a 0.346 BA. I'd have to think that would have drawn a lot of attention from the writers, even with only 1,784 hits, especially since it would have included 7 straight 200 hit season.
   20. alilisd Posted: December 21, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4330584)
but it's somewhat misleading, because AROD played very sparingly in his first two major-league seasons. If you take AROD's first nine full seasons, he's already with the Yankees, having won three HR titles and an MVP in Texas; he's a much stronger case.


It's extremely misleading because it puts him at 53.5 WAR versus 69.6, which would be third on the list (without doing the adjustment for everyone else). I think it would be interesting to look at the player's first nine full seasons. Seems unfair to penalize a guy for 59 poor PA's as an 18 year old.
   21. alilisd Posted: December 21, 2012 at 06:58 PM (#4330587)
Walt's comps in #3 remind me of just how good Ted Simmons was. He should be in the hall.


He's one of the biggest mistakes ever, IMO. One and done for him was a disgrace!
   22. BDC Posted: December 21, 2012 at 07:20 PM (#4330602)
Seems unfair to penalize a guy for 59 poor PA's as an 18 year old

It's not really a "penalty," though, just a product of the question: would this guy have been a lock as of his first day eligible? It's what makes Pujols so formidable: stepped right into the majors and played a full season at an MVP-candidate level. Very few great players have done that.
   23. BDC Posted: December 21, 2012 at 07:28 PM (#4330606)
Hank Aaron is another interesting case. He is very high on the through-29 WAR list, higher than Ty Cobb. Through nine years in the majors, Aaron had his only MVP, his only World Series ring, both his batting titles. Yet he was also just short of 300 HR and 1,000 RBI. Very much a player who was totally on track for the HOF, and yet sort of not there yet. His tenth year helped a great deal; it was one of his best.
   24. alilisd Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:03 PM (#4330629)
It's not really a "penalty," though, just a product of the question: would this guy have been a lock as of his first day eligible?


Yes, you're right.

It's what makes Pujols so formidable


One of many formidable things about El Hombre!
   25. Walt Davis Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:09 PM (#4330632)
This is why Mauer looks paler by comparison in WAR, which is driven by playing time.

It's a shame I didn't include PA in my comparison. And I guess I shouldn't have said they were perfect comps. :-)

I don't have many thoughts on Mauer, but the headline got me thinking about how great a player has to be in his first nine years in the majors to be a "lock" for the Hall of Fame as soon as he becomes eligible by playing a single game in his tenth.

I think this is nearly impossible. You named a few but also some I have doubts about. Some of it depends on what you mean by "lock."

Hank Greenberg played on 13 seasons and one of those was literally 1 PA. He had 6100 PA. In those PA, he had a 158 OPS+, 4 HR titles, 4 RBI titles and 2 MVPs. He took 3 seasons off to go to war. It took him 8 votes to get to the HoF.

Kiner had 6250 PA, 7 consecutive HR titles, but only 1 RBI title and no MVP. It took him 15 years.

After his first 9 full seasons, Dick Allen had a 164 OPS+ and 1 MVP.

You brought up Eddie Mathews -- even with his awesome career it took him 5 ballots. After his first 9 years he had fewer than 350 HR and fewer than 1000 RBI. There's no way he makes the HoF in my opinion.

Johnny Mize -- first 9 seasons, 5300 PA, 170 OPS+, 1 BA title, 3 HR & RBI titles, 4 top 5 MVP finishes, not elected by the writers. His 10th season was his last great season -- this is about as close to a true "hit by bus" as we're likely to get.

Mays maybe. The counting stats not that impressive, the rate stats not any moreso than Greenberg or Allen or Mathews (positional) but 7 AS games, 1 MVP and 4 more top 5 finishes and a bunch of steals. Assuming injury, they probably fill in the rest of his career anyway and wave him on. Was Griffey a lock -- on the surface, he and Mays look very similar after their first 9 seasons.

AROD -- no, on a technicality. His first two "seasons" were wasted and he didn't win an MVP until his 10th (not his fault).

Banks -- I think yes but not first ballot. He did nothing notable after that but pass 500 HR and he had 2 MVPs. That 9th year was also his last at SS -- not everybody would have filled in his career but those that did would have filled it in better than what actually happened.

Bench -- yes but not first ballot.

There may be a lot of pitchers here .... but maybe not, career milestones matter a lot there. Still, put a few CYA under your belt, avoid your decline phase, etc.

Greenberg and Mize are really the guys. Voting patterns might have shifted but you don't find better peak/primes than that and it took both a long time. Some of that was the still-crowded early ballots but sheesh. You've obviously got to be better than Giambi/Strawberry/Cepeda. I suspect you have to be at least equal in performance and better in awards/storyline than Aaron/Bagwell to make it for 9 seasons plus 1 game.
   26. bobm Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:29 PM (#4330643)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, From 1st season to 9th season, sorted by greatest WAR Position Players

                                                                                                                    
Rk           Player WAR/pos From   To   Age    G   PA   AB    R    H  HR  RBI   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS       Pos      Tm
1      Ted Williams    74.6 1939 1950 20-31 1273 5761 4555 1164 1594 293 1135 .350 .486 .642 1.128     *79/1     BOS
2     Albert Pujols    71.5 2001 2009 21-29 1399 6082 5146 1071 1717 366 1112 .334 .427 .628 1.055 *37/59D64     STL
3       Willie Mays    65.7 1951 1960 20-29 1218 5301 4669  884 1481 279  812 .317 .390 .585  .975        *8 NYG-SFG
4     Mickey Mantle    65.4 1951 1959 19-27 1246 5408 4478  994 1392 280  841 .311 .425 .569  .994  *89/6475     NYY
5       Barry Bonds    64.3 1986 1994 21-29 1281 5403 4514  890 1287 259  760 .285 .394 .537  .930     *78/9 PIT-SFG
6       Stan Musial    63.2 1941 1950 20-29 1218 5398 4688  920 1624 174  815 .346 .429 .580 1.009      9378     STL
7        Wade Boggs    62.2 1982 1990 24-32 1338 6084 5153  912 1784  70  586 .346 .436 .472  .908    *5/3D7     BOS
8    Rogers Hornsby    62.2 1915 1923 19-27 1119 4768 4231  730 1486 116  721 .351 .413 .545  .958 *465/3798     STL
9        Hank Aaron    61.8 1954 1962 20-28 1350 5868 5309  956 1697 298  991 .320 .373 .571  .943  *987/453     MLN
10          Ty Cobb    61.0 1905 1913 18-26 1143 4840 4345  808 1600  47  751 .368 .420 .515  .935    *89/74     DET
11    Eddie Mathews    58.5 1952 1960 20-28 1330 5809 4894  929 1373 338  901 .281 .385 .549  .933      *5/7 BSN-MLN
12     Mike Schmidt    57.5 1972 1980 22-30 1234 5158 4261  778 1104 283  787 .259 .375 .525  .901    *5/643     PHI
13     Arky Vaughan    57.3 1932 1940 20-28 1305 5744 4894  867 1591  78  726 .325 .416 .473  .889     *6/75     PIT
14      Ken Griffey    57.0 1989 1997 19-27 1214 5262 4593  820 1389 294  872 .302 .381 .562  .943   *8/D379     SEA
15     Joe DiMaggio    56.2 1936 1947 21-32 1252 5587 5015 1036 1663 264 1122 .332 .398 .588  .986     *8/79     NYY
16      Johnny Mize    56.2 1936 1947 23-34 1250 5296 4625  850 1517 257  971 .328 .411 .590 1.002      *3/9 STL-NYG

55   Hank Greenberg    42.6 1930 1940 19-29 1030 4588 3931  830 1281 247 1003 .326 .418 .625 1.043       *37     DET


   27. bobm Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:53 PM (#4330652)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, From 1st season to 9th season, sorted by greatest WAR for Pitchers

                                                                                                         
Rk              Player  WAR From   To   Age   G  GS   W   L W-L%     IP    H    R  ER   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
1       Walter Johnson 79.6 1907 1915 19-27 371 309 206 128 .617 2778.2 2131  749 497  547 1889 1.61  176
2       Pete Alexander 66.5 1911 1919 24-32 362 307 208 100 .675 2753.0 2300  846 638  596 1539 2.09  145
3           Tom Seaver 63.3 1967 1975 22-30 319 314 168  96 .636 2447.2 1940  733 669  656 2099 2.46  143
4          Lefty Grove 61.2 1925 1933 25-33 402 267 195  79 .712 2401.0 2262  929 768  740 1523 2.88  151
5        Roger Clemens 60.5 1984 1992 21-29 273 272 152  72 .679 2031.0 1703  708 631  552 1873 2.80  152
6             Ed Walsh 57.0 1904 1912 23-31 397 289 182 118 .607 2773.2 2177  801 544  539 1668 1.77  149
7    Christy Mathewson 56.2 1901 1908 20-27 346 311 211 103 .672 2665.2 2206  863 600  588 1635 2.03  140
8          Eddie Plank 53.4 1901 1909 25-33 334 314 186 121 .606 2666.0 2360  955 716  599 1342 2.42  120
9        Robin Roberts 52.4 1948 1956 21-29 359 320 179 120 .599 2608.1 2468 1022 923  532 1300 3.18  123
10       Bert Blyleven 52.0 1970 1978 19-27 316 313 136 123 .525 2387.1 2097  847 746  619 1910 2.81  132
11          Bob Feller 50.6 1936 1947 17-28 304 263 158  83 .656 2190.2 1706  788 711 1130 1836 2.92  137
12      Pedro Martinez 50.2 1992 2000 20-28 278 211 125  56 .691 1576.1 1178  520 470  442 1818 2.68  168
13      Stan Coveleski 50.1 1912 1923 22-33 328 274 159 108 .596 2283.0 2182  841 679  547  807 2.68  132
14        Carl Hubbell 49.8 1928 1936 25-33 350 280 170  94 .644 2394.0 2245  856 730  443 1099 2.74  143
15      Fergie Jenkins 46.4 1965 1973 22-30 342 284 149 109 .578 2303.2 2015  885 800  489 1820 3.13  122
16        Warren Spahn 46.1 1942 1953 21-32 297 268 145  98 .597 2149.2 1897  806 699  657 1148 2.93  130
...                                                                                         
Rk              Player  WAR From   To   Age   G  GS   W   L W-L%     IP    H   R  ER  BB   SO  ERA ERA+
188        Jack Morris 23.8 1977 1985 22-30 267 245 123  86 .589 1854.2 1666 805 745 672 1104 3.62  111


   28. Walt Davis Posted: December 22, 2012 at 01:50 AM (#4330781)
The list in #26 looks a lot different if you use Rbat. Greenberg moves up to #23 for example ... and that 1 PA season of his was his first so in his case it really is just 8 seasons. Mays drops to 14th, Bonds to 28th. Mathews is 16th but Kiner is just one run behind, followed by Helton and Giambi. (I'm assuming Rbat is not ideal here due to differing run-win conversion factors across eras. oWAR would be nice but P-I doesn't make it available ... ahem!)

I'm willing to grant they would make "hit by bus" positional adjustments for C and SS but I don't think they'd do so for 3B, 2B and CF -- they don't do it very well for career candidates. Mays had plenty of storyline and his MVP finishes show how highly they thought of him in real time so he probably makes it. Bonds already had 3 MVPs and a 2nd and a 4th so I can see him. But Mathews had just 2 2nd place finishes.

Anyway, to make it after 9 seasons plus 1 game, you'd have to dominate in those 9 seasons and that would have to include offensive domination (just look at the 2012 AL MVP vote). WAR's positional adjustments and baserunning/defense value are likely overstating a player's chances of induction by that point.

In the interest of science (and in accordance with "sell high"), Miguel Cabrera should retire immediately.

By the way, Boggs best 9-season comp may be Paul Waner.
   29. DanG Posted: December 22, 2012 at 02:29 AM (#4330796)
Most WAR thru age-29 season, 40%+ G at C

Rk            Player WAR/pos OPSRfield   PA From   To
1       Johnny Bench    57.6  130     75 6309 1967 1977 H
2        Gary Carter    46.2  120    107 5025 1974 1983 H
3     Ivan Rodriguez    44.7  112    135 5622 1991 2001
4          Joe Torre    39.6  130     
-1 5481 1960 1970
5        Ted Simmons    37.8  126    
-11 5888 1968 1979
6          Joe Mauer    37.0  135    
-11 4552 2004 2012
7        Mike Piazza    35.8  160     
-8 3482 1992 1998
8     Thurman Munson    33.5  120     27 4181 1969 1976
9    Mickey Cochrane    31.9  126     
-2 4318 1925 1932 H
10        Buck Ewing    31.7  137     57 3352 1880 1889 H
11        Yogi Berra    31.1  130      8 4330 1946 1954 H
12      Bill Freehan    29.7  114     23 4810 1961 1971
13      Craig Biggio    28.4  120    
-39 4482 1988 1995
14       Bill Dickey    27.5  126      5 3802 1928 1936 H
15      Carlton Fisk    27.4  132     26 2825 1969 1977 H
16    Darrell Porter    27.2  114      7 4488 1971 1981
17   Roger Bresnahan    26.7  132    
-14 3628 1897 1908 H
22        Ray Schalk    23.5   88     39 4890 1912 1922 H
25    Gabby Hartnett    20.9  127      2 3098 1922 1930 H
36      Deacon White    18.3  153     13 1889 1871 1877 H
42    Ernie Lombardi    16.9  124    
-11 2612 1931 1937 H
47    Roy Campanella    15.7  135      6 1883 1948 1951 H
60      Rick Ferrell    13.7   99      2 3137 1929 1935 H 
   30. BDC Posted: December 22, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4330855)
I think we're basically agreed, Walt. Being a lock after nine years, needing only one game in your tenth is nearly impossible, though there's a player per decade or so who is capable of it. In some of my cases (DiMaggio, Feller, Williams, Mize at a stretch) there would be implicit "war credit," so that the missing years might be virtually "filled in" with years like those the player went on to have anyway. Jackie Robinson is a special case. So the "pure" locks are even fewer and farther between than my provisional list would suggest.

So it's dang near impossible, for sure, and cases like Aaron and Boggs show the monumental difficulty of it. Ty Cobb shows the difficulty of it, for that matter. He didn't play much his first two seasons, either. After that he won six of the next seven batting titles, was hitting .368 lifetime, had played in all the World Series he ever would. And still an uphill look at the Hall: 1,600 hits and a reputation for aggression and selfishness. Much would depend on the circs of how Cobb left the game, I guess. If he'd volunteered to go bear stretchers on the Western Front and been blown up in the process, then sure. If he'd been killed in a back alley by somebody he'd suckerpunched, not so much.

It does come down to the definition of "lock," again. I guess most people mean "he's a lock if I just project him to do what most players do from this point forward in a career." But there are enough people still waiting for Andruw Jones to scoop up those 600 home runs that that sense of the term should come with heavy caveats.

Edit: Mays is another guy with limited time in his first two ML seasons, but who'd also get war credit (I often forget that). I guess I figure Mays as a 9+one-game lock because of the impression he made on contemporaries. If Kirby Puckett after 12 years, then Mays after 9 and a few games is not hard to imagine. His heroics were similar.
   31. bobm Posted: December 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4330857)
[28]

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, From 1st season to 9th season, (requiring At least 4000 plate appearances), sorted by greatest Adjusted OPS+

                                                     
Rk              Player OPS+   PA From   To   Age    G
1         Ted Williams  193 5761 1939 1950 20-31 1273
2           Lou Gehrig  182 4764 1923 1931 20-28 1076
3              Ty Cobb  181 4840 1905 1913 18-26 1143
4         Frank Thomas  174 5502 1990 1998 22-30 1236
4       Rogers Hornsby  174 4768 1915 1923 19-27 1119
6        Mickey Mantle  173 5408 1951 1959 19-27 1246
7        Albert Pujols  172 6082 2001 2009 21-29 1399
8          Stan Musial  171 5398 1941 1950 20-29 1218
9          Johnny Mize  170 5296 1936 1947 23-34 1250
10        Tris Speaker  165 4551 1907 1915 19-27 1065
11      Hank Greenberg  161 4588 1930 1940 19-29 1030
12        Jeff Bagwell  160 5800 1991 1999 23-31 1317
12          Dick Allen  160 4873 1963 1971 21-29 1143
14       Eddie Collins  159 4294 1906 1914 19-27 1013
15         Willie Mays  158 5301 1951 1960 20-29 1218
16         Barry Bonds  157 5403 1986 1994 21-29 1281
16        Joe DiMaggio  157 5587 1936 1947 21-32 1252
18         Mike Piazza  156 4620 1992 2000 23-31 1117
19          Hank Aaron  155 5868 1954 1962 20-28 1350
20      Charlie Keller  154 4321 1939 1948 22-31 1004
21       Manny Ramirez  153 4715 1993 2001 21-29 1109
21        Fred McGriff  153 4714 1986 1994 22-30 1147
21       Eddie Mathews  153 5809 1952 1960 20-28 1330
21             Mel Ott  153 4649 1926 1934 17-25 1136
25        Jason Giambi  151 5462 1995 2003 24-32 1264
Rk              Player OPS+   PA From   To   Age    G
25         Ralph Kiner  151 5866 1946 1954 23-31 1359
27         Ken Griffey  150 5262 1989 1997 19-27 1214
27      Reggie Jackson  150 5058 1967 1975 21-29 1231
27      Frank Robinson  150 5734 1956 1964 20-28 1346
27         Chuck Klein  150 5335 1928 1936 23-31 1203
31      Miguel Cabrera  149 5777 2003 2011 20-28 1351
31   Vladimir Guerrero  149 4900 1996 2004 21-29 1160
31         Brian Giles  149 4275 1995 2003 24-32 1043
31         Hack Wilson  149 4370 1923 1931 23-31 1022
35         Todd Helton  148 5427 1997 2005 23-31 1279
35          Al Simmons  148 5472 1924 1932 22-30 1240
35        Sam Crawford  148 4260 1901 1907 21-27 1001
38          Wade Boggs  147 6084 1982 1990 24-32 1338

   32. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 22, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4330896)
They used to ask this about Andruw Jones.
   33. base ball chick Posted: December 22, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4330920)
someone help me here plz

is mike piazza not a hall of famer because he's gay and has bad skin? or didn't throw the bat back at clemens and is therefore a cowardly grrl or something?

if it is because WAR numbers are effed up for catchers can someone plz fix those numbers. thx.

no piazza in the hall of fame

no clemens, no bonds, no piazza. yes jack morris because he was a Tough Guy with a Tough Moustache.

goodness gwacious
mr warner,
whers my contwact? i wanna wake up fwom this nightmawe

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