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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dale Murphy: Steroid users don’t belong in Hall of Fame (but he does)

Yeah, but Heart, Public Enemy, Rush and Donna Summer do? Huh…wuh…

Murphy has strong opinions on the Hall. While he is not the greatest self-promoter in the world, he believes he deserves to be in Cooperstown. He also thinks any player who used performance-enhancing drugs during their career artificially enhanced their accomplishements and therefore aren’t worthy of the honor.

“I have a problem with guys who said they were on [drugs],” he said. “I respect them for admitting it, but I agree with what the voters have been doing, keeping those guys out. It’s a problem for me because the real issue is the integrity of the game and the numbers.”

So if he had a real ballot, would he vote for Bonds, Clemens or Sosa (who haven’t admitted PED use but have been connected to it with circumstantial evidence)?

“No.”

Murphy retired after the 1993 season. For the next five years, before he was on the ballot, he would make appearances, give speeches and often was introduced as, “Future Hall of Famer …” He called it, “Flattering.”

“You start to think, ‘Hey. that’s a good possibility,’” he said. “Then eventually, reality sets in.”

But he peaked at 23.2 percent of the vote in 2000, his second year of eligibility, and dropped to as low as 8.5 in 2004. Last season, he was named on 83 ballots (including mine), but that placed him only 12th overall (14.5 percent of voters).

“It’s a tough place to get into, I understand that,” he said. “But to get in, you ought to think you should be in, and I think there should be a spot for me.”

Repoz Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:00 PM | 72 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. JJ1986 Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4322236)
What circumstantial evidence?
   2. JRVJ Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4322251)
Joe Pos recently wrote a very instructive article where he explained how many people got to the HoF via the Veterans Committee.

Frankly, I miss the fact that the Veterans Committee now pretty much doesn't anoint anybody. I'd LOVE for Murphy to get into the HoF via the Veterans Committee, since he "feels" like a Veterans Committee HOFer to me (and I stress TO ME, since this is an intrinsicately subjective point of view).
   3. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 11, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4322261)
Dale Murphy had six or seven above average seasons as a player. HE'S NOT A HALL OF FAMER.
   4. Tippecanoe Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4322278)
What, you never heard of a peak argument? Koufax had six seasons as an above average player.

If Murphy from age 33 forward had put together a string of half a dozen 1.5 - 2 WAR seasons, I'd be a supporter. It is average seasons, not above average, that he lacks.
   5. The District Attorney Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4322279)
If Murphy from age 33 forward had put together a string of half a dozen 1.5 - 2 WAR seasons, I'd be a supporter.
Yecch. It comes down to defining terms differently, but I just don't get this (majority) position.
   6. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4322284)
Joe Pos recently wrote a very instructive article where he explained how many people got to the HoF via the Veterans Committee.
According to that article, Rogers Hornsby is a third-tier Hall of Famer?!
   7. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:14 PM (#4322286)
What, you never heard of a peak argument? Koufax had six seasons as an above average player.

But murphy's peak isn't comparable to Koufax's, and Koufax is a special case because his career ended suddenly in the middle of his peak.

You're right that Murphy would be a decent candidate if he'd had a bunch of average seasons from 33 on, but then he'd basically be a career candidate.
   8. Tippecanoe Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4322297)
Of course I recognize that Murphy's peak was not Koufax's, but I was using the criteria you selected. Fair's fair.

   9. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4322298)
I oppose enshrinement for any player who illicitly boosted their numbers by using steroids or magic underwear.
   10. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4322303)
I have always been a tepid supporter of Murphy for the HOF (he gets many extra points in my considerations under the "character" clause) but #9 has caused me to reconsider my opinion. The use of PEUs can't be overlooked, even if the objective evidence for their benefits are lacking.
   11. beer on a stick Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:42 PM (#4322315)
Where can one avail himself of this magic underwear you speak of?
   12. Srul Itza Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4322321)
Mitt Romney may have some extras left over after the campaign. Not that it appeared to do him much good.
   13. Perry Posted: December 11, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4322326)
According to that article, Rogers Hornsby is a third-tier Hall of Famer?!


None of that was Pos's opinion, just the facts. Fact was, Hornsby was in the group of players on 5 or more ballots before being elected.
   14. beer on a stick Posted: December 11, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4322327)
They will be unused then, because a good Mormon will not partake of such things.
   15. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 11, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4322329)
If Murphy from age 33 forward had put together a string of half a dozen 1.5 - 2 WAR seasons, I'd be a supporter. It is average seasons, not above average, that he lacks.

YMMV and all, but it's virtually irrelevant how many average season an HOFer puts together. The top criteria is how good a player he was and average seasons don't speak to that.

In voting terms, playing ability and playing record are seperate criteria. Average seasons might, one supposes, bear on the latter but the Hall of Famer distinguishes himself based on how good he was at his best.
   16. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 11, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4322331)
Mitt Romney may have some extras left over after the campaign. Not that it appeared to do him much good.


Maybe without them he'd be merely a vaguely-familiar haircut model.
   17. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 11, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4322341)
Of course I recognize that Murphy's peak was not Koufax's, but I was using the criteria you selected. Fair's fair.

I don't follow. I mean, yes, it's possible to become a HOFer with only 6-7 above average seasons if you're Sandy Koufax. But what does that have to do with Murphy?
   18. BDC Posted: December 11, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4322395)
Career candidacy, as I often say, is usually a proxy for peak candidacy, and vice versa. Murphy had about 9,000 major-league PAs. Inner-circle types tend to have 10,000, 11,000 or more, and to be considerably better at their peaks than Dale Murphy; the two are strongly correlated. The no-doubt HOFers in Murphy's career-length range are guys like Barry Larkin or Gary Carter, exceptional defensive players who never got moved off the most important defensive positions, and really not far off from Murphy as offensive players, at their peak. Murphy was a pretty good defensive player at a slightly less-key position, and he did get moved off it. He pretty much defines falling short of the HOF in several different ways of thinking about falling short.
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 11, 2012 at 08:12 PM (#4322407)
While he is not the greatest self-promoter in the world,


Apparently the skill is genetic.
   20. Dale Sams Posted: December 11, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4322422)
PE, Rush and Jeff Lynne absolutly do...yes.
   21. TR_Sullivan Posted: December 11, 2012 at 08:35 PM (#4322433)
Here is my Hall of Fame vote, which I annually announce on Baseball Think Factory out of deep respect for this group's passion for Cooperstown. (in alphabetical order)

1. Jeff Bagwell
2. Craig Biggio
3. Barry Bonds
4. Roger Clemens
5. Jack Morris
6. Rafael Palmeiro
7. Mike Piazza
8. Tim Raines
9. Sammy Sosa
10. Alan Trammell

A few things...
1. This was the toughest ballot that I've ever had to consider. There were 18 players that I gave considerable thought to...maybe more
2. My usual disclaimer: I decline the honor of sitting in judgement of those who did, may or may not have used steroids. So I focus on baseball accomplishments
3. That said, I did not vote for Mark McGwire this year for the first time. Why? Because I only get ten and I decided to use that vote to get both Tim Raines and Alan Trammell on my ballot.
4. That may be a trend for me in that I may stop voting for guys who have no chance of getting in regardless of their baseball accomplishments in order to vote for some borderline candidats I deem worthy.
5. Some of you may suggest Rafael Palmeiro fits that thinking. It may in the future but I have covered the Rangers for 25 years. Guilty as charged.
6. I'm voting for Morris to the end. One point that was made by somebody I highly respect is that the voting has been tougher and the bar has become higher for starting pitchers than perhaps sluggers, and that maybe we should reconsider our standards for that position.
7. So no Curt Schilling? Not yet. Because this ballot is so crowded, I decided to hold off on Schilling for now. That will likely change but I used that vote for others.
8. I really really really struggled with Fred McGriff and he is the one player that I am bothered by not voting for. I really looked at him long and hard. I would be interested in others thoughts on McGriff.

That's it from one voter... you can write me at TR.Sullivan@mlb.com
   22. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 11, 2012 at 09:01 PM (#4322457)
#21 is a pretty good ballot . . . except for Jack Morris, although I'm hardly an anti-Morris zealot. The tougher competition this year should cost him some votes, but I have a hunch he will pick up votes from those who are searching for an "electable" candidate. It's going to be an interesting vote, and even more interesting to see if voters alter their various stances if the ballot-glut scenarios play out.
   23. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 11, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4322464)
Career candidacy, as I often say, is usually a proxy for peak candidacy, and vice versa.


Sure, but it's precisely around the borderline where that breaks down -- in other words, unless you have a very small Hall, your borderline candidates are typically going to have a peak case or career case but not both.

The question isn't whether Murphy is a no-doubter (he's not), it's whether he's a borderliner or not. At this point I don't think I'd vote for Murphy, BTW. But I'll argue against a PA or above-average season count criterion that keeps him out of the consideration set altogether.

I mean, yes, it's possible to become a HOFer with only 6-7 above average seasons if you're Sandy Koufax. But what does that have to do with Murphy?


Unless you think Sandy Koufax is right on the borderline of HOF worthiness, then it's also possible be a HOFer with 6-7 above average seasons if they're less than Koufax but still excellent. It's not as if Koufax is the only peak candidate in the HOF (or the HOM).
   24. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: December 11, 2012 at 09:30 PM (#4322466)
According to that article, Rogers Hornsby is a third-tier Hall of Famer?!
None of that was Pos's opinion, just the facts. Fact was, Hornsby was in the group of players on 5 or more ballots before being elected.
Oh please. Yes, it's a fact that Hornsby is in the group of players on 5 or more ballots before being elected. But it's an opinion that "the group of players on 5 or more blah blah blah" is a reasonable way to decide who is and who is not a third tier Hall of Famer.
   25. OCF Posted: December 11, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4322468)
Thank you, T.R. Sullivan.

To keep in touch with our community, I would suggest that you occasionally drop in on our annual BBTF Hall of Fame vote, here. One thing to note: nearly all of the early posters on that thread have said that they would have voted for more than 10 candidates if they could have.
   26. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 11, 2012 at 10:00 PM (#4322474)
Dale Murphy: 140 OPS+ from 1980-87 (ages 24-31), 5 gold gloves in CF, back to back MVPs. (Not that he necessarily should have been MVP in 1987, but his MVP-11 is a joke -- he had a better year than Dawson.)

That's a hell of a run.

He's got 14 points of OPS+ on Dawson during Dawson's best 8 year run, which basically overlaps.

Selective (best) endpoints on Rice '77-'86, OPS+ of 135, with brutal defense. Murphy was better than Rice and it's barely worthy of conversation.

Rickey '81-'90 (best endpoints): 142 OPS+.

Murphy should be getting more HOF play than he is.
   27. John Northey Posted: December 11, 2012 at 10:02 PM (#4322476)
Nice to see a HOF voter share on this group. I don't agree with all his choices, but when you get a crazy situation like this year I think few will have the same ballot. I'd leave off Morris and Sosa, maybe Palmeiro while adding Schilling, Walker, and maybe McGriff (saw his first HR at old Exhibition Stadium and always cheered him on...would hate to see him cut from the ballot).
   28. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 11, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4322514)
#21 is a pretty good ballot

Agreed, and thanks very much to T.R. Sullivan for sharing it along with his thought process.

We've debated Jack Morris endlessly here and I would agree with the majority that he's not a Hall-of-Famer -- hoever, his election wouldn't bother me one bit. (Lifelong Tiger fan; big fan of Morris as a child.) The rest of his ballot seems eminently defensible for someone who would apparently like to vote for 13-14 guys, but can't.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:18 AM (#4322595)
Since you're here...

Nice work on the Vet's Committee T.R.
   30. Repoz Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:28 AM (#4322602)
Thanks a bunch, T.R.!
   31. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:39 AM (#4322607)
But murphy's peak isn't comparable to Koufax's, and Koufax is a special case because his career ended suddenly in the middle of his peak.


Bah, I hate this line of reasoning. It's the kind of nonsense that leads to things like Puckett in the HOF. Murphy suffered a career destroying injury, just the same as Koufax. He didn't quit, but tried to play through it. However, he wasn't the same. The reality is that he had a down 1988 at 32, had to have knee surgery in the off-season and then did nothing for the rest of his career. Is he supposed to somehow have been a better candidate if the knee injury had forced him to retire right then and there? Of course not; that's absurd.

Both Murphy and Koufax had their careers ruined by injury. Koufax is in and Murphy is not because Koufax was better, not because one deserve "early retirement credit."
   32. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:27 AM (#4322652)
Thanks, TR:

1. Jeff Bagwell
2. Craig Biggio
3. Barry Bonds
4. Roger Clemens
5. Jack Morris
6. Rafael Palmeiro
7. Mike Piazza
8. Tim Raines
9. Sammy Sosa
10. Alan Trammell


Agree with all except Morris.

   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:28 AM (#4322653)
I agree with the thrust of SugarBear's #26. Murphy is a much better HOF candidate than he's given credit for.
   34. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:43 AM (#4322660)
I think Murphy looks bad in WAR, but a lot of that is due to his defense getting dinged. I'm not sure how accurate that is; I mean, when he started having knee problems and had to move from CF to RF, he goes from -20 (while winning gold gloves) to +10 (while playing on bum knees). It's hard for me to buy that his body let him down enough that he had to move off position, but then he also improved by 3 wins on defense at the same time. Yeah, he should do better in RF, but the position adjustment is only 7 runs or so. I think there is something wonky going on.

I think you have to take the only iterations of WAR with a pretty big grain of salt because the D numbers just aren't sound enough. Murphy's case looks a lot better if you assume his gold gloves are legit and give him appropriate dWAR during those years. That's be generous, of course, but the case could be made.
   35. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:01 AM (#4322691)
"Passion for Cooperstown"? NOT.

My only passion for Cooperstown would be for them to require all HOF voters to both be statistically competent and to abide by the printed selection criteria. Barring that, to Hell with it.
   36. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:02 AM (#4322692)
And I fully agree with Murphy: no roiders in the HOF. If you allow that, the whole concept becomes meaningless.
   37. vivaelpujols Posted: December 12, 2012 at 05:08 AM (#4322711)
Yeah TR's ballot would be excellent if he switched Morris for Schiling. By WAR, it's not even close as Schilling is at 77 and Morris is at 39. Schilling has a career ERA .40 points lower than Morris in 600 fewer innings. Morris has more wins but Schilling has a better W%. Schilling of course also has 3000 strikeouts and 700 walks, which is top 5 all time.

I suppose this is part of the strategic voting, where he wants to try to get Morris in on his last year of eligability. I'd agree with that if I thought Morris was actually a HOFer ;).

But Bonds and Clemens makes this a really good ballot
   38. vivaelpujols Posted: December 12, 2012 at 05:09 AM (#4322712)
35. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:01 AM (#4322691)
"Passion for Cooperstown"? NOT.

My only passion for Cooperstown would be for them to require all HOF voters to both be statistically competent and to abide by the printed selection criteria. Barring that, to Hell with it.
36. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:02 AM (#4322692)
And I fully agree with Murphy: no roiders in the HOF. If you allow that, the whole concept becomes meaningless.


LOLWUT
   39. Tippecanoe Posted: December 12, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4322767)
YMMV and all, but it's virtually irrelevant how many average season an HOFer puts together


This is not how the voters think, though.

Murphy through age 32 is very comparable to Dave Winfield, but with MVPs. After age 32, Winfield adds 5500 PA and 16 WAR, Murphy zilch. As a result, Winfield reaches a bunch of milestones, Murphy no. If Murphy could have had three-quarters of Winfield's tail, he'd have had 460-480 non-sillyball homers, almost 1500 RBI, and two MVPs; he would have been in 10 years ago.
   40. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 12, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4322777)
This is not how the voters think, though.

And I don't think the voters are wrong. Average seasons have a lot of value, and a player who has 6-8 excellent seasons and 6-8 average seasons is a lot more valuable and a more worthy HOFer than a player with just the peak.

Bah, I hate this line of reasoning. It's the kind of nonsense that leads to things like Puckett in the HOF. Murphy suffered a career destroying injury, just the same as Koufax. He didn't quit, but tried to play through it. However, he wasn't the same. The reality is that he had a down 1988 at 32, had to have knee surgery in the off-season and then did nothing for the rest of his career. Is he supposed to somehow have been a better candidate if the knee injury had forced him to retire right then and there? Of course not; that's absurd.

Both Murphy and Koufax had their careers ruined by injury. Koufax is in and Murphy is not because Koufax was better, not because one deserve "early retirement credit."


I don't really disagree with you, and you're right that Koufax is in *mostly* because he was better than Murphy. But I meant that he's a "special case" from the writers' perspective. I'm sure the writers gave him some extra credit because he had a compelling story, just like Puckett.
   41. bachslunch Posted: December 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4322799)
Will pile on and say I too like T.R.'s HoF ballot except for Morris. I'd likely have picked McGwire or Edgar M. instead of Morris.

But credit where it's due (and a lot of it), and T.R., thanks for sharing.
   42. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4322803)
I am certainly not going to complain about Sullivan's ballot. If he'd put Morris on and left Trammell off I'd complain loudly, but I have no problem with the package deal.
   43. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4322832)
Winfield prime OPS+ (1974 to 1984, best endpoints): 143.
   44. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4322837)
Looking at the JAWS CF leaderboard, and sorting on WAR7, Murphy is still only 18th among CF. Behind Andre Dawson, Jim Edmonds, Carlos Beltran, and Cesar Cedeno. In front of Vada Pinson, Larry Doby, Willie Davis and Fred Lynn.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/jaws_CF.shtml
   45. alilisd Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4322840)
Thank you Mr. Sullivan! I cannot see putting Morris on while leaving Schilling off, but I really appreciate your care an concern for the process!
   46. dlf Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4322847)
Thanks for sharing TR
   47. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4322856)
Winfield prime OPS+ (1974 to 1984, best endpoints): 143.


Winfield 1975-1984 (9 years) - 38.7 WAR

Murphy 1980-1988 (9 years) - 42.8 WAR.

Murphy adds literally nothing outside of those 8 years, -0.2 WAR. Winfield adds a bunch, but aside form a 5.2, it's nothing to get excited about in any one season: 3.8, 3.2, 2.8, 2.6, 1.9, 1.5, ...

Winfield had Murphy's prime*, and then a bunch of average to slightly above average seasons, and sailed into the Hall in his first go.

*Put the 5.2 WAR from 1988 into prime, and you have Winfield at 43.9 over 10 years to Murphy's 42.8 over 9.
   48. dlf Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4322874)
Over on the HoM ballot using the HoF rules, I am currently one of the few (only?) posters who has voted for Murphy. My reasoning is: (a) strategic -- the next most qualified that I left off is either Schilling or Palmeiro and I expected both to have much more support than Murphy and to be on many future ballots when I could vote for them (b) a non-WAR evaluation of defense weighing gold gloves more than a non-PBP defensive metric (c) a preference to what the HoM voters call prime over career and (d) more than a bit of fanboyism, having moved to TBSville in 1980 as an impressionable 13 year old.
   49. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4322889)
What has the HOM done with Nomar? His career was almost identical to Murphy's. (same with Mattingly)
   50. dlf Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4322915)
#49 -- he's not yet eligible having only retired 3 years ago.
   51. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4322931)
Wow. I feel like Nomar retired about 10 years ago.
   52. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4322971)
If every voter gave a detailed explanation of their process like T.R.S. did in #21, including mentioning their biases (Rangers) and their regrets (Schilling/McGriff), I think it would improve things immensely.
   53. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4322980)
Looking at the JAWS CF leaderboard, and sorting on WAR7, Murphy is still only 18th among CF. Behind Andre Dawson, Jim Edmonds, Carlos Beltran, and Cesar Cedeno. In front of Vada Pinson, Larry Doby, Willie Davis and Fred Lynn.


Of course, though, those numbers are held down by the fact that in his prime while he was winning gold gloves, TZ has him repeatedly verging on -20 defense. I'm not sure I buy that, and again the older defensive data aren't as reliable (and Murphy's in particular are bizarre, since his numbers are way higher after he lost his knees). If you believe he was actually a good defender and credit him at something conservative like +5 in each of his gold glove years, then he would shoot up to 8th on the WAR7 list, after Snider and before Jones.

Now, clearly that's generous to Murphy, and plenty of people have won GGs without deserving them, but it's at least a plausible narrative.
   54. dlf Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4322994)
#52 -- Nah. TR is a special case in that he actually thought about his ballot. We have plenty of people explaining their processes but clearly showing broken logic and factual lapses. See, for example, the Hot Topics thread about Mr. Hickey's ballot where he complains that Pete Rose was considered and passed over 15 times. Most of the BBWAA voters can give a detailed explanation; few can show such a thoughful process as did Mr. Sullivan. And I'm thrilled that TR thinks it through and is willing to share with this motley group of Primates.

#51 -- Perhaps its my age, but to me it seems like just yesterday that he won the ROY. I can't believe he's already retired.
   55. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4323016)
Of course, though, those numbers are held down by the fact that in his prime while he was winning gold gloves, TZ has him repeatedly verging on -20 defense. I'm not sure I buy that, and again the older defensive data aren't as reliable (and Murphy's in particular are bizarre, since his numbers are way higher after he lost his knees). If you believe he was actually a good defender and credit him at something conservative like +5 in each of his gold glove years, then he would shoot up to 8th on the WAR7 list, after Snider and before Jones.

Giving him "good" defensive numbers is a stretch. If you just remove his defensive WAR, he only moves up a spot or two on the WAR7 list.

Given that his candidacy is built on peak, and then we have to massage the numbers to make his peak look good, tends to support that he doesn't belong in the HOF.
   56. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4323084)
This ballot is full of problematic people who have very strong cases. Edgar has the DH thing and the low playing time and the trapped-in-the-minors story. Larry Walker has Coors Field and the injuries. Palmeiro and McGwire have PEDs, and both of them and Bagwell have the problem of playing at a time with about a billion 1B types who could hit. Lee Smith had the ridiculously low IP totals. Kenny Lofton has the problem that he was never thought of as a Hall of Famer during his career. Sosa has the problem of just having an entirely unprescedented career. Even Biggio (and Bagwell) has the problem of spending half his career in the Astrodome and half of it in a bandbox. Most of these guys have the sillyball era. Edgar and Larry Walker especially are guys that require and ton of adjustments and caveats, and so are probably badly overvalued by a lot of people and badly undervalued by everyone else.

Add to this the problem that there are 20 guys on the ballot who deserve and/or will recieve a lot of close attention. This will mean a lot of voters leaving off people they might like to vote for, and also the distortions of strategic voting -- "If I don't vote for McGriff he might fall off the ballot, so I'll leave off Sosa even though I think he deserves it more." I can't imagine there has ever been a ballot on which I would feel less confident about my vote.
   57. alilisd Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4323139)
Dale Murphy: 140 OPS+ from 1980-87 (ages 24-31), 5 gold gloves in CF, back to back MVPs. (Not that he necessarily should have been MVP in 1987, but his MVP-11 is a joke -- he had a better year than Dawson.)


Gold Gloves? Very weak. MVP's, you already pointed out the flaw in them. 140 OPS+ over an 8 year prime? Meh. Even during your handpicked time period it was 8th in baseball and he was 7th in WAR for the same period. I guess it's not bad, but if you look at era, rather than solely his prime, you start to see so many other OF who are more representative of the HOF than Murphy.

He's got 14 points of OPS+ on Dawson during Dawson's best 8 year run, which basically overlaps.

Selective (best) endpoints on Rice '77-'86, OPS+ of 135, with brutal defense. Murphy was better than Rice and it's barely worthy of conversation.

Rickey '81-'90 (best endpoints): 142 OPS+.

Murphy should be getting more HOF play than he is.


And this is the issue. To make him look even somewhat reasonable you have to compare him to two borderline, at best, candidates. But really comparing him to Henderson is absurd.
   58. DanG Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4323140)
Add to this the problem that there are 20 guys on the ballot who deserve and/or will recieve a lot of close attention.
Why is there a 10-name limit? Is there any rational reason for having this rule?
   59. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4323157)
Why is there a 10-name limit? Is there any rational reason for having this rule?


It probably seemed logical when there were 16 teams and the history of the game was much shorter. After the first couple of inductions there wasn't a likelihood that there would be ten worthwhile players. That has changed over the years with expansion and many more decades of the game.

I think it has virtually no impact. Voters are voting for fewer candidates each year. I have never seen any report but the math suggests that the number of people maxing out the ballot is so low as to be meaningless.
   60. SoSH U at work Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4323170)

I think it has virtually no impact. Voters are voting for fewer candidates each year. I have never seen any report but the math suggests that the number of people maxing out the ballot is so low as to be meaningless.


Actually, this might be the first time ever where the ballot limit could keep a player from enshrinement. It's possible that Morris (or Biggio) could get squeezed off a handful of full ballots and keep them from their appointed 75 percent.

But until now, I doubt it's ever directly kept a guy from getting elected, and probably not indirectly either.

   61. Ron J2 Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4323196)
#57 Dale Stephenson started his peak lists because he realized that Murphy's case was essentially pure peak and he wanted to assess how Murphy stood. (He was a Braves fan but wanted a real underastanding of the issue)

The answer is basically tied with Cesar Cedeno as the 11th best. Well behind Jimmy Wynn.

It's not a compelling case since he has so little value outside of his peak.
   62. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4323278)
Looking at the JAWS CF leaderboard, and sorting on WAR7, Murphy is still only 18th among CF. Behind Andre Dawson, Jim Edmonds, Carlos Beltran, and Cesar Cedeno.


Right. Supposing he were average on D during his prime, that would net him about a win and a half and put him about even with Beltran. That squares with my impression that he's a "no"if his D was indeed terrible, and that to get to a "maybe" he needs the case that his defense was at least average during his prime.
   63. cardsfanboy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4323314)
I think it has virtually no impact. Voters are voting for fewer candidates each year. I have never seen any report but the math suggests that the number of people maxing out the ballot is so low as to be meaningless.


You need to read Dag Nabbit's series on the hof (if you haven't already) and it basically does agree with that premise.
   64. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4323454)
cardsfanboy - history doesn't matter here. This ballot's depth is unprecedented since they slogged through the initial 60 years of eligibles in the 1930s and early 1940s. This year the 10-rule is definitely important. It's also a function of this ballot having 7 guys who have already been elected to the Hall of Merit (which agrees with 75% of the Hall of Fame - meaning several of those guys will be in the Hall of Fame eventually), plus 6 more who will likely be in the Hall of Fame at some point once everyone gets over the steroid business. This doesn't count several strong borderline candidates like Mattingly, McGriff, Murphy, Morris, Bernie.

The big issue from this year's ballot will be the players who miss the 5% threshold dropping off. I don't think it will matter for eventual election of the big guns, but several good candidates are going to miss 5% this year unless I'm completely misjudging it.
   65. Rob_Wood Posted: December 12, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4323457)
Good point Joe.
   66. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:26 PM (#4323560)
Given that his candidacy is built on peak, and then we have to massage the numbers to make his peak look good, tends to support that he doesn't belong in the HOF.


I don't really think it is about massaging the numbers. I was just giving them to flesh out the premise. The point is that his peak candidacy is all about defense. If you think he was a plus CF (which many people thought at the time, and presumable any booster still does), then he's got an above average HOF peak. If you think that he was average or below, then he's just another next-tier guy.

I'm not saying we should just go "Gold Gloves = plus every year," but I do think people are assuming that historical Rfield numbers are much more reliable than they really are (and this doesn't just apply to Murphy). Do you really think Murphy had more defensive value as a no-knee RF than when he was winning GGs in CF?
   67. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:43 PM (#4323567)
Right. Supposing he were average on D during his prime, that would net him about a win and a half and put him about even with Beltran.


I think you are underselling that a bit. Murphy won 5 straight GGs from 82-86. His Rfield for those years is -43. Giving him 0 to put him at average, that's ~4 wins. Tacking on 4 wins to his WAR7 puts him around Richie Ashburn at 9 or 10.

Again, mostly just playing devil's advocate, and I'm not saying that you have to accept all that as fact; but if you assume he had average defense during those years, he's got a very good peak. If you think he deserved those gold gloves (which, again, I'm assuming any Murphy booster does), he's got a great peak.
   68. Lassus Posted: December 12, 2012 at 11:53 PM (#4323571)
Murphy is a much better HOF candidate than he's given credit for.

He can still be much better than he's given credit for, and then still not really be close.
   69. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4323581)
I think you are underselling that a bit. Murphy won 5 straight GGs from 82-86. His Rfield for those years is -43. Giving him 0 to put him at average, that's ~4 wins. Tacking on 4 wins to his WAR7 puts him around Richie Ashburn at 9 or 10.

This overstates it a bit in the other direction.

On BB-Ref, his top 7 oWAR years are, in descending order, '85, '83, '87, '84, '82, '80, '86. His RField for those years is -19. Average-fielding Murphy's WAR7 would go up by about 2. Your -43 excludes his '80 and '87 seasons, but doing that would cost him offensively in oWAR (how much depends on which years you substitute). The point is, you're zeroing out the negative RField seasons and keeping positive ones, which would correspond to Murphy being an *above*-average fielder during his top 7 seasons.
   70. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 13, 2012 at 01:08 AM (#4323600)
It is average seasons, not above average, that he lacks.


"I made enough birdies to win. I just didn't make enough pars." Wish I could remember who said that and which tournament he'd just lost.
   71. DanG Posted: December 13, 2012 at 02:16 AM (#4323622)
the number of people maxing out the ballot is so low as to be meaningless.
Not meaningless. I believe that raising (or eliminating) the ten-man limit would have a real impact on the results over the next few crowded-ballot elections.

Suppose they go conservative and raise it only to 15. This would have a couple of immediate psychological effects on the electorate:

--Raising the limit sends the clear message that voters should be voting for more players.
--A "high standards" voter can still feel that their ballot is staying "exclusive" even if they put 12 names down, because they're not maxing it out.

As Joe said, "several good candidates are going to miss 5%" if the limit stays at ten.

You can say that the ten-man limit "has virtually no impact" - until it does. It's one of those old, anachronistic laws that sits on the books until general awareness is made of its potentially pernicious effects. The time is nigh; Ms. Forbes Clark, tear down this wall.
   72. dlf Posted: December 13, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4323656)
Your -43 excludes his '80 and '87 seasons ...


1987 was Murphy's first year as a Right Fielder. In 1986, he was a gold glove winning CF, but has a -17 on BRef's RField and had been -21 in '85 when he also won a GG. In 1987 as a RF rather than CF, his RField was +11 (with a -7 positional adjustment). I can't recall anything in Murphy's particular skill-set that would have made him uniquely well situated to play RF rather than CF. The latter score, combined with the reputational record, makes me question the former.

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