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Saturday, September 01, 2012

Dan Holmes: The five worst players in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Jack Morris twirls his poliosised mustache, evilly rubs hands, and allows yet another earned run in just for funzies.

Jesse Haines, Pitcher

Surely the least talented and accomplished pitcher in the Hall of Fame. Haines had the fortune of playing with Frisch for 11 years and playing under him for five. That association helped grease the wheels for Jesse’s election to the HOF in 1970 by the Vet Committee. This despite the fact that the right-hander pitched 19 years in the National League and led the league in exactly three categories: games pitched in 1920, and complete games and shutouts in 1927. In all those years he received MVP votes in only one season, and even then he was 8th in balloting. Haines was never one of the marguee pichers in the game, or even on his own team much of his career. The Cardinals went to the World Series three times with Haines as a part of their rotation, and he never once started Game One of the Fall Classic, in fact he was usually the third pitcher in their rotation. Haines did pitch well in the post-season, but he was not a great pitcher. He pitched for a very long time and was part of four pennant-winning clubs, but he won more than 13 games only four times in his 19 seasons. His 3.64 ERA is the highest of any starting pitcher in Cooperstown.

Herb Pennock, Pitcher

For more than a decade, Pennock was a mediocre pitcher (77-72, 3.72 ERA in mostly the Deadball Era). Then when he was 29 years old he was dealt to the Yankees and he started to win games, which isn’t hard to understand considering Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were his teammates. Pennock didn’t even really win that much for a Yankee pitcher in the 1920s and 1930s – he averaged 14 victories per season with the Bombers. His ERA was good in only five of his seasons with New York, otherwise it was higher than league average. He was 5-0 in World Series games, so he has that going for him. But the lefty had a career 3.60 ERA (about 5% better than league average), gave up a ton of hits, and didn’t strike out many batters at all (three per nine innings – an abysmal mark even for that era). He was a slightly better than average pitcher who had the fortune of being on great Yankee teams. He was nowhere near as good a pitcher as say, David Cone or David Wells or Kevin Brown or Andy Pettitte. Or to take a few from his era: Wes Ferrell, Tommy Bridges, Charlie Root, or Ray Kremer. And none of those gentlemen are in the Hall of Fame.

Repoz Posted: September 01, 2012 at 08:54 AM | 74 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4224330)
Something that totally confuses me in this article is when he talks about Joe Tinker's defense, " So, as a shortstop maybe he was a dazzling fielder in the mold of Ozzie Smith, right? Wrong. Tinker was a clod-footed infielder whose poor defensive play was one of the reasons he and Evers hardly spoke."

Oddly enough, fangraphs and BR agree on the defense of both Smith and Tinker, giving Smith credit for 239 runs saved above average with his glove, and Tinker with 180 runs saved above average. Yeah, Joe isn't the Wizard of Oz with his glove, but then who is? 180 runs better than average is no where near being a "clod-footed infielder" known for his poor defensive play. I'd always gathered that the main reason that he and Evers hardly spoke was that Evers was pretty much impossible to get along with.
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4224333)
I only wish that Tinker/Evers/Chance could have gone in as an entry, since virtually nobody who's heard of one of them hasn't heard of the other two. There's a decent statistical case to be made against Tinker and probably Chance, but this isn't the Hall of Merit.
   3. AROM Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4224334)
Not odd at all, both bbref and Fangraphs are using the same data I provided for defensive ratings more than about 10 years old. The writer is completely wrong on Tinker. He was a great defensive shortstop, and a key part of a great defensive team. The reason those Cub teams were so good was primarily that their defensive efficiency was head and shoulders better than everyone else.
   4. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 01, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4224343)
The 1906 Cubs have the greatest team defensive efficiency mark ever. By any system/metric I've ever seen, Tinker comes off as a great fielding shortstop. He and Evers didn't talk because the two of them (especially Evers) were prickly personalities.
   5. Don Malcolm Posted: September 01, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4224353)
Most defensive analysis schemes I've seen since Charlie Saeger (the forgotten man of that "revolution"...) have ranked Tinker high in their upper echelons.

That whole section is just off--he calls it the "power of prose" when it was the poem that has remained with us, he calls Franklin Pierce Adams "Pierce", and in general sells a man famous enough in his time to be well-known by his initials (F.P.A.) just a tiny bit short. Writers appearing in Adams' column "The Conning Tower" were getting the best possible career launch available at the time--Dorothy Parker once gratefully noted Adams' influence on her success: "He raised me from a couplet."

This is a tired rehash of information that most of us have known about since the first edition of James's Historical Baseball Abstract.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4224384)
um, ray schalk? hello?
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4224397)
um, ray schalk? hello?

Isn't he in basically for being one of the clean "Black Sox"?
   8. BDC Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4224403)
Not that these guys are the inner circle of anything, but there's a touch of "In My Day, Ballplayers Were for ####" about the tone of this piece that's unfortunate.

I rambled through B-Ref PI trying to find the most similar recent/contemporary players to these "Worst Five."

Joe Tinker's might be Rafael Furcal: decent major-league hitter, very good offense for a shortstop; Tinker's glove would be better, but Furcal's has kept him in the league as he declines offensively. Similar career length so far.

As a hitter, and in terms of career length, Eric Chavez is currently a nice comp for Lindstrom. Edgardo Alfonso would be closer as a defensive player, and eerily had exactly as many career PA as Lindstrom. Fine players, briefly looked to be top stars, didn't reach where they were headed.

Chick Hafey is not unlike Kevin Mitchell. Some weaknesses as a player, and a short career, but a seriously excellent hitter for a while. (TFA does acknowledge that Hafey was good, but calls him "selfish"; I don't know why.)

In terms of career IP and ERA+, Haines is very close to Orel Hershiser. Hershiser was better for longer at his peak (though Haines was outstanding for a year or two). So maybe Haines is closer to recent pitchers like Javier Vazquez and Kevin Millwood; his career is also sort of like those of Mark Langston and Frank Viola, from earlier on. In other words, a star at best, and around for quite a while as a useful rotation guy (Haines threw a lot of relief innings).

Herb Pennock's career is extremely close to those of Kenny Rogers and David Wells, in terms of ERA+ and IP. And all were left-handed. I'll go with the one who had more success in New York. Pennock was slimmer than Wells, but who isn't.

In other words, they aren't similar to any recent players with very good HOF cases, but they are similar to some pretty #### good baseball players. Enough of this "abysmal" and "miserable" rhetoric!

   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4224415)
snapper

correct
   10. jingoist Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4224425)
I dont think the audience for the authors article is the BTF crowd.
"Been there; seen that" is the groupthink response to these type of screeds.
He identifies five unworthies that the good folks at HoM have correctly analyzed and found lacking.
Strong cases can and have been made for the exclusion of many others.
As I recall the Frisch lead old-timers selections were/are a driving force in the HoM exercise as for the most part the writers got it right.
   11. BDC Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4224428)
As for Schalk, there haven't been a whole lot of recent catcher careers much like his. He was not as good a hitter as Jim Sundberg, and not as bad a hitter as Brad Ausmus. He was closer to Tony Peña Sr., and his career was shorter than any of theirs (which has a lot to do with the equipment and sports medicine of Schalk's day, naturally). He's about in their league in terms of defensive reputation, maybe not quite as good as Sundberg. Another pretty valuable player whose contemporary comps are not close to the Hall.
   12. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4224454)
So High Pockets didn't make the Top 5? Huh. In any case these guys were all pretty good players, even if they aren't HOF level people. The more interesting article would be on who are the five best players not in the HOF.
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4224463)
So High Pockets didn't make the Top 5? Huh. In any case these guys were all pretty good players, even if they aren't HOF level people. The more interesting article would be on who are the five best players not in the HOF.


I think those articles have been done a lot more frequently recently. These type of articles, worse ever in the hof, used to be more common, but I think with the growth of the popularity of war, that they have died down, as War is a great tool for presenting it, and it mostly just became "lowest war totals" of players in the hof.


Mind you, I'm a sucker for all hof articles, so the more there are, the happier I am.
   14. AROM Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4224470)
For a long time Ron Santo was generally regarded as the best player not in. I first encountered that opinion in the early 80's, might have been made by Bill James. Since then others have probably matched him, and then you've got Bagwell who's better.

But if last year came down to Raines or Santo, I could make the call to put one in but not the other, I would have picked Santo since he's waited so long. Though maybe not, since it went a little too long for Santo's benefit. Raines would at least have been able to give a speech.

Next year the 5 best players not in the hall will just be a list of Roiders and suspected Roiders.
   15. OCF Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4224473)
In terms of career IP and ERA+, Haines is very close to Orel Hershiser. Hershiser was better for longer at his peak (though Haines was outstanding for a year or two). So maybe Haines is closer to recent pitchers like Javier Vazquez and Kevin Millwood; his career is also sort of like those of Mark Langston and Frank Viola, from earlier on. In other words, a star at best, and around for quite a while as a useful rotation guy (Haines threw a lot of relief innings).

What I always did for HoM candidate pitchers was determine a yearly equivalent record from RA+ and IP, and then add up the yearly totals to get a career. I have Hershiser at 191-157 and Haines at 193-163. So the comparison is fair, but I think Hershiser was a little better, and Hershiser's best years were better. I've got VIola at 177-138 which is very close to the same value, and Langston at 178-151 which is a little lower. Another pitcher in that territory: Dwight Gooden at 174-137, although Gooden's top season is something none of these other pitchers could approach. If Dennis Eckersley had retired rather than becoming a reliever, his equivalent record as a starter would be 166-124. That's also in the same range of value.

But if you're going to bag on Haines, what about Catfish Hunter? I have his RA+ equivalent record as 206-178. That's a little more bulk than Haines, but it isn't really any more valuable.

I only wish that Tinker/Evers/Chance could have gone in as an entry, since virtually nobody who's heard of one of them hasn't heard of the other two. There's a decent statistical case to be made against Tinker and probably Chance, but this isn't the Hall of Merit.

The best Hall of Merit case there is Chance. Chance was a great player when he was in the lineup, arguably the best first basemen between the "ABC" sluggers of the 1880's and the emergence of Gehrig/Foxx/Greenberg. (Yes, there was Sisler. That's an argument.) The knock on Chance was his lack of in-season durability and his consequent low number of career games played. Chance still appears on HoM ballots even now. (And the HoM is considering him only as a player, giving him no credit for managing.) I briefly had each of Tinker and Evers on the lower parts of my HoM ballots, but didn't keep them there in the long run. If there's an offense that the HoF committed here, it's not so much that they elected Tinker as it is that they overlooked Davis and Dahlen. (They got back to Davis many years later, in a friendly-to-history time. They still haven't gotten to Dahlen.)

Herb Pennock's career is extremely close to those of Kenny Rogers and David Wells, in terms of ERA+ and IP. And all were left-handed. I'll go with the one who had more success in New York. Pennock was slimmer than Wells, but who isn't.

RA+ equivalent record for Pennock: 216-181. I haven't worked up Rogers and Wells yet - maybe I should. I'll take that as a little better than Haines/Hershiser. Some other records in the same neighborhood as Pennock's: Jack Morris 226-199 (uh-oh), Dennis Martinez 231-203, Chuck Finley 199-156, Frank Tanana 245-220.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4224474)
But if last year came down to Raines or Santo, I could make the call to put one in but not the other, I would have picked Santo since he's waited so long. Though maybe not, since it went a little too long for Santo's benefit. Raines would at least have been able to give a speech.


I would have gone Santo all the way, Raines is just above the line among corner outfielders and is getting a saber bump that potentially overrates him, but Santo is well ahead of the standards established for third baseman.

Next year the 5 best players not in the hall will just be a list of Roiders and suspected Roiders.


That is of course going to change the tone of the articles. I think when that happens, I'm going to go by "best player not in the hof, who has been eligible for over 5 years" just so I can avoid those discussions. I'm a hof argument type of guy, but I honestly don't care one little bit if they used roids, and just don't want to continue rehashing the discussions.
   17. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4224489)
I was always confused by the Rick Ferrell selection. I thought maybe the Veterans Committee wanted to elect WES Ferrell and something went wrong in the copyediting.

But I see Rick did make it to 7 All-Star Games, he had a career .378 OBP, and I presume he good defensively. (He has a few great CS% seasons, and he played catcher — and never any position but catcher — until he was 41.) So maybe he was well regarded in his era.

Still... I dunno. A 95 OPS+, 1692 career hits, and 28(!) career home runs doesn't scream "induction." In the BBWAA vote, he got ONE vote in 1956, 1958 and 1960 (probably the same voter each time). That's it.
   18. bjhanke Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4224500)
It's not a good list. Rube Marquard, Tommy McCarthy, Kelly, and Schalk are all probably worse than any of the five. Well, maybe Lindstrom. McCarthy, if my sources are right, was elected more for inventing the hit and run than anything else. Whether he did invent the play, I don't know. And the author seems to be channelling Bill James' comments on Frank Frisch and the Vets committee. Those comments are accurate, but if you're going to use them, you should probably look at Bill's rankings before you put out a list. And all my sources do agree that Joe Tinker was a quality glove at shortstop.

One thing to be said about those Frisch selections, especially the ones from the Cardinals: There is an assumption that, if a franchise wins a lot of pennants in few years, then they must have a core of two or three Hall of Famers that cover the whole winning span and are the driving forces. The problem is that the Cardinals of 1926-34 don't really have those guys. They had Branch Rickey's first farm system, and won largely with depth and rental stars. The real Famers that appeared for them were Hornsby, Frisch himself, Burleigh Grimes, Dizzy Dean, and Pete Alexander. But none of those guys was there for the whole run. The only guys who were were Haines, Hafey, and Jim Bottomly, who is a borderline Hall candidate, but not the anchor of a pennant machine lineup. My belief is that Frisch exploited the notion that there had to be a cadre at the center of the Cards of that time to push the candidacies of those three. - Brock Hanke
   19. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4224501)
Next year the 5 best players not in the hall will just be a list of Roiders and suspected Roiders.


And Dick Allen...
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4224503)
I was always confused by the Rick Ferrell selection. I thought maybe the Veterans Committee wanted to elect WES Ferrell and something went wrong in the copyediting.


I think that he is a perfectly acceptable selection, when he was eligible he had the 2nd most games caught ever at the position(12th now) 7 all star games is pretty impressive. With catchers there is an assumption that if they have been around for a while, that they are providing some type of value beyond their offense. In hindsight he isn't as good as his reputation as a player, but basically he was one of the best career candidates among catchers. Considering the poor job the bbwaa has done at selecting catchers, it's hard to hold their lack of votes for him against him.
   21. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 01, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4224509)
So let's take a team of the "worst" HOFers (not counting managers) -

C: Schalk or Ferrell
1b: George Kelly
2b: Maz
3b: Lindstrom
SS: Rizzuto or Maranville or Jackson
LF: Hafey
CF: L. Waner
RF: Youngs
P: Haines, with Sutter to finish up

One thing I notice (besides the obvious Frisch connections) is that this would be a hellacious defensive team.
But if you dropped them into a normal league they'd still be pretty bad, because they wouldn't score very many runs.
So there's a combination of the Frisch thing, and a tendency to defense right after the lively-ball era kicked in.
   22. Gamingboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4224518)
The five worst players in the Baseball Hall of Fame



Are still way better than you or me ever were at baseball.
   23. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4224572)
As I recall the Frisch lead old-timers selections were/are a driving force in the HoM exercise as for the most part the writers got it right.

Herb Pennock, one of the guys mentioned in the article, was voted in by the BBWAA. Probably their worst pick.

The best Hall of Merit case there is Chance. Chance was a great player when he was in the lineup, arguably the best first basemen between the "ABC" sluggers of the 1880's and the emergence of Gehrig/Foxx/Greenberg. (Yes, there was Sisler. That's an argument.)

And the argument for him gets even better if you decide to give him any credit for managing the Cubs through arguably the greatest run any team has ever had. (Most wins in a 1-year period, 2-year period, 3-year, 4-year, 5-year, etc -- happened on his was). There's a reason why they called him the Peerless Leader.

I was always confused by the Rick Ferrell selection. I thought maybe the Veterans Committee wanted to elect WES Ferrell and something went wrong in the copyediting.

They meant Rick. Everyone liked him. He was a good player, but mostly everyone liked him. It was a terrible pick. At least with Frisch's picks you had the era-inflated numbers.

It's not a good list. Rube Marquard, Tommy McCarthy, Kelly, and Schalk are all probably worse than any of the five. Well, maybe Lindstrom. McCarthy, if my sources are right, was elected more for inventing the hit and run than anything else.

I don't think it was even that well thought out. When the Old Timers Committee put guys in by the bushel in the 1940s, they had no encyclopedias or anything like that. And they didn't do any research that anyone can think of. McCarthy? He was part of that great 1890s Boston team. And he was paired up with Hugh Duffy in hazy memory. Duffy was a great guy and deserved to be in - McCarthy's the guy you think of right after Duffy. So put him in too - after all, it was a great team.
   24. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4224591)
not taking any worst HOFers list seriously if Jim Rice isn't on it.
   25. BDC Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4224596)
I'm not inclined to look at recent comps for Tommy McCarthy, because I probably won't like the results. I remember once noting that McCarthy was likely not at all as good as Rusty Greer. That might put him closer to David Murphy in the grand scheme of things. But heck, I love Greer and Murphy as much as the next Rangers fan :)
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4224597)
not taking any worst HOFers list seriously if Jim Rice isn't on it.


Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter....Just concentrating on the writer votes.
   27. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 01, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4224622)
Just concentrating on the writer votes.

And rightly so. 400 guys getting it wrong is always a bigger deal than 12 guys pushing an agenda. Everyone pretty much takes the "FRANKIE SAY" era of the Veterans Committee at the same face value as the 1887 batting title, or Armando Galarraga's one-hitter.
   28. Mefisto Posted: September 01, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4224635)
21 is unfair to Ross Youngs. He had (probably) HOF ability. It's the fact that he died young which makes him a bad choice.
   29. Sweatpants Posted: September 01, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4224639)
So let's take a team of the "worst" HOFers (not counting managers) -

C: Schalk or Ferrell
1b: George Kelly
2b: Maz
3b: Lindstrom
SS: Rizzuto or Maranville or Jackson
LF: Hafey
CF: L. Waner
RF: Youngs
P: Haines, with Sutter to finish up

One thing I notice (besides the obvious Frisch connections) is that this would be a hellacious defensive team.
But if you dropped them into a normal league they'd still be pretty bad, because they wouldn't score very many runs.
I don't think the offense would be that bad. Kelly (career OPS+ 109), Lindstrom (110), Hafey (133), and Youngs (130) were all good hitters. Waner, Ferrell, and Rizzuto each had an OBP above the league average. You're going to have two or three bad hitters, but most of the guys are going to be able to help you. Couple that with a staff of pitchers who are all above average, and you've got a pretty good team.
   30. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4224646)
I don't think the offense would be that bad. Kelly (career OPS+ 109), Lindstrom (110), Hafey (133), and Youngs (130) were all good hitters. Waner, Ferrell, and Rizzuto each had an OBP above the league average. You're going to have two or three bad hitters, but most of the guys are going to be able to help you. Couple that with a staff of pitchers who are all above average, and you've got a pretty good team.


Compare that team to the best team eligible but not in, and more than likely not going in (which is why I'm not including Bagwell on the following list as I think he goes in eventually)

C: Ted Simmons
1b: Mark McGwire(if you want a roid disqualifier go with Keith Hernandez)
2b: Grich (or Whittaker)
SS: Dahlen(or Trammell)
3b: Dick Allen (or Boyer, Bando, Bell or Evans)
LF: Raines
CF: Wynn
RF: Larry Walker
DH: Edgar.

P: Kevin Brown.
   31. valuearbitrageur Posted: September 01, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4224652)
Jack Morris
Jack Morris
Jack Morris
Jack Morris

Oh, am I early?
   32. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 01, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4224661)
But if you dropped them into a normal league they'd still be pretty bad, because they wouldn't score very many runs.


Echoing #29, if you put all of those players in their primes, fill out the pitching staff with Pennock, Hunter, and 1 or 2 others, compare them to the (99-win, world champion) 2005 White Sox. That team's a playoff contender and could certainly win the odd World Series. They're obviously not as good as the team in #30, though.
   33. Ebessan Posted: September 01, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4224679)
SS: Rizzuto or Maranville or Jackson

Jackson gets kind of an unfair rep. He had a really good peak, he just fell apart early. His comps through 27 include five HoM guys and Jeter, and another all-time great pre-30 crash in Fregosi.
   34. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 01, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4224680)
CF: L. Waner


Yeah, I don't see how Waner doesn't make a list of worst ever. A 99 OPS+ from an OF? Career high of 116? I don't care if he was Curt Flood's more talented brother on defense, that's nowhere near HOF, or even HOVG production.
   35. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 01, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4224687)
Yeah, I don't see how Waner doesn't make a list of worst ever. A 99 OPS+ from an OF? Career high of 116? I don't care if he was Curt Flood's more talented brother on defense, that's nowhere near HOF, or even HOVG production.


Following up:

The HOF was not kind to70's CF. Unless I'm missing somebody (and I probably am), no HOF CF but Willie Mays played in the 70's*, and he of course for just 3 years at the end of his career. The following CF have no chance at the HOF, and have a better WAR in the 70's than Lloyd Waner in his career:

Cesar Cedeno
Amos Otis
Garry Maddox
Al Oliver
Bobby Murcer
Fred Lynn
Mickey Rivers
Willie Davis
Bill North






*and Andre Dawson
   36. SOLockwood Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:11 PM (#4224695)
Basically, the HoF credentials of every 70s OF was being compared to Mays, Mantle, F Robinson, & Aaron and (not surprisingly) coming up short.
   37. AndrewJ Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:20 PM (#4224702)
Marquard lifetime was 24 games over .500 -- subtract the 19-game winning streak from his record and he won just five games more than he lost -- and his lifetime ERA+ was 103. Of the 10 pitchers with Similarity Scores closest to his, none are in the Hall. He was on the BBWAA ballot 13 times from 1936 to 1955 and never garnered more than 14% of the vote. The Veterans Committee elected him in 1971 (a mere 46 years after throwing his last major league pitch) as much for his being in The Glory of Their Times a few years earlier as for his pitching ability. I don't advocate putting Jack Morris in Cooperstown, but concede he was a better, more dominant pitcher than Rube.
   38. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4224703)
Jackson gets kind of an unfair rep. He had a really good peak, he just fell apart early.

So did Ross Youngs. Though Jackson had a longer peak, and was better overall.
Still, as somebody else pointed out, the worst HOFer was darn good at the baseballing.
   39. BDC Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4224704)
To follow on my train of thought (such as it is :) from upthread, a reasonably close comp to Lloyd Waner, among players within human memory, is Willie McGee. They're fairly close in OPS+ and career PAs. High but rather "empty" batting average, defense probably not as good as their reputation, good speed. Each led the NL in hits in his fourth full season (but never before or after). Long, peripatetic decline. Overrated by MVP voters: though obviously, again, good players in their prime.
   40. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:33 PM (#4224710)
Overrated by MVP voters: though obviously, again, good players in their prime.


Interestingly, Willie McGee only got MVP votes once in his career. But he won the award that year. That seems like something that'd be pretty rare.
   41. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:41 PM (#4224713)
To follow on my train of thought (such as it is :) from upthread, a reasonably close comp to Lloyd Waner, among players within human memory, is Willie McGee. They're fairly close in OPS+ and career PAs. High but rather "empty" batting average, defense probably not as good as their reputation, good speed. Each led the NL in hits in his fourth full season (but never before or after). Long, peripatetic decline. Overrated by MVP voters: though obviously, again, good players in their prime.


Non HOF CF from the 80's, with more WAR in the 80's than Waner in his career:

Dale Murphy
Chet Lemon
Willie Wilson
Dwayne Murphy
Brett Butler
Lloyd Moseby
Eric Davis

Willie McGee just misses with 21, but he adds another 10 in the 90's to be 9 ahead of Waner for career.
   42. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:46 PM (#4224715)
Non HOF CF from the 80's, with more WAR in the 80's than Waner in his career:


Al Bumbry actually just edges out Lloyd Waner in career WAR, 22.3 - 22.0, but splits it across both decades (1973 - 84). Bumbry is, of course, nobody's idea of a Hall-of-Famer (he might be a borderline guy for the Hall of Pretty Good (maybe more of a Hall of "Eh, he had his moments")), although following up on my #32, Al Bumbry was the starting CF for two pennant winners and one World Series winner (as well as a 100-win non-playoff team).
   43. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4224719)
Interestingly, Willie McGee only got MVP votes once in his career. But he won the award that year. That seems like something that'd be pretty rare.


Checking some obvious candidates:

Wille Hernandez
Jim Konstanty

honorable mention:

Roger Maris- 2 wins and 1 25th place.

   44. Sweatpants Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4224720)
Interestingly, Willie McGee only got MVP votes once in his career. But he won the award that year. That seems like something that'd be pretty rare.
That is interesting. I didn't check every MVP winner, but the only other guys who got votes only in their MVP year were Ken Caminiti and Willie Hernandez. I was surprised to see that Zoilo Versalles got some votes a couple of years before 1965.

Terry Pendleton got votes in only two seasons, but he ended up with a first-place finish and a second-place one. Hal Newhouser won the award twice, finished second in 1946, and finished ninth in the only onther year he got any votes.

Edit: That should say the only other guys I found.
   45.  Hey Gurl Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4224721)
But...Little Poison!

You guys should know that nicknames are worth about 200 HOF votes.
   46. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4224725)
That is interesting. I didn't check every MVP winner, but the only other guys who got votes only in their MVP year were Ken Caminiti and Willie Hernandez.


Wow. When skimming the list of MVP winners, I skipped over Cami because I know he had a few really good years around his MVP year, and was sure he got votes in them. I guess not.

1995 - 137 OPS+ GG 0 MVP votes
1996 - 174 OPS+ GG Unanimous MVP
1997 - 141 OPS+ GG 0 MVP votes

All seasons over 576 PA

I guess it is really all about the RBIs:

1995 - 94
1996 - 130
1997 - 90

   47. Walt Davis Posted: September 01, 2012 at 08:22 PM (#4224731)
Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter....Just concentrating on the writer votes.

And Perez and Puckett and Aparicio and Dizzy Dean and Dawson might round out the questionable writer inductions. (All of these guys except Rice and maybe Perez have a case.) And all the closers as far as I'm concerned but that's more a "philosophical" difference than anything -- i.e. if I was going to put short relievers in the HoF, I guess those would be the 3 I'd start with. Their list of unwarranted omissions is of similar length.

On the 70s/80s ... it's a double whammy. They followed a period of truly great hitters and pitchers and so had a high hurdle. But also, for whatever reason, the 70s and 80s just didn't produce a lot of truly great hitters and pitchers. Jack Morris was initially hurt by the fact that every ballot for a long time had a 300-game winner on it; now he benefits from the fact that he has a legit case for being the "best" starter for a 10-15 year period because everybody else just wasn't particularly good or got hurt. It seems that the voters always have difficulty assessing players during "transition" periods.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4224740)
And Perez and Puckett and Aparicio and Dizzy Dean and Dawson might round out the questionable writer inductions.


I used to bag on the Dean selection, but have been convinced that there is a slight justification for it. Intuitively to me, he's a poor choice, but since he's a Cardinal, I allow others to convince me he's not a bad choice. Dawson is justifiable in my opinion. Yes he didn't deserve his MVP, but he was a better player than Rice and is at least a borderline candidate(as much as one can be with a poor obp in an offense first position). I had just assumed Perez went in by the vets committee. I don't see how you can keep Aparicio out. You don't win ROY, make 10 all star teams, receive MVP votes in 9 seasons (2 of which he didn't make the all star team) and 9 gold gloves at shortstop, without being perceived as a hell of a player. No matter what the numbers say today, it's impossible to really say that Aparicio was a bad pick. Puckett is a special case, the writers more or less projected a normal decline onto his career and said that he is in. It's as if Dale Murphy would have quitted the game after 1987 for a medical reason. The writers would have intuitively projected a normal decline and said "that is a hofer"...

   49. AndrewJ Posted: September 01, 2012 at 08:41 PM (#4224743)
If we're talking about a Hall of Fame, Dizzy Dean was probably the most famous non-Yankee of the 1930s.
   50. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 08:46 PM (#4224749)
If we're talking about a Hall of Fame, Dizzy Dean was probably the most famous non-Yankee of the 1930s.


Yes, but I'm in the camp that the Hall of Fame confers fame, not recognizes it. It leads to a slippery slope that eventually results in put Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson or even Garth Brooks into the hof discussion. Or if you limit to major leaguers you have Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and John Rocker(who's more infamous than famous but two sides of the same coin) or around here Francouer for the HOF.
   51. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: September 01, 2012 at 08:49 PM (#4224753)
Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter....Just concentrating on the writer votes.

And Perez and Puckett and Aparicio and Dizzy Dean and Dawson might round out the questionable writer inductions.


I wrote a two part thing at THT in 2008 rating the BBWAA's HoF picks. They've done a good job. They've had trouble with relievers especially.

I can defend Puckett as a high-peak guy. Dawson I can defend given that centerfielders are historically underrated.
   52. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:11 PM (#4224772)
On the 70s/80s ... it's a double whammy. They followed a period of truly great hitters and pitchers and so had a high hurdle. But also, for whatever reason, the 70s and 80s just didn't produce a lot of truly great hitters and pitchers.


Well, let's look at this.

Legit HOFers (as in those who no doubt deserve it by most reasonable standards) who had the bulk of their value in the 70's and/or 80's:

C - Bench, Fisk, Carter
1B - Murray, Carew
2B - Morgan, Sandberg
SS - Ripken, Yount, Smith
3B - Schmidt, Brett, Boggs
OF - Dawson*, Jackson, Winfield, Henderson, Gwynn
UT - Molitor, Rose**
P - Seaver, Ryan, Palmer, Carlton, Niekro, Sutton, Blyleven

That's 27. A few guys may deserve entry but are not in: Grich, Trammell, Whitaker

Now, let's look at the 50's and 60's

C - Campy, Berra
1b - McCovey
2B - Robinson, Mathews
SS - Banks
3B - Robinson, Santo
OF - Yaz, Stargell, Clemente, Kaline, Aaron, Robinson, Mantle, Mays, Ashburn, Williams, Snider
UT - Killebrew
P - Ford, Marichal, Gibson, Wilhelm, Spahn, Roberts, Drysdale, Koufax

That's 28. Probably Dick Allen deserves to be in.

Seems pretty even to me. Obviously there's a lot of subjectivity: Who's a no doubt deserving HOFer, who belongs in a certain decade... I didn't mention Jenkins and Perry, as both bridge both eras almost equally. Maybe Jenkins belongs in the 70's/80's as much as yaz belongs in the 50's/60, but that's just nitpicking. Williams and Musial had a ton of value in the 50's, as Clemens did in the 80's. And of course, there were more teams in the 70's and 80's than the other era.



* the ultimate borderliner
** Yeah, I know. He certainly deserves it by his playing record, which is what we are looking at.
   53. AndrewJ Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:13 PM (#4224775)
Likewise, I can defend Diz as a high peak guy. Project him to have gone 100-100 until he was 40, he'd have finished 250-183.
   54. AROM Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:22 PM (#4224780)
"Are still way better than you or me ever were at baseball."

Big deal. You could say the same thing about the 5 worst players who only lasted one season on a last place club.
   55. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:28 PM (#4224786)
Next year the 5 best players not in the hall will just be a list of Roiders and suspected Roiders.


Why only next year? They had steroids when Santo was playing, and he certainly always seemed to be injecting himself with something...
   56. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4224788)
DH: Edgar.


DH: Vacant Because We're Playing Real Baseball

is better.
   57. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:35 PM (#4224794)
DH: Vacant Because We're Playing Real Baseball


The DH rule is 39 years old. Were they playing real baseball in 1959? In 1959, the spitball had been banned for 39 years. Were they playing real baseball in 1933? in 1933, the pitching rubber had been placed at 60'6" for 39 years.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4224800)
The DH rule is 39 years old. Were they playing real baseball in 1959? In 1959, the spitball had been banned for 39 years. Were they playing real baseball in 1933? in 1933, the pitching rubber had been placed at 60'6" for 39 years.


They may as well call it blernsball.

   59. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:03 PM (#4224857)
"Real baseball" is the kind of baseball they were playing when you were 12 years old. Everything since then has sucked. (Not just baseball, but the world in general. And you, too.)
   60. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:12 PM (#4224863)
"Real baseball" is the kind of baseball they were playing when you were 12 years old.

When I was 12 years old, the American League of the Senators, Orioles and KC A's was indeed "real" AAAA. You couldn't find 15 players on their combined rosters who could make the Major Leagues of today. My baseball nostalgia for my seventh grade year is strictly limited to memories of the Yankees and the Dodgers, and 75 cent lower deck seats in Griffith Stadium about 30 rows behind home plate.
   61. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:25 PM (#4224869)
The DH rule is 39 years old. Were they playing real baseball in 1959? In 1959, the spitball had been banned for 39 years. Were they playing real baseball in 1933? in 1933, the pitching rubber had been placed at 60'6" for 39 years.

The DH rule has been around for most of my life.
"My" team is an AL team.
I still think pitchers should bat. Starting tomorrow, if possible.
   62. AROM Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:50 PM (#4224878)
"Why only next year? They had steroids when Santo was playing, and he certainly always seemed to be injecting himself with something..."

He kept its secret during his playing days. But it was clearly a performance enhancer, as if he didn't take it he would have been dead.
   63. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 02, 2012 at 02:22 AM (#4224932)
Were they playing real baseball in 1959? In 1959, the spitball had been banned for 39 years.


Yes, that was real baseball.

Were they playing real baseball in 1933? in 1933, the pitching rubber had been placed at 60'6" for 39 years.


Yes, that was also real baseball.

Neither banning the spitball nor moving the pitching rubber were structural changes to the nature of the game, the way the DH is.
   64. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 02, 2012 at 02:24 AM (#4224933)
"Real baseball" is the kind of baseball they were playing when you were 12 years old.


They had the DH in the AL when I was 12. That doesn't mean it doesn't suck.
   65. God Posted: September 02, 2012 at 08:23 AM (#4224958)
Was Reese not listed in Post 52 because he doesn't quite fit the era, or because you didn't consider him a legit Hall of Famer?
   66. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 02, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4224980)
Was Reese not listed in Post 52 because he doesn't quite fit the era, or because you didn't consider him a legit Hall of Famer?


The former. By career value, he's split almost evenly, but he had better years in the 40's, and with war credit it's not close.
   67. bjhanke Posted: September 02, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4225004)
In all fairness to the voters, Lloyd Waner is a weird case. For reasons I don't really understand, center fielders in the 20s-30s were not a stellar lot. You can make an argument that Lloyd was one of the very best CF in the NL from about 1927-1937. Offensively, Hack Wilson and Wally Berger tower above him, but that's all; the rest of the NL CF didn't hit homers. Defensively, he's at the top, about tied with Taylor Douthit, who was, essentially, Terry Moore. And people at the time were still trying to figure out how to balance those homers against defense. Wilson had the best offense, but the worst glove, and was famous for that. Berger got underrated because his teams didn't win, or he'd be considered the dominant CF of the time on balance. Earle Coombs is similar over in the AL, although the competition was stiffer, because the AL had more guys quickly catch on to what Babe Ruth was doing than the NL did. In many ways, Lloyd's case is like Jack Morris'. He's clearly not a Hall guy if you look at all baseball history, but he shows really well if you limit it to his prime playing period. It's just that his prime playing period wasn't a good period for CF. - Brock Hanke
   68. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 02, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4225018)
brock

not looking for a spat but your post is the first time anyone put lloyd waner in the same sphere as terry moore defensively

at least in my reading

waner was good but moore was superb
   69. BDC Posted: September 02, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4225071)
Another player who is sharply similar to Lloyd Waner in many ways is Garry Templeton. Both came into the league very young and immediately made inordinate numbers of base hits for a few years. After about their seventh season in each case, they simply weren't stars anymore, but kept their jobs at much more mediocre level. I have no idea whether Waner had Templeton's attitude issues. (I seem to remember that Paul Waner was sometimes a PITA, but I know nothing about Lloyd's personality.) In any case, I don't remember Templeton having Templeton's attitude issues after his first few seasons. He simply went to San Diego, showed up for work everyday, and was essentially never heard from again.

Odd that Lloyd Waner should compare so well to two African-American switch-hitters from the doubleknit era, but a lot of things about baseball are odd.
   70. bjhanke Posted: September 02, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4225082)
Harveys - You didn't say anything that would provoke a spat, at least, not with me. Trying to compare Moore to Waner using BB-Ref's defensive numbers is insanely difficult because Moore's career is completely sidetracked by WWII, so Lloyd ended up playing several more seasons, since he came up earlier and stayed around later. At the ages where they were both playing full time and without war worries (essentially ages 23-29), Moore does have more RField, which is, I think, the basic defensive ranking at BB-Ref. The Historical Abstract gives them both A+ grades. Moore may well have been better (and as a Cardinal fan, I'm not inclined to downplay Cardinals), but neither the number of comparable seasons nor the difference is convincing. Either way, it's not a blowout. Lloyd ended up in center field on a team that had his brother Paul (who could really field) and Kiki Cuyler, who was also a gold glove, both of whom were older than Lloyd and more entrenched. I give that a lot of respect. The rest of where I'm coming from is my memories of listening to my dad teach me about baseball when I was a kid. Dad remembered Lloyd as an astonishing fielder, and he, too, was a Cardinal fan. The fact that my dad remembered Lloyd at all is a point in Lloyd's favor. Obviously, your reading is not going to include my dad's oral history stories, for what they are worth.

On a whim, I went over to BB-Ref and sorted Fielding Wins for the years 1927-37, since I cited that time period. Lloyd is essentially tied with Taylor Douthit for first place in the NL, just ahead of Wally Berger (which is the big surprize). In the AL, someone named Sam West, about whom I know nothing, ranked even higher than Lloyd and Taylor. But a NL observer of the time would have been quite right to cite Lloyd and Douthit as the A+ students.

The thing that no one remembers any more about Garry Templeton was that his trade for Ozzie Smith was a trade of malcontent gold glove shortstops. Ozzie had behaved quite badly during salary negotiations, going to the trouble of taking out an ad in the San Diego paper offering his services in lawn mowing, to make the point that he was underpaid. Changing teams seems to have cleared up the attitude of BOTH guys, not just Garry. - Brock
   71. BDC Posted: September 02, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4225106)
Sam West

Left-handed, fast, high-BA outfielder who I thought played mostly for the Browns. But upon looking him up, he proves to have played more for the Senators, though his prime was basically in St. Louis. OK, that's all I knew about West :) I think he was generally called Sammy, though B-Ref has him as Sam. West seems to have been very like Wally Moses. In a different era both would have stolen quite a few more bases than they did. Moses, who averaged nine or ten SB a year, stole 56 in 1943. Managers got a little adventurous during the war years. And that's enough trivia for one digression.

That's an interesting story about Ozzie Smith's discontent in San Diego, Brock. I had indeed forgotten about it, if I ever knew of it.
   72. cardsfanboy Posted: September 02, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4225132)
That's an interesting story about Ozzie Smith's discontent in San Diego, Brock. I had indeed forgotten about it, if I ever knew of it.


There is more to it, when Ozzie had asked for a raise, Kroc's wife said something about "if we pay him that much, he should come over and do our lawns"
   73. bjhanke Posted: September 02, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4225173)
cards - Thanks for the detail. I was well aware of what was going on in SD with Ozzie, but somehow never managed to hear that part of it. It does make Ozzie's ad a bit less strange, doesn't it?

And wow, Sam West was a much better player than just some random guy I'd never heard of. He's not a Hall of Famer or anything, but Hall of Very Good? Possible. One oddity is that BB-Ref thinks that his defense in STL was so bad that it counters a big chunk of his value in Washington. Maybe he was an outfielder who relied primarily on his speed. The Washington center field of the time (actually the whole outfield) was huge, while the one in Sportsman's Park was average or maybe a bit less. In any case, he ranks well on Bb-Ref, and Bill James does give him an A+ grade in Win Shares (not the Historical Abstract; I've had the books mixed up about that). And he wasn't a joke at the plate, although he had no more power than Douthit, Moore, or Lloyd Waner. - Brock
   74. cardsfanboy Posted: September 02, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4225185)
Thanks for the detail. I was well aware of what was going on in SD with Ozzie, but somehow never managed to hear that part of it. It does make Ozzie's ad a bit less strange, doesn't it?


I was under the impression that he was offered the gardening job first and put the ad out as a response to it, but looking on the web, it looks like he put the ad out first "Major league ballplayer looking for part time work to supplement income" and Joans response was to offer him a job to be her assistant gardener.

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