Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, September 14, 2019

DOES DAVE STIEB DESERVE ANOTHER CHANCE AT THE HALL OF FAME?

Stieb appeared on one BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) ballot, in 2004. A total of 506 ballots were cast. Stieb received a measly 7 votes. With a 1.4% tally, Stieb was wiped away from future BBWAA ballots, having failed to meet the minimum threshold of 5%. Did Stieb get a raw deal? Did he deserve a longer look? And, does he deserve another look this fall by the “Modern Baseball” Eras Committee, the second chance balloting process that used to be called the Veterans Committee?

Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: September 14, 2019 at 07:07 PM | 66 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, dave stieb, hall of fame, veterans committee

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: September 14, 2019 at 08:18 PM (#5879183)
NO.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: September 14, 2019 at 08:44 PM (#5879195)
YES.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: September 14, 2019 at 08:45 PM (#5879196)
By the way, if you wanted to know anything about Stieb's career and how it stacks up, this encyclopedic article surely has the answer to all your questions somewhere in there. If you're one of those people who think my posts are always too short, you will love this article.
   4. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: September 14, 2019 at 08:56 PM (#5879199)
57 WAR, 176 wins, no rings, no CYAs, no 20-win seasons? Again, NO.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: September 14, 2019 at 09:14 PM (#5879206)
57 WAR, 176 wins, no rings, no CYAs, no 20-win seasons? Again, NO.


He's certainly one of the most qualified players who could be considered from the era, so the answer to the question is clearly yes. He should be on the 10-person ballot.

Whether he actually deserves to be voted in is a separate matter.

   6. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 14, 2019 at 09:28 PM (#5879215)
If we must have a Veteran’s Committee (or whatever it’s called these days) Stieb is a reasonable addition to it. I don’t like the VC(oWiCTD) but Stieb was one of the elite pitchers of his era and I suppose that makes him a reasonable addition.
   7. OsunaSakata Posted: September 14, 2019 at 10:00 PM (#5879235)
Since Harold Baines is in the Hall of Fame, I can't say Dave Stieb doesn't belong.
   8. TomH Posted: September 14, 2019 at 10:02 PM (#5879238)
no CYAs; because the voters were BLIND. Go ahead, tell me he DESERVED no Cy Youngs. Pete Vuckovich? Lamarr Hoyt? Yeesh. The man was CLEARLY the best pitcher in MLB in the early to mid 80s. He led in WAR and/or Win Shares many years. Too bad his team wasn't so great. He was Archie Manning to Dave Stewart's Terry Bradshaw.
   9. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 14, 2019 at 10:30 PM (#5879261)
Like Jack Morris, Stieb pitched to the score. Unfortunately, he did so in no-hitters.
   10. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: September 14, 2019 at 10:31 PM (#5879262)
SoSH had got it. Steib would be an iffy hall of famer, but not an embarrassment or anything.
   11. Itchy Row Posted: September 15, 2019 at 01:15 AM (#5879298)
WALT DAVIS’S POSTS ARE TOO SHORT, MISTER PRESIDENT
   12. Walt Davis Posted: September 15, 2019 at 01:57 AM (#5879302)
That's what she said.
   13. Booey Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:09 AM (#5879303)
I'm fine putting him on the ballot, but I wouldn't vote for him. When your best qualifications are still only borderline (WAR/WAA), and everything else is a pretty clear "no" (all the stuff RMc mentioned), that's an easy pass, IMO.

I've mentioned opposition in the past to Reuschel-esque "cuz WAR says so" candidates*, so "cuz WAR kinda says so" candidates are even less convincing. Stieb was really good at his peak, so that's something, but the case for him has to labor a bit too hard for my tastes, since there's basically nothing it can point to that a casual (i.e. non SABR) fan would care about. Peak value that no one noticed? Career stats that fall well short? What would his HOF plaque even say?


* Players whose careers didn't appear HOF-ey in any way until the invention of WAR retroactively made them a star.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:26 AM (#5879304)
57 WAR, 176 wins, no rings, no CYAs, no 20-win seasons? Again, NO.

Not that I attempted to read the whole thing ... or even 10% of it ... one of the things it does is look at him over 5(?)-11 year stretches. From 1980-1990, he put up 54 WAR. The article looks at other 11-year stretches for other pitchers and Stieb fits in pretty darn well.

It's true he won no rings ... but then his team only made the playoffs twice so this was probably not solely his fault. It's true he won no CYA ... but he did lead 3 straight years in bWAR. That he didn't receive any votes in 1983 is very hard to defend -- sure, WAR isn't the be-all, end-all but he was also 2nd or 3rd in lots of important pitching catetgories and still top 10 in wins. As noted, one year he was handily beaten by Pete Vukovich (2.8 WAR) and another by Lamarr Hoyt (3.7 WAR) and another by reliever Willie Hernandez ... but at least that year Blyleven had as good a claim as Stieb and also got screwed.

The most obvious comp would seem to be Roy Halladay (as the only recent starter elected with fewer than 3000 IP who wasn't the greatest pitcher I've ever seen).

RH 2749 IP, 203-105, 131 ERA+, 65 WAR, 2 CYAs, heaps of top 5 finishes, 48 points of black ink, 0 rings in 2 chances
DS 2895 IP, 176-137, 122 ERA+, 56 WAR, 0 CYAs, few good finishes, 17 points of black ink, 0 rings in 2 chances

So, who'd a thunk it, not as good as Halladay. But then Halladay was an easy first-ballot HoFer (possibly influenced by his early death but he'd have made it either way).

Because he wasn't able to add the longevity and counting stats, clearly he's closer to somebody like Dick Allen (the numbers) or Reggie Smith. I need further convincng before I'd vote for him but he's clearly deserving of being on one of these silly ballots.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:38 AM (#5879305)
I wouldn't put him in the "cuz WAR says so" basket, he's in the "peak candidate with nothing but peak basket." He's a classic example of the "give him 5 more average years (10 WAR), 60 more wins and now he looks like a HoFer, why should I care about that?" argument. Especially if you are willing to downplay wins, it's not hard to make a traditionalist argument that he was the best pitcher in the game at his peak and arguably the best over his prime (the 11-year argument).

By the way I was wrong, the article only looks at 4-6-11 year stretches.
   16. Booey Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:51 AM (#5879306)
I wouldn't put him in the "cuz WAR says so" basket, he's in the "peak candidate with nothing but peak basket."


Yeah, but no one noticed how good his peak was at the time (never won 20 games, never came particularly close to winning a CYA despite deserving one or two) until WAR validated it years later.

Or am I mis-remembering? Most his peak pre-dated my fandom by a few years.
   17. Greg K Posted: September 15, 2019 at 07:26 AM (#5879311)
Yeah, but no one noticed how good his peak was at the time (never won 20 games, never came particularly close to winning a CYA despite deserving one or two) until WAR validated it years later.

Or am I mis-remembering? Most his peak pre-dated my fandom by a few years.

Growing up, it was always treated as an international crime against humanity that Stieb wasn't winning multiple Cy Young awards.

Of course, I grew up in Toronto, so that may not have reflected the consensus around baseball.
   18. The Duke Posted: September 15, 2019 at 09:59 AM (#5879314)
Almost as good as jack morris isn’t the most compelling case but I would say he did have a nice peak. Back in the day before the communications revolution, players in places like Toronto didn’t get a lot of national press. The article also makes it clear he was a victim of W-L bias. He should certainly be on the list of players to consider but I don’t think he belongs.
   19. bookbook Posted: September 15, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5879315)
Yea, but he was better than Jack Morris (122 ERA+ vs 105, higher peak, worse teammates). He did not play as many years. As a peak only guy, Stieb doesn’t have enough, but you’d rather have him on your team than Morris or Baines or Jim Rice. He should have been in the conversation.
   20. pikepredator Posted: September 15, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5879316)
Yeah, but no one noticed how good his peak was at the time (never won 20 games, never came particularly close to winning a CYA despite deserving one or two) until WAR validated it years later.

Or am I mis-remembering? Most his peak pre-dated my fandom by a few years.

Growing up, it was always treated as an international crime against humanity that Stieb wasn't winning multiple Cy Young awards.

Of course, I grew up in Toronto, so that may not have reflected the consensus around baseball.


I grew up in Vermont during prime Stieb appreciating years and he was always one of the best. Had a Ron Guidry feel to him. But Guidry was better and I'm not sure he's quite HOF material, either. I could go either way on them, wouldn't be bothered if they got in but it's not one of those "why isn't he IN?" tragedies.
   21. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 15, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5879319)
Yeah, but no one noticed how good his peak was at the time (never won 20 games, never came particularly close to winning a CYA despite deserving one or two) until WAR validated it years later.

Or am I mis-remembering? Most his peak pre-dated my fandom by a few years.
It would be useful for someone to have a collection of preseason baseball annuals on hand to answer questions like this. The old Bill Mazeroski's Baseball Annuals seemed to be as close to the center of mainstream-but-deep fandom as you could get, and also gave point totals to each unit of the team (starters, bullpen, infield, etc). Flipping through a couple of those would give us a definitive answer.

(My recollection was also that Stieb was considered one of the best, but that he was a bit fragile in the last half of his career.)
   22. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 15, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5879320)
I think Stieb was hurt by that little blip he had in 1986 when he didn’t pitch well. He then bounced back in 1987 but the run environment made it superficially worse (4.09 was pretty good but “over 4.00” was the view). Speaking from the Boston area he was viewed as a great pitcher on a bad team then became a good pitcher on a good team but one that underachieved in the late 80s. Then on top of that absolutely zero tail to his career. If he could have gotten to 200-210 wins I think he’d have gotten more traction.

I’m tempted to make a Johan Santana comparison. Not perfect but he lost out on a Cy Young or two that he deserved, never really had that post-season glamour and did very little at the end of his career to pad his stats.
   23. Booey Posted: September 15, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5879322)
#22 - I thought about Santana too, but Johan had a no doubt superstar peak that couldn't be overlooked, complete with a 20 win season, pitching triple crown, 2 CYA's, and lots of black ink. The dominance of Stieb's peak was a little harder for fans of traditional stats to recognize, I think.
   24. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: September 15, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5879323)
Who cares about fans of traditional stats? The question is whether he deserves another look, not whether he'll get one.
   25. pikepredator Posted: September 15, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5879324)
#22 - I thought about Santana too, but Johan had a no doubt superstar peak that couldn't be overlooked, complete with a 20 win season, pitching triple crown, 2 CYA's, and lots of black ink. The dominance of Stieb's peak was a little harder for fans of traditional stats to recognize, I think.


yeah Santana's peak is so good I will occasionally go to B-R and highlight strings of games and season just to stare in awe at the raw numbers he put up.

04-06: Three years, 100 starts, 700 innings, 750Ks, 150BBs . . . 682 H+BB+HB . . .2.92 FIP . . . that's three straight years of "best pitcher in baseball" numbers.

June 9 through end-of-season, 2004 . . . 22 starts, 18-2. 80 hits, 31 BBs, 204Ks, 1.36 ERA, .148BAA in 160 innings. Those are ridiculous numbers. That includes a 10-game stretch where he gave up 27 hits in 77 innings with 18BBs and 102Ks. I know there's a dose of good luck in those numbers but that pretty much defines unhittable.



   26. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 15, 2019 at 11:25 AM (#5879325)
He's certainly one of the most qualified players who could be considered from the era, so the answer to the question is clearly yes. He should be on the 10-person ballot.


How many players are typically on that ballot? 6 at the most? The following players from that era have at least 9 more WAR than Steib: Grich, Nettles, Reuschel, Dwight Evans, Lou Whitaker, Buddy Bell, Willie Randolph. Another 8 players, 4 of them pitchers, have 8 or fewer more WAR.
   27. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 15, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5879333)
Almost as good as jack morris isn’t the most compelling case

Interesting point here - while Stieb leads Morris in bWAR (56.5 to 43.5), Morris actually has a similarly large lead in fWAR (55.8 to 43.8). Stieb's FIP is 0.38 higher than his ERA over the course of his career.

Also, a bonus note which is of dubious relevance: Morris may be slightly overrated by fWAR, given his particular predilection for wild pitches (13th all time, led the AL six times), which are ignored by FIP. But Stieb has a similar issue with HBP (led the majors five times, ranks 39th all-time despite being 155th all-time in inings pitched).
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: September 15, 2019 at 12:38 PM (#5879341)
How many players are typically on that ballot? 6 at the most? The following players from that era have at least 9 more WAR than Steib: Grich, Nettles, Reuschel, Dwight Evans, Lou Whitaker, Buddy Bell, Willie Randolph. Another 8 players, 4 of them pitchers, have 8 or fewer more WAR.


Ten names, nine of which were players last time around.

You probably can make a case that Stieb doesn't deserve a spot on the theoretical 10-person ballot. You can't make a case that he isn't more deserving than a lot of the guys that actually appeared on the most recent ballot.

   29. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 15, 2019 at 12:47 PM (#5879344)
You probably can make a case that Stieb doesn't deserve a spot on the theoretical 10-person ballot. You can't make a case that he isn't more deserving than a lot of the guys that actually appeared on the most recent ballot.


Concur. But the latter isn't an argument for Stieb, it's an argument for those other, better players.
   30. PreservedFish Posted: September 15, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5879349)
Interesting point here - while Stieb leads Morris in bWAR (56.5 to 43.5), Morris actually has a similarly large lead in fWAR (55.8 to 43.8). Stieb's FIP is 0.38 higher than his ERA over the course of his career.


Usually when we compare bWAR and fWAR we assume that the difference is due to hit rate. But actually, there's very little difference between Stieb and Morris here: Morris gets 13.6 BIP-Wins and Stieb gets 16.2 BIP-Wins. They must've both had much lower BABIPs than their contemporaries tended to.

The real difference here is that Jack Morris, shockingly, and wildly contrary to reputation, was actually REALLY TERRIBLE at situational pitching. Fangraphs gives him a -13.0 LOB-Wins, which don't count in his fWAR total, but do (sort of) count in his bWAR total. That is, baseball reference deducts credit for his crappy sequencing, and Fangraphs does not.
   31. QLE Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:13 PM (#5879360)
In terms of this question, there are two different factors to keep in mind:

1) While it is a ten person ballot, the votes can vote for a maximum of four names.

2) This ballot doesn't exist in a vacuum- the last time the Modern Baseball Era committee met, in addition to inducting Morris and Trammell, Ted Simmons came within a vote of induction and Marvin Miller received considerable support. It would be a surprise if either were missing from this ballot.

As a result, we are left with two different questions: Are we willing to put Stieb on a ten-person ballot, and are we willing to put him among the top four among those not inducted?

The former is clearly a matter of debate, and one where relative differences in terms of peak versus prime in analysis could change the list considerably. The latter, on the other hand, feels clearer- even ignoring the question as for how one rates Marvin Miller compared to the players, there are two other pitchers with equal or better claims (Reuschel and Tiant) and (regardless of what form of analysis one uses) at least a half-dozen different players (of whom Grich and Simmons feel like they have top priority). Given that, it seems Stieb will need to wait for the group ahead of him to clear- fortunately, unlike with the BBWAA ballot, it's not a list likely to grow (unless they reorganize the VC again).
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:40 PM (#5879367)
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5879369)
Concur. But the latter isn't an argument for Stieb, it's an argument for those other, better players.


Of course. I'd put him on the ballot, because I think he has a better claim than some of the guys around him (he was the best starting pitcher of the 80s, which isn't enough to get him in, but makes for a better hook than some of his WAR neighbors).

But I wouldn't vote for him.

As a result, we are left with two different questions: Are we willing to put Stieb on a ten-person ballot, and are we willing to put him among the top four among those not inducted?


The question in the headline was does he deserve another chance at the Hall. Not does he deserve to be elected, or deserve to be one of the guys who come closest.

   34. PreservedFish Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:54 PM (#5879370)
The question in the headline was does he deserve another chance at the Hall.


I don't think he does, but then again I don't think most of the other guys under consideration in these second chance committee votes do either. So he doesn't deserve one, but since they're giving these second chances out, he probably deserves a second chance more than most.
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:58 PM (#5879372)
I don't think he does, but then again I don't think most of the other guys under consideration in these second chance committee votes do either. So he doesn't deserve one, but if anyone does deserve one, he does. If that makes sense.


That's close to where I am, but I do think there is a need for the Vets committees. I just wish they were something separate from the BBWAA, where the guys who warrant a second look (such as Whitaker and Grich) got one, instead of the Vets just taking their cues from the writers.

   36. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 15, 2019 at 03:59 PM (#5879390)
he was the best starting pitcher of the 80s, which isn't enough to get him in, but makes for a better hook than some of his WAR neighbors).


Well, one of his WAR neighbors is Tommy John, who has a better hook. Another WAR neighbor is Luis Tiant, who has the hook of four 20 win seasons. I get the Reuschel argument, and the other WAR neighbors are Frank Tanana and Jerry Koosman, so sure, Stieb is a better choice than them.
   37. The Duke Posted: September 15, 2019 at 06:03 PM (#5879446)
I’m a big Ted Simmons fan and supporter for induction so it’s hard for me to complain about these guys getting a shot. Simmons to me is clear miss so I’m willing to accept the occasional Harold Baines or dave Stieb if I get simba.
   38. RJ in TO Posted: September 15, 2019 at 06:26 PM (#5879449)
(My recollection was also that Stieb was considered one of the best, but that he was a bit fragile in the last half of his career.)


He had 34, 31, 31, 33 and 33 starts in his last five full seasons, which is basically a standard turn in the rotation, and then 9 starts in 1991, before getting run over in a collision while covering first base. This ###### up his back, requiring surgery. When he came back the next year, he found his post-surgery motion was causing him problems with tendonitis in his elbow, which eventually resulted in him retiring. I guess, if you really wanted, you could call this fragility, but it's more of a catastrophic event than anything else.

Given he was still an effective pitcher at the time he got run over, and was able to come back at age 40 after a five year layoff and be competent, it seems likely, absent the back injury, he instead retires in his late 30s with somewhere around 240 wins and about 4000 IP. Of course, the injury did happen, and you get picked for the Hall based on what you did do, rather than what you could have done.
   39. The Honorable Ardo Posted: September 15, 2019 at 09:50 PM (#5879489)
Stieb is a member of the Hall of Merit, and I supported his induction. The 3-1-1-1-2 consecutive peak in AL pitching WAR from 1981-85 is hard to ignore. It's not his fault his W-L record was only 75-57 over that stretch.

I recall him being part of the motivation for the early (late 80's into the 90's) push to "kill the win". People thought Dave Stewart and Jack Morris were better than Stieb just because they were 20-game winners and Stieb never was.
   40. Lest we forget Posted: September 16, 2019 at 07:50 AM (#5879535)
Yes, he does.
   41. Swoboda is freedom Posted: September 16, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5879582)
What happened to Steib? I didn't follow the AL much then. He had the great year in 1990, then fell off the cliff. Then out of baseball for 4 years and made a short comeback at age 40.

Did he get hurt?
   42. RJ in TO Posted: September 16, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5879588)
He hurt his back in a collision while covering first base early in 1991, which required surgery for a herniated disc, and then started having problems with tendonitis in his elbow due to his changed motion. He came back at the age of 40 as he was helping out in the Jays spring training that season and realized, for the first time in a long time, his arm felt pretty good.
   43. DL from MN Posted: September 16, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5879621)
Stieb is a member of the Hall of Merit, and I supported his induction. The 3-1-1-1-2 consecutive peak in AL pitching WAR from 1981-85 is hard to ignore.


In the MMP voting Stieb received votes in 4 different years which makes him similar to other borderline HoM players. For example that is the same number of years with votes as Curt Schilling, Cliff Lee, Bret Saberhagen, Johan Santana, Orel Hershiser, Roy Oswalt, Sandy Koufax, Vic Willis and Noodles Hahn.

In 1982 he finished 9th overall and was the #2 pitcher behind Steve Rogers.
in 1983 he finished 9th overall and was the #1 pitcher ahead of John Denny
In 1984 he finished 7th overall and was the #1 pitcher ahead of Blyleven.
In 1985 he finished 13th overall and was the 4th pitcher behind Gooden, Tudor and Saberhagen
   44. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 16, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5879699)
Descending bWAR/season, best 10 seasons:

Stieb: 7.9, 7.6, 7.0, 6.8, 5.9, 4.9, 4.4, 4.1, 3.3, 2.3
MAP: 8.0, 7.7, 7.4, 6.7, 6.4, 5.8, 5.6, 4.8, 4.7, 3.3

MAP = Mystery Active Pitcher, who many/most people seem to agree is already a slam-dunk HoFer based on peak.

WAR is not the whole story, and Stieb doesn't *match* him here, but he certainly looks like someone who deserves a closer look than he got the first time around.
   45. Booey Posted: September 16, 2019 at 04:18 PM (#5879737)
The mystery pitcher is Kershaw, and this is a good example of why cross era comparisons between 4 and 5 man pitching rotations don't really work. Kershaw's WAR is really high considering he was pitching 200-230 innings in those seasons. Stieb's is less impressive (though still really good, of course) considering that top starters were still throwing 250-290 innings at the time (Stieb's top 4 years had IP totals of 288, 278, 267, and 265). Kershaw's slam dunk peak also included 5 ERA titles, 3 CYA's, an MVP and a pitching Triple Crown, plus that 157 ERA+ vs Stieb's 122 stands out quite a bit.

I know that you acknowledged that WAR isn't everything, but the game has just changed too much in the 30 years between their peaks to make straight across comparisons like this very useful, IMO.
   46. WSPanic Posted: September 16, 2019 at 05:06 PM (#5879762)
If only for the fact that he rolled me my first MLB baseball across the visitor's dugout before a Royals game back in the day. Forever a HOF'er in my book.
   47. Rally Posted: September 16, 2019 at 05:26 PM (#5879766)
I don’t take it as a given that 8 WAR the Kershaw way is much more impressive than the Steib way. I don’t think there’s much chance that today’s top pitchers could maintain their strikeout percentages and ERA+ if they were expected to pitch deep into games, complete about 20 per year, all while making 35-38 starts per year. Pitchers of my youth can’t match the rates of Kershaw, Scherzer, etc. but nobody today can match the workload of Steib, Morris, and Carlton. I think WAR does a good job of providing a balance between rates and workloads.
   48. Booey Posted: September 16, 2019 at 06:06 PM (#5879774)
Pitchers of my youth can’t match the rates of Kershaw, Scherzer, etc. but nobody today can match the workload of Steib, Morris, and Carlton.


Well, the top 90's pitchers (Clemens, Maddux, Johnson) pretty much did both. ;-)

I think WAR does a good job of providing a balance between rates and workloads.


It mostly has in the past, but with the way IP are dropping, it doesn't seem to be quite keeping up, IMO, just like it doesn't quite work with deadball era pitchers (it's just not possible for a modern pitcher to create as much value as Walter Johnson at his peak). In fact, I think there's a decent chance we don't ever see a 100 WAR pitcher again. The 1970's guys were able to pitch so many innings that even regular (i.e. non inner circle) HOFers like Niekro and Blyleven were able to rack up 95 WAR. Even the best of the best from today's era (Kershaw, Verlander, Scherzer) aren't going to get there. So I DO mentally adjust the WAR totals of 70's pitchers a bit, same as I'd do for the deadballers. I'd personally put Niekro and Bert about on par with Schilling and Mussina (80 WAR guys) rather than Maddux and Johnson (100 WAR guys), even though their WAR totals are closer to the latter (or I suppose you could just look at WAA instead, which does show them to be on the Schilling/Moose level).
   49. Booey Posted: September 16, 2019 at 06:33 PM (#5879779)
Hmmm...upon further review I might be (partially) wrong. I was thinking there were more high WAR seasons for pitchers in the previous few decades, but looking at the top 10's each year (and without taking the time to do the actual math) they don't appear to be THAT different, at least until you get to the early-mid 70's. The early 70's definitely had more big WAR seasons (look at 1971-1972, for example).

So touche, Rally. I guess arguing about WAR with the guy who invented it is pretty much a fools game. Who knew, right? ;-)

Carry on. :-D
   50. blueshaker Posted: September 16, 2019 at 07:17 PM (#5879787)
I'll second Booey's point on the need to correct for the counting-stat advantage pitchers from high-usage eras have vs. modern starters. Niekro, Perry, Blyleven are all solid HOFers, but c'mon, none of these guys is among the top 15 pitchers of all time. But if we just list career WAR, they rank #11-13.

The 80s was a transition period for usage, so I think it makes it tough to evaluate. Morris and Stieb were hugely durable, but guys just 5-10 years before their prime were throwing 300+ innings, so they often get lumped in with that, even though it was the start of a completely different era for starters.

Stieb was seen as a major star in his time. He has a case as the best pitcher in the league for FOUR straight seasons. Not just cumulative, but in every single one of those years he would have been a reasonable CY pick (82-85). That's extremely rare. It gets tricky, because as opposed to Kershaw or Halladay or Santana he was never the clear cut best (hence zero CYs). But it's certainly enough to re-evaluate with a bit more nuance.
   51. Hank Gillette Posted: September 16, 2019 at 09:17 PM (#5879809)
57 WAR, 176 wins, no rings, no CYAs, no 20-win seasons? Again, NO.


By all means, let’s punish him for having bad teammates and stupid Cy Young voters. He was the best pitcher (by WAR) 1982-1984. He has more WAR and triple the WAA than Jack Morris, who admittedly was a controversial choice, but he also has more WAR and WAA than Whitey Ford, whom I have never heard anyone say does not belong in the HOF.

Pitchers with fewer WAR than Dave Stieb in the HOF:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/tiny/UFUnG
   52. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 16, 2019 at 09:43 PM (#5879820)
By all means, let’s punish him for having bad teammates

He didn't really have bad teammates, though. He came up in '79; the Jays were terrible his first three years, mediocre his fourth year, and after that, won at least 86 games every year until after Stieb's injury. The real issue with his win total is that his career is (by Hall of Fame standards) pretty short. (Also, in 1985, Stieb led the AL in ERA and pitched 265 innings for a 99-win team... and went 14-13. I have no idea what to do with that.)

Comparing to Ford... Ford missed two early seasons due to military service, and played shorter schedules in the first half of his career (which is somewhat counteracted by the strike in '81). He also has an extra 146 innings of excellent work in the World Series, which may have a slight contribution to his place in the Hall. If you just add his playoff numbers to his regular season totals (and do the same with Stieb), their WAR totals are probably quite similar.
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: September 16, 2019 at 11:31 PM (#5879849)
By all means, let’s punish him for having bad teammates and stupid Cy Young voters.


The only person who might have claimed he had bad teammates was Stieb, when one of them ############# booted a ball behind him.
   54. QLE Posted: September 16, 2019 at 11:42 PM (#5879856)
The question in the headline was does he deserve another chance at the Hall. Not does he deserve to be elected, or deserve to be one of the guys who come closest.


True, but, to be perfectly frank, there are limitations to that in practice. By my standards, he merits induction- but, by my standards, there are thirteen players who are eligible for consideration by the Modern Baseball committee who unquestionably merit induction, and my list is missing a few who may be on other lists.

He clearly merits consideration, and merits induction- the issue is, how does he get there from here in a realistic sense?
   55. Rally Posted: September 16, 2019 at 11:45 PM (#5879858)
I agree on the deadball pitchers. It was a different game before the rise of the homerun.

On Steib’s 1985 W-L record, mentioned in the article that he got similar run support to Saberhagen. He must have gotten all his runs in 3 or 4 games with scores like 19-2, or something like that.
   56. DanG Posted: September 17, 2019 at 12:11 AM (#5879864)
Most WAR, pitchers debuting 1973-1985:

Player            WAR WAAERAOPS+     IP From   To   W  L JAWS
Roger Clemens   138.7 93.9  143   68 4916.2 1984 2007 354 184   3
Dennis Eckersley 62.2 30.3  116   84 3285.2 1975 1998 197 171 
---
Bret Saberhagen  58.9 36.6  126   81 2562.2 1984 2001 167 117  70
Frank Tanana     57.0 19.5  106   97 4188.1 1973 1993 240 236  88
Dave Stieb       56.5 30.7  122   81 2895.1 1979 1998 176 137  71
Orel Hershiser   51.3 24.7  112   89 3130.1 1983 2000 204 150  84
Mark Langston    50.0 23.3  107   93 2962.2 1984 1999 179 158 100
Dennis Martinez  49.3 14.7  106   93 3999.2 1976 1998 245 193 138
Jimmy Key        49.0 25.8  122   86 2591.2 1984 1998 186 117 122
Dwight Gooden    48.1 24.0  111   86 2800.2 1984 2000 194 112  97
Ron Guidry       47.8 26.3  119   85 2392.0 1975 1988 170  91 119
Frank Viola      47.1 22.1  112   93 2836.1 1982 1996 176 150 113
Steve Rogers     45.1 21.1  116   85 2837.2 1973 1985 158 152 147
Jack Morris      43.5  9.3  105   89 3824.0 1977 1994 254 186 168
Bob Welch        43.4 15.8  106   95 3092.0 1978 1994 211 146 182 
   57. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 17, 2019 at 12:16 AM (#5879865)
And that's what this has to do with Frank Tanana!
   58. BrianBrianson Posted: September 17, 2019 at 04:22 AM (#5879877)
Stieb's starts in '85
1-2 (L)
7-8 (ND)
4-2 (W Tanana takes the L)
0-2 (L)
9-8 (ND)
2-3 (L)
10-1 (W)
9-5 (W)
6-7 (ND)
10-0 (W)
6-1 (W)
4-5 (L)
9-2 (W)
3-2 (ND)
1-2 (L)
8-1 (W)
2-0 (W)
3-2 (ND)
4-0 (W)
4-3 (ND)
5-1 (L)
7-0 (W)
3-4 (ND)
4-8 (L)
2-4 (L)
4-1 (W)
3-5 (L)
6-3 (W)
5-6 (ND)
3-2 (W)
3-6 (L)
5-7 (ND)
5-6 (L)
1-2 (L)
5-1 (W)
2-4 (L)

No real trend ... okay, I see. Blue Jays Starters, 1985
Stieb: RA 89, ERA 73
Alexander RA 105 ERA 100
Key RA 77 ERA 71
Clancy RA 54 ERA 54
Leal RA 46 ERA 43

   59. DanG Posted: September 17, 2019 at 08:33 AM (#5879889)
Stieb is a member of the Hall of Merit, and I supported his induction. The 3-1-1-1-2 consecutive peak in AL pitching WAR from 1981-85 is hard to ignore. It's not his fault his W-L record was only 75-57 over that stretch.
The HoM has always looked at a player versus his peers, in his own era. The chart in #56 has four members of the HoM: Clemens, Eckersley, Saberhagen and Stieb.

It's interesting that more modern metrics tend to support what we determined in 2007, that Stieb and Saberhagen are over the line for the Hall, and the rest not quite. Stieb was not a difficult selection, either. More than ten future HoMers finished behind him when he was elected, in his fifth year eligible.
   60. Ithaca2323 Posted: September 17, 2019 at 09:11 AM (#5879899)
The 3-1-1-1-2 consecutive peak in AL pitching WAR from 1981-85 is hard to ignore


It's not just that, even. It wasn't like he was edging guys by .1 or .2 WAR

1982: WAR Stieb 7.6, Sutcliffe 5.7
ERA+ Sutcliffe 140, Stieb 138

1983: WAR Stieb 7.0, Quisenberry 5.5
ERA+ Stieb 132, Quisenberry: Not qualified

1984: WAR Stieb 7.9, Blyleven 7.2
ERA+ Stieb 144, Blyleven 142

If you buy bWAR, it's pretty easy to give him the 1982 and 1983 CYs, and probably 1984 as well.

But even that third place finish in 1985 might be deserving

WAR: Saberhagen 7.1, Stieb 6.8, Blyleven 6.7
ERA+: Stieb: 171, Saberhagen 143, Blyleven 134

That .3 difference might be close enough that his massive edge in ERA+ carries the day.

fWAR tells a much different story, of course. But again, if you're a bWAR person, the idea of Stieb having 3 or even 4 CYs in a row isn't farfetched at all. Which certainly gives him an incredibly strong peak argument.
   61. DL from MN Posted: September 17, 2019 at 10:15 AM (#5879936)
Player            WAR WAA/ ERA+ OPS+     IP From   To   W  L JAWS
Bret Saberhagen  58.9 36.6  126   81 2562.2 1984 2001 167 117  70
Dave Stieb       56.5 30.7  122   81 2895.1 1979 1998 176 137  71


There's the rub. Stieb deserves consideration but Saberhagen deserves it more.
   62. PreservedFish Posted: September 17, 2019 at 10:21 AM (#5879937)
Tough to distinguish between those two lines IMO.

They both represent different ideas of "peak" also - Saberhagen appeared to achieve higher heights, but his famous inability to string together consecutive excellent seasons makes his version of excellence look a bit flukier than Stieb's, at least in retrospect.
   63. Zonk Will Not Get Over It Abusing Its Office Posted: September 17, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5879993)
I think he’s a real coin flip, but I think SOSH nails the reason he doesn’t get more “second look” support.... I very much recall that Stieb had a real reputation as a redass.... particularly with underperforming teammates and especially on days he pitched.
   64. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: September 17, 2019 at 12:59 PM (#5880002)
Player WAR WAA/ ERA+ OPS+ IP From To W L JAWS
Bret Saberhagen 58.9 36.6 126 81 2562.2 1984 2001 167 117 70
Dave Stieb 56.5 30.7 122 81 2895.1 1979 1998 176 137 71


There's the rub. Stieb deserves consideration but Saberhagen deserves it more.


David Cone 61.6 WAR, 35.5 WAA, 121 era+ 2898.2 ip, 194-126 record
Kevin Appier 54.9 WAR, 30.5 WAA, 121 era+ 2595.1 ip, 169-137

   65. Rusty Priske Posted: September 17, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5880028)
Stieb deserves induction
   66. Ithaca2323 Posted: September 17, 2019 at 01:55 PM (#5880054)
David Cone 61.6 WAR, 35.5 WAA, 121 era+ 2898.2 ip, 194-126 record


Cone had the misfortune of having his best season cut short by the strike. 6.9 bWAR in just 23 starts in 1994. Could have been a 10 WAR season in play

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogMLB umpire Joe West suing former All-Star Paul Lo Duca for claiming he took bribes
(2 - 12:48am, Oct 23)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogOT - NBA thread (pre-season)
(671 - 12:31am, Oct 23)
Last: Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim

NewsblogOMNICHATTER! for the 2019 World Series
(176 - 12:30am, Oct 23)
Last: vortex of dissipation

NewsblogAstros Staffer's Outburst at Female Reporters Illustrates MLB's Forgive-and-Forget Attitude Toward Domestic Violence
(203 - 12:20am, Oct 23)
Last: base ball chick

NewsblogOT- Soccer Thread- October 2019
(211 - 10:07pm, Oct 22)
Last: Richard

NewsblogCatch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (October 2019)
(531 - 9:42pm, Oct 22)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogAstros Announce First Pitch Participants Ahead of World Series Game 1
(9 - 8:01pm, Oct 22)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogAstros enter World Series against Nationals as heaviest favorites since 2007
(44 - 7:42pm, Oct 22)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogJavy Baez named ‘MLB The Show 20’ cover athlete
(7 - 6:43pm, Oct 22)
Last: Manny Coon

NewsblogOT - 2019 NFL thread
(53 - 6:24pm, Oct 22)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogNationals to host World Series watch parties at stadium for Games 1 and 2
(33 - 5:56pm, Oct 22)
Last: pikepredator

NewsblogMLB rumors: Phillies narrow manager search to Dusty Baker, Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter
(15 - 5:47pm, Oct 22)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-22-2019
(9 - 3:35pm, Oct 22)
Last: The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie)

NewsblogMike Schmidt: Why can’t I just accept it’s all about power?
(8 - 2:44pm, Oct 22)
Last: Greg Pope

NewsblogSt. Louis therapy dog makes good on NLCS wager, reps Nationals gear
(5 - 12:05pm, Oct 22)
Last: Howie Menckel

Page rendered in 0.5922 seconds
46 querie(s) executed