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Monday, March 23, 2009

ESPN: Neyer: Schilling belongs in Cooperstown

“It’s not even the bloody sock” Correct…it’s “blutige socke”

Perhaps this question has already been answered to your satisfaction, but I know I’m going to be asked a few dozen times in the next few days: Is Schilling a Hall of Famer?

Of course he is.

It’s not his 216 career wins. It’s not his .597 career winning percentage. It’s not his 11-2 record in postseason games, or his 2.23 ERA. It’s not even the bloody sock.

It’s all of those things.

Catfish Hunter was easily elected to the Hall of Fame, with a 224-166 record and a bit of extra credit for going 9-6 with a 3.26 ERA in October. His career ERA+ was 104 (not that anybody who voted for him would have known that). Schilling’s got nearly as many wins, significantly fewer losses, a better postseason record, and a blow-Catfish-out-of-the-water 127 ERA+ (which every voter today should know about).

Two years I was lukewarm about Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy. I wasn’t against it, exactly. But neither was I for it. But during those two years, Schilling helped pitch the Red Sox to another championship and I got just a little bit smarter. Today I can’t

Repoz Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:02 PM | 119 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, red sox, sabermetrics

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   1. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:11 PM (#3111929)
If Catfish Hunter is a strawberry, Cooperstown is going to be drinking a whole lot of smoothies.
   2. akrasian Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:22 PM (#3111941)
I agree that Catfish is a poor standard for the HOF. That being said, Schilling isn't just better than Catfish - he was a lot better. It wouldn't be the worst travesty in Hall history to keep Schilling out - but unless you believe that the Hall should be a lot smaller than it is, he does belong there.
   3. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:22 PM (#3111942)
Schilling is a slam-dunk for the Hall.

Whether or not he should be is pretty much beside the point.
   4. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:30 PM (#3111951)
I concur with the poster formerly known as the JRE.
   5. Gamingboy Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:33 PM (#3111957)
Schilling, should he make the hall, will no doubt have an.... interesting speech.
   6. AndrewJ Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:43 PM (#3111970)
Hunter got into the HOF during his (way too brief) lifetime by the BBWAA for these reasons:

a) pitching in seven postseasons between 1971 and 1978, including five World Series winners

b) his historic role as one of the first big-money free agents

c) retiring at age 33 before any lengthy decline phase which might have ruined his ERA and tempered our memory of him

d) throwing a perfect game (this helped other borderline candidates such as Addie Joss and Jim Bunning)

and

e) the nickname "Catfish."

The Bob Dylan song about him probably didn't hurt, either.
   7. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:50 PM (#3111976)
Are we in Bizarro Land? Did Rob Neyer just play the "X is better than Y, who is in the HOF; therefore X should be in the HOF" game? How badly would he sneer at and condescend to a chatter who dared utilize such sophomoric logic? I know it's a quickie blog post rather than a more carefully considered article, but come on.
   8. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:51 PM (#3111980)
Yup. He's better than one of the worst guys so put him in. Of course the same argument can be successfully made for everyone on the ballot these days, so it's pretty meaningless.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:00 PM (#3111990)
Hunter got in because he won 21, 21, 21, 25, and 23 games in consecutive seasons.
   10. jingoist Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:06 PM (#3111993)
We're in Bizzaro land 'cause that's just what Neyer did.
Somebody call Bill James and rat on Neyer.
   11. Hugh Jorgan Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:07 PM (#3111996)
#3 has it spot on. Schilling is a slam dunk.
Good stats(not great) and after all it is the Hall of FAME. Whether you like him or not, he is ever-present, interesting and a good fit for a place that could use some more interesting selections.
   12. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:09 PM (#3111998)
Look, you can start with an uncharitable interpretation - admittedly, often the right choice when dealing with sportswriters - or try reading without assuming the writer is saying something really dumb. I don't think he's saying, "Curt was better than Catfish, so he deserves to be in." I think he was saying, "For all of those old farts who wonder how Schilling could get in easily with such an unimpressive W total, you same people put Catfish in. They're superficially similar but Curt was actually much better."
   13. Tripon Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:12 PM (#3112000)
Yeah, but it wasn't this generation of writers that voted Catfish Hunter in. I don't think Rob is saying that this generation of writers would vote in Catfish Hunter in, so why shouldn't you vote in Curt Shilling?
   14. DL from MN Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:13 PM (#3112002)
Agreed, better than Jim Rice or Catfish Hunter isn't a great argument. Schilling's a clear HoM pitcher, easily meets the standards. Of course Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina are also clear HoM pitchers.

That said it is difficult to tell whether Schilling will be one of the top 10 players available for balloting when he's up for induction. If the steroid-era glut continues he might not make it for a while because you have Bonds and Clemens and Maddux and more also available to vote for. He's very unlikely to be the best player available on the ballot at any time during his eligibility.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:13 PM (#3112003)
#3 has it spot on. Schilling is a slam dunk.
Good stats(not great) and after all it is the Hall of FAME. Whether you like him or not, he is ever-present, interesting and a good fit for a place that could use some more interesting selections.


I hate that argument that it's "the hall of FAME", it's not about a players fame, it's an organization that confers fame, having fame is not admittance to the institution.
   16. BDC Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:14 PM (#3112004)
I think it was a little more like "X blows Y, who is in the HOF, out of the water; therefore X should be in the HOF." That's a bit more respectable as a debating tactic.

That said, career ERA+ is not the best way to look at Catfish Hunter. He has a career ERA+ of 104 because he stunk as a teenager for the Kansas City A's and stunk as a 30-something Yankee. From 1971-75, his ERA+ was 127 – the same as Schiling's lifetime mark. Catfish is a peak candidate with a pretty good peak.

Of course, five years of pitching like a Hall of Famer is not really enough if you stunk otherwise.

And Schilling had an ERA+ of 140 over a ten-year stretch.
   17. Hugh Jorgan Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:15 PM (#3112005)
lets please refrain from saying it's the hall of fame, it's not about a players fame, it's an organization that confers fame, having fame is not admittance to the institution.

Ahh, you're boxing clever here. However I still reckon it helps his chances that he is more prolific with respect to media exposure than most players, do you disagree?
   18. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:16 PM (#3112006)
I don't think he's saying, "Curt was better than Catfish, so he deserves to be in."


I don't disagree with you, David. The problem is that Neyer routinely dials the snark up to "11" on chatters and posters who dare to bring up the credentials of a borderline HOFer in discussing the case for their candidate of choice, so it's odd to see him do it, regardless of the nuance with which he intended it.
   19. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:26 PM (#3112013)
I can't think about Schilling and the Hall without bringing a few other guys into the discussion.

Schilling, Kevin Brown, John Smoltz, and Mike Mussina all have similar records.
Schilling 216-146 127 ERA+ 3261 IP
Brown 211-144 127 ERA+ 3256.3 IP
Smoltz 210-147 127 ERA+ 3395 IP 154 Saves
Mussina 270-153 123 ERA+ 3562.7 IP

Schilling has the postseason success, though with the exception of Brown's 0-3 World Series record, the others weren't exactly slouches either.

Smoltz has the saves, and Mussina has a couple hundred extra innings and a lot more wins, but trails the others by the 4 points of ERA+.

My own gut feeling for them is that they're the group behind Clemens (who may well get excluded for a while because of the steroid thing), Maddux, Glavine, Pedro, and Randy Johnson. If we're comparing them to Catfish Hunter's generation (and without taking the time to do actual analysis), I'd have them more even with the Phil Niekro/Fergie Jenkins/Don Sutton grouping than Catfish, and I think you could easily put all four into the Hall of Fame without lowering its standards any.

As to what I think will actually happen...
Schilling and Smoltz will breeze right in.
Mussina will get in after a few years on the ballot, but it will be a struggle for him, and might take as long as a decade before he actually gets in.
Brown will be stuck waiting for some future veterans' committee to put him in, as he has no chance with the writers.
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:29 PM (#3112016)

Ahh, you're boxing clever here. However I still reckon it helps his chances that he is more prolific with respect to media exposure than most players, do you disagree?


I agree that the perception of his abilities at the time he was playing should be considered when voting for him, but it shouldn't be listed as a point for putting him in. It's why Dizzy Dean (arguably one of the least deserving players) is in, and should be fixed with subsequent votes.

and at first I was going to defend Neyer, but I have to agree with post 18, there is enough reason to snark Rob for his post. He draws a parallel from Hunter to Schilling with only one thing separating the two and seem to conclude that is enough for Schilling to make it.

I agree with Neyer that Schilling is probably worthy of the hof, and I understand that as a blog post it doesn't have to be the best argument, but his argument still needs refining.
   21. robneyer Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:37 PM (#3112022)
Thanks for the constructive feedback. Will try harder next time. -r.n.
   22. Hugh Jorgan Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:39 PM (#3112023)
I agree that the perception of his abilities at the time he was playing should be considered when voting for him, but it shouldn't be listed as a point for putting him in.

Now I agree, however the reality is that it will play a large part in his election and as pointed out in #19(correctly I reckon) both Schilling and Smoltz will breeze in and the other two will have to wait though they each have a valid case with similar stats.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:42 PM (#3112026)
Schilling 216-146 127 ERA+ 3261 IP
Brown 211-144 127 ERA+ 3256.3 IP
Smoltz 210-147 127 ERA+ 3395 IP 154 Saves
Mussina 270-153 123 ERA+ 3562.7 IP
I love that set of comps. Kevin Brown does deserve to be in the Hall - his best season is obviously better than those of Schilling, Smoltz, or Mussina, and his career value, well, there it is - but I have trouble garnering a lot of sympathy for a guy who's not all that far over the in/out line, and who screwed his own case by being a jerk to everyone his whole career.
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 23, 2009 at 11:41 PM (#3112059)
Agreed, better than Jim Rice or Catfish Hunter isn't a great argument. Schilling's a clear HoM pitcher, easily meets the standards. Of course Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina are also clear HoM pitchers.


Brown and Mussina are clear HoF pitchers as well; I don't see why they wouldn't be.
   25. mashimaro Posted: March 23, 2009 at 11:41 PM (#3112060)
If we are looking at basically four identical pitchers and had to put them all in or keep them all out of the HoF, I would vote to keep them out. I think some of the Hall's previous "mistake" selections should not be held as the standard. I don't think the HoF has to keep pace in electing x players per year. I think bringing in mostly just inner circle players is needed. I just think there is no need to be in a rush to elect a whole bunch of players too quickly.
   26. Mudpout Posted: March 23, 2009 at 11:43 PM (#3112061)
Schilling is now officially the third pitcher in history to retire with more than 3000 strikeouts and less than 1000 walks. Maddux was the second, finishing with 999 walks. John Smoltz has 992 walks, and by most accounts will be well enough to pitch his way past 1000. The only other pitcher is Fergie Jenkins.

Don't know if that's a point that will come up five years from now, when the hall debate will start again, but it's a bit of a neat twist.
   27. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 23, 2009 at 11:51 PM (#3112066)
That said, career ERA+ is not the best way to look at Catfish Hunter. He has a career ERA+ of 104 because he stunk as a teenager for the Kansas City A's and stunk as a 30-something Yankee.


It's one thing not to want to count his teenage years (er, year) against him; quite another to excuse his 30-something performances.

From 1971-75, his ERA+ was 127 – the same as Schiling's lifetime mark. Catfish is a peak candidate with a pretty good peak.


But that's not a "pretty good peak" for a HOFer; it's a pretty sucky one. Most HOFers pile up 127 ERA+ seasons as filler. Curt Schilling has nine seasons of an ERA+ of at least 127 (as you essentially note by citing his 140 ERA+ over a ten-year stretch, though in fairness to Catfish, Schilling had some lean innings totals in some of those years).

The point is that most Hall of Famers -- let alone peak candidates -- have much higher peaks.

Of course, five years of pitching like a Hall of Famer is not really enough if you stunk otherwise.


You mean three years.
   28. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 23, 2009 at 11:55 PM (#3112068)
lets please refrain from saying it's the hall of fame, it's not about a players fame, it's an organization that confers fame, having fame is not admittance to the institution.

Ahh, you're boxing clever here. However I still reckon it helps his chances that he is more prolific with respect to media exposure than most players, do you disagree?


Not really, but sportswriters aren't generally known for their deep understanding of the Hall of Fame.
   29. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:03 AM (#3112070)
If we are looking at basically four identical pitchers and had to put them all in or keep them all out of the HoF, I would vote to keep them out. I think some of the Hall's previous "mistake" selections should not be held as the standard. I don't think the HoF has to keep pace in electing x players per year. I think bringing in mostly just inner circle players is needed.


And if this were the Mashimaro Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, you'd be free to do just that. But the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is the entity that's under discussion, and all of those four pitchers qualify under the standards that have been set.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:16 AM (#3112076)
Not sure why people are jumping all over Rob, unless they're carrying a grudge of some sort. He wasn't making a full argument for Schilling being a Hall of Famer; he was just pointing out that Schilling satisfies one obvious prerequisite: that he blows Catfish away despite having similar triple crown stats. And anyone who has followed the debate over the years should immediately understand that Rob was speaking to the people who would pause over Schilling's candidacy, yet who have never stopped for one moment to consider that Catfish is completely unqualified for the Hall.

What Rob is addressing is similar to the sportswriters (I think Murray Chass and Bill Madden are specifically guilty here) who pause over Mussina's candidacy, yet support that of Jack Morris, a far inferior pitcher, without realizing the idiocy of that position.

Sheesh. Follow the broader discussion, people, if you're going to criticize.
   31. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:17 AM (#3112077)
In this day and age, I think you have to add postseason numbers to these four guys. They all had at least 81 postseason innings - and Brown was easily the least impressive in the postseason, which in my mind leaves him comfortably in fourth place among the group.
   32. Hugh Jorgan Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:25 AM (#3112080)
The funny thing is it all comes to down perception for the less "educated" voters(re: not stat savvy). This is where Schilling really has a big advantage over the other 3 on the list. Sure, we all understand the value of all 4 pitchers, however many of the voters won't see it, and Schilling's high profile will have him go in 1st ballot.
   33. Repoz Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:30 AM (#3112082)
yet support that of Jack Morris

The jock-dropping crew on MLB Harold were just pushing Jack Morris for the HOF if Schilling gets in...and they were basing it all on Wins.

They put a Schilling - Drysdale comp on the screen...highlighting their WS Championships!

At this point....I want Sweet Jesus Melendez on the show.
   34. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:32 AM (#3112084)
In this day and age, I think you have to add postseason numbers to these four guys. They all had at least 81 postseason innings - and Brown was easily the least impressive in the postseason, which in my mind leaves him comfortably in fourth place among the group.


I don't see any need to look at postseason stats, but regardless, Brown was on two World Series teams, and won it once, so it's hard to hold postseason against him. If Brown's postseason hurts him, I have to wonder just what in the hell we're doing, anyway.

He had a great year in 1997 to help the Marlins to the Wild Card, and then pitched a great game in Game One of the NLDS against the Giants. Of course, people will say "but the Marlins won that series in three games," which starts us down the road of preposterous logic, but even so, Brown got them off on the right foot in that series with his brilliant Game One performance, which enabled them to start him in Game One of the NLCS against Greg Maddux and the Braves, in which he also did enough to win. Then Brown pitched a complete game of 140 pitches to allow the Marlins to beat the Braves in Game Six and win the series. He did have a couple of clunkers in the World Series that year, but to denigrate what he did to get them to that point is lunacy.

And if someone can find anything wrong with his 1998 season (regular and postseason) to get the Padres to the World Series, I'd love to be enlightened.

I realize you were merely ranking his postseason performance behind the others, Tom, but I don't see what conclusion one draws from that. That he's not a Hall of Famer? That his postseason performance hurts him? I flat disagree.

What is the utility of ranking his postseason behind the others? Which pitcher would be a Hall of Famer but for his postseason performance? Which pitcher wouldn't be a Hall of Famer but for his postseason? If no such animals exist, I don't see why we're looking at postseason.
   35. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:34 AM (#3112087)
I agree that Schilling is higher profile than the others, but I'm not sure that will still be true in 5 years. I.e., I'm not sure whether it's a result of the immediacy of Schilling's accomplishments compared to Smoltz's.

Schilling does have three WS rings and three 20-win seasons, which will help in the voting compared to the other guys. I think they probably all deserve to go in, but I don't feel that strongly about it.
   36. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:40 AM (#3112090)
I realize you were merely ranking his postseason performance behind the others, Tom, but I don't see what conclusion one draws from that. That he's not a Hall of Famer? That his postseason performance hurts him? I flat disagree.

I think the point isn't that Brown is hurt by his postseason performance, but rather that he isn't helped as much by his postseason performance as the other three guys are by theirs. He has a worse ERA in fewer postseason innings than any of the others.

To some people, it could be the thing that vaults the other guys above the HOF in-out line and leaves Brown below it.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:46 AM (#3112093)
I realize you were merely ranking his postseason performance behind the others, Tom, but I don't see what conclusion one draws from that. That he's not a Hall of Famer? That his postseason performance hurts him? I flat disagree.
I think Tom's point was that with three pitchers so close in value (arguably four, but it's harder with Mussina, his career has a quite different shape), and all having such extensive postseason experience, we should use postseason numbers as a primary means of differentiating these pitchers. And since Brown's numbers are obviously much worse than Schilling's or Smoltz's, that leaves him in third place. That all seems pretty reasonable to me, though I think Brown's peak value is observably superior to either Schilling's or Smoltz's. (Especially Smoltz.)

I agree that I don't think that such an analysis suffices to place Brown below the in/out line of the Hall of Fame, with Smoltz and Schilling safely deserving of induction. I also don't think Tom was arguing that.
   38. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:47 AM (#3112094)
To some people, it could be the thing that vaults the other guys above the HOF in-out line and leaves Brown below it.


Which would be an absurd conclusion. Mussina doesn't have any championships, but he's being vaulted ahead of the guy who does?

People have used so many definitions of postseason success as for the entire concept to be exposed as a bankrupt exercise in cherry picking random criteria to help the guy they like and hurt the guy they don't.
   39. TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:49 AM (#3112096)
Schilling 216-146 127 ERA+ 3261 IP
Brown 211-144 127 ERA+ 3256.3 IP
Smoltz 210-147 127 ERA+ 3395 IP 154 Saves
Mussina 270-153 123 ERA+ 3562.7 IP


Ya know what would be fun? Someone with easy access to some of the advanced stats to post these 4, unnamed, their peak/career numbers. I know Brown would stick out like a sore thumb because of his 5-year peak; maybe show their 10 year peaks instead. The stats don't need to be rate stats, since they all have similar career length.

I'd do it, but every time I try comparing players, I get laughed at (for instance, it was pointed out to me in the other Shilling thread that ERA+ isn't a good stat because of UER).
   40. John DiFool2 Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:50 AM (#3112097)
If we are looking at basically four identical pitchers and had to put them all in or keep them all out of the HoF, I would vote to keep them out. I think some of the Hall's previous "mistake" selections should not be held as the standard. I don't think the HoF has to keep pace in electing x players per year. I think bringing in mostly just inner circle players is needed. I just think there is no need to be in a rush to elect a whole bunch of players too quickly.


But these guys wouldn't be mistakes at all. Perusing the BBRef HoF pitcher list, frankly only about a dozen current HoFers (plus the Big Five from this era who aren't in yet) clearly rate ahead of these guys-okay 2 dozen all told. I think they all comfortably fit into a nice group with the likes of Ryan, Feller, Fergie, Ford, & Vance, and would be far ahead of the true mistakes (Marquard, Haines, Hoyt et al.). If you like a Small Hall fine, but that's not the Hall we have, even if you toss out the crap selections.
   41. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:52 AM (#3112098)
I think Tom's point was that with three pitchers so close in value (arguably four, but it's harder with Mussina, his career has a quite different shape), and all having such extensive postseason experience, we should use postseason numbers as a primary means of differentiating these pitchers.


Differentiating them to what end, is my question. And by what criteria. And to what extent.

And since Brown's numbers are obviously much worse than Schilling's or Smoltz's, that leaves him in third place. That all seems pretty reasonable to me,


Except that Tom had the ringless Mussina over Brown as well, based on "postseason."

I agree that I don't think that such an analysis suffices to place Brown below the in/out line of the Hall of Fame, with Smoltz and Schilling safely deserving of induction. I also don't think Tom was arguing that.


I agree, which is why I can't figure out what utility his distinction had.
   42. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:57 AM (#3112100)
I'd do it, but every time I try comparing players, I get laughed at (for instance, it was pointed out to me in the other Shilling thread that ERA+ isn't a good stat because of UER).


Hey, I wasn't laughing at you. I was just noting that on the pro side for Schilling is the fact that if you look at RA instead of ERA, then Schilling gains an edge on Brown.

Edit: To put the numbers in perspective, Brown allowed 1,185 earned runs, plus an additional 172 unearned runs. Schilling allowed 1,458 earned runs, but only 65 UER, the lowest UER per plate appearance in history. In most cases, these figures are probably a wash. But Schilling vs. Brown is one of the few places where Runs Allowed really should be looked at when comparing value.

Which would be an absurd conclusion. Mussina doesn't have any championships, but he's being vaulted ahead of the guy who does?


It's not the number of championships won. Dave's merely pointing out that Mussina has simply pitched better than Brown in the postseason
   43. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:01 AM (#3112101)
While we discussed this in the lounge this morning we threw in David Cone just for shits and giggles.
   44. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:02 AM (#3112102)
Differentiating them to what end, is my question. And by what criteria. And to what extent.
1) You're seriously asking why we're trying to figure out which baseball player was "better"? This is just what we do. Further, the basic Jamesian method for HoF discussions prominently involves questions like "is he the best player at his position not currently inducted into the Hall?" Any HoF discussion requires asking these sorts of questions, and asking these sorts of questions in no way presumes that only the better player is ultimately worthy of induction.
2) The criteria seemed pretty clear. Use modern statistical methods (context-neutralized aggregate numbers) to compare different pitchers' normal, regular season statistics. Finding these numbers to be quite similar, turn to post-season numbers and evaluate them in the same way, using aggregate context-neutralized numbers. These postseason statistics diverge in a way that the regular season numbers don't, so you get a ranking determined by postseason success - not because the postseason ought, generally, to be the means of differentiating player quality, but because in this particular case, these pitchers are very similar in quality/value/HoF-worthiness based on their regular season careers, and so their divergent postseason careers become useful in the process of differentiation.
Except that Tom had the ringless Mussina over Brown as well, based on "postseason."
I'm having trouble seeing where you get this rngzz issue. Tom was, as I read it, only talking about the individual performance of these pitchers, not their teams. "Brown was easily the least impressive in the postseason, which in my mind leaves him comfortably in fourth place among the group." That's the quote. It's about individual numbers. Why are you bringing up team performance?
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:06 AM (#3112106)
People have used so many definitions of postseason success as for the entire concept to be exposed as a bankrupt exercise in cherry picking random criteria to help the guy they like and hurt the guy they don't.
I really don't follow here. The basic argument is that Kevin Brown's aggregate postseason numbers are clearly inferior to those of Smoltz, Schilling, and Mussina. Do you disagree? Can you lay out your disagreement?

Simply pointing out that there is not a single, definitive method for defining "postseason success" in no way invalidates particular attempts to differentiate players based on their postseason success. If you have a counterargument, you have to actually do the hard work of making it, you can't just point to the epistemological uncertainty that necessarily accompanies any project of this sort.

EDIT: It's equally true that "people have used so many definitions of baseball success" or "peak success" or "career success" - look at the HoM threads for their incredible diversity within only a very small and mostly ideologically self-selected portion of the population of baseball fans. That diversity doesn't mean that we can't tell with relative certainty that Mike Schmidt was better than Eddie Mathews.
   46. PerroX Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:13 AM (#3112112)
Why are you bringing up team performance?

Because he wouldn't have an argument otherwise?
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:34 AM (#3112135)
I really don't follow here. The basic argument is that Kevin Brown's aggregate postseason numbers are clearly inferior to those of Smoltz, Schilling, and Mussina. Do you disagree? Can you lay out your disagreement?


I agree that Brown's aggregate postseason numbers are clearly inferior to those of Smoltz, Schilling, and Mussina. I never argued otherwise.

I argue (1) that "aggregate postseason numbers" don't adequately capture postseason value. If the point in considering postseason is that championships matter, then championships should matter. That's why I argued that Mussina shouldn't be placed ahead of Brown on postseason.

I also argue (2) that postseason, no matter how expansive it is in this era, does not present equal opportunity to all pitchers. The regular season provides equal opportunity for all pitchers. Postseason doesn't. Smoltz pitched for the Braves. Mussina pitched for the freaking Yankees. So obviously their innings totals are going to far surpass Brown's, and so Brown gets unfairly penalized by a smaller sample which arbitrarily inflated his ERA because he didn't have the opportunity to pitch another 50 or 100 postseason innings. And we know damned well that if he had, his postseason ERA would be far closer to his career mark.
   48. Nasty Nate Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:35 AM (#3112140)
Anyone else just watch 2004 ALCS game 6 on ESPN classic?
   49. Matt Welch Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:43 AM (#3112153)
Their top 10 seasons in order, ranked by Win Shares:

CS: 24/24/22/22/22/17/16/16/15/15
CH: 29/27/25/22/17/15/15/13/12/10
KB: 26/26/23/20/20/19/18/15/15/13
MM: 27/24/23/20/19/19/18/18/17/15
JS: 27/21/19/18/18/18/17/17/17/16

All seasons normalized to 162 games (which helps Mussina especially). Hunter doesn't have anything else but this, unlike Mussina & Smoltz.
   50. tfbg9 Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:43 AM (#3112156)
"Anyone else just watch 2004 ALCS game 6 on ESPN classic?"

I just caught the end of it. The Yankess were in full choke thrall at that point.
Delicious!

In the last AB, Clark takes a 2-0 low inside 87 MPH Foulkie fastball for strike one,
with runners on 1st and 2nd, two outs, down 2-4. WTF?

HOF: Schill, Moose, Smoltzie...yes. Brown...no. Not difficult, really.
   51. Hugh Jorgan Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:51 AM (#3112162)
HOF: Schill, Moose, Smoltzie...yes. Brown...no

Please explain? especially the Brown...no part.
   52. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:54 AM (#3112165)
Please explain? especially the Brown...no part.


He probably feels that Brown wasn't famous enough.
   53. Hugh Jorgan Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:59 AM (#3112169)
He probably feels that Brown wasn't famous enough

Yes, well funnily enough this probably has some bearing on it. We don't vote, and those that do allow these things to cloud their thinking. And as pointed out above, Brown was a bit of a turd also, so they won't help him. No, it shouldn't have any bearing, but it will. Just like Jeff Kent, the king turd of all turds will simply not be voted by some who have the vote because of his wonderful personality. No, its not right, but it will happen.
   54. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:12 AM (#3112178)
Schilling is now officially the third pitcher in history to retire with more than 3000 strikeouts and less than 1000 walks.


Pedro Martinez will almost assuredly join them. He's only walked 752 batters in his career.
   55. Srul Itza Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:16 AM (#3112180)
Just like Jeff Kent, the king turd of all turds will simply not be voted by some who have the vote because of his wonderful personality. No, its not right, but it will happen.

Except that Kent was only a turd to his teammates. He was always accessible to the writers and gave them good quotes.

HOF: Schill, Moose, Smoltzie...yes. Brown...no

Please explain? especially the Brown...no part.


If he's saying that this how the writers will vote, it is quite possibly accurate, for the reasons others have stated.

If he is saying that this is what Brown deserves, well, then an explanation is called for.
   56. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:24 AM (#3112189)
I also argue (2) that postseason, no matter how expansive it is in this era, does not present equal opportunity to all pitchers. The regular season provides equal opportunity for all pitchers. Postseason doesn't. Smoltz pitched for the Braves. Mussina pitched for the freaking Yankees. So obviously their innings totals are going to far surpass Brown's, and so Brown gets unfairly penalized by a smaller sample which arbitrarily inflated his ERA because he didn't have the opportunity to pitch another 50 or 100 postseason innings. And we know damned well that if he had, his postseason ERA would be far closer to his career mark.


The problem with this approach is you're ignoring a Hall-caliber season from John Smoltz's career - 207 IP, 2.65 ERA. Those pitches count on his shoulder. Similarly, if you ignore the postseason, you're counting the non-HoF caliber 2005 on Schilling's resume while ignoring a big reason it was such a washout year - his remarkable 2004 posteason that he was unable to fully recover from by the next season.

Kiko and I and a few others have said this before: Most pitchers have a finite number of throws in their arms. If you only count what's done in the regular season, then you're specifically punishing those guys who have thrown a lot of innings in the postseason, the innings that they themselves point toward to the most, at HoF time.

For me, I wouldn't hold Brown's postseason mark against him. It furthers his case, particularly helping lead two teams to the World Series. But his performance wasn't as good in the postseason as Smoltz and Schilling, in particular, and to a lesser extent Mussina, so he would get less of a boost than those guys.

I'm still comfortable with all of them in the HoF. But it is another data point when comparing four rather similar players.
   57. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:46 AM (#3112211)
I still don't see any pitchers who are above or below the HOF line based on postseason performance.
   58. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:52 AM (#3112220)
I still don't see any pitchers who are above or below the HOF line based on postseason performance.


Quite possibly true. That doesn't mean it won't be the case in the future.
   59. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:11 AM (#3112237)
My point was that when you have four pitchers that you're trying to assess, and they have all pitched significant numbers of postseason innings, it makes sense to include those innings. Especially since, for a lot of people, those four pitchers are right on the in/out line for the Hall of Fame. Winning championships is great, but how well the players actually played in pursuit of that championship seems more germane to the issue at hand. These guys aren't NFL quarterbacks.

In the larger sense, I think it's time for people to start regularly adding in postseason numbers to regular season numbers when considering things like the Hall of Fame. Obviously, no one wanted to penalize Ernie Banks for never making a World Series, or give Mickey Mantle extra credit just because the Yankees did make it every year. No one wanted to take Ted Williams' piddling seven career postseason games and use them as evidence of anything.

But now, with so many more teams reaching the postseason, and with them playing so many more games when they do make it, I think they've become a significant part of a player's value. Lots of guys have racked up 200 ABs or 50 IP in games that are arguably more important than regular season games (I would say clearly more important, but I can see how others would disagree); how can you not care how the player has performed in those situations? They're a critical part of his value. We really shouldn't ignore them.
   60. Darren Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:13 AM (#3112240)
I love that Brown gets disqualified (essentially) for being a jerk, but Schilling does not. Without going into his political activism, Schilling is a guy who:

a) questioned the toughness of other members of the Phillies rotation for succumbing to injury, after he himself had missed parts of several seasons with injuries.

b) Did the same thing on the Red Sox only to later find out that the pitcher had been pitching through serious arm problems before undergoing surgery AND while Schilling himself missed time repeatedly.

c) Was caught on tape mocking Sammy Sosa for his Dominican accent

d) Shot off his mouth about seeing everybody do steroids and then clamming up when given the chance to speak up on the matter.

e) Showed up so out of shape for the 2007 season that the Red Sox required a weight clause be put in for the 08 season.

f) Forced his way out of both Philly and Arizona in the middle of his contracts.

g) Would show up his closer, Mitch Williams, by sitting with a towel over his head because he couldn't bear to watch him try to close out games in Philly.

These are off the top of my head and I'm sure there's plenty more. But Schilling was a good quote, so he was, naturally, a good guy. We know this because the writers told us so.
   61. Darren Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:15 AM (#3112244)
I also find it interesting how Brown's reputation changed so much while he was with the Yankees. Prior to that, he was considered an ornery guy but in the same way that Randy Johnson was. Sure, he was tough to be around, but you wanted a competitor like him on your team for sure. But since he came to New York, he seemed to absorb a big chunk of the blame for the Yankees not winning it all. He quickly transformed into a big jerk, who didn't know how to win. Or something.
   62. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:20 AM (#3112262)
I disliked Schilling before I knew a thing about his politics or religion, from the moment he put that towel over his head. He could have been a Jewish classical liberal with all the same tattoos as me, and I still would have disliked him. He's a low-class #######. Nothing's ever going to make the 2004 WS feel bad for me, but sometimes I wish someone else could have worn that damned bloody sock.
   63. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:24 AM (#3112274)
No way...Brown was firmly defined as "Big jerk who gets mad at everyone for no reason and is disliked by everyone" when he was still in the National League.

Here's a story from the 1999 MLB preview that tells all the stories about what a jerk he is and then tries to portray him in a positive light.
   64. Darren Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:32 AM (#3112288)
Bazardo, I didn't RTFA but what you're saying is what I mean.
   65. Blackadder Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:33 AM (#3112289)
God, I had forgotten about the Mitch Williams towel. 1993 was the first baseball season I followed, and thinking back Curt Schilling may be the first baseball I ever strongly disliked.
   66. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:34 AM (#3112291)
But now, with so many more teams reaching the postseason, and with them playing so many more games when they do make it, I think they've become a significant part of a player's value. Lots of guys have racked up 200 ABs or 50 IP in games that are arguably more important than regular season games (I would say clearly more important, but I can see how others would disagree); how can you not care how the player has performed in those situations?


Because opportunies are still not equal, and there are still sample size issues.

They're a critical part of his value. We really shouldn't ignore them.


I still don't see how they can be a critical part of a player's value when we can't name a single pitcher that is above or below the HOF line based on postseason performance.
   67. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:35 AM (#3112293)
Which would be an absurd conclusion. Mussina doesn't have any championships, but he's being vaulted ahead of the guy who does?
Uh, Mussina has the 1996 World Series championship.
   68. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:36 AM (#3112295)
After I invent time travel, go back, and beat Jeffrey Maier to death with a baseball bat on the day of his birth.
   69. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:36 AM (#3112296)
Uh, what?

[EDIT: You thought nobody would see 67 without also seeing 68, but you were wrong. Making this comment of mine look stupid]
   70. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:39 AM (#3112298)
I still don't see how they can be a critical part of a player's value when we can't name a single pitcher that is above or below the HOF line based on postseason performance.

I can't name a single pitcher who is above or below the HOF line based on his performance at, say, age 37, and yet that is considered as critical as any other stats they put up in their careers. Odd.
   71. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:40 AM (#3112302)
Don't worry; once I've gotten that time travel worked out, I'll go back and warn you not to make that post until you see #68.
   72. cardsfanboy Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:48 AM (#3112323)
Don't worry; once I've gotten that time travel worked out, I'll go back and warn you not to make that post until you see #68.

I can imagine a bad sci fi story based upon a time machine built by a collaboration between a New York native and a Boston native who fight over whether it's ethical to change the results of a few world series.
   73. Hugh Jorgan Posted: March 24, 2009 at 04:00 AM (#3112346)
Because it's part of their career. "The third week in May" isn't essential for a single pitcher's HOF in/out case, but that doesn't mean we should ignore it.

American sports are unique in this case. In European football for instance, all of Christiano Ronaldo's goals count whether its FA cup, league play or EUFA stuff. Here in Aus your playoff stats just get added to your regular stats in all of our football type codes. Right or wrong, its just the way it is. The argument here is that those playoff stats are more important because they are against better opposition, which of course has some merit.
   74. Srul Itza Posted: March 24, 2009 at 04:01 AM (#3112348)
But Schilling was a good quote, so he was, naturally, a good guy. We know this because the writers told us so.

On MLB baseball, one of the guys quoted Ed Wade as saying that Schilling was Horse every 5th day, and a Horse's Ass the other Four.
   75. Obama Bomaye Posted: March 24, 2009 at 04:08 AM (#3112356)
If you like a Small Hall fine, but that's not the Hall we have, even if you toss out the crap selections.

We have the Hall we have because of the combination of different types of voters, the very discriminating and the less discriminating. Not that he's an actual voter, but if whatshisname wants a small Hall, that's fine. Expecting voters to change their perspectives based on what the Hall now seems to be, thinking that will keep its standards consistent, will actually change them.


he didn't have the opportunity to pitch another 50 or 100 postseason innings. And we know damned well that if he had, his postseason ERA would be far closer to his career mark.

O RLY?
   76. PerroX Posted: March 24, 2009 at 04:56 AM (#3112430)
we can't name a single pitcher that is above or below the HOF line based on postseason performance.

Didn't Hunter's postseason play help push him over the line? If he never went to the World Series, do you think he'd be in?

And whether we want it to be or not, there are players in the HOF because of October play, players necessarily on the margins of acceptability.

As for the arguments that baseball writers don't have a 'deep' understanding of the HOF, or Hunter being completely unqualified -- they're theoretical at best; the reality is that the HOF exists upon the writer's understanding, and Catfish Hunter is a HOFer based upon the understanding of 76 percent of the writers in 1987.
   77. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 05:04 AM (#3112457)
he didn't have the opportunity to pitch another 50 or 100 postseason innings. And we know damned well that if he had, his postseason ERA would be far closer to his career mark.

O RLY?


Sure. The larger the sample, the closer the player gets to his true talent level. Yogi Berra is a good example of this; his first few postseason series sucked.
   78. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 05:07 AM (#3112469)
Didn't Hunter's postseason play help push him over the line? If he never went to the World Series, do you think he'd be in?


Hunter should not be in the HOF with or without his postseason performance, so he's not an example of what I'm talking about.

(I think the 20-win seasons are what put him in as far as the writers are concerned, but regardless it's irrelevant to my point.)
   79. PerroX Posted: March 24, 2009 at 05:13 AM (#3112486)
My point is that Hunter is, in fact, in the Hall of Fame, and his postseason success, in fact, contributed to his marginal candidacy ending in election.

The postseason's only going to be a factor for the marginal candidate; if you exclude a guy like Hunter (and there are other examples of marginal players' postseason play influencing their elections), you've rigged your argument.

For me, should or should not is only really relevant for future elections. What's done is done, is history, and Hunter is a Hall of Famer. And not even close to the least deserving.
   80. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 05:35 AM (#3112552)
My point is that Hunter is, in fact, in the Hall of Fame, and his postseason success, in fact, contributed to his marginal candidacy ending in election.


And I'm saying the voters didn't think he was marginal at all; he was elected in his third time on the ballot. He didn't struggle for years and years like Rice or Gossage.

The postseason's only going to be a factor for the marginal candidate; if you exclude a guy like Hunter (and there are other examples of marginal players' postseason play influencing their elections), you've rigged your argument.


Not at all. My argument is that there is no such player who belongs out but postseason performance puts him in, or vice versa. I have always been talking here about whether the player is deserving.

And if postseason performance is a "critical factor" to a player's candidacy (Jack Morris comes to mind), he probably doesn't belong in.

For me, should or should not is only really relevant for future elections. What's done is done, is history, and Hunter is a Hall of Famer. And not even close to the least deserving.


Yes, he is close to the least deserving. There is maybe one pitcher less deserving than him.
   81. Obama Bomaye Posted: March 24, 2009 at 06:22 AM (#3112596)
The larger the sample, the closer the player gets to his true talent level. Yogi Berra is a good example of this; his first few postseason series sucked.

And you know that Brown's true talent level in the postseason was the same as his regular season ERA?
   82. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 24, 2009 at 06:28 AM (#3112598)
Obviously his true talent level in the postseason was the same as his true talent level in the regular season. Just like his true talent level in April was the same as his talent level in June.

As for actual performance, though, he would have been up against better competition in the postseason, of course. Of course.
   83. Obama Bomaye Posted: March 24, 2009 at 06:37 AM (#3112600)
Obviously his true talent level in the postseason was the same as his true talent level in the regular season.

Yall must be a lot smarter than me. I had no idea it was so obvious the postseason couldn't possibly affect players in different ways. Or that no one might ever feast on inferior players while performing relatively worse against better players.
   84. Obama Bomaye Posted: March 24, 2009 at 06:39 AM (#3112601)
Moreover, who gives a #### what his "true talent" was? I've been talking about baseball players in general, but now I'm talking specifically about Brown. I don't even know what his postseason numbers were, but if he sucked, he sucked. The Marlins and Padres and Yankees don't get to play those games over a million more times, looking for patterns.
   85. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 24, 2009 at 06:41 AM (#3112602)
All I'm saying is something that should be clear if you think about what "talent" means. Your talent doesn't change depending on your opponent. Your performance does.
   86. Mudpout Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:43 PM (#3112643)

Pedro Martinez will almost assuredly join them. He's only walked 752 batters in his career.


Meant to mention Pedro, not sure why I forgot his name. Anyways, he's so far away that if he tries to pitch another ten years he will still safely be under the total. If he retires instead of coming back, he'll be the fourth. The only thing I didn't like about the Smoltz signing at the time was that it likely means he'll pass 1000 walks instead of retiring. I thought it'd be pretty cool to have four pitchers with >3000/<1000 in their career eligible for the Hall in the same year after it had only happened once before in history.
   87. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:20 PM (#3112663)
And you know that Brown's true talent level in the postseason was the same as his regular season ERA?


Adjusted for the level of competition, yes.
   88. SandyRiver Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:53 PM (#3112697)
I still don't see any pitchers who are above or below the HOF line based on postseason performance.

Lefty Gomez? Under 200 wins, 125 ERA+ in just 2,500 innings. On the black/gray/standard/monitor lists he's above the "average HOF-er" on two and below on two. However, he was 6-0 in the WS, still the most wins without a loss, and he was immensely quotable (though it was the vets, not the writers, who put him in.) Not a bad choice, IMO, but maybe a borderliner whose WS record was the difference.
   89. PerroX Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:59 PM (#3112701)
Yes, he is close to the least deserving. There is maybe one pitcher less deserving than him.

I'd say there are a good dozen pitchers who did less, and many more undeserving hitters.

Good points above regarding "true talent" -- what a player actually did, how he actually performed, trumps 'coulda, woulda, shouda" anytime.
   90. BDC Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:00 PM (#3112704)
Gomez, like Herb Pennock and Waite Hoyt, is in the Hall not so much because of his individual postseason performance, but because he was a notable player on a number of champions. Hunter, the same. It may not be a sensible Hall criterion, but it seems to have been applied quite a lot; it also explains Combs, Lazzeri, and various 1930-34 era Cardinals. (As does the Frankie Frisch phenomenon, but Frisch benefited rhetorically from being able to point to all the pennants those guys had won.)
   91. JPWF13 Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:22 PM (#3112714)
I argue (1) that "aggregate postseason numbers" don't adequately capture postseason value. If the point in considering postseason is that championships matter, then championships should matter. That's why I argued that Mussina shouldn't be placed ahead of Brown on postseason.


In this specific instance this is absurd- Brown won a ring in 1997- the MARLINS won the freaking WS despite Brown going 0-2 8.18 in the world series.

Mussina actually pitched better in the postseason than the regular season- much better when the caliber of the opp is taken into account. Brown didn't.
   92. BFFB Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:27 PM (#3112718)
Roger Clemens says to a mate "I've been taking steroids for a while and have grown an extra c0ck".

His mate says "anabolic"

Roger replies "no, just a c0ck"
   93. DL from MN Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:44 PM (#3112742)
> Brown and Mussina are clear HoF pitchers as well; I don't see why they wouldn't be.

See Bert Blyleven & Billy Pierce

I'd argue in favor of David Cone making it and Wells on the outside looking in. There really shouldn't be much debate at the Schilling/Smoltz/Brown level. The in-out line should be around Cone, Jumbo Wells, Jamie Moyer, Chuck Finley, Kevin Appier, Andy Pettitte. Andy Pettitte is absolutely a guy where postseason might get him in when otherwise he would be Chuck Finley. It's a small bonus but it might be all he needs. Other players with significant postseason help that are marginal otherwise:

Rollie Fingers
Dizzy Dean
   94. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:56 PM (#3112757)
In this specific instance this is absurd- Brown won a ring in 1997- the MARLINS won the freaking WS despite Brown going 0-2 8.18 in the world series.


I frankly think that denigrating Brown by pointing to his 8.18 ERA in the 1997 World Series is lunacy. I see absolutely no reason to ignore everything he did to that point in the season which helped his team get into the World Series, as I outlined above in #34.
   95. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:00 PM (#3112765)
I'd say there are a good dozen pitchers who did less, and many more undeserving hitters.


Please name 6 HOF pitchers who arguably did less than Catfish Hunter. I'll spot you one: Rube Marquard.
   96. PerroX Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:43 PM (#3112828)
Bruce Sutter
Waite Hoyt
Jesse Haines
Herb Pennock
Red Ruffing

The only way you can make the argument these guys did "more" is that they had longer careers. Hunter would undoubtedly be a guy you'd chop off if you wanted to limit the Hall to the elite of the game, but he doesn't really qualify as 'least deserving' considering the competition.
   97. HGM Posted: March 24, 2009 at 04:02 PM (#3112856)
You can't just discount the longer careers. Frankly, Red Ruffing is so far above Hunter that it's silly. Comparable peak and 1,000 more innings. Hoyt has length, quality, and relief work to top Hunter. Pennock, Marquard, Haines, Sutter, and Jack Chresbo are the only ones I think are arguably worse choices than Hunter.
   98. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: March 24, 2009 at 04:11 PM (#3112872)
Ruffing is well above Hunter: much longer career, superior offensive value (one of the best hitting pitchers of the 20th century), and WWII credit.

The last may sound odd, especially given how quickly his career disintegrated after WWII, but if you look it up you'll see: 1) when he came back he pitched briliantly in 19 starts in 1945-6. 2) Then a line drive blasted off his knee, breaking his kneecap (!?!). He still managed to come back. Given that he lost two and a half seasons to WWII, he may have won 300 had it not been for the war. Yeah, I know that would be greatly aided by his offense, but that's comically well over Catfish Hunter. (Actually, I believe Ruffing and Hunter had similar offensive support in their careers).
   99. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 04:18 PM (#3112882)
Pennock, Marquard, Haines, Sutter, and Jack Chresbo are the only ones I think are arguably worse choices than Hunter.
Let's set aside Sutter as a special case; whether he's better or worse than Hunter, he really wasn't being compared to Hunter by the voters. Of the others, Marquard is the only one clearly worse; the others, well, you can argue that they're worse than Sutter by doing some type of timeline adjustment. (Which I think is fair if you're saying, "Who was a better pitcher?" but not "Who was a better HOF choice?")
   100. PerroX Posted: March 24, 2009 at 04:24 PM (#3112891)
Honestly, I am not engaged enough to start ranking HOFers as not worthy or undeserving. I wasn't even thinking about Ruffing as a hitter, and he undoubtedly trumps Hunter when you add up all the numbers. Awards in any sphere do not capture my imagination. I"ve received more than a few 'awards' in my life, but none are hanging up on the wall anywhere, or even stored in the closet. I don't even have a copy of my college diploma.

I've never thought of Hunter as undeserving. So even though I find Rayn dogmatic in his argument, he's made his point about Catfish as a bottom feeder.
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