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

Thursday, November 09, 2017

HOF committee: Whitaker’s case discussed, fell short this time

“There was no decision not to include Lou Whitaker,” said Jack O’Connell, a longtime Hartford (Conn.) Courant writer and longtime secretary/treasurer of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

“His career was discussed along with many others, but he did not get sufficient support to make the ballot. There were quite a few other players from that era who might have been worthy of inclusion, but we were limited to 10. This does not mean Whitaker or anyone else who did not make the ballot will be excluded forever.”

Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: November 09, 2017 at 04:14 PM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, lou whitaker, 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. The Duke Posted: November 10, 2017 at 08:02 AM (#5573913)
Cant even get selected to be on the ballot so no chance of ever getting 75%. It’s a bit puzzling. I can’t imagine any way a group of smart people could put Steve Harvey on the ballot ahead of Whitaker. I’m not a saber head - that’s just common sense
   2. Greg K Posted: November 10, 2017 at 08:07 AM (#5573917)
I can’t imagine any way a group of smart people could put Steve Harvey on the ballot ahead of Whitaker. I’m not a saber head - that’s just common sense

Hey, don't knock him, he's single-handedly brought Family Feud back to relevance!
   3. Traderdave Posted: November 10, 2017 at 08:57 AM (#5573938)
If Trammel gets in, it would be an awesome made-for-TV if he stepped up to the podium and rejected the award, and won't accept unless Whitaker goes in with him.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 10, 2017 at 09:03 AM (#5573944)
If Trammel gets in, it would be an awesome made-for-TV if he stepped up to the podium and rejected the award, and won't accept unless Whitaker goes in with him.

Disagree. That would be a totally classless thing to do.
   5. Tubbs is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle Posted: November 10, 2017 at 09:08 AM (#5573948)
I do hope to see Whitaker get a mention during Trammell's and/or Morris' induction speech, should they get in

Even though, Historical Overview Committee member Jack O'Connell denies it, I do believe Whitaker was held back on this ballot as too many 84 Tigers on one ballot might have hurt Tram or Morris getting in. Of course O'Connell isn't going to say that
   6. Traderdave Posted: November 10, 2017 at 09:13 AM (#5573952)

Disagree. That would be a totally classless thing to do.


To honor and back up a valued teammate and partner is classless?
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 10, 2017 at 09:22 AM (#5573956)
To honor and back up a valued teammate and partner is classless?

To snub people who are giving you the highest award in your sport is totally classless. It's fine to say "I wish Lou Whitaker was up here with me; he deserves it as much as I do.".

But to be obnoxious to the HoF and all the fans who came out to see you inducted, because the VC got your vote right, but hasn't yet got Whitaker's right, is classless.

It's not like Whitaker is suffering any real injustice here. He's not being denied something he has a right to. Heck, the HoF doesn't even control its voters.
   8. Sweatpants Posted: November 10, 2017 at 09:27 AM (#5573961)
I don't understand why Whitaker leaves so many people unimpressed (I don't mean here). He was half of the longest-running DP combo in history, and it's not like anyone thought he was just along for the ride; he won Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves. He was part of a successful run for the Tigers, including maybe the most famous season in the franchise's history. He's easily identifiable with one team. It's not like Blyleven's case, which was pretty much all about his statistics. Is it that he just never felt like an MVP candidate?
   9. The Duke Posted: November 10, 2017 at 09:31 AM (#5573966)
It’s the Small market thing. In those days these kind of guys got zero national press. Simmons, whitaker, trammel, Grich, - these guys aren’t in the subconscious of voters like Mattingly and garvey. Would Keith Hernandez even be discussed if he had stayed in the Cardinals?
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 10, 2017 at 09:37 AM (#5573969)

If Trammel gets in, it would be an awesome made-for-TV if he stepped up to the podium and rejected the award, and won't accept unless Whitaker goes in with him.

I agree it would be awkward, but is it even really possible for a player to "reject the award"? If they want to put your plaque in the museum, do they need your permission?
   11. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: November 10, 2017 at 09:48 AM (#5573974)
I don't understand why Whitaker leaves so many people unimpressed (I don't mean here). He was half of the longest-running DP combo in history, and it's not like anyone thought he was just along for the ride; he won Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves. He was part of a successful run for the Tigers, including maybe the most famous season in the franchise's history. He's easily identifiable with one team. It's not like Blyleven's case, which was pretty much all about his statistics. Is it that he just never felt like an MVP candidate?


I think it comes down to three things --

First, despite the modern emphasis on OBP - people still look at a lot more at that .276 BA and not enough at that .363 OBP.

Second, especially by the time he was hitting his peak - Whitaker was sitting against a lot of LHP. He wasn't a total platoon player, but I think he feels uncomfortably close to a lot of people - and people would generally say that a platoon player can't be a HoFer.

Three, you mention - lack of any real MVP votes.... I'd point out that it was 'only' 3 GGs and 4 SSs -- all which came in that mid to late 80s Tigers run when he was certainly overshadowed by Trammell (and Morris and Gibson and Alexander and Willie Hernandez). He just didn't get the love.
   12. Cooper Nielson Posted: November 10, 2017 at 09:55 AM (#5573977)
It’s the Small market thing. In those days these kind of guys got zero national press.

Detroit was a pretty big market in the '80s.
   13. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: November 10, 2017 at 10:04 AM (#5573985)
First, despite the modern emphasis on OBP - people still look at a lot more at that .276 BA and not enough at that .363 OBP.


And again, there's a perfectly plausible reason for this. The reputational value of a walk is less than its sabermetric value and the relative reputational value of a single is higher. I entirely concur with this reasoning. Pace the fanatics, "seeing" that Lou or Grich should clearly be in the HOF isn't the achievement of some superior state of consciousness; it is instead a complete failure to distinguish historical reputation and contemporaneous sabermetric "value."

Second, especially by the time he was hitting his peak - Whitaker was sitting against a lot of LHP. He wasn't a total platoon player, but I think he feels uncomfortably close to a lot of people - and people would generally say that a platoon player can't be a HoFer.


Lou, God (*) bless him, couldn't hit lefties for ####.

Three, you mention - lack of any real MVP votes.... I'd point out that it was 'only' 3 GGs and 4 SSs -- all which came in that mid to late 80s Tigers run when he was certainly overshadowed by Trammell (and Morris and Gibson and Alexander and Willie Hernandez). He just didn't get the love.


Excellent player; unlike Trammell (**), never really in the contemporaneous discussion about the very best in the game.

(*) Or whoever.

(**) And to a degree, even Morris. /ducks
   14. shoewizard Posted: November 10, 2017 at 10:32 AM (#5573999)
I think it comes down to three things --

First, despite the modern emphasis on OBP - people still look at a lot more at that .276 BA and not enough at that .363 OBP.

Second, especially by the time he was hitting his peak - Whitaker was sitting against a lot of LHP. He wasn't a total platoon player, but I think he feels uncomfortably close to a lot of people - and people would generally say that a platoon player can't be a HoFer.

Three, you mention - lack of any real MVP votes.... I'd point out that it was 'only' 3 GGs and 4 SSs -- all which came in that mid to late 80s Tigers run when he was certainly overshadowed by Trammell (and Morris and Gibson and Alexander and Willie Hernandez). He just didn't get the love.


1 & 3 are interdependent.

If you took away 200 walks and converted them to 200 singles, then he would have had a .293 career batting avg and he would be in the HOF, and would have had 6 or 7 .300 batting avg seasons instead of just 2, garnering more MVP votes along the way, and subsequently more HOF support.

Of course the OBP would have been the same, but his rBAT and WAR would also be a little higher.

But we all know it doesn't work that way. With his skill set if you took away 200 walks and he was swinging at pitches he would normally take, it's unlikely he would get a hit on more than 50 of those plate appearances.

I think it should also be noted that Whitaker's two best season, 83 & 91, he ranked 5th and 4th in WAR respectively. So just two seasons he cracked the top 5.

His next best two seasons are 82 & 89, and the WAR total is just 5.4 & 5.3 , and the ranks are 14th and 8th

After that, he has 10 seasons between 3.6 & 4.7.

Maybe these two links are a better way to illustrate the problem, with less verbiage

since 1962 2b with most seasons 3.5 WAR or more

WHitaker sits atop the list and beats even Joe Morgan.

But....

since 1962 2b with most seasons 6.0 WAR or more

Whitaker is in a 8 way tie for 12th.

Ultimate career vs. Peak.

Whitaker just did not have the batting avg or the peak to woo voters. He is the very definition of the "Hall of Very Good" for many people. For me personally I would vote for him. Although he doesn't have the peak of some of his contemporary 2nd baseman, he was as good or better for many other seasons. He was very good for a very long time.

It doesn't help either that he only went to the post season twice and only played in 3 post season series and didn't do much in those limited opportunities.

He has been shortchanged, and not gotten nearly the length and depth of review he deserved. That points to the obvious flaws in the system and how the voters have evaluated players over the years.

Hopefully that changes someday.


   15. villageidiom Posted: November 10, 2017 at 10:35 AM (#5574003)
20th century 2nd basemen in the HoF:

1900-10s Lajoie, Evers
1910-20s Collins
1920-30s Hornsby, Frisch, Lazzeri, Gehringer
1930-40s Herman, Doerr, Gordon
1940-50s Robinson, Schoendienst
1950-60s Fox, Mazeroski
1960-70s Morgan, Carew*
1970-80s
1980-90s Sandberg
1990-00s Alomar, Biggio

* He played into the '80s, but midway through the '70s he was no longer a 2B.

The real answer why Whitaker is overlooked for the HOF is that second basemen were overlooked in the era he played in. JAWS isn't the end of the discussion for any of this, but using JAWS as an example the top 20 non-active JAWS leaders among second basemen are all in the HOF except:

- Grich (7th)
- Whitaker (11th)
- Randolph (15th)
- Kent (16th)

That's it. Three players from the same era, and one player from the steroid era who has Steroid Stench™. Those three all had skills that were not appreciated in their time, and they're still being penalized for it today. The only 2B in from their era is Carew, who arguably wasn't a 2B in their era.
   16. shoewizard Posted: November 10, 2017 at 10:47 AM (#5574021)
Lou, God (*) bless him, couldn't hit lefties for ####.


Yeah, I might be overlooking this aspect of it a bit.

ranks 167th out of 207 left handed batters with over 1000 PA vs. left handed pitchers since 1962

Report Link
   17. Hysterical & Useless Posted: November 10, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5574028)
Hey, don't knock him, he's single-handedly brought Family Feud back to relevance!


My kids used to watch his sitcom sometimes BITD; I found it pretty boring. But the variety show he hosted was pretty cool.
   18. wjones Posted: November 10, 2017 at 11:05 AM (#5574042)
Hey
, don't knock him, he's single-handedly brought Family Feud back to relevance!


If Trammel gets in, it would be an awesome made-for-TV if he stepped up to the podium and rejected the award, and won't accept unless Whitaker goes in with him.


Or we could combine the two and have Harvey announce the winners....and give him the wrong names to announce.
   19. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 10, 2017 at 11:20 AM (#5574055)
2B/3B/CF get the shaft in HOF voting.
   20. Booey Posted: November 10, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5574095)
Lou's problem is that he never had a clear, dominant peak as an MVP caliber player; just a really long prime as a very good, "regular" all star caliber player. What are his signature seasons you can point to where he was clearly one of the best players in the game? People on this site sometimes compare Whittaker to Sandberg, but Ryno had 1984 and 1990 and a few others. Trammell was similar to Lou in this way, but even he had 1987.

I'd vote for Whittaker, but I understand why his greatness has been overlooked by so many.
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 10, 2017 at 12:22 PM (#5574100)
I'd vote for Whittaker, but I understand why his greatness has been overlooked by so many.

You know it doesn't bode well when even your supporters don't know your greatness enough to be able to spell your name right. ;)
   22. The Duke Posted: November 10, 2017 at 12:26 PM (#5574103)
He’s not being ignored by the voters (yet). He’s being ignored by people who decide who the voters get to vote on, he’s still a long way from being ignored by the voters. I don’t think he had a chance in hell of ever getting there. His best bet is if people finally decided Grich was a hall of famer but it’s a double-edged sword. If Grich gets in Lou will be the guy who isn’t as good as the guy who almost didn’t make it into the hall of fame which I guess is slightly better than not as good as a Comp who’s better than him and can’t get in the Hall.
   23. QLE Posted: November 10, 2017 at 12:57 PM (#5574124)
2B/3B/CF get the shaft in HOF voting.


In the case of 3B, I have to suspect that a good hunk of the issue has to do with how talent in that position was distributed over time- the period between the retirement of Home Run Baker and the rise of Eddie Mathews saw no third basemen who clearly deserved induction, while, in contrast, there are anywhere between eight and eleven (depending on what position we count Dick Allen as playing and what you think of the merits of Ron Cey and Darrell Evans) candidates who were active during the 1970s. That level of clotting has probably managed to subconsciously damage the cases of quite a few of these candidates, in ways I don't think would have necessarily been the case if they were more spread out in time.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: November 10, 2017 at 01:15 PM (#5574144)
I support Lou's candidacy, obviously, but I think Grich's is stronger, and wish his snub would get a little more ink. He's got the higher peak and no platoon issues that cause some concerns. He was a six-time all-star (and MVP votes in two seasons he didn't make the All-Star game). He was considered one of the true stars in that first free agent class.

The only thing working against him is that he wasn't Joe Morgan.
   25. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: November 10, 2017 at 01:43 PM (#5574169)
He was considered one of the true stars in that first free agent class.


Certainly not by pay. Didn't look at everybody, but he's behind at least 5/6 guys (Reggie, Bando, Tenace, Fingers, Baylor). Grich got 5/1.35; Reggie got 5/3.0. He's more a comp with Doyle Alexander, who got 5/1.25.
   26. DL from MN Posted: November 10, 2017 at 01:45 PM (#5574174)
Lou's problem is that he never had a clear, dominant peak as an MVP caliber player


This is true. Even in the retroactive MMP voting Whitaker only appeared on a ballot 4 separate years. His highest finish was 13th (twice).

Looking over this ballot for MMP # years on-ballot (best finish)

Garvey 1 (25th 1974)
John 1 (17th 1979)
Mattingly 3 (4th 1986)
Morris 0
Murphy 6 (5th 1983)
Parker 4 (3rd 1978)
Simmons 6 (7th 1978)
Tiant 3 (6th 1978)
Trammell 6 (MMP 1987)

and some left off

Grich 7 (5th 1981)
Dw Evans 5 (2nd 1981)
J Wynn 5 (4th 1974)
K Hernandez 5 (6th 1979)
Saberhagen 4 (2nd 1989)
Stieb 4 (7th 1984)
Hershiser 4 (5th 1988)
Cey 4 (12th 1976)
B Bell 4 (8th 1981)
Nettles 3 (7th 1976)
Da Evans 2 (4th 1973)
Reuschel 2 (6th 1977)
Randolph 1 (7th 1980)

So, yeah. Lou Whitaker isn't very peaky but Jack Morris has no peak unless you go by "single game" peak.

Dale Murphy is one of the rare players with 6 ballot appearances who is not Hall of Merit [Andruw Jones, David Ortiz, Dale Murphy, Jason Giambi, Fred McGriff, Miguel Cabrera*, Nomar Garciaparra, Todd Helton]. Everyone with 7 or more is inducted into the Hall of Merit.
   27. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: November 10, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5574177)
Lou's problem is that he never had a clear, dominant peak as an MVP caliber player; just a really long prime as a very good, "regular" all star caliber player. What are his signature seasons you can point to where he was clearly one of the best players in the game?
Steve Garvey's "peak" is 5 seasons where he averaged 4.5 bWAR/season and never exceeded 5.1 bWAR in a season. Outside of those 5 seasons he had 15 bWAR in 14 seasons.

Lou Whittaker had a 16 year stretch of averaging 4.4 bWAR/season, twice hitting 6.7 bWAR in a season. His best 5 year peak averaged 4.9 bWAR; outside of those 5 seasons, he totaled 50 bWAR in 14 seasons.

EDIT: Don Mattingly's peak is better (6 seasons, 5.5 average, 7.1 peak) but again nothing outside of that (8 seasons, 9.4 bWAR)
   28. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: November 10, 2017 at 02:10 PM (#5574193)
4 SSs


Hey, this is 4 more Silver Sluggers than Joey Votto has won!
   29. Booey Posted: November 10, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5574200)
B Bell 4 (8th 1981)
Nettles 3 (7th 1976)
Da Evans 2 (4th 1973)
Reuschel 2 (6th 1977)
Randolph 1 (7th 1980)


This is interesting, cuz I've never supported any of these players for the HOF, despite their career WAR. They all just seemed to me like HOVG types that lasted longer than most. This helps confirm that in my mind.
   30. Sweatpants Posted: November 10, 2017 at 02:21 PM (#5574209)
It's just odd to me that Whitaker, who has numbers that could make him a Hall of Famer, was a starter on a famous great team, was a central part of a good run for that team, and was half of maybe the best DP combo ever, and none of that stuff gave him any kind of a boost.
   31. shoewizard Posted: November 10, 2017 at 02:25 PM (#5574210)
Garvey's prime 10 seasons, 1974-1983, alongside an almost exact contemporary. Wonder why one guy got more love than the other ??

Player         OPS+   BA  HR RBI   PA    G   AB   R    H  2B 3B  BB  SO GDP  OBP  SLG  OPS
Cecil Cooper    132 .310 193 832 5594 1341 5163 775 1598 304 34 319 616  94 .347 .494 .841
Steve Garvey    125 .305 200 939 6417 1499 5967 820 1820 307 29 339 661 155 .341 .467 .808 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/10/2017.
   32. QLE Posted: November 10, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5574221)
#29- Yes and no, I'd say.

The four position players on that list in their ten best seasons (with number of seasons of 5+ WAR, number of seasons among the ten best players in their league by WAR, and number of seasons among the ten best position players in their league by WAR):

Graig Nettles: 6/2/6/55.0
Buddy Bell: 5/3/5/52.1
Willie Randolph: 4/1/2/48.3
Darrell Evans: 2/2/2/47.3

Nettles had an actual peak, as did Bell (especially if you believe in his defensive stats)- Randolph, on the other hand, is Lou Whitaker in lesser form (same lack of a peak combined with a lot of very good seasons, just not at quite the same level), and Evans had two great seasons and not much else (half his WAA comes from his 1973 and 1974 seasons).

In terms of induction, I'd argue for Nettles and Bell being deserving (thought there are others in line ahead of them, like Grich, Boyer, Trammell, Dahlen, Glasscock, Bando, and Allen)- Randolph, however, strikes me as being the best of the second basemen who I can't make an induction case for, while there's no real reason to induct Darrell Evans unless you want to also induct Ron Cey.
   33. ajnrules Posted: November 10, 2017 at 04:36 PM (#5574290)
It's just odd to me that Whitaker, who has numbers that could make him a Hall of Famer, was a starter on a famous great team, was a central part of a good run for that team, and was half of maybe the best DP combo ever, and none of that stuff gave him any kind of a boost.

Especially since the Committee hasn't had any qualms putting on players that were one and one, having voted on guys like Ted Simmons, Al Oliver, and Dan Quisenberry in previous Veteran's balloting.
   34. villageidiom Posted: November 10, 2017 at 05:28 PM (#5574322)
He’s not being ignored by the voters (yet). He’s being ignored by people who decide who the voters get to vote on, he’s still a long way from being ignored by the voters.
In that we're now 16 years removed from when he was ignored by the voters.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: November 10, 2017 at 06:56 PM (#5574364)
Second, especially by the time he was hitting his peak - Whitaker was sitting against a lot of LHP.

This isn't true ... or at least no more so than for almost any other LHB star. I've got a long post in the other thread on this topic but the gist:

For his career, he faced a higher %age of LHP than McCovey and a little lower than Thome. He was about 4-5% behind Morgan, Carew and Griffey which, over the course of 10,000 PAs, is a whopping 400-500 PAs. (Guys like Reggie and Brett were around 34%.)

400 of those "lost" PAs came from age 33 on when he was platooned -- a time when most players have their PT cut back and are more heavily platooned.

During his peak, he averaged 650 PA per full season (he missed at least one month due to injury and the 1981 split season when he led the league in games played). That's about all anybody averages in a season.

Interestingly, even though Garvey played every damn day, he ended up with the same career %LHP PAs as Whitaker. Garvey was heavily platooned early in his career (42% LHP PAs). His low LHP% might be due to ROOGy relievers but his L/R splits were negligible (same BA/OBP, 40 points lower SLG vs RHP) so it's not clear they gained much if that's what was happening. He even had full seasons (700+ PA) where he faced only 16% LHP -- that's very weird.

Anyway, sure, like even many star players, Whitaker ended up not starting about 20 games a year and his managers sensibly chose LHP starts to sit him. Still from ages 25-32, Whitaker had about 5100 PAs. Nothing particularly amazing about that (67th in the expansion era) but nothing particularly damning either. He's a few PA ahead of Vlad, Gwynn, Thome, Murray, Barry Bonds (1994), F Robinson, Beltran, Yount, Raines, Winfield (1981). He's within 100 PA of Rice, Thomas, Yaz, Bagwell and Sosa. Over those ages, he had only 170 fewer PA than Morgan, 120 fewer than Carew.

Other than Vlad, those aren't short-career guys and that level of playing time in their prime didn't keep any of those guys out of the HoF. I doubt anybody even mentioned it. How much those other guys were missing starts regularly in-season or missing big chunks due to injury I'm too lazy to look up but if you're going to ding Whitaker for sitting against some LHP, you have to reward him for being available every damn day during his prime (except his 1988 injury and maybe other minor ones).

Those years for Whitaker were 1982-89, not a high-offense era except for 1987. Morgan's years cover the Big Red Machine when he was getting a ton of PAs thanks to that awesome lineup turning over time and time again. For those ages, I count 1148 games started for Morgan; 1092 games started for Whitaker. That's an average of 7 starts a year. Whoop de doo. For Whitaker almost all of that "missed" time was in 1988 when he did only start 103 of their first 135 games, then missed the last 27 due to injury. Strangely he wasn't platooned particularly heavily in that year, 23.2% vs LHP. (Morgan did lose 8 games to the 1972 late start.)

Carew had 1129 starts at those ages, about 5 more per season, but had the advantage of moving to 1B halfway through. In these ages, Carew did have to face about 35% LHP but Morgan just 29.4%. Whitaker faced 29.0%.

Feel free to dig into further detail. Like I suggested, maybe Whitaker was sat vs LHP more often but was hurt less often. Or maybe there were just fewer LHP starters in the Carew/Morgan era meaning Whitaker's relative %age is lower than Morgan's. But nobody's ever dug into this detail in making the case for/against batters for the HoF before (maybe Duke Snider ... or you occasionally see concerns raised about H/R splits) ... and if you're going to ding Whitaker for it then you need to adjust everybody along with coming up with some method for weighting in-season time lost to "strategic resting" vs injuries.

But the upshot is that Whitaker's playing time in his prime looks a lot like the PT of many HoFers and most especially the direct comps of Morgan and Carew who were also LHB 2B. They're also similar in early-career PT. Whitaker came close but didn't top 600 PA until age 25. Morgan topped 600 (even 700) PA at age 21 but not again until age 25. Carew also came close but didn't top 600 until age 25.

PAs by age, LW then JM then RC

pre-25: 2074 1916 1761
25-32: 5092 5261 5219
33+: 2801 4152 3570

So, sure, Whitaker didn't age as well as Morgan and Carew -- since he was never THAT good -- and was lightly then heavily platooned from age 33 on. However from his young days and throughout his prime, his PT (by PA or starts) was right in line with the two premier LHB 2Bs of the modern era and his %LHP was even in line with Morgan.

So really, the most you can argue for is that Whitaker's platoon advantage (relative to other LHB IFs at least) amounts to maybe 500 PA over his entire career, almost all at the end when it's common for players to lose PT and be more heavily platooned. Even star players get days off and LHB will always sit more often vs LHP and, given the LHB split tends to be more extreme both on average and in variance, LHB probably get sat more often than RHB.
   36. BDC Posted: November 10, 2017 at 07:24 PM (#5574376)
I agree with Walt, as usual.

From ages 21-29, Whitaker averaged 141 games a year and 4.4 WAR. From 30-36, he averaged 133 games a year and 4.5 WAR. His 20s involve a strike year where he missed about 40 games, so let's extrapolate his 20s to 145 games a year and 4.7 WAR or whatever. That's kind of normal, whatever pitchers he was facing.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: November 10, 2017 at 07:28 PM (#5574379)
Further ...

For 1946 on (to grab Musial), 19 LHB HoFers had their age 25-32 seasons. Whitaker's 5092 PA for those ages would be 11th of 19. Of the 19, 12 had the entirety in the expansion era so (stoppages aside) 162-game seasons and he would rank 7th. In addition to Gwynn, for these ages, he had more PA than Reggie (by 200+), McCovey (by 400), Stargell (by 500+), Brett (by 600) and Griffey (by 600+). Brett is hurt but 1981 and injuries; Griffey by the 95 late start but mostly injuries. If you figure the pre-expansion guys would have missed at most 64 games or about 250 PA, he's also equal or ahead of Snider and Doby (and Berra).

The names at the top of this list mostly aren't inner-circle or anything. Boggs (pretty close to inner-circle) is at the very top but then it's Billy Williams who started every game (used to hold the NL record), Lou Brock (in the HoF largely because of all his PAs), Fox and Ashburn who were VC selections. It's not until Musial -- 400 PA ahead of Whitaker in shorter seasons -- that we have a super-stud. He's followed by Morgan, Mathews, Carew and Yaz who I've already highlighted as not being far ahead of Whitaker despite being some of the biggest stars of their eras.

Mathews is split between pre- and post-expansion. He got 1182 starts, 90 more than Whitaker which is substantial. Yaz had 1185 and lost a few to the 72 late start. Reggie had 1139 with 91 of them at DH (Whitaker had 1 for ages 25-32).

Anyway, Whitaker's prime playing time was in line with other LHB HoFs of the post-war era. Again, others can dig into detail on how often he seems to have sat against LHP vs. time missed to injuries/stoppage, etc. But it was only in the late stages of his career that he was platooned regularly. One might feel that his career still doesn't add up to be HoF-worthy but "he was platooned" should not be a part of that case. His end of career platooning helped a bit on the rate stats and the WAR but it's not a big deal.
   38. simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose Posted: November 10, 2017 at 07:42 PM (#5574382)
I'd vote for Whittaker, but I understand why his greatness has been overlooked by so many.

You know it doesn't bode well when even your supporters don't know your greatness enough to be able to spell your name right. ;)


Definite member of the Mark McGuire All-Stars.
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: November 10, 2017 at 08:09 PM (#5574395)
I'd vote for Whittaker, but I understand why his greatness has been overlooked by so many.


Agree, I think Whitaker is clearly a hofer, but I fully get why he isn't getting the support.
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 10, 2017 at 08:54 PM (#5574407)
I've got a long post in the other thread on this topic

You don't say, Walt.

I kid, I kid. I appreciate your posts and have tremendous respect for your posting stamina.
   41. Jay Z Posted: November 11, 2017 at 01:05 AM (#5574447)
So, sure, Whitaker didn't age as well as Morgan and Carew -- since he was never THAT good -- and was lightly then heavily platooned from age 33 on. However from his young days and throughout his prime, his PT (by PA or starts) was right in line with the two premier LHB 2Bs of the modern era and his %LHP was even in line with Morgan.

So really, the most you can argue for is that Whitaker's platoon advantage (relative to other LHB IFs at least) amounts to maybe 500 PA over his entire career, almost all at the end when it's common for players to lose PT and be more heavily platooned. Even star players get days off and LHB will always sit more often vs LHP and, given the LHB split tends to be more extreme both on average and in variance, LHB probably get sat more often than RHB.


This really isn't accurate. Whitaker aged far better than his peers:

WAR to age 32 and after, per player:
Morgan 74.6 25.7
Carew 63.7 17.4
Trammell 62.0 8.4
Grich 56.3 14.6
Whitaker 51.6 23.3

Whitaker had more WAR post age 32 than anyone but Morgan, and if you consider that Morgan was a considerably better player and had considerably more PA after age 32, Whitaker's aging was exceptional relative to his peers.

Whitaker had a relatively normal aging profile through age 31, gradual decline. At that point his rate stat decline basically stopped for the remainder of his career. Kind of unnatural... maybe he had connections to Canseco?!?

As has been mentioned elsewhere, Phillips was there during Whitaker's platoon years. The team did not win, 85 wins tops during the platoon years of Whitaker's career. Phillips was an excellent replacement, but the team didn't win; those resources would have been better put to use somewhere on the team.

I would still rank Trammell and Grich over Whitaker, and I'm a career guy. Just too many questions about the platoon years and their actual value.
   42. DanG Posted: November 11, 2017 at 10:16 AM (#5574466)
A quick summation of Steve Garvey:

Garvey's career got off to a sputtering start, he didn't become an everyday player until he was 25. He then put together a solid 7-year stretch, generally of all-star quality. But Garvey never had that Wow! year, that dominant year; he never led the league in any triple crown category, never in the top ten in WAR. Instead, he became the Model of Consistency, until he wasn't.

After the 1980 (age 31) season, Garvey had one foot in the Hall. From 1974-80 he averaged 201 H, 23 HR, 104 RBI, .311 BA, 4.1 WAR. As Mr. Consistency it was assumed he would add at least a couple more years like that. Instead, he fell off a cliff. In the rest of his career the best he could do was 184 H, 21 HR, 86 RBI, .294 BA, 2.0 WAR, and all those in different years.

If you take his career totals and add one prime season to them, you get this:

2800 H, 295 HR, 1412 RBI, .295 BA, 41.8 WAR. Not enough.

If you add two prime years to his career totals, you get this:

3001 H, 318 HR, 1517 RBI, .296 BA, 45.8 WAR. He also goes over 1300 R, 500 2B, 100 SB. Elected easily, possible first-ballot.

That's how close he was. Garvey's performance after 1980 undid his HOF chances. With his late start and less-than-dominant peak, he needed a couple more all-star caliber seasons and to keep producing to age 40. He needed a "hall of fame" finishing kick, at least 25+ WAR at age 32+ like Stargell and Camilli, not 5 WAR like Millar and Buckner.
   43. BDC Posted: November 11, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5574478)
Two other notes on Garvey's contemporary reputation: he was a fine postseason player with some big moments, and he was one of the best All-Star-Game players, during an era when the National League team had great continuity and regularly beat up on the AL team.

Although … one of the TV moments I remember best was the announcement of the 1981 World Series MVP. There was no obvious MVP. Lou Piniella led the Series in batting, but his team lost; Garvey led the Dodgers in batting, but didn't even drive in a run.

So they announced three co-winners for some reason (1981, the year of half-###ed solutions). Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero, and Steve … and general applause and champagne, and a few seconds later Cey and Pedro and Garvey were grinning for the cameras. Except they'd gone on to say "Steve Yeager," and Garvey had just assumed it was "Garvey."
   44. shoewizard Posted: November 11, 2017 at 01:46 PM (#5574499)
Ha Ha, thats classic BDC.
   45. Sunday silence Posted: November 11, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5574525)
I guess 'whitaker fell short this time" sounds better then "Whitaker kept off ballot so as not to take votes away from Trammell."
   46. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: November 11, 2017 at 09:25 PM (#5574588)
Agree with #45. I also think Dave Concepcion was held off the ballot since having two shortstops might hurt both. Concepcion's absence is noteworthy since he was the only player in the two Expansion Era votes to reach 50%.

I'm okay with the screening committee being somewhat strategic in their ballot selections:
This time Trammell's teammate Whitaker is held back, maybe next time he gets a shot
RFer Dave Parker is included, maybe next time it's RFer Dwight Evans
Former Gold Glove 1B Garvey shows up on yet another ballot, perhaps GG winning 1B Hernandez gets on the next ballot
   47. Morty Causa Posted: November 12, 2017 at 04:58 AM (#5574625)
Grich should go in before Whitaker.
   48. Greg K Posted: November 12, 2017 at 07:49 AM (#5574627)
If Trammel gets in, it would be an awesome made-for-TV if he stepped up to the podium and rejected the award, and won't accept unless Whitaker goes in with him.

I agree it would be awkward, but is it even really possible for a player to "reject the award"? If they want to put your plaque in the museum, do they need your permission?


Cookie Gilchrist refused to be honoured by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. I'm guessing it was a case of the Hall respecting his wishes? If they really wanted to I guess they could say "too bad" and honour him anyway. Could he sue a Hall of Fame for making a bust of him without his permission?
   49. Greg K Posted: November 12, 2017 at 08:22 AM (#5574629)
Only bad people live to see their likeness set in stone.
   50. Morty Causa Posted: November 12, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5574643)
What might be a game-changer, baseball zeitgeist-wise, would be if Clemens or Bonds did that. Repudiate induction, that is.

I'm not as in awe or even impressed with awards and commemorations by self-appointed self-designated august bodies as I was when I was a child. Bob Dylan kind of has the right idea. Put 'em in their place. After all, what gives these vest pocket rhadamanthine councils with dubious bona fides the right to judge and bestow greatness? As Bill James said a long time ago, the HOF only has the capacity to insult the great, not honor them.

EDITED to emphasized point.
   51. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 12, 2017 at 11:43 AM (#5574653)
Could he sue a Hall of Fame for making a bust of him without his permission?

Not sure about Canadian law, but in the U.S. you could maybe make a case for violation of his right of publicity, but it wouldn't be a great one. There is no federal right of publicity law, and it varies somewhat from state to state, but generally you can't use someone's identifying information (including but not limited to name and likeness) for commercial purposes without his/her permission. The question would be whether inclusion in a Hall of Fame would constitute a "commercial purpose." Of course you could find lawyers willing to argue that it is, but I think at least the baseball HOF is quite explicit that it's a nonprofit "educational institution," right? So that would weigh against a commercial purpose.

There are also exceptions for newsworthiness, intended of course to protect media outlets. But the HOF could argue that the fact that the BWAA inducted the players is a news event that the HOF is commemorating with the plaque, etc.
   52. Jay Z Posted: November 12, 2017 at 01:16 PM (#5574678)
I'm not as in awe or even impressed with awards and commemorations by self-appointed self-designated august bodies as I was when I was a child. Bob Dylan kind of has the right idea. Put 'em in their place. After all, what gives these vest pocket rhadamanthine councils with dubious bona fides the right to judge and bestow greatness? As Bill James said a long time ago, the HOF only has the capacity to insult the great, not honor them.


Someone has to do it.

James was wrong. "The great" didn't invent baseball.
   53. Morty Causa Posted: November 12, 2017 at 01:29 PM (#5574684)
The sub-great did?
   54. Sunday silence Posted: November 12, 2017 at 01:41 PM (#5574691)
Cookie gilchrist went to my high school. One day our football coach calls us in for a meeting. It was some sort of pep talk and I'm sitting next to this huge black guy. It was cookie! I had heard of the guy cause he had held the single game rushing record until OJ I think broke it. I had no idea that guy had gone to my school. Any how he stands up and says:

"I was 18 years old and the Cleveland browns paid me x dollars to play football. Any of you know any 18 year old Ni---rs driving a Lincoln through Brackenridge?"

Yeah that's a great point Mr Gilchrist.
   55. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 13, 2017 at 05:21 AM (#5574831)

I guess if you publicly rejected the honor (as opposed to just telling them you won't show up for the induction ceremony) and/or threatened litigation, they probably wouldn't put your plaque in the Hall.

My point was more that this won't work in a "stepping up to the podium and rejecting the award" scenario, since by that point your plaque is already there. (I assume it's already up by induction weekend?) I guess you could sue them to take it down after they've spent the money on it, but at that point you're the a-hole and you're probably hurting, not helping Lou's cause.
   56. Sunday silence Posted: November 13, 2017 at 05:41 AM (#5574832)
I think the possibility of a cringeworthy speech is one of the things keeping Schilling out.
   57. bachslunch Posted: November 13, 2017 at 07:02 AM (#5574833)
is it even really possible for a player to "reject the award"? If they want to put your plaque in the museum, do they need your permission?


Apparently not for the Rock 'n Roll Hall Of Fame at least. The Sex Pistols wanted no part of induction when they were elected, sending a nasty letter to the committee and refusing to attend the induction ceremony:

http://www.openculture.com/2013/07/john-rottens-cordial-letter-to-the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame.html

But they're in anyway.
   58. SoSH U at work Posted: November 13, 2017 at 10:08 AM (#5574904)
I guess if you publicly rejected the honor (as opposed to just telling them you won't show up for the induction ceremony) and/or threatened litigation, they probably wouldn't put your plaque in the Hall.


I wouldn't have a big issue with a guy who wanted no part of election/induction telling a voting body before hand to remove himself from consideration. But the hypothetical #### Off proposed in No. 3 would indeed be pretty classless.

   59. Hysterical & Useless Posted: November 13, 2017 at 10:15 AM (#5574910)
When somebody gives you a compliment, the polite thing to do is to accept it as graciously as possible. Self-deprecation is permitted, but finding fault with the giver is considered poor form.

So I'm told anyway, can't speak from experience.
   60. Morty Causa Posted: November 13, 2017 at 10:34 AM (#5574937)
Or you can simply ignore it. Having the burden to accept a compliment is to acknowledge the giver of that compliment has power, and power over you.
   61. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 13, 2017 at 12:36 PM (#5575077)
When somebody gives you a compliment, the polite thing to do is to accept it as graciously as possible. Self-deprecation is permitted, but finding fault with the giver is considered poor form.

So I'm told anyway, can't speak from experience.


Is this some back door complaint about not winning MVP at the softball game this year?
   62. Hysterical & Useless Posted: November 13, 2017 at 03:19 PM (#5575294)
Ah, Edmundo, you know me so well...
   63. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 13, 2017 at 06:47 PM (#5575457)
Is this some back door complaint about not winning MVP at the softball game this year?


Wait, you guys actually give out an MVP award after the game? IIRC, Jason? is a pretty good player, I just assumed the rest of you were hopeless, middle aged baseball nerds?
Oh and the guy who always runs like 10 miles to get there?
   64. Hysterical & Useless Posted: November 13, 2017 at 08:30 PM (#5575570)
I just assumed the rest of you were hopeless, middle aged baseball nerds?


You have been misinformed.

Some of us are past middle age.
   65. DL from MN Posted: November 14, 2017 at 08:13 AM (#5575765)
Wait, you guys actually give out an MVP award after the game?


I am imagining this as:

30 minutes - warm-ups
90 minutes - game time
45 minutes - calculating MVP award
135 minutes - drinking and arguing about MVP award

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
1k5v3L
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogRyan Thibs has his HOF Ballot Tracker Up and Running!
(37 - 12:55am, Nov 24)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogOT - November* 2017 College Football thread
(198 - 12:21am, Nov 24)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogHall makes room for an "idiot" on the ballot
(25 - 11:48pm, Nov 23)
Last: Chris Fluit

NewsblogOTP 20 November 2017: Sheriff’s official suspended 10 days over Cubs World Series sneak-in
(824 - 11:06pm, Nov 23)
Last: Lassus

NewsblogFavorite Thanksgiving recipes from MLB | MLB.com
(4 - 10:55pm, Nov 23)
Last: Lassus

NewsblogJoe Morgan Wants To Keep Steroid Cheats Out Of Baseball Hall Of Fame | MLB | NESN.com
(181 - 7:55pm, Nov 23)
Last: Bug Selig

Gonfalon CubsLooking to next year
(204 - 7:01pm, Nov 23)
Last: Meatwad in mourning

NewsblogFinding the best spot for Giancarlo Stanton
(12 - 4:18pm, Nov 23)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogSources: MLB hammers Atlanta Braves, declaring 12 minor league players free agents
(95 - 3:55pm, Nov 23)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogA Discussion of WAR Wherein I Ardently Attempt to Avoid any WAR-Related Puns | Sports-Reference.com
(60 - 3:27pm, Nov 23)
Last: Blanks for Nothing, Larvell

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-22-2017
(11 - 11:01am, Nov 23)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogProspectus Feature: Bill James vs. The Noise - Baseball Prospectus
(13 - 9:39am, Nov 23)
Last: Russ

NewsblogOT - NBA 2017-2018 Tip-off Thread
(1516 - 9:02am, Nov 23)
Last: don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all

NewsblogChambliss Ready to Part With Bat and Ball That Sent Yankees to World Series
(33 - 5:44am, Nov 23)
Last: Omineca Greg

NewsblogShohei Ohtani MLB posting deal reached | MLB.com
(4 - 12:30am, Nov 23)
Last: John Northey

Page rendered in 0.5942 seconds
47 querie(s) executed