Due to that excellence in the field, Marion has another shot at the Hall of Fame (he’s appeared on the ballot before), but this time he may have as strong a case as he’s ever had. Modern statistical analysis continues to shine a light on the importance of defensive play, and Marion stands out among players at his position, as Bill Mazeroski did at second and Ozzie Smith did at shortstop. Both Maz and the Wizard of Oz are in the Hall of Fame based almost solely on their defensive ability, and if Marty is to earn a plaque in Cooperstown that will also have to be the route he takes.
...Based on his short career and the weak hitting stats on his ledger, Marion is a stretch (no pun intended) for the Hall of Fame. When stacked up against the contemporary shortstops who are in the HOF (Lou Boudreau, Pee Wee Reese, and Phil Rizzuto), Marion is their superior with the glove, no question. At the plate he ranks well below them, however. One might compare him to Mazeroski, a second baseman who earned election solely because he was great in the field, but Maz played more than 2,000 games and collected more than 2,000 hits. They were similar players in offensive quality (Marion walked more and Maz had more power but essentially they were each about 20% below league average at the plate), but Maz stuck around much longer. If Marion’s defensive play was valued that much, why did he stop playing at the age of 32? Surely some club could have used his All-Star glove?
The only way Marion deserves to be elected to the Hall is if the committee determines that the 1940s are under-represented at the shortstop position – that three Hall of Fame shortstops who played the bulk of their careers in that era is not enough. But if that’s the case, then Vern Stephens and Cecil Travis are more compelling alternatives.
Posted: November 21, 2012 at 05:48 AM | 35 comment(s)
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