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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Making the HOF Case for Dale Murphy, or, The Guy Who Changed My Diapers

Didn’t Zeb Atlas go under the names SCHLORP and THUNDERCORK at one time?

My name is Chad Murphy. I’m Dale’s oldest son. ‘Tis the season for HOF voting, and this being the last year of my dad’s eligibility, I’d like to begin by reiterating the voting criteria…

...Next, I really want to dive into his sabermetrics, starting with his JAWS, WAR, and WAR7, and then moving on to his JPOS, WPA, OPS, and—last but certainly not least—the all-important holy quadrinity of VORP, GORP, SCHLORP, and THUNDERCORK.

Oh wait, no I don’t.

Stand down, statistics nerds.

Look, I have no desire to get into some sort of cryptic mathematical argument for my dad’s induction into the Hall of Fame. The numbers are what they are—maybe they’re strong enough for the Hall on their own, maybe not. Whatever. The bigger issue, to me, is this: what happened to three of the criteria listed under the rules for election, namely, integrity, character, and sportsmanship? Gone but also forgotten? No doubt a player’s stats (i.e., “record” and “playing ability”) are a crucial part of the equation, but that’s just the point: we’re talking about an equation here, folks. And we’ve got a serious case of missing variables. Where’d they go, friends?

To be fair, I’ll grant the nerds this: In most cases things like “integrity” and “character” and “sportsmanship” are mighty difficult to quantify. I get that. Other than, say, creating a variable along the lines of “number of arrests for drug possession” or “number of ejections from a game,” it’s not exactly clear yet how to go about measuring those attributes. As a consequence, this so-called “character clause” does a real number on our quest for objectivity, which makes us uneasy. And so it makes sense that collectively we’ve emphasized the part of the voting criteria that is easier to measure and largely beyond subjective interpretation, namely, on-field statistics. Fine.

Thanks to Eric Anno.

Repoz Posted: December 08, 2012 at 12:35 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

Reader Comments and Retorts

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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. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: December 08, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4319932)
You're not helping.
   2. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4319934)
Oh ####. What an a$$hat.
   3. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4319935)
[edit] removed for civility.
   4. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4319937)
Chad's article smells very much like his diapers.
   5. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4319940)
Does raising a douchey child count against character? Because is seems like Dale dropped the ball with this one.
   6. steagles Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4319944)
Making the HOF Case for Dale Murphy, or, The Guy Who Changed My Diapers
sounds kinky...
   7. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4319945)
If he's got a problem with stat nerds, then whom did he have a problem with when Murphy wasn't getting HoF votes before these advanced statistics were getting mainstream attention?
   8. DA Baracus Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4319947)
That was terrible, but about what you would expect from a family member pleading the case.

The character portion is a bar you have to pass over. You don't get extra credit for passing over it by more than other people do.
   9. BDC Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4319956)
Really – I mean from all reports, Al Newman is a pretty solid guy. So is Jeff Newman. That's two HOF cases just among journeyman players named Newman, if we want to go by the character clause. I have several hundred others to make, if anyone wants to hear about them.

Honestly, from the headline I expected this to come from some orphan whose diapers had been changed by the selfless late-night family-shelter-volunteering Dale Murphy. But it's just his kid. Diapers come with the territory.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4319987)
Settle down, kid, your dad is in the inner circle of the Hall of Very Good Players Whose Children Love Them and Think They're Great Guys.
   11. Tuque Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4319989)
I love my mom. She's a great lady. I really don't understand why she's not in the Hall of Fame.
   12. Bob Tufts Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4320001)
Not a good year for Mormons to be elected to anything....
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4320003)
Well played, Mr. Tufts. And Romney's sons did about as good a job of making the case for him, too. "Vote for my dad - I love him, he's an excellent grandfather and he was definitely born in America."
   14. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4320004)
Really – I mean from all reports, Al Newman is a pretty solid guy. So is Jeff Newman. That's two HOF cases just among journeyman players named Newman, if we want to go by the character clause. I have several hundred others to make, if anyone wants to hear about them.

Jeff Newman never even played for the Rangers. What standing have you to make his HOF case?
   15. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4320008)
Jeff Newman was an All Star, haters. He was actually the all star rep for the first team I ever followed so, naturally, I thought he was a great player. It's possible, however, that he was not.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4320017)
I love my mom. She's a great lady. I really don't understand why she's not in the Hall of Fame.

C'mon dude, she's like 652nd in pancake flops
   17. DA Baracus Posted: December 08, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4320022)
On Twitter Murphy is using the "it was a joke!" defense for the nerd line. High character!
   18. bigglou115 Posted: December 08, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4320024)
Nevermind
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 08, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4320037)
On Twitter Murphy is using the "it was a joke!" defense for the nerd line. High character!


Huh. Another similarity to Romney's kids.
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 08, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4320042)
I didn't think his piece was douchey, just a bit rambling and off the mark.

Plainly and simply: Any piece that argues in favor of Murphy has to deal with the problems people have with his case:

1. He has a HOF peak/prime, but not much value outside of that.

2. It's hard to make a strong case for him because he doesn't measure up to the HOF's middle tier.

3. It is hard to distinguish him over other HOVG players not in, such as Evans.

You don't have to use statgeeky stats to argue the point, but you do need to make a coherent argument.
   21. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 08, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4320047)
Making the HOF Case for Dale Murphy, or, The Guy Who Changed My Diapers

sounds kinky...


GORP, SCHLORP, and THUNDERCORK.


Now that sounds kinky! (Or kinda messy.)
   22. vivaelpujols Posted: December 08, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4320052)
This might be considered touching if he didn't write like an asshat. Case for Murphy is simple - by WAR he was a bit short of the HOF (actually a little more than a bit, but it's best not to get too precise). He had a good peak + was a nice guy. Also, about as good as Jim Rice.

Doing the statnerds thing doesn't help Murpy's case, you idiot.
   23. bobm Posted: December 08, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4320058)
Making the HOF Case for Dale Murphy, or, The Guy Who Changed My Diapers
sounds kinky...


or like a recent Furman Bisher column (published posthumously)
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: December 08, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4320064)
This might be considered touching if he didn't write like an asshat. Case for Murphy is simple - by WAR he was a bit short of the HOF (actually a little more than a bit, but it's best not to get too precise). He had a good peak + was a nice guy. Also, about as good as Jim Rice.


That is what I was hoping for, was a nice plead by the child of one of the great players of the 80's, and with it being Murphy, I figured that there would be some argument for the character clause. I did not expect an attack on stat nerds to come out of no where. To vote for Murphy you have to argue that he is borderline by the numbers, and gets a bump due to character, not base the whole case on character.

If you want to argue for Murphy you have to bring in similar arguments that are used with Jack Morris(or even Dave Concepcion) as one of the best during an era that is under represented in the current hall makeup. You can also use the "better than argument..." against about half a dozen players in the hof.

Not sure that attacking the nerds is the best course of action. Dale isn't going to make it this year, and if he ever makes it in on a veteran's selection, there is going to be a tremendous amount of nerd noise supporting or denigrating his position. It's best to have them on your side I would imagine. (although it doesn't seem to have hurt Jim Rice or Jack Morris)


   25. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: December 08, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4320072)
He's being an a$$hat about saber. However, he argues the character clause the right way, and for that reason I'm happy that this letter is getting airplay.
   26. bond1 Posted: December 08, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4320073)
Dang it! I was sold until he mentioned Penn State.
   27. puck Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:31 AM (#4320204)
Settle down, kid, your dad is in the inner circle of the Hall of Very Good Players Whose Children Love Them and Think They're Great Guys.

And a lot of baseball fans loved and admired Dale Murphy as a baseball player. That doesn't change just because they don't think he qualifies for the Hall of Fame.
   28. shoewizard Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:57 AM (#4320238)
I could never figure out how the 1983 Dale Murphy under performed so much in my Strat-O-Matic league. I played the full season, and his numbers looked more or less like his career averages, not his 1983 line. I think , but am not sure, it was because of his huge and bizarre reverse split. Strat didn't seem to deal with guys like that very well.

Split            PA  AB   H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS BAbip tOPSsOPS+
vs RHP as RHB   505 430 138 16  4 31 100 22  4 70 74 .321 .416 .593 1.009  .326   116   193
vs LHP 
as RHB   182 159  40  8  0  5  21  8  0 20 36 .252 .330 .396  .726  .289    57    98 


   29. I Am Not a Number Posted: December 09, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4320285)
Stand down, statistics nerds.

A Mormon is calling someone else a nerd?
   30. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4320293)
Deliberately offending any part of your target audience in an HOF persuasion piece? Maybe in his next article he will personally insult some of the voters as an encore.

Not smart, Mr. Murphy.
   31. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4320322)

Chad Murphy is a PhD candidate in Organizational Behavior at Penn State University.


I wonder if he goes out of his way to antagonize researchers who use quantitative methods in his field. Stand down, regression nerds.
   32. CrosbyBird Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4320622)
If you want to argue for Murphy you have to bring in similar arguments that are used with Jack Morris(or even Dave Concepcion) as one of the best during an era that is under represented in the current hall makeup. You can also use the "better than argument..." against about half a dozen players in the hof.

Murphy does have two consecutive MVP awards. He's got 31 points of black ink. Both are above the curve for an average HOFer, not just the crappy HOFers.

I think the best case for Murphy is that he was arguably the best at his position for four consecutive years. I don't think that is enough to get him into the HOF, but it might be enough to get him into the discussion, especially if you think there's an issue with era-adjustment for the 80s.

   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:11 AM (#4320632)
Crosby, Murphy is definitely in the HOF discussion. I don't know how anyone could reasonably think otherwise. Basically all HOVG players are in the discussion. One might dispense with them fairly easily, but their candidacies do deserve serious looks.

And I actually don't think it's _so_ easily to dispense with Murphy. He was as good as some lower tier players such as Rice, and the' peak/prime is one that does need to be dealt with; it was certainly of HOF quality, and wasn't _short_, but wasn't surrounded by much.
   34. smileyy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:05 AM (#4320668)
I was really hoping this would be about someone that Murphy babysat for as a teenager or something.
   35. CrosbyBird Posted: December 10, 2012 at 04:51 AM (#4320716)
Ray, I agree with all of that. I'm just saying that being arguably the best in the league at your position for four years running might be enough all by itself to make a player discussion-worthy.
   36. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 10, 2012 at 04:57 AM (#4320719)
Look, I have no desire to get into some sort of cryptic mathematical argument for my dad’s induction into the Hall of Fame.
Gee. I wonder why this is?

That was terrible, but about what you would expect from a family member pleading the case.
Nah, this is far, far worse. Why would we expect someone pressing a case to stoop to insult a significant portion of his audience?

Chad Murphy is a PhD candidate in Organizational Behavior
I knew a woman who got a doctorate in Fashion Technology. This sounds like that.

   37. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 10, 2012 at 06:00 AM (#4320728)
Why would we expect someone pressing a case to stoop to insult a significant portion of his audience?

Yeah, that's a hell of a risk there, irritating the 83.5% of the writers who left Murphy off of last year's notably uncompetitive ballot, along with the advanced stat fans who would never support Murphy if they had a vote, which they don't. Talk about burning the 15th bridge after the first 14 collapsed.

But what the hell, if you can't pitch a hissy fit for your pop, who can you do it for? Of course, the snag with Chad's viewpoint is that integrity, character and sportsmanship have literally never been the margin of induction, not once, not for any candidate. Go ask Chad Hodges, Chad O'Neil, Chad Abbott, Chad Baines or Chad Hershiser about the size of the integrity bump.

As for the converse recently becoming true-- the writers suddenly remembering they care so, so much about the disqualifying power of those three dust-encrusted adjectives that nothing else matters-- hey, cherished tradition's gotta start somewhere.
   38. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 10, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4321301)
So, GB, the way to persuade you on the political thread is to start by calling you an idiot?

:)

I'll keep it in mind.
   39. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 10, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4321305)
So, GB, the way to persuade you on the political thread is to start by calling you an idiot?

Yes, if you use very small words.

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