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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Megdal: Humble shortstop Marty Marion should be in Hall contention

Once during a heated SABR meeting I told a frayed Marionette that Slats had like a 80 OPS+, and he shot back…“No he didn’t, he hit .263 for his career!”

So I raise the case of Marty Marion, aka Slats or Mr. Shortstop, honored last weekend as an inductee into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame, not because we’ve discovered some hidden, extra season Marion played at Sportsman’s Park.

Instead, it’s worth reflecting on Marion, a contemporary of often-honored Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto, for two reasons: His greatness ought to be celebrated by those who experienced it firsthand, and Marion shouldn’t get overlooked because he didn’t believe in touting himself.

Consider for a moment what the following résumé would mean in terms of fame for a player in today’s game: National League MVP in 1944. Two other top-10 MVP finishes. Starting shortstop for four National League pennant winners. Seven All-Star Games.

“He made it easy,” Marion’s double-play partner, Hall of Fame second baseman Red Schoendienst, said last week at Busch Stadium. “Marty made it easy. I think he should be in the Hall of Fame.”

..Schoendienst remembers.

“I’ve seen Rizzuto play, and I’ve seen Pee Wee Reese play, and I’ve seen (Eddie) Miller of Cincinnati play, and I’ve seen so many other ones,” Schoendienst said. “And Marty’s right there with him, no matter what.

“Marty Marion ... when the ballgame was on the line, he always made the big play, and he didn’t make any errors. If he made an error, you were getting beat by 10 runs, or you’re winning by that many.

“If he made any fault at all, it was never in the crucial time of a ballgame. And if his back would’ve held up, I don’t know that anybody would have been any better.”.

Repoz Posted: August 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, hof

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   1. Flynn Posted: August 21, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4776317)
Yeah...no. He couldn't hit, and really couldn't hit when he wasn't beating up on whatever dregs weren't serving during the Second World War. He had a short career, too. The only reason he won the MVP was the writers didn't want to give it to Stan Musial.
   2. Batman Posted: August 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4776326)
Schoendienst is right that Marion is right there with Eddie Miller.
   3. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 21, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4776333)
Not even close.
   4. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4776337)
31.7 WAR, just 1572 games, 6142 PAs
Defensive stats way back the are heavily regressed, so who knows it's really 40 WAR, and give him 3 years of WWII credit, afterall he missed 3 prime years and... you can squint and see a borderline candidate

but wait, that Rizzuto's case (40.6 WAR, if dee isn't regressed you can get him to 47-50 WAR, give him his age 25-27 years back on top and you can see a 60 WAR player)

Marion played during WWII, 11.9 WAR (out of 31.7) came 1943-45 (When Rizzuto and PeeWee were out of the MLB due to the war)

He doesn't get WWII credit, he's lucky he doesn't get some points taken off.
I have no doubt he was a fine player, 31.7 WAR in 1572 games, if you think his WAR should be 5 higher for dee, he'd have the same WAR per game as HOFer Jim Rice

Vizquel has a better case
Campaneris has a better case
Trammel blows him away

He's not the best player outside looking in
He's not the best SS outside looking in
He's not even the best SS of his "type" outside looking in (good glove, mediocre/bad bat, pennant winning SS)
   5. Ron J2 Posted: August 21, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4776338)
A HOF case centered on clutch fielding. Not seeing it. And (as #1 alludes to) a HOF case heavily dependent on an MVP is a lot more credible if the MVP was earned.

Mike Bordick was a better player. I guess there's an internally consistent HOF definition that includes Mike Bordick, but we're not talking Large Hall.
   6. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 21, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4776353)
Hell, the guy who replaced him (Solly Hemus) put up 20 WAR over the next 4 years, which averages to be better than Marion's best season
   7. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 21, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4776357)
Marion was already honored with one of the best selling gloves of all time. That should be enough.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4776382)
Consider for a moment what the following résumé would mean in terms of fame for a player in today’s game: National League MVP in 1944. Two other top-10 MVP finishes. Starting shortstop for four National League pennant winners. Seven All-Star Games.


That sounds a lot like Jimmy Rollins, and Jimmy Rollins isn't going to the Hall of Fame.
   9. AROM Posted: August 21, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4776385)
Sure he deserves to be in the Cardinals HOF.

It's true the defensive stats are regressed, but his are pretty impressive as is, 2 seasons of 20+ runs saved, 130 TZ runs in the equivalent of 10 seasons. Problem is though, it's hard to get more than that from an alternative fielding measure. His range factor per game is 5.05, but the league was 5.20.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 21, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4776388)
He couldn't hit, and really couldn't hit when he wasn't beating up on whatever dregs weren't serving during the Second World War.

Yeah. If you couldn't post a >100 OPS+ in 1944-45, it's hard to take your HoF case seriously.
   11. DanG Posted: August 21, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4776395)
Scott Fletcher is basically a ringer for Marion. Closest comps:

Player           WAA/pos WAR/pos OPSRfield   PA From   To  HR RBI   BA  OBP  SLG
Scott Fletcher      12.3    32.0   85  100.5 5976 1981 1995  34 510 .262 .332 .342
Marty Marion         9.5    31.7   81  130.0 6142 1940 1953  36 624 .263 .323 .345
Billy Jurges         7.1    30.7   82  113.0 7013 1931 1947  43 656 .258 .325 .335
Greg Gagne           5.8    26.3   83   82.6 6209 1983 1997 111 604 .254 .302 .382
Mike Bordick         4.3    26.7   83   68.2 6484 1990 2003  91 626 .260 .323 .362 
   12. Batman Posted: August 21, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4776396)
He might just be a compiler, but I'd vote for any player in today's game who had been MVP in 1944.
   13. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: August 21, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4776398)
That sounds a lot like Jimmy Rollins, and Jimmy Rollins isn't going to the Hall of Fame.


Rollins is a better player.
   14. silhouetted by the sea Posted: August 21, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4776422)
“Marty Marion ... when the ballgame was on the line, he always made the big play, and he didn’t make any errors. If he made an error, you were getting beat by 10 runs, or you’re winning by that many.
“If he made any fault at all, it was never in the crucial time of a ballgame.


Sounds doubtful.
   15. esseff Posted: August 21, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4776423)
What I like about this is that 91-year-old Red Schoendienst is still here to advocate for him.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 21, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4776427)
Rollins is a better player.

Well, sure. But Marion is 96 years old. And dead.
   17. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4776447)
1944: 8 guys got 1st place votes
he won by 1 point, 190 to 189
the league's best player hands down was Musial of course, he got 136 points, he won in 1943, Marion had basically the same year in 1943 that he did in 1944, in 1943 he was 14th in voting (which was roughly where WAR would place him)

It really looks like he won in 1944 not so much because he was overrated (he likely was, but not hugely so, his MVP vote totals in other years and his All Star appearances were by and large defensible) but because several voters didn't want Musial to win 2 years in a row,and he was the next best Cardinal (he actually wasn't but it was arguable- Johnny Hopp's vote totals are odd, .336/.404/.499 in 1944, finished 18th, 1945 missed 30 games and hit .289/.363/.395, Cards finished 2nd, Hopp moved up to 15th)

Growing up I noticed (and I was far from alone) that SS's tended to be regarded/evaluated in light of their team's W-L record (Bill Jame's HOF monitor shows this, you get tons of points for simply being the regular SS on a pennant winning team). A guy could hit .250-3-40 (no one looked at AVG/OBP/SLG back then) and if he was a SS it meant nothing, they all hit .250-3-40 or so it seemed, but if you hit .250-3-40 and your team won 95 games, unless you were absurdly bad defensively and ran the bases like Jack Cust, you were considered a star player, if you hit .250-3-40 on a last place team you wee a bum (unless you visibly fielded like Ozzie Smith)

   18. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4776468)
Scott Fletcher is basically a ringer for Marion. Closest comps:


Fletcher of course never made an all star team and got MVP votes just one year- when he hit .300 for a 2nd place team

Fletcher played on one 1st place team, the 1983 Whitesox, it was his first full year, he was a quasi-regular who hit .237
later on, past his prime, he played for a raft of second place teams, but his bat was hurting back then
my recollection was that he was well regarded defensively, but not scene as "elite" and he never won a GG

If Marion was a better player than Fletcher it wasn't by much, but Marion beats him on the HOF monitor by 57 to 7, was a multi-year all star/MVP candidate and even shoplifted an MVP award that one time-
Fletcher OTOH got some minor "hey he's been pretty underrated isn't he" type buzz late in his career, and that was about it as far as media notice

It was all about the teams- who today would I compare to Fletcher? JJ Hardy (better bat and starting to get some mainstream recognition, who's Marion? Vizquel I guess (except Vizquel has more career bulk)
   19. Ron J2 Posted: August 21, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4776474)
#17 Yeah, the basic logic was -- you win with defense up the middle. Therefore if the team wins the SS is a great defender and if they don't he's not.

And it doesn't really matter what a SS hits.

   20. The District Attorney Posted: August 21, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4776475)
Yeah, it'd be cool if Howard, formerly a frequent poster here, could explain to us in non-USA Today terms why he actually thinks this is a good idea (and whether he favors also admitting Concepcion, Campy, Vizquel, Rollins, etc. -- I don't think Scott Fletcher is fair). This is a pretty weird position to take for a guy who has established himself as not being a dummy.
   21. AROM Posted: August 21, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4776478)
He might just be a compiler, but I'd vote for any player in today's game who had been MVP in 1944.


Julio Franco finished 2nd that year.
   22. Ron J2 Posted: August 21, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4776479)
#18 I picked Bordick for a reason. Good comp with the bat at any rate (in fact, given the strength of the leagues Marion had his best years in, I'm comfortable with saying that Bordick was a fair bit better with the bat).

Of course Marion was an elite defensive player and even the morons on the Oriole Usenet group wouldn't argue for that for Bordick. On balance I'm comfortable with what I said earlier. Bordick's the better player.

   23. Ron J2 Posted: August 21, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4776481)
Funny. When I started following the game those age related jokes were made about Hoyt Wilhelm. And I still love the James piece on how old Phil Niekro is.
   24. BDC Posted: August 21, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4776490)
Bordick is interesting. In 1997 he went to Baltimore, displaced Cal Ripken, didn't hit at all, even by Bordickian standards – and yet the team improved immensely in defensive efficiency, and gained ten games in the standings to win post the best record in the league. If there was ever a season where you were going to credit the glove man with team success, that's it, and I remember thinking at the time that it couldn't have been a coincidence. Whether it was coincidence or not, there was no groundswell for Bordick as MVP or anything, even among "thinking fans." Fifty years had totally changed the valuation of such a player, as Sycophant notes. Heck, thirty years: I too remember when Don Kessinger was considered pretty central to what modest success the Cubs were having at the time.
   25. Batman Posted: August 21, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4776492)
Yeah, it'd be cool if Howard, formerly a frequent poster here, could explain to us in non-USA Today terms why he actually thinks this is a good idea
Despite the headline and a couple of mentions of the Hall, it reads more like a "Hey, let's remember this guy for a minute" column than a "Hey, this guy belongs in Cooperstown.
   26. Booey Posted: August 21, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4776495)
Let's just induct everyone who played before 1970 and no one who played after and call it good. That's what these writers want, right?

Seriously, I think the bones of the pre-expansion era have been pretty much picked clean by the various incarnations of the VC, and at this point they can just do more harm than good by continuing to search for long lost HOF candidates. There are literally dozens of eligible non HOFers from the last 40 years better than just about every non HOFer from earlier. I wish these types of articles would focus their efforts on the real snubs.
   27. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: August 21, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4776507)
Marion was on the last pre-integration ballot and likely included because he drew as much as 40% in bbwaa voting but didn't come close on the pre-integration votes

From HOF website:
Results of the Pre-Integration Era Ballot (12 votes needed for election): Jacob Ruppert (15 votes, 93.8%); Hank O’Day (15 votes, 93.8%); Deacon White (14 votes, 87.5%); Bill Dahlen (10 votes, 62.5%); Sam Breadon, Wes Ferrell, Marty Marion, Tony Mullane, Alfred Reach and Bucky Walters each received three votes or less.
   28. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4776521)
Bordick is interesting. In 1997 he went to Baltimore, displaced Cal Ripken, didn't hit at all, even by Bordickian standards – and yet the team improved immensely in defensive efficiency,


But here's the key- Bordick didn't really replace Ripken- Ripken stayed in the field, he moved to third, 1996's 3B Surhoff wasn't replaced either he moved to the OF...
when you work t all out, of 7 gloves in the field, Bordick's glove replaced Bobby Bonilla's- and that's a neat trick if you think about it
   29. Moeball Posted: August 21, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4776534)
Growing up I noticed (and I was far from alone) that SS's tended to be regarded/evaluated in light of their team's W-L record (Bill Jame's HOF monitor shows this, you get tons of points for simply being the regular SS on a pennant winning team). A guy could hit .250-3-40 (no one looked at AVG/OBP/SLG back then) and if he was a SS it meant nothing, they all hit .250-3-40 or so it seemed, but if you hit .250-3-40 and your team won 95 games, unless you were absurdly bad defensively and ran the bases like Jack Cust, you were considered a star player, if you hit .250-3-40 on a last place team you wee a bum (unless you visibly fielded like Ozzie Smith)


Funny thing is, growing up I thought Bert Campaneris was one of those guys. Lifetime BA .259, usually hit around 3 HRs and would drive in about 40 runs a season. Of course, there was the fluke 1970 season when, for the only time in his 19 year career, he was out of single digits in HRs and somehow hit 22 HRs. It also never occurred to me as a kid that leadoff hitters don't get many chances to drive in runs so their RBI totals will be deflated a bit. Campaneris was the SS on the great A's teams in the early '70s so he really fit the profile, too.

Yet, now that I look back on things, Campaneris was a much better player than I thought he was. Yes, he was a below-average hitter, but, unlike a lot of other professed speed demons, he really did help his team enough with his baserunning skills that it made him an average offensive performer overall. That's even without the positional adjustment. Add in the excellent defense and it turns out he was a pretty good player (53 WAR, 21 WAA for his career).

Strangely, although Campaneris superficially looked like he fit the SS profile that results in being overvalued, he never got the MVP love that Marion did (highest finish was 10th), nor did he win any Gold Gloves although he probably should have.

Once again, perception and reality can be soooo different!
   30. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 21, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4776537)
Right. They went from +3 to +14 at SS, -15 to -1 in RF (Bonilla to Hammonds), and 0 to +13 in LF (Hammonds to Surhoff), a total of 38 runs. The only downgrade was Surhoff to Ripken at 3B (+4 to -3). So they basically gained 3 wins on defense from adding Bordick.
   31. Flynn Posted: August 21, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4776545)
   32. AROM Posted: August 21, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4776546)
In 1996 O's had a .681 DER. Not good by today's standards, but that year it was just .002 less than league average. In 1997 the led the league at .699.

That's about a 60 run difference. Even if Bordick was responsible for 100% of that (best fielder ever), it's not enough to make a -30 run hitter into an MVP. That would put him at 5.5 WAR. Griffey (9.1) won the award, and WAR says Roger Clemens, the Cy winner, was even more valuable (12.1).

But in 1997 the "thinking fan" wasn't thinking about this. Maybe Chris Dial and a few others on usenet, but most people familiar with sabermetrics probably would have told the Orioles to play Geronimo Berroa over Bordick or something.
   33. DL from MN Posted: August 21, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4776561)
RE 27 - Bill Dahlen is really the only white guy left who is a noticeable omission from that era. Grant Johnson deserves another look too. Everyone else is decent but not glaring (Jack Glasscock, Ross Barnes, Heinie Groh, Joe Start, Dick Lundy, Stan Hack, Charlie Bennett) or borderline (John Beckwith, Paul Hines, Dickey Pearce, George Gore, Ezra Sutton, Harry Stovey, Bob Caruthers, Sherry Magee, Jimmy Sheckard, Hardy Richardson, Cal McVey, Cupid Childs).
   34. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4776591)
That's about a 60 run difference.


I'm basically thinking that there was something like a 60 run differential between Bordick's glove and Bonilla's

Let's assume that the 1996 Orioles played everyone at the positions they would play in 1997- sole difference is that the 1996 Orioles have Bonilla at SS instead of Bordick :-)

60 runs easy, doesn't mean that Bordick was 60 run above replacement level, Bonilla would be WAAAAY under replacement level at short....

sounds silly looking at it that way, but in a sense that's what happened, Bordick's glove replaced Bonilla's. (Ripken moved Surhoff over, Surhoff moved Hammonds over, the guy forced off the field was Bonilla

Something similar happened in Seattle this year with Ibanez's and Morse's iron gloves being given the heave ho
   35. Batman Posted: August 21, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4776618)
The Orioles only have to pay Bobby Bonilla for one more year. He's getting about the same from them as Jonathan Schoop is, but I don't think Schoop is getting paid by the Mets too.
   36. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 21, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4776624)
Despite the headline and a couple of mentions of the Hall, it reads more like a "Hey, let's remember this guy for a minute" column than a "Hey, this guy belongs in Cooperstown."

Agreed. The headline doesn't match the article. Howard appears to have gone to the Cards HOF induction game, got a few quotes from Red and Marion's offspring, and wrote a nice article about it, reflecting on a good baseball player.

   37. Walt Davis Posted: August 21, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4776636)
I'm rather stunned that Marion wasn't already in the Cards' HoF -- that resume is more than good enough for most team HoFs.

That it took until 2014 to induct him to the Cards' HoF is a pretty good explanation of why he's not much of a national HoF candidate.

But, of course, "serious contention" leaves a lot of wriggle room. Concepcion puttered along around 15% -- is that "serious contention"? Lee Smith putters along at 40%.

If we are going to continue to consider players from 70+ years ago, Marion probably should be in the discussion.
   38. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4776659)
If we are going to continue to consider players from 70+ years ago, Marion probably should be in the discussion.


Just fro amusement/discussion, NOn_HOFers, most WAR 1930-1970

Rk Player WAR/pos
1 Ken Boyer 62.8
2 Bob Johnson 57.2
3 Stan Hack 52.5
4 Vada Pinson 50.6
5 Bob Elliott 50.6
6 Minnie Minoso 50.3
7 Vern Stephens 45.4
8 Norm Cash 45.3
9 Jim Fregosi 45.1
10 Gil Hodges 44.9
11 Rocky Colavito 44.6
12 Al Dark 43.1
13 Charlie Keller 42.9
14 Dolph Camilli 42.8
15 Dixie Walker 42.7
16 Curt Flood 42.1
17 Wally Berger 42.1
18 Joe Torre 41.9
19 Bill Nicholson 41.7
20 Felipe Alou 41.3

(some players have mroe WAR than shown above- pre 1930, post 1970)
Marion is tied with Johnny Pesky for 68th (and didn't we have a very similar thread regarding Pesky not so long ago?)
Number 19 there, Swish Nicholson is the man who lost the MVP to Marion by ONE point.

If you look at shortstops you get:
Vern Stephens 45.4
Jim Fregosi 45.1
Al Dark 43.1
Dick Bartell 38.4
Maury Wills 38.1
Dick Groat 36.7
Johnny Logan 32.7
Dick McAuliffe 31.8
Marty Marion 31.7
Billy Jurges 30.7
Eddie Joost 30.6
Cecil Travis 29.5
Rico Petrocelli 27.5


Let's discuss Johnny Logan, similar career length to Marion, 4 time all star, MVP votes in 6 different seasons, obviously a well regarded player, plus his nickname was Yatcha, what's not to like? Seriously he's a serious candidate for the HOF, the Braves HOF that is, right after they get around to inducting Wally Berger...
   39. KJOK Posted: August 21, 2014 at 07:22 PM (#4776694)
I'm rather stunned that Marion wasn't already in the Cards' HoF -- that resume is more than good enough for most team HoFs.

That it took until 2014 to induct him to the Cards' HoF is a pretty good explanation of why he's not much of a national HoF candidate.


This is the inaugural class of the Cardinal HOF, so not really a pretty good explanation. But if he wanted to write a serious HOF article on one of them, Jim Edmonds would have been a better choice.
   40. The Duke Posted: August 21, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4776699)
only guys I see on that list that I like for the HOF are Boyer, Flood and Torre. Boyer simply belongs. Flood is a hero and a damn good CF who's career stats would he been better if not for the legal issues. Torre because of position adjustment. Gil hodges maybe -- why is his WAR so low?
   41. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 21, 2014 at 07:29 PM (#4776701)
Well, sure. But Marion is 96 years old. And dead.


That's exactly why I'm a better baseball player than either Ruth or Cobb.
   42. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4776704)
why is his WAR so low?


what makes you think it would be higher?

Similar players per BBREF:

Norm Cash (930)
George Foster (926)
Tino Martinez (918)
Jack Clark (911)
Boog Powell (899)
Rocky Colavito (897)
Joe Adcock (895)
Lee May (892)
Willie Horton (887)
Derrek Lee (885)
   43. frannyzoo Posted: August 21, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4776716)
Marty Marion was always the Strat card you got if you didn't get Zoilo Versalles. And you didn't really want to get Zoilo Versalles.
   44. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 21, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4776718)
Schoendienst remembers.


The man is 91 years old. He's lucky to remember to wear pants when he goes outside.
   45. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 21, 2014 at 08:55 PM (#4776763)
Of course Marion was an elite defensive player and even the morons on the Oriole Usenet group wouldn't argue for that for Bordick.
Have you forgotten Hageman?
   46. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: August 21, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4776784)
But in 1997 the "thinking fan" wasn't thinking about this. Maybe Chris Dial and a few others on usenet, but most people familiar with sabermetrics probably would have told the Orioles to play Geronimo Berroa over Bordick or something.

We were too busy arguing about what the term "rosetta stone" means in the English language apart from its literal definition.

I #### you not. Hopefully Nieporent or Johnson will show up and verify this.
   47. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: August 21, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4776785)
Oops, there's DMN now!

Weird how long it's been. That was almost half my life ago for me now.
   48. BDC Posted: August 21, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4776789)
Gil Hodges ... 45 WAR isn't low except by HOF standards; he had an excellent career. He had "only" 12 years at >400 PAs, though, and he was a first baseman mainly, so he has an uphill battle to do well in WAR either on offense or defense. Sycophant lists his similarly excellent comps, and illustrates the problem. Still, as good as Rocky Colavito is dang good.
   49. Walt Davis Posted: August 21, 2014 at 10:24 PM (#4776806)
I did say 70+ years ago so I'm not sure how we're getting into Norm Cash, etc.

I mean personally I think that if a guy's been sitting there eligible for 70 years (or 60 years or whatever) and no voters, no version of a VC, etc. has managed to make the case for the guy, I'd just give up. But as long as we're going to keep picking over the (mostly) pre-integration leftovers, then Marion should probably be in the discussion -- cuz we're pretty much discussing guys with serious flaws in their HoF cases.

Although it seems they let in way too many, I'd be happy if, for the pre-integration players, they did something similar to what they did for the Negro Leaguers -- a "this is your last chance to elect people, so get it out of your system now." I know Dahlen is deserving on BBWAA merits (or damn close) and pretty easily surpasses whatever we might come up with as "typical VC standards" but, at this point, the honor is going to be "we've got nobody left to elect but if we don't elect somebody, they'll disband this VC committee so ... Bill Dahlen."

At this point, these older inductions are a bit like the film folks giving George Raft a lifetime achievement Oscar next year.

This is the inaugural class of the Cardinal HOF

Then I happily retract my snark. Good on the Cardinals for waiting this long for a team HoF.

Of course now I can snark about how Marion doesn't deserve to be in the inaugural class. :-)
   50. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: August 21, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4776811)
RE 27 - Bill Dahlen is really the only white guy left who is a noticeable omission from that era. Grant Johnson deserves another look too. Everyone else is decent but not glaring (Jack Glasscock, Ross Barnes, Heinie Groh, Joe Start, Dick Lundy, Stan Hack, Charlie Bennett) or borderline (John Beckwith, Paul Hines, Dickey Pearce, George Gore, Ezra Sutton, Harry Stovey, Bob Caruthers, Sherry Magee, Jimmy Sheckard, Hardy Richardson, Cal McVey, Cupid Childs).

I'm probably one of the few people here who is more interested in the VC Era ballots than the BBWAA ones.
I feel like most of the strong candidates from the Pre-Integration Era (1871-1946) are 19th century players. I'd certainly like to see Bill Dahlen, Joe Start, Harry Stovey, and Jack Glasscock get in the HOF and also see more attention given to some of the black players from the 19th century too

Dahlen will likely get in on the next Pre-Integration vote, while the others have yet to make the ballot. Dahlen and Stovey have both been voted as the overlooked 19th century star by SABR. Start has been seriously overlooked by SABR, while 19th century committee chair and Hall of Stats writer Adam Darowski has taken up Glasscock's cause
   51. DanG Posted: August 21, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4776846)
I'd just give up. But as long as we're going to keep picking over the (mostly) pre-integration leftovers, then Marion should probably be in the discussion -- cuz we're pretty much discussing guys with serious flaws in their HoF cases.
Not so much. I ran a project seven years ago to identify the best HOF candidates. I started with the top 18 candidates from each decade. Marion didn't make the cut. Here's the vote tally for 1940's candidates:

Advto Rd2 Ballots Percent
Stan Hack      24    82.8
%
Joe Gordon     23    79.3%
Vern Stephens  21    72.4%
Bucky Walters  17    58.6%
Bob Elliott    15    51.7%
Charlie Keller 13    44.8%
Mickey Vernon  13    44.8%
At-large Candidates  
Dom DiMaggio   11    37.9
%
Johnny Pesky    9    31.0%
Cecil Travis    9    31.0%
Johnny Sain     7    24.1%
Also-ran   
Dutch Leonard   3    10.3
%
Dizzy Trout     3    10.3%
Tommy Henrich   2     6.9%
Virgil Trucks   2     6.9%
Lonny Frey      1     3.4%
Augie Galan     1     3.4%
Bobo Newsom     0     0.0
   52. bjhanke Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:09 AM (#4776849)
I'm a lifelong Cardinals fan (since 1954), but here's how I see it: Marion's case is similar to Rabbit Maranville's - candidate for best defensive SS ever, but not a good hitter (the two have career OPS+ of 81 and 82), got MVP votes and ASG appearances consistent with the idea that his contemporaries thought he was the best glove around - except that Marty only played about 3/5 of Maranville's career length. I can't sell Rabbit Maranville to the Hall of Merit, despite five years of trying. Marion was 3/5 of Rabbit.... - Brock Hanke
   53. TJ Posted: August 22, 2014 at 06:33 AM (#4776877)
Brock, would being 3/5 of Rabbit make Marion "Bunny"?
   54. Downtown Bookie Posted: August 22, 2014 at 08:42 AM (#4776898)
“Marty Marion ... when the ballgame was on the line, he always made the big play, and he didn’t make any errors. If he made an error, you were getting beat by 10 runs, or you’re winning by that many.
“If he made any fault at all, it was never in the crucial time of a ballgame.


Sounds doubtful.


He would field to the score.

DB
   55. Ron J2 Posted: August 22, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4776920)
And I can confirm Dan's Rosetta Stone story.

And while I haven't forgotten Hageman and Bordick it seems to me that Hageman's position was more like he was a chemistry god than that he was Belanger (high praise from an Oriole fan of a certain age) with the glove. But then trying to parse Hageman's positions always made my brain hurt. Maybe I am in fact forgetting something.
   56. Ron J2 Posted: August 22, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4776924)
Sounds doubtful


Well Bill James did research George Bell's errors for an arbitration hearing and found that while Bell did make a bunch of errors, there was no tangible cost. (As I recall they never presented this at the hearing)

Who knows, maybe Schoendienst has done something similar with Marion.
   57. TomH Posted: August 22, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4776934)
James' research on G Bell was for one season. Red-at-91-yrs-old appears to posit this was true for a career. That would be a lot of research. WPA or pennants added on fielding. Nice item for someone to quote that is difficult to disprove, and of course few of us alive have the first-hand knowledge to dispute, other than it's 99.5% likely to be untrue.
FYI, Marion made 4 errors in his 4 WS; about on par with his error rate in the regular season.
   58. Batman Posted: August 22, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4776940)
Who knows, maybe Schoendienst has done something similar with Marion.
I like the idea of Red Shoendienst spending his time researching box scores and game stories on microfiche.

I just did my own study of Marion's World Series error history. The Cardinals won three of the four Series he played in, so we can ignore any errors in those three. He made one error in the one they lost. It allowed Frankie Crosetti to reach first leading off an inning. The next hitter (Billy Johnson) grounded into a double play started by Marion, so he took care of business there.
   59. AROM Posted: August 22, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4776944)
Nice item for someone to quote that is difficult to disprove, and of course few of us alive have the first-hand knowledge to dispute, other than it's 99.5% likely to be untrue.


It's pretty easy to prove that Red's quote is literally untrue. I just pulled up his fielding log from the 1944 MVP season. Marty made an error against the Pirates on 9-12-44, in a one run Cardinal loss. I don't know if the error cost a run, as there were 2 errors by the Cardinals, and one unearned run. But even if his error didn't lead to that run, we still have him making an error in a close game.

Finding whether his errors were more or less costly on average would be a ton of work.
   60. bobm Posted: August 22, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4776949)
James' research on G Bell was for one season.

No. 3 consecutive seasons per BJNHBA
   61. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4777113)

Gil Hodges ... 45 WAR isn't low except by HOF standards; he had an excellent career.


The question is should he get a boost for winning a WS as a manager.
   62. BDC Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4777129)
should he get a boost for winning a WS as a manager

If Hodges had lived, won the 1973 pennant as well, and then (inevitably) been hired by George Steinbrenner and won a couple of pennants on the other side of town, I think he'd be in the Hall of Fame today, but there too his luck fell short. He presents a very interesting parallel to Joe Torre in that respect. Torre managing the Mets is like Hodges with the Senators; Torre in Atlanta is like Hodges in Flushing (without the miracle, of course, but a very similar W/L record, and one postseason). And they're some of the way to the Hall as players. But Hodges still needed more, I reckon. 1969 wasn't a fluke (that was a great pitching staff), but it doesn't have much company on Hodges's CV.
   63. HowardMegdal Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4777190)
Great to see this much discussion about this piece. Had a ball working on it, especially getting to talk to Marion's family and Schoendienst, whose memory, and ability to analyze the sport today, is incredible.
But 36. is dead-on, in response to 20.
   64. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: August 22, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4777419)
Best thread I've read all week. I like stuff like this. Keep it up, Howard. I know that writing's a tough racket, but keep it up.
   65. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: August 22, 2014 at 05:09 PM (#4777421)
I think if Hodges were alive, he'd eventually have gotten in via the BBWAA or VC. As it stands, he's come about as close as you can without making it. Maybe if he were alive there would be that extra push
   66. HowardMegdal Posted: August 25, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4778472)
Thanks, GGC. And FWIW, strongly agree that had Hodges lived, he'd be in the HOF by now.
   67. Chris Fluit Posted: August 25, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4778615)
I'm a lifelong Cardinals fan (since 1954), but here's how I see it: Marion's case is similar to Rabbit Maranville's - candidate for best defensive SS ever, but not a good hitter (the two have career OPS+ of 81 and 82), got MVP votes and ASG appearances consistent with the idea that his contemporaries thought he was the best glove around - except that Marty only played about 3/5 of Maranville's career length. I can't sell Rabbit Maranville to the Hall of Merit, despite five years of trying. Marion was 3/5 of Rabbit.... - Brock Hanke


And even that is overstating Marion's case. Marion has 6142 plate attempts to Maranville's 11,254. That's 6/11 (54.5%), not 3/5 (60%). It also ignores that two of Marion's best seasons ('44 & '45) came against weakened wartime position so Marion wasn't even as good as his 81 career OPS+.

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