3. How did the outliers get in?
As I see it there are three clear outliers in the BBWAA voting. They are:
—Dizzy Dean was a great pitcher for 6 1/2 years—and that’s essentially his entire career. But, of course, he was also a legendary figure, a character, a man who helped define baseball for a generation. It took nine Hall of Fame ballots but he eventually got in.
—Don Sutton won 300 games. That’s why he’s in the Hall of Fame. His career value of 61.3 WAR and especially his peak value of 32 fall short of the BBWAA median. But he won 300 games and so was inducted five years in. When you look at the WHOLE Hall of Fame, Sutton easily fits in the upper half of Hall of Famers. When you just look at the BBWAA selections, he seems like an outlier.
—Herb Pennock was a beloved figure on the great New York Yankees teams of the 1920s and early 1930s. In many ways, Pennock was sort of the Jack Morris of his time … admired for his baseball intelligence, general gutsiness, and for winning a lot of games for very good teams. Before he came to the Yankees, he was 77-72 with a 3.72 ERA. With the Yankees, he was 162-90 with a 3.54 ERA. So there you go.
...Pennock was someone whose talents and attitude and persona impressed the BBWAA voters. Same with Morris. Of course, there was no Internet crowd to break down Herb Pennock back in 1948 when he was elected.