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Monday, July 14, 2014

Rod Carew: Former Twins Oliva, Kaat, Morris deserve place in Hall of Fame

I haven’t seen twins neglected like this since Poto and Cabengo!

Rod Carew, the hall of famer and former Twin who was named to 18 All-Star Games and will make the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Target Field, served on the Expansion-Era Hall of Fame committee that in two weeks will induct ex-managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre in Cooperstown, N.Y.

But with a proviso.

“I told the president of the Hall of Fame that the only way I would be on that committee is if I could be on the next committee when (former Twins teammates) Tony (Oliva) and Jim (Kaat) come up (for election),” Carew said.

That will be the Golden Era Committee. Carew, a seven-time batting champion, wasn’t a member of that committee that in 2011 elected just one candidate, Ron Santo, to the Hall of Fame, but left Kaat as a runner-up for election. Oliva finished fourth in that voting.

The next Golden Era Committee voting will be in December. Oliva turns 76 next Sunday. Kaat turns 76 in November.

“(Kaat and Oliva) definitely deserve to be there,” Carew said. “Not only those guys, but it hurts me that (St. Paul native Jack Morris) is not there. Here’s a guy that was so dominant for so many years and deserves to be there, and they keep (inexplicably) bypassing him.”

Repoz Posted: July 14, 2014 at 06:01 PM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, hof, twins

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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 14, 2014 at 06:17 PM (#4750314)
Woah! Rod Carew throwing down the f-bomb on behalf of Jack Morris!

If you were told that Kaat, Morris, and Oliva were on a hypothetical ballot, and you had to vote for exactly one of them, which one would you select?
   2. Hank G. Posted: July 14, 2014 at 06:27 PM (#4750329)
It’s really not that inexplicable; they weren’t good enough for long enough.

Do we really want to put people on the committee that are lobbying to get on so they can elect their former teammates and cronies? Wasn’t one Frankie Frisch enough?
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: July 14, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4750334)

Rod did the Hall a favor - now they know for sure never to invite him.

I realize he's being sentimental, and that's ok. but putting him on there is a killer for anyone else on the ballot. the alternate guy might also be biased, but we'll hope not as extreme as Rod is...
   4. GregD Posted: July 14, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4750335)
If you were told that Kaat, Morris, and Oliva were on a hypothetical ballot, and you had to vote for exactly one of them, which one would you select?
Kaat was a very unusual player, so I guess he'd do less damage. There are better players than Kaat outside the HOF, obviously, but there aren't very many players who are like him so he's not an open the floodgates type guy. Except maybe for Jamie Moyer!

Do we really want to put people on the committee that are lobbying to get on so they can elect their former teammates and cronies? Wasn’t one Frankie Frisch enough?
Yes an HOF with Kaat, Morris, and Oliva would be a blah Hall and it would be outrageous while Grich and Trammell/Whitaker and other obvious HOFers are held out.
   5. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 14, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4750343)
Kaat was a very unusual player, so I guess he'd do less damage. There are better players than Kaat outside the HOF, obviously, but there aren't very many players who are like him so he's not an open the floodgates type guy. Except maybe for Jamie Moyer!


Kaat has 45 WAR, but only 8 WAA, he only had 10 WAA before he turned 36 so it wasn't like his long career dragged it down much. I think a player should be at least around 30 WAA before we start using extra-credit points to get them in.

Morris only had 43.5 WAR and 10 WAA himself, so again not even close even with perhaps the greatest pitched world series game of all time.

At age 32 Tony Oliva had 42.5 WAR and 26 WAA and made his 8th straight all star game, and his first season had been nearly a unanimous rookie of the year. He had piled up the injuries though and missed almost all of his age 33 season due to surgery, and after that was a below average value DH for 5 years who gave some back some of that WAA. He's the guy if you had to put one in, he was legitimately one of the best players in the game for an extended period, and his career ended because he played hurt, not because he gambled/abused drugs/banged Selig's wife (which of course would qualify him for immediate induction).
   6. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:00 PM (#4750351)
If you were told that Kaat, Morris, and Oliva were on a hypothetical ballot, and you had to vote for exactly one of them, which one would you select?

Tony Oliva

Kaat was Jack Morris with a couple hundred more IP (and without that one big World Series moment)
   7. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:19 PM (#4750364)
Kaat's BBREF similiars are an interesting bunch

7 HOFers,
Robin Roberts (way better than Kaat)
Fergie Jenkins (way better than Kaat)
Eppa Rixey (much higher peak)
Bert Blyleven (much better)
Early Wynn (far higher peak)
Burleigh Grimes (better peak)
Red Ruffing (much better peak)

the ones not in? Tommy John (perhaps better career value, peak value no better)
Jamie Moyer (really no better- or worse, a little better peak, at his worst was worse than Kaat)
Frank Tanana (early on had a 2-3 year stretch better than any 2-3 years in Kaat's career, outside that he as basically Kaat- Kaat was a little better...)

If you win 275 games and are clearly better than Kaat you get in, if not you don't, who says te Hall voters don't have some kind of standards :-)
   8. Flynn Posted: July 14, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4750372)
I'd be happy with all three going in, provided people realized the consequences, that the Hall would practically double in size as every HOVG guy would get in. Forget the qualified but not inducted guys, we'd be putting in Clark (both of em), Matt Williams, Keith Hernandez, Rick Reuschel, Reggie Smith, Mike Cuellar, Ken Boyer, etc.
   9. Rob_Wood Posted: July 14, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4750390)
I didn't realize that Frankie Frisch was still alive, is black, and was born in Panama. (And, yes, I realize that I am not the first to make the Frisch comparison.)
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: July 14, 2014 at 08:11 PM (#4750394)
Hall of Merit bottom-feeders include iirc

Will Clark, Keith Hernandez, Rick Reuschel, Reggie Smith, Ken Boyer, etc.

they're among a couple of dozens guys who are, "ok, if we toss the bums out but have to keep the same number, who can we do better with?"

but no morris, kaat, or oliva even at that standard
   11. Walt Davis Posted: July 14, 2014 at 09:41 PM (#4750434)
Minoso and Oliva are quite close -- Cuban, first real shot at 25, from 25-32 it's 42 WAR/26 WAA for Minoso and 42 WAR/26 WAA for Oliva. But Minoso had one excellent, one good and one average season left in him while unfortunately Oliva was done. With some pioneer credit too, you really have to take Minoso first and I suspect Oliva would agree with that.

I don't know if Minoso is Golden Era or "Wow, some of these guys are still alive?" era but I think the VC line starts with Minoso.
   12. Ziggy Posted: July 14, 2014 at 09:50 PM (#4750440)
Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva aren't in the Twins hall of fame yet?

Wait, what?
   13. DL from MN Posted: July 14, 2014 at 11:41 PM (#4750471)
I know it isn't the right audience for the article but Rod was teammates with Grich too.
   14. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 14, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4750472)

I know it isn't the right audience for the article but Rod was teammates with Grich too.


That's what I was going to say. Hey Rodney, how about the guy who played to your right for seven seasons.

   15. Howie Menckel Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4750477)

Well, the guy who couldn't play 2B well and got moved to 1B will not be first guy to say, "Listen, I got in the HOF, but I was so-so at 2B. a REALLY good hitter-fielder combo is Grich. forget about me."

   16. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:20 AM (#4750478)
Morris only had 43.5 WAR and 10 WAA himself, so again not even close even with perhaps the greatest pitched world series game of all time.


Not sure about that. Didn't some guy named Larsen through a decent game in the WS in the 50's once?
   17. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:36 AM (#4750482)
Larsen didn't pitch to the score like Morris did. That allowed Morris to go deeper into the game.
   18. Sunday silence Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:42 AM (#4750485)
Other than about one season of AB less than Santo, Boyer is very much his equal.

So when Santo goes in, the entire crowd is like it way overdue. But Boyer is just very good?
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:00 AM (#4750489)
Santo was elected to HOF in 2012.

wait, and we liked Boyer for our own place as well...
   20. bjhanke Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:31 AM (#4750494)
I think that Boyer gets underrated because he has some positives that don't occur in the normal way. You can make a MLE case for him for the Korean War, but it's right at the point where he would have become a MLB player. He has possibly the Most Valuable Hit of all time (the grand slam that won a WS game 4-3, in a WS that the Cards won 4-3). He could play CF, although Curt Flood ran him off that job (essentially, the story is more complicated than that). He, however, was not was good a player as Ron Santo, and I'm a lifelong Cardinal fan. How Santo got so shafted is probably due to personality problems, or so I'm told, and that may put him in the same category as Ted Simmons.

I would vote for Jim Kaat, although he'd be in the outer circle. It would take a lot for me to vote for Oliva, because his functional career is so short. On the other hand, I do think that Dizzy Dean belongs in easily, and their candidacies are similar, except that Dizzy ends up ranked higher in systems that value peak. Morris is a trick of numbers. MLB was played from 1871 (IMO) through to 2014. That is 14+ decades... IF you only count decades as ending with numbers ending in zero, like "the '80s." Otherwise, there have been 144 decades, with durations like 2004-2013. That Jack Morris was possibly the best pitcher in one of the "14" decades is not interesting, because it's just a numbers trick. There are really over 140 decades. Jack Morris was not the best pitcher in enough of them to be in the Hall, and he has no other convincing credentials. Boyer would not belong in the Hall on the basis of just that one homer, no matter how valuable. - Brock Hanke
   21. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:09 AM (#4750499)
Morris is a trick of numbers. MLB was played from 1871 (IMO) through to 2014. That is 14+ decades... IF you only count decades as ending with numbers ending in zero, like "the '80s." Otherwise, there have been 144 decades, with durations like 2004-2013. That Jack Morris was possibly the best pitcher in one of the "14" decades is not interesting, because it's just a numbers trick.


Actually, Morris wasn't the best pitcher in any of the 140 decades baseball has been played (or any grouping of time, for that matter). However, if you're simply citing wins (which is the basis for any "best pitcher of the 80s discussions with Jack") then it isn't a trick of the numbers. Jack had the most wins of any pitcher in the big leagues for six straight decades (if memory serves, 79-88 through 84-93).

The problem isn't arbitrary end points (which is likely the case with Mark Grace and hits). It's that his win totals don't give an accurate reflection of his abilities as a pitcher.

   22. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:18 AM (#4750500)
Other than about one season of AB less than Santo, Boyer is very much his equal.

Wrong on both counts.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:16 AM (#4750508)
Ken Boyer is Beltre with a shorter career and different career arc.

Santo is one step above Boyer.

Boyer in the HoF would be perfectly fine and he certainly deserves more attention on VC ballots than he gets (or my memory is off, take your pick).

Boyer's career as an offensive force was ages 25-33. He hit 299/364/491, 124 OPS+, 55 WAR, 33 WAA, 188 Rbat with 3 seasons of 30+, 2 of 20+ and 81 Rfield. That's a 6 WAR player, outstanding. Outside of that, 8 WAR and no WAA.

Santo we'll give age 23-31 which was 286/376/491, 137 OPS+, 61 WAR, 39 WAA, 268 Rbat with 1 season of 50+, 2 of 40+, 1 of 30+ and 1 of 20+ and 2 more of them outside this age range. 53 Rfield. That's a 7 WAR player. He added 9 WAR and negative WAA outside of that but did have seasons of 5 and 3 WAR.

It is certainly quite close and possibly within the range of error although I would also give more credit to Santo for those 5 and 3 WAR seasons than to Boyer for some average, largely bench seasons. If you like giving credit for extracurricular achievements, I think it's rather amazing Santo could accomplish that while being diabetic, especially back in those days. Also it's two seasons of PA difference, not 1.

Beltre is interesting. He's not the hitter Santo was despite his late peak, basically the same as Boyer. Boyer had 56 oWAR in 8300 PA, Santo 66 in 9300 PA and Beltre 56 in 9700. Beltre picks up 14 more WAR than Santo and 12 more than Boyer on defense -- I'm certainly willing to grant Beltre is the better fielder but I'm not sure I'm willing to grant it to the level that I'll say he was better overall than Santo and his main advantage over Boyer then would be playing time.

Of course Beltre is still ticking and productive so there's a good chance he'll have a more than sufficient edge in career value to make the comparison uninteresting.

   24. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:47 AM (#4750511)
Tony Oliva was a heck of a hitter. He had 8 seasons of a slam-dunk HOF career. Unfortunately, he's got almost nothing outside of that -- three more years as a slightly above-average hitter with (literally) no defensive value. I wouldn't vote for him, but at the same time he wouldn't look ridiculously out of place in the Jim Rice/Kirby Puckett wing of the Hall of Fame.

Jim Kaat, it seems to me, is exactly the pitcher that non-saber types thought Bert Blyleven was -- a pretty good pitcher, but non-star, who lasted forever with a string of 15-13 seasons. With Blyleven, a closer look showed you the strikeouts and shutouts and (eventually) the ERA+ and WAR; with Kaat, a closer look just confirmed what you thought -- he's Jamie Moyer with a slightly higher peak. Or the pitching version of Harold Baines. That's certainly valuable and praiseworthy, but it doesn't really fit with most people's definition of the Hall of Fame.
   25. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:59 AM (#4750512)
Interesting discussion of Boyer. I knew he was good, but I guess I never realized he was that good. he's certainly got a good HOF argument. But it took Santo forever to get in, and I think his case, as Walt points out, was clearly stronger.

If Boyer eventually gets in, that opens up the door for Graig Nettles and Darrell Evans.
   26. alilisd Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4750603)
What about minor league credit for Oliva? He clearly has the peak for the HOF, but lacks career bulk. However, he was outstanding right out of the gate as a 25 yo rookie. In looking at his minor league numbers at 23 & 24 he certainly looks like he could have been productive at the MLB level in those seasons as well. Even two more full seasons leaves him a bit short in historical HOF career terms, but it would put him a bit closer.
   27. Ron J2 Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4750636)
#26 I'm not sure that "roughly as good as George Banks" adds much to a HOF case.

In 1963 Oliva hit .304/.342/.519, Banks hit .280/.391/.493. Ray Jablonski also hit nearly as well.

I realize Oliva is an unusual case in that he's short of bulk filler, but this wasn't somebody being buried, rather it looks like he took a major step forward in 1964. I'd be surprised if the MLE for his 1963 comes to anything more than an OPS+ of 100.

He's not an absurd choice by prime. A good defensive outfield (who could and did handle center when required). His prime is similar to Bobby Bonds or Chuck Klein or Albert Belle (not the hitter Belle was, but a much better defensive player. Comes out to roughly the same overall value).

His OPS+ in his 5 best offensive seasons is roughly the same as Tim Raines, Pete Rose and Bobby Bonds (which of course does not make him their equal as an offensive player) and that's low for a corner outfielder trying to make a peak case. Certainly doesn't crack the top 35 among corner outfielders.

In the end, the obvious problem for a peak/prime case for him is Charlie Keller.

Wouldn't be a horrible HOF choice, but he's fairly far down my list (and I'm mostly an extended prime supporter and that's the way that Oliva does best)

   28. ajnrules Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4750709)
I'm still puzzled how Jim Kaat can get half of the Veteran's vote while Tommy John, who is a similar pitcher with slightly more career and peak value, can't even get three votes. The quality of the other players on the ballots are an issue of course, but there has to be a fundamental difference between perception of both players among voters.
   29. alilisd Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4750719)
Thanks Ron. I almost said prime rather than peak, so let's say peak/prime. I think if a player has a legit HOF peak/prime, which Oliva does, IMO, adding career bulk definitely makes a difference. In Oliva's case, then, adding two seasons of roughly league average actually does add quite a bit because the only thing Oliva lacks is playing time. The question, I think, is not whether he was as good as George Banks, but was he good enough to play at the MLB level, and was he blocked. George Allison easily makes the answerto the second question yes.

Does Oliva answer the second? Well, Rose was in the Sally League with him in 1962, and Oliva outhit him by a bit, although older as well, and Rose was the ROY the next year while Oliva was in AAA. Seems like Oliva had the chops to be in Minnesota in 1964 at least. It's harder to make the case for 1963 as his record for 1962 is scant, but it seems he was ready by 1964, and 1965 definitely bears this out.
   30. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: July 15, 2014 at 04:30 PM (#4750958)
"I'm still puzzled how Jim Kaat can get half of the Veteran's vote while Tommy John, who is a similar pitcher with slightly more career and peak value, can't even get three votes. "


I think it worked against TJ that he was eligible on the Expansion Era ballot almost immediately after his 15th year on the bbwaa ballot. In theory that should've helped. Gillick got in on TJ's first exp era ballot & the latest one was crowded with the hall of manager trio of doom so no chance for any players on that ballot
   31. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: July 15, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4750966)
The exp era and golden era have different voters and it seems the golden era takes the
retired players who are candidates more seriously than the exp era which should've taken TJ and Ted Simmons on the 2010 ballot but elected a former GM in Gillick
   32. Walt Davis Posted: July 15, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4751099)
Ron is possibly a bit harsh on Oliva ... but same conclusion.

From ages 25-32, 50% at 1B/LF/RF/DH, 3000+ PA, Oliva is a very solid 29th in WAR. He's right there with the guys you'd kind of expect him to be -- Manny, Thomas, B Williams, Kaline, Minoso. Alas, he's also in the same group as Abreu, Walker, Vlad, Teixeira, Bobby Bonds, Giambi, Sisler.

If you look at it instead as 3rd-10th seasons (say), he sits 30th and the group is even more impressive ... pretty much all the same names and add Cabrera, Allen, Rose, Greenberg, Raines, Murray, Gwynn.

Alas that just highlights what we all know the problem is -- he's got nothing outside of that. The only short career HoFer in his list is Greenberg and he was no Greenberg. As I noted earlier, I don't see any way to move him ahead of Minoso. Certainly as a player he wasn't Allen's equal.

Had he stayed healthy, he could have easily been Billy Williams or even better and would have been elected easily. But to put him in, you kinda have to say that the last 5000 PA of Tim Raines's career (27 WAR) matter almost not at all in HoF terms.
   33. Rob_Wood Posted: July 15, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4751139)
Dan Plesac just said that Jack Morris was one of the greatest pitchers to ever set foot on the mound. And then he said that Jack Morris and Nolan Ryan were the two most intimidating pitchers he ever knew. Too bad Plesac wasn't teammates with any all-time great intimidating pitchers.
   34. BDC Posted: July 15, 2014 at 07:22 PM (#4751140)
I was going to use P-I to do a comps list for Jim Kaat till I realized that extremely few pitchers have ever started 600 ML games, and most of them were transcendent talents and obvious Hall of Famers.

In fact, aside from Tommy John (who started 700), there are only two reasonably similar pitching careers to Kaat's, and Sycophant mentioned both upthread: Moyer and Tanana, who conveniently bracket Kaat on the Games Started leaderboard. Like John, all three were crafty lefthanders who reinvented themselves midcareer. Jerry Reuss, Jerry Koosman, and Andy Pettitte are in the same general group, though shorter careers. There aren't many right-handed equivalents, testifying to the endless employability of LHPs who can get out there and deliver some reasonable innings. Dennis Martinez is probably the closest RHP equivalent.

As a result, you get some LHP with great Wins, IP, and Starts totals who were "merely" HOVG. And very good indeed they all were, it bears remembering.

EDIT: I was going to say something like "The Rangers would have been very happy to have had Andy Pettitte in their rotation this year," but frankly they'd have been happy to have Kaat or John or for that matter Rube Marquard.
   35. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:46 PM (#4751614)
As it happens, Jim Kaat & Tony Oliva were key parts of two of my favorite articles I wrote for THT.

Tony Olivia showed up in The Gods and Dogs of Garbage Time and it turns out he was one of the all-time greats of playing his best when it mattered least. Oliva's career OPS may have been 829, but in garbage time, it was 955, one of the biggest splits ever.

Kaat was flat out the subject of another column: Forgotten pennant push: Jim Kaat, 1967. In the midst of one of the tightest pennant races in history, this is what Jim Kaat did in September 1967:

65.7 IP
65 K
7-0 W-L
1.51 ERA

Yes, 65.7 IP in one month -- at an ERA reminiscent of Dwight Gooden at his best.

Kaat doesn't belong in Cooperstown. He was almost always an above average pitcher who was really durable, but few men have had a month like that in such clutch circumstances as that.
   36. bjhanke Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:48 AM (#4751652)
The big problem with trying to fine-tune an evaluation of Boyer is how to deal with the Korean War. If you just never give anyone MLE credit, there is, of course, no problem until you start trying to analyze Ted Williams. But if you do, then you have to deal with all this: Boyer signed right out of high school and was sent to class D ball, which he destroyed for two years (class D was like class A is now - the same farm system had class D teams of wildly varying quality). This got him a promotion to Class A, where he played very well. At this point, he would probably have been promoted to AAA, to see how close to being MLB ready he was. However, Korea intervened for two years.

When he got back, the Cards probably had no idea of what level to assign him, so they put him in class AA Omaha for a whole year, to see what happened and to get his head back into baseball instead of Korea. He played VERY well; I would say he was certainly a MLB player at that time, although not a really good one. He might have been better if he had spent the previous two years playing ball; I don't know. In any case, he then went to the Majors and to the starting 3B job, with a tryout at SS, which he failed. That indicates that the Cardinals, at least, thought he had been at least a MLB benchwarmer the previous year. He moved to CF for a couple of years, but the needs of the team changed, and he went back to 3B. If you do give MLE credit for wars, this makes your head spin. Would Boyer have been a MLB player the year before class AA? Who can tell? Actually, who can tell if he was really a MLB player at class AA, or whether he was somebody that the pitchers in that level knew nothing about? It's just a very hard MLE case.

Comparing him to other 3B is dangerous, because his career is all in the late 1950s and the 1960s, so his raw numbers look less impressive than they are, just like Santo's. If you compare him to Beltre, well, the offensive environments are wildly different.

With Kaat, I tend to think of it as an endless string of 18-15 seasons, instead of 15-13. I didn't know about the last month of 1967. I wonder if he would be in the Hall if his team had won. When the Red Sox did win 1967, the Big Pitcher Story (in the AL) was Jim Lonborg. No one was thinking about Jim Kaat's September. But, if Kaat's team had won, it very well might have been Kaat who got all the attention. - Brock Hanke
   37. Sunday silence Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:57 AM (#4751654)


It is certainly quite close and possibly within the range of error although I would also give more credit to Santo for those 5 and 3 WAR seasons than to Boyer for some average, largely bench seasons.


That's all Im saying, is that the difference between Santo and Boyer is very close. I can make an argument that fielding metrics are still in a state of infancy. Conventional Wisdom would agree.

FIelding metrics if they are poor, are most likely underestimating defense. CW would agree.

Boyer was likely a better fielder given what stats we have. He could very well be under estimated by Dwar or whatever it is....

But regardless, the point is that they are very close. How many other 3B can you fit between Santo and Boyer?

Darrel Evans, Scott Rolen, Jim Thome? I dunnot but all five of those guys in that group. YOu can make arguments for or against each one. They all have slight pluses and minuses vis a vis one another. As a group taking all that stuff into account, you can barely slip a knife between them.

But then you have supposedly knowledgeable people here go on and on about Boyer would be some sort of disgrace to the HoF and he doesnt belong, "he's clearly not in the same category," etc.

Please.
   38. Walt Davis Posted: July 16, 2014 at 04:26 AM (#4751668)
Brock ... the main issue with your war credit is that he was young and in the minors at the time. And he didn't hit the ground running when he came back. His first full-time season at 24 was a 94 OPS+ and 1.2 WAR. He did well at 25 but repeated that 94 OPS+ at 26 (with much better Rfield numbers). I can't see any reason to think Boyer would have been a good ML hitter at 22-23 although he might have made it up with defense.

That's all Im saying, is that the difference between Santo and Boyer is very close. I can make an argument that fielding metrics are still in a state of infancy. Conventional Wisdom would agree.

But Santo and Boyer are measured by the same defensive metrics. You need to establish a case that Boyer is severely hurt by this while Santo is not hurt at all or helped. In dWAR terms, the estimated gap is only 2 wins.

FIelding metrics if they are poor, are most likely underestimating defense. CW would agree.

Then CW is wrong. This is not how models work. It is rather unlikely that defensive metrics are badly biased. This would require:

1a) a large number of plays made not accounted for at all;
1b) the value of a certain set of plays being grossly over/under-estimated.

And even that isn't enough that gets you to a bias in the comparison of two players. To get that you have to show that one player had a disproportionate number of these missing/mis-valued plays than another. Good luck.

Models estimate the conditional mean and then there is generally equal "error" distribution around that estimated mean. Due to sample size, the error variance as a proportion of total variance will always go down. There are surely some players whose defensive value is badly under-estimated and some where it is badly over-estimated but you have no reason to think Boyer is an underestimated one but Santo isn't.

It's a fairly common mistake when discussing statistical results but error is not bias. Error works in both directions, bias works in a particular direction (even after conditioning on whatever we've conditioned on).

What we know about Boyer is that he took a big drop as a hitter after age 33. We know that the Cards traded him after age 34 to the still expansion Mets. We know the Mets moved him to a bench role at 36 and he stayed in a bench role for the rest of his career. All of that is consistent with a career arc in which Rfield says he became an average or just below fielder after age 31. If he'd remained an elite fielder, the Cards probably wouldn't have traded him and the Mets probably would have kept playing him.

Therefore, if there is a downward bias for Boyer, it's likely in underestimating his defensive value at his age 25-31 defensive peak. But we also know that, for ages 25-31, at least 800 games at 3B, Boyer has the 9th best Rfield of all time. Rolen is merely 10 runs ahead and only 5 players have substantially more -- Ventura, Beltre, Bell, Brooks and Nettles. That doesn't look out of whack to me at all and at least three of those guys were measured using the same system as Boyer. How badly underestimated do you think he was?

What the heck, give him Nettles all-time leading total for those ages and you add 5-6 wins. That draws his peak even with Santo's peak and you still have the issue that Santo had the longer career, provided a bit more overall value in that time and had those extra good seasons. So Boyer, best fielding 3B from 25-31 in history is probably still just a bit behind Santo.

Boyer was likely a better fielder given what stats we have. He could very well be under estimated by Dwar or whatever it is....

He could very well be over-estimated. Santo could very well be under-estimated. Those two events are roughly equally likely.

I'm also not sure what you mean by "what stats we have." Both won 5 GG. Santo's career FP was 954 (948 lg), Boyer's was 952 (950 lg). Santo's RF/9 was 3.13 (2.92 lg), Boyer's was 3.06 (2.99 lg). Santo had 2.19 assists/9, Boyer had 2.14. Santo is credited with .189 DP/9; Boyer with .208 (finally!). The only stat we have that says Boyer was a noticeably better fielder than Santo is the horribly unreliable Rfield.

Want more? From b-r (Santo then Boyer): RHB% 63/63; BIP% 81/80; GBIP% 32/28 (I think this is estimated but this is presumably why Boyer wins on Rfield); %age of balls fielded that resulted in outs (again, I think this has to be estimated) 88/89; %bunts fielded resulting in outs (again, I think estimated) 55/74 (big win for Boyer but it's only about 6% of total assists -- about 40 extra bunts over their careers).

I'll also point out the frequent disconnect made here -- defensive numbers are unreliable therefore ... I will make a defense-based argument for the superiority of X. If defensive numbers are unreliable and biased as you claim, don't we have a LOT more confidence in Santo's 11 oWAR advantage being real than we do in your speculation about Boyer's true defensive value?

The argument you want to engage is Boyer vs. Beltre. They have the same oWAR despite Boyer's 1500 PA disadvantage. Then you can point out that the only reason Beltre wins on WAR is because of those horrible, unreliable, biased defensive numbers. Then you point out that Boyer was tied for the best of his time so can we really believe Beltre has a 110-run advantage defensively?

That is "the difference between these two is estimated defensive value but we know that's hugely unreliable so we should not put much faith in the conclusion that player X is better than Y" is a rational argument. "The difference between these two is very reliably estimated offensive value and the only reason we think player X might be Y's equal is due to higher but hugely unreliably estimated defensive value ... so we confidently conclude they were equal" not so much (although of course quite possible).

But then you have supposedly knowledgeable people here go on and on about Boyer would be some sort of disgrace to the HoF and he doesnt belong,

I would be shocked to find that anybody "knowledgeable" has gone on and on about Boyer at all. And I'm sure you can't find "disgrace".

Does/doesn't belong is a tough call and depends where you draw your in/out line. I don't think there's much difference between him, Bell, Nettles and I'm not convinced he's substantially better than Ventura and maybe Bando. If we can believe Rolen and Beltre's defensive numbers, so are they. (and if we can't believe their defensive numbers, I can't believe Boyer's either.) Chipper blows him out of the water. If you want to treat ARod's career as being at 3B (more accurate than treating the whole thing as a SS IMO) then he blows Boyer out of the water too. (The fact that Jim Thome even crosses your mind as a "3B" is a bit troubling.)

He's the Freehan of 3B. Some days I think Freehan should be in, some days I don't. All days I think Rolen should be in and pretty much all days I think Nettles should be in but I still haven't accepted the idea that maybe Bell should be in. So sue me.

In/out lines are always crowded but conventional wisdom and fancy numbers and BBWAA voters and VC voters and pretty much everybody outside of StL seems in agreement that Santo was a step above Boyer. The HoM has elected Boyer but ranked him 18th among 3B while Santo is 7th. You specifically asked for guys between Boyer and Santo? Without endorsing their questionable definition of "3B" here are the players the HoM ranked between them -- Molitor, Allen, Groh, J Collins, Ezra Sutton, Brooks, Da Evans, Beckwith, Hack, Nettles. I would whack Molitor and Allen completely, put him ahead of Evans**, keep him behind Nettles and Collins and Brooks, would have to do more digging on the rest.

Regardless, your main gripe is with the BBWAA. Among players with at least 1500 games at 3B post-war, the worst one voted in by the BBWAA is Brooks at 78 WAR. The VC has stuck in only 2 post-war guys -- Santo at 70 WAR and George Kell at 39 (mysteries never cease). I am not convinced that Rolen or Beltre will get voted in although Beltre with 3000 hits is very likely.

** seriously, what were the HoM thinking? Even if you count Evans' entire career to be at 3B, it's "just" 59 WAR and 24 WAA in nearly 11,000 PA. Boyer had 63 WAR and 32 WAA in 2500 fewer PA. If you then start any adjustments for time at 3B ... Boyer had nearly 400 more starts and over 3000 more innings at 3B. Evans last season starting even half-time at 3B was age 35 and he had just 42 WAR through age 35.

   39. bjhanke Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:21 AM (#4751670)
Walt - You nailed the problem with Boyer and MLEs exactly - it's a matter of timing. His 2 years of war (as opposed to WAR) happen right in the middle of his minor league advancement. He only has one minor league year after the war. There's just no real way to evaluate how good Boyer would have been if he'd been in baseball at that time.

The Hall of Merit, when it was going through the ranking within each position process, had several people who said that they thought that Boyer was the worst position player in the HoM, at ANY position. Some of us spoke up a little, and I think that's changed, but his rep was suffering at the time. I'm not sure why. As to Evans, you're the first person I've read who thinks that little of him. Maybe people are influenced by Bill James' New Historical, where he opines that Evans is the most underrated player of all time. Or maybe the systems in use at that time rank him higher than they do now. I don't know; I find him as hard to rank as Molitor and Allen, and for the same reason as you give - there's no primary position to assign them to, to get a comparison set that makes sense. If you do start researching the rest, I think you're going to find more trouble with Beckwith, a weird Negro Leaguer, and Sutton, a creature of the 1870s, than with the others. Nettles is largely a question of how good his glove really was, Hack is a matter of evaluating an extreme leadoff type against everybody else. Groh is a matter of adjusting for the time period, and possibly the career length. When the HoM was going about these rankings, there was comment that Home Run Baker and Jimmy Collins had short careers. I went to some length to point out that, compared to third basemen of their time, they did not, even with Baker taking two years off. Third was just a tough physical position. Someone brought up Lave Cross, who is just the exception that proves (in the sense of tests) the rule, like Deacon McGuire at catcher.

Here's one just for you, because you're a Cubs fan. Imagine if the Cardinals had had Santo and the Cubs Boyer at 3B in 1964. Boyer can play CF, although by then he would not have been great at it. Lou Brock cannot; neither could Santo. If the Cubs had had Boyer, they could have moved him to CF, Banks to 3B (probably his best position at the time, since he did have an arm), and either Williams or the RF (George Altman?) to 1B. Then they could have played Lou in LF and would not have had to trade him. I have no idea whether to count that as a bonus point for Boyer. You're the Cub fan. I just hope this little fantasy didm;'t annoy you. - Brock Hanke
   40. Jeltzandini Posted: July 16, 2014 at 08:12 AM (#4751702)
Oliva is the classic guy who should easily make it into his team's HOF but should just as easily not get any serious Cooperstown support. The Twins have had three successful eras (1962-70, 1987-92, 2001-2010). He was a key contributor to the first. He didn't play well in their one WS, but had excellent ALCS's both times they got swept by Baltimore.

But as everyone said, he had an eight year peak averaging 5 WAR and wasn't any good outside that. You better be just about the best player in baseball if you're going to build a HOF case on eight seasons.
   41. bunyon Posted: July 16, 2014 at 08:13 AM (#4751703)
Without doing a lot of the analysis you guys are doing I can say this: it's a problem anytime teammates are on the VC. I would think less of Rod Carew the man if he didn't think these three belonged. I'd think less of any player with a teammate who is worthy of HOF discussion who didn't think the belonged and said so publicly. Teammates simply shouldn't be voting on teammates.
   42. Sunday silence Posted: July 16, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4752302)

I would be shocked to find that anybody "knowledgeable" has gone on and on about Boyer at all. And I'm sure you can't find "disgrace"


I thought that's what was being said in no. 8; because he said the size of the hall would double which to me means he wasnt in the same class as Santo at all. I also thought it meant he wasnt qualified but I dont think that was said at all. I also misinterpreted no. 10 thinking he was saying he was not qualified, but I think he means other guys already in the hall, e.g. Lloyd Waner.

As for what def. metrics I was simply reading your earlier post and you had mentioned FieldWAR which favored Boyer. Then you go and put it down in your next post. Gee excuse me for taking what you wrote like you meant it.
   43. Sunday silence Posted: July 16, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4752306)
Then CW is wrongThis is not how models workIt is rather unlikely that defensive metrics are badly biasedThis would require:

1aa large number of plays made not accounted for at all;
1bthe value of a certain set of plays being grossly over/under-estimated.

And 
even that isn't enough that gets you to a bias in the comparison of two players. To get that you have to show that one player had a disproportionate number of these missing/mis-valued plays than another. Good luck. 


we have had this dicussion with respect to the 1930s and Arky Vaughan. As I recall the runs they were accounting for were understimated for the defense. I did run some numbers for the 70s and those numbers were are much closer. I have no idea about the 60s it would be fun to look at it again.

You make a good point about having to show disproportional bias. Yes that is true, I didnt think of that.

I will try to link to the other thread; hold on...

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