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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sporting News: Luis Tiant on Hall of Fame: “I think it’s wrong what they do.”

“I already told my family, ‘They put me after I die, don’t go anywhere. Don’t go to the Hall of Fame, don’t go to Cooperstown, don’t go no god— place,’” Tiant said. “‘Cause I think it’s wrong what they do.”

Tiant doesn’t see the benefit of posthumous induction.

“What good is that they put you after you die?” Tiant said, adding, “You can’t do nothing with your family and your friends.”

Tiant went 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA, which sounds fairly pedestrian, especially for the years he pitched.

But his Hall of Fame case benefits with some contextualizing.

Tiant’s 65.9 Wins Above Replacement as a pitcher are eighth-best for the years he played, 1964 to 1982, according to the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index tool. Every pitcher in front of Tiant for WAR for the years he pitched is in the Hall of Fame. Overall, Tiant has the second-best WAR behind Rick Reuschel of any pitcher since 1900 retired at least 20 years and not in the Hall of Fame

Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 18, 2017 at 08:54 AM | 115 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, veterans committee

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   1. TDF, FCL Posted: April 18, 2017 at 10:14 AM (#5437053)
I don't think the HOF is missing anything if Tiant isn't in there.

If you look at his stats, nothing really stands out - 2 ERA titles, 3 ASG, never finished above 4th in CYA voting (and only got votes 3 seasons), 114 ERA+, only 229 wins (.571) in 19 seasons. Eighth-best bWAR with the exact cut-off of your years in the league is as compelling as "most wins in the '80s". And you're not going to win any sympathy with the "almost as good as Rick Reuschel" argument.
   2. Brian C Posted: April 18, 2017 at 10:39 AM (#5437081)
Tiant went 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA, which sounds fairly pedestrian, especially for the years he pitched.

But his Hall of Fame case benefits with some contextualizing.

I agree with TDF - it's funny how the "contextualizing" seems to confirm that his career was fairly pedestrian. I guess I'm sympathetic to some degree to the idea that everyone better than him is in, but that doesn't mean he's been overlooked, it just means that's where the cutoff is.
   3. DanG Posted: April 18, 2017 at 11:20 AM (#5437125)
Tiant has the second-best WAR behind Rick Reuschel of any pitcher since 1900 retired at least 20 years and not in the Hall of Fame
Highest WAR for HOF candidates with 210+ Wins retiring 1913-2004:

Player           WAR WAA/pit   W   L ERA+  ERA     IP From   To
Rick Reuschel   68.2    38.0 214 191  114 3.37 3548.1 1972 1991
Luis Tiant      65.9    34.7 229 172  114 3.30 3486.1 1964 1982
Tommy John      62.2    21.9 288 231  111 3.34 4710.1 1963 1989
Jack Quinn      58.9    25.0 247 218  114 3.29 3920.1 1909 1933
Frank Tanana    57.7    20.0 240 236  106 3.66 4188.1 1973 1993
Jerry Koosman   57.2    24.0 222 209  110 3.36 3839.1 1967 1985
Billy Pierce    52.9    26.1 211 169  119 3.27 3306.2 1945 1964
Bobo Newsom     51.7    19.7 211 222  107 3.98 3759.1 1929 1953
Dennis Martinez 49.5    14.7 245 193  106 3.70 3999.2 1976 1998
Wilbur Cooper   49.0    22.2 216 178  116 2.89 3480.0 1912 1926
Mickey Lolich   48.9    17.3 217 191  104 3.44 3638.1 1963 1979 

Only Reuschel and Pierce are in the Hall of Merit.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 18, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5437135)
I get it, but bitterness about not getting into the Hall is always a bad look IMO. It should be an honor, not a right.
   5. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 18, 2017 at 11:39 AM (#5437142)
I'm fine with Tiant getting in the HOF but he'd be behind a few Era Committee candidates

Tiant was a key member of the 70's Red Sox & one of the great personalities of his generation

I use position player WAR a lot more than pitcher WAR. I'd have Tiant ahead of Reuschel but behind John & Pierce (Pierce is really a different era than Tiant) and probably Kaat as well

I imagine it's hard for these former players to be getting into their seventies and not feel a little bitter or hurt, especially when none of their (living) peers are being voted in by the Era Committee
   6. JohnQ Posted: April 18, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5437167)
Tiant went 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA, which sounds fairly pedestrian, especially for the years he pitched.


How is that pedestrian?? How is a .570 win%, 2400 K's & 229 wins commonplace??

His 229 wins ranks him 10th from 1964-82
His 2416 K's ranks him 10th from 1964-82

He has a 66.1 pitching BWAR from 1901-2017 which ranks him 32nd.

Every eligible pitcher with 63+BWAR is in the HOF except for Clemens, Mussina, Schilling, K. Brown and R. Reuschel.

Even by traditional standards I would have thought he'd get in. He has Four 20 win seasons, 229 wins and 2400 K's. Does any other eligible Post WW2 pitcher other than Clemens have Four 20 win seasons and is not in the HOF? The only one I could find was Dave McNally. I guess the traditional stat people use McNally as a non-HOF example but McNally only had 1500K's and 189 wins and he owed a lot of his 20 win seasons to playing on those Orioles teams. M. Cueller is another one. I guess if Tiant won 2 more game in '75, he'd be in the HOF years ago.
   7. Covfefe Posted: April 18, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5437177)
For HoF purposes -- I like WAA better than WAR, and 34.7 is nothing to sneeze at. It's well within the range of fairly pedestrian, but not exactly controversial HoF pitchers.

Tiant's big problem here is the usual "he's got a case, but the same evidence has better candidates" (i.e., Reuschel).

He'd have made my ballot(s) -- but it's hard to get behind a Tiant movement when it seems painfully clear Reuschel ranks above him (as well as a couple guys still on the ballot - Schilling and Mussina).

Ultimately, if you're going to try to correct snubs -- you really need to start with the superior candidates.
   8. Cargo Cultist Posted: April 18, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5437180)
Somebody always has to be the guy right below where the cutoff is, and you know that has to hurt. But those are the breaks.

I watched him pitch throughout his career. I never once thought he would be in the Hall of Fame.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 18, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5437185)
Tiant's big problem here is the usual "he's got a case, but the same evidence has better candidates" (i.e., Reuschel).

John too. 1200 more IP of similar quality (111 ERA+ vs. 114).
   10. dlf Posted: April 18, 2017 at 12:21 PM (#5437193)
I'm too young to have watched his fastball throwing days in Cleveland, but I loved watching late career Tiant pitch with the gyrations, various arm angles, and about seven-three bazillion different pitches. These days I guess Johnny Cueto is the closest we get. I assume that the more controlled windups and carefully monitored deliveries result in faster pitches, but it takes a little fun out of the game for me.
   11. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 18, 2017 at 12:38 PM (#5437211)
Does any other eligible Post WW2 pitcher other than Clemens have Four 20 win seasons and is not in the HOF?


Dave Stewart was the first I thought of, 1987-90. Could be others.
   12. TDF, FCL Posted: April 18, 2017 at 12:38 PM (#5437212)
Does any other eligible Post WW2 pitcher other than Clemens have Four 20 win seasons and is not in the HOF? The only one I could find was Dave McNally.
Johnny Sain.
   13. Brian C Posted: April 18, 2017 at 12:46 PM (#5437218)
How is that pedestrian?? How is a .570 win%, 2400 K's & 229 wins commonplace??

When you're comparing those numbers to HoF-level pitchers.
   14. DanG Posted: April 18, 2017 at 12:57 PM (#5437228)
I'm fine with Tiant getting in the HOF but he'd be behind a few Era Committee candidates
The Modern Baseball era committee meets in December. If it were up to me, here is what a ten player ballot would look like:

Player          WARWAAOPS+/ERA+
Dwight Evans    67.2 33.0 127
Bobby Grich     70.9 43.2 125
Keith Hernandez 60.2 31.7 128
Tommy John      62.2 21.9 111
Graig Nettles   67.9 32.8 110
Ted Simmons     50.1 18.8 118
Reggie Smith    64.5 37.3 137
Luis Tiant      65.9 34.7 114
Alan Trammell   70.7 40.1 110
Lou Whitaker    74.8 42.6 117 

It's a stellar group. I think they all deserve to be in the Hall.
   15. JRVJ Posted: April 18, 2017 at 01:02 PM (#5437235)
I don't think the issue is whether Tiant should or shouldn't be in the HoF.

I think the issue is that Tiant, Kaat, Allen, et. al., are put through an emotional roaller coaster every time the different permutations of the Veterans Committee meets. And I suspect they know how screwed up the process has been and how nobody is going in mostly because of flaws in the system.
   16. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 18, 2017 at 01:09 PM (#5437242)
Does any other eligible Post WW2 pitcher other than Clemens have Four 20 win seasons and is not in the HOF?


Is there an equivalent batting stat to 20-win seasons? 40 HR's? 200 hits? 100 RBI's? RBI's match up nicely because of the heavy team dependence required to accrue the stat.
   17. SandyRiver Posted: April 18, 2017 at 01:11 PM (#5437244)
John too. 1200 more IP of similar quality (111 ERA+ vs. 114).


With John's career ERA+ at 111, Tiant's hypothetical 1200 additional IP would have to be about 102 ERA+ to pull his career mark down to John's level. Of course, 5 seasons of ERA+ 102 has considerable value.

I loved watching late career Tiant pitch with the gyrations, various arm angles, and about seven-three bazillion different pitches.


I think it was in his Five Seasons that Roger Angell offered the best ever description of El Tiante's pitching motion, maybe the best description of ANY pitcher's motion.

   18. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: April 18, 2017 at 01:17 PM (#5437250)
I would be very happy to see the Veterans Committee go away. At least with respect to the players. Some sort of voting for pioneers, execs and Managers needs to exist but the second chance for players is nonsense to me. While the BBWAA has made its mistakes I think far more of the poor choices for induction have been made by the VC in all its forms (something that will continue when Morris gets elected and Whitaker and Trammell don't).
   19. karlmagnus Posted: April 18, 2017 at 01:27 PM (#5437265)
Yes Jose, but Tiant is a lot better than Morris. I would want the HOF to give points for uniqueness and entertainment value, and Tiant qualifies for a lot of those points.

I may be biased -- my introduction to baseball was the 70s Red Sox. Remove Rice, put Tiant in, in my view.
   20. TDF, FCL Posted: April 18, 2017 at 01:29 PM (#5437269)
I don't think the issue is whether Tiant should or shouldn't be in the HoF.

I think the issue is that Tiant, Kaat, Allen, et. al., are put through an emotional roaller coaster every time the different permutations of the Veterans Committee meets. And I suspect they know how screwed up the process has been and how nobody is going in mostly because of flaws in the system.
I would rephrase it, because I agree with #4: The issue is that players like Tiant and Morris feel they belong in EDIT: deserve to be in the HOF; they don't look at it as an honor to be voted in.

The HOF (or more precisely, its voters) aren't the ones creating the "emotional roller coaster".
   21. TDF, FCL Posted: April 18, 2017 at 01:34 PM (#5437276)
With John's career ERA+ at 111, Tiant's hypothetical 1200 additional IP would have to be about 102 ERA+ to pull his career mark down to John's level. Of course, 5 seasons of ERA+ 102 has considerable value.
It's certainly nothing to sneeze at. HoVG pitcher Jack Morris, '86-90: 75-64, 1188 IP, 103 ERA+.
   22. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: April 18, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5437281)
Yes Jose, but Tiant is a lot better than Morris. I would want the HOF to give points for uniqueness and entertainment value, and Tiant qualifies for a lot of those points.


I agree with all of this but I'd still get rid of the VC. It's not that they haven't fixed errors of omission (e.g. Santo) but the errors of commission outweigh the errors of omission. Like so many other things Hall related the VC is can be "fixed" by getting the BBWAA to get its #### together.
   23. DanG Posted: April 18, 2017 at 02:17 PM (#5437343)
The HOF (or more precisely, its voters) aren't the ones creating the "emotional roller coaster".
Yes, the overlooked players have only themselves to blame for their emotional distress. They foolishly believe that the system in place to elect players to "the Game's Highest Honor" is one that is carefully constructed and consistent.
   24. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 18, 2017 at 02:27 PM (#5437360)
SandyR, #17:
I think it was in his Five Seasons that Roger Angell offered the best ever description of El Tiante's pitching motion, maybe the best description of ANY pitcher's motion.

Angell game notes, on Tiant's pace:
Game then runs down, stops, dies, thanks to Luis Tiant, Bost. pitcher. Tiant, noted for odd pitching mannerisms, is also a famous mound dawdler. Stands on hill like sunstruck archeologist at Knossos. Regards ruins. Studies sun. Studies landscape. Looks at artifact in hand. Wonders: Keep this potsherd or throw it away? Does Smithsonian want it? Hmm. Prepares to throw it away. Pauses. Sudd. discovers writing on object. Hmm. Possible Linear B inscript.? Sighs. Decides. Throws. Wipes face. Repeats whole thing. Innings & hours creep by. Spectators clap, yawn, droop, expire. In stands, 57 disloc. jaws set new modern AL record, single game. Somebody wins game in end, can’t remember who.


Angell on Tiant's motion:
We were treated to the splendid full range of Tiantic mime. His repertoire begins with an exaggerated mid-windup pivot, during which he turns his back on the batter and seems to examine the infield directly behind the mound for signs of crabgrass. With men on bases, his stretch consists of a succession of minute downward waggles and pauses of the glove, and a menacing sidewise, slit-eyed, Valentino-like gaze over his shoulder at the base runner. The full flower of his art, however, comes during the actual delivery, which is executed with a perfect variety show of accompanying gestures and impersonations. I had begun to take notes during my recent observations of the Cuban Garrick, and now I arrived at some tentative codifications. The basic Tiant repertoire seems to include:

(1) Call the Osteopath: In midpitch, the man suffers an agonizing seizure in the central cervical region, which he attempts to fight off with a sharp backward twist of the head.

(2) Out of the Woodshed: Just before releasing the ball, he steps over a raised sill and simultaneously ducks his head to avoid conking it on the low doorframe.

(3) The Runaway Taxi: Before the pivot, he sees a vehicle bearing down on him at top speed, and pulls back his entire upper body just in time to avoid a nasty accident.

(4) Falling Off the Fence: An attack of vertigo nearly causes him to topple over backward on the mound. Strongly suggests a careless dude on the top rung of the corral.

(5) The Slipper-Kick: In the midpitch, he surprisingly decides to get rid of his left shoe.

(6) The Low-Flying Plane (a subtle development and amalgam of 1, 3, and 4, above): While he is pivoting, an F-105 buzzes the ball park, passing over the infield from the third-base to the first-base side at a height of eighty feet. He follows it all the way with his eyes.

All this, of course, was vastly appreciated by the Back Bay multitudes, including a nonpaying claque perched like seagulls atop three adjacent rooftop billboards.
   25. TDF, FCL Posted: April 18, 2017 at 02:45 PM (#5437396)
The HOF (or more precisely, its voters) aren't the ones creating the "emotional roller coaster".

Yes, the overlooked players have only themselves to blame for their emotional distress. They foolishly believe that the system in place to elect players to "the Game's Highest Honor" is one that is carefully constructed and consistent.
Play the game to the best of your abilities. If those who decide such things feel you deserve the game's highest honor, humbly accept it.
   26. Lassus Posted: April 18, 2017 at 03:35 PM (#5437471)
The writing in #24 is so good I actually teared up.
   27. Rob_Wood Posted: April 18, 2017 at 03:35 PM (#5437472)
I haven't read the article. Is Tiant "complaining about" the new-fangled Veterans Committees that have elected very few players recently?

He realizes that he was on the BBWAA HOF ballot for 15 years, right? And, if memory serves, he never came close to being elected. Right?

So now he sees another way to make the Hall of Fame that may not elect him (at least while he is still alive). And he chooses to complain about that?

My hope and expectation is that the writer had a story in mind and went in search of a player to attach to the story. So I don't really blame or criticize Tiant in the least.
   28. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 18, 2017 at 03:43 PM (#5437485)
The writing in #24 is so good I actually teared up.


As an aircraft buff, I was impressed that he didn't just randomly pick any aircraft type to mention, but cited one that was specifically used for low flying missions.
   29. Covfefe Posted: April 18, 2017 at 03:59 PM (#5437500)
He realizes that he was on the BBWAA HOF ballot for 15 years, right? And, if memory serves, he never came close to being elected. Right?


Highest he ever got was 30.9% in 1988 - his first year on the ballot. Stargell elected in his first year, Oliva, Kuenn, Maris, Cepeda, Bunning, and Mazeroski ahead of him.

The '89 ballot was pretty loaded -- Bench and Yaz go in the first try, Fergie Jenkins and Gaylord Perry also debut.

Palmer and Morgan debut in 90 (and go in)... He did stick around all 15 years - but by the time the ballot starts to clear up, he's forgotten and stays in the single/just barely 10% range.

   30. DanG Posted: April 18, 2017 at 04:50 PM (#5437541)
Whether or not you cast Tiant as complaining or just an old man speaking his mind, he has a legitimate point. When you look at the pitchers the HOF has elected, he fits right in; he would be a "pedestrian" hall of famer, a normal middle-of-the-road member.

Look at the 20th century pitchers the VC has elected just since the start of Tiant's professional career:

1963 Eppa Rixey      56.8
1964 Burleigh Grimes 46.9
1964 Red Faber       68.4
1969 Waite Hoyt      53.3
1969 Stan Coveleski  65.2
1970 Jesse Haines    35.7
1971 Rube Marquard   34.2
1972 Lefty Gomez     43.1
1978 Addie Joss      45.9
1992 Hal Newhouser   60.4
1995 Vic Willis      67.1
1996 Jim Bunning     60.3 

None of these is significantly better than Tiant. In fact, most of them are worse.

At the same time, the writers have elected many starting pitchers who are no better than Tiant:

1967 Red Ruffing    55.4
1972 Early Wynn     51.6
1974 Whitey Ford    53.9
1976 Bob Lemon      37.5
1983 Juan Marichal  61.9
1984 Don Drysdale   61.2
1987 Catfish Hunter 36.6
1990 Jim Palmer     68.1
1998 Don Sutton     68.7 

Lets not even talk about the relief pitchers.

So even if you can find a veterans candidate or two who is better than Tiant, you can find a lot of hall of famers who are much worse. He should be in.
   31. JRVJ Posted: April 18, 2017 at 05:29 PM (#5437588)
TDF,

I have enough empathy to see how the whole Veterans Committee thing can be disturbingly hard for most players.

These are fairly old men by now, and it's bound to be a disappointment to be passed over. But even more than that, look at the 2014 election, where Kaat, Allen and Oliva were all kept out by one vote (the system was set-up in a way that almost encouraged not choosing anybody). Yes, Tiant is not HoF worthy, but TFA did mention Kaat and Allen by name.
   32. QLE Posted: April 18, 2017 at 05:42 PM (#5437603)
#22- The problem with that as an argument, I feel, can be best demonstrated in one way. The following is a list of position players (by position) who were active after 1900 and are not in the HOF, are not ineligible for induction (either by still playing, having not been retired long enough, or by being Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose), and who are not going to be on the 2018 BBWAA ballot:

Catcher:

Thurman Munson
Ted Simmons
Bill Freehan
Jorge Posada

First Base:

Mark McGwire
Keith Hernandez

Second Base:

Bobby Grich
Lou Whitaker

Third Base:

Ken Boyer
Sal Bando
Dick Allen
Graig Nettles
Buddy Bell

Shortstop:

Alan Trammell
Art Fletcher

Left Field:

Minnie Minoso
Sherry Magee

Center Field:

Jim Edmonds
Kenny Lofton
Jim Wynn
Vada Pinson

Right Field:

Bobby Bonds
Reggie Smith
Dwight Evans

The issue at hand that links almost all of these players: the BBWAA's votes per ballot plunged after 1985, and did not return to above 7 votes per ballot until 2014. These voters were also the ones who seemed to have the greatest issues in judging talent: note that most of the mistake inductees of the BBWAA are from this era. Moreover, this approach of mine, if anything, understates the issues, as most of the folk not listed above that I am on the fence about (Willie Randolph, Darrell Evans, Ron Cey, Chet Lemon) are also from the 1970s and 1980s, and further demonstrate the point.

With that in mind, why punish these players for BBWAA ineptitude?

Similarly, there are a substantial number of players with careers in whole or in part before 1900 (Charlie Bennett, Paul Hines, Bill Dahlen, Jack Glasscock, Cupid Childs, Harry Stovey, and Pete Browning, for starters) that also merit induction, and for whom the BBWAA has never been an option- even the BBWAA of the first twenty years or so of the HOF (who, while not perfect, did take their jobs seriously, and took conscientious efforts to induct as many players as they could) largely were limited in how strong a grasp they had on these players.

Overall, then, there are a substantial number of players whom the BBWAA either never was really designed to consider or who the BBWAA did a really poor job at considering, and at this point dismissing the importance of the VC completely (based largely on the actions of a man who died in 1973) seems asinine, especially given how recent and how long in duration the BBWAA problems were.
   33. TDF, FCL Posted: April 18, 2017 at 05:56 PM (#5437621)
I have enough empathy to see how the whole Veterans Committee thing can be disturbingly hard for most players.

These are fairly old men by now, and it's bound to be a disappointment to be passed over. But even more than that, look at the 2014 election, where Kaat, Allen and Oliva were all kept out by one vote (the system was set-up in a way that almost encouraged not choosing anybody). Yes, Tiant is not HoF worthy, but TFA did mention Kaat and Allen by name.
I agree that the process is so totally screwed up that no one is likely to get elected, no matter how qualified.

My point is that Tiant et.al. shouldn't look at enshrinement as some sort of right. People will or won't remember them for their playing ability; it won't change how good they were.

And I would go further, in relation to a point Tiant makes: Enshrinement is only going to help future generations remember him, not the current one. If being in the HOF is anything other than a pure ego trip, he shouldn't care if he's enshrined posthumously because those are the fans who will need to discover him.

Finally, I don't know that "Tiant is not HoF worthy"; he's just not the guy I would fall on a sword for.
   34. ReggieThomasLives Posted: April 18, 2017 at 06:05 PM (#5437627)
With John's career ERA+ at 111, Tiant's hypothetical 1200 additional IP would have to be about 102 ERA+ to pull his career mark down to John's level. Of course, 5 seasons of ERA+ 102 has considerable value.


It's far greater than ERA+ would have you believe, 36.5 vs 24.7 in Peak WAA is a massive difference. Tommy John gave up 268 unearned runs, Tiant only 120.
   35. JRVJ Posted: April 18, 2017 at 06:10 PM (#5437632)
My point is that Tiant et.al. shouldn't look at enshrinement as some sort of right. People will or won't remember them for their playing ability; it won't change how good they were.


They way I read the article, the thing is that they perceive the HoF process as almost a burden that they have to bear every number of years. And again, I have enough empathy to understand how they would feel that way (every few number of years, their hopes are raised and then dashed. Again, the 2014 election was just beyond cruel in the way the system froze out Allen, Kaat and Oliva).
   36. Walt Davis Posted: April 18, 2017 at 06:14 PM (#5437635)
#18/22/32: I'm more in Jose's camp but would simply shift more to having an occasional VC. Every 10 (5?) years, put together a committee of experts to review things and decide if there have been any mistakes. At this point, I'd also have a final committee look at any pre-war (maybe even pre-expansion) players and then that's it. The careers of these folks have been picked over for 70+ years now, either put them in or move on.

I tend to agree with Tiant's point. The election of Santo was bittersweet because those moronic ####### couldn't get their act together and elect the man before he died. If you're going to elect the man, let him enjoy it. (Ideally a voter is neither swayed by "he's getting really old, I better vote for him" or "out of sympathy, I'll vote for him now that he's dead" but I wish anybody in the latter group would switch to the former.) But I'm an old softie and am annoyed that they didn't give us the sheer joy of a Minoso induction when he could have still enjoyed it.

And while it may seem pathetic when a player (like Santo) virtually begs for induction, it's wrong that a player as good as Santo had to go through that year after year.
   37. DavidFoss Posted: April 18, 2017 at 06:44 PM (#5437651)
Finally, I don't know that "Tiant is not HoF worthy"; he's just not the guy I would fall on a sword for.

I agree. If he had pitched in the 50s/60s, he might have been seen as a Jim Bunning type of guy. But so many 70s pitchers won 300 games.

Does any other eligible Post WW2 pitcher other than Clemens have Four 20 win seasons and is not in the HOF?

Dave Stewart, Dave McNally and Johnny Sain have been mentioned. The others are Mike Cuellar and Wilbur Wood.
   38. ReggieThomasLives Posted: April 18, 2017 at 06:55 PM (#5437655)
I watched him pitch throughout his career. I always thought he would be in the Hall of Fame.
   39. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 18, 2017 at 06:56 PM (#5437656)
Finally, I don't know that "Tiant is not HoF worthy"; he's just not the guy I would fall on a sword for.

Pretty good summary statement on my feelings about Tiant.
   40. QLE Posted: April 18, 2017 at 06:59 PM (#5437658)
#36-

To be fair, my plan for the 19th-century players (and the couple of deserving early 20th-century ones) was to have some mass committee induction, like the one conducted for the Negro Leagues in 2006- I suspect that that sort of specialist examination is the only way to get a proper fair shake in any event.
   41. Howie Menckel Posted: April 18, 2017 at 07:28 PM (#5437672)
a 15th place HOM vote (we have to list 15 each year) is worth 6 pts, 14th place worth 7, and so on.

these are the most 'Votes Points' of the unelected pitchers:
M Welch 18,838
D Redding 18,676
B Walters 12,084
B Grimes 9,876
V Willis 6,862
D Dean 6,014
T Bridges 5,301
A Joss 5,020
L TIANT 4,422
C Mays 3,803
J McCormick 3,439
E Cicotte 3,359
T Mullane 2,437
D Newcombe 2,103

of course Mickey Welch was on the original ballot so had time to accumulate more pts; all of the top 10 pre-date Tiant, in fact. check that, the entire list pre-dates Tiant.

this can be misleading, since many of the perceived "borderline" modern HOF SPs in fact have already been elected by the HOM, like Saberhagen or Stieb. but he's ahead of TJohn and Kaat, to name two mentioned here.
   42. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 18, 2017 at 07:41 PM (#5437686)
these are the most 'Votes Points' of the unelected pitchers:
M Welch 18,838
D Redding 18,676
B Walters 12,084
B Grimes 9,876
V Willis 6,862
D Dean 6,014
T Bridges 5,301
A Joss 5,020
L TIANT 4,422
C Mays 3,803
J McCormick 3,439
E Cicotte 3,359
T Mullane 2,437
D Newcombe 2,10

Is there any easy way to calculate Vote Points per Year?
   43. cardsfanboy Posted: April 18, 2017 at 08:10 PM (#5437703)

With John's career ERA+ at 111, Tiant's hypothetical 1200 additional IP would have to be about 102 ERA+ to pull his career mark down to John's level. Of course, 5 seasons of ERA+ 102 has considerable value.


Tiant has 3486 career innings pitched at 114 era+.. .. Tommy John from 1966-1986 has 3981 ip at 114 era+.... If you decide to try to come close to Tiant, you have Tommy John from 1966-1982 with 3411 ip at 119 era+.... I do not get the argument I quoted. Tommy John has a career 500 ip longer than Tiant at the same level, or he matches Tiant in innings pitched at a higher level of era+.

(note: My comment isn't about the specifics of each players shape of career, but is just a reply to the comment I quoted which seemed to imply that Tiant was better and if he would have been able to just stick around he would have had career numbers on par with Tommy John, doing what John did was hard. )
   44. Howie Menckel Posted: April 18, 2017 at 08:11 PM (#5437705)
well, you can look at 5 years after they end their careers and go from there. HOM has occasional different "ballot debuts" regarding late cups of coffee, but you could get within spitting distance. Welch has had more than triple the amount of time on ballot vs Tiant and more than four times the points for example.
   45. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: April 18, 2017 at 09:43 PM (#5437778)
32 - the problem is none of those guys is going to get in but Jack Morris will. Also, while there are guys on that list I would put in, some without much thought, I don't think the Hall is badly diminished by any of those folks not being in.
   46. QLE Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:10 AM (#5437910)
Thing is, Gil Hodges' election was once seen as inevitable as well and has not come to be, so that line of argument is questionable, and the systematic absence of players because of their era matters a lot, even if any individual on the list doesn't as much.
   47. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:40 AM (#5437921)
I agree that the process is so totally screwed up that no one is likely to get elected, no matter how qualified.


The current system is not ideal, but it's not nearly as bad as the old one. Santo got elected in the current system the very first time he was eligible, and would have had it been in place before he died (he was the comfortable frontrunner in the previous Vets Committee balloting, but that system really was designed in such a way to prevent elections).

They didn't elect anyone from this era the last time because no one really stood out among the eligibles, and the voters difficulty sorting between them wasn't unreasonable (there really were a lot of similar borderline types).

But I really disagree with Jose. There needs to be a Vet's Committee to fix the inevitable mistakes of the BBWAA. My biggest problem with it is the Vet's Committee should be designed so it doesn't take it's cues, or members, from the BBWAA. The committee needs to serve as a truly fresh look at the overlooked.
   48. The Duke Posted: April 19, 2017 at 08:15 AM (#5437963)
There will always be some misses like Grich, Simmons and the Detroit keystone combo but mostly the hall voting has been getting it right. Tiant and reuschel are perfect examples of people that should be below the line. Edmonds, Hernandez and Munson serve the same purpose. All great but probably not quite enough
   49. DanG Posted: April 19, 2017 at 09:13 AM (#5437992)
flaws in the system
Like putting the best candidates on the ballot. Rather than the players I mentioned in #14, we're more likely to see players from this group on the ballot this year:

Dave Concepcion
Steve Garvey
Ron Guidry
Jim Kaat
Don Mattingly
Jack Morris
Dale Murphy
Al Oliver
Dave Parker
Dan Quisenberry
   50. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 19, 2017 at 10:16 AM (#5438029)
The comments about candidates such as Tiant feeling he should be in the HOF intrigued me so I started going through the Sporting news interviews of overlooked HOF candidates to see their quotes about not making the HOF. Here's the most recent ones, I'll post some more:

Luis Tiant: I already told my family, ‘They put me after I die, don’t go anywhere. Don’t go to the Hall of Fame, don’t go to Cooperstown, don’t go no god— place,’” Tiant said. “'Cause I think it’s wrong what they do.”

“What good is that they put you after you die?” Tiant said, adding, “You can’t do nothing with your family and your friends."

 “I don’t think it’s a good thing to do to anybody, and not just me,” Tiant said. “Tony Oliva ... Tommy John. Jim Kaat. (Dave) Concepcion. Man, there’s a bunch of them that should be in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know why they do what they do."

-------------------

Dick Allen: Allen’s son, Richard Allen Jr., has been lobbying on my behalf for an interview. We’ve been messaging for months and recently, Dick Allen tentatively agreed to an interview. But he had second thoughts the next day.

“After missing from one vote, my father basically shut down,” Allen’s son had warned me in December. “Deep down I think he was disappointed.”

Allen’s son said something else that made me think after his father declined the interview.

“My father feels he won't be around to see 2020,” Allen’s son wrote. “I don't understand it all, but the HOF actually asked for a game used bat of his and now there's all these hoops he is going through. His bat is good enough but not him.”

--------------

Al Oliver:  I could easily have DH'd another four or five years without any problems at the rate that I was going and the condition I was in,"

"Everything that a Hall of Famer is supposed to be, I line up with that,"

Oliver said he had an interesting conversation last year with a man. "It's not a question of if I belong,” Oliver said, paraphrasing the man. “It's who's keeping me out."

 The process is affecting former teammates of Oliver’s as well, such as Dave Parker. The two still keep in touch, with Parker also living in Ohio. "Anytime I ... call him, I (say), 'Now you know who's calling, Dave. It's the second-best hitter in baseball,'" Oliver said.

"Whatever happened in Dave's situation has kept him out of the Hall of Fame, because if there was ever a Hall of Famer, Dave Parker was one," Oliver said.

-----------

Dave Stieb: "I said right off the bat, 'I don't belong in the Hall of Fame, I did not win enough games and so forth."

 “I surely did not deserve to be just wiped off the map after the first-year ballot,” Stieb said. “It's like, please, amuse me and string me out for two, three years."

"It's like an insult,” Stieb said. “What it told me was in (the writers’) minds, I didn't even do anything worth recognizing.”

------------

Lou Whitaker: “I had the opportunity to play in the major leagues,” Whitaker said. “I did it, I played there. I gave it my best. When my career was over, well, that’s all I could have done. What good is it for me to go to people and be whining or crying or saying, ‘I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Y’all wrong."

"Tram had the opportunity to be there for a long time,” Whitaker said. “He came off, what, last few years or whatever. But Lou, I didn’t get, I didn’t even get daylight.”

“Now that’s unfair right there,”

"You would have had to watch us play the game — game, not just defense, but the whole game, the full game (and) you would see that Tram and I were definitely worthy of being in the Hall of Fame."

-------------

Albert Belle: “Sooner or later, people are going to recognize how good my numbers were for the short amount of games I played,”

---------------

Harold Baines: “I was shocked that I was on the ballot for the Veterans Committee, really,” Baines told Sporting News. “When you get less than 5 percent (from the writers), you figure your chance is over with.”

 "Hall of Fame is tricky 'cause you don't know what really makes you a Hall of Famer,” he said. “Is it you've got to play on winning teams? You've got to be a full-time player? You can't be a DH? I really don't know what the writers are thinking or even if my numbers are good enough."

-------------
   51. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 19, 2017 at 10:37 AM (#5438047)
Will Clark: "I think in certain regards, I'm a Hall of Famer," Clark told Sporting News in a recent phone interview. "I'm a career .300 hitter. You don't do that by accident and especially hitting in the ballpark that I hit in. And then 1,200 RBIs, and most of my RBIs tied up the ballgame or put us ahead. They were clutch RBIs. I'm not one of those guys that drove in a lot of runs when it was 8-0."

Clark, incidentally, said he wasn't hugely surprised when he received just 4 percent of the writers' vote. "I think that the writers value numbers a lot more than a guy like myself would value them," Clark said

 "I can tell you this right now: If you take some Hall of Fame first basemen and put them in Candlestick Park, I guarantee we'd have about the same stats.”

 "If the Veterans Committee sees me as a Hall of Famer and votes me in, I'd greatly appreciate it," Clark said. "But if they don't, I'm not going to sweat it."

------------

Bret Saberhagen: “I've never really dug deep into why I wasn't on the ballot anymore after one year and only getting [one] percent, what it takes to get into the Hall of Fame,” Saberhagen said. “Would the Veteran Committee look at my numbers and possibly think about putting me in? Don't have any idea.”

 But he doesn’t tout his Hall of Fame case much or even seem to believe that he’s a Hall of Famer.

“I think a lot of other people do,” Saberhagen said. “Me, I've never really sat down and looked at numbers compared to who might be in there. I'd have to leave that up to the writers, to the Veterans Committee, to everybody else who has a better idea about that.”

He noted, “I pretty much tell everybody that the number that you really need to have is at least 200 wins.”

-------------

Dwight Evans: "I always thought I was on the cusp with my offensive ability and that my defense would kind of carry that, but it didn’t,” Evans told Sporting News. “That kind of used to bother me, but no more.”

 “A lot of players in the Hall of Fame don’t want anybody in through the Veterans Committee,” Evans said. “They don’t want anybody in.”

 “I just don’t understand the mentality of the voting,” Evans said. “I don’t get it.”

 “Does it make my day?” Evans said. “If it happened, yes. If it doesn’t, I’m okay with it. I am. I’m gonna be a Hall of Famer in Heaven. I don’t care about here. I mean, I do but I don’t.”

----------

Bobby Grich: "No, I’m not optimistic at all,” Grich told Sporting News. “I don’t think that I have much of a chance to be very honest with you.”

 “I think that for the most part, a couple of things that I did well was defense. And actually I was very disciplined at the plate,” Grich said. “I had a high on-base percentage. I got a lot of walks and scored a good amount of runs, especially my years in Baltimore when I was batting second most of those years. So I think those things, defense and walks and on-base percentage, especially in the ‘80s, it was not really talked about, not paid attention to. It was home runs, batting average and RBIs, and those were the metrics that everybody was pretty much measured by.”

-----------

Dale Murphy: "There’s a lot of guys that I think should be in,” Murphy told Sporting News. “There’s a lot of guys that a lot of people think should be in. So it’s not like I’m the only one out there when I talk about it.”

" If you add 50 guys to that Hall of Fame, it’s still a pretty exclusive list."

 “What are you gaining by exclusivity?” Murphy said. “What could you gain by increasing a little bit? Would you really lose exclusivity and what would you gain? I think you’d gain a lot with more Hall of Famers. PR and growing the game and selling the game.”
   52. SandyRiver Posted: April 19, 2017 at 10:39 AM (#5438051)
Many, many thanks for #24.

CFB (#43) - I pretty much agree. My post had been in response to #9, and only intended to show that, for ERA+ numbers not that far above 100, a 3-point difference was not insignificant. There was no intent to portray Tiant as more HOF-worthy than T.John.
   53. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 19, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5438061)
Jim Kaat: "In my own case, I think what works against me is a lot of the voters think it took me too long to accomplish what I accomplished,” Kaat told Sporting News.

“If my career ended after the 1975 season, I probably would be in already, because I was a much more dominant pitcher for that 15-year period of time. And with the Veterans Committee, that’s actually the period of time they’re supposed to be judging me on. But they have people on that Veterans Committee that are executives that never even saw me play. And that’s the case they’re going with with a lot of guys. So all they’re doing is going by numbers. That’s why I get a little cynical about it.”

 “I got to be honest with you, I don’t spend much time thinking about it,” Kaat said. “I don’t think deeply about it. There’s no question it’s a great honor, but as I said when we started this interview, I’ve been down this road so many times before that I really, my cynicism runneth over.”

----------

Tommy John: "I don’t even know when my chances begin,” John told Sporting News. “I have no idea when the voting is. It’s so convoluted now."

 “My whole thing is, if you’d looked at the pitchers of my era on the number of ground ball outs to total outs, I had the best ratio in the history of baseball,” John said. “I was very, very good at what I did, and I wasn’t a strikeout pitcher. I was when I was in high school and all that. But I wasn’t when I became a pro. So I’m being held back because I didn’t conform to some sportswriter’s idea of what is good and what is not good.”

Similar to Kaat, another supremely durable pitcher who may or may not be voted into Cooperstown in his lifetime, John seems fairly detached and disillusioned about the Hall of Fame voting process. “I have no idea, and I don’t even follow it, truthfully,” John said. “I have no control over it, so I basically don’t really worry about things I have no control over.”

But he wonders about players like Don Mattingly, one of the best first basemen of the 1980s before injuries took their toll. “The sportswriters said, ‘You should have won 288 games. You pitched all those years,’” John said. “Then they say Mattingly... didn’t play enough years. When is enough enough and too much is too much?”

----------

Steve Garvey:
“I do a lot of motivational speaking, and they even introduce me as Hall of Famer. I kind of look,” Garvey said with a laugh. ”I’m a little shaken. You don’t want to correct them right there. I say, ‘Thank you and still hopeful and got longer on the ballot this next time.’ But there’s a general perception that I’m in the Hall of Fame, which is very interesting.”

 “It’s been a wonderful career and life,” Garvey told Sporting News. “I’ve been able to take that visibility and do a lot of positive things. The Hall of Fame is always there. I get asked about it frequently.”

 I think there’s a reason why I’ve been on the ballot,” Garvey said. “Hopefully the voters will see that and give me the greatest honor of my career and put me in the Hall of Fame.”

 “There are probably six or seven other gentleman who are in a similar position as myself,” Garvey said. “I think it would be good for the game. If you look at basketball and football, they enter four, five players every year, and they’re all worthy of it. They’re all relative to their time and their game and the success of their team.”
   54. Ithaca2323 Posted: April 19, 2017 at 10:56 AM (#5438070)

"Hall of Fame is tricky 'cause you don't know what really makes you a Hall of Famer,” he said. “Is it you've got to play on winning teams? You've got to be a full-time player? You can't be a DH? I really don't know what the writers are thinking or even if my numbers are good enough."



I mean, the problem is, no two cases are really the same. You might be statistically similar in some ways but not others. You might have postseason success, or narrative points, that another player lacks. You might come on during a weak ballot, or a strong one. Absent specific benchmarks for induction, you're not going to come up with a "This makes you a Hall of Famer" standard.

“What are you gaining by exclusivity?” Murphy said. “What could you gain by increasing a little bit? Would you really lose exclusivity and what would you gain? I think you’d gain a lot with more Hall of Famers. PR and growing the game and selling the game.”


When you see the voters like Howard Bryant who just refuse to vote for 10 guys at once because they believe getting a bunch of guys in in one year dilutes the whole honor, it's frustrating. But that (holding back on voting for players you deem worthy so the spotlight isn't shared) is a different kind of exclusivity than voting in players you don't feel meet the standard, which is ultimately closer to what Murphy wants the voters to do.

"I said right off the bat, 'I don't belong in the Hall of Fame, I did not win enough games and so forth. I surely did not deserve to be just wiped off the map after the first-year ballot


Hall of Fame totals are simply the sum of several hundred binary decisions. If Stieb himself thinks he isn't a HOFer, then why is he upset at the voters who agreed with him?
   55. SoSH U at work Posted: April 19, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5438075)
Hall of Fame totals are simply the sum of several hundred binary decisions. If Stieb himself thinks he isn't a HOFer, then why is he upset at the voters who agreed with him?


Probably because he sees inferior players who did get more extended looks from the electorate, such as the guy who will probably get in the next time the Vet's Committee gathers.
   56. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 19, 2017 at 11:23 AM (#5438105)
Alan Trammell: "There’s nothing else I can do,” Trammell said. “The numbers are there. As far as my career, I can’t change anything. I’m not going to play anymore. I’ve never been one that would lobby. It’s just not my style.”

 There’s his .285 batting average and 2,365 hits, both respectable for a shortstop, though Trammell acknowledges that his stats weren’t eye-popping. 

“I think that might be one of the reasons why I’m not in, is that when you look at the body of work, there’s no category that stands out,” Trammell said.
   57. Ithaca2323 Posted: April 19, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5438118)
Probably because he sees inferior players who did get more extended looks from the electorate, such as the guy who will probably get in the next time the Vet's Committee gathers.


Right, but those 50 voters (or whatever) aren't collectively saying "Sure, Dave Stieb isn't a Hall of Famer, but he was better than you think, and deserves some recognition." Every one of them is, individually, saying "Dave Stieb belongs in the Hall of Fame." I understand that he doesn't think that's what's going on when he gets 50 votes (so maybe I shouldn't have asked why he was upset, since I know why. I guess my issue is just that it bothers me that people misunderstand what the percentages are saying). But it is.
   58. Rally Posted: April 19, 2017 at 11:35 AM (#5438121)
I'd like to see Tiant in. Reading all the quotes above though, I lose sympathy. For one player, yes, but the more I read the more stone hearted I feel. Because if we put in Tiant, and Trammell, and Whitaker and Grich, then moved on to Parker and Oliver and Garvey, and kept going, where would it lead?

Then we'd be hearing from Johnny Damon, Luis Gonzalez, Carney Lansford, Gary Gaetti, and Mark Grace wondering how come they aren't considered when the guys above got in.

You've got to put a line somewhere.

I do agree that the veterans committee should be prioritizing living players. As they are with recent player groups getting more frequent consideration.
   59. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:01 PM (#5438141)
 "Hall of Fame is tricky 'cause you don't know what really makes you a Hall of Famer,” he said.


Well, what it should be is that at your best, you were a superlative player.(*) Not just that you were pretty good for 10-15 years, or happened to walk a lot when no one cared about walks.(**)

Which means, for example ...

"Whatever happened in Dave's situation has kept him out of the Hall of Fame, because if there was ever a Hall of Famer, Dave Parker was one," Oliver said.


... yep. It should be obvious why Al Oliver has this opinion, but alas, it is not.

(*) Which has both contemporaneous and ex post components, in varying degrees.

(**) I.e., the types of players the WAR fanatic revisionists tend to promote.
   60. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5438152)
I'd like to see Tiant in. Reading all the quotes above though, I lose sympathy. For one player, yes, but the more I read the more stone hearted I feel. Because if we put in Tiant, and Trammell, and Whitaker and Grich, then moved on to Parker and Oliver and Garvey, and kept going, where would it lead?

I feel sympathy for some. They are being asked do they feel they are a HOFer & even if they maybe understand why they have yet to be elected, they're for the most part gonna answer they feel they are worthy or should draw more consideration

It is very human to look at your own accomplishments & when compared to others, feel you are just as worthy.

For example, Tiant probably looks at a guy like Jim Bunning & thinks why him and not me
   61. Rob_Wood Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5438155)
AROM's point in post #58 is something that many of us have touted for years.

Bill James used to call the distribution of baseball talent (performance, value, etc.) a pyramid. Narrow at the top, wider as you move down. So there will always be a lot more players just below any cutoff point than just above it. By its very nature there will always be many players on the cusp of meriting the Hall of Fame. And if you lower the threshold somewhat, there will now be even more lesser-deserving players on the cusp of meeting the now-lower standard.

I should hasten to point out that I am not specifically talking about Tiant or anyone else. Tiant is among a select group of "sabr-friendly" under-appreciated players that I would be happy to see make Cooperstown. But I have long ago ceased caring about who makes the Hall of Fame. (Said tongue in cheek, as I have spent a great deal of time over the past decade participating in the Hall of Merit.)
   62. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5438157)
Had we had a functioning Veterans Committee like we had pre-2003, some these guys would be in. It must be difficult to be considered yet know you don't have as good as a chance as previous candidates from other eras & as these guys advance in age, they see the window to be elected in their lifetime closing

I'd put in Tiant but the line would start with candidates such as Dwight Evans, Bobby Grich, Alan Trammell, & Lou Whitaker
   63. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:38 PM (#5438168)
I'd put in Tiant but the line would start with candidates such as Dwight Evans, Bobby Grich, Alan Trammell, & Lou Whitaker


Trammell, yes. Evans, Grich, and Whitaker (*) got a bunch of WAR from walking and I'm perfectly comfortable with the legacy value of a walk being far less than its sabermetric value. Walking isn't even one of the five scouting tools of playing baseball, and no one goes to baseball stadiums to watch guys draw walks. Dwight Evans played in Fenway Park and batted over .300 once in his career. That is not a Hall of Famer, under any serious measurement.

(*) Lou was my hometown team's 2B for virtually the entirety of my formative years and he was a fine player. He was not a HOF-caliber player.
   64. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:46 PM (#5438174)
Walking isn't even one of the five scouting tools of playing baseball, and no one goes to baseball stadiums to watch guys draw walks. Dwight Evans played in Fenway Park and batted over .300 once in his career.

Baseball for the Thinking Fan, folks.
   65. BDC Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:50 PM (#5438176)
Not that these need rebuttal, but …

Walking isn't even one of the five scouting tools of playing baseball, and no one goes to baseball stadiums to watch guys draw walks.

Both points seem somewhat irrelevant to whether walks help you win ballgames.

Dwight Evans played in Fenway Park and batted over .300 once in his career

Given that there are a bunch of other guys who could have batted over .300 there, why did the Sox let him play 2,500 games for them? They appear to have perceived some other strengths :)
   66. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 19, 2017 at 12:51 PM (#5438177)
#63, everyone is entitled to their opinion--especially when it comes to the HOF. I really never engage in long winded debates because we're not likely to change each others mind but I do hope the one player we concur on (Trammell) gets voted in this year by the Era Committee.
   67. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: April 19, 2017 at 01:31 PM (#5438213)
Both points seem somewhat irrelevant to whether walks help you win ballgames.


That assumes that the only things relevant to the Hall of Fame are things that help you win ballgames.(*) A walk is actually something of an accident (**) and I'm not going to get all giddy over something that a kid that just turned one-year-old could do. It's barely even an athletic skill. It's quite clear that the vast majority of HOF voters and baseball observers agree with me. Everybody's all shocked at how little love many of the WAR darlings got for the HOF, and the answer is obvious. In virtually all the cases, it's because they got a lot of WAR from walks.

Given that there are a bunch of other guys who could have batted over .300 there, why did the Sox let him play 2,500 games for them?


Because he was a very good baseball player. Excellent fielder, cannon arm, decent hitter. They'd had success with him on the team, they'd drafted and developed him, and he was under contract to them -- in many years for a lot of money. If the Sox could have traded him for someone who did the things he did and also had a batting average over .300, they would have done so. But there aren't many guys like that out there.

(*) And in equal measure to their sabermetric value. For legacy purposes, a single should be worth significantly more than a walk -- more so than their relative values on the field. Getting a hit in a major league baseball game is relatively far more difficult than relative sabermetric values would indicate. Why people think the people who judge players' legacies should just ignore this clear fact seems ... odd.

(**) Maybe not so much now, but certainly during Dewey's career.


   68. Rally Posted: April 19, 2017 at 01:43 PM (#5438220)
(*) Lou was my hometown team's 2B for virtually the entirety of my formative years and he was a fine player. He was not a HOF-caliber player.


How many fewer games would Jack Morris be credited with if he didn't have Lou Whitaker scoring runs for him and saving more in the field?

   69. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: April 19, 2017 at 01:45 PM (#5438223)
How many fewer games would Jack Morris be credited with if he didn't have Lou Whitaker scoring runs for him and saving more in the field?


You're the one that can answer that question. I addressed the topic in post 59, footnote 1.
   70. JRVJ Posted: April 19, 2017 at 01:50 PM (#5438226)
66, or at least that he isn't shut out by a badly designed system, like in 2014.
   71. SandyRiver Posted: April 19, 2017 at 01:55 PM (#5438231)
A walk is actually something of an accident (**) and I'm not going to get all giddy over something that a kid that just turned one-year-old could do. It's barely even an athletic skill. It's quite clear that the vast majority of HOF voters and baseball observers agree with me.


A rather deconstructive view.

Parsing walks into 3 categories (ignoring IBB):
1. Pitcher has lousy control. That one might fit, sort of, into what I copy/pasted from #67.
2. Batter is awesome, so pitcher is understandably cautious.
3. Batter has excellent eye, so that slider 3" off the outside corner becomes a walk instead of a strikeout or weak GB.

I think that #2,and #3 are beyond the abilities of the average one-year-old.
And that "vast majority" of HOF voters is apparently becoming less so, plus that fails to address whether they should agree with you. This thread seemed to be about who deserved enshrinement, not who would be elected.
   72. SBB, Live from the Alt-Center Posted: April 19, 2017 at 01:58 PM (#5438234)
Batter has excellent eye, so that slider 3" off the outside corner becomes a walk instead of a strikeout or weak GB.


Except all the pitch-framing data now tells us that whether or not a pitch is even called a "strike" is not remotely in the control of the hitter, but instead has much to do with the catcher and the umpire. So even a walk in a game isn't really a "walk" in the way the WAR fanatics are trying to make it.

A rather deconstructive view.


That appears to be why I'm here.

And that "vast majority" of HOF voters is apparently becoming less so, plus that fails to address whether they should agree with you.


Of course they should. Hitting a single is an athletic skill, drawing a walk really isn't. If someone sets up a biathlon with one leg being running a marathon wherein the top five finishers get 10-9-8-7-6 points and leg two is drawing a card out of a deck where the top five get the same points, I'm not putting the good card drawers into the Biathlon Hall of Fame.
   73. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 19, 2017 at 02:03 PM (#5438239)
So drawing a walk is an accident that somehow happens what, 5-10 times more often to some hitters than others every year, and for a lot of the same hitters year after year. Interesting.
   74. Rally Posted: April 19, 2017 at 02:10 PM (#5438249)
I don't endorse devaluing the walk from the value it actually had at the time on winning ballgames.

But if you assume a league average walk rate for Dewey, Whitaker, and Grich they are still deserving HOFers. If league average was 1 walk per 10 PA, then these guys walked about 200-300 times more than an average player over the course of their careers. A walk is worth about 0.3 runs, or .03 wins, so if you make those walks go away it's 5-10 wins. We're talking 65-70 WAR players, so they would still be as worthy as some contemporaries who got in (ex. Sandberg), and in Dewey's case he's still miles ahead of his teammate Rice.

We aren't talking Gene Tenace here. Whitaker, Grich, and Evans are deserving of the HOF for being excellent hitters who also contributed a ton of value in the field. The walk rates help these guys, but they would be memorable players without them.

But you can't just make a walk disappear. These guys were good hitters, had they swung the bat more often and hit at their normal rates they would have earned a few of those wins back. It would be less than 5-10 wins. Only way you can knock them out of the HOF range is to assume that had they not walked so often, all those extra plate appearances would be easy outs from swinging at bad pitches, driving down their BA and SLG as well as the OBP. Go ahead and argue for that kind of revisionist rating if you must.
   75. Rally Posted: April 19, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5438253)
I think that #2,and #3 are beyond the abilities of the average one-year-old.


Well, we do have to admit that the average one year old could draw a ton of walks, assuming they can stand in the batter's box without getting distracted and start playing with the cool dirt at their feet.
   76. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 19, 2017 at 02:18 PM (#5438256)
Look at the 20th century pitchers the VC has elected just since the start of Tiant's professional career...


That VC hasn't existed for a very long time.
   77. Rally Posted: April 19, 2017 at 02:19 PM (#5438257)
Of course they should. Hitting a single is an athletic skill, drawing a walk really isn't.


I could have gone to the plate and drawn a walk every 5 trips if I wore a convincing 2001-04 era Barry Bonds suit. A lot of pitchers would be better off never swinging if walks were just random things that happen. Some pitchers occasionally try that, but it doesn't work.

Walks are by-products of athletic skill.
   78. Baldrick Posted: April 19, 2017 at 02:26 PM (#5438263)
Rather than feeding the troll, can we instead focus on this awesome quote from Dwight Evans:

“Does it make my day?” Evans said. “If it happened, yes. If it doesn’t, I’m okay with it. I am. I’m gonna be a Hall of Famer in Heaven. I don’t care about here. I mean, I do but I don’t.”

That's gold, man. Dewey, you're in the Hall of Fame of my heart, too.
   79. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 19, 2017 at 02:45 PM (#5438286)
You can't make the HOF just based on walks but a great walk rate can enhance a HOF case and help put it over the top. Evans, Grich, Trammell, & Whitaker all have HOF cases pushed over the top for me with the help of walks
   80. TDF, FCL Posted: April 19, 2017 at 02:47 PM (#5438293)
As usual, SBB makes an outrageous statement with no basis in reality, convincing everyone to argue with him over something that is demonstrably false.
Evans, Grich, and Whitaker (*) got a bunch of WAR from walking and I'm perfectly comfortable with the legacy value of a walk being far less than its sabermetric value.
While Evans did walk a lot (7 times top-10 in BB, 6 times in OBP) he was also a good hitter (4 times in SLG). All in a 20 season career.
Grich likewise walked quite a bit, but never led the league in BB like he did in SLG during his 17 season career.
Whitaker was top-10 in walks just twice in a 19 year career.

You know where these guys did get a lot of value? Not walking:

Among hitters with >5000 PA during his years in the league (so half as many PA as Evans had), Evans' SLG (which has nothing to do with BB) was 23rd. He was also +66 defensive runs.
Whitaker was 189 runs above average in baserunning, fielding, DP avoidance, and position adjustment; Grich 136.

So all 3 players "got a bunch of WAR" from pretty much every facet of the game (especially in the case of Whitaker), not just or mostly or even significantly from walks.

   81. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 19, 2017 at 03:04 PM (#5438302)
Good post by TDF
I'll be interested to see what the Era ballot will look like, I anticipate that Trammell & Morris will draw the most support
A Morris election may destroy BBTF but once someone gets in, they tend to be talked about less (see Bert Blyleven)
   82. ReggieThomasLives Posted: April 19, 2017 at 03:08 PM (#5438308)
Tiant has 3486 career innings pitched at 114 era+.. .. Tommy John from 1966-1986 has 3981 ip at 114 era+.... If you decide to try to come close to Tiant, you have Tommy John from 1966-1982 with 3411 ip at 119 era+.... I do not get the argument I quoted. Tommy John has a career 500 ip longer than Tiant at the same level, or he matches Tiant in innings pitched at a higher level of era+.

(note: My comment isn't about the specifics of each players shape of career, but is just a reply to the comment I quoted which seemed to imply that Tiant was better and if he would have been able to just stick around he would have had career numbers on par with Tommy John, doing what John did was hard. )


Tommy John also had Tommy John surgery, which cost him a year.

But again, I think it's really clear that Tiant was significantly better than Tommy John. WAA thinks so, and the reason it does is because of unearned runs.

Tiant gave up 120 unearned runs on top of 1280 earned runs, that's a little over 9% and I think it's significantly better than average (by eyeball average for that era probably a bit over 10%). John gave 268 unearned runs on top of 1749 earned runs, that's 15%. So I'd estimate that Tiant's career RA+ would have worked out to around 115-117, if not a little higher, while Tommy John probably had a career RA+ in the 105-109 range.

Of course if you go by fWAR, Tommy John blows away Tiant, and is 22nd all time by career value, and Tiant ranks far back in the 60s, below Jack Morris. But fWAR is based on what we think should have happened, not what happened, so the dichotomy I think perfectly describes the two. Tommy John was a great pitcher and looked the part, Tiant didn't look like a great pitcher, he looked like a guy getting by on marginal stuff but he was damn effective at it.
   83. DanG Posted: April 19, 2017 at 03:13 PM (#5438313)
#58:
if we put in Tiant, and Trammell, and Whitaker and Grich, then moved on to Parker and Oliver and Garvey, and kept going, where would it lead?

Then we'd be hearing from Johnny Damon, Luis Gonzalez, Carney Lansford, Gary Gaetti, and Mark Grace wondering how come they aren't considered when the guys above got in.

You've got to put a line somewhere.
Ah, but where? In a rational system, the HOF itself would define where that line is (a certain percentage of players, or a definite number from each era, etc.). But they never have. So we have only the results of their efforts of the past 80+ years to tell us where the line is.

And what have they determined? For players the HOF has "fully considered" (players born in the years 1880-1940) there are 158 players in the Hall (including Negro leaguers). The last of these retired in 1983. That's an average of 2.6 players per birth year.

The HOF has a long way to go until the stars of the 1970's and 80's are honored at a similar rate. The Play Index says there are 32 HOF players born 1940-62. There "should" be 60.

Here's an example of the 2.6 standard. At Baseball Fever 3-4 years I ran a project to clean up the Hall's most profligate period, players born from 1884-1913. There are 95 players in the Hall born in that 30-year period. At 2.6 per year there "should" be only 78. The project identified who those 78 should be.

It turns out that among those 78 there were 13 who are not presently in the HOF:

John Beckwith, Wes Ferrell, Heinie Groh, Stan Hack, Joe Jackson, Bob Johnson. Sherry Magee, Dobie Moore, Alejandro Oms, Dick Redding, Urban Shocker, Quincy Trouppe, and Bucky Walters.

That also means we found 30 mistakes among players now in the HOF born in just those 30 years:

Dave Bancroft   George Kelly
Chief Bender    Chuck Klein
Jim Bottomley   Tony Lazzeri
Earle Combs     Freddie Lindstrom
Andy Cooper     Heinie Manush
Kiki Cuyler     Rabbit Maranville
Rick Ferrell    Rube Marquard
Lefty Gomez     Herb Pennock
Burleigh Grimes Eppa Rixey
Chick Hafey     Ray Schalk
Jesse Haines    Ben Taylor
Harry Hooper    Pie Traynor
Waite Hoyt      Lloyd Waner
Travis Jackson  Hack Wilson
Judy Johnson    Ross Youngs 


   84. ReggieThomasLives Posted: April 19, 2017 at 03:14 PM (#5438314)
And no one goes to baseball stadiums to watch guys draw walks, they go to see their team outscore the opposition. A great defensive outfielder helps save runs, and with over 900 extra base hits and a career .370 OBP, they sure help their team-mates create a lot of runs too.

Dwight Evan's career WAA is higher than Derek Jeters.
   85. Ardo Posted: April 19, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5438339)
The project identified who those 78 should be.


As for the Hall of Merit, none of the 30 mistakes are in. Only six (Bancroft, Cuyler, Gomez, Maranville, Taylor, Traynor) have received more than token support.

Of the 13 deserving players not in Cooperstown, we've inducted nine. Bob Johnson, Dick Redding, Urban Shocker, and Bucky Walters are not in, but all four are near the top of our backlog.
   86. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 19, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5438340)
But again, I think it's really clear that Tiant was significantly better than Tommy John. WAA thinks so, and the reason it does is because of unearned runs.

Tiant gave up 120 unearned runs on top of 1280 earned runs, that's a little over 9% and I think it's significantly better than average (by eyeball average for that era probably a bit over 10%). John gave 268 unearned runs on top of 1749 earned runs, that's 15%. So I'd estimate that Tiant's career RA+ would have worked out to around 115-117, if not a little higher, while Tommy John probably had a career RA+ in the 105-109 range.

Of course if you go by fWAR, Tommy John blows away Tiant, and is 22nd all time by career value, and Tiant ranks far back in the 60s, below Jack Morris. But fWAR is based on what we think should have happened, not what happened, so the dichotomy I think perfectly describes the two. Tommy John was a great pitcher and looked the part, Tiant didn't look like a great pitcher, he looked like a guy getting by on marginal stuff but he was damn effective at it.


So, how do we know that the difference in unearned runs is not the fault/credit of the defense John and Tiant played in front of?
   87. Jay Z Posted: April 19, 2017 at 04:03 PM (#5438368)
Ah, but where? In a rational system, the HOF itself would define where that line is (a certain percentage of players, or a definite number from each era, etc.). But they never have. So we have only the results of their efforts of the past 80+ years to tell us where the line is.


Most HOFs or similar institutions are not structured the way baseball's has been. Usually there are a set number of people inducted each year. I think this is a superior system.

Bill James did not attempt to define where he thought the line should be. He used the one established by HOF induction history. Same with Hall Of Merit. All of these "I'm a small hall" guys, where do you go with that? It's not really possible to have a coherent HOF when the place to draw the line is continually in dispute.

Baseball has made induction mistakes. They would continue to make mistakes if they inducted a set number per year. All HOFs do. But it would make the process more coherent, and more fair to the waiting players. I am fine with making players wait if it's appropriate. I don't want to force inductions in the lean years. So you keep a bit of a backlog and those guys go in, later, in the lean years. So the answer to the player wondering if he'll be elected is "there's better players in front of you." Not "someone's exercising their small hall filibuster."

The HOF is a living institution and needs to induct new members on a regular basis. The patchwork system they've used is a bug, not a feature. HOFs developed subsequent to baseball's don't use their system for good reason.



   88. ReggieThomasLives Posted: April 19, 2017 at 04:12 PM (#5438377)
So, how do we know that the difference in unearned runs is not the fault/credit of the defense John and Tiant played in front of?


I don't know, but Tiant did give his fielders significantly fewer opportunities to make errors.
   89. DavidFoss Posted: April 19, 2017 at 04:28 PM (#5438396)
Usually there are a set number of people inducted each year. I think this is a superior system.

This is one of key feature of the HOM. There is no 'line', they just inducted the best eligible and moved on.

The other feature was letting the number of inductees increase with expansion -- perhaps after a couple of years to adjust, I don't remember the details. There's 50% more players in a 24-team league than there was in a 16-team league. 50% more games, 50% more wins, 50% more value to distribute. I think this is what a lot of the 70s/80s stars are up against. I think the BBWAA at the time thought the opposite. That expansion has watered the league down and if anything there should be fewer inductees than before.
   90. Khrushin it bro Posted: April 19, 2017 at 05:52 PM (#5438459)
Does any other eligible Post WW2 pitcher other than Clemens have Four 20 win seasons and is not in the HOF?


Dave Stewart was the first I thought of, 1987-90. Could be others.


Looks like it will take some good GM and player agent work to get above the cutoff line.
   91. QLE Posted: April 19, 2017 at 06:50 PM (#5438495)
#89- That said, there are some limitations with the "expanding inductees" approach, as it was predicate on an assumption that, while certainly valid in the last few years, has not always been the case- it seems that a disproportionate number of the HOM inductees who are either questionable or out-and-out mistakes are ones who entered between 1995 and 2012, when the number of inductees combined with the fact that there weren't really that many obvious picks coming up in many of those years (look at the HOF ballots, if you question that) resulted in both the speeding-up of candidates who probably needed more debate, and in the rise of some candidates out of backlog who should have stayed there.
   92. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 19, 2017 at 09:06 PM (#5438588)

"Usually there are a set number of people inducted each year. I think this is a superior system."

This is one of key feature of the HOM. There is no 'line', they just inducted the best eligible and moved on.


I think he meant that not having a specific number is the superior system.

The Pro Football HOF has a set number every year. It's even more screwed-up than Cooperstown, largely because of that fixed quota.
   93. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 19, 2017 at 09:51 PM (#5438623)
So, how do we know that the difference in unearned runs is not the fault/credit of the defense John and Tiant played in front of?


Tommy John was a groundball pitcher who didn't strike a lot of guys out. Luis struck out 50 more guys per season (not sure what his GB/FB tendencies were, but I don't believe they were extreme).

GB/Low K pitchers give up more UE runs, regardless of the quality of the defense behind them. It's the same thing we see with Schilling/Moose (low UE run guys) and their closest comp (the higher UE run guy Kevin Brown).

   94. Jay Z Posted: April 19, 2017 at 10:37 PM (#5438651)
I think he meant that not having a specific number is the superior system.

The Pro Football HOF has a set number every year. It's even more screwed-up than Cooperstown, largely because of that fixed quota.


No, I prefer the set number that is used by the NFL and most other halls. I consider baseball's approach inferior.
   95. homerwannabee Posted: April 20, 2017 at 07:26 AM (#5438724)
If you look at his stats, nothing really stands out - 2 ERA titles

No, 2 ERA titles actually does stand out. To lead the league two different years in ERA is pretty impressive. Does it mean that he deserves the Hall of Fame? Probably not, but it does stand out.

Oh, and also the fact that his two years leading the league were under 1.60, and 1.91 respectively is very impressive.

Edit: And why didn't you mention him leading the league in Shut Outs three different years? That doesn't stand out to you?
   96. homerwannabee Posted: April 20, 2017 at 07:37 AM (#5438725)
Speaking of Shut Outs, I regard this as the most under rated baseball card stat out there. Getting a shut out is an extremely hard thing to do, but I rarely hear anyone talk about it. So for me, I think otherwise. I believe his most significant stat is his 49 Shut Outs in which he's tied for 21st all time.
   97. Ithaca2323 Posted: April 20, 2017 at 09:27 AM (#5438752)
Speaking of Shut Outs, I regard this as the most under rated baseball card stat out there. Getting a shut out is an extremely hard thing to do, but I rarely hear anyone talk about it.


In general, I think stats where there isn't a lot of differentiation don't get talked about a lot. The fact that they are practically non-existent today contribute to that.

As far as their significance, all I know is you'd trick a lot of people by asking them which Martinez brother threw more of them.
   98. TDF, FCL Posted: April 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM (#5438777)
Oh, and also the fact that his two years leading the league were under 1.60, and 1.91 respectively is very impressive.
Not as impressive as you think.

In '68 (the year his ERA was 1.60), there were 5 different pitchers in the AL with an ERA below 2 - and remember, that was the year Gibson's ERA was 1.12.
In '72, he was .01 ER/9 ahead of Gaylord Perry, yet Perry pitched almost twice as many innings (179 vs. 342 2/3). Perry also more complete games (23) than Tiant had starts (19).
Edit: And why didn't you mention him leading the league in Shut Outs three different years? That doesn't stand out to you?
Not really. He completed 38.6% of his starts; during the years he was in the league, 16 other pitchers started at least 200 games and completed 38% or more of them (including Mel Stottlemyre, who completed over 42% of his starts and led the league twice).

But more importantly, his career stats don't impress when you look at them. He led the league in ERA twice, shutouts 3 times, complete games once...and that's really it. Never led the league in wins, or w%, or K, or IP. By "Black Ink", he scores just 13 when the average HOFer scores 40; by "Gray Ink" he does a little better but still falls far short of the average HOFer (112 vs. 195). Among starting pitchers in the HOF the lowest "Gray Ink" score is 137 by Dizzy Dean, whose "Black Ink" was much more impressive - 52.
   99. Booey Posted: April 20, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5438923)
No, I prefer the set number that is used by the NFL and most other halls. I consider baseball's approach inferior.


My preference would be a mixture of the two; top 2 vote getters, plus anyone else over 75%. Obviously shut outs are ridiculous and should never happen, but one player inductions are actually pretty lame too. There's too many worthy players nowadays to ever justify those, either. This method would prevent those two outcomes, plus speed up the process for the rest of the inductees, without opening up the flood gates and allowing in a bunch of unworthies. For example, lets say they implemented this new method at the start of the new decade, in 2010. We'd have seen this:

2010 - Dawson, Blyleven
2011 - Alomar, Larkin
2012 - The Jack, Bagwell
2013 - Biggio, Piazza
2014 - Maddux, Glavine, Thomas
2015 - Johnson, Pedro, Smoltz
2016 - Griffey, Raines
2017 - Pudge II, Hoffman

So only 2 additional players are inducted over this time span compared to what really happened (Morris, Hoffman). Yes, they're both guys I wouldn't vote for, but they're getting in anyway so it's just speeding up the inevitable. We avoid the shut out in 2013 plus the weak one player classes in 2010 and 2012. Biggio and Piazza now get the honor of being "first ballot HOFers", and Bly, Robbie, Larkin, Morris, Bagwell, Raines, and Hoffman don't have to wait as long to get in.

What would be the downside? The HOF should love it, as 2 and 3 player classes are much bigger induction day draws than single player classes (and obviously shut outs). Here's the top 5 induction day classes by attendance in history (in chronological order):

1999 - Ryan, Brett, Yount
2007 - Ripken, Gwynn
2014 - Maddux, Glavine, Thomas
2015 - Johnson, Pedro, Smoltz, Biggio
2016 - Griffey, Piazza

Hmmm...I'm seeing a pattern here. All either classes of 3+, or classes of 2 with super popular players. No reason these attendance figures can't happen almost every year.
   100. SoSH U at work Posted: April 20, 2017 at 12:40 PM (#5438930)
So only 2 additional players are inducted over this time span compared to what really happened (Morris, Hoffman).


Possibly. It could be more (since some guys wouldn't be around the following year to gobble up votes as they were in real life).

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