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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Terbush: The worst Hall of Famers at each position, per sabermetrics

This week’s Hall of Fame results have set in motion the annual tradition of griping about who got robbed, which voters stink, and whether some butt injections and a bad attitude are really enough to justify blacklisting Barry Bonds forever.

The voting process is indeed flawed, but not only because of the players it has kept out of Cooperstown. It’s also screwed up because of the players it has allowed in.

The list below spotlights the worst players at each position, per JAWS, who are already in the Hall. Without getting lost in the math, JAWS is a formula devised by sabermetrician Jay Jaffe that evaluates players’ worthiness for induction by weighting their career WAR (wins above replacement) totals with that of their peak years.

The following discounts former players who were inducted for their managerial prowess or other contributions to the game; we’re looking only for the worst players.

Jesse Haines

Two hundred and ninety-seventh. Sheesh. To put that in perspective, there have been, per JAWS, 296 better pitchers in history than Jesse Haines. Or, to put it in a different perspective, Mike Hampton (yes, that Mike Hampton) is statistically tied with Haines, and Kevin Millwood isn’t too far behind.

So why is Haines in the Hall? He…threw a no-hitter? (There have been 282 in baseball history.) He…won 20 games a couple times? (Not really an achievement when you don’t control offensive production.) Apparently, according to his Hall plaque, it’s both. Well, that and the fact that he was “durable.”

Thanks to Drew.

Repoz Posted: January 11, 2014 at 11:20 AM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, sabermetrics

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   1. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4636201)
I realize that Bill Mazeroski probably wouldn't be in the Hall if Joe L. Brown hadn't been on the Veterans Committee that selected him, but I think it's unlikely that Maz's 1960 homer had a big impact on the Vets Committee. That's a mass audience thing.
   2. DL from MN Posted: January 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4636207)
Sutter is a worse pick than Fingers as a reliever. It's hard to believe someone wrote the article and couldn't find room for Happy Jack Chesbro.
   3. DL from MN Posted: January 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4636210)
Monte Ward is in the HoM.

his career .314 OBP seems more befitting of a pitcher than a shortstop.


Ummm, Monte Ward pitched 2500 innings.
   4. Good cripple hitter Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4636213)
I clicked away from the article when the author claimed that Maz's defense reputation was 'highly suspect' ... and linked to bb-ref's chart ranking second basemen by fielding percentage.
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4636220)
Is this a new thing about Mazeroski fielding being highly suspect? I think this is the second time I have heard someone say that in the past month or so. I thought the consensus was pretty clear that Mazeroski was the best defensive second baseman in baseball history...Shortstop is more debatable than second base (Ozzie or Belanger) (of course someone also said that Brooks Robinson defense wasn't that good in the past month and another said that Andruw Jones wasn't....so maybe it's just been a month of contrarians)



This guy isn't helping Sabermetrians case by not knowing the full story of some of these guys, and anyone who system that rates Sutter over Fingers is a deeply flawed system.
   6. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4636221)
Good cripple hitter:

Thanks for saving me and countless others from wasting precious internet bits clicking the link.

(of course someone also said that Brooks Robinson defense wasn't that good in the past month and another said that Andruw Jones wasn't....so maybe it's just been a month of contrarians)


Month? We live in the age of contrarianism.
   7. bobm Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4636235)
Maz played many more games than the #1 and #3 2B by Rfield

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2013, Played 75% of games at 2B, sorted by greatest runs_fielding

                                                        
Rk              Player Rfield From   To   Age    G    PA
1           Joe Gordon    150 1938 1950 23-35 1566  6538
2       Bill Mazeroski    146 1956 1972 19-35 2163  8379
3          Chase Utley    141 2003 2013 24-34 1323  5671
4       Frankie Frisch    140 1919 1937 20-38 2311 10099
5           Mark Ellis    130 2002 2013 25-36 1362  5526
6         Hughie Critz    130 1924 1935 23-34 1478  6412
7         Johnny Evers    127 1902 1929 20-47 1784  7210
8          Frank White    121 1973 1990 22-39 2324  8468
9           Nellie Fox    119 1947 1965 19-37 2367 10351
10     Willie Randolph    114 1975 1992 20-37 2202  9461
11      Orlando Hudson     98 2002 2012 24-34 1345  5413
12          Nap Lajoie     87 1901 1916 26-41 1988  8256
13         Bobby Grich     81 1970 1986 21-37 2008  8220
14    Red Schoendienst     78 1945 1963 22-40 2216  9224
15      Dustin Pedroia     75 2006 2013 22-29 1016  4548
16        Lou Whitaker     75 1977 1995 20-38 2390  9967
17          Mark Lemke     74 1988 1998 22-32 1069  3664
18         Hobe Ferris     70 1901 1909 26-34 1279  5111
19         Bobby Knoop     66 1964 1972 25-33 1153  4004
20      Claude Ritchey     66 1901 1909 27-35 1149  4644
21          Dick Green     65 1963 1974 22-33 1288  4464
22       Ryne Sandberg     60 1981 1997 21-37 2164  9282
23          Julio Cruz     58 1977 1986 22-31 1156  4438
24   Snuffy Stirnweiss     58 1943 1952 24-33 1028  4292
25        Billy Herman     55 1931 1947 21-37 1922  8639


   8. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4636236)
Good lord, this article was stupid.
   9. jdennis Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4636243)
I feel Rube Marquard is the worst starting pitcher in the Hall by a significant margin. Haines is one of the worst five, along with Chesbro. I forget who the other two I have are, I want to say Grimes and Pennock? An argument could also be made for Pud Galvin if you deduct heavily for epoch since he was inconsistent and managed to have bad seasons in the primeval years. If Jack Morris were elected, he would be the 5th or 6th worst starter in the Hall.

As for the relievers, I don't remember where they ranked, but I remember that only Eck and Wilhelm were above my general standard, so the other three are all similarly meh to me. I would put in Rivera and Hoffman, I have them both as better than the three. Hoffman is near the bottom of my personal standard for pitchers in general.

Tommy McCarthy is the worst overall player in the Hall as a player IMO. I'm not sure I would have put him on a ballot even, under today's rules. But I think he was inducted because people believed he invented the hit and run and sign stealing, or something like that. As for the other positions, I certainly am not inclined to disagree with them on sight as they are the usual suspects, but I haven't checked so I can't offer a specific opinion.
   10. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4636244)
Month? We live in the age of contrarianism.


I disagree!
   11. BDC Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4636247)
I dunno, "worst players in the HOF" seems like "best swimmers among Titanic dead" or something. Somebody once said (Bill James probably) that you could take the worst players in the HOF at each position, make a team, and it would win the pennant easily. (In a neutralized imaginary all-time league, or something, I reckon.) If you got each of the named players at his peak, you would indeed have a hell of a team, and well-balanced in the bargain. Lindstrom could hit; he was kind of a primeval Bill Madlock. Hafey was a monster. George Kelly was in the range of Mark Grace or Wally Joyner or those guys. That's a sweet bunch of ballplayers. They should be respected, not put on a "Worst of" list.
   12. Jose Molina wants a nickname like "A-Rod" Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4636248)
Not that I think Tommy McCarthy should be in the hall, but this from the FA is just dumb:

However, the light-hitting right fielder smacked only 44 homers in his career, a shortcoming made all the more glaring given that he shared a position with some of the game's greatest power hitters in Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, among others.


McCarthy played 1884-1896. 44 HRs is good output for the era.
   13. Cooper Nielson Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4636264)
Ummm, Monte Ward pitched 2500 innings.

I did not know much about Monte Ward before your comment prompted me to look him up. Interesting career he had. I'm pretty sure he's the only player in history in the 40 win/100 stolen base club!
   14. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 11, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4636271)
I did not know much about Monte Ward before you comment prompted me to look him up. Interesting career he had. I'm pretty sure he's the only player in history in the 40 win/100 stolen base club!

Babe Ruth.

I think I'd take Rabbit Maranville for worst HOF SS.
   15. Flynn Posted: January 11, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4636274)
Let's not forget that Monte Ward did some other things that might be worthy of enshrinement, like lead the Player's League and do all sorts of primitive front office stuff for the Giants.
   16. The District Attorney Posted: January 11, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4636283)
They should be respected, not put on a "Worst of" list.
The thing is that we do need to make a "worst of" list, because when someone argues that a player should be elected to the Hall of Fame because he was better than Jesse Haines or George Kelly, we need to know that that's a bad argument. It does feel a little icky, and there are nicer vs. less nice ways of doing it... but it pretty much does have to be done, if you want to discuss HOF issues.

(Obviously, it should be done by people who don't think Bill Mazeroski was a bad fielder, or expect Tommy McCarthy to have been able to hit 700 homeruns.)
   17. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 11, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4636285)
I dunno, "worst players in the HOF" seems like "best swimmers among Titanic dead" or something. Somebody once said (Bill James probably) that you could take the worst players in the HOF at each position, make a team, and it would win the pennant easily. (In a neutralized imaginary all-time league, or something, I reckon.) If you got each of the named players at his peak, you would indeed have a hell of a team, and well-balanced in the bargain. Lindstrom could hit; he was kind of a primeval Bill Madlock. Hafey was a monster. George Kelly was in the range of Mark Grace or Wally Joyner or those guys. That's a sweet bunch of ballplayers. They should be respected, not put on a "Worst of" list.

You could argue that a "worst of" list is a sort of respect. Is it better to just ignore them? By WAA, Lloyd Waner was actually a below average player for his career, and so was Tommy McCarthy. I think this list gives them more credit than they deserve.
   18. Cooper Nielson Posted: January 11, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4636292)
I'm pretty sure he's the only player in history in the 40 win/100 stolen base club!

Babe Ruth.


Sorry, I wasn't clear. I meant the single-season 40 win/100 stolen base club. Monte won 47 games in a season and also stole 111 bases in a season (but not the same season).
   19. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 11, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4636298)
Sorry, I wasn't clear. I meant the single-season 40 win/100 stolen base club. Monte won 47 games in a season and also stole 111 bases in a season (but not the same season).

Now that's an exclusive club!
   20. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: January 11, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4636302)
I think I'd take Rabbit Maranville for worst HOF SS.


Can't even say that he was elected by his old teammates or anything. He was voted in by the BBWAA. Worse BBWAA pick than Jim Rice?
   21. GregD Posted: January 11, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4636303)
Montgomery Ward was going to be an HOFer no matter what. Founded a league, founded the first players' association, was a team president, played a dozen advisory/informal roles for the NL as a lawyer, and was at different times considered--on financial terms--the most-valuable player in baseball? Even if he wasn't as good as they thought, he's going into the HOF anyway.
   22. depletion Posted: January 11, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4636304)
Totally agree with #12. Slugging for the fences would have been detrimental in the nerf-ball era. Very odd to mention JAWS and other 'advanced' metrics and disregard the changing nature of the game.
   23. DL from MN Posted: January 11, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4636341)
I had a "discussion" recently with a person who swore Johnny Bench was a below average fielder based on whatever defensive metric he was using. Didn't do any good.

If you don't realize that WAR is a counting stat and seasons in 1870 were shorter you shouldn't make an article like this.
   24. Mike Webber Posted: January 11, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4636347)
I used to work with Glenn Wright's son, Rob, and I would ask him about his dad sometimes. Rob told me once that he asked his dad once who was the best players he ever saw. He wrote out a lineup about like you would expect, Gehrig, Hornsby, Traynor etc. But in his outfield to go along with Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb he put Chick Hafey. They weren't teammates or anything, and of course Glenn Wright was about the same age as Frank Frisch and Bill Terry who were the leaders of the committee that inducted all those 1920-30's guys.

I'm not arguing for Hafey, I'm just relaying a story that the guys he played against thought of him differently.

Hafey is -5.6 WAR defensively, suppose your perception of his defense was the exact opposite of what the stats show. Seems a little suspect, but after being primarily a LF his whole career, including his first season in Cincinnati, at age 30 the Reds made him their starting center fielder for two seasons. I know things like that sometimes happen, but they don't happen to awful fielder. And the Reds were playing in a park with a massive outfield, in 1933 for instance there were only 15 homers hit in Cincinnati that season by both teams combined.

Anyway, if you think he was a good defensive player, instead of a poor one, well then he isn't really that far from Jim Rice. Which still makes him bottom of the barrel, but not Tommy McCarthy.
   25. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: January 11, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4636354)
Monte Ward is the only Hall of Famer I know of who attended Penn State. He never graduated--was expelled for stealing chickens.
   26. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: January 11, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4636373)
24/Mike: Something to remember when we discuss Choo?
   27. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 11, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4636375)
Hafey is -5.6 WAR defensively, suppose your perception of his defense was the exact opposite of what the stats show. Seems a little suspect, but after being primarily a LF his whole career, including his first season in Cincinnati, at age 30 the Reds made him their starting center fielder for two seasons. I know things like that sometimes happen, but they don't happen to awful fielder. And the Reds were playing in a park with a massive outfield, in 1933 for instance there were only 15 homers hit in Cincinnati that season by both teams combined.

I always thought of Hafey as a very good outfielder and was surprised at his crappy numbers on BB-Ref. His HOF case is suspect because his career was cut short by injuries, but I never thought he wasn't good enough at his best. The numbers don't back it up, as you say.
   28. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 11, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4636381)
I think I'd take Rabbit Maranville for worst HOF SS.

Can't even say that he was elected by his old teammates or anything. He was voted in by the BBWAA. Worse BBWAA pick than Jim Rice?

I wouldn't say it's a bad pick. Maranville by reputation was an amazing defender, and white SS between 1900 and 1930 were Honus Wagner, Joe Tinker,Dave Bancroft, Art Fletcher, Joe Sewell, Freddy Parent, Roger Peckinpaugh, Donie Bush, Terry Turner.....If you believed that blacks didn't count, you could be forgiven for thinking Maranville was great.
   29. Dale Sams Posted: January 11, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4636387)
Monte Ward is the only Hall of Famer I know of who attended Penn State. He never graduated--was expelled for stealing chickens.


Spittake.
   30. PreservedFish Posted: January 11, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4636390)
First Joe Paterno, now this.
   31. TJ Posted: January 11, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4636405)
Monte Ward is the only Hall of Famer I know of who attended Penn State. He never graduated--was expelled for stealing chickens.


Were they Performance Enhancing Chickens?
   32. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: January 11, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4636414)
Were they Performance Enhancing Chickens?


According to Wade Boggs, they all are.
   33. toratoratora Posted: January 11, 2014 at 03:45 PM (#4636418)
Monte Ward is the only Hall of Famer I know of who attended Penn State. He never graduated--was expelled for stealing chickens.



Were they Performance Enhancing Chickens?

And was there beer involved?

FYI-There's a terrific bio of JMW called "A Clever BaseBallist."
#21 got him right.He might have been the most respected player of his era. A highly influential man through his lifetime. If nothing else,his stature as the founder of baseballs first union and creator of The Players League should grant him a place in history
   34. PreservedFish Posted: January 11, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4636448)
If there were a modern version of Ward - a starter with 5 good or great years, and then he adds another entire career as a good but not great position player. Let's say he's Ben Sheets + Coco Crisp, adding up to 50-55 WAR. Does he get your Hall of Fame vote?
   35. Baldrick Posted: January 11, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4636464)
If there were a modern version of Ward - a starter with 5 good or great years, and then he adds another entire career as a good but not great position player. Let's say he's Ben Sheets + Coco Crisp, adding up to 50-55 WAR. Does he get your Hall of Fame vote?

I don't think Sheets quite works, because he only really had the one excellent year, while Ward was absolutely a HOF-quality pitcher for the whole time he pitched. But make it Brandon Webb coming back and adding Coco Crisp's career on the second half...yeah, I'd vote for him as a HOFer.

Thing I did not realize until today: Ward had to teach himself to throw left-handed in order to stay in the field in 1884. He played a whole season throwing with his off-hand!
   36. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 11, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4636465)
I always thought of Hafey as a very good outfielder and was surprised at his crappy numbers on BB-Ref. His HOF case is suspect because his career was cut short by injuries, but I never thought he wasn't good enough at his best. The numbers don't back it up, as you say.

By all accounts, Hafey had an absolute cannon arm. At the time, that + no obvious negatives in the field (assuming he hustled & didn't make too many clumsy plays) + being a very good hitter (Gold Gloves sometimes seem to be awarded for the bat) probably led to a good-field rep.
   37. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 11, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4636467)
I wouldn't say it's a bad pick. Maranville by reputation was an amazing defender, and white SS between 1900 and 1930 were Honus Wagner, Joe Tinker,Dave Bancroft, Art Fletcher, Joe Sewell, Freddy Parent, Roger Peckinpaugh, Donie Bush, Terry Turner.....If you believed that blacks didn't count, you could be forgiven for thinking Maranville was great.

Maranville was pretty much the standard for SS excellence for a long time after his career ended.
That, plus the pennant-race bookends to his career (1914, miracle Braves; 1928, going on a hot streak right as the Cards grabbed a league lead they'd never relinquish) probably marked him as a "great." He sure racked up the MVP votes, for a guy who didn't hit.
   38. Mendo Posted: January 11, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4636471)
I dunno, "worst players in the HOF" seems like "best swimmers among Titanic dead" or something. Somebody once said (Bill James probably) that you could take the worst players in the HOF at each position, make a team, and it would win the pennant easily. (In a neutralized imaginary all-time league, or something, I reckon.) If you got each of the named players at his peak, you would indeed have a hell of a team


This got me to thinking... if you took a typical .500 team and looked back at it 20 years later when everyone had retired, how many players would have had a stretch of time where they were actually decent/good players? In other words, if you looked at each player at his peak, you might have a pretty good team even if you're only looking at a bunch of league average players (for their careers).

With regard to the "worst HOFers", part of it has to do with career shape, and the fact that WAR doesn't really take that into account. Some of those guys were barely league average players. Some were indeed well above average but had short careers.
   39. Curse of the Andino Posted: January 11, 2014 at 05:44 PM (#4636476)
Maranville was pretty much the standard for SS excellence for a long time after his career ended.
That, plus the pennant-race bookends to his career (1914, miracle Braves; 1928, going on a hot streak right as the Cards grabbed a league lead they'd never relinquish) probably marked him as a "great." He sure racked up the MVP votes, for a guy who didn't hit.


Yeah, he was also something of a cultural phenomenon. Play (later film) Born Yesterday mentions him a couple times, with both the brawling businessman and the effete journalist knowing who he was, (play was written in '46.)
   40. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 11, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4636487)
Sorry, I wasn't clear. I meant the single-season 40 win/100 stolen base club. Monte won 47 games in a season and also stole 111 bases in a season (but not the same season).


Back when Coca-Cola had real coke, which obviously he was drinking a lot of.
   41. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 11, 2014 at 08:06 PM (#4636541)
Looking at Hafey's stats and considering the high regard he was held in, I think you could say he was a HOF player that just didn't have a HOF career. Of course that doesn't make him unique, but it helps explain how he got in the HOF...well that and Frankie Frisch.
   42. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: January 11, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4636577)
FYI-There's a terrific bio of JMW called "A Clever BaseBallist."


Picked it up in the library last week, which is why I knew the stealing chickens story. The local residents and cranks begged the faculty to let him stay, but it was apparently a second offense.

Mike Sciosia did graduate from Penn State...but never played a single game for them. Completed his degree while in the minor leagues.
   43. bookbook Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:30 AM (#4637539)
.24 Mike. Lance Berkman thanks you now for your support of his HOF case. (it's not such a bad case, awful fielder or no).
   44. bjhanke Posted: January 13, 2014 at 07:50 AM (#4637574)
Maranville - I've repeated this in HoM discussions until everyone there is probably sick of it, but you can put Phil Rizzuto's entire career, including WWII credit, inside of Rabbit Maranville's career (including Rabbit's WWI credit and credit for 1927, when Branch Rickey stashed him in the minors just in case Tommy Thevenow failed). If you do that, the two players will have OPS+ only one point apart, and you can't very well argue that Rizzuto was a BETTER glove. And, after you've done that, Rabbit has 800-900 MORE games yet to play. Maranville was obviously a better pick than Rizzuto. He even has a real strong peak, although it's right at the beginning of his career. (3rd in MVP in his sophomore year, 2nd in the next season, where he and Johnny Evers (and platooning) fueled The Miracle Braves).

Hafey was probably a case of baseball having trouble responding to what Branch Rickey was doing bringing up all those kids form this new-fangled farm system thing. The Cards, as you know, won several pennants between 1926 and 1934. But, unlike other teams who pull off that kind of winning streak, the team was not built around a stable core of superstars. Hafey, and Haines, were probably picked because they were the only two star players who were there for the entire run. The big stars of the run were Hornsby (1 year), and Alexander (2 years). Frisch was there for all but 1926, but that's only one guy. You have guys like that and trade them away after a year or two, you probably won't put up any kid of winning streak. If you do put up a big winning streak, the HoF voters start trying to figure out who was responsible for that. They're going to go with the guys who were around for the whole shebang. This might also apply to Jim Bottomly, but Jim wasn't there for the whole ride, and is borderline HoF anyway, so the voters weren't stretching much.

Tommy McCarthy is an odd candidate. I, personally, think that he was the product of an evolving set of criteria in the HoF. What he is in there for is inventing the hit and run and batter / runner signals, which swept MLB during the 1890s, and are still important parts of the game today. His numbers are inflated by the 1890s, but he's in there more as a player / contributor than as just a player. - Brock Hanke
   45. bachslunch Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:03 AM (#4637579)
Tommy McCarthy is an odd candidate.

One thing voters of the time may have remembered was McCarthy and Hugh Duffy being nicknamed the "Heavenly Twins" from the Boston Beaneaters successful 1890s teams. Might be a "Tinker-Evers-Chance" thing going on -- note that both are in the HoF, elected within a year of each other.
   46. bachslunch Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:06 AM (#4637580)
Re Maranville -- he had died very shortly before being elected. Not sure if that made a difference or not.

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