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Friday, November 27, 2009

The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived: Ichiro and Rod Carew

What I really don’t understand is how Rod Carew was actually appreciated when he played. Ichiro plays an exaggerated style of Carew ball, yet he is always criticized. Rod Carew was on the cover of Sports Illustrated numerous times, usually when he was threatening .400 (which happened a lot more than you might think.) On Time Magazine, there he was, laughing in his greatness, heralded as “Baseball’s Best Hitter.” Ted Williams was constantly pestered about him by the media who continually asked, “Is Rod the man to do it?” So Ichiro does hit a lot of singles. But so did Rod Carew. 79 percent of Carew’s hits were singles. Ichiro scores more runs, gets more hits, steals more bases, plays better defense, and has a higher slugging percentage than Carew, who was a first ballot HOFer. Some idiotic people on other blogs are like, “Is Ichiro going to make it to the HOF? I think he has to have at least 10 straight 200 hit seasons for him to be considered.” WWWHHHHHHAAAAAAATTTTTTT? 9 200 hit seasons isn’t enough? Carew had four. Gwynn had five. Where’s the justice?

However, I do appreciate Carew a lot. It is players like Carew, Boggs, Gwynn, and Ichiro who bring back the REAL art of baseball. The Hall of Fame is a place to honor historic players. The aforementioned players help remind everyone that the game does have a history and that what happened 100 years ago can still be effective today. Now if only people viewed Ichiro in this way….

Thanks to tina’s empty phone booth.

Repoz Posted: November 27, 2009 at 01:55 AM | 362 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, mariners, sabermetrics

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   201. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 29, 2009 at 10:17 PM (#3398736)
In response to Andy's whine whine whine about how's he's "misrepresented" any time someone doesn't quote every word he has ever written on a topic before responding to him, and his claim that he's not basing his evaluation of Ichiro on intangibles, I invite people to read post 57 in this thread; the italics is what he's responding to, and the plain text is his resposnse:
While I happen to disagree with them on that current and likely future statistical merit (since AROM's WAR system already has Ichiro being within the lower realms of HOF quality), their position is not insane by any means, as much of it relies on the differences between the values determined by the various fielding evaluation systems. If AROM/Tango's evaluation of his fielding merits are correct, then he's of HoF quality. If Chris Dial's are, then he's probably not. If it's somewhere in between, then it's probably up in the air.

Except that this (once again) treats the Hall of Fame as the equivalent of some sort of statistical Hall of Merit, which (once again) it isn't. But as all this has been gone over in the previous 878 Ichiro threads, I don't see any need to re-hash it once more, except to note that those dreaded "intangible" factors play far more of a role in HoF voting than in our beloved HoM.


Or post 59:
But to the substantive issue: While it's true that the HoF has a strong (even dominant) statistical component, it's also screamingly obvious that Ichiro's "intangibles" are as great as anyone's you're likely to find in this day and age, both in the form of statistics (that career [to date] .333 average; all those 200 hit years) and elsewhere (his earlier career; his charisma). And even if you put his statistical accomplishments in the marginal category (which might be a reasonable Hall of Merit position if you exclude his Japanese career entirely), it's also true that it's the marginal candidates for whom these intangibles play an outsized role.


Or his claim in post 66:
Of course I note that when you quoted what I wrote, you omitted the parts about his Japanese career and his charisma, which are key components to his candidacy in the minds of many potential voters, and yet are discarded by the literalminded Primates who deny their relevancy.


So who exactly is trolling here? The one who consistently makes the same argument, or the one who randomly shifts his claims in order to make some inflammatory and stupid claim about "birthers" which makes no sense at all?
   202. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 29, 2009 at 10:33 PM (#3398744)
Gonfalon, nice job with the quotes. That said, are those all from different articles, or are they from a smaller number of articles that are about whether Ichiro will get in, etc?

About half of them come from a single "would you vote for Ichiro?" survey-type article. The others are from separate sources.

Re: 167. I don't know how many of those guys are HOF voters, or for that matter how many of them vote the same way when they cast their ballot as they do when making throwaway lines in columns. (I don't mean to denigrate the work in compiling these quotes, btw.)

It wasn't that much work, just a little Googling.

The writers' declarations of future support are encouraging news for Ichiro, but I think the more tangential comments are more telling. Like the one about Coghlan and Bailey being unlikely to measure up to the two Hall of Fame Rookie of the Year picks from 2001. Off-the-cuff remarks like that suggest a professional assessment of Ichiro that's been completed, not one that's evolving.

For that reason, I think the "how much more do you think he needs?" discussion is tactically pointless. All that's left for Ichiro to do is to tick off the 10th year on the application form. He gets elected just one pitch from now. Even if he has a career-ending 1 AB season in 2010, like the kind Juan Gonzalez had.
   203. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 29, 2009 at 10:38 PM (#3398746)
I dunno. She didn't seem happy with me, and I was the one vehemently (for some reason) arguing in his favor!


That's odd, Jeff, to say the least.
   204. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 29, 2009 at 10:39 PM (#3398747)
I am hardly a Ichiro fanboy, and I have to agree that the guy has done more than enough to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
   205. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 29, 2009 at 10:39 PM (#3398748)
David, look at what you just clipped. Those are points I was making about the Hall of Fame voters' criteria. Right there where you underlined "which are key components to his candidacy," you don't underline the words that follow: "in the minds of many potential voters." You're completely conflating my own views with those of the HoF voters. But just to repeat:

1. I think Ichiro should be in the HoF on the basis of his MLB career. If he had spent his pre-MLB years as a skinny Sumo wrestler, I'd still consider him Hallworthy for what he's done with the Mariners.

2. That said, in the case of marginal candidates I also use intangibles as a tiebreaker. But since I don't see Ichiro as a marginal candidate, these intangibles aren't necessary for me to see him as Hallworthy.

3. I think it's also clear that in the case of marginal candidates, HoF voters will "vote their gut," which includes intangible factors such as personality. In doing so, they will often cloak this with a figleaf of statistics. This is the point about basic human nature that seems to elude you, since you demand some sort of confession on their part before you'll believe that this is what they're doing.

4. But in the case of these HoF voters, they also see Ichiro as Hallworthy based on his statistics. His backstory will be a bonus, but since they likewise don't see him as a marginal candidate, that backstory will only be frosting on the cake.

5. If Ichiro were likely to be seen as a marginal candidate, then we could talk about how his Japanese career comes into play in terms of putting him over the line. But the problem is that nobody in the MSM sees him as marginal.

And BTW the "birthers" reference was strictly to people who don't even seen Ichiro as being in the HoF discussion on the basis of what he's done in the Majors. It doesn't refer to people who merely think he needs another couple of years of his current production to deserve certain induction, and it doesn't pertain to anyone who merely discounts his Japanese career. I'd definitely consider that career if I saw Ichiro on the margin, but I realize that this is but a personal preference on my part.
   206. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 29, 2009 at 10:44 PM (#3398752)
i guess to me the question is - if ichiro has 10 years or basically the same stats/awards, would the BBWAA vote him in?

answer - absolutely positively yes.


I agree, Dick. I see no evidence to the contrary that he wouldn't be a HOFer if he retired after next season.

if you have to include what he did somewheres else because he needs "bolstering" - well, that is a mighty weak-ass case, far as i'm concerned. and i would bet as far as the BBWAA are concerned, too. (and i don't see what difference it makes what someone does in the japanese, chinese, korean, mexican, dominican etc leagues - what if ichiro's japanese career had looked like shinjo's? would that matter one bit?)


My point is that, if I had a ballot with his name on it next year, I would have a hard time voting for him and even a harder time without taking into account his years in the NPB. A few years down the road from now? Could be a different story.
   207. RobertMachemer Posted: November 29, 2009 at 11:10 PM (#3398763)
And BTW the "birthers" reference was strictly to people who don't even seen Ichiro as being in the HoF discussion on the basis of what he's done in the Majors.
If one looks solely at what he has done in the Majors and sees him as deserving to be in the HOF discussion no more (and probably a bit less) than Brett Butler (for one), does this make me a "birther?" I don't think it's ridiculous to examine the merits of Brett Butler as a HOF candidate -- I'd be all for discussing him and allowing people to vote on him -- but I would not expect him to get much support for the Hall of Fame (except from the "really big Hall" people).
   208. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 29, 2009 at 11:56 PM (#3398777)
And BTW the "birthers" reference was strictly to people who don't even seen Ichiro as being in the HoF discussion on the basis of what he's done in the Majors.

If one looks solely at what he has done in the Majors and sees him as deserving to be in the HOF discussion no more (and probably a bit less) than Brett Butler (for one), does this make me a "birther?" I don't think it's ridiculous to examine the merits of Brett Butler as a HOF candidate -- I'd be all for discussing him and allowing people to vote on him -- but I would not expect him to get much support for the Hall of Fame (except from the "really big Hall" people).


Here's my original reference to "birthers":

4) Nobody serious thinks that the issue is that Ichiro has 9 200-hit seasons, not 10, or that the issue is "200-hit seasons" at all.


And nobody but a handful of baseball birthers seriously thinks that there's any real issue of any kind with Ichiro's HoF candidacy that hasn't already been raised and answered.

I would hope that my point was clear, but it was in reference to those people who don't seem to realize that these "issues" (a) haven't already been discussed ad nauseum, and (b) haven't already been settled in the minds of the overwhelming majority of people. For this I can only blame the evil Repoz for continuously dangling red meat in front of our handful of holdouts.

And it also refers to those who, like Ray, summarily dismiss Ichiro's career to date, apparently because his stats are padded in ways that only Ray and his band of a tiny handful can see through with proper clarity.

That said, for future clarity of my own, I'll drop the reference, especially since on this thread it only seemed to be aimed at a Primate (Ray) whom I've met and I like on a personal level.
   209. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 12:20 AM (#3398785)
if ichiro has a 2010 season pretty much like his other 9 seasons, i think he's in. i know that ray thinks that hits without power are beneath contempt, but fact is that i seriously doubt the majority of HOF voters think like ray


I don't think that hits without power are beneath contempt -- just that they're beneath hits with power.

Which isn't exactly a shocking viewpoint, except when it's expressed in an Ichiro discussion.
   210. base ball chick Posted: November 30, 2009 at 02:27 AM (#3398839)
john + robert,

i don't think you are "birthers" (not my word anyhow) for saying that if you considered ONLY ichiro's 10 years in the majors, you don't think he is a HOF. i would say that you have different, uh, beliefs about this than the mainstream media HOF voters. i understand that you (or the BBWAA) might could feel different about this, but i personally look at what exactly a player DID do when he was in ML and judge him strictly on that.

i disbelieve in imaginary games played during wars/illness etc. or any other league.

ray

260 HR > 260 triples > 260 doubles > 260 singles. no argument there
but fact is that you have to deny that 200-260 singles/year x 10 YEARS have so little value at ALL, and coming from a lead off guy, that this pretty much disqualifies him from the HOF.
   211. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 30, 2009 at 03:57 AM (#3398860)
but fact is that you have to deny that 200-260 singles/year x 10 YEARS have so little value at ALL, and coming from a lead off guy, that this pretty much disqualifies him from the HOF.

There's a lot of distance between "this player is no good" and "this player is a Hall of Famer." I suspect that most of the people arguing against Ichiro's Hall credentials would say that Ichiro is a pretty fair distance from the "no good" end of that spectrum.
   212. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 04:36 AM (#3398876)
but fact is that you have to deny that 200-260 singles/year x 10 YEARS have so little value at ALL, and coming from a lead off guy, that this pretty much disqualifies him from the HOF.
You have it backwards. It doesn't "disqualify" him from the Hall; rather, it fails to qualify him for the Hall. The Hall isn't an entitlement, but something that has to be earned. Hitting a bunch of singles doesn't merit a HOF berth.
   213. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 06:57 AM (#3398902)
Even a ridiculously big bunch? Like, more than anyone ever has before in over a century of play? Fair enough, if that's your view.
   214. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:14 AM (#3398905)
And BTW the "birthers" reference was strictly to people who don't even seen Ichiro as being in the HoF discussion on the basis of what he's done in the Majors.


Bob answered this well; Brett Butler is "in the HOF disscussion" but is not, in my view, a HOFer.

But I don't see Ichiro as a serious candidate, no, unless his defense is that good; otherwise, to me, he's a flat joke as a candidate, as a player with just over half the career games of Dwight Evans but the same EqA.
   215. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:28 AM (#3398911)
Even a ridiculously big bunch? Like, more than anyone ever has before in over a century of play? Fair enough, if that's your view.


You know, we have pretty good ways of judging offense. He has a .298 EqA. It doesn't matter how "ridiculously big" his bunch of singles is. A .298 EqA is a .298 EqA is a .298 EqA.

What is truly bizarre is for one, especially one who really should know better, to be obsessed over his "ridiculously big" bunch of singles to the point where one ignores the fact that he averages just 26 doubles, 8 triples, 10 home runs, and 47 walks per 162 games. (And that's with the extra PAs coming by virtue of batting leadoff.)

You may know that 26 doubles, 10 home runs, and 47 walks is not usually HOF material from a corner OF with an extremely short career.
   216. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:41 AM (#3398914)
You know, we have pretty good ways of judging offense. He has a .298 EqA.

This only matters to the grim enforcers of statistical orthodoxy. Like the earlier discussion of the significance of MLB service time, some folks seem to have a sense that once you get past a certain baseline (and if you believe the defensive numbers that put Ichiro at 45-50 career WAR, then he's well past that baseline, and even if you take those defensive stats with a grain of salt, then he's probably on the fringe), a couple of extra points of EqA just aren't that important. You can ridicule the statistical holes in these folks' opinions or you can accept Hall of Fame membership has always been based as much as on aesthetics as on raw merit.

I don't blame the grim enforcers -- I mean, I'm certainly annoyed that The Fear is in and Jim Edmonds never will be. But the Hall of Fame isn't a pure institution, and the Herb Pennocks and Freddie Lindstroms tell me it hasn't been pure for quite some time, if ever. There's a reason for the existence of the Hall of Merit.
   217. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:46 AM (#3398917)
You may know that 26 doubles, 10 home runs, and 47 walks is not usually HOF material from a corner OF with an extremely short career.


And here we go again.

He only has a short career in your mind and your determination. This doesn't mean that he has a short career. It just means that it seems like that to you.

He's already gone over the 10000 PA mark between the two major leagues he has played in.

This year, at the age of 36, he'll pass Evans in plate appearances.

Now, I respect that you don't count some of those plate appearances. But it's really obtuse that you pretend like you have no idea how people are getting more value out of Ichiro as if he just fell out of the sky fully formed in 2001.
   218. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 08:01 AM (#3398920)
This only matters to the grim enforcers of statistical orthodoxy. Like the earlier discussion of the significance of MLB service time, some folks seem to have a sense that once you get past a certain baseline (and if you believe the defensive numbers that put Ichiro at 45-50 career WAR, then he's well past that baseline, and even if you take those defensive stats with a grain of salt, then he's probably on the fringe), a couple of extra points of EqA just aren't that important. You can ridicule the statistical holes in these folks' opinions or you can accept Hall of Fame membership has always been based as much as on aesthetics as on raw merit.


What is hilarious about this passage is your usage of "grim enforcers of statistical orthodoxy" to refer to someone using EqA, while those people hanging Ichiro's HOF argument on cloudy statistical measures of his defense are not branded with the same silly title.

And, no, he's not "probably on the fringe" without grading his defense as incredible. He's Paul O'Neill with a shorter career.
   219. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 30, 2009 at 08:15 AM (#3398924)
Section I
Real world prediction:
Do you expect Ichiro Suzuki to be voted into the Hall of Fame if...
(1) ...nothing terribly unexpected happens (ie. if his career winds down in what you think of as typical for someone of his skills, age, etc.)? YES
(2) ...he suffers a severe baseball-related injury (see Tony Conigliaro) and never plays another season? YES
(3) ...he suffers a severe non baseball-related injury (see Bo Jackson) and never plays another season? YES
(4) ...he suffers a collapse of skills for no discernible reason other than age (see Dale Murphy), plays 2 more years, and is really really bad? YES
(5) ...he is discovered to have used PEDs (see Jose Canseco)? NO
(6) ...he is implicated in gambling on baseball (see Pete Rose)? NO

Section II
Normative declarations. This is how you think it ought to be if the world evaluated things as you would have them evaluate things.
Do you think Ichiro Suzuki should make the Hall of Fame if...
(1) ...nothing terribly unexpected happens (ie. if his career winds down in what you think of as typical for someone of his skills, age, etc.)? YES
(2) ...he suffers a severe baseball-related injury (see Tony Conigliaro)? Obviously he needs to play in one more season to be eligible for the HoF, if the does that, YES
(3) ...he suffers a severe non baseball-related injury (see Bo Jackson)? Obviously he needs to play in one more season to be eligible for the HoF, if the does that, YES
(4) ...he suffers a collapse of skills for no discernible reason other than age (see Dale Murphy)? YES
(5) ...he is discovered to have used PEDs (see Jose Canseco)? NO
(6) ...he is implicated in gambling on baseball (see Pete Rose)? NO

Section III.
Non-MLB factors.
To which of the following non-MLB arguments, do you give credence/weight?
(1) His skills were good enough to allow him to play in MLB, but he was excluded for reasons beyond his control (comparable to players stuck in the minors, or comparable to players who missed time for the war, or comparable to players who were born the wrong skin color at a time when that mattered to MLB). Suzuki deserves some amount of bonus credit beyond his MLB performance for this reason. The credit need not be quantified -- i.e., the numbers aren't directly important as much as the evidence that they provide that he could have played in MLB if circumstances were different. YES
(2) His performance in another league can be given some (or complete) credit (see Satchel Paige). His Japanese League numbers should not be completely ignored when we account for Ichiro Suzuki's HOF case. In this case, the amount of credit we give to the numbers should be quantified -- how much credit do you give his numbers in assessing his HOF case? UNKNOWN

Does he belong in the Hall of Fame if
(3) He's a good ambassador for the game (like, I dunno, Yao Ming or someone). IT HELPS, YES
(4) (Others?)

Note: the distinction I'm trying to draw between (1) and (2) here is the first is more "intangible" credit and the second is more, say, "I give him credit for about 80% of his performance there because I think the Japanese League quality is about 80% of the quality of MLB" or whatever.
   220. alilisd Posted: November 30, 2009 at 09:35 AM (#3398935)
Ichiro had 225 hits; he also walked 32 times, and was HBP 4 times. So he was on base at least 261 times (plus ROE, FC), and scored 88 runs. That seems awfully low for a guy as fast as Ichiro, even given how bad the Mariners' offense was.


Let's see, the Mariners scored 640 runs, 46 fewer than the Royals, who were the only other team in the AL to score fewer than 724 and the league average was 781; I think it might have been the Mariners' offense.
   221. alilisd Posted: November 30, 2009 at 09:51 AM (#3398942)
Yes, that's what's bizarre about the focus here on raw hits totals, number of 200-hit seasons, times leading the league in hits, 262 hits, times leading the league in batting average, and batting average. Most of the people obsessed over these things w/r/t Ichiro couldn't give a flying leap about them in all other cases.


But what other cases are there? No one else has these sorts of numbers and they are a part of what makes Ichiro unique. And it's not just that no one else has them now as his contemporary, almost no one in baseball has ever had these sorts of numbers. Try to find comparable numbers for anyone else in their first 9 seasons or anyone else in their age 27 to 35 seasons and you just can't, or you end up with a very short list of HOF players.
   222. alilisd Posted: November 30, 2009 at 09:54 AM (#3398945)
This one I don't understand. It looks like a peak argument (which Ichiro! fails, BTW) at first, but then you have Puckett (more of a prime guy) listed here.


I read it as short career guys who were exceptional in their brief time.
   223. alilisd Posted: November 30, 2009 at 10:06 AM (#3398947)
That aside, the reason I wouldn't look at PA for Ichiro is that it overrates him, beyond his durability, since it was a manager's decision to bat him leadoff. That gets him extra PAs that other players wouldn't get.


WTF? Seriously, what does this even mean? Ichiro is overrated because of his playing time?
   224. alilisd Posted: November 30, 2009 at 10:16 AM (#3398948)
You may know that 26 doubles, 10 home runs, and 47 walks is not usually HOF material from a corner OF with an extremely short career.


And in no way is Ichiro like a usual corner OF. First off with his SB totals his actual number of "extra base hits" are higher as his his SLG. Popular perception, which is what HOF voting is, holds him as a premier defender. He's also a leadoff hitter who is expected to hit singles, steal bases and score runs, all of which he does at an unusually high level. He's not a typical corner OF, which in no way excluded him from legitimate HOF consideration.
   225.   Posted: November 30, 2009 at 10:28 AM (#3398950)

WTF? Seriously, what does this even mean? Ichiro is overrated because of his playing time?


It means that the biggest argument in his favor -- high hit totals -- is a direct result of extra opportunity that is not available to other players.
   226. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 30, 2009 at 01:00 PM (#3398956)
i don't think you are "birthers" (not my word anyhow) for saying that if you considered ONLY ichiro's 10 years in the majors, you don't think he is a HOF. i would say that you have different, uh, beliefs about this than the mainstream media HOF voters. i understand that you (or the BBWAA) might could feel different about this, but i personally look at what exactly a player DID do when he was in ML and judge him strictly on that.


First of all, the "birther" silliness was for people who didn't believe Ichiro! was considered a future HOFer by BBWAA voters, which is not the case for me. In fact, I am on record stating that I wouldn't be surprised if Suzuki had the highest vote percentage ever in his first year of eligibility.

Secondly, I don't give added weight to records or milestones beyond their actual contribution to winning games. I don't see what Ichiro! has done up to now as anything extraordinary in this regard. Interesting and worthy of the museum in Cooperstown, yes, but not particularly great relative to the very best ever. Doesn't mean a long career and confirmation of his fielding greatness won't change my mind about his greatness in a few years, however. IOW, I don't think he's a joke candidate.


i disbelieve in imaginary games played during wars/illness etc. or any other league.


How are his NPB stats "imaginary?" Those were real games in a professional setting. The only question is how they translate to ML standards.
   227. Ron Johnson Posted: November 30, 2009 at 02:33 PM (#3398976)
For Andy to have any case, he'd need to find someone who did much better/worse than his statistics -- his traditional statistics, not his sabermetric ones -- would indicate. (And to actually demonstrate his thesis, he'd need to find more than just one someone.)


Well there's Johnny Evers I guess. I say I guess because his case was a tangible one. In brief, best position player (once playing time is factored in) on the most dominant team of all time. With an MVP for a shock WS winner on the side
   228. Ron Johnson Posted: November 30, 2009 at 02:48 PM (#3398983)
To pick a reasonably good comp, I think Ichiro's better than Lou Brock, for example.


Fair enough.

Is he a deserving Hall of Famer?


Not to my mind.

Better than the poor HOFers is a lousy case to my mind. I prefer to turn it around. Is he the most qualified (and eligible) player not in the hall. And Ray's example of Dwight Evans is very much on point.

I'm fine with a HOF definition that leaves Dewey outside. To my mind that logically excludes Ichiro. (Though as I've said repeatedly I know perfectly well he's going in easily on his first try)
   229. BDC Posted: November 30, 2009 at 03:52 PM (#3399018)
Trying to think if my holiday weekend would have been more fun if I had been reading this thread rather than recreating ... naaah :)

But it's an interesting discussion. Basically the HOF (both writers and VC) likes players who do remarkable things within a narrow range, like Nolan Ryan's strikeouts and no-hitters, Mazeroski's double-play talents, Ralph Kiner's HR titles. They liked George Sisler, they liked Carew and Gwynn, they're gonna like Ichiro. (Putting aside that some of those guys, like Carew, are easy picks anyway).

An interesting question would be who's the greatest all-round player ignored by the HOF: Evans is a possibility, as is Bobby Grich: someone who did several things well and none of them with amazing overkill.
   230. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 04:00 PM (#3399025)
First of all, the "birther" silliness was for people who didn't believe Ichiro! was considered a future HOFer by BBWAA voters, which is not the case for me.


And is not the case for me.

I frankly don't understand what point Andy was trying to make with his silly usage of "birthers" in this context.
   231. RobertMachemer Posted: November 30, 2009 at 04:06 PM (#3399028)
He's also a leadoff hitter who is expected to hit singles, steal bases and score runs, all of which he does at an unusually high level.
No no no. This is making a similar mistake to the people who say that Tim Raines should be in the Hall of Fame because he was one of the best leadoff hitters of all time. Suzuki isn't expected to hit singles because he leads off, he leads off because he hits singles. If he were a better hitter and/or one for whom the shape of his contributions were not so heavily weighted towards leadoff skills, he'd hit 3rd or 4th. If you dropped him to eighth in the order, would you then expect him to make more outs?

Ichiro is a hitter, so what you expect him to do is whatever he needs to do and is capable of doing to help the team score runs. He hits singles but little else, so he doesn't bat third, fourth, or fifth. He hits enough singles so that he's still one of the better hitters on his teams. Therefore he leads off. And even if everyone decides he's a leadoff hitter and that there's no possibility of his batting anywhere else in the order, you'd still generally prefer he hit for more power than he does (so long as the rise in power doesn't correspond with too great a loss in his ability to get on base).
   232. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 30, 2009 at 04:28 PM (#3399057)
But it's an interesting discussion. Basically the HOF (both writers and VC) likes players who do remarkable things within a narrow range, like Nolan Ryan's strikeouts and no-hitters, Mazeroski's double-play talents, Ralph Kiner's HR titles. They liked George Sisler, they liked Carew and Gwynn, they're gonna like Ichiro. (Putting aside that some of those guys, like Carew, are easy picks anyway).


Not only that, look at the silly talk about Dave Kingman when some writers thought he had a chance to hit 500 dingers. Nobody thought he was anybody's idea of a HOFer before that, yet some would have voted for him if he had passed some arbitrary milestone. Why?
   233. Ron Johnson Posted: November 30, 2009 at 04:29 PM (#3399061)
#220, but compare Ichiro's run scoring to Tim Raines in his prime. For instance the 133 runs scored in 1983 on the team that scored a total of 677 runs.
   234. DanG Posted: November 30, 2009 at 04:50 PM (#3399091)
Players 1915-2009, first 10 years, .300 BA, 4600 PA, 90 OPS+, ISO .110 or lower

Rk    Player          BA     ISO     OPS+     SB     PA      To     From     Age      Pos      OBP      SLG      OPS
1    Ichiro Suzuki   .333    0.101    118    341    6607    2001    2009    27
-35    *98/D    0.378    0.434    0.811
2    Tony Gwynn
*     .328    0.106    128    246    5725    1982    1991    22-31    *98/7    0.382    0.434    0.816
3    Rod Carew
*      .328    0.106    132    221    5635    1967    1976    21-30    *43/65D  0.384    0.434    0.818
4    Cecil Travis    .326    0.109    113     20    4674    1933    1945    19
-31    *65/974  0.380    0.435    0.814
5    Lloyd Waner
*    .323    0.085    102     55    5912    1927    1936    21-30    *87/4    0.361    0.408    0.769
6    Joe Sewell
*     .322    0.107    113     70    6162    1920    1929    21-30    *65/4    0.399    0.429    0.828
7    Sam Rice
*       .319    0.106    117    219    4901    1915    1924    25-34    *98/17   0.372    0.425    0.797
8    Richie Ashburn
.312    0.078    112    160    6838    1948    1957    21-30    *8/79    0.393    0.390    0.783
9    George Kell
*    .312    0.099    112     41    5309    1943    1952    20-29    *5/3     0.371    0.411    0.782
10    Barney McCosky .312    0.103    111     58    4738    1939    1952    22
-35    87/9     0.387    0.415    0.802
11    Luke Appling
*  .312    0.095    107     86    4979    1930    1939    23-32    *6/45    0.399    0.407    0.806
12    Billy Herman
*  .310    0.108    112     53    6121    1931    1940    21-30    *4       0.366    0.418    0.784
13    Harvey Kuenn   .309    0.110    110     59    5816    1952    1961    21
-30    *698/75  0.359    0.419    0.778
14    Johnny Pesky   .307    0.079    108     53    5516    1942    1954    22
-34    654      0.394    0.386    0.780
15    Billy Goodman  .306    0.082    101     33    5046    1947    1956    21
-30    43/7596  0.387    0.388    0.775
16    Stan Hack      .304    0.104    118    131    5385    1932    1941    22
-31    *5/3     0.391    0.408    0.799
17    Jason Kendall  .302    0.105    105    148    5958    1996    2005    22
-31    *2/79D   0.382    0.407    0.789
18    Julio Franco   .302    0.108    112    219    5873    1982    1991    23
-32    *64/D5   0.360    0.410    0.771
19    Earl Sheely    .300    0.099    104     33    5263    1921    1931    28
-38    *3       0.383    0.399    0.782 
   235. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 05:09 PM (#3399111)
But what other cases are there? No one else has these sorts of numbers and they are a part of what makes Ichiro unique. And it's not just that no one else has them now as his contemporary, almost no one in baseball has ever had these sorts of numbers.


But lots of players in baseball have averaged 26 doubles, 10 home runs, and 47 walks per 162 games.

Not unique at all.
   236. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2009 at 05:11 PM (#3399114)
Not only that, look at the silly talk about Dave Kingman when some writers thought he had a chance to hit 500 dingers. Nobody thought he was anybody's idea of a HOFer before that, yet some would have voted for him if he had passed some arbitrary milestone. Why?

Because a handful of writers are stupid. But do you really think that if he'd hit another 58 home runs, his vote total would have measurably increased beyond what he actually got: 3 votes, 0.7%?
   237. RJ in TO Posted: November 30, 2009 at 05:19 PM (#3399120)
#220, but compare Ichiro's run scoring to Tim Raines in his prime. For instance the 133 runs scored in 1983 on the team that scored a total of 677 runs.


Seattle, 2009:

Hitting 2nd: .224/.297/.376/.673 - 78 OPS+
Hitting 3rd: .264/.311/.423/.735 - 75 OPS+
Hitting 4th: .238/.308/.423/.731 - 77 OPS+

Montreal, 1983:

Hitting 2nd: .254/.331/.342/.672 – 90 OPS+
Hitting 3rd: .298/.339/.526/.865 – 117 OPS+
Hitting 4th: .296/.338/.404/.742 – 88 OPS+

That's not to say that the difference is solely in the other hitters (since Raines got on base more, hit for more power, and stole more bases at a higher percentage), but only that Raines had a lot more help in getting himself home than Ichiro did.

Also, I find it rather stunning that, given the change in offensive contexts between 1983 and now, that Montreal had a higher unadjusted OPS from their 2-4 spots in the lineup than Seattle. Seattle was just packed with out machines this year.
   238. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 30, 2009 at 05:33 PM (#3399134)
Seattle, 2009:

Hitting 2nd: .224/.297/.376/.673 - 78 OPS+
Hitting 3rd: .264/.311/.423/.735 - 75 OPS+
Hitting 4th: .238/.308/.423/.731 - 77 OPS+


I'm pretty sure these figures are tOPS+, which compares (say) #3 hitters to the league average for #3 hitters. Note that the #3 hitters have higher OBP and SLG than the #2 hitters, but a lower figure in whatever OPS+ is being used.

Using the league context averages on Ichiro's page, I get OPS+es of 79, 94, and 94 for the 2-4 spots. Which... still sucks.

Edit: Doing the same thing for Montreal gives 88, 138, 107. It's also worth pointing out that Seattle's 2-4 hitters are pretty slugging-heavy in their sucking, so you could reasonably expect Ichiro to score more runs than you'd expect just given their OPS+ figures - but Montreal's #3 hitter, who I'm guessing was Dawson, was also very slugging-heavy, so it probably washes out.
   239. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: November 30, 2009 at 05:39 PM (#3399138)
This thread is still going on? It's like Freddy Krueger or the Energizer Bunny.
   240. RJ in TO Posted: November 30, 2009 at 05:40 PM (#3399139)
Using the league context averages on Ichiro's page, I get OPS+es of 79, 94, and 94 for the 2-4 spots. Which... still sucks.


I grabbed them from the sOPS+ column on this page, but I admit it's certainly possible that I've misinterpreted something.

You're right, however, in that no matter how you cut it, it still sucks.
   241. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 30, 2009 at 05:53 PM (#3399146)
Looking at the descriptions you get when you hold the cursor over the column heading...

tOPS+: "A number greater than 100 indicates that the batter (or pitcher) did better than usual in this split."
sOPS+: "A number greater than 100 indicates that the batter (or pitcher) did better than the league in this split."

I think "the batter" in this case is "the 2009 Mariners" as an entity. So tOPS+ by lineup spot compares the Mariners' performance by lineup spot to the team's overall performance, while sOPS+ compares it to performance from that lineup spot league-wide.

There's not a column that just compares it to league average. Which is kind of annoying, frankly.
   242. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 06:06 PM (#3399161)
That aside, the reason I wouldn't look at PA for Ichiro is that it overrates him, beyond his durability, since it was a manager's decision to bat him leadoff. That gets him extra PAs that other players wouldn't get.

WTF? Seriously, what does this even mean? Ichiro is overrated because of his playing time?


It means that I don't consider PAs to be completely representative of "playing time." (As Games may not be completely representative.) One can't just be blind to context.
   243. robinred Posted: November 30, 2009 at 06:13 PM (#3399166)
It means that the biggest argument in his favor -- high hit totals -- is a direct result of extra opportunity that is not available to other players.


It is also a "direct result" of the fact that the guy is in great shape and very durable.
   244. John DiFool2 Posted: November 30, 2009 at 06:19 PM (#3399175)
This thread is still going on? It's like Freddy Krueger or the Energizer Bunny.


If you consider this thread to be a continuation of the umpteenth other threads which came before it, then yeah.
   245. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 06:35 PM (#3399192)
And in no way is Ichiro like a usual corner OF. First off with his SB totals his actual number of "extra base hits" are higher as his his SLG.


EqA takes into account SB value.

And even if one ignores the infield-hits issue and wants to increase his SLG based on his steals (and even though steals don't advance runners), some of the good corner OF stole some bases also. Gwynn; Rickey; Brock; Raines; BaBonds; BoBonds; Aaron; EDavis; Abreu; LWalker.

He's also a leadoff hitter who is expected to hit singles, steal bases and score runs, all of which he does at an unusually high level. He's not a typical corner OF, which in no way excluded him from legitimate HOF consideration.


I sign on to Bob's answer regarding this "expected to" nonsense.

And where did you get the idea that he steals bases at an "unusually high level"? He has led the league in SB just once, despite all of those PAs and all of those crappy hitters surrounding him. He has also led in CS once. He has averaged 39-9 in SB-CS. That is not "unusually high." Carlos Beltran averages 30-4. Kenny Lofton (another player Ichiro needs to show he's more deserving than) is 48-12. Carl Crawford, another corner OF, is 54-12.
   246. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 06:44 PM (#3399204)
This one I don't understand. It looks like a peak argument (which Ichiro! fails, BTW) at first, but then you have Puckett (more of a prime guy) listed here.

I read it as short career guys who were exceptional in their brief time.


Ichiro is "exceptional" at hitting singles. But -- for some reason this comes as a newsflash to people -- batting average is not offense.

The conclusion that Ichiro has had an "exceptional" career cannot simply be assumed, as you are doing; instead, it turns on the evaluation of his defense. His offense cannot take him that far.
   247. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 06:46 PM (#3399209)
It means that the biggest argument in his favor -- high hit totals -- is a direct result of extra opportunity that is not available to other players.

It is also a "direct result" of the fact that the guy is in great shape and very durable.


But his high number of PAs go above and beyond his outstanding durability, as I said earlier; some of them are a result of his managers penciling him into the leadoff slot.

Which was obviously the point of whoever wrote the above.
   248. RobertMachemer Posted: November 30, 2009 at 06:54 PM (#3399222)
But lots of players in baseball have averaged 26 doubles, 10 home runs, and 47 walks per 162 games.

Not unique at all.
Eh, sure, Ray, but one can take away the big source of Mark McGwire's value (the home runs) and use his other numbers to show he wasn't especially unique. (Ok, he still drew plenty of walks, but you know what I'm saying, right?)

That said, I'd love to see a list of players with (roughly) a 115 OBP+, a 103 SLG+, and about 4 runs per season for stealing bases, minimum 5000 career MLB at bats. Can anyone help me with that?
   249. robinred Posted: November 30, 2009 at 06:54 PM (#3399223)
Which was obviously the point of whoever wrote the above.


Obviously.

It is equally obvious, however, that durability has more to do with it than his batting order position. Also, I am pretty sure I have never heard of a guy being downgraded in a HoF argument because he played a lot or because of his batting order position.
   250. robinred Posted: November 30, 2009 at 06:55 PM (#3399226)
That said, I'd love to see a list of players with (roughly) a 115 OBP+, a 103 SLG+, and about 4 runs per season for stealing bases, minimum 5000 career MLB at bats. Can anyone help me with that?


Suzuki's bb-ref comp list, which I looked at, might help there, although no one scores above 891.
   251. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:06 PM (#3399238)
Suzuki's bb-ref comp list, which I looked at, might help there, although no one scores above 891.


The same could be said of the turn-of-the-last-century Roy Thomas, but nobody is stating that uniqueness translates into greatness for him (not saying you are, BTW).
   252. Ron Johnson Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:14 PM (#3399248)
Ryan, the single most important component of driving in runs is ISO and it was higher for Ichiro last year. Of course that's generally true but possibly not specifically true of driving in speedsters -- and Montreal's 2-4 were quite a bit better at hitting singles.

For what it's worth, you'd have expected ~109 runs scored from Ichiro's 2009. Not the first time he's missed his expected runs scored by a large amount.
   253. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:15 PM (#3399253)
It is equally obvious, however, that durability has more to do with it than his batting order position. Also, I am pretty sure I have never heard of a guy being downgraded in a HoF argument because he played a lot or because of his batting order position.


You have it backwards. I'm not "downgrading" him based on his batting order position (*); I'm failing to accept the "upgrading" that others are doing based on that.

(*) You're missing the boat here. The issue is not that he "played a lot" but that he batted leadoff.
   254. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:22 PM (#3399259)
But lots of players in baseball have averaged 26 doubles, 10 home runs, and 47 walks per 162 games.

Not unique at all.


Eh, sure, Ray, but one can take away the big source of Mark McGwire's value (the home runs) and use his other numbers to show he wasn't especially unique. (Ok, he still drew plenty of walks, but you know what I'm saying, right?)


But I don't care whether a player was "unique." That is the criteria others were using, which I was responding to.

McGwire was great because he provided a lot of value, not because he was "unique." I am on record, several months ago, asking why Sosa is more deserving than Rice; I asked whether we would still consider Sosa as more deserving than Rice if we convert some of Sosa's home runs into other components of offense that would make Converted Sosa less unique than Real Sosa but just as valuable. (After discussing this with others I agreed that Sosa is and would still be more deserving than Rice.)

I specifically argued that Sosa shouldn't be deserving simply by virtue of hitting 60/600 home runs. Same concept for Ichiro here.
   255. robinred Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:33 PM (#3399268)
You have it backwards. I'm not "downgrading" him based on his batting order position (*); I'm failing to accept the "upgrading" that others are doing based on that.

(*) You're missing the boat here. The issue is not that he "played a lot" but that he batted leadoff.


I am aware of this. But IMO it is a pointless nitpick, on both ends. Suzuki hits leadoff because he is well-suited to the job. The issues with Suzuki, as Andy and some others have said are:

1. What do you do with his time in Japan?
2. Do you evaluate whether he should get in based on how the HoF's actual history in choosing players is or based on what you think it should be?

Since these are both, ultimately, subjective questions, this argument is interesting but unresolvable.
   256. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:34 PM (#3399269)
I specifically argued that Sosa shouldn't be deserving simply by virtue of hitting 60/600 home runs. Same concept for Ichiro here.


That's a good point, Ray. Though Sosa was better than Rice, he wasn't by much. Yet, Sosa would have sailed into the HOF without the steroid cloud hanging over him. Another example of how one player specializing in a single category can trump another player of comparable overall value.
   257. BDC Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:43 PM (#3399276)
a list of players with (roughly) a 115 OBP+, a 103 SLG+, and about 4 runs per season for stealing bases, minimum 5000 career MLB at bats

That request strains the capacity of even B-Ref PI, so I'll leave it to a more skilled searcher. But it's roughly the territory of Lenny Dykstra, Lonnie Smith, Brett Butler, and some old-timers (Harry Hooper, Sam Rice, Del Pratt).
   258. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:45 PM (#3399281)
That's a good point, Ray. Though Sosa was better than Rice, he wasn't by much. Yet, Sosa would have sailed into the HOF without the steroid cloud above him. Another example of how specializing in a single category can trump another player of comparable overall value.
Well, there's a lot more differences than that. Sosa also had a much better peak than Rice.
   259. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:51 PM (#3399288)
I am aware of this. But IMO it is a pointless nitpick, on both ends. Suzuki hits leadoff because he is well-suited to the job. The issues with Suzuki, as Andy and some others have said are:

1. What do you do with his time in Japan?
2. Do you evaluate whether he should get in based on how the HoF's actual history in choosing players is or based on what you think it should be?

Since these are both, ultimately, subjective questions, this argument is interesting but unresolvable.
True, but Andy and some others have also said that they'd vote Ichiro into the Hall now (or after he plays 1 game in 2010 to reach the 10-year minimum) even without considering his time in Japan, which I think is nutty. I can't see how anybody could look at his 2001-2009 and see a current HOFer.
   260. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:51 PM (#3399289)
Well, there's a lot more differences than that. Sosa also had a much better peak than Rice.


Agreed, David. He also had many more poorer seasons than Rice, too. :-)
   261. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:57 PM (#3399295)
Agreed. He also had many more poorer seasons than Rice, too.


Sosa was also better defensively than Rice, and spent less time at DH. And played more games.
   262. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 30, 2009 at 08:00 PM (#3399299)
Sosa was also better defensively than Rice, and spent less time at DH. And played more games.


Right. I said that Sammy was better. There's just not a huge chasm between them.
   263. Jeff K. Posted: November 30, 2009 at 08:01 PM (#3399300)
True, but Andy and some others have also said that they'd vote Ichiro into the Hall now (or after he plays 1 game in 2010 to reach the 10-year minimum) even without considering his time in Japan, which I think is nutty.

Which is where I get off the train, but I don't board another. With no NPB and if he breaks both legs in game 1 of 2010, I don't know what I do with Ichiro. I can't dismiss him, but he's certainly not a lock for me.
   264. DanG Posted: November 30, 2009 at 08:09 PM (#3399306)
1. What do you do with his time in Japan?
If you're a hall of fame voter, you consider it part of his intangibles, his mystique. For you or me and other sentient beings, we count it in his record, properly adjusted. AFAICS, Ichiro's last seven years in Japan (age 20-26) are of the same shape and quality as his years in MLB. Yes, a somewhat easier hitting environment, especially for HR. But we can reasonably adjust for that.

EDIT: Interestingly, the HOF Monitor and HOF Standards adequately address the two sides being argued here. The Monitor has him at 200 points, overwhelmingly likely to be elected based on accomplishments to date. However, he's at only 34 on the Standards rating, meaning his career numbers are still below what's normally expected.
   265. JPWF13 Posted: November 30, 2009 at 08:17 PM (#3399313)
Players 1915-2009, first 10 years, .300 BA, 4600 PA, 90 OPS+, ISO .110 or lower


why not
Players 1915-2009, ages 27-35, .300 BA, 4600 PA, 90 OPS+, ISO .110 or lower

Rk      Player      BA      OPS+      ISO      PA      To      From      Age      G      AB      R      H      2B      3B      HR      RBI      BB      IBB      SO      HBP      SH      SF      GDP      SB      CS      OBP      SLG      OPS      Pos      Tm
1     Ichiro Suzuki     .333     118     .101     6607     2001     2009     27
-35     1426     6099     973     2030     228     68     84     515     412     142     597     44     24     28     43     341     79     .378     .434     .811     *98/D     SEA
2     Eddie Collins     .325     136     .091     5766     1914     1922     27
-35     1301     4730     844     1536     182     97     18     594     740     0     196     26     270     0     0     304     111     .419     .416     .834     *4     PHA-CHW
3     Sam Rice     .324     117     .105     5388     1917     1925     27
-35     1207     4874     751     1578     259     96     21     609     359     0     159     39     116     0     0     241     83     .375     .429     .804     *98     WSH
4     Charlie Jamieson     .320     107     .092     5420     1920     1928     27
-35     1208     4745     812     1517     247     70     17     408     534     0     209     26     115     0     0     97     94     .392     .412     .804     *7/8319     CLE
5     Luke Appling     .318     111     .088     5350     1934     1942     27
-35     1238     4588     768     1460     238     58     17     626     713     0     264     8     41     0     39     92     53     .411     .406     .817     *6/4     CHW
6     Matty Alou     .317     111     .074     5089     1966     1974     27
-35     1214     4741     644     1505     204     43     19     355     252     31     276     27     42     27     75     135     71     .353     .391     .744     *893/7D     PIT-STL-TOT-SDP
7     Cy Seymour     .311     126     .110     4790     1901     1908     28
-35     1121     4377     576     1361     193     82     42     653     279     0     0     25     109     0     0     183     0     .356     .421     .777     *89/7135     BLA-TOT-CIN-NYG
8     Max Carey     .307     117     .109     5418     1917     1925     27
-35     1207     4686     834     1437     226     81     41     431     551     0     238     45     136     0     0     408     56     .385     .416     .801     *8/7     PIT
9     Stan Hack     .306     123     .097     5917     1937     1945     27
-35     1294     5087     883     1557     265     49     43     420     744     0     298     10     76     0     41     111     0     .396     .403     .798     *5/3     CHC
10     Jake Daubert     .306     122     .084     5197     1911     1919     27
-35     1209     4537     660     1389     133     84     27     409     381     0     333     34     245     0     0     175     20     .364     .390     .755     *3     BRO-CIN
11     Richie Ashburn     .305     113     .071     5693     1954     1962     27
-35     1303     4768     781     1453     170     60     17     306     831     25     377     30     46     18     50     120     69     .410     .376     .786     *8/794     PHI-CHC-NYM
12     Joe Sewell     .303     103     .097     4841     1926     1933     27
-34     1113     4177     671     1267     245     26     35     554     451     0     44     49     164     0     0     37     39     .378     .400     .777     *56/4     CLE-NYY
13     Jimmy Johnston     .302     102     .080     4901     1917     1925     27
-35     1148     4416     669     1333     168     65     19     364     336     0     191     16     133     0     0     142     64     .353     .382     .736     5469/738     BRO
14     Dave Bancroft     .301     109     .089     5028     1918     1926     27
-35     1117     4399     728     1326     226     58     16     359     499     0     258     14     116     0     0     82     48     .374     .390     .764     *6/45     PHI-TOT-NYG-BSN
15     Pete Runnels     .300     111     .094     5200     1955     1963     27
-35     1271     4520     633     1354     219     39     43     432     591     27     445     23     34     32     124     32     31     .381     .394     .775     34/56     WSH-BOS-HOU
Seasons
/Careers found15. 


If you raise ISO to .120 you get:
Rk      Player      BA      OPS+      ISO      PA      To      From      Age      G      AB      R      H      2B      3B      HR      RBI      BB      IBB      SO      HBP      SH      SF      GDP      SB      CS      OBP      SLG      OPS      Pos      Tm
1     Rod Carew     .345     146     .116     5522     1973     1981     27
-35     1255     4812     792     1660     243     69     59     581     591     105     442     10     65     44     111     270     115     .414     .461     .875     *34/D7     MIN-CAL
2     Tony Gwynn     .341     134     .118     5290     1987     1995     27
-35     1218     4780     721     1631     277     54     60     574     432     132     216     9     26     43     131     186     67     .394     .459     .853     *98     SDP
3     Ichiro Suzuki     .333     118     .101     6607     2001     2009     27
-35     1426     6099     973     2030     228     68     84     515     412     142     597     44     24     28     43     341     79     .378     .434     .811     *98/D     SEA
4     Pie Traynor     .328     111     .111     5455     1926     1934     27
-35     1268     4949     753     1623     257     102     30     863     308     0     160     15     183     0     37     71     0     .369     .439     .808     *5/6     PIT
5     Eddie Collins     .325     136     .091     5766     1914     1922     27
-35     1301     4730     844     1536     182     97     18     594     740     0     196     26     270     0     0     304     111     .419     .416     .834     *4     PHA-CHW
6     Sam Rice     .324     117     .105     5388     1917     1925     27
-35     1207     4874     751     1578     259     96     21     609     359     0     159     39     116     0     0     241     83     .375     .429     .804     *98     WSH
7     Jack Tobin     .322     109     .117     4840     1919     1927     27
-35     1123     4390     688     1414     221     70     51     449     329     0     133     16     105     0     0     76     62     .371     .439     .811     *97/83     SLB-TOT-BOS
8     Charlie Jamieson     .320     107     .092     5420     1920     1928     27
-35     1208     4745     812     1517     247     70     17     408     534     0     209     26     115     0     0     97     94     .392     .412     .804     *7/8319     CLE 
   266. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 08:50 PM (#3399344)
If you're a hall of fame voter, you consider it part of his intangibles, his mystique. For you or me and other sentient beings, we count it in his record, properly adjusted. AFAICS, Ichiro's last seven years in Japan (age 20-26) are of the same shape and quality as his years in MLB. Yes, a somewhat easier hitting environment, especially for HR. But we can reasonably adjust for that.


For me it's not a matter of whether we can "adjust" -- I agree that we can -- but is simply a matter of the performance coming in a league that is not MLB, and the compelling reasons we would need for considering performance from another league. Ichiro... doesn't... come... close... to said compelling reasons.

JPWF13, you broke the thread.
   267. JPWF13 Posted: November 30, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3399374)
JPWF13, you broke the thread.


my bad
   268. robinred Posted: November 30, 2009 at 09:14 PM (#3399377)
The previous table actually messed my view up, although it is even more off now.
   269. RJ in TO Posted: November 30, 2009 at 09:32 PM (#3399390)
True, but Andy and some others have also said that they'd vote Ichiro into the Hall now (or after he plays 1 game in 2010 to reach the 10-year minimum) even without considering his time in Japan, which I think is nutty. I can't see how anybody could look at his 2001-2009 and see a current HOFer.


Check out Sean Smith's WAR numbers. Through 2008, Ichiro is up to 45.3 WAR, which already puts him at the margins. Of position players between 40 and 50 WAR as of 2008, 28 of 106 have been elected to the Hall of Fame, with another 14 not yet being eligible for the Hall. Between 45 and 50, there are 48 position players (as of 2008), with 20 having been elected to the Hall, and 5 more not yet eligible. Assuming that you trust Sean's evaluation of defense (and replacement, and all the other little things that go into the development of these numbers), then Ichiro (including his 2009 season that's likely to be worth around another 5 WAR) is already a credible candidate, and likely to move to the range of extremely credible candidate at the completion of 2010.

Of course, that doesn't include considerations of whether one is a career, peak, or prime voter - Ichiro is likely to appeal most to the prime group.

EDIT: It also depends on whether one feels that a HoFer should be evaulated in reference to replacement level, or in reference to average level. Ichiro probably looks a lot better against the former than the latter, since a lot of his value is tied up in his ability to play every day.
   270. DanG Posted: November 30, 2009 at 10:22 PM (#3399427)
For me it's not a matter of whether we can "adjust" -- I agree that we can -- but is simply a matter of the performance coming in a league that is not MLB, and the compelling reasons we would need for considering performance from another league. Ichiro... doesn't... come... close... to said compelling reasons.
And I would see it just the opposite: There is no compelling reason NOT to count Ichiro's performance from 1994-2000. We know that Ichiro was an outstanding player in those years and that he played in the best league available to him. That this didn't take place in MLB makes an adjustment necessary, as it does when considering Negro league players. Of course, for Ichiro the numbers are well documented so his value in those years can be calculated much more accurately than the Negro leaguers.
   271. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 10:54 PM (#3399458)
And I would see it just the opposite: There is no compelling reason NOT to count Ichiro's performance from 1994-2000.


The presumption is that non-MLB performance (college, the minor leagues, the independent leagues, etc.) is not factored in to a HOF analysis. That's the starting point. Then HOF standards over the past century-plus show that non-MLB performance is only counted for compelling reasons (e.g., the injustice of segregation).

Ichiro's situation does not come close to rising to that kind of level.

We know that Ichiro was an outstanding player in those years and that he played in the best league available to him. That this didn't take place in MLB makes an adjustment necessary, as it does when considering Negro league players.


The problem is that this criteria applies to scores of players. Sadaharu Oh, for example.

And it's been shown that Ichiro could have come here earlier. Unlike the Negro Leagues players.

Ichiro simply was born in Japan. He was the victim of injustice as the NeL players were. He was not in a situation remotely comparable to that of Josh Gibson.

And he was drafted into no wars.

Of course, for Ichiro the numbers are well documented so his value in those years can be calculated much more accurately than the Negro leaguers.


Yes, they can be. But I find that utterly irrelevant, and a complete miss of the boat.

EDIT: Is there any way to fix the thread...
   272. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:02 PM (#3399465)
Keep it up, Ray. If you can only hang on for another 10 or 12 years you never know what might happen. You are truly the King of Standards.
   273. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:12 PM (#3399483)
Andy, since you would elect Ichiro on MLB performance alone, can you explain why he is more deserving than, or at least as deserving as, Dwight Evans?
   274. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:13 PM (#3399487)

The presumption is that non-MLB performance (college, the minor leagues, the independent leagues, etc.) is not factored in to a HOF analysis. That's the starting point. Then HOF standards over the past century-plus show that non-MLB performance is only counted for compelling reasons (e.g., the injustice of segregation).

Ichiro's situation does not come close to rising to that kind of level.


And it's a fine presumption, but one I disagree with. I think it makes sense to do a thoughtful translation for all professional baseball, but it means a lot less than one would think.

The last time we had this discussion, one of the group brought up all sorts of bad comparison--not just Petagine, but some Class D HR champ and everyone short of Danny Almonte and my grandpa's dog.

The thing is that this is lazy argumentation. None of these examples come remotely close to the HoF from a thoughtful translation.

I'd be willing to listen on Edgar, but only if we acknowledge that it's not the same situation--playing in the highest league vs. playing in some minor league.

In a way, though, by Ray's logic, no stats should count at all as they are all at managerial discretion.

To address another point, I went through HoF OFs in another thread, and there's really only two players who played as many games as Ichiro during their prime. Even HoFers miss seasons or parts of seasons and Ichiro just hasn't. That suggests it's a combination of line-up order and durability.

Finally, the number of PAs also depends deeply on GM discretion, if you get to play on a powerhouse offense each year, you will have higher PAs and counting numbers too...
   275. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:19 PM (#3399501)
Ray, I think that Evans (Dwight) should have been in long ago, as should Raines, Trammell, Whitaker, Blyleven, and a few others that just don't come to mind right now. And whoever can stop this page from stretching from Maine to Hawaii would get my vote, too.
   276. Jack Keefe Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:23 PM (#3399505)
Well Al they are all up set
because the margins are
all so wide but if they think
lovely thots they can bring
them back so you do not
half to scrawl across to read.
   277. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:26 PM (#3399508)
In a way, though, by Ray's logic, no stats should count at all as they are all at managerial discretion.

Any hitter who faced a team whose pitches were called from the bench should get the appropriate discount.
   278. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:27 PM (#3399511)
Ray, I think that Evans (Dwight) should have been in long ago


But this doesn't answer the question. Why is Ichiro as deserving as him?
   279. RJ in TO Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:32 PM (#3399520)
But this doesn't answer the question. Why is Ichiro as deserving as him?


Andy doesn't necessarily view Evans as being of the bare minimum standard for the Hall of Fame. There can be a significant gap between Ichiro and Evans in Andy's view, with Ichiro still falling inside the category of Hall of Fame-worthy.

For reference, and to allow the two of you to get past this sudden Evans-based diversion, it'd probably be best if both of you could throw out a couple players who exist just on the right and wrong sides of the Hall of Fame line, and what you see as being the differences between the two groups.
   280. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:32 PM (#3399521)
Too many posts, Ray. Not enough time or energy. Go ask Bill James and let me know what he makes of all this.
   281. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:34 PM (#3399527)
Sosa was also better defensively than Rice, and spent less time at DH. And played more games.

Right. I said that Sammy was better. There's just not a huge chasm between them.
My point was that on peak value, there <u>is</u> a huge chasm between them. Sosa's peak was both higher and longer-lasting. (Well, not a "huge chasm" in a Barry Bonds-Jason Tyner sense, but a large gap.)
   282. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:38 PM (#3399534)
The problem is that this criteria applies to scores of players. Sadaharu Oh, for example.

None who are eligible for the Hall of Fame. Oh never appeared on a BBWAA ballot. So we don't really know how the Hall handles Japanese play, because the issue has never been presented to them in the form of a player with at least 10 years of MLB service.
   283. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 11:44 PM (#3399541)
Too many posts, Ray. Not enough time or energy. Go ask Bill James and let me know what he makes of all this.


Andy, I rarely if ever have prodded someone for not answering a question, but pardon me if I find
your response pretty lame. David is right: you seem incapable of making a logical, fact-based
argument.

You seem more comfortable delivering quips rather than argument.

The Evans question (and others like Evans) is representative of a serious problem I'm having with Ichiro's candidacy.

I cannot support a RF for the HOF without being satisfied that the RF is at least as qualified as Evans.
(More qualified than Evans, as far as I'm concerned, but if you think Evans is HOF-worthy then I'll
accept as qualified. And -- to address Ryan's comment -- if you think Evans is so over-qualified
for the HOF that you're ready to induct players who are clearly inferior to him, then your Hall is pretty
large -- and you've got a ton of players that are ahead of Ichiro in line. Luis Gonzalez, for example.)

You seem to have plenty of time to post. I cannot take someone's point of view seriously if they're
not willing to deal with the Evans question. Anyone who is serious would respond to it.
   284. robinred Posted: December 01, 2009 at 12:09 AM (#3399559)
I like Keefe's fixing the margarines and posting about it.
   285. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 01, 2009 at 12:12 AM (#3399563)
Ichiro simply was born in Japan. He was the victim of injustice as the NeL players were. He was not in a situation remotely comparable to that of Josh Gibson.


Finally, Ray says something we can all agree with.
   286. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 01, 2009 at 12:13 AM (#3399564)
The problem is that this criteria applies to scores of players. Sadaharu Oh, for example.


THAT IS NOT A PROBLEM. SADAHARU OH HAD NO MLB CAREER AT ALL. OH MY ####### GODOODO+DF(WI WEH#TYJIPUIPTFGV#eWGV ewh
   287. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 01, 2009 at 12:34 AM (#3399580)
THAT IS NOT A PROBLEM. SADAHARU OH HAD NO MLB CAREER AT ALL. OH MY ####### GODOODO


That may be your position, but it was not set forth by DanG. Perhaps it's DanG's position as
well -- that's fine -- but I was responding to what he wrote, which was:

We know that Ichiro was an outstanding player in those years and that
he played in the best league available to him.


Oh played in the best league available to him, did he not?

To respond to your position, though, I don't see why it matters whether Oh played MLB,
if it was an injustice on the order of Josh Gibson that Oh did not (or even if it
was a small-scale injustice, or even if it was simply a matter of opportunity).

Why does it matter that Ichiro's circumstances happened to afford him the opportunity
to eventually play MLB, while Oh's did not?

If Japan performance is a valid consideration, why does it matter if the player
played 10 years in MLB or not? Josh Gibson didn't play 10 years in MLB -- or any
years in MLB -- yet there was a compelling argument that his non-MLB performance
should be considered anyway. What is the argument for Ichiro's Japan
performance to be considered but Oh's Japan performance not?

(And just for the record, none of this is relevant to the Evans question, since
Andy is prepared to elect Ichiro based solely on his MLB performance.)
   288. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 01, 2009 at 12:41 AM (#3399586)
The problem is that this criteria applies to scores of players. Sadaharu Oh, for example.

THAT IS NOT A PROBLEM. SADAHARU OH HAD NO MLB CAREER AT ALL. OH MY ####### GODOODO+DF(WI WEH#TYJIPUIPTFGV#eWGV ewh
I think several of us are aware of that fact. But why is this a relevant distinction? What kind of standard is, "If a player plays ten years in MLB, then give him credit for his Japanese play; if he doesn't play in MLB, then ignore his Japanese play completely? (Note that this is certainly not the approach we took with Negro Leaguers, for instance.)
   289. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 01, 2009 at 12:42 AM (#3399587)
Oh played in the best league available to him, did he not?

Yes. But unfortunately for him, that league was not MLB, which precludes him from being considered for the Hall of Fame.

Why does it matter that Ichiro's circumstances happened to afford him the opportunity to eventually play MLB, while Oh's did not?

Because a 10-year MLB career is necessary to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, except in the case of the circumstances you've noted.

But there's nothing that precludes the voters from considering non-MLB play for an eligible player.

(And just for the record, none of this is relevant to the Evans question, since Andy is prepared to elect Ichiro based solely on his MLB performance.)

Ray, I think that Evans (Dwight) should have been in long ago


This seems relevant to the Evans question. As far as I can tell, you haven't established Evans as the in/out line to anyone's satisfaction but your own.
   290. PreservedFish Posted: December 01, 2009 at 12:43 AM (#3399588)
You know, if Sadaharu Oh was inducted to the HOF, as a token pre-Nomo Japanese guy
it wouldn't bother me
   291. zenbitz Posted: December 01, 2009 at 12:45 AM (#3399591)
I don't see how you can credit Ichiro with time spent in NBL and leave Oh out of the HOF.
If the argument is that Ichiro's Japan time counts just as Negro leaguers, that how can that not apply to Sadaharu Oh?
   292. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 01, 2009 at 12:45 AM (#3399592)
Note: I'm making liberal use of carriage returns since the thread is broken.

What kind of standard is, "If a player plays ten years in MLB, then give him credit
for his Japanese play; if he doesn't play in MLB, then ignore his Japanese play
completely? (Note that this is certainly not the approach we took with Negro Leaguers,
for instance.)


Exactly. This is what I was getting at with my addendum (second to last paragraph) to 287 above.
   293. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 01, 2009 at 12:52 AM (#3399599)
I think several of us are aware of that fact. But why is this a relevant distinction?

It's extremely relevant from the perspective of a hypothetical BBWAA voter, which is the point of view I tend to use in Hall discussions.
It makes no sense for such a voter to consider Oh, because he's never appeared on the ballot.
But when Ichiro shows up, it seems perfectly reasonable to examine his entire playing record, MLB and otherwise.
From a larger perspective, I'd have no particular problem with Oh being in the Hall if his performance merits inclusion.
   294. PreservedFish Posted: December 01, 2009 at 01:21 AM (#3399618)
What kind of standard is, "If a player plays ten years in MLB, then give him credit
for his Japanese play; if he doesn't play in MLB, then ignore his Japanese play
completely?


This standard seems totally reasonable to me.

It's not a matter of 10 years in America triggering an obscure clause
that makes his Japanese stats equivalent to US ones.

It's just a bit of extra credit for Ichiro. For me, it's nice to know that Ichiro
probably would have hit just as well as he already has if he had been playing in the
majors all this time.
   295. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: December 01, 2009 at 01:22 AM (#3399621)
Ichiro is no Carew. He hits like Amos Otis. Come on, man!
   296. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 01, 2009 at 01:52 AM (#3399639)
It's extremely relevant from the perspective of a hypothetical BBWAA voter,
which is the point of view I tend to use in Hall discussions.
It makes no sense for such a voter to consider Oh, because he's never appeared on
the ballot.
But when Ichiro shows up, it seems perfectly reasonable to examine his entire
playing record, MLB and otherwise.


This does not do anything to distinguish minor league performance, or collegiate performance,
or independent league performance, from Ichiro's NPB performance.

Once Will Clark shows up on the ballot, why is it not "perfectly reasonable" to consider his
performance at Mississippi State? Or his performance playing for the Olympic team?
   297. Jeff K. Posted: December 01, 2009 at 01:57 AM (#3399645)
But why is this a relevant distinction? What kind of standard is, "If a player plays ten years in MLB,
then give him credit for his Japanese play; if he doesn't play in MLB, then ignore his Japanese play completely?


Because of the reason I gave on the first page. It is the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and therefore the
enshrinees should have some bearing on baseball in the United States. Sadaharu Oh did not. Ichiro did.
   298. Jeff K. Posted: December 01, 2009 at 01:58 AM (#3399647)
I posted a request for fix in the Lounge, which as I have mentioned before, you should do.
If I still had keys, I'd do it, but the list of those with them is predominated by
Loungers.
   299. Jeff K. Posted: December 01, 2009 at 01:58 AM (#3399648)
Or we could
   300. Jeff K. Posted: December 01, 2009 at 01:59 AM (#3399649)
Just FILP
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