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Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Platoon Advantage: Jack Morris is going to be a Hall of Famer, and that’s OK

BTW…I’m compiling a (H/T Moral Idiot) massivo (HA!) list of BBWAA ballotears for their Pro-Bonds/Clemens (9 as of now) ~ Anti-Bonds/Clemens (12 as of now) promised HOF ballots.

For a second thing: it’s getting to be a cliche by now, but it’s absolutely true that 2013 is going to be completely unlike any ballot that has come before. Jaffe’s reasoning is that “Morris probably won’t move up enough because it is such a strong batch of new guys.” I don’t think so. There are certainly a lot of should-be slam dunks coming in, but the only new guy who figures to finish particularly strong in the voting is Craig Biggio, and he’s far from a first-ballot lock. By and large, the guys interested in voting for Morris aren’t the same ones who might be tempted to bump Morris off because they’re voting for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and Biggio, and/or some combination of deserving first-timers or holdovers like Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, Kenny Lofton, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Edgar Martinez. If anything, the vast majority of them will bump any of those guys off (even Bonds or Clemens, maybe especially Bonds or Clemens) in favor of the presumptively “clean” Morris, who won’t have the fourteen shots left most of these guys will (assuming they get 5% of the vote, which I think will be a problem for Lofton and possibly Palmeiro).

Rather, the real 1999-like year, in terms of players the voters are actually likely to want to enshrine, is the following year, 2014: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas are all pretty close to first-ballot shoo-ins. You might as well think of 2013 as Morris’ last year on the ballot, because he’s not going in with those dudes.

So, that’s why I think Morris goes in next year. As amazing as the talent on the 2013 ballot is, it’s not going to pull many votes off of Morris, thanks to the “PE"D questions and because it’ll be viewed as his last realistic shot. It’s 2013 or nothing…and for 75%-plus of the voters, it’s going to be 2013. He’s going in. Might as well get used to it.

Repoz Posted: January 19, 2012 at 06:01 AM | 193 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, projections, sabermetrics

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   101. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 12:29 AM (#4040931)
Why Jackson and Koufax but not McGwire? All have similar arguments, with super peaks but short careers.
   102. Moeball Posted: January 20, 2012 at 12:57 AM (#4040936)
Well, at least one good thing could come from Morris getting elected - maybe in his speech he'll remind people that Trammell & Whitaker should have been inducted long before and get the campaign rolling on their behalf to rectify this oversight.
   103. Jacob Posted: January 20, 2012 at 01:48 AM (#4040943)
Why Jackson and Koufax but not McGwire?


.263BA :D
   104. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 02:01 AM (#4040947)
No Koufax - only 165 wins.

And no Jackson. Only 54 homers! :)
   105. Something Other Posted: January 20, 2012 at 02:43 AM (#4040952)
Morris's candidacy always falls apart when we really compare him to other pitchers. No one seems to think Andy Pettitte has a good HOF case, yet Morris's peak ERA+ is only as good as Pettitte's career number.

Morris, 1981-1987: 125-77 with an ERA+ of 117. That's Pettitte's career ERA+.

Then there's Don Sutton, a classic no peak guy, who has a similar won loss record to Morris's best seven year stretch during Sutton's own best seven year stretch: 124-71. A few more innings than Morris in that time, and his ERA+ beats Morris soundly, 125 to 117. Sutton then has another peak of sorts, from 1980 to 1986 where he throws 1486 innings with an ERA+ of 111. Then there are the dregs of Sutton's career, 1966-1970, 1978-79, and 1987-88, when he adds 92 wins, the same number as Morris's crud phase (see below), but he's a better pitcher than Morris is, with an ERA+ around 97 to Morris's 92.

It's the wins that get Morris into the Hall, right? For the last seven years of his career, when Morris was piling up 92 wins, he was doing so with an ERA+ of 92. Morris has no HOF argument without the wins compiled over seven years of below average pitching. How does that make Morris a HOFer?

So, Sutton's peak is better than Morris's, they both have long weak sections to their careers, but Sutton is still better there, then Sutton throws in an entire second peak that Morris doesn't have, and Sutton's second peak isn't too far from Morris's only peak.

Which leads us to:

seems that the writers are obsessed with voting in guys who were from a time when the writers counted, and not the stats
Interesting thesis, and one I hadn't heard put quite this way before. It makes sense, too, since Morris's case is only a little stats, but it sure is a lot of story, and it's only the story that the writers have real control over. I think we're onto something...

Weird item FWIW: Morris completed around 40% of all games he started under Sparky. From my quick check, no other pitcher under Sparky comes close to this. The highest percentage I could find was Gullett at around 20%.

Likely because Sparky thought Morris was the best pitcher he ever managed, which he's said publicly on at least one occasion.
Yes, yes. We all know all about Sparky insisting that every player who ever played for him was the best ever this or that.

Morris pitching an extra inning every start versus a less durable counterpart, and that extra inning being pitched by a crappy reliever with an ERA around 5.00 saved the Tigers less than five runs a season. Big whoop. Durability's nice and all, but it's dramatically less important than quality, and Morris was merely slightly above average in the most important element of the game. In baseball, it's better to be good, than it is to last.


I've always thought that any argument comparing one's favorite HoF snub to one of its weakest members is not a good argument (people do this all the time re the Pro Football Hall comparing their favorite WR snub to Lynn Swann and QB snub to Joe Namath). And as far as I can tell, if Morris gets elected, he'll be tied for next-to-last among HoF starting pitchers in ERA+ with Catfish Hunter at 105. Only Rube Marquard at 103 is worse.
As bachslunch noted in post 6, Morris ain't that good. Now, if you want a serious borderline guy, with Morris's virtues but in a much better quality package, consider Andy Pettitte. Morris is much, much closer to Jamie Moyer than he is to Pettitte.
   106. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 02:48 AM (#4040955)
How is this arguable?


in which way, that he wasn't one of the top 5 first baseman of all time or that he was?

Bill James has McGwire as number three of all time, I think Bagwell and Pujols have probably past him, so it's arguable.Add in the inevitable Negro league favorite player at that position and yes, it's arguable. He's not Gehrig, and he's not Pujols and he's not Jimmie Foxx, he's a peak candidate, in a position composed of career candidates, it makes it arguable.
   107. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 02:51 AM (#4040956)
BBRs WAR has Biggio at 107 & McGwire at 131. A


that is seriously a stupid criteria. It's on par with ranking pitchers by raw win totals.

Nobody with functioning brain cells would rate Edgar ahead of McGwire, yet career War does have Edgar ahead of McGwire... I mean sure if you want to 100% base your criteria on war, then you more stupid than anyone who would vote for Morris.. the original post went out of it's way to mention that they consider the raw war totals to be the start of the conversation. But yes, if you honestly think Edgar Martinez is more hall worthy than McGwire, you are absolutely no better than a Morris supporter.
   108. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:59 AM (#4040975)
This basically reduces to, "You can't give him credit for his reputation because you didn't elect him right away." That doesn't ring very true. There's no real contradiction between seeing him during his career as an "ace," a "great pitcher," a "dominant" pitcher, a "possible Hall of Famer," or any other noun/adjective you want to use ... and not voting him in right away. Voters take their time with plenty of candidates; if that fact alone isn't held against them, there's no reason to hold it against Morris.
Actually, it reduces to, "You can't give him credit for his reputation because you are lying about what his reputation was."
   109. . Posted: January 20, 2012 at 07:11 AM (#4040977)
Somebody's bitter today.
   110. Jacob Posted: January 20, 2012 at 07:56 AM (#4040981)
that is seriously a stupid criteria. It's on par with ranking pitchers by raw win totals.


I was just trying to show that there aren't "at least a dozen" of the top 100 players on next year's ballot. That was just a quick way of looking at it.
   111. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: January 20, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4041065)
Bill James has McGwire as number three of all time, I think Bagwell and Pujols have probably past him, so it's arguable.Add in the inevitable Negro league favorite player at that position and yes, it's arguable. He's not Gehrig, and he's not Pujols and he's not Jimmie Foxx, he's a peak candidate, in a position composed of career candidates, it makes it arguable.

Johnny Mize existing pretty much puts this to rest. And that's only the five guys over whom there could be absolutely no argument.
   112. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4041226)
I was just trying to show that there aren't "at least a dozen" of the top 100 players on next year's ballot. That was just a quick way of looking at it.

That was just a guess off the top of my head that I since admitted I may have overstated. I should have said "Up to a dozen of the top 100 players of all time." I still don't think I was that far off. A little maybe, but not much.

The point remains that Morris may be only the 15th or so best candidate on next years ballot, but could have the best shot at election. And that's just sad.
   113. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4041241)
Bill James has McGwire as number three of all time, I think Bagwell and Pujols have probably past him, so it's arguable.Add in the inevitable Negro league favorite player at that position and yes, it's arguable. He's not Gehrig, and he's not Pujols and he's not Jimmie Foxx, he's a peak candidate, in a position composed of career candidates, it makes it arguable.

Johnny Mize existing pretty much puts this to rest. And that's only the five guys over whom there could be absolutely no argument.



I think my HOF cutoff list of 1B would go something like this. I'm not including Negro League or 19th century players, and I'm at work so I'm going off memory, as I can't take the time to look up every players numbers. I'm also not including guys like Musial, Banks, and Carew, who played a lot of 1B but are mostly known for their play at other positions. Several of the mid-lower range players on this list are pretty much interchangeable

1. Gehrig
2. Foxx
3. Pujols
4. Bagwell
5. Thomas
6. Mize
7. McGwire
8. Greenberg
9. Thome
10. McCovey
11. Killebrew
12. Murray
13. Palmeiro
14. McGriff


I'm sure I have McGriff higher than most people would, but I think his peak (1988-1994) was terribly underrated, and his durability (another underrated skill, IMHO) gave him the career numbers as well. Allen didn't last quite long enough, Hernandez didn't quite hit well enough (I want power from my 1B, and I don't swoon over 1B defense as much as others). And I have no idea why the HOM would pick Sisler, Terry, and Will Clark over Crime Dog. Clark was essentially an equal hitter, but in many fewer PA's. And while I'm sure he was a better fielder, he wasn't exactly Keith Hernandez himself, so I doubt it makes up the difference.

Just my two cents.
   114. . Posted: January 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4041250)
The point remains that Morris may be only the 15th or so best candidate on next years ballot, but could have the best shot at election. And that's just sad.


Unless you're Jack Morris.
   115. alilisd Posted: January 20, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4041257)
in which way, that he wasn't one of the top 5 first baseman of all time or that he was?

Bill James has McGwire as number three of all time, I think Bagwell and Pujols have probably past him, so it's arguable.Add in the inevitable Negro league favorite player at that position and yes, it's arguable. He's not Gehrig, and he's not Pujols and he's not Jimmie Foxx, he's a peak candidate, in a position composed of career candidates, it makes it arguable.


How is it arguable he is? His peak doesn't even differentiate him from 1B of his own era. He doesn't exceed Bagwell, Thomas, Helton or Giambi on peak, let alone Gehrig, Foxx, Greenberg, Mize, McCovey or Pujols. He can't compete with several other players for career. The only way to get him in the discussion is solely by focusing on HR, but that does not equate to 1B. When you look at the entire game, hitting, running the bases and playing the field, he doesn't even come close.

His 3 best seasons are 7.2, 6.8 and 6.5, bRef WAR. Heck, that's not much better than Mattingly or Murray or Martinez in terms of peak. It's identical to Hernandez's peak, if you buy the defensive ratings. It's only a tick above Palmeiro's. If you extend down to seasons of 5 WAR or better, you can drop out Mattingly, Murray, Hernandez, Giambi and Palmeiro, but there are still 9 guys there he doesn't beat on peak alone (and I'm not even considering 19th C or Negro League players).
   116. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4041258)
The point remains that Morris may be only the 15th or so best candidate on next years ballot, but could have the best shot at election. And that's just sad.


Unless you're Jack Morris.



True. And he does have a wicked cool mustache, I'll give him that. :)
   117. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4041277)
The only way to get him in the discussion is solely by focusing on HR,

And SLG, and OPS+. Before roid Barry, no one had put up SLG or OPS+ numbers like McGwire did in his peak for more than a single season or so since Ted Williams and maybe Mantle in the '50's. Not even Thomas or Bagwell. And Pujols hasn't even approached Mac's peak percentages either, not even for a single season.

His 3 best seasons are 7.2, 6.8 and 6.5, bRef WAR.

I've always thought WAR sold McGwire a bit short. I'd be surprised if anyone who watched baseball in the 90's and 2000's would have considered Helton or Giambi's peaks as roughly equal to Mac's.

But as you can see from my list above, I still don't consider McGwire one of the top 5 1B of all time. But he's at least in the discussion.
   118. alilisd Posted: January 20, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4041284)
@ 113: How do you get McGwire in front of McCovey and Greenberg?
   119. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4041297)
@ 113: How do you get McGwire in front of McCovey and Greenberg?

Peak. McGwire's WAR isn't far off from McCovey's, and since he did it in many fewer PA's, it seems pretty obvious that he was better at his best than Willie was. And Greenberg had a short career, even if you give him war credit.

But again, I'm going off memory. Maybe after work I'll look them up and adjust my rankings. Like I said, I think #7-11 are almost interchangeable.
   120. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4041317)
I just looked up a few players, and yeah, I think McGwire easily outdistances McCovey. Willie only had 2 more WAR and it took him 2000 extra PA's to do it.

Greenberg was a little better than I thought and could easily rank above McGwire if you give him lots of war credit. If you're conservative about assigning war credit like I am and assume only good missed seasons rather than great ones, they're back to being close to equals.
   121. alilisd Posted: January 20, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4041459)
And SLG, and OPS+.


Which is really not much different than saying you have to narrow it to HR since his SLG is driven by them and his OPS+ is also largely driven by them.

Before roid Barry, no one had put up SLG or OPS+ numbers like McGwire did in his peak for more than a single season or so since Ted Williams and maybe Mantle in the '50's. Not even Thomas or Bagwell. And Pujols hasn't even approached Mac's peak percentages either, not even for a single season.


I don't think that's accurate.

McGwire 216, 196, 176, 176, 170
McCovey 209, 181, 174, 163, 159
Thomas 211, 181, 180, 179, 178
Bagwell 213, 178, 168, 162, 158
Giambi 198, 187, 172, 161
Pujols 190, 189, 178, 173, 172

I've always thought WAR sold McGwire a bit short.


And OPS+ oversells him. It ignores defense and base running, in both of which he was a negative, and it ignores playing time. For example, I'm sure you'll note he has seasons of 202 and 200 OPS+ not listed above (I used Qualified For Batting Title to limit the search). In those 2 seasons he was worth 5.5 and 4.5 WAR. Both of those are very good to great seasons by WAR, but they're not All Time great seasons. They're not the sorts of seasons which put you into the Top 5 1B.

But as you can see from my list above, I still don't consider McGwire one of the top 5 1B of all time. But he's at least in the discussion.


Yes, I did notice. I think you can put him in the discussion for Top 10 and some will agree if they lean more towards peak while others may not if they lean more towards prime/career, but I don't see him in the discussion for Top 5 no matter how you slice it.
   122. alilisd Posted: January 20, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4041482)
I just looked up a few players, and yeah, I think McGwire easily outdistances McCovey.


Best seasons by WAR, McCovey first then McGwire:

8.9, 7.1, 6.5, 6.4, 6.2
7.2, 6.8, 6.5, 5.7, 5.5

Peak to McCovey McCovey led the league in HR's and OPS+ 3 times, just a tick behind McGwire's 4. He hit 521 career HR playing in the lowest offensive environment since the Deadball era whereas McGwire played during the highest. There's no peak advantage and no career advantage for McGwire. How can he easily outdistance him?

Greenberg was a little better than I thought and could easily rank above McGwire if you give him lots of war credit. If you're conservative about assigning war credit like I am and assume only good missed seasons rather than great ones, they're back to being close to equals.


Greenberg first.

8.3, 7.8, 7.1, 6.7, 6.6
7.2, 6.8, 6.5, 5.7, 5.5

Peak to Greenberg, again. Greenberg led the league in HR 4 times, never in OPS+ (4 2nd place finishes), but when you're a contemporary of Gehrig and Foxx, that's to be expected. In the 3 years before WW II Greenberg finished 2nd, 10th and 2nd in WAR for position players. In a half season in 1945 he was worth 2.9 (double it and he's going to be 2nd or 3rd for position players) and in his first full season back he was worth 6.6, 3rd for position players. He missed essentially all of 4 seasons, only 83 PA's in 1941. To assume he only missed good seasons, given his exceptional performance both prior to and after the war, does not seem at all reasonable.

I do not see how McGwire can be considered better than either McCovey or Greenberg if you give Greenberg proper war credit.
   123. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4041497)
I'll probably put McCovey ahead of McGwire, I do think it's debateable though, McCovey gets health credit, and if you only look at his first 7500 or so plate appearances(roughly until 1974) he out performs McGwire on a per 162 game basis in war 6.0 to 5.9. His longer career is mostly filler material that didn't do anything.

And I'll put Greenberg ahead of McGwire. That makes McGwire seventh in my book(behind Gehrig, Foxx, Greenberg, Bagwell, McCovey and Pujols--not necessarily in that order.) . Next time I shouldn't just look at Bill James and use him as a starting off point.
   124. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4041528)
Which is really not much different than saying you have to narrow it to HR since his SLG is driven by them and his OPS+ is also largely driven by them.

But you say that like it's a bad thing. HR's are the best possible scenario a batter can produce at the plate. Of course they drive his SLG, and his OBP too, since pitchers were afraid to give him anything to hit. But Mac had the best HR rate of all time, and by a wide margin. Even playing in the sillyball era when lots of guys were racking up homers, no one else came close to his power rates. I don't understand how you can keep saying "all he did is hit homers" and mean it as a criticism.

For example, I'm sure you'll note he has seasons of 202 and 200 OPS+ not listed above

Yep. While those seasons shouldn't be given full credit, they shouldn't be entirely ignored either. In 1995, for example, he was so dominant that despite missing so much playing time he still tied for 4th in the league in homers and cracked the top 10 in rbi's (I think).

There's no peak advantage and no career advantage for McGwire. How can he easily outdistance him?

You like WAR apparently, but if McCovey had a peak advantage over McGwire AND a career advantage, then how could they finish almost equal in career WAR, despite Stretch getting an extra 2000 PA's? Basically, McGwire produced the same amount of value in a short career that McCovey did in a much longer one. I don't see how that's a point in Willie's favor.

To assume he only missed good seasons, given his exceptional performance both prior to and after the war, does not seem at all reasonable.

I agree it doesn't seem fair, but I'd rather err on the side of caution. He may have gotten injured, or slumped. There's just no way of knowing that all these all stars who missed peak years to the war would've been MVP caliber players each season. So yeah, I tend to be a bit conservative when it comes to assigning credit for performance that didn't actually happen.

I do not see how McGwire can be considered better than either McCovey or Greenberg if you give Greenberg proper war credit.

Given what I explained a few paragraphs above, I don't see how anyone could NOT consider McGwire better than McCovey. As for Greenberg, there's this, which no one ever seems to notice:

Greenberg Home: 3086 PA's, 205 HR, .338/.440/.681
Greenberg Road: 3011 PA's, 126 HR, .289/.382/.529

McGwire Home: 3777 PA's, 285 HR, .262/.402/.591
McGwire Road: 3883 PA's, 298 HR, .263/.386/.586


Nobody ever seems to consider a players ballpark unless they played in Coors Field, but Greenberg was helped massively by his home field, whereas McGwire was the same great hitter no matter where he played.
   125. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4041534)
You like WAR apparently, but if McCovey had a peak advantage over McGwire AND a career advantage, then how could they finish almost equal in career WAR, despite Stretch getting an extra 2000 PA's? Basically, McGwire produced the same amount of value in a short career that McCovey did in a much longer one. I don't see how that's a point in Willie's favor.


McCovey's last 1715 plate appearances netted him .1 war. Those extra 2000 plate appearances shouldn't be a factor in this discussion. Go with McCovey having 65 War in 7977 pa, and McGwire having 63.1 war in 7660 pa.
   126. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4041536)
That makes McGwire seventh in my book(behind Gehrig, Foxx, Greenberg, Bagwell, McCovey and Pujols--not necessarily in that order.)

I had him 7th too, though I'd replace Greenberg and McCovey with Thomas and Mize.
   127. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4041539)
McCovey's last 1715 plate appearances netted him .1 war. Those extra 2000 plate appearances shouldn't be a factor in this discussion

Why? If McGwire had kept playing as a league average or below player for several more seasons, why shouldn't that factor into his overall career value?

If you only look at peak, George Sisler is a no brainer HOFer and Ernie Banks is an all time great. But they both played the second half of their career as league average players, dropping Banks down to a mere solid HOFer rather than an upper level great, and dropping Sisler below what should have been the HOF cutoff line (IMHO). Those years happened too and they should be considered in the players rankings.
   128. OCF Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4041543)
The Hall of Merit first base ranking election had only 22 voters, and the relative ranking in the middle - which is precisely what's at stake in the posts above involving McGwire, McCovey and Greenberg - could potentially have been stirred around some with a larger electorate. But there were both peak-first and career-first voters in that mix. The results:

1. Gehrig (unanimous)
2. Foxx
3. Anson (19th Century)
4. Mize
5. Brouthers (19th Century)
6. Connor (19th Century)
7. Greenberg
8. Murray
9. McCovey
10. Leonard (Negro Leagues)
11. McGwire
12. Killebrew
13. Start (19th Century/pioneer)
14. Clark (that's Will)
15. Suttles (Negro Leagues)
16. Hernandez
17. Sisler
18. Terry
19. Beckley (19th Century, mostly)

This ranking election was held before Bagwell was elected to the HoM, and Thomas is not eligible for the HoM yet. I would have to assume that both Bagwell and Thomas would be placed comfortably ahead of Greenberg/McCovey/McGwire.
   129. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4041556)
I would have to assume that both Bagwell and Thomas would be placed comfortably ahead of Greenberg/McCovey/McGwire.

Indeed they should be, as would Pujols. Thome is also in the discussion.

However, some HOM voters likely consider steroids (even though they're not supposed to, right?), whereas I don't in a players rankings. In my opinion, WHY a player was so great isn't relevant when we're just ranking who WAS and not considering the subjective and pointless character clause.

HOM question - Why Clark over McGriff? Is it all just cuz of WAR? They have an almost equal OPS+, but McGriff did it in many more PA's. I'm sure Clark is a better fielder, but he wasn't Keith Hernandez so I kinda doubt it makes up the difference.

And why Terry and Sisler period? I always considered them to be some of the bad selections of the HOF that the HOM was supposed to correct.
   130. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4041557)
Why? If McGwire had kept playing as a league average or below player for several more seasons, why shouldn't that factor into his overall career value?


And if McGwire would have continued playing and accumulated more value then he would probably clearly pass McCovey. McCovey shouldn't be given points or value for those last 1700 plate appearances, but they shouldn't be hurt his prior accomplishments. If McCovey retires after 1975 with more war than McGwire in only 300 more plate appearances, how would you rate them? There is really no reason to look at McCovey's performance after those years except for counting milestones, which isn't germane to this discussion.

If you only look at peak, George Sisler is a no brainer HOFer and Ernie Banks is an all time great. But they both played the second half of their career as league average players, dropping Banks down to a mere solid HOFer rather than an upper level great, and dropping Sisler below what should have been the HOF cutoff line (IMHO). Those years happened too and they should be considered in the players rankings.


I don't see either of those as true, an all time great is someone who played great for 15 years, a few great seasons on par with what an all time great does 15 times, doesn't put you in their company.

I do not, and could never buy into anything that promotes a players ability to play themselves out of the hof. Once you've crossed whatever line it is, it should turn into a wall that you can't go back.
   131. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4041561)
However, some HOM voters likely consider steroids (even though they're not supposed to, right?), whereas I don't in a players rankings.


No they don't. It's against the rules, and voters have to give their reasons/methodology for each vote.

I imagine Clark over McGriff is because of the higher peak, that Clark had two seasons more valuable than McGriffs best. Nobody would ever vote strictly based upon a war ranking. As I mentioned earlier that would be stupid. Heck basing anything solely upon a strict formula is stupid.

As to Terry and Sisler, the hom have peak voters, prime voters. Guys who value the best years as more valuable than a raw career total.
   132. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4041568)
If McCovey retires after 1975 with more war than McGwire in only 300 more plate appearances, how would you rate them? There is really no reason to look at McCovey's performance after those years except for counting milestones, which isn't germane to this discussion.

I'm not sure, but honestly, yeah, he'd probably be a little closer to McGwire. If Mac had continued to play a few more seasons at his 2001 level, he'd probably have dropped a little in my rankings.

I do not, and could never buy into anything that promotes a players ability to play themselves out of the hof. Once you've crossed whatever line it is, it should turn into a wall that you can't go back.

I actually do agree with this, and my Sisler example was poorly phrased - he was clearly at a HOF PACE in the first half of his career, but I certainly don't think he'd crossed any "point of no return" line where he was still worthy despite the mediocre second half to his career.

But if you're big into WAR (Im actually not; I was using it mainly because the other poster was), then theoretically a player COULD play himself out of the HOF if he's just across your cutoff line and he continues playing at a below league average level, losing WAR each season, right?
   133. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4041572)
No they don't. It's against the rules, and voters have to give their reasons/methodology for each vote.

A lot of things are against the rules that people do anyway. Just cuz no one will openly admit it doesn't mean there aren't a few people who do it anyway and use a different excuse to justify their rankings instead. If they do positional rankings next year after Bonds and Clemens are inducted, I'd be willing to bet they'll each rank a little lower than their career numbers (or peak/prime numbers, if you prefer) suggest that they should. Just a theory, but I guess we'll see.
   134. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4041576)
Heck basing anything solely upon a strict formula is stupid.

Completely agree on this, BTW.
   135. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4041578)
But if you're big into WAR (Im actually not; I was using it mainly because the other poster was), then theoretically a player COULD play himself out of the HOF if he's just across your cutoff line and he continues playing at a below league average level, losing WAR each season, right?


Nobody with any analytical bent would have a hard cutoff line for the hof based upon any statistical formula imagineable. It would be something that people would point at and laugh, kinda like exclusively using rbi or ops+ to vote for the mvp. Any hall out that exists that is worthy of anything is going to have to have subjective opinions on it's formation, some people are going to value peak, prime, career, relative to above average or as war does relative above 'replacement'. It's not out of the question that for a hall voter to completely ignore seasons in which the player produced at a rate below a 2.0 war per 600(roughly) plate appearances. It's perfectly acceptable to also say that a player who doesn't miss any games should get a bonus vs a guy who misses frequently etc.

Of course my earlier comment wasn't really about hof, but about ranking of players, and to me I can rank players in a different order for how good they were than the order I would rank based upon hof worthiness.
   136. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4041583)
If they do positional rankings next year after Bonds and Clemens are inducted, I'd be willing to bet they'll each rank a little lower than their career numbers (or peak/prime numbers, if you prefer) suggest that they should. Just a theory, but I guess we'll see.


guarantee you that they wont. Now of course many people could legitimately rank Bonds as low as 5th all time(Ruth is clearly ahead of him, and will finish first in that voting), Clemens is going to rank lower because he doesn't have the raw numbers that you had in the past. I imagine that Bonds will beat Williams for greatest left fielder of all time, possibly unamiously. (but Williams is missing five years of war credit) and that Bonds will probably finish ahead of Mays if they do an overall tally.
   137. OCF Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4041586)
Clark over Hernandez is certainly about peak. And at this point, Olerud doesn't seem particularly close to election, but it's not crazy to put him into an argument with those two. I've personally been putting both McGriff and Olerud onto my ballots, although they're obviously going to have to wait for further serious consideration for quite a few years.

And why Terry and Sisler period? I always considered them to be some of the bad selections of the HOF that the HOM was supposed to correct.

We discovered something about our election process with Terry. Take an election in which all the viable returning candidates are flawed backloggers among whom support is widely fractured. Introduce a new candidate with a decent record, but who has very few truly enthusiastic supporters. Still, a large number of voters figure that he at least belongs somewhere on a 15-man ballot. Then that newcomer can be elected on his first ballot. But even though many of our voters regarded his immediate election as a surprise, I think he would have made it in in any case.

The HoM can do different things with bottom-tier Hall of Famers. We can argue for a long time and then eventually say "yes" - for instance, Sisler. We can argue for a long time and then eventually say "probably not" - for instance, Brock, Joss, Dean (although they can linger on the ballot forever). Or we can keep arguing and keep reviving the candidacy to the extent that it's hard to say where we'll land eventually - for instance, Frank Chance. Or we can say, "no, just no" - Jesse Haines, Jack Chesbro (except as a running joke), Tommy McCarthy.

As for Sisler and Beckley: these were among our most deeply controversial candidates, and we argued about them, pro and con, for a long time before they eventually bubbled to the top of the backlog pile. They're opposite poles in some ways: Sisler elected as a peak candidate with most voters regarding the second act of his career (post-illness) as being essentially worthless, Beckley elected as a peakless career candidate.
   138. OCF Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4041594)
Bonds versus Williams? When we elected Williams we certainly acknowledged that he'd get more "war credit" than anyone else. But we were never really forced to quantify that. Ranking him against Bonds would force the issue. And Bonds could even get a little "blacklist credit" for what he might have done in 2008-2009, but we know that wouldn't have been peak performance - limited playing time, little defensive value.

Clemens versus Seaver? Clemens versus Walter Johnson? As it was, we put Seaver fifth behind Johnson, Grove, Young, and Alexander. Individual votes for Seaver ranged from 3rd to 11th. The non-consecutive nature of Clemens's peak years, the closer-age IP per season, the closer-age decentralization of ERA ... I really don't know what we'd do with Clemens.

We also don't currently have any active plans to revisit those ranking votes. Not that we couldn't, but it doesn't seem to be on the agenda.
   139. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4041595)
Nobody with any analytical bent would have a hard cutoff line for the hof based upon any statistical formula imagineable. It would be something that people would point at and laugh, kinda like exclusively using rbi or ops+ to vote for the mvp. Any hall out that exists that is worthy of anything is going to have to have subjective opinions on it's formation

Oh I agree. But I've had discussions with people on this site who seem to do exactly that.

I can rank players in a different order for how good they were than the order I would rank based upon hof worthiness

Ditto. I'm all for giving a player extra credit for historic achievements, post season success, etc, when voting on the HOF. While my ranking of McGwire/Greenberg/McCovey was based solely on how I perceived their actual value, if I was voting them into the HOF it wouldn't even be a debate - McGwire would easily sail in before either of them. Breaking Maris's record and AVERAGING over 61 homers for 4 years would give him a ton of extra HOF credit if it was up to me. But again, I was trying not to factor that into my rankings above.

guarantee you that they wont

Well, you're a bit more optimistic than I am about that, but that's good then. I've debated with enough people on BTF to know that a few are absolutely incapable of ignoring steroids in discussions and they refuse to even try for the sake of argument. But if the HOM has some sort of screening process and has found ways to weed out this kind of nonsense, then kudos to them (and by steroid nonsense I'm talking about player rankings, where it should be irrelevant, not HOF worthiness, where it's at least debatable).
   140. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4041609)
Ditto. I'm all for giving a player extra credit for historic achievements, post season success, etc, when voting on the HOF


It's not even that(although I agree) it's that value is different than how good you were. On a seasonal basis a guy who puts up 150 ops+ plays 160 games, and is average running and defense is more valuable than a guy who puts up a 170 ops+ over 140 games with average defense and running, but the 170 ops+ guy is the better player(assuming he missed playing time due to injury and not due to platooning) ---all those are rough numbers to accentuate the point.

Well, you're a bit more optimistic than I am about that, but that's good then


Just looking at the pitching thread it appears that Clemens will win the hom award for best pitcher of his generation, and do pretty well in the all time discussion placing anywhere between 2nd and 5th(along with Mathewson, Seaver, Grove) is likely(I'm pretty sure that Walter Johnson wins first in a cakewalk)
   141. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4041611)
I've debated with enough people on BTF to know that a few are absolutely incapable of ignoring steroids in discussions and they refuse to even try for the sake of argument. But if the HOM has some sort of screening process and has found ways to weed out this kind of nonsense, then kudos to them (and by steroid nonsense I'm talking about player rankings, where it should be irrelevant, not HOF worthiness, where it's at least debatable).


yes they have requirements that all voters must show their methodology especially if it contradicts with the consensus. You can't just walk in there and list 15 people, and of course the rankings are done by even fewer of the participants.
   142. OCF Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4041616)
placing anywhere between 2nd and 5th(along with Mathewson, Seaver, Grove)

Alexander, not Mathewson. Lots of people make that mistake, including the "conventional wisdom." But Alexander is what Mathewson is alleged to be. (And Cy Young is also part of the same territory.)
   143. Baldrick Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4041621)
I do not, and could never buy into anything that promotes a players ability to play themselves out of the hof. Once you've crossed whatever line it is, it should turn into a wall that you can't go back.

I mostly agree. My general rule is that I consider the player's entire career. However, I'm far more willing to consider ignoring chunks of replacement level play if they happen as bookends to a career. I am far less open to the idea of throwing out a sub-replacement year from the middle of a guy's career. Not being able to count on a superstar in the middle of their career is incredibly damaging. Whereas, at the end of the career, it's not really their fault they keep getting sent out there. I mean, Rickey! would almost certainly come out and play next season if anyone would let him, but it would be crazy to hold his lack of success against him if that were to happen. With guys who have clearly lost it, if anyone still sends them out they know what they're getting.
   144. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4041627)
I am far less open to the idea of throwing out a sub-replacement year from the middle of a guy's career.


I agree there. My comment was that if your theoretical superstar passed whatever arbitary threshold you have set for going into the hof, then he shouldn't be able to have a horrible season and be kept out.
   145. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 07:08 PM (#4041628)
Alexander, not Mathewson. Lots of people make that mistake, including the "conventional wisdom." But Alexander is what Mathewson is alleged to be. (And Cy Young is also part of the same territory.)


I was just reading the comments and it seemed that Mathewson was getting more support and that Alexander was being dinged for level of competition. I didn't read the thread that was the actual vote/discussion for their era, just looking at the fourth ballot results. I probably should have searched for the final ballot results...(it went Johnson, Grove, Young, Alexander then Seaver) I imagine that Clemens easily clears Seaver, not sure if he surpasses Alexander.
   146. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 20, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4041657)
And if McGwire would have continued playing and accumulated more value then he would probably clearly pass McCovey. McCovey shouldn't be given points or value for those last 1700 plate appearances, but they shouldn't be hurt his prior accomplishments. If McCovey retires after 1975 with more war than McGwire in only 300 more plate appearances, how would you rate them? There is really no reason to look at McCovey's performance after those years except for counting milestones, which isn't germane to this discussion.
Yeah, to penalize him for those years doesn't really make sense; that's double-counting. He's already being "penalized" by not accumulating any WAR in those years. It's not worse to play at replacement level than not to play at all; that's sort of the definition of replacement level.

That having been said, I -- unlike some -- do think sub-replacement-level play should be held against a player. For the vast majority of players one actually cares about, it's a small enough percentage of the player's career that it doesn't make a significant difference.
   147. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 20, 2012 at 08:33 PM (#4041673)
From the HoM Constitution:

A player’s “personality” is to be considered only to the extent that it affected the outcomes of the player’s games (e.g., via his positive or negative effect on his teammates). In rare and extreme cases, a voter may opt to exclude a player on “personality” grounds on the first ballot on which the player appears. If that player does not get elected on his first ballot, the voter shall give the player full consideration in all subsequent ballots, regardless of the “personality” factors.


-- MWE
   148. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4041677)
value is different than how good you were. On a seasonal basis a guy who puts up 150 ops+ plays 160 games, and is average running and defense is more valuable than a guy who puts up a 170 ops+ over 140 games with average defense and running, but the 170 ops+ guy is the better player

Agreed, and another reason why I think McGwire was a BETTER player than McCovey, even if his missed playing time made McCovey just as VALUABLE. Seasons like Mac's 1995 and 2000 are often ignored in peak arguments cuz their overall value wasn't anything epic, but they should absolutely be included if we're talking about a players peak ability level (and I realize that's not what we were debating above). McCovey had a 200 OPS+ season (as did Bagwell and Thomas), but McGwire was a 200 OPS+ PLAYER during his peak. And he and Bonds are the only players from the last 50 years you could say that about.

I agree this isn't relevant to the rankings discussion we had above, but it's the kind of thing that would get him extra points towards deserving the HOF in my book.
   149. alilisd Posted: January 20, 2012 at 08:44 PM (#4041680)
But you say that like it's a bad thing.


No, I'm saying it like it's only one aspect of being a baseball player, which it is.

I don't understand how you can keep saying "all he did is hit homers" and mean it as a criticism.


It's not a criticism, it's just meant to point out that despite his HR hitting prowess, his slugging prowess, his shortcomings in other aspects of the game keep him clearly out of the Top 5 and really put him into the category of arguably Top 10.

Nobody ever seems to consider a players ballpark unless they played in Coors Field, but Greenberg was helped massively by his home field, whereas McGwire was the same great hitter no matter where he played.


Because, unless you have a beef with the ballpark adjustments used, OPS+ and WAR take park into account.
   150. Mefisto Posted: January 20, 2012 at 08:47 PM (#4041683)
Bonds will probably finish ahead of Mays if they do an overall tally.


If Mays gets Korean War credit, it will be very close. The eventual outcome would depend on defense and timelines.
   151. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2012 at 08:56 PM (#4041687)
If Mays gets Korean War credit, it will be very close. The eventual outcome would depend on defense and timelines.


That is why I said probably. :)

I imagine that ultimately the hom vote for best position player of all time would end up with Ruth first and Bonds second and then Williams third as Cobb and Mays duke it out for the fourth spot(I know Cobb won the head to head vote, but with only 23 ballots that could shift pretty easily if a couple of extra voters are added) Josh Gibson might sneak onto the ballot, but I doubt it(he won the catchers vote unanimously though)
   152. alilisd Posted: January 20, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4041691)
if McCovey had a peak advantage over McGwire AND a career advantage, then how could they finish almost equal in career WAR


I didn't say McCovey had a career advantage over McGwire. I said McGwire did not have a career advantage over McCovey. There is a difference.
   153. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 20, 2012 at 09:13 PM (#4041696)
Agreed, and another reason why I think McGwire was a BETTER player than McCovey, even if his missed playing time made McCovey just as VALUABLE. Seasons like Mac's 1995 and 2000 are often ignored in peak arguments cuz their overall value wasn't anything epic, but they should absolutely be included if we're talking about a players peak ability level (and I realize that's not what we were debating above). McCovey had a 200 OPS+ season (as did Bagwell and Thomas), but McGwire was a 200 OPS+ PLAYER during his peak. And he and Bonds are the only players from the last 50 years you could say that about.


Mac's 2000, and especially his 2001 illustrate a problem with WAR for me. Anyone who was paying attention knows that Mac was completely useless as a baserunner those years. His knee problems limited his playing time and eventually drove him from the game. He was frequently pinch run for, way more than usual even for a sluggardly slugger. And yet, his WAR baserunning numbers are barely below average. -2 baserunning, +2 ROE, -2 DP combined for the 2 years. In 2001 his baserunning number was 0, average. there is no way on God's green earth that Mark McGwire in 2001 was an average baserunner (rbaser of 0). That's the same or better than a 23 YO Johnny Damon, a 35 and 36 year old Rickey Henderson, a 26 and 29 YO Roberto Alomar, a 29 YO Omar Vizquel who went 35/9 in SB, a 26 YO Chone Figgins, a 32 YO Carlos Beltran. That just doesn't compute.

Point being, Mac was a terrific HR hitter in 2000 in half a season. But due to his extreme gimpiness, his walks and non HR hits just weren't worth that much, and his D was utter crap. Mac has a BBREF WAR of 4.5 in 2000, but to put any credence in that number you have to believe he was an average baserunner and an above average fielder. No one who was paying attention in 2000 would believe that.
   154. alilisd Posted: January 20, 2012 at 09:19 PM (#4041697)
but McGwire was a 200 OPS+ PLAYER during his peak.


That's a pretty narrow definition of peak; one which throws out the entire first half of his career.
   155. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 09:19 PM (#4041698)
Because, unless you have a beef with the ballpark adjustments used, OPS+ and WAR take park into account.

True, but they don't take era/competition level into consideration.

And I have wondered sometimes whether the ballpark adjustments are totally accurate. What happens if a player takes full advantage of a quirky ballpark (like Mel Ott at the Polo Grounds), but the rest of his teammates and opponents don't? Won't the park average still be normal - and thus not ding his OPS+ - even though he was personally milking that short porch for all it was worth? The Polo Grounds didn't increase overall offense nearly to the degree that Coors Field did, but it sure as hell helped Ott pad his personal power numbers. How would OPS+ adjust for that?
   156. Booey Posted: January 20, 2012 at 09:24 PM (#4041700)
but McGwire was a 200 OPS+ PLAYER during his peak.


That's a pretty narrow definition of peak; one which throws out the entire first half of his career.



It's a 6 year span (1995-2000), which is right on par with a lot of other peak arguments. Besides, how many other players in the last half century even have a two or three year peak like that, let alone six?

Mac's hitting when he was healthy was pretty damn special.
   157. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 20, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4041703)
The Polo Grounds didn't increase overall offense nearly to the degree that Coors Field did, but it sure as hell helped Ott pad his personal power numbers. How would OPS+ adjust for that?


Why should it? If a guy like Ott can take special advantage of his park to his team's advantage, why should he be dinged?
   158. Ron J Posted: January 20, 2012 at 09:47 PM (#4041708)
To add on to #149, it's a mistake to argue value based solely on road stats -- every bit as big as to argue McGwire versus McCovey based on raw numbers.

Value is overall production adjusted for overall context. So yeah, note that Greenberg took unusual advantage of his park and might well have been less valuable on another team.

Having said that, I'm not what you'd call satisfied that Greenberg's numbers are properly adjusted for context. There are mighty big swings in year to year park factors in Detroit in the 30s and I'm not convinced that it's valid to use multi-year park factors to adjust.

Single year batting park factors starting in 1933: 107, 98, 96, 95, 110, 100, 111, 110, 106

And on checking there are reasons. They were making changes to the dimensions on a yearly basis. Sometimes profound changes. In 1933 LF was at 367. They moved it to 339 in 1934, added a 20 foot fence in 1935, increased it to 30 feet in 1937, moved it back a foot and lowered the fence to 10 feet in 1938, moved it back another 2 feet and made the fence 12 feet in 1940.

They moved CF in 5 feet in 1936, another 9 feet in 1937, another 10 feet in 1938, back out 10 feet in 1939, added a 9 foot fence in 1940.

They moved right field in 42 feet in 1936, another 10 feet in 1939 and added an 8 foot fence in 1940.

All in all, often a very different park. I doubt the validity of using multi-year park factors here.

EDIT: Thanks to Booey for bringing up the whole park issue. I'd never noticed just how ... active the Tigers were in that time frame in altering their park. I've been brooding on the whole issue of park factors for a while




   159. Ron J Posted: January 20, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4041718)
Also further to 157. Ott hit a lot of extra home runs in the Polo Grounds. His overall home/road splits aren't nearly as extreme for value as they are for home runs.

323 HR at home, 188 on the road. But his overall home/road numbers are .297/.422/.558 and .311/.408/.510 -- nothing close to an outlandish home/road split. He hit an awful lot more doubles and triples on the road.

In other words, he made an intelligent adjustment to the context he was hitting in.
   160. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 21, 2012 at 12:17 AM (#4041752)
Clemens will win the hom award for best pitcher of his generation, and do pretty well in the all time discussion placing anywhere between 2nd and 5th(along with Mathewson, Seaver, Grove) is likely(I'm pretty sure that Walter Johnson wins first in a cakewalk)


It's sad and hilarious at the same time that possibly the greatest modern hitter and pitcher will both be excluded from the Hall of Fame guys who the writers think never took steroids.
   161. Booey Posted: January 21, 2012 at 01:10 AM (#4041767)
Why should it? If a guy like Ott can take special advantage of his park to his team's advantage, why should he be dinged?

I wasn't necessarily saying that he should be dinged; I was basically just thinking aloud and wondering what others thought. Yes, Ott definitely deserves credit for taking advantage of park dimensions that others couldn't (or didn't). But it also can't be denied that he would've hit a lot fewer homers in a different park, and thus would've had a lower slugging %, and thus would've had a lower OPS+. I'm not sure that can just be completely ignored either when factoring in park effects.

But his overall home/road numbers are .297/.422/.558 and .311/.408/.510 -- nothing close to an outlandish home/road split

The average and OBP are similar, but that's actually a fairly big difference in SLG, which could have made a moderate sized difference in his OPS+. Now I know that a lot of players hit better at home and that you can never just double their road stats to see what they would have hit in a neutral park, but if Ott's slugging was artificially high because of all the cheap homers he hit at the Polo Grounds, I don't think it's completely unreasonable to think that OPS+ might overrate him a bit.

BTW, does anyone know why no one else was able to take advantage of the short right field fence like Ott was? Did the Giants just not have any other legitimate lefty power threats?

   162. Ron J Posted: January 21, 2012 at 01:40 AM (#4041771)
#161 It's just not that easy to pull the ball right down the line off major league pitching. And the Polo Grounds was only an easy home run park right down the line. It quickly went from around 258 to about 440 by the time you got to right-center. Hit it slightly off line and you get a flyball to deep right (unless you hit it over the RF head -- always possible)

But it's pretty clear that McGraw was firmly on the Ty Cobb side of the Ruth/Cobb debate. Ott's very much the exception to McGraw's choice of players, but then any manager is going to want a player who can hold his own against major league pitching at 17 regardless of style. (besides which, Ott was a McGraw style player on the road)

Bill Terry wasn't exactly devoid of power, but wasn't a pull hitter. Didn't have a big home/road HR split (and in fact actually hit .330/.382/.487 at home and .352/.403/.525 on the road)
   163. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 21, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4041823)
To illustrate Ron's point.

Also, there was another fairly well-known lefthanded power hitter who had a couple of his best years playing his home games there.
   164. CrosbyBird Posted: January 21, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4041977)
It's not even that(although I agree) it's that value is different than how good you were. On a seasonal basis a guy who puts up 150 ops+ plays 160 games, and is average running and defense is more valuable than a guy who puts up a 170 ops+ over 140 games with average defense and running, but the 170 ops+ guy is the better player(assuming he missed playing time due to injury and not due to platooning) ---all those are rough numbers to accentuate the point.

I don't know that I'd agree with you on this. The 170 OPS+ guy might be the better value as well, depending on what replacement level is. The better, less durable player provides a certain amount of value over his 140 games that may well exceed the value provided by the less good, more durable player.

For a more extreme example, compare McGwire's 2000 season (89 games) to Rey Ordonez's in 1999 (155 games). It seems pretty clear that McGwire wasn't only the better player, but the more valuable one as well.

And yet, his WAR baserunning numbers are barely below average. -2 baserunning, +2 ROE, -2 DP combined for the 2 years. In 2001 his baserunning number was 0, average. there is no way on God's green earth that Mark McGwire in 2001 was an average baserunner (rbaser of 0). That's the same or better than a 23 YO Johnny Damon, a 35 and 36 year old Rickey Henderson, a 26 and 29 YO Roberto Alomar, a 29 YO Omar Vizquel who went 35/9 in SB, a 26 YO Chone Figgins, a 32 YO Carlos Beltran. That just doesn't compute.

WAR isn't a measure of ability, but performance. McGwire could have been the worst baserunner in the National League and not cost his team more runs than average on the bases. He had 56 hits and 56 walks. 29 of those hits didn't generate any baserunning opportunities because they were HR. It may well be that the remaining times McGwire was on base were times where he didn't do anything differently than anyone other player would have done: the next batter hits a HR, or pops up, or grounds out weakly, or strikes out. If so, there's nothing he could do to either hurt or help his team on the bases.

I don't know that there's a lot of room for significant positive or negative bWAR if you don't try to steal bases or to go for an extra base. One thing that we know for sure is that McGwire didn't take too many risks on the bases.
   165. Something Other Posted: January 21, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4042026)
Why? If McGwire had kept playing as a league average or below player for several more seasons, why shouldn't that factor into his overall career value?

And if McGwire would have continued playing and accumulated more value then he would probably clearly pass McCovey. McCovey shouldn't be given points or value for those last 1700 plate appearances, but they shouldn't be hurt his prior accomplishments. If McCovey retires after 1975 with more war than McGwire in only 300 more plate appearances, how would you rate them? There is really no reason to look at McCovey's performance after those years except for counting milestones, which isn't germane to this discussion.
While the thread has gotten away from Morris (no complaints), cfb makes a good point, that I've boldfaced. In Morris's case, the last seven years of his career ONLY contributes to his win total.

JACK MORRIS: 1988-1994, 1436 IP, W-L 92-81,4.48 ERA, 92 ERA+, 943K 543BB, 213GS, 53CG, 9SHO

In other words, for around 36% of his career, Morris on average was a terrifically durable 4th starter--a solidly below average pitcher who would give you 30 starts a season, with 8 complete games, and a shutout for good measure. His ERA+ over that period were 125, 102, 98, 89, 83, 79, 70. 1991 was his only good year.

A lot of players combine a terrific peak with long, unimpressive decline phases and come up with a HOF career. I'm curious, though. Has anyone combined a peak as poor as Morris's with a decline phase quite as long and as bad as his, and made the Hall? Would Ernie Banks have gotten into the Hall is his years at short had been merely nicely above average for the position before his move to 1B? If Tim Raines had only been the equivalent of a number 2 starter in LF for the first three-fifths of his career before being worse than he was in his decline phase, does he make the Hall?

Taking away his long, very poor (for a HOFer) decline phase leaves 1977 through 1987, when Morris went 162-105 with an ERA+ of 115 in 2387.2 IP. That's not a peak. That's four-fifths of Andy Pettitte's career. So, Morris is four-fifths of Andy Pettitte, slightly less good, PLUS seven years of fourth starterdom.

How is that a HOFer?
   166. bobm Posted: January 21, 2012 at 08:22 PM (#4042086)
[165] In Morris's case, the last seven years of his career ONLY contributes to his win total.

JACK MORRIS: 1988-1994, 1436 IP, W-L 92-81,4.48 ERA, 92 ERA+, 943K 543BB, 213GS, 53CG, 9SHO


Morris' 92 ERA+ for his last 7 seasons is lower than the ERA+ for the last 7 seasons for all Hall of Fame pitchers since 1947, with 1000 innings pitched over that period. (Even Steve Carlton had a 97 ERA+ during his last 7 seasons.)

At the same time, Morris' 92 wins would be 8th highest in this same group. Ironically, Blyleven had the same number of wins as Morris in his last seven years, but a decline phase ERA+ of 104, versus Morris' career ERA+ of 105.

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1947 to 2011, From 7th to last season to last season, Hall Of Fame Members, (requiring At least 1000 Innings Pitched), sorted by greatest Wins

                                                           
Rk           Player   W     IP From   To   Age  L W-L% ERA+
1      Sandy Koufax 137 1807.2 1960 1966 24-30 60 .695  147
2      Warren Spahn 117 1722.2 1959 1965 38-44 88 .571  105
3         Bob Lemon 110 1464.0 1952 1958 31-37 69 .615  117
4    Catfish Hunter 109 1567.2 1973 1979 27-33 70 .609  109
5      Don Drysdale 105 1802.1 1963 1969 26-32 93 .530  115

6        Bob Gibson 104 1675.2 1969 1975 33-39 77 .575  123
7       Whitey Ford 103 1416.0 1961 1967 32-38 47 .687  128
8     Bert Blyleven  92 1547.2 1985 1992 34-41 83 .526  104
9       Jim Bunning  87 1608.2 1965 1971 33-39 89 .494  110
10      Phil Niekro  85 1360.0 1981 1987 42-48 65 .567   99

11       Don Sutton  83 1394.2 1982 1988 37-43 72 .535  100
12    Gaylord Perry  83 1490.2 1977 1983 38-44 77 .519  106
13   Fergie Jenkins  81 1389.2 1977 1983 34-40 76 .516  106
14       Early Wynn  79 1329.0 1957 1963 37-43 74 .516  100
15       Tom Seaver  76 1328.1 1980 1986 35-41 72 .514  107

16       Jim Palmer  74 1124.1 1978 1984 32-38 48 .607  113
17       Bob Feller  74 1145.0 1950 1956 31-37 50 .597  103
18    Juan Marichal  73 1257.0 1969 1975 31-37 65 .529  110
19       Nolan Ryan  71 1271.2 1987 1993 40-46 66 .518  116
20    Steve Carlton  67 1238.1 1982 1988 37-43 71 .486   97

21    Robin Roberts  65 1303.2 1960 1966 33-39 72 .474  102


Source: B-R PI

   167. bobm Posted: January 21, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4042093)
[165] Jack Morris 1988-1994: 6.0 WAR

Morris' 6.0 WAR over his last 7 seasons is lower than the WAR for the last 7 seasons for all Hall of Fame pitchers since 1947, with 1000 innings pitched over that period.

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1947 to 2011, From 7th to last season to last season, Hall Of Fame Members, (requiring At least 1000 Innings Pitched), sorted by greatest WAR for Pitchers

                        
Rk           Player  WAR
1      Sandy Koufax 49.4
2        Bob Gibson 37.1
3      Don Drysdale 30.9
4       Jim Bunning 26.4
5       Whitey Ford 23.5

6      Warren Spahn 23.4
7         Bob Lemon 22.0
8        Nolan Ryan 21.3
9        Tom Seaver 18.4
10    Bert Blyleven 18.3

11    Gaylord Perry 18.3
12   Fergie Jenkins 17.5
13   Catfish Hunter 16.7
14    Robin Roberts 15.9
15    Juan Marichal 15.8

16       Don Sutton 14.2
17      Phil Niekro 14.0
18       Jim Palmer 13.9
19       Early Wynn 11.1
20    Steve Carlton 10.8

21       Bob Feller  8.8


Source: B-R PI
   168. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 21, 2012 at 08:35 PM (#4042099)
While the thread has gotten away from Morris (no complaints), cfb makes a good point, that I've boldfaced. In Morris's case, the last seven years of his career ONLY contributes to his win total.

Slight modification: Morris's last seven regular seasons only contribute to his win total.
   169. Ron J Posted: January 21, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4042100)
#163 Ruth said he cried when he found out they weren't going to be playing in the Polo Grounds any longer.

Having said that, while his numbers at the Polo Grounds in 1920 and 1921 are insanely good he didn't have a big home/road home run split either year (which is what we were discussing). And I already knew he had a lousy year by his standards at home in 1922.

Ruth at the Polo Grounds

1920:   .399/.545/.990
1921
:   .402/.545/.926
1922
:   .296/.405/.597
career
.367/.504/.837 
   170. OCF Posted: January 21, 2012 at 09:07 PM (#4042110)
Since I've got a spreadsheet with RA+ equivalent records for most of these pitchers, I can do what bobm is doing with this different measure. Last seven seasons.

Koufax: 134-67 (and only 29-28 before then)
Gibson: 112-74 (starts in 1969, just missing his greatest season)
Drysdale: 110-90
Bunning: 100-78
Ford: 95-62

Spahn: 105-86
Lemon: 91-71
Ryan: 79-63 (not a workhorse, but effective)
Seaver: 80-68 (long, long after his peak)
Blyleven: 92-80 (another early-peaking pitcher)

Perry: 85-80
Jenkins: 83-72
Hunter: 97-77 (includes his best two years)
Roberts: 76-69 (long after his peak)
Marichal: 74-66 (dragged down by his 6 IP last year; back up one year to get 94-82)

Sutton: 79-76
Niekro: 76-75 (as a old man)
Palmer: 70-55 (or 69-56 with an adjustment for defense)
Wynn: 76-72 (so even the excruciating death march to 300 can't squash that)
Carlton: 67-71 (includes his 9.2 IP last disaster; his "real" last seven years were 81-77
Feller: 65-62 (steadily declining usage)

Morris: 74-85

And I'll throw in a little more Morris-ish context:

D. Martinez: 79-55
Steib: 54-41 (low usage in his last several years)
Saberhagen: 55-35 (Leave off last 15 IP to get 60-39)
Tanana: 77-82 (that's in Morris's range - but Tanana had a higher early peak)
Reuschel: 75-57
Hershiser: 63-60
Blue: 62-65
Gooden: 50-48 (both Blue and Gooden are known for how their careers began, not ended)
Langston:53-46
Cone: 62-47
Viola: 62-47
   171. bobm Posted: January 21, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4042171)
[170]


Marichal: 74-66 (dragged down by his 6 IP last year; back up one year to get 94-82)...

Wynn: 76-72 (so even the excruciating death march to 300 can't squash that)
Carlton: 67-71 (includes his 9.2 IP last disaster; his "real" last seven years were 81-77


Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1947 to 2011, From 8th to last season to 2nd to last season...

                                                           
Player           WAR     IP From   To   Age  W  L W-L% ERA+
Juan Marichal   22.6 1576.2 1968 1974 30-36 99 73 .576  113
Early Wynn      17.6 1551.1 1956 1962 36-42 98 81 .547  106
Steve Carlton   17.2 1418.2 1981 1987 36-42 80 74 .519  104


Source: B-R PI
   172. Something Other Posted: January 22, 2012 at 04:21 AM (#4042253)
... Blyleven had the same number of wins as Morris in his last seven years, but a decline phase ERA+ of 104, versus Morris' career ERA+ of 105.


Think about that for a minute. Bert Blyleven, the very definition of borderline by the BBWAA's standards, a pitcher who barely made the grade before losing his place on the ballot, had a decline phase as good as Jack Morris's career.

I wouldn't be getting a kick out of this except for sbb's relentless flogging of Morris's candidacy, but it really is sumpin'. Last month I was looking for various ways to get a perspective on Morris's candidacy and realized how much better a pitcher Andy F. Pettitte was--I wasn't particularly expecting that, I was just rooting around in the comparables bucket. Then I stumbled on #165, which gets even clearer with bobm and OCF's followups. Then there's Jamie Moyer, of course. It just seems like, the more you slice the data, the worse Morris looks.

I'm not a pure sabr voter by any means. I think Lou Brock has an excellent narrative case for the Hall of Fame and I very likely would have voted for him. But Morris? I've tried to "get" his case, and I just don't. I really don't.
   173. Squash Posted: January 22, 2012 at 05:08 AM (#4042256)
I think Lou Brock has an excellent narrative case for the Hall of Fame and I very likely would have voted for him.

It seems to me like Brock's narrative is really 3,000 hits and the all-time leader in stolen bases (at the time), which are statistical components. Sure, he hit well in the postseason, but that's not the reason why he made the Hall. Honestly I'd say no one (other than people like us, who beat these sorts of things into the ground) even really remembers that Brock was good in the postseason, or could even name which postseasons he was in. The beginning, middle, and end of Brock's case is raw counting stats, namely 3,000 and 938.

But Morris? I've tried to "get" his case, and I just don't. I really don't.

That's because Morris's case actually is entirely about narrative. It's not about what is true. It's about what people want to be true. I think Morris stories appeal to mythmakers (BBWA members) because they're keeping in line with the American Dream - that you, or I, or anyone can will their way to victory, that it's not about talent or winning the genetic lottery, but that in the end you can win just by virtue of being a badass. Morris becomes a proxy for all of us. The saber movement runs counter to the American Dream: that we all pretty much are who we are, whatever the leverage, even in the bottom of the ninth with two strikes. For obvious reasons narrative guys don't want to believe that. Therefore Morris must go in - not for who he is, but because of what we think about ourselves. Morris stepped up = I could step up. If I really needed to.
   174. OCF Posted: January 22, 2012 at 07:58 AM (#4042274)
Think about that for a minute. Bert Blyleven, the very definition of borderline by the BBWAA's standards, a pitcher who barely made the grade before losing his place on the ballot, had a decline phase as good as Jack Morris's career.

Except that by our saber standards, Blyleven was not borderline, not at all. He was someone we could throw into the mix with the likes of Perry, Niekro, and Carlton. We think he was clearly better than Marichal. What really fueled Rich Lederer's campaign was that Lederer was not trying to find a good way to present a borderline case but that Blyleven was so good that his case was clear under many different presentations.

Both Blyleven and Morris speak, in different ways, to one of our most fundamental tenets: pitchers do not win or lose games by themselves, and it is not the job of a pitcher to win a game. It is the job of a pitcher to prevent scoring, thereby making it possible for his team to win the game. Tradition has assigned a statistic called "wins" to pitchers that is only loosely connected to how good they were. Blyleven was assigned far fewer such wins that would have been justified by how well he actually pitched, while Morris was assigned far more such wins. (And Marichal was assigned far more such wins, but started from a much higher level.)

As Squash stated, the case for Lou Brock was fundamentally a statistical case made out of hits and stolen bases. (But I will note the I know what posteasons he participated in, since I spend a significant amount of time in '67 and '68 glued to a radio listening to Harry and Jack.) And the case for Jack Morris is fundamentally a statistical case made out of his W-L record, parsed in various ways (e.g., most wins in the 80's). The saber argument isn't that statistics should be used at all; the saber argument is that statistics should be used in a way that reflects how baseball games are actually won and lost.
   175. bobm Posted: January 22, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4042357)
[174]

Think about that for a minute. Bert Blyleven, the very definition of borderline by the BBWAA's standards, a pitcher who barely made the grade before losing his place on the ballot, had a decline phase as good as Jack Morris's career.


Except that by our saber standards, Blyleven was not borderline, not at all.


Blyleven career was not borderline, but his decline phase is not his entire career. It's the writers who are inconsistent. Blyleven ERA+ in decline ~ Morris' entire career ERA+


118 ERA+ Blyleven Career

105 ERA+ Morris Career
104 ERA+ Blyleven Decline

92 ERA+ Morris Decline
   176. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4042408)
It seems to me like Brock's narrative is really 3,000 hits and the all-time leader in stolen bases (at the time), which are statistical components.

And he was thought to be a much better player in his time than we understand today. His WS were well known at the time. He (and Wills) ushered in the running 70s era of baseball. SBs were thought to be way more important in his day, akin to the overrating of BA and counting stats. In the world known at the time, he was the very definition of a HOF player.

I know that's hard for you young'uns to grasp, :) as it was hard for me to grasp perspective of the elders of my youth with their baseball mindsets formed in the 20s and 30s -- specifically, that hitters just weren't good any more because nobody hit .300.
   177. Booey Posted: January 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4042435)
Having said that, while his numbers at the Polo Grounds in 1920 and 1921 are insanely good he didn't have a big home/road home run split either year (which is what we were discussing)

Not that it matters since his road numbers were still ridiculously great, but this actually does like a pretty big split to me.

1920 Home: 272 PA, 29 HR, .399/.540/.990
1920 Road: 344 PA, 25 HR, .358/.523/.736

1921 Home: 339 PA, 32 HR, .402/.545/.926
1921 Road: 354 PA, 27 HR, .354/.479/.772
   178. shoewizard Posted: January 22, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4042741)
Here is the record of some of Morris's contemporaries and how they did against teams with greater than or less than .500 records.
From this, it looks like Morris ran up his record against sub .500 teams much more so than the other guys

Dave Stieb
> .500: 90-77, .539, 3.24
< .500: 86-60, .589, 3.66

Dennis Martinez
> .500: 114-126, .475, 3.76
< .500: 131-67, .662, 3.62

Frank Tanana
>.500: 112-143,.439, 3.77
<.500: 128-93, .579, 3.53

Charlie Hough
> .500: 95-127, .428, 4.03
< .500: 121-89, .576, 3.44


Jack Morris
> .500: 96-120, .444, 4.28
< .500: 158-66, .705, 3.54
   179. Rob_Wood Posted: January 23, 2012 at 12:44 AM (#4042869)
For what it is worth, in his 14 consecutive Opening Day starts (1980-1993), Morris went 8-6. His RA was 4.23 and his ERA was 3.39. He pitched into the 7th inning (or more) in 12 of the starts, with 5 complete games. Generally speaking it is a decent stat line, though nothing to write home about. Unless you are a writer who loves the fact that he started 14 consecutive Opening Days.
   180. Something Other Posted: January 25, 2012 at 06:07 AM (#4045270)
But Morris? I've tried to "get" his case, and I just don't. I really don't.

That's because Morris's case actually is entirely about narrative. It's not about what is true. It's about what people want to be true. I think Morris stories appeal to mythmakers (BBWA members) because they're keeping in line with the American Dream - that you, or I, or anyone can will their way to victory, that it's not about talent or winning the genetic lottery, but that in the end you can win just by virtue of being a badass. Morris becomes a proxy for all of us. The saber movement runs counter to the American Dream: that we all pretty much are who we are, whatever the leverage, even in the bottom of the ninth with two strikes. For obvious reasons narrative guys don't want to believe that. Therefore Morris must go in - not for who he is, but because of what we think about ourselves. Morris stepped up = I could step up. If I really needed to.
Wow. Now I get it. Great post, squash.

Except that by our saber standards, Blyleven was not borderline, not at all.
Understood, OCF. I was addressing the mainstream, BBWAA perception, and by their lights Blyleven juuust made it.

What really fueled Rich Lederer's campaign was that Lederer was not trying to find a good way to present a borderline case but that Blyleven was so good that his case was clear under many different presentations.
That certainly helped, just as--conversely--Morris's case continues to crumble the more you slice the data. When I noticed earlier that he wasn't close to Andy Pettitte that was one more slice that was irrefutable. That Morris's supporters can only confect more narratives, and that the facts constantly let them down, speaks volumes. Post 178 is yet one more damning slice: Against the best, Morris was pretty bad.
   181. DanG Posted: January 25, 2012 at 09:16 AM (#4045322)
As a Tiger fan since the late 60's, my memory of Morris is similar to my view of Verlander before 2011; will he ever get it together and have that dominant Cy Young season? He's our ace, our workhorse, but he always seemed to hit that stretch every year where, for a few weeks, he struggled to be average. Consequently, the Tigers would lose ground in the race during the time that Morris was wrecking his Cy Young chances. I haven't looked at each season to identify exactly when that stretch might have occurred, it's just a lingering impression.

Here are the 20 pitchers with 17 wins, 145 OPS+ and 5.8 pitching WAR in a season 1980-89. Morris' best year is shown for comparison.

Rk              Player  WAR ERA+  W  L    IP Year Age  Tm
1        Dwight Gooden 11.7  229 24  4 276.2 1985  20 NYM
2        Steve Carlton  9.4  162 24  9 304.0 1980  35 PHI
3      Bret Saberhagen  8.6  180 23  6 262.1 1989  25 KCR
4        Roger Clemens  8.4  154 20  9 281.2 1987  24 BOS
5        Teddy Higuera  8.4  156 20 11 248.1 1986  27 MIL
6         Steve Rogers  8.4  152 19  8 277.0 1982  32 MON
7        Roger Clemens  7.9  169 24  4 254.0 1986  23 BOS
8           Mike Scott  7.8  161 18 10 275.1 1986  31 HOU
9          Frank Viola  7.6  159 17 10 251.2 1987  27 MIN
10          John Tudor  7.5  185 21  8 275.0 1985  31 STL
11        Mark Gubicza  7.3  149 20  8 269.2 1988  25 KCR
12      Orel Hershiser  7.3  149 23  8 267.0 1988  29 LAD
13          John Denny  7.1  152 19  6 242.2 1983  30 PHI
14         Frank Viola  7.0  154 24  7 255.1 1988  28 MIN
15     Bret Saberhagen  6.7  145 20  6 235.1 1985  21 KCR
16           Jimmy Key  6.6  164 17  8 261.0 1987  26 TOR
17   Charlie Leibrandt  6.3  155 17  9 237.2 1985  28 KCR
18          David Cone  5.8  147 20  3 231.1 1988  25 NYM
19      Orel Hershiser  5.8  171 19  3 239.2 1985  26 LAD
20         Mike Norris  5.8  149 22  9 284.1 1980  25 OAK
'xx        Jack Morris  4.7  127 21  8 267.0 1986  31 DET' 
   182. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 25, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4045365)
Morris's case actually is entirely about narrative. It's not about what is true. It's about what people want to be true. I think Morris stories appeal to mythmakers (BBWA members) because they're keeping in line with the American Dream - that you, or I, or anyone can will their way to victory, that it's not about talent or winning the genetic lottery, but that in the end you can win just by virtue of being a badass. Morris becomes a proxy for all of us. The saber movement runs counter to the American Dream: that we all pretty much are who we are, whatever the leverage, even in the bottom of the ninth with two strikes. For obvious reasons narrative guys don't want to believe that. Therefore Morris must go in - not for who he is, but because of what we think about ourselves. Morris stepped up = I could step up. If I really needed to.

That's one way of describing it. Another way might be just to say that it helps not to spend your career on bad teams that seldom make the postseason, and in ballparks that don't play to your strengths. And if you only get in the postseason a few times, you'd better make the most of it.

The Hall of Fame honors statistical accomplishment up to a point---untainted superstars will always get in---but in that twilight zone between superstar and journeyman, there are a lot of players whose resumes are going to have to include the baseball equivalent of spending a summer in a Somalian refugee camp or swimming the English Channel. Statistical accomplishment alone isn't usually enough once you drop below the superstar level. Curse it if you will, but many examples speak to the truth of the observation.

And that, boys and girls, is why we have the Hall of Merit.
   183. Booey Posted: January 25, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4045406)
The Hall of Fame honors statistical accomplishment up to a point---untainted superstars will always get in---but in that twilight zone between superstar and journeyman, there are a lot of players whose resumes are going to have to include the baseball equivalent of spending a summer in a Somalian refugee camp or swimming the English Channel. Statistical accomplishment alone isn't usually enough once you drop below the superstar level. Curse it if you will, but many examples speak to the truth of the observation.

And that, boys and girls, is why we have the Hall of Merit.



That's all true, and I'm fine with that in the case of a borderline player; if voters want to use Schillings postseason heroics as the in/out line dividing him and Kevin Brown, that's cool. If they want to honor someone who was amongst the all time leaders in a certain category over someone who wasn't but was just as good overall (like say, Sosa over Dwight Evans), then that's fine too. Again, as long as these guys with the cool narative have at least borderline credentials based on actual value.

But Morris isn't even close. Most of his best comps dropped off the ballot after a single shot (or will in the cases of Wells and Moyer). One fantastic game 7 and an unjustified "ace" reputation shouldn't be enough to get someone so far below any reasonable cutoff line over the edge.
   184. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 25, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4045429)
Booey,

I totally agree with you about Morris, and there are plenty of other cases (Raines, Trammell, Whitaker, etc.) where I wish that the BBWAA would dig a lot deeper before simply voting with their gut. But what I described is simply historical reality, and that's all I was trying to do.
   185. Something Other Posted: January 25, 2012 at 09:35 PM (#4045873)
But Morris isn't even close. Most of his best comps dropped off the ballot after a single shot (or will in the cases of Wells and Moyer). One fantastic game 7 and an unjustified "ace" reputation shouldn't be enough to get someone so far below any reasonable cutoff line over the edge.
There wouldn't happen to be a mailing list available, of all HOF voters, would there? I'd be interested in putting together a piece on a couple of pitchers Morris was worse than, pitchers who no one considers HOFers. It wouldn't take any more time than the Morris posts I've written here. It won't make a dent in the narrative voter bloc, but it might help keep his total under 75%. At the same time, I'd be a better person if I wrote my congressperson about something a little more important.

I was also wondering if it would do any good to drop the cutoff for dropping off the ballot to 2%. If a guy gets as few as 15 votes, though, is even 15 years going to be enough to get him up to 75%?
   186. DanG Posted: January 26, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4046039)
There wouldn't happen to be a mailing list available, of all HOF voters, would there?
You could try contacting the BBWAA. Good luck with getting them to cooperate in anything that would expose the unfitness of their electorate.

I was also wondering if it would do any good to drop the cutoff for dropping off the ballot to 2%.
It would entirely be for the good to completely abolish any such threshold. Here's how the BBWAA should create its ballot.

We're dealing with a 15-year window. (For the next election it's players who last played in 1993 to 2007.) Make the ballot the same size for every election, 40 players. This would include: the top 20 from the last election (Morris, Bagwell, Le.Smith, Raines, Trammell, E.Martinez, McGriff, Walker, McGwire, Mattingly, Murphy, Palmeiro, B.Williams, J.Gonzalez, Castilla, Salmon, Mueller, Radke, J.Lopez, E.Young); 15 newly eligible (Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Sosa, Biggio, Schilling, Lofton, D.Wells, S.Finley, Ju.Franco, S.Green, R.Sanders, Klesko, Cirillo, R.Hernandez); and 5 at large selections from the era, usually one and done guys (HoMers K.Brown, W.Clark, Saberhagen, Stieb, Whitaker).

Follow this same procedure every year. No 5% rule needed; great players who were victimized by the 5% rule are reconsidered, in the light of a growing statistical awareness among the voters.
   187. . Posted: January 26, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4046044)
There wouldn't happen to be a mailing list available, of all HOF voters, would there? I'd be interested in putting together a piece on a couple of pitchers Morris was worse than, pitchers who no one considers HOFers. It wouldn't take any more time than the Morris posts I've written here. It won't make a dent in the narrative voter bloc, but it might help keep his total under 75%.

That's a great idea. If you're open to suggestion, allow me to commend Jamie Moyer and Charlie Hough as the primary focal points.

And I'd get that out right away -- there's really no time to waste. If you need to send it a second or third time just to make sure they've all received it, that can't hurt either.
   188. DanG Posted: January 26, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4046354)
Make the ballot the same size for every election, 40 players. This would include: the top 20 from the last election (Morris, Bagwell, Le.Smith, Raines, Trammell, E.Martinez, McGriff, Walker, McGwire, Mattingly, Murphy, Palmeiro, B.Williams, J.Gonzalez, Castilla, Salmon, Mueller, Radke, J.Lopez, E.Young); 15 newly eligible (Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Sosa, Biggio, Schilling, Lofton, D.Wells, S.Finley, Ju.Franco, S.Green, R.Sanders, Klesko, Cirillo, R.Hernandez); and 5 at large selections from the era, usually one and done guys (HoMers K.Brown, W.Clark, Saberhagen, Stieb, Whitaker).
I should point out that those top 20 returnees contains a few clunkers at present, but that would quickly dissipate. The bottom six guys, at least (Castilla, Salmon, Mueller, Radke, J.Lopez, E.Young), would never be seen again; they would not finish among the top 20 also-rans in 2013 and would have almost zero chance of ever being an at large addition. In short order, those top 20 returnees would consist entirely of legitimate Hall candidates.

To enhance that last idea, the HOF could also gradually re-establish a 25-year window of eligibility, which was used prior to 1964. Why should there be any rush to get players (like Morris) to the Veterans Committee and their lower standards? Maintain 1993 as the earliest year's retirees under jurisdiction of the primary electorate (BBWAA et al) until the 2023 election, thereafter maintaining a 25-year window.
   189. DanG Posted: January 26, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4046385)
Oh, one note on the at large selections. If a player finished lower than the top 20 returnees he would not be eligible to be selected as an at large candidate for the next election. Let those guys sit out a year and take a look at the rest of the era's field of candidates to fill those five ballot spots.
   190. cardsfanboy Posted: January 26, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4046493)
I still think that allowing for more than ten per ballot will help keep some players on the ballot, with the upcoming storm. Yes I know that most voters aren't going to vote ten, but to keep a person on the ballot(using 5%) you only need about 30 votes.

Although I do support Dan G's plan also. Other than precedent, there is no reason good reason to stick to the system as the way it's always been done. Heck in the past they put people on the ballot who had fallen off, why not make that a feature instead of a reaction?
   191. DanG Posted: January 26, 2012 at 06:58 PM (#4046611)
there is no reason good reason to stick to the system as the way it's always been done. Heck in the past they put people on the ballot who had fallen off, why not make that a feature instead of a reaction?
Thanks. And ya know, it would be a perfect way to let the fans be a part of the process: let them vote for the five at large candidates. Make a big ballot and put it on the internet - vote for 5 out of 40. You'd want to make it a secure site to keep people from robo-voting and such.

One major benefit of the constant ballot size is it diminishes the unintended negative effects of ballot strength. For example, Orel Hershiser finished 14th in the 2006 election, getting 11.2% support in his ballot debut. The next year saw a really strong class of newbies (Ripken, Gwynn, McGwire, et al). Hershiser fell to 18th place with 4.4% and was done for good.

Under my plan the percentage doesn't matter - if you're among the top 20 also-rans you continue. And if you get bumped out of the top 20 you can still return if the fans support you. After all, who is the HOF for? The fans! Give them Barabbas! Hershiser is ranked #46 in the MLB EloRater at BB-Ref, surrounded by hall of famers. Is there any doubt he was better than Morris (#77)?

And again, CFB is right that raising the ballot limit above ten is right and just. If that was done, I doubt that a majority of BBWAA members will vote for more than 10; it ain't in their DNA, as they say. But if the HOF is about "Honoring Excellence" as it professes, then unshackle the thoughtful voters, who in a couple years will have no trouble discerning more than ten "excellent" (HOF-quality) candidates on the ballot. Raise the limit to 20. This allows voters greater freedom to vote for everyone they see as qualified, while still keeping in check those rogue voters who might check off every name on the ballot.

   192. Something Other Posted: January 26, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4046700)
Well said, Dan. Gets my vote.

Thanks for the thought, SBB, though I think I'll stick to Morris. You know, the pitcher who was well below average for almost half his career.
   193. DanG Posted: January 26, 2012 at 10:05 PM (#4046829)
let them vote for the five at large candidates. Make a big ballot and put it on the internet - vote for 5 out of 40.
What might that 40-man ballot to reinstate 5 players to the ballot look like:

last active 1993-2005, not on 2012 ballot

Baines H    Hough C
Belle A     Key J
Bonilla B   Langston M
Brown K     Martinez De
Burks E     McGee W
Butler B    O
'Neill P
Canseco J   Olerud J
Carter J    Parrish Ln
Clark W     Phillips T
Cone D      Reardon J
Davis Ch    Saberhagen B
Fernandez T Stieb D
Finley C    Strawberry D
Franco Jo   Tanana F
Gaetti G    Valenzuela F
Galarraga A Ventura R
Gibson K    Wallach
Gooden D    Welch B
Grace M     Whitaker L
Hershiser O Willliams Ma 
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