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Sunday, January 05, 2014

Tigers’ Lou Whitaker: Jack Morris ‘was no better’ than myself, Alan Trammell

As Roger Maristotle once said…“The roots of baseball education are bitter, but the fruit is Sweet Lou!”

Former Tigers ace Jack Morris will learn in a few days if he’s been elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame on his 15th and final year on the ballot.

He didn’t exactly get a ringing endorsement from one former teammate last week.

Lou Whitaker, the legendary Tigers second baseman, was asked Friday during an MLB Network Radio interview what made Morris so effective during his 1980s heyday.

And the response was fascinating.

“Jack Morris was no better than Alan Trammell-Lou Whitaker,” Whitaker said during the interview, audio of which was posted on DetroitSportsRag.com and confirmed by MLB Network Radio co-host Jim Bowden. “If we didn’t make the plays, and we didn’t come up with the big hits, Jack Morris wouldn’t be where he was, or where he is.”

...The world-champion 1984 Tigers, to fans’ disgust, don’t have a single player in the Hall of Fame.

“I don’t know what to say about Jack,” Whitaker said during the MLB Network Radio interview. “Jack was good, Jack was a stud in his own way. Jack Morris probably deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”

But before Trammell?

That question drew a laugh from Whitaker, whose interview lasted only a little more than three minutes as hosts Bowden and Jeff Joyce rushed the uncomfortable segment to the finish line.

“If Jack deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, Alan Trammell deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,” said Whitaker, who, himself, received just 2.9 percent of the vote in his one year on the ballot, 2001.

Repoz Posted: January 05, 2014 at 08:11 PM | 192 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: January 05, 2014 at 08:42 PM (#4630970)
“If Jack deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, Alan Trammell deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,” said Whitaker, who, himself, received just 2.9 percent of the vote in his one year on the ballot, 2001.
Quoted for the ####### truth. Sweet Lou definitely deserved better from the voters as well.
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 05, 2014 at 08:53 PM (#4630980)
Perhaps the Veterans Committee will go for a Tigers Trifecta and do Trammell, Whitaker & Morris in one fell swoop.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: January 05, 2014 at 08:57 PM (#4630987)
#shotsfired
   4. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 05, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4630994)
Wait, did Lou Whitaker get shafted in HOF voting...I hadn't heard that before....
   5. tolbuck Posted: January 05, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4630995)
Perhaps the Veterans Committee will go for a Tigers Trifecta and do Trammell, Whitaker & Morris in one fell swoop.


If you want to expand this beyond the '84 team add Leyland and make it a Tigers superfecta.

   6. Howie Menckel Posted: January 05, 2014 at 09:13 PM (#4631002)

At least Darrell Evans from the 1984 team got into the Hall of Merit!

#ducksforcover
   7. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: January 05, 2014 at 09:30 PM (#4631010)
If I HAD to put one of the three Tigers in, I'd put Lou. Though I would not mind a HOF with both Lou and Alan in it.

Lou
Alan
Jack.
   8. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 05, 2014 at 09:48 PM (#4631019)
It's sad that writers have a concerted effort to elect the guy who had the 5th best career on that Championship squad while they snub the better four. And three others arguably as qualified as Morris in Parrish, HoJo, & Kirk Gibson.

And who on earth ends an interview this good early?
   9. OsunaSakata Posted: January 05, 2014 at 10:24 PM (#4631036)
And who on earth ends an interview this good early?


Jim Bowden, his leather pants and his Segway.
   10. Spectral Posted: January 05, 2014 at 10:26 PM (#4631037)
Former athlete honest about obvious reality, people react as though anger must be involved. More at 11.
   11. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 05, 2014 at 10:33 PM (#4631041)
And who on earth ends an interview this good early?


I assume Bowden and Joyce thought it was awkward since they invited him on to say great things about Jack Morris and instead were confronted with the extremely valid argument that there are much better players from those Tiger teams that get ignored in favor of Morris. Which I do understand but as someone whose job includes interviewing people you need to be better prepared to deal with unexpected answers, turning that new subject into a quality discussion instead of trying to avoid it.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: January 05, 2014 at 10:51 PM (#4631054)
I assume Bowden and Joyce thought it was awkward since they invited him on to say great things about Jack Morris and instead were confronted with the extremely valid argument that there are much better players from those Tiger teams that get ignored in favor of Morris. Which I do understand but as someone whose job includes interviewing people you need to be better prepared to deal with unexpected answers, turning that new subject into a quality discussion instead of trying to avoid it.


I didn't hear the interview, so I can't tell tone, but the written excerpts don't seem so bad. But I'm afraid that in this world, the story that is going to come out is "Lou bitter about Morris hof popularity." or some such nonsense. There is almost no way for a person to say something as honest as Lou did, with the media painting him as a bad guy(if they like the person he is talking about...if he would have said it about Arod or such, it would be of course a different story)
   13. Cooper Nielson Posted: January 05, 2014 at 11:02 PM (#4631059)
It's sad that writers have a concerted effort to elect the guy who had the 5th best career on that Championship squad while they snub the better four.

Trammell, Whitaker, Evans... is Chet Lemon the 4th?

I know that by pure WAR, Lemon is ahead of Morris, but the Morris HOF argument is a lot easier to make (even if most of us here reject it): most wins of the '80s, Game 7, string of Opening Day starts, no-hitter, decent amount of black/gray ink, etc.

Lemon was an excellent player, probably one of the more underrated players of his time, but unfortunately he doesn't have much to hang his HOF argument on. His career 121 OPS+ is pretty solid -- same as Dale Murphy, better than Robin Yount -- and he was a good/great defensive CF, but he didn't crack 2000 hits or 2000 games, never drove in or scored 100 runs, never approached 200 hits or 100 walks, only once stole more than 10 bases (and was caught stealing more than he was successful over his career), only once slugged over .500, never won a Gold Glove and apparently never received a single MVP vote(!). The only thing he was excellent at was getting hit by pitch, which isn't very glamorous. I can understand why voters have paid more attention to Morris -- though I will never understand why anyone would vote for Morris over Whitaker/Trammell.

Personally I would rank them:

1a. Whitaker
1b. Trammell
----HOF dividing line----
3. Morris
4. Evans (I'm not as high on him as a lot of people)
5. Parrish
6. Lemon
7. HoJo
   14. The District Attorney Posted: January 05, 2014 at 11:43 PM (#4631081)
I guess if we're talking specifically about the '84 Tigers, this has nothing to do with Frank Tanana... but Tanana was Morris' teammate for several years immediately afterwards, and it's a fun comparison. Other than winning percentage, everything else favors Tanana:

Morris 254-186, 3.90 (105 ERA+), 38.4 JAWS, 44.1 WAR, 32.8 WAR7, 9.6 WAA, 3824 IP, 2478 K, 1.3 WHIP
Tanana 240-236, 3.66 (106 ERA+), 48.2 JAWS, 57.9 WAR, 38.5 WAR7, 19.9 WAA, 4188.1 IP, 2773 K, 1.27 WHIP

Basically, Tanana's career consists of Jack Morris-like "workhorse"-ness plus a period where he demonstrated something upon which the writers usually insist but are not requiring of Morris, "dominance." Tanana's 1975-77 was humongous, as illustrated in his WAR7 (WAR in seven best seasons) and WAA (Wins Above Average).

Tanana got a grand total of zero Hall of Fame votes.

Morris also overlapped the Tony Phillips/Cecil Fielder beer league team era a little bit. Dunno about Cecil, but I wouldn't hesitate to take Phillips over Morris (I love you, Phillips Morris).

I think I agree with you on Evans. If you don't buy that he was a great defensive 3B, he has zero peak, and probably even dips below any career borderlines as well. And his own team did not buy him as a great defensive 3B, as they moved him off there very quickly. It's surely true that the Giants organization at that time was incompetent enough to make such a mistake, but... it's a tough thing to hang your HOF hat on, IMO. (I would of course agree that Evans is likely underrated by the casual fan, who would not even see him as a HOF candidate.)
   15. Morty Causa Posted: January 05, 2014 at 11:51 PM (#4631086)
Yes, people forget, and many don't even realize, that Frank Tanana was touted as the second coming of Sandy Koufax. What was said of Dwight Gooden's potential to be an all-time great was said about Frank Tanana. And this was on a team that had Nolan Ryan. Then he blew his arm, and everyone pretty much thought that that was the end of that. And he came back to still put together a fine career. And he's the butt of jokes.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: January 05, 2014 at 11:58 PM (#4631088)
Tanana got zero hof votes? I have never looked him up, but I always assumed he had to have gotten a couple. Wow.... learn something everyday.

I'm one of the few on bbtf that argues that there is nothing wrong with a "mercy" vote for a player from a hometown scribe. But I guess Tanana's wondering ways didn't help him on that score.

But again, this points out why Morris isn't worthy of the hof, no matter how you look at it, there are a dozen of comparable players who didn't get any consideration at all. No matter how many bonus's he gets, he's just not a hofer. (although he probably will be in about 5-8 years)
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4631089)
And he's the butt of jokes.


So is Chris Truby, Albert Belle, Mike Piazza, Timothy M Rose, etc...
   18. ptodd Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4631090)
Looking at Morris numbers he certainly relied on his fielders. Quite the innings eater though. If he gets in maybe Bronson Arrojo should.
   19. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4631091)
I assume others will now rush to try to interview Whitaker.
   20. The District Attorney Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:05 AM (#4631092)
So is Chris Truby, Albert Belle, Mike Piazza, Timothy M Rose, etc...
And Mike Crudale.
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:05 AM (#4631093)
I assume others will now rush to try to interview Whitaker.


I would be fine with that. Whitaker getting more recognition from the mainstream press in regards to the hof could have a cascading future effect.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:06 AM (#4631094)
And Mike Crudale.


Damn... I absolutely knew I was forgetting someone and couldn't think of it(and didn't want to do the bearded wizard or district attorney joke...as I was never a fan of them anyway) (although I could say I was setting someone up...yep...that was the plan.)
   23. The District Attorney Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:27 AM (#4631102)
Former athlete honest about obvious reality, people react as though anger must be involved.
To be fair, I think any hitter essentially saying "that guy only looked good because of me" about a pitcher would be deemed notable, even if the press loved the hitter and hated the pitcher.

I assume others will now rush to try to interview Whitaker.
And Trammell, although Trammell won't say anything.
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:30 AM (#4631104)
Jack Morris will be the new Goose Gossage when he makes it, who in turn was the new Bob Feller.

A sense of entitlement and unable to keep his trap shut about who should and shouldn't be in going forward.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:32 AM (#4631106)
A sense of entitlement and unable to keep his trap shut about who should and shouldn't be in going forward.


Any evidence to back this up? I am by far, not a fan of Jack Morris hof case, but I wasn't aware of him making Jack Clark like statements.
   26. TJ Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:35 AM (#4631123)
Bowden and Joyce should have done their homework on Lou Whitaker. Having enjoyed watching his entire career here in the Detroit area, I could have told them that Lou was born without a censor bone and would answer any question you asked openly and honestly. Not in an inflammatory way, just saying what he thought or felt. We loved him for it, because Whitaker never came across as arrogant, just loveably goofy, sort of like your nutty uncle who would blurt embarrassing things out at holiday family dinners...
   27. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 06, 2014 at 03:10 AM (#4631138)
The world-champion 1984 Tigers, to fans’ disgust, don’t have a single player in the Hall of Fame.

So? They were a one-year wonder team who rarely contended otherwise.

The 1981 World Series Champion Dodgers don't have any Hall of Famers either, but I've never heard that as a point for inducting Fernando Valenzuela or Bob Welch or Steve Garvey.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2014 at 03:29 AM (#4631139)
The 1981 Dodgers weren't remotely comparable to the 1984 Tigers. I agree with the sentiment, but the Tigers were a legitimately great team...the Dodgers were arguably the 5th best team in the league that year.

   29. Squash Posted: January 06, 2014 at 03:55 AM (#4631141)
I had the same reaction as Pat Rapper's. It made me wonder what other WS champions don't have any HOFers representing either - just as a cursory glance, pretty few, but there are a handful of teams who have HOFers who didn't actually contribute much toward the team. The 1988 Dodgers have only final-season Don Sutton, who started 16 games and put up a 3.92 ERA when that sucked. The 1968 Tigers have tail-end part-time Al Kaline and no-time Eddie Matthews. The 1991 Twins have only marginal HOFer Kirby Puckett, but he had an all right year. The 2002 Angels look like they won't end up with anyone in.
   30. bjhanke Posted: January 06, 2014 at 05:19 AM (#4631145)
The 1939-40 Cincy Reds won two pennants and one World Series, but the only HoF player on that team was Ernie Lombardi, and there's always wierdness when you're talking about Lombardi. - Brock
   31. Cooper Nielson Posted: January 06, 2014 at 06:14 AM (#4631147)
So? They were a one-year wonder team who rarely contended otherwise.

Well, they weren't a dynasty by any means, but I think they were more than a one-year wonder. Over a six-year stretch from 1983-1988, with a lot of the same core personnel, they were pretty competitive:

1983: 92-70, 2nd place, 6 GB (5 games out with 18 left, but never really got closer)
1984: 104-58, 1st place, 15 GA (one of the most dominant teams of the past 40 years)
1985: 84-77, 3rd place, 15 GB (Hangover season, never even close after July)
1986: 87-75, 3rd place, 8.5 GB (Ended with 7 wins in last 9 games to make it look closer, but they were basically out of the race by mid-August)
1987: 98-64, 1st place, 2 GA (Great finish)
1988: 88-74, 2nd place, 1 GB (Not really as close as it looks, as they were already eliminated after Game 159, but they were in first place most of the year until a disastrous late August/early September; they were 73-50, 4 GA, on Aug. 21, then they suddenly got old overnight.)

That's two first-place finishes, two second-place finishes (one of them fairly close), and two third-places finishes in the era of seven-team divisions, with a .570 winning percentage and an average record of about 92-70. Over that stretch, I'd guess that they were among the top three teams in baseball in terms of wins (though I'm too lazy to do the research).
   32. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: January 06, 2014 at 07:06 AM (#4631148)
The 2002 Angels look like they won't end up with anyone in.


I can halfway see the voters trying to talk themselves into David Eckstein. Not on the numbers, obviously, but as a presumably clean glue guy on two different champions.
   33. OsunaSakata Posted: January 06, 2014 at 08:03 AM (#4631151)
After Sparky Anderson basked in the glow of the 1987 AL East title, where the Tigers rallied to overtake the Blue Jays, Bill James wrote something in one of his abstracts about how the Tigers had underachieved. Especially in terms of batters, the Tigers had arguably the best team in the American League from about 1979-1986. This should have been a dynasty, but only had one World Series title and all playoff appearances were in that year. James argued that Sparky spent too much time on Chris Pittaro and Barbaro Garbey, squandering the rest of his talent.
   34. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: January 06, 2014 at 08:36 AM (#4631154)
That's two first-place finishes, two second-place finishes (one of them fairly close), and two third-places finishes in the era of seven-team divisions, with a .570 winning percentage and an average record of about 92-70. Over that stretch, I'd guess that they were among the top three teams in baseball in terms of wins (though I'm too lazy to do the research)

Cumulative record 1983-1988, sorted by greatest W%:
Rk  Tm   G    W    L    W-L%  RS    RA     pythW-L%
1   NYM  970  556  414  .573  4231  3732  .557
2   DET  971  553  418  .570  4744  4117  .564
3   TOR  973  546  425  .562  4721  4078  .567
4   NYY  970  539  431  .556  4724  4286  .544
5   STL  971  514  457  .529  4055  3864  .522
6   BOS  972  507  464  .522  4783  4469  .531
7   LAD  973  505  466  .520  3817  3686  .516
8   HOU  972  502  470  .516  3961  3845  .514
9   KCR  972  497  474  .512  4129  4104  .503
10  MON  971  494  475  .510  3909  3867  .505
11  CIN  971  490  480  .505  4083  4188  .488
12  OAK  972  489  483  .503  4540  4534  .501
13  CAL  972  483  489  .497  4420  4437  .498
14  MIL  969  480  489  .495  4306  4411  .489
15  CHW  972  478  493  .492  4238  4308  .493
16  SDP  972  478  493  .492  3907  3978  .492
17  PHI  972  477  493  .492  4121  4194  .492
18  MIN  972  475  497  .489  4373  4596  .477
19  CHC  969  467  500  .483  4209  4382  .482
20  SFG  972  463  509  .476  4076  4091  .498
21  BAL  970  460  510  .474  4285  4512  .476
22  PIT  969  445  524  .459  3879  3983  .488
23  TEX  970  440  529  .454  4143  4435  .469
24  ATL  968  429  539  .443  3927  4365  .452
25  CLE  974  428  544  .440  4433  4941  .451
26  SEA  971  421  550  .434  4101  4712  .437 


[insert #26 org joke]
   35. chisoxcollector Posted: January 06, 2014 at 08:37 AM (#4631155)
If you go by postseason rosters, the '05 White Sox probably won't have anybody inducted. Mark Buehrle was their best shot, but with his decline over the last couple of seasons, that doesn't seem very likely.
   36. Chris Fluit Posted: January 06, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4631160)
Regarding the chart in 34, it was a pretty good time to live in Tigers/Blue Jays territory. Two good teams with occasional playoff berths. A great emerging rivalry culminating in the '87 pennant race. Morris vs Stieb (yes, I realize that Morris is the devil in these parts but he was viewed as the Tigers ace at the time). The great infield of Trammell and Whitaker vs. the great outfield of Moseby, Barfield and Bell. Good times.

The chart also shows that the Yankees of the '80s are underrated. They were a very good team, putting up the fourth best winning percentage over that stretch. But in any given season, there were always one or two better teams. It seemed as if anybody but the Yanks could win the A L East crown. Yet year after year, they were a winning club.
   37. Matt Welch Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:09 AM (#4631167)
The 1981 Dodgers weren't remotely comparable to the 1984 Tigers. I agree with the sentiment, but the Tigers were a legitimately great team...the Dodgers were arguably the 5th best team in the league that year.

But the core of that Dodger team (give or take) also won pennants in '74, '77 and '78. The point of similarity is that the '73-81 Dodgers, like the '83-91 Tigers, had an unusual number of very good players deemed not good enough to make the Hall of Fame. I guess they would rank near the top of teams having players that ranked between #10-30 at their respective positions.
   38. Matt Welch Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4631168)
I'm one of the few on bbtf that argues that there is nothing wrong with a "mercy" vote for a player from a hometown scribe. But I guess Tanana's wondering ways didn't help him on that score.

When he was Koufax Jr. with the Angels he was also a cocky playboy tarred as a flake by the likes of Dick Williams and Nolan Ryan. It's possible this blunted the hometown effect.
   39. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4631174)
lou had been underground for quite some time as he clearly preferred his privacy.

he was always willing to tell folks what he thought. just that writers rarely asked for whatever reason.

   40. zonk Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4631177)
Lou had a reputation of being a bit... odd... IIRC. That's not code for anything, but maybe a function of what HW said - Lou spoke his mind, but it wasn't really in a sort of Brandon Phillips/John Rocker ########### sort of way. It was just more matter-of-fact, without the brashness. I recall that tended to get interpreted in a variety ways, none of which particularly endeared Whitaker to, well... anyone.

It's a shame for a variety of reasons -- it wasn't until about a month ago on a HoF thread that I was convinced that WHitaker is actually a better HoF candidate than Trammell and at this point, I'm not so sure he isn't the most glaring Hall of Fame omission. It also makes me think that Lou would have been really good to have somewhere in the retired player media (analyst on ESPN, color guy in the booth, whatever). What he says here will be treated as a smack to MOrris -- but it's the truth... Morris' HoF case is a function of having a really, really good team behind him and in particular, being a 'workhorse' that could basically pile up innings and lean on an exceptional defense and exceptional offense to make him look better than say, Dave Stieb at a quick glance.
   41. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4631179)
zonk

I was surprised to discover that some folks here did not know that lou had openly told the league office and managers to not pick him for the all star team. that he wasn't interested in the hassle (as he described it)

I know the Detroit writers got their nose bent out of joint about lou's stance.

he has never received much attention from the Detroit press once he retired. it's kind of strange
   42. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4631180)
Lou Whitaker: "Jack Morris probably deserves to be in the Hall of Fame."
   43. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4631183)
I'm not a Tigers fan, but the 1984 Tigers are, IMO, very different from the other teams listed above as "one year wonders". I will be 40 shortly, and was 10 years old when the '84 Tigers played. At that time, I looked at them as a team having a dream season - historically dominant, blowing through the division title, the ALCS, and the WS. They started 35-5, and never looked back. When I am 70 years old in 2044, and my grandkids ask me who some of the most dominant teams of my lifetime were, I would think of the 1984 Tigers very, very high on the list. Teams like the 1988 Dodgers, 1991 Twins, or certainly the 2002 Angels (?) won't jump out in that regard. I do think the '91 Twins (Game Seven) and '88 Dodgers (Gibson walk-off) are memorable for other reasons.

Because of all that, I do find it remarkable that such a uniquely dominant team, 30 years after that season, have no HOF'ers. Why Whitaker and Trammell have not been seen as this outstanding pair of longtime teammates in the middle of the diamond, playing at a high level for many years, winning a title, etc., is a mystery to me. It's really a shame. It happened to Maddux and Glavine. It happened to Yount and Molitor. Not these guys, though.
   44. Kurt Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4631186)
And he's the butt of jokes.


Is he? The writer (Jayson Stark?) is the butt of the "how does this affect Frank Tanana" joke; I don't know any other Tanana jokes.
   45. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4631188)
maddux/glave and yount/molitor are all clearly deserving hall of fame players.

all of the 1984 tigers best players are a step down from the above. to my mind both whitaker and trammell qualify. but let's not suggest that they are 'obvious' hall of fame players
   46. zonk Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4631189)
HW -

I know one ASG he did go to, he forgot his jersey and played in a replica bought at the concession stand (magic markered his name and number onto the back IIRC).

Lou was sort of a more cerebral Adam Dunn in a way... I think a lot of writers and spectators sort of questioned whether he "really loved baseball enough". Strangely enough, I also have a vague memory of Kirk Gibson refusing an ASG selection, but not getting nearly the grief over it.
   47. zonk Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4631191)
Here's a good article on Lou - that paints him as less cerebral and more of an airhead (although, they both fit if you sort of think in terms of smart but not street-smart).... also mentions forgetting his uni in the '85 ASG and having to buy a replacement, which is now in the Smithsonian.
   48. AROM Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:23 AM (#4631194)
it wasn't until about a month ago on a HoF thread that I was convinced that WHitaker is actually a better HoF candidate than Trammell and at this point, I'm not so sure he isn't the most glaring Hall of Fame omission.


I'd like to see them both go in, but if forced to pick one I'd go with Trammell because of his MVP 1987 season (Yes, I know Bell stole the actual trophy, it's still Trammell's).
   49. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4631197)
I'd take a HoF that had Lou, Alan, and Morris in it.

So? They were a one-year wonder team who rarely contended otherwise.


The '84 Tigers remind me of the '86 Mets. Both were hugely talented teams that will have a bunch of almost HOFers (Mets do have Carter in the HOF) and you look back and you think "how did they not win more championships before and after that?"
   50. AROM Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4631208)
For the 1979-88 Tigers, who were the best players on the team by year? By BBref WAR, it's:

Morris 1979
Trammell 1980, 1984, 1986-1988
Whitaker 1981-1983
Gibson 1985

Seems about right.

Those teams had a great offense and great defense. Also an unusual number of great or nearly great players in their primes at the same time. I don't think their shortcomings are from playing Chris Pittaro (all of 95 career AB) or Barbaro Garbey (626 AB, more than half of which came in 1984 and obviously didn't stop them) or the like. You can't have great players at every spot and on the bench, great teams have some ordinary guys on the roster too.

I think the problem was starting pitching. From 1979 to 1988, here are their starters, games, and ERA+:

Morris 335 114
Petry 245 108
Wilcox 180 102
Terrell 131 100
Tanana 117 103
Alexander 45 111
J Robinson 44 100
Schatzeder 40 88
Udjer 37 87

Keep in mind they had a great defense. Those average ERA+ are really a bit below average without the defensive runs saved. Petry was an average pitcher. He was well regarded at the time if you just look at wins and ERA, but the strikeout-walk numbers were weak, he would not have had success pitching for most other teams. Alexander was great at the end of 1987, but wasn't around for much of this period. The others behind Morris, once you consider defense, were below average pitchers.

Then there's Jack. A fine pitcher, above average and a real workhorse. He had the wins of an ace thanks to teammates like Lou and Alan. But if he were as good as the true aces of the time, like Hershiser, Gooden, Saberhagen, he would have had something like 25 wins in a big Cy Young year, considering his position player support.

Had Morris had the peak of a typical HOF ace, and the Tigers been able to fill the rotation with above average pitchers, then you'd have a dynasty.
   51. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4631210)
I think the real lesson of the 1984 Tigers is the effect of not having anyone who was a core player being a total bomb.... having everyone be at least a league average player. Bill James wrote at length in the 1986 Abstract about the "collapse" of the 84 Tigers being mostly a function of the supporting players going from unusually strong in 1984 to unusually weak in 85. It may not have been the total story, but it was a big part. No one had a particularly transcendent season in 1984, but of their top 14 hitters (9 starters and 5 most active reserves) and 10 pitchers, the lowest OPS+ or ERA+ is 93. That might be a record. Sorting the hitters and pitchers on the 1983-85 Tigers by OPS+ and ERA+ ( "|" delimits lineup/starters from bench/bullpen):

Hitters
1983: 138 133 129 126 119 113 104 098 068 | 124 114 092 084 044
1984: 142 136 135 113 112 105 104 100 099 | 137 131 125 099 095
1985: 140 138 124 118 111 104 090 087 078 | 094 090 088 040 -05

Pitchers
1983: 125 117 115 100 099 | 150 140 102 081 054
1984: 121 113 109 105 098 | 211 204 134 105 093
1985: 122 122 121 106 073 | 151 126 094 085 066

And no, the -05 isn't a typo. 2nd catcher Marty Castillo slashed 119/138/214 in 87 PA's. 3rd catcher Bob Melvin also had 87 PA's but in fewer games and he hit 220/247/293 (OPS+ 48).

Also of note is that the 211 ERA+ in 1984 is Bill Scherrer's 1.89 in all of 19 innings. The 204 is Willie Hernandez.
   52. zonk Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4631213)

I'd like to see them both go in, but if forced to pick one I'd go with Trammell because of his MVP 1987 season (Yes, I know Bell stole the actual trophy, it's still Trammell's).


That was my thinking, too.... But walking through the numbers, Whitaker bests Trammell in every category -- rate or counting stat -- except AVG (who cares) and dWAR (I'm not versed enough to answer the question, but is the gap all pretty much SS v 2B positional adjustment?)

I suppose if you want to use a very short peak - as in, virtually a single season - or, if you let Trammell lean on a non-consecutive peak years...

I might also be penalizing Trammell because SS is well-represented in the Hall, while 2B tend to get screwed....

I'm not saying flatly that you're wrong, AROM -- I'm just saying that after spending a decent chunk of time looking closely at Trammell vs Whitaker in comparison, I really do think I had spent about 25 years having them backwards in terms of value. It's not a huge gulf - but it really does seem to me that Whitaker is a small, but noticeable step better than Trammell.

I'm not projecting here -- or at least, trying not to project -- but I'm pretty my previous Trammell or Whitaker preference was a fantasy of narrative... That Trammell was the best player on those 80s Tigers teams and thus, the more deserving of the two. In retrospect, for a variety of reasons - I think the narrative was wrong.

...and for the record, if Morris was the price of admission for BOTH Trammell and Whitaker - I'd take that deal in a heartbeat.
   53. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4631218)
That was my thinking, too.... But walking through the numbers, Whitaker bests Trammell in every category -- rate or counting stat -- except AVG (who cares) and dWAR (I'm not versed enough to answer the question, but is the gap all pretty much SS v 2B positional adjustment?)

By sheer coincidence, both are at 77 rField for their career. Which means Lou was as good a 2B as Tram was a SS (which still makes Tram obviously more valuable as a defender).
   54. GregD Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4631219)
But the core of that Dodger team (give or take) also won pennants in '74, '77 and '78. The point of similarity is that the '73-81 Dodgers, like the '83-91 Tigers, had an unusual number of very good players deemed not good enough to make the Hall of Fame. I guess they would rank near the top of teams having players that ranked between #10-30 at their respective positions.
That is a good point. Sutton is the only guy who made it from any of those teams, right? It's hard to know who would be the next-best candidate on those teams? Reggie Smith was a big part of 77-78 but irrelevant in 81 and not on the team in 74. He gets some support. Cey is a plausible candidate. Tommy John is over some people's line. Then you get guys who were good but not in almost anyone's pHOF in Lopes and Garvey. (Bill Buckner was gone after 74 but it is amazing how much WAR hates him.)

As annoying as Garvey is, it would be cool to have a Best Infields section where you could note (without inducting them) how unusual the Dodgers' consistency was with that infield.
   55. zonk Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4631223)
I think what jumps out for Whitaker --

Only in his first cup of coffee (11 games) was he negative WAR (-.2)... Beyond that, he was only under 2 WAR in two seasons... 1980, when he 1.9 and his last year (1995) when he was still 1.5 (and that was also the only year his dWAR slid into negative territory -- -.4).

I will admit that I do tend to also appreciate compilers more than peak candidates -- but that's almost a breathtaking run.... 18 years of averaging 4 WAR -- but without any real peak.
   56. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 06, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4631229)
Jack Morris will be the new Goose Gossage when he makes it, who in turn was the new Bob Feller.

A sense of entitlement and unable to keep his trap shut about who should and shouldn't be in going forward.


To be fair, while Rapid Robert was cantankerous, he was (unlike the other two) absolutely entitled to a spot in the Hall.
   57. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 06, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4631257)
I don't think their shortcomings are from playing Chris Pittaro (all of 95 career AB) or Barbaro Garbey (626 AB, more than half of which came in 1984 and obviously didn't stop them) or the like. You can't have great players at every spot and on the bench, great teams have some ordinary guys on the roster too.

As the Bill Mazeroski baseball annual said around this time, about the Tigers' National League equivalent: "Great teams make Rafael Santana possible."
   58. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 06, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4631259)
Any evidence to back this up? I am by far, not a fan of Jack Morris hof case, but I wasn't aware of him making Jack Clark like statements.


Jack Morris on how pitching has changed:

“I used to think, ‘Oh, it will happen again. Somebody will do it.’ But, heck, they won’t even let one guy start three games in the World Series anymore.

“I can’t understand that. For 80 years it was fine. The ace would pitch Games 1, 4 and 7. And now, it’s, ‘We can’t overwork these guys.’ It’s different. It’s definitely a different way of playing the game. There’s less and less glory in it, I can tell you that.”


Morris, on steroids:

“Society is whacked,” he said.

“I don’t blame the players for taking the money, but I think society should be rewarding teachers, doctors and others who are playing an important role in society for the betterment of the population.”


Jack Morris criticizes Francisco Liriano

At first, Morris did the old "Not to take anything away from Francisco Liriano" schpiel — which always means what comes next will do the opposite.

And he said: "The good guys never let it slip away, and he let it slip away."


Jack Morris, others accuse Clay Buchholz of doctoring baseballs

"It was all over his forearm, all over the lower part of his T-shirt, it's all in his hair," Morris said. "I can't prove anything. I can't prove anything.

"Funny thing, the way the game is played today. In our generation, every player, every coach would have seen it, the umpire would have gone out and made him change, made him stop and that changes everything. Or else they throw him out of the game. So what kind of bugs all of us is nothing is done here."


None of these quotes is particularly egregious, and Morris in fairness is paid to give his opinion, there's just a lot of annoying "in my day players were great, and today these players suck" attitude in his statements.
   59. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4631285)
"I don’t blame the players for taking the money, but I think society should be rewarding teachers, doctors and others who are playing an important role in society for the betterment of the population.”

He should be admitted to the HOF for this alone. It's nice to see an elite athlete understand the proper place of athletes in society and be willing to say so.
   60. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4631290)
I will admit that I do tend to also appreciate compilers more than peak candidates -- but that's almost a breathtaking run.... 18 years of averaging 4 WAR -- but without any real peak.

I agree. Those kinds of careers are really impressive and deserve recognition.

Ryan Sandberg is an interesting comparison -- similar career value, but a much better peak. I'd probably take Sandberg if I were drafting them both as 20 years olds, but it's not a slam dunk.
   61. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4631294)
"I don’t blame the players for taking the money, but I think society should be rewarding teachers, doctors and others who are playing an important role in society for the betterment of the population.”

He should be admitted to the HOF for this alone. It's nice to see an elite athlete understand the proper place of athletes in society and be willing to say so.

I never saw Jack Morris offer to work for less than doctors, teachers and the like. He made ~$25m, I don't see him rushing to give it all away to them. The players today are greedy meme is tired and pathetic. Doubly so, when it comes from a player who milked his career for every dollar he could.
   62. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4631296)
if ryne had not halted his career in an attempt to save his marriage he might have had one really good year left in him. he was 34 when he hung it up mid-season, mlb was entering its hitting frenzy era and he was one year away from an outstanding year at the plate.

just something to keep in mind when comparing his career to others

   63. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4631297)
I never saw Jack Morris offer to work for less than doctors, teachers and the like. He made ~$25m, I don't see him rushing to give it all away to them. The players today are greedy meme is tired and pathetic. Doubly so, when it comes from a player who milked his career for every dollar he could.

Which no one ever does.

He's not criticizing the players -- which is why he doesn't "blame them for taking the money" -- he's criticizing the society that rewards them so handsomely. That criticism is spot-on, notwithstanding the relentless fanboyism that enables the society.
   64. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4631302)
I think the real lesson of the 1984 Tigers is the effect of not having anyone who was a core player being a total bomb.... having everyone be at least a league average player. Bill James wrote at length in the 1986 Abstract about the "collapse" of the 84 Tigers being mostly a function of the supporting players going from unusually strong in 1984 to unusually weak in 85. It may not have been the total story, but it was a big part. No one had a particularly transcendent season in 1984, but of their top 14 hitters (9 starters and 5 most active reserves) and 10 pitchers, the lowest OPS+ or ERA+ is 93. That might be a record.

Interesting stat, one that's a variant of another one I don't think has ever been matched: Of the 9 starting position plays for the 2009 Yankees (including DH), the top 8 had an OPS+ that ranged from 141 (Teixeira) to 118 (Damon), with 5 of them bunched between 121 and 125. Only Melky was the odd man out at 98. It wasn't Murderers' Row by a long shot, but especially with 4 switch hitters, there was really no way to pitch around anyone but Melky. Has any other team ever been this close to having an all-triple digit OPS+ lineup, let alone one where 8 players were at 118 or above?
   65. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4631303)
I never saw Jack Morris offer to work for less than doctors, teachers and the like. He made ~$25m, I don't see him rushing to give it all away to them. The players today are greedy meme is tired and pathetic. Doubly so, when it comes from a player who milked his career for every dollar he could.


Which no one ever does.

He's not criticizing the players -- which is why he doesn't "blame them for taking the money" -- he's criticizing the society that rewards them so handomely. That criticism is spot-on, notwithstanding the relentless fanboyism that enables the society.


I like Morris's sentiments, but I'll like them even more if he'd put in a good word for teachers' unions and service workers' unions.
   66. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4631308)
I used to think, ‘Oh, it will happen again. Somebody will do it.’ But, heck, they won’t even let one guy start three games in the World Series anymore.


Priceless. There has been only one 7 games series in the last 12 years, and Chris Carpenter started 3 games. So yeah, when the series goes fewer than 7 games, no one starts 3. Really illuminating Jack.
   67. BDC Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4631309)
Sandberg is an interesting comparison -- similar career value, but a much better peak

My take on these comparisons is that they involve a great baseball player (Sandberg) who had ups and downs for a host of reasons, vs. a very good one (Whitaker) who was healthy, lucky, disciplined, low-maintenance, or otherwise composed enough to cruise along more steadily.

Though now I wonder if that's true. Is it possible for an athlete to deliberately choose the "mechanical man" route (to stay at second base: Charlie Gehringer was the original, Robinson Cano looks like the incumbent). IOW, an athlete could have the occasional season like Sandberg '84 or '90, but was more intent on staying in a zone for years at a time, not pushing his boundaries: and vice versa, another with identical talent could have "paced" himself but got a bit burnt out in one great effort.

I'm not sure. In many ways Cal Ripken Jr., as mechanical as they come, had similar peaks and valleys to his career as Ryne Sandberg.

   68. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4631318)
Has any other team ever been this close to having an all-triple digit OPS+ lineup, let alone one where 8 players were at 118 or above?


1976 Reds


6 regulars at 118 or higher, Bench and Concepcion at 109 and 107, and #1 bench man and WS DH Dan Driessen at 116.
   69. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4631320)
My take on these comparisons is that they involve a great baseball player (Sandberg) who had ups and downs for a host of reasons, vs. a very good one (Whitaker) who was healthy, lucky, disciplined, low-maintenance, or otherwise composed enough to cruise along more steadily.

Though now I wonder if that's true. Is it possible for an athlete to deliberately choose the "mechanical man" route (to stay at second base: Charlie Gehringer was the original, Robinson Cano looks like the incumbent). IOW, an athlete could have the occasional season like Sandberg '84 or '90, but was more intent on staying in a zone for years at a time, not pushing his boundaries: and vice versa, another with identical talent could have "paced" himself but got a bit burnt out in one great effort.

I'm not sure. In many ways Cal Ripken Jr., as mechanical as they come, had similar peaks and valleys to his career as Ryne Sandberg.


It's hard to imagine players have much control over those ups and downs.

But for the purposes of comparison, particularly a HOF analysis, does it matter how they got there? I don't disagree that Sandberg was the more talented player, and he might have had a much better career if he'd been more consistent or hadn't retired briefly, but that doesn't change what he did on the field. I'm all for giving war credit or segregation credit, but good or bad luck in the form of injuries, etc. shouldn't have much impact on the analysis.
   70. AROM Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4631321)
"I don’t blame the players for taking the money, but I think society should be rewarding teachers, doctors and others who are playing an important role in society for the betterment of the population.”


It's a cliché. But Teachers and Doctors ARE compensated much better than ballplayers, as they should be. It's just that the compensation of those groups is more even, while the ballplayers exist in a winner take all world where the top 750 performers make huge money, while the rest are somewhere close to minimum wage. The 1000th best ballplayer is in AAA, making maybe 30K. The 1000th highest paid* teacher is still someone at an elite university level, making several hundred thousand per year. The 1000th highest paid doctor is almost certainly a millionaire.

How much does society spend on baseball in total, compared to how much it spends on healthcare and education? Not very much.

*I intentionally switched from "best" to "highest paid" as we don't have the same metrics to rate employees outside of the ballpark.
   71. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4631322)
if ryne had not halted his career in an attempt to save his marriage he might have had one really good year left in him. he was 34 when he hung it up mid-season, mlb was entering its hitting frenzy era and he was one year away from an outstanding year at the plate.


What everyone seems to forget about Sandberg is the broken wrist. He still hit .300 in 1993, but with about half his usual ISO. That trend continued into 1994, as these things generally do.
   72. zonk Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4631323)
Another thing that hurts Whitaker is that he increasingly platooned -- his last 6 or 7 years, he was almost strictly a platoon player. He was never very good against LHP - not sure if it was a conscious decision by Sparky, et al to keep him in the lineup just for his glove, but as his range went, so did his PAs, even on a limited basis, against LHP.

When you think platoon, you just don't think HoF... rightly or wrongly. It is intersting looking at his late career splits, though -- some of his best numbers (rate-wise) against LHP seemed to come when he was (I'm guessing) just occasionally PH or started against a RHP and stayed in against a lefty reliever... small sample sizes, of course -- but 1992 for example, he had just 85 PAs against LHP (just 3 GS against a LHP) -- but actually posted a 355/481/548 line. Of course, he was dreadful the next year (in just 40some PAs).
   73. AROM Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4631331)
and Chris Carpenter started 3 games


If Morris is a true HOFer, then Carpenter has an interesting case. Here's a big game pitcher with 3 fine starts in the 2011 series, plus 8 scoreless innings in the 2006 series, plus the duel with Halladay.

In regular season, he's got less WAR than Morris (36) but at least is in the ballpark. He's got only a bit more than half as many innings, but pitched much better in his top years. Cy Young, 2nd and 3rd place finish, and a ridiculous 2.24 ERA (182 ERA+).

Sure, Morris has an advantage with the volume of his work, but some voters look down on compilers and prefer the ones with brief flashes of brilliance.
   74. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4631332)
The 2002 Angels


Scioscia isn't done managing yet
   75. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4631337)
Interesting stat, one that's a variant of another one I don't think has ever been matched: Of the 9 starting position plays for the 2009 Yankees (including DH), the top 8 had an OPS+ that ranged from 141 (Teixeira) to 118 (Damon), with 5 of them bunched between 121 and 125. Only Melky was the odd man out at 98. It wasn't Murderers' Row by a long shot, but especially with 4 switch hitters, there was really no way to pitch around anyone but Melky. Has any other team ever been this close to having an all-triple digit OPS+ lineup, let alone one where 8 players were at 118 or above?

By BB-ref starting lineups, Red Sox 2013 had 8 players at 111 or above OPS+, with only Middlebrooks screwing it up at 88. Then Nava, who was essentially full-time, had a 128 OPS+ in 536 PA, Carp had a 140 OPS+ in 243 PA, and Iglesias was at 116 OPS+ in 234 PA before he was traded.
   76. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4631339)
Sure, Morris has an advantage with the volume of his work, but some voters look down on compilers and prefer the ones with brief flashes of brilliance.


Interesting. Roughly speaking, the difference between Morris and Carpenter is 1700 IP at 84 ERA+, which (again, roughly speaking) is about replacement level. Morris's last season was 141 IP at 83 ERA+ which scores at 0.2 WAR. If Carpenter had 12 of those seasons (Morris was 10-6 that year, really pitching to the score), he would be 264-166 3800 IP ERA+ 105.
   77. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4631347)
It's too bad the HOF doesn't induct all-time great teams like the 1984 Tigers. It would be a great event to get the players/managers back together and for fans to revisit treasured memories. That way even if none of the teams individual players ever make the HOF, at least they are part of a HOF induction.
   78. PreservedFish Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4631349)
When you think platoon, you just don't think HoF... rightly or wrongly. It is intersting looking at his late career splits, though -- some of his best numbers (rate-wise) against LHP seemed to come when he was (I'm guessing) just occasionally PH or started against a RHP and stayed in against a lefty reliever... small sample sizes, of course -- but 1992 for example, he had just 85 PAs against LHP (just 3 GS against a LHP) -- but actually posted a 355/481/548 line. Of course, he was dreadful the next year (in just 40some PAs).


Maybe they only let him hit against the crappy lefties.
   79. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4631354)
It's too bad the HOF doesn't induct all-time great teams like the 1984 Tigers. It would be a great event to get the players/managers back together and for fans to revisit treasured memories. That way even if none of the teams individual players ever make the HOF, at least they are part of a HOF induction.

I've long beat the drum for this as a HOM project.
   80. tshipman Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4631355)
Here's a good article on Lou - that paints him as less cerebral and more of an airhead (although, they both fit if you sort of think in terms of smart but not street-smart).... also mentions forgetting his uni in the '85 ASG and having to buy a replacement, which is now in the Smithsonian.


I always thought that was a bad rap. If you look at it from Lou's POV, the uniform's always been in the locker. On road games, home games, whatever, it's always taken care of for him. It's not something he typically has to think about.

If you take as given that he doesn't particularly care about the ASG, it's easy to see how you would forget that.
   81. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4631357)
77 - The Tigers had a 25 year reunion in 2009

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/sports/pro/baseball/teams&id=7037933
   82. DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4631359)
I've long beat the drum for this as a HOM project.


If you want a new HoM project you're going to have to run it.
   83. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4631360)
It's too bad the HOF doesn't induct all-time great teams like the 1984 Tigers.

I've never been to Cooperstown, but I'd be very surprised if the 1984 Tigers weren't represented in the museum.
   84. greenback likes millwall Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4631361)
[Whitaker] has never received much attention from the Detroit press once he retired. it's kind of strange

It is, but I remember reading stories about Whitaker and Trammell having basically nothing to do with one another away from the field. Apparently they got along well enough on the field, and there was no animosity off the field, but when the workday ended, Whitaker went home. Stories like this and the ASG non-interest suggest he was the odd bird, who didn't get much from baseball outside the paycheck (pretty much the anti-Chris Carpenter actually, for better and for worse).

I do wonder what Whitaker would be like in the age of Twitter.
   85. PreservedFish Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4631364)
I've long beat the drum for this as a HOM project.


Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I think that for great teams you would want the exact opposite approach of the HOM. You want to recognize the teams that were colorful, surprising, exciting, fun, etc ... it should be hugely based on subjective factors. At least, that would be more interesting to me than a Teams of Merit project.
   86. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4631367)
   87. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4631371)
It's too bad the HOF doesn't induct all-time great teams like the 1984 Tigers. It would be a great event to get the players/managers back together and for fans to revisit treasured memories. That way even if none of the teams individual players ever make the HOF, at least they are part of a HOF induction.

77 - The Tigers had a 25 year reunion in 2009


Need to be in a city that has a bbwaa writers dinner. This year the Cardinals are celebrating the '64 team and 2013 team. In years past we have celebrated the '67, '82 team and '85 team.
   88. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4631374)
It's too bad the HOF doesn't induct all-time great teams like the 1984 Tigers.

I've always liked that idea, and I'd begin it with the 1949-53 Yankees, who set the greatest team record of all, one that likely never will be broken.
   89. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4631375)

FanGraphs: Does Every World Series Champion Have A Hall Of Famer?


I don't want to register there, and maybe it's addressed in one of the 180 comments, but he's wrong about the 1931 Cardinals. Manager and MVP secondbaseman Frank Frisch was voted in by the writers.
   90. PreservedFish Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4631378)
Now that I think about it I'm almost more interested in the colorful terrible teams. Remember when the Devil Rays thought that McGriff, Canseco, Vaughn and Castilla would be a new murderer's row? Also appearing on that team: Dwight Gooden, Corey Lidle, Jason Tyner and Disney's The Rookie.
   91. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 06, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4631379)
2003 Sawx had 160-149-144-140-121-120-110-95-94 with every guy over 500 PA. If they had Aaron Boone we'd remember them more.
   92. AROM Posted: January 06, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4631388)
Manager and MVP secondbaseman Frank Frisch was voted in by the writers.


True, but if people have come to associate the words "Frankie Frisch" and "Veterans Committee", it's his own damn fault.
   93. zonk Posted: January 06, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4631391)
Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I think that for great teams you would want the exact opposite approach of the HOM. You want to recognize the teams that were colorful, surprising, exciting, fun, etc ... it should be hugely based on subjective factors. At least, that would be more interesting to me than a Teams of Merit project.


In which case, the '84 Tigers wouldn't even be my pick from 1984 :-)

Cubs fan bias, of course, but you had an interesting collection of HoVG talent coming together to collectively put up one final plus year each, together with flashes in the pan, and also a 'true' Hall of Famer... You had Cey (and Lopes, for half a season) coming over from those great 70s Dodgers infields. You had Matthews from the early 80s Phillies teams. Marry that with Sutcliffe and Eckersly coming to town. Sandberg's coming out party. Durham as the link to the cheapskate Wrigleys (he was the bounty from the SUtter trade). You a Concepcion approximate in Bowa.... then interesting guys like Moreland and Davis. A flash in the pan like Dernier. Plus the one-time all-time saves leader in Lee Smith.

Stars aligning with my baseball fandom personally -- the 1984 team was my baseball bar mitzvah -- but first Cubs playoff team in 39 years, a fair number of interesting characters. Potentially, three HoFers (Lee Smith might still go - though I wouldn't vote for him).

The most talent Cubs team I ever saw was the 2003 edition... but the 1984 team will forever be my favorite and most memorable. I still have a box of yellowed newspaper clippings from that year.
   94. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 06, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4631399)
Now that I think about it I'm almost more interested in the colorful terrible teams. Remember when the Devil Rays thought that McGriff, Canseco, Vaughn and Castilla would be a new murderer's row? Also appearing on that team: Dwight Gooden, Corey Lidle, Jason Tyner and Disney's The Rookie.


The 1987 Indians team SI predicted as WS champs! Joe Carter, Brett Butler, Cory Snyder, Julio Franco, Brook Jacoby, Mel Hall all in their primes, plus a rookie Jay Bell making an appearance. And you had two 40-year old HOFers in the rotation in Steve Carlton and Phil Niekro to go with Tom Candiotti, Greg Swindell, and a 6.50 ERA (70 ERA+) from Ken Schom. Even Otis Nixon makes a cameo that year. The club lost 101 games and inspired three "Major League" films.
   95. AROM Posted: January 06, 2014 at 02:18 PM (#4631401)
95 Braves will be off the list as of tomorrow.
97 Marlins: Sheffield? Pudge?
98-00, 2009 Yankees will be fine with Jeter and Mo, even if Andy, Roger, and A-Rod never get in.
2001 D Backs: If Curt can't do it, Randy will.
2002 Angels: Hate to say it, but my favorite team ever will not be represented here.
2003 Marlins: Cabrera
2004 Red Sox: Pedro has it if Curt doesn't. Manny has the stats but no chance.
2005 White Sox: The team that actually played in the WS is a longshot. Mark Beuhrle and Konerko might get HOF votes, but no induction, and probably not the 5% to make a second ballot. But the roster had the Big Hurt still, and they are covered.
2006, 2011 Cards: Pujols got it.
2007 Red Sox: Schilling is closest. Ortiz has a crappy case in a world where Edgar can't get in, but will have a Boston push. If not one of those two, we'll have to wait to see how long Pedroia, Ellsbury, and Lester can last.
2008 Phillies: Too early to say. Utley is the best player, but his career is too Grichlike to interest HOF voters. Can Howard turn around his decline and work towards 500 homers? Rollins and 3000 hits? Can Hamels last long enough to clear 250 wins or so? Will Jamie Moyer make a comeback?
2010,12 Giants: Posey is the best bet. Or else wait to see how long Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner can last.
   96. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: January 06, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4631408)
97 Marlins: Sheffield?
Rick Helling has a chance if anti-steroid hysteria reaches a fever pitch.
   97. BDC Posted: January 06, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4631413)
Those are sweet graphics in the Fangraphs article linked in #86. Thanks, Davo.

It is true that the door to the HOF is never absolutely closed unless you've thrown a World Series. As the decades go by and people get a chance to vote on players from their youth who were notable among other things for winning rings – Slaughter, Schoendienst, Rizzuto stand out in the Fangraphics charts – the WS champs of the past get more and more HOF representation. I think it'll ultimately be that way for the 1984 Tigers, and even more so for the 1996ff. Yankees, even if they miss out a bit in the initial rounds of BBWAA voting.

One factor that may dilute the ranks of World Champion HOFers is the expanded playoffs, naturally (Swydan makes this point WRT to the 1981 Dodgers). The '02 Angels were a Wild Card team, a good team, certainly, but a third-place team out of 14. By contrast, the 1995-96 Indians, dominant in the regular season, already have a couple of HOFers (Murray and Winfield), may get a couple more (Thome and Vizquel), and would have Manny if not for PEDs (and still might), with no rings to show.

   98. BDC Posted: January 06, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4631414)
A flash in the pan like Dernier

Hey, I've been making consistently snarky posts here every year since 2004.
   99. The District Attorney Posted: January 06, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4631416)
Why would you question mark Pudge? PED issue? He has been "linked to" as they say, but I think it's like the Bagwell/Piazza level that doesn't seem to be keeping guys out. Right?
   100. zonk Posted: January 06, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4631419)
2002 Angels: Hate to say it, but my favorite team ever will not be represented here.


Huh... interesting that no one on that team is really even close -- Appier's the closest and he requires both a big hall AND heavily sabermetric case. Glaus probably could have if he'd stayed healthy... other than, Salmon is mostly just "best player never to make an all-star game" note.

I wonder what the longest streak is for a franchise never to have had a HoFer on its roster is?

Just scanning through a couple pages of franchise encyclopedias I have trouble finding 3 consecutive years for the Cubs.... and that's assuming Sosa doesn't go.
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