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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Trammell’s “good at everything” hasn’t been great enough for Hall of Fame voters

Trammell won’t be joining Ozzie Smith, Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto, or Luis Aparicio in the Hall of Fame, shortstops who were not his equal.

For Trammell, maybe the knowledge that he was considered very good is good enough. Maybe the comfort lies in knowing he was a man who didn’t have a glaring weakness on the diamond.

Wahoo Sam Posted: January 01, 2014 at 11:16 AM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: alan trammell, detroit tigers, hall of fame

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   1. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 01, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4627571)
I feel like Trammell might have gotten a lot more support with a better PR campaign. Specifically, he was a great player screwed out of Hall of Fame support by an accident of timing--he retired just as the era of Big Hitting Shortstops was kicking off. Known to many blowhard journalists who turn in blank or short ballots as the Steroid Era.

You'd think Trammell would be a guy a lot of these writers would want to champion. But it hasn't happened.
   2. John DiFool2 Posted: January 01, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4627577)
Yeah, the irony, it burns...
   3. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 01, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4627578)
"Traditional baseball experts point out that Trammell was one of the 2-3 best shortstops in the league from 1980 until the mid-1990s, that no good baseball man would have ever traded Trammell straight up for Ozzie Smith."



Which is probably true, yet Ozzie sails right in while Tram can't get past 1st base. Maybe they should allow "good baseball men" a vote.
   4. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: January 01, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4627579)
Trammell has a similar problem with Hall of Fame voters as Quisenberry had. Though Trammell, compared to Quiz, has the distinct advantage of being a Hall of Fame caliber player. Had the writers voted for Trammell instead of George Bell in '87, he'd be a much stronger candidate without being an iota different as a player.

If Quiz had won a Cy Young Award rather than Pete Vuckovich or LaMarr Hoyt, he probably wouldn't have been one-and-done, and possibly could have received a significant boost following Sutter's election.

   5. dejarouehg Posted: January 01, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4627587)
I have usually cringed at the players voted in by past iterations of the veterans committees, especially Mazeroski.

I'm still torn on Santo. Not sure if I justify it b/c I'm a Cubs fan or he genuniely deserved it. (I believe being the dominant player at your position for a decade is a fair bar, especially if you aren't one dimensional.)

However, I look forward to Trammell getting his just due. The author said he wasn't great at any one facet of the game. I disagree. I think he was a great all-around shortstop, relative to his era and would have been very highly regarded had he played in the subsequent generation.

Who does he not stack up against? Certainly not ARod when he was playing SS.

Or Nomar at his peak, brief as it was (though you're kidding yourself if you don't think he was a product of that era).

Ripken? (Although they are more contemporaries) If you watched both of their careers, did you think there was a bag gap between the 2?

Jeter? I am one of those Jeter apologists. I really buy into the Jeter intangibles. I think Trammell was a better player.
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 01, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4627590)
If Quiz had won a Cy Young Award rather than Pete Vuckovich or LaMarr Hoyt, he probably wouldn't have been one-and-done, and possibly could have received a significant boost following Sutter's election.

I've never thought of Sutter as a HoFer, but until I just checked BB-Reference I didn't realize that Sutter and Quisenberry were virtual statistical twins.

Sutter: 12 years, 1042 innings, 2.83 ERA, 24.5 WAR
Quisenberry: 12 years, 1043.1 innings, 2.76 ERA, 24.9 WAR

I'd like to see any two pitchers who were closer than that in terms of raw numbers.

The ERA+ tiebreaker would go to Quisenberry, 146 to 136, and AFAICT there's no real reason other than that lone CYA and his reputation as having pioneered the splitter that could explain Sutter's HoF status while Quisenberry was one and done.

   7. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 01, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4627596)

The ERA+ tiebreaker would go to Quisenberry, 146 to 136, and AFAICT there's no real reason other than that lone CYA and his reputation as having pioneered the splitter that could explain Sutter's HoF status while Quisenberry was one and done.[/quote




He's Candy Cummings +
   8. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 01, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4627597)
I have no idea why my response ended up in the "quote" box?
   9. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: January 01, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4627614)
You missed the last ] in quoting Andy, #8.

I think Santo is deserved, #5, and I think that's the general consensus here. Trammell will probably go in via Vets, and I just hope he doesn't have to wait too long for that.
   10. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 01, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4627615)
Yes I did, thank-you.
   11. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 01, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4627618)
AFAICT there's no real reason other than that lone CYA and his reputation as having pioneered the splitter that could explain Sutter's HoF status while Quisenberry was one and done.


Sutter had three seasons of 4+ WAR, Quisenberry had two. That, I think, is the total sum of the argument that Sutter is more qualified (or less unqualified) for the HoF. Sutter had one Hall of Fame-type season more than Quisenberry.

I would hope that Quisenberry is one of the very first inductees when they open the Baseball Hall of Awesome.
   12. John Northey Posted: January 01, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4627625)
One wonders if submarine style pitching took off instead of splitters if Quiz would be instead of Sutter. Never did get why so few used after Quiz had so much success and so did Eichhorn in the mid-80's (nearly won an ERA title in relief in 1986). One would think more would've picked it up.
   13. flournoy Posted: January 01, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4627636)
My take is that submarine style pitching is similar to the knuckleball, in that it is the domain of pitchers who have failed as traditional style pitchers. Most modern pitchers are big and tall, and their height gives their pitches a downward slope - an advantage they surrender when pitching submarine, along with a few miles per hour off of their pitches. Submarine or sidearm pitchers also tend to be especially vulnerable to opposite handed hitters, making them often unsuitable for roles outside of situational reliever. Topping out as a situational reliever isn't the aspiration of any promising young pitcher, so they aren't trained for the style.
   14. Chris Fluit Posted: January 01, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4627644)
AFAICT there's no real reason other than that lone CYA and his reputation as having pioneered the splitter that could explain Sutter's HoF status while Quisenberry was one and done.


Sutter had three seasons of 4+ WAR, Quisenberry had two. That, I think, is the total sum of the argument that Sutter is more qualified (or less unqualified) for the HoF. Sutter had one Hall of Fame-type season more than Quisenberry.



Don't forget the difference between 300 nice-round number career saves and 244. We're talking about the baseball writers here, not a baseball prospectus panel.
   15. puck Posted: January 01, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4627645)
One wonders if submarine style pitching took off instead of splitters if Quiz would be instead of Sutter. Never did get why so few used after Quiz had so much success and so did Eichhorn in the mid-80's (nearly won an ERA title in relief in 1986). One would think more would've picked it up.


Is it difficult to pick up? (Submarining, rather than "mere" side-arming.) Or maybe Byung-Hyun Kim is responsible.

Amazingly, I think that is one thing that the Rockies have not tried. They like sinkerballers and Steve Reed was successful with them for years. Yet they've not tried to convert fringe minor leaguers.

These guys also seem to have rarely been given a chance to start often in MLB. Kim was the last guy I remember but he was also past-prime at that point.
   16. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 01, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4627649)
Topping out as a situational reliever isn't the aspiration of any promising young pitcher, so they aren't trained for the style.

But as you say, most pitchers try to get an advantage based on their height. So if a promising young pitcher is 5'10" or under, dominating from the submarine or sidearm angle might be the best option.
   17. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: January 01, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4627656)
"Traditional baseball experts point out that Trammell was one of the 2-3 best shortstops in the league from 1980 until the mid-1990s, that no good baseball man would have ever traded Trammell straight up for Ozzie Smith."


I'm not buying this...setting aside that A) the difference between Ozzie and Trammell is probably too close to call, and that B) Ozzie actually nudges past Trammell in WAR with entirely reasonable-looking defensive numbers (239 runs above average on defense according to BRef, or about 15 per 162 games...anybody having trouble believing that? Hell, it might be conservative), Ozzie's reputation while active seems to me to be far greater than his statistics show. Didn't Whitey Herzog (granted, he was the guy's own manager) suggest that Ozzie was saving half a run a game on defense? Even if you halve that number, Ozzie is still providing utterly absurd amounts of defensive value in his mind - and I'm guessing he was far from the only guy in baseball to think Ozzie was saving astronomical numbers of runs.
   18. BDC Posted: January 01, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4627657)
Ripken? (Although they are more contemporaries) If you watched both of their careers, did you think there was a bag gap between the 2?

Yes. Though the comparison may suffer from ill timing. Trammell came up very young and with a world of potential. Just as his career got going, Ripken came up and blew past him. Trammell was eventually better for a couple of years (notably 1987, of course), but then as he declined, Ripken came back and had a really tremendous season in 1991. (It is hard to express how good Ripken was in '91, though as a Rangers fan my perspective is warped: Ripken hit .409 against Texas.) Ripken seemed not only greater, but better for longer – more than seemed, I suppose.

That's irrelevant to the HOF, because being as good as Cal Ripken is not the standard, obviously.
   19. puck Posted: January 01, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4627663)
Ripken? (Although they are more contemporaries) If you watched both of their careers, did you think there was a bag gap between the 2?

Yes. Though the comparison may suffer from ill timing.

Yeah, that one puzzled me. Given the "if you watched both" part, I figured most people thought Ripken was the better player. Though as you say, not that this should have bearing on Trammel's HoF case.
   20. flournoy Posted: January 01, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4627667)
But as you say, most pitchers try to get an advantage based on their height. So if a promising young pitcher is 5'10" or under, dominating from the submarine or sidearm angle might be the best option.


Certainly it could be. But nobody at any amateur level will convert the kid into a submariner, so long as he's having success from an over the top or 3/4 angle. (And if he isn't, then he's not going to be a big league pitcher from any angle.) And then I think you run into the same problem up the line - people won't mess with success. By the time a pitcher falters and becomes a candidate to switch to submarine, he needs to be promising enough to make it worth a team's time and effort, young enough to radically overhaul his entire mechanics that he's been practicing his whole life, and willing to give it a shot. I don't think it's surprising that there aren't too many guys who fit the bill.
   21. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: January 01, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4627669)
Didn't Whitey Herzog (granted, he was the guy's own manager) suggest that Ozzie was saving half a run a game on defense?

That's nothing. Rico Brogna saved 100 runs a year!
   22. dejarouehg Posted: January 01, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4627675)
Yeah, that one puzzled me. Given the "if you watched both" part, I figured most people thought Ripken was the better player. Though as you say, not that this should have bearing on Trammel's HoF case.
I'm not disputing that Ripken was better, I just don't believe the gap was that significant - I would argue Trammell was a better fielder than Ripken and that given the position, that makes them more comparable.
   23. Srul Itza At Home Posted: January 01, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4627710)
Ripken? (Although they are more contemporaries) If you watched both of their careers, did you think there was a bag gap between the 2?


Agreeing with the others who tout Ripken. The thing a lot of people miss about Ripken was how great a defensive short stop he was. He had an amazing arm and played deeper, allowing him to get to more balls. I don't see that Trammell was a better fielder at all.

The other thing, of course, is the vast difference between the two in in-season durability. Trammell topped 150 games only 3 times, and topped 140 only 8 times. That may be one of the biggest problems he faces in regards to getting HOF votes.


Because of his defensive excellence, he does stack up well against Jeter, although Jeter trounces him in durability and offensive value. Given the issues with defensive statistics, that will not convince everyone. Given a choice, I would take Jeter's career, but it's close.
   24. Srul Itza At Home Posted: January 01, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4627712)
I would argue Trammell was a better fielder than Ripken


Based on what?
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: January 01, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4627719)
I'm not disputing that Ripken was better, I just don't believe the gap was that significant - I would argue Trammell was a better fielder than Ripken and that given the position, that makes them more comparable.


Why not? Pretty much every way to look at it, the gap is significant. I don't get the love for Nomar, he's not really in the conversation, even if you limit it to top 3-5 years, Trammel was still probably better even then. But Ripken put up some epic years combined with him playing every game adds tremendous value to his in season numbers. Just looking at top war you have Ripken with seasons of 11.5, 9.9 and 8.2.
   26. Flynn Posted: January 01, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4627723)
Trammell seems to not only be suffering from the backlog, but from Raines's presence as the standard bearer of overlooked 80s superstars. People seem to have decided that Tram's not getting in - correctly - and to hitch their skills of persuasion on Raines's candidacy.
   27. cardsfanboy Posted: January 01, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4627726)
I do find fault with calling Ozzie Smith a one dimensional. Yes he is primarily known for his defense, but he was a tremendous asset on the bases, and in his peak years he was putting up .360+ obp. Yes he wasn't the offensive threat of Trammel or Ripken, but one dimensional is understating his skills.


I guess if you are looking for nice easy buckets to put him in, it's fair to call him one dimensional, but it's over simplifying it. Also I'm not even sure that Trammell was better than Ozzie on the whole like this article is claiming. It's close I'm sure of that but I find that I flip flop frequently on who I think was the better player.
   28. Morty Causa Posted: January 01, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4627730)
Wasn't Smith about the best offensive shortstop in the national league for most of his career? He worked hard at it, knowing his inherent physical limitation, as hard as Cal worked on his defense. Had Dickie Thon not been beaned, however, I think Ozzie would be view quite differently.
   29. BDC Posted: January 01, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4627752)
Wasn't Smith about the best offensive shortstop in the national league for most of his career?

In the mid-1980s he was, certainly. Bill James made a cogent case for Smith being the National League MVP in 1987, given that he was an above-average hitter and a great baserunner in addition to being Ozzie Smith.

Early and late, of course, Smith was well behind Templeton (the guy he'd be traded for) and Larkin. And Dickie Thon was a powerhouse before (and briefly, years after) his beaning.
   30. Morty Causa Posted: January 01, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4627774)
Yeah, Dickie was a real tragedy. Given the park he played in, he would have withstood comparison to the American League shortstops on their terms.
   31. Hank G. Posted: January 01, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4627790)
Trammell won’t be joining Ozzie Smith, Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto, or Luis Aparicio in the Hall of Fame, shortstops who were not his equal.


I really don’t understand the disrespect that Pee Wee Reese gets. I can only assume that he is hurt by being associated with his contemporary Phil Rizzuto.

Admittedly, WAR isn’t everything, but Reese compiled 66 WAR to Trammell’s 70 in four fewer seasons (although they had virtually the same number of PAs). Reese also lost three prime years due to WWII, which likely would have put him ahead of Trammell in total WAR. Trammell does have more WAA, but considering Reese’s lost time, I can’t see that Reese is anything but equal or slightly superior to Trammell.

Trammell, of course, is more than qualified to be in the HOF.
   32. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 01, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4627792)

Wasn't Smith about the best offensive shortstop in the national league for most of his career?


Mostly by default, sort of like Morris being the best pitcher of the '80s. I mean even if he really was the best pitcher of the 80's. In Ozzie's defense (no pun intended), he was as an offensive player, more then the sum of his parts.
   33. Morty Causa Posted: January 01, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4627804)
I really don’t understand the disrespect that Pee Wee Reese gets.

When Rizzuto was being promoted for the HOF, one of the main reasons give was that he was Reese's counterpart, Bill James early in his writing on the HOF would curtly replied that Reese wasn't in the HOF because of his on the field play. That may be true, but that doesn't mean he didn't deserve to be. And if that is indeed so, that bodes ill for some shortstops. Who in the NL was better than Pee Wee for the '40s and early '50s?
   34. dejarouehg Posted: January 01, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4627839)
I would argue Trammell was a better fielder than Ripken .......... Based on what?


Admittedly I don't have much more than a middle-aged memory and won't insult anyone by referring to Gold Gloves. (I don't understand DWAR, I only know it was suggested that this indicated Andruw Jones was a better CF than Willie Mays, therefore it has little value to me.)

   35. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 01, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4627841)
Wasn't Smith about the best offensive shortstop in the national league for most of his career?
Thon was clearly better before he got hurt at the beginning of 1984, and Larkin was clearly better from 1988 on. So, NL shortstops 1984-1987, 50% of games at the position, 200+ games played:

Rk            Player oWAR Rbat Rdp Rbaser   G   PA   BA  OBP  SLG
1        Ozzie Smith 15.9   13   7     19 593 2414 .281 .369 .356
2       Hubie Brooks 11.8   29  
-2     -5 501 2062 .283 .330 .442
3     Craig Reynolds  4.7  
-42   6      1 502 1712 .259 .290 .364
4         Jose Uribe  3.8  
-37   4      2 407 1390 .245 .310 .328
5     Mariano Duncan  3.6  
-44   2     16 327 1352 .233 .285 .324
6          Tom Foley  3.6  
-20   4     -2 404 1165 .264 .316 .372
7      Dave Anderson  3.2  
-27   1      3 398 1233 .235 .315 .309
8        Luis Aguayo  2.9   
-3  -1     -2 305  660 .237 .312 .428
9     Shawon Dunston  2.8  
-34   4     -1 319 1242 .251 .282 .391
10   Dave Concepcion  2.6  
-42  -5     -3 503 1877 .262 .323 .338 

The AL over the same time frame had Ripken and Trammel who were both clearly better offensive ballplayers. Julio Franco and Tony Fernandez were in the same ballpark as Ozzie, though a bit below by WAR.
   36. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 01, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4627845)


Admittedly I don't have much more than a middle-aged memory and won't insult anyone by referring to Gold Gloves. (I don't understand DWAR, I only know it was suggested that this indicated Andruw Jones was a better CF than Willie Mays, therefore it has little value to me.)


Why is that so impossible to believe? As you can see by my handle, Mays holds a special place in my heart, but that doesn't mean I have to lose all objectivity when presented with the possibility that there just might be some aspects of his game that are exceeded by a mere mortal. The fact that no other player has done so many things at such a high level of excellence for so long as The Say Hey Kid is good enough for me.
Of course that could change if Mike Trout could repeat his last two years till ~2025.
   37. Srul Itza At Home Posted: January 01, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4627853)
My middle aged memory is that Ripken, while not "acrobatic", was a fantastic fielder by a combination of intelligent positioning and a powerful arm that allowed him to play deep. Even if you want to discount dWAR, it is notable that he has the 4th highest total and was first or second in the league 8 years; and in raw counting numbers led the league many times in putouts, assists and double plays turned. Now, all of these have their flaws, and Ripken gets the benefit of playing just about every inning of every game; but when you have this much evidence all pointing in the same direction, it is hard to ignore.

I am not saying that Trammell was not a good defensive short stop; just that Ripken almost never gets the due he deserves because (a) his defense gets overshadowed by the streak and his offense and (b) he did not have the prototypical look of the good defensive short stops.
   38. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 01, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4627874)
I only remember Ripken from near the end of his career, but my acquaintances a little older than me all say nobody ever played a deeper shortstop than Ripken. Most of the parks in his day were turf; I wonder if he'd get away with that quite so well playing 100% on grass.
   39. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 01, 2014 at 07:18 PM (#4627877)
Most of the parks in his day were turf; I wonder if he'd get away with that quite so well playing 100% on grass.


But Ripken's home parks were natural grass for his entire career. Ripken could get away with playing so deep because he arm was so strong. Bill James talked about this in the NBJHA, going to KC and comparing Ripken's arm to the Royals' shortstop (Kurt Stillwell, maybe?), who had just been named as having the strongest infield arm by somebody, and James talked about how it was just ridiculous how much stronger Ripken's arm was than Stillwell's (or whoever the guy was).
   40. Jay Z Posted: January 01, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4627886)
I only remember Ripken from near the end of his career, but my acquaintances a little older than me all say nobody ever played a deeper shortstop than Ripken. Most of the parks in his day were turf; I wonder if he'd get away with that quite so well playing 100% on grass.


Most American League teams did not have turf. 1982, Ripken's rookie year, only Blue Jays, Mariners, Royals, and Twins had turf. The rest had grass.
   41. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 01, 2014 at 08:34 PM (#4627894)
Didn't everyone play deeper on turf, because the ball moves faster?
   42. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 01, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4627909)
Old Memorial was grass? Huh. My bad.
   43. greenback calls it soccer Posted: January 01, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4627914)
Old Memorial was grass?

My recollection of the 1979 World Series was that the Orioles did not play on artificial turf, but I am not sure I'd call it grass, thanks in part to the Colts.
   44. Hank G. Posted: January 01, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4627941)
When Rizzuto was being promoted for the HOF, one of the main reasons give[n] was that he was Reese's counterpart, Bill James early in his writing on the HOF would curtly replied that Reese wasn't in the HOF because of his on the field play.


That’s odd that he would say that. He rated him 10th best shortstop ever in the New Bill James Historical Abstract. Number nine was… Alan Trammell. Both ARod and Jeter were in mid-career at that time, so I assume Reese and Trammell would be a couple of places lower now (he ranked Banks as a shortstop, so he’d likely do the same with ARod).

James rated Rizzuto as 16th, but by WAR, Pee Wee had 50% more career value than the Scooter.
   45. kwarren Posted: January 01, 2014 at 11:19 PM (#4627968)
Because of his defensive excellence, he does stack up well against Jeter, although Jeter trounces him in durability and offensive value. Given the issues with defensive statistics, that will not convince everyone. Given a choice, I would take Jeter's career, but it's close.


According to JAWS it's Trammell 57.5 (11th all-time) and Jeter 56.9 (12th all-time).

So I guess Jeter will have the same issues getting inducted that Trammell has had.....ducks.

Every shortstop ahead of Trammell (except Bill Dahlen and Alex Rodriguez) has been inducted as well as 14 who are behind him.
   46. kwarren Posted: January 01, 2014 at 11:24 PM (#4627970)
Because of his defensive excellence, he does stack up well against Jeter, although Jeter trounces him in durability and offensive value. Given the issues with defensive statistics, that will not convince everyone. Given a choice, I would take Jeter's career, but it's close.


According to JAWS it's Trammell 57.5 (11th all-time) and Jeter 56.9 (12th all-time).

So I guess Jeter will have the same issues getting inducted that Trammell has had.....ducks.

Every shortstop ahead of Trammell (except Bill Dahlen and Alex Rodriguez) has been inducted as well as 14 who are behind him.

Also I'm not even sure that Trammell was better than Ozzie on the whole like this article is claiming. It's close I'm sure of that but I find that I flip flop frequently on who I think was the better player.


Ozzie is 7th all-time with with 59.4 JAWS and an OPS+ of 87, so it gives you a pretty good idea of his defensive contribution.
   47. kwarren Posted: January 01, 2014 at 11:30 PM (#4627972)
Because of his defensive excellence, he does stack up well against Jeter, although Jeter trounces him in durability and offensive value. Given the issues with defensive statistics, that will not convince everyone. Given a choice, I would take Jeter's career, but it's close.


According to JAWS it's Trammell 57.5 (11th all-time) and Jeter 56.9 (12th all-time).

So I guess Jeter will have the same issues getting inducted that Trammell has had.....ducks.

Every shortstop ahead of Trammell (except Bill Dahlen and Alex Rodriguez) has been inducted as well as 14 who are behind him.

Also I'm not even sure that Trammell was better than Ozzie on the whole like this article is claiming. It's close I'm sure of that but I find that I flip flop frequently on who I think was the better player.


Ozzie is 7th all-time with with 59.4 JAWS and an OPS+ of 87, so it gives you a pretty good idea of his defensive contribution.

(I don't understand DWAR, I only know it was suggested that this indicated Andruw Jones was a better CF than Willie Mays, therefore it has little value to me.)


I'm older than middle aged, and even I agree that Andruw was better than Mays, both to the eye and the stats support this. It might be sac-religious, but that doesn't mean it isn't so.
   48. Cooper Nielson Posted: January 02, 2014 at 06:09 AM (#4628026)
Submarine or sidearm pitchers also tend to be especially vulnerable to opposite handed hitters, making them often unsuitable for roles outside of situational reliever.

Crap, this is bugging me now. I don't mean to re-deflect this discussion away from Trammell, but I'm trying to think of a right-handed sidearmer in recent history (probably late '90s or early 2000s) who pitched for the Giants or A's and was nearly unhittable against right-handed batters, but vulnerable against lefties. It was the first time I ever thought about a sidearm delivery amplifying the platoon split.

Now I can't remember who it was. I think he was an older journeyman, a Jim Mecir type. (But Mecir was not a sidearmer, was he?) It might have been Steve Reed, but he was only with the Giants for one year, and it seems like it was someone who stuck around longer.

Any other possibilities? It was definitely not Chad Bradford.
   49. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 02, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4628049)
Reed's platoon splits were the ones that everyone talked about, so extreme (~240 points of OPS for his career) that he was often called a ROOGY.
   50. flournoy Posted: January 02, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4628061)
Are you sure it wasn't Chad Bradford? He fits the bill pretty well.

To me, the quintessential submariner will always be Brad Clontz, since he was the first one I saw. I now discover that Clontz had a 417 point OPS split between righties and lefties. Wow! Lefties just ate him alive.

EDIT: "Clontz" is also a perfect name for a submariner.
   51. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 02, 2014 at 10:19 AM (#4628064)
Jim Mecir had a weird delivery, but he didn't have a platoon split at all.

I can't find who else you'd be thinking of. No other righty from those teams has nearly as much of a split as Reed or Bradford (or Brad Ziegler).

Was Mark Dewey a sidearmer? Rich DeLucia? Jim Corsi? These names mean nothing to me.
   52. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 02, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4628067)
To me, the quintessential submariner will always be Brad Clontz, since he was the first one I saw. I now discover that Clontz had a 417 point OPS split between righties and lefties. Wow! Lefties just ate him alive.


For me, it'll be Kent Tekulve.

Like most guys with that kind of delivery, he had to struggle to make it. He played D-III ball at Marietta College, went undrafted, and showed up at one of those cattle-call open tryout camps teams used to stage in the '60s and '70s. The scouts thought he looked so funny during the running portion of the event that they made him wait until after all the other kids had left (and there were more than a thousand) before they even let him throw.
   53. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 02, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4628070)
Submarine or sidearm pitchers also tend to be especially vulnerable to opposite handed hitters, making them often unsuitable for roles outside of situational reliever.


Like most guys with that kind of delivery, he had to struggle to make it.

I think the large platoon splits you find in submariners probably have two origins. First, the guys who end up down there mostly do so out of desperation. They're not the guys who are currently overpowering hitters. They are the talent equivalent of the LOOGYs.

Second, the ball really is easier to pick up due to the fact that it's coming in at a better angle for the lefthanded hitter. Just as it's slightly harder for a righty to pick up than it is a conventional delivery because of the way the ball sweeps across the body, it's correspondingly easier for the lefty.


   54. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 02, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4628072)
Cal Ripken was my favorite player as a kid, but I still thought of Trammell as being only a slight notch below him.

And Ripken was a terrific fielder -- he almost never made a mistake or a bad throw and got to a ton of balls.
   55. Cooper Nielson Posted: January 02, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4628115)
I guess it was probably Steve Reed. It was a sidearmer, not a submariner, and I was living in San Francisco at the time, in the days before MLB.tv, so I'm pretty sure it was someone on the A's or Giants. That platoon split in 1998 was pretty ridiculous.
   56. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 02, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4628117)
Jim Mecir had a weird delivery, but he didn't have a platoon split at all.

Mecir threw a screwball and so had a reverse platoon split. The pitch overcame the delivery.
   57. Moeball Posted: January 02, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4628598)
Food for thought - borrowing from a previous thread on Trammell - I looked at what approximated a decade's worth of play for several shortstops to see what their extended peaks really were. Most people look at "peak" as 5 years or, I think JAWS does 7 years, but since the HOF requires players to have played 10 years in the big leagues, I decided to focus on 10-year peaks. This means essentially looking at about a 1600 game sample from a player's career, or something in that neighborhood. That represents 10 seasons' worth of play at around 160 games/season. Some players' samples will come up a smidge under that, some will be a bit over. If a player's level of play over a decade is such that an average season looks like All-Star level performance, then I think that speaks strongly to his viability of being recognized as a HOFer.

I did a B-R player index search which yielded these as the top 6 names on the list for 10-year peaks based on WAA - I used WAA instead of WAR because I think it better represents peak performance over league standard. I looked at the years 1900-2013 so I guess that cuts out George Davis and Bill Dahlen (sorry, guys!):

1)Honus Wagner - sample consisted of 1666 games - a bit over 10 seasons' worth - typical WAA/162g came in at 7.4. That's just way beyond anyone else at the position. Even time-lining for the more difficult level of competition today I don't know how you could get that under 6 WAA/season.

2)Cal Ripken - over a period of 1565 games, averaged 5.1 WAA/162g (one would have expected Ripken to have 1620 games or so on his list since he didn't miss any games, but one of his better years was the shortened 1994 season, thus the slightly lower total of games).

3)Arky Vaughan - a 1624 game sample - almost exactly 10 "162-game" seasons - averaged 4.7 WAA/162g.

4)Barry Larkin - was frequently injured so it took 13 seasons to get him to a 1582 game sample. But over that stretch he averaged 4.5 WAA/162g, very impressive indeed.

5)Lou Boudreau - had a relatively short career - it took 12 seasons to accumulate 1588 games of play averaging 4.3 WAA/162g.

6)Alan Trammell - his sample includes 1628 games at 4.3 WAA/162g. Boudreau's seasonal average is a tick higher but also includes WWII seasons where the level of competition was considerable weaker so I'm not 100% certain he should rank ahead of Trammell here.

Walt pointed out that my list left off A-Rod and Ernie Banks, two players who got moved off of the shortstop position before they had played a decade, which is probably why my B-R sort left them off. Looking at them I see that yes, indeed, A-Rod should be on this list - for the period 1996-2003 as a shortstop(8 years) he picked up 45.7 WAA over 1210 games, a rate of 6.1 WAA/162g, which would move him into 2nd place on this list behind Wagner. You could easily fill in the remaining 400 games or so (to get him to 1600 games)with some of A-Rod's peak years at third base, which wouldn't lower that average, so I could buy the idea that he could average 6 WAA/season for a decade.

Banks is another story - there is also conjecture about whether he may have been moved off of shortstop prematurely or not - but, in his case, there just isn't much value to add at all outside of his core shortstop peak from 1955-1961. For those 7 years he had a B-R WAA of 34.8 over 1052 games, an average rate of 5.3 WAA/162g, an outstanding rate. But even if you add an additional 4 seasons to get him up to a 1600 games played level (including years when he was playing first base), he adds at most 2 additional WAA, leaving his total for his best decade well short of 40 WAA.

Other shortstops I looked at and how they did over their best decade's worth of play:
Luke Appling - 1651 games, 4.0 WAA/162g.
Robin Yount - 1614 games, 4.0 WAA/162g. (Includes 8 seasons at SS and the rest in CF)
Ozzie Smith - 1624 games, 3.8 WAA/162g.

Shortstops such as Joe Cronin, Pee Wee Reese and Derek Jeter were also examined and here's how they did:

Cronin - 1603 games, 3.5 WAA/162g.
Reese - 1621 games, 3.2 WAA/162g.
Jeter - 1659 games, 3.2 WAA/162g.

I think a 10-year peak is a pretty strict standard to hold players to, but we're talking about the HOF here, so I'm holding these guys to a higher standard. Based on the above, I think Trammell did better than I thought he would - I don't see him any lower than the 7th best shortstop on this list - over the last century. Guys such as Ozzie and Jeter may have higher WAR in their careers but I think a lot of that is compiling more good but not necessarily excellent seasons.

At any rate - I had always thought of Trammell as "borderline" before now but, in light of this, I'm beginning to think he may be way over the line qualified as a HOFer. Which makes his struggle to get elected even more puzzling.

Oh, one other thing I thought was interesting about this study - every shortstop on this list was all-around excellent for a period of at least a decade - meaning, above average offensively as well as defensively (compared to his position). I was surprised that Ozzie accomplished this (remembering watching him when he was with the Padres and his stick was just awful), but his good years with St. Louis included several seasons with pretty good OBP so he does better offensively than I remembered. So all of these guys were helping their teams on offense and defense.

Except Jeter, of course. If he had just been an average defensive shortstop he would have been playing at almost a 5 WAA/season level for a decade, but he basically loses almost 2 WAA/year due to his deficiencies in the field.

Are there other shortstops (post-1900) that I'm missing that I should be looking at? These guys are the ones who primarily showed up on my B-R player index sort.
   58. BDC Posted: January 02, 2014 at 06:44 PM (#4628607)
For me, it'll be Kent Tekulve

And for me, Ted Abernathy. I know there are senior Primates who can top that, though :)
   59. kwarren Posted: January 02, 2014 at 07:30 PM (#4628646)
Guys such as Ozzie and Jeter may have higher WAR in their careers but I think a lot of that is compiling more good but not necessarily excellent seasons.


That exactly what it is, but there is real value in that, especially considering that the vast majority of great players don't do this.
   60. bjhanke Posted: January 03, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4629005)
Kiko - your memory is correct, including Stilwell. Ripken, when young and just converted from 3B, was VERY good. He was considered the best defensive SS in the AL, and behind only Ozzie in all of baseball (Jose Oquendo may have been better than Cal, but he also had the misfortune of playing on a team with Ozzie Smith at SS, and two guys (Tommy Herr, Ken Oberkfell) at 2nd and 3rd, who were better hitters, and of the same type, as Jose.

I would say that Trammell was not as good as Ozzie or Pee Wee, but was better than Rizzuto and Aparicio. And I would also say that there is no question that Alan Trammell belongs in the Hall of Fame. He's on the borderline of "no-brainer", not the borderline of the Hall of Fame in general. - Brock Hanke
   61. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 03, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4629064)
Now I can't remember who it was. I think he was an older journeyman, a Jim Mecir type. (But Mecir was not a sidearmer, was he?) It might have been Steve Reed, but he was only with the Giants for one year, and it seems like it was someone who stuck around longer.


Brad Ziegler is the name that came to my mind immediately. .534 vs. RHB, .822 vs. LHB in his career.

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