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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Vote Thurman Munson into the Hall of Fame

I got sent this last night…wonder why.

During his era he was one of the best catchers, Johnny Bench being the best and the other two being Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk, and all are in the Hall of Fame except Munson. An argument can be made that during the years Thurman Munson and Fisk played, Munson was a better all around catcher both offensively and defensively. Munson’s lifetime statistics also compare very favorably to Hall of Fame Catcher Roy Campanella whose career was also ended prematurely. Thurman Munson had a Lifetime Batting Average of .292 and Roy Campanella had a Lifetime Batting Average of .276. In fact Thurman Munson has a higher lifetime batting average then Hall of Fame Catchers Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Johnny Bench, and Carlton Fisk!

In fact Thurman Munson has a lower lifetime OPS+ then Hall of Fame Catchers Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Johnny Bench, and Carlton Fisk!

Repoz Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:26 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, sabermetrics, yankees

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:47 PM (#3891707)
No.
   2. kthejoker Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:48 PM (#3891709)
Sure! Where do I vote? Oh, I see.
   3. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3891739)
I voted for Munson 100 times. I hope it helps!
   4. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: August 03, 2011 at 04:13 PM (#3891781)
Munson hit more homers than Paul Krugman, so he obviously deserves a posthumous Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences!
   5. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: August 03, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3891787)
Compared to other great catchers, Munson has more MVP's than Carlton Fisk, more Gold Gloves than Mike Piazza, a higher avg than Johnny Bench, and more runs than Roy Campanella. Even compared to the greatest HoF sluggers in history, he has more hits than Ralph Kiner and more HR than Honus Wagner. That's got to be good for a plaque in Cooperstown!
   6. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 03, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#3891794)
And he's tied with the great Roberto Clemente!
   7. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: August 03, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3891797)
I think this is a repost from something like a month ago. Anyway:
During his era he was one of the best catchers, Johnny Bench being the best and the other two being Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk, and all are in the Hall of Fame except Munson.
Who was the fourth best catcher at the time? Because after we induct Thurman, all of the best catchers except him will be in the Hall.
   8. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 03, 2011 at 04:49 PM (#3891802)
Who was the fourth best catcher at the time? Because after we induct Thurman, all of the best catchers except him will be in the Hall.

Ted Simmons or Gene Tenace.
   9. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 03, 2011 at 04:50 PM (#3891803)
And he's tied with the great Roberto Clemente!

And he had more ugly than Jim Palmer which overcomes having both fewer candybars and types of vision than Reggie Jackson. I'm going to vote for him another 100 times.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:08 PM (#3891821)
Thurman Munson had a Lifetime Batting Average of .292 and Roy Campanella had a Lifetime Batting Average of .276.


A Lifetime Batting Average? Is that like the rate you played a domestic abuser in a made-for-TV movie? Would Dean Cain be the Ty Cobb in this category.
   11. AROM Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:16 PM (#3891835)
Ted Simmons or Gene Tenace.


Ted Simmons would move Munson back to #4. Fury Gene, though, played only a little over half of his games as a catcher. His 3 years with the most games caught are 125, 104, and 99.

Simmons is the best eligible catcher not in the HOF. Leaving it to guys who played post integration, Munson or Bill Freehan are probably the next best catchers not in the hall.
   12. DL from MN Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:29 PM (#3891855)
> Munson or Bill Freehan are probably the next best catchers

Or Elston Howard. I'm assuming the same eligibility standards as you. I think Freehan is a cut above Howard and Munson.
   13. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:39 PM (#3891866)
Fury Gene, though, played only a little over half of his games as a catcher. His 3 years with the most games caught are 125, 104, and 99.

.... but a 136 OPS+ (in only 5525 PAs- less than Thurm)
2nd highest OPS+ all time for someone who played 50% of his game behind the plate

Tenace was likely an MLB caliber hitter at age 22, didn't play regularly until age 26, is "missing" some 750-1250 PAs on the front end of his career due to organizational choice- that's what kills him- he'd never be in the HOF but with those extra PAs he'd likely be in the HOM
   14. BDC Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:42 PM (#3891870)
Wasn't there just a Munson thread? Anyway I don't think I ran comps for him in exactly this way. Here are shortstops and catchers, centered on Munson in terms of PAs and OPS+ very narrowly, and ranked by WAR Fielding Runs.

Player              Rfield   PA OPS+
Elston Howard           40 5843  108
Thurman Munson          32 5903  116
Nomar Garciaparra       24 6116  124
Ernie Lombardi           0 6349  126
Cecil Travis             0 5414  108
Javy Lopez             
-25 5793  112
Mickey Tettleton       
-52 5745  121 


That's not really highly enlightening, though the players on the list do share common ground in that they were really good for a relatively brief time. The catchers had short careers mostly just because they were catchers, though Howard was slowed by Yankee organizational timidity and being blocked by Yogi Berra, and Tettleton, frankly, by not being a very good catcher, and getting limited time there till he was too old to do anything but have a couple of big years at 1B and RF and DH. Travis's career was shortened by the War, and Nomar's by being Nomar.

Munson was an excellent player, but the current Hall standards don't seem to look highly on excellent catchers with careers that short, except for Lombardi who (a) had some interesting character notes and (b) took forever to be a Veterans' inductee. It does seem that Munson's career was winding down even before he crashed, and nobody should really get "death credit" for the Hall unless they were an outstanding humanitarian or something, which would be an odd way of describing Thurman Munson, not to speak ill.
   15. jingoist Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:55 PM (#3891885)
Why?
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:03 PM (#3891891)
And he's tied with the great Roberto Clemente!


In what - mid-career deaths?

What, too soon?
   17. AROM Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:10 PM (#3891898)
Or Elston Howard.


Howard's career is a bit short on value. He was a great catcher for 6 seasons out of a 7 year stretch, at ages 29-35. Outside of that, he doesn't have much at all. Rookie season at 26 is outstanding in part time play, but not so good at 27-28.

Was he a late bloomer or did racism hold him back? Obviously his path at catcher was blocked some by Yogi Berra. Looking at his minor league stats, his 1954 season is great, but the year before that he hit 286/326/427 - not an obvious "should be in the majors" line.

Then there's Korea - from BB-ref bullpen "He also served two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, missing the 1951-1952 seasons. One can easily argue that, were it not for the playing time lost to military service, the color barrier, and to being stuck behind the great Berra, Howard would have made it to the Hall of Fame."

Yeah, I can understand how the combination of circumstances made him into a late bloomer. Then again, had he come up in 1975 for a team without a HOF catcher, would he still have so much left in the tank by his early 30's? It's a very tough what-if case. I can see arguing for him as a peak candidate.
   18. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:17 PM (#3891908)
Not to say he should be in the Hall, but there are only 11 players (mostly Hall of Famers) who caught as many games as Munson and equaled or bettered his 116 OPS+. Pretty darn good.
   19. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3891912)
It does seem that Munson's career was winding down even before he crashed...


He was coming off four consecutive seasons of 180-plus hits. And Thurm wasn't known for legging them out. He was on the backside of his career...but I don't think he was cooked or anything. I think his biggest HOF obstacle might have been that by the time of his death it seemed like his heart really just wasn't into baseball anymore. You got the impression from interviews that he could've walked away from the game at any time.
   20. DanG Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:40 PM (#3891930)
Catchers with most WAR thru age-32 season.

Rk            Player WAR/pos OPS+   PA From   To   Age    G Career
1       Johnny Bench    69.7  129 7700 1967 1980 19
-32 1877 71.3 H
2        Gary Carter    62.8  124 6900 1974 1986 20
-32 1688 66.3 H
3     Ivan Rodriguez    57.1  115 7215 1991 2004 19
-32 1758 68.0
4        Mike Piazza    52.6  155 5193 1992 2001 23
-32 1258 59.1
5          Joe Torre    51.2  132 7397 1960 1973 19
-32 1808 55.6
6        Ted Simmons    49.4  124 7444 1968 1982 18
-32 1801 50.4
7    Mickey Cochrane    48.9  129 5902 1925 1935 22
-32 1411 51.2 H
8         Yogi Berra    48.6  128 6090 1946 1957 21
-32 1474 61.9 H
9        Bill Dickey    45.8  130 5504 1928 1939 21
-32 1353 54.4 H
10        Buck Ewing    44.9  139 4229 1880 1892 20
-32  971 51.8 H
11    Thurman Munson    43.4  116 5903 1969 1979 22
-32 1423 43.4
12      Bill Freehan    41.5  114 6176 1961 1974 19
-32 1583 43.3
13       Gene Tenace    41.4  136 4692 1969 1979 22
-32 1245 48.7
14         Joe Mauer    39.8  134 3782 2004 2011 21
-28  887 39.8
15      Carlton Fisk    37.7  126 4353 1969 1980 21
-32 1078 67.3 H
16    Darrell Porter    37.1  112 5945 1971 1984 19
-32 1545 40.6
17   Roger Bresnahan    36.6  131 4496 1897 1911 18
-32 1151 41.6 H
18     Jason Kendall    36.3  103 6584 1996 2006 22
-32 1545 38.1
19      Wally Schang    32.0  127 3987 1913 1922 23
-32 1111 43.8
20     Jack Clements    30.4  119 4291 1884 1897 19
-32 1041 31.9
21      Jim Sundberg    29.2   91 5101 1974 1983 23
-32 1398 35.1
22    Roy Campanella    28.9  128 3453 1948 1954 26
-32  865 36.2 H
23    Gabby Hartnett    28.8  123 4534 1922 1933 21
-32 1228 50.3 H
24     Lance Parrish    28.3  109 5670 1977 1988 21
-32 1399 35.7
25      Jorge Posada    27.6  122 3999 1995 2004 23
-32 1003 45.1 
   21. DL from MN Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#3891980)
Mauer has 4 seasons to climb further up that list...
   22. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:39 PM (#3891993)
I'll do you a deal. I'll vote for Munson if you'll vote for my boyhood fave Bob Love for the basketball HoF. I will add a vote for Maris if you'll vote for Keith Magnuson for the hockey HoF. Or Chico Maki maybe -- that was a great name.

Munson for Love
Maris for Maki

Deal?
   23. Morty Causa Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:56 PM (#3892008)
   24. pinball1973 Posted: August 04, 2011 at 12:09 AM (#3892233)
I assumed this was an Onion parody. It was about as absurd, but the jokes weren't as funny: you might even come to the conclusion the writer was serious.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: August 04, 2011 at 12:20 AM (#3892238)
Mauer has 4 seasons to climb further up that list...

Does Mauer have the most games played not at catcher among that list? I count basically a full season(130) games not at catcher.
   26. Rob_Wood Posted: August 04, 2011 at 12:21 AM (#3892241)
Walt, we must be around the same age since I loved Bob "Butterbean" Love too. Smooth as silk and a great jumpshot. Those 1970's Bulls teams were fun to watch. Why didn't they win more?
   27. AROM Posted: August 04, 2011 at 12:26 AM (#3892245)
The arguments aren't good ones, but Munson does have a real case as on of the best catchers of all time. He's definitely Hall of Very Good, and right on the borderline of the HOF. Should he go in? Tough call, I haven't made up my mind on that.
   28. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:38 AM (#3892304)
Does Mauer have the most games played not at catcher among that list? I count basically a full season(130) games not at catcher.

The aforementioned Tenace beats him in one season (134 games at first in 1973). Buck Ewing and Roger Bresnahan also spent quite a bit of time at other positions, and even Gary Carter played about 130 games in the outfield before being firmly established behind the plate.
   29. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:53 AM (#3892312)
The arguments aren't good ones, but Munson does have a real case as on of the best catchers of all time. He's definitely Hall of Very Good, and right on the borderline of the HOF. Should he go in? Tough call, I haven't made up my mind on that.

Yeah. I guess I'll never get why it's so hard for some people to understand that borderline candidates will have their fanboys, especially if the player died tragically in mid-career. Who are these folks hurting, exactly?
   30. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:55 AM (#3892313)
I'll do you a deal. I'll vote for Munson if you'll vote for my boyhood fave Bob Love for the basketball HoF.


Hmmmm. I'm mildly surprised that he's not in.
   31. DanG Posted: August 04, 2011 at 04:27 AM (#3892394)
the most games played not at catcher
Total career games with 1400+ games at catcher

Rk           Player    G  at C
1     Ivan Rodriguez 2538 2424
2       Carlton Fisk 2499 2226
3        Ted Simmons 2456 1771
4        Gary Carter 2295 2056
5          Bob Boone 2264 2225
6       Johnny Bench 2158 1742
7         Yogi Berra 2120 1699
8      Jason Kendall 2085 2025
9     Gabby Hartnett 1991 1793
10         Tony Pena 1988 1950
11     Lance Parrish 1988 1818
12   Benito Santiago 1978 1917
13       Brad Ausmus 1971 1938
14      Jim Sundberg 1962 1927
15          Al Lopez 1950 1918
16       Mike Piazza 1912 1630
17      Rick Ferrell 1884 1806
18    Ernie Lombardi 1853 1544
19      Wally Schang 1841 1435
20      Jorge Posada 1800 1573
21       Bill Dickey 1789 1708
22    Darrell Porter 1782 1506
23    Deacon McGuire 1782 1612
24      Bill Freehan 1774 1581
25      Rick Dempsey 1766 1633
26        Ray Schalk 1762 1727
27      Sherm Lollar 1752 1571
28         Jim Hegan 1666 1629
29       Luke Sewell 1630 1562
30    Rollie Hemsley 1593 1482
31      Steve ONeill 1590 1532
32     John Roseboro 1585 1476
33      Del Crandall 1573 1479
34     Jason Varitek 1527 1469
35   Mickey Cochrane 1482 1451
36        Muddy Ruel 1467 1410
37   A
.JPierzynski 1461 1407 
   32. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 04, 2011 at 05:21 AM (#3892418)
And he's tied with the great Roberto Clemente!

In what - mid-career deaths?

What, too soon?


I think I've identified the problem here; whenever you ask a question containing the word "who," I've been mistaking it for the first baseman's nickname, which is also the word "Who."
   33. Benji Posted: August 04, 2011 at 05:22 AM (#3892420)
What bugs me about this argument is that all of the statistics based arguments are valid. I can't find anything that could clinch a pro-Munson argument. But paraphrasing the Supreme Court judge on pornography, I know a Hall Of Famer when I see one, and despite hating the Yankees, I think he should be in. Those of you that never saw him play can't know what a force he was. He was out there to stick the bat down your throat if winning required that. Fisk has all the numbers, but if the two teams were equal or close to it, Munson's team would beat Fisk's. It's impossible to quantify. You just had to see it for yourself.
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: August 04, 2011 at 05:51 AM (#3892430)
For those too young to know, Munson was pretty burnt out by 1979.

At age 31 in 1978, with his bad knees, they tried 13 games in RF, which were an adventure. 101 OPS+ in 154 G (125 C), which was good but matched his worst career effort.

In 1979, he had dropped to 95 OPS+, and any extrapolations without context are silly. He caught 1095 G at C from 1970-78, and it caught up with him. He was a very good player with some very good teams, and I have voted for him on the tail end of weaker HOM ballots.

But if you think his career stats would be significantly more impressive if he had lived longer, look closer.

I saw the half-career of Munson and the double career of Fisk myself, and they were both really feisty. Munson caught more high-priced, new-fangled free agent SPs, to be fair. If Fisk had as high a priced-staff as Munson, his team would beat Munson (wait, they sometimes did anyway).
   35. Walt Davis Posted: August 04, 2011 at 07:59 AM (#3892442)
Walt, we must be around the same age since I loved Bob "Butterbean" Love too. Smooth as silk and a great jumpshot. Those 1970's Bulls teams were fun to watch. Why didn't they win more?

Because God hates me. Other than the intervention of a force greater than God (Michael Jordan) and last year's Blackhawks miracle, nada championships for moi.

Cubs, Bulls, Hawks, Vikings, DePaul/Illinois

That is a record of monumental failure (non-Jordan).
   36. Morty Causa Posted: August 05, 2011 at 03:52 AM (#3893206)
34 has it right. Munson was fading fast. He was not at all a likable guy, but he was a good player. The rivalry with Fisk was amusing, and instructive about his competitive nature. He seemed to hate Fisk personally. It was all out of proportion that it seemed cartoonish--like he was Yosemite Sam talking about that dagnabbit rabbit. Fisk was losing games to injuries in the early part of his career, and I think Munson resented that many, in spite of this, nevertheless thought Fisk better.

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