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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why Dwight Evans Is a Much Better Candidate For The Hall of Fame Now Than He Was 15 Years Ago

John Tuberty ≫ Dick Bresciani.

Looking back at the 1999 BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot, one can really see how much baseball statistics have evolved since Evans last appeared on the ballot.  Indeed, when you look at more than just traditional stats and include sabermetric and previously overlooked stats, Evans’ career matches up very favorably to the other outfielders and first baseman that the former Red Sox slugger shared the ‘99 ballot with.  Moreover, when you compare Evans’ OBP, WAR, and OPS+, to the last four right fielders voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA, his .370-62.8-127 OBP, WAR, OPS+ line is on par with the .354-63.4-130 average of the four Hall of Fame right fielders.  Of those four Hall of Fame right fielders, three:  Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, and Reggie Jackson were easily voted into Cooperstown on their first ballot, while the other, Andre Dawson, had to wait nine years before he was elected, mostly due to his inferior .323 career OBP.  Yet, even if you omit Dawson and compare Evans to just the three first ballot Hall of Fame right fielders, his .370-62.8-127 line still similar to the three first-ballot Hall of Fame right fielders’ .364-64.4-134 line.

...Dropped from the Hall of Fame ballot by a BBWAA voting body yet to be educated in sabermetrics, Evans is the definition of an overlooked Hall of Fame candidate.  While some players’ Hall of Fame candidacies seem to wilt under the light of sabermetrics, there are others, such as Evans that have been given new life and are ready to bloom.

Repoz Posted: June 26, 2012 at 07:28 AM | 48 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, sabermetrics

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   1. Ray (CTL) Posted: June 26, 2012 at 08:02 AM (#4166374)
One of my favorite players, but he falls just short of the Hall in my view. He is the classic HOVG player.
   2. Russ Posted: June 26, 2012 at 09:17 AM (#4166408)
Dawson did not have to wait nine years because of his OBP. He had to wait nine years because the prime of his career happened in a low offense era, he only had a .279 lifetime BA and only 2774 hits, and he finished his career in a high offense era (so the people playing when he retired just looked so much better). By the time the Hawk was on the ballot, 438 HR was just not that big of a deal.

   3. Russ Posted: June 26, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4166410)
Evans' B-R similarity scores read like a Who's Who of the HOVG: Luis Gonzalez, Chili Davis, Billy Williams, Tony Perez, Dave Parker, Darrell Evans, Al Kaline, Harold Baines, Steve Finley, Bobby Abreu. Three HOF players, but two of those guys are very marginal HOF (Williams and Perez). Great player, not really a HOFer.



   4. bobm Posted: June 26, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4166443)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, not in the Hall of Fame, Played 50% of games at RF, sorted by greatest WAR Position Players

                                                              
Rk              Player WAR/pos From   To   Age    G    PA  OPS
1         Larry Walker    69.5 1989 2005 22-38 1988  8030 .965
2         Dwight Evans    62.8 1972 1991 20-39 2606 10569 .840
3          Bobby Abreu    57.5 1996 2012 22-38 2298  9836 .876
4          Bobby Bonds    55.7 1968 1981 22-35 1849  8090 .824
5    Vladimir Guerrero    55.4 1996 2011 21-36 2147  9059 .931
6           Sammy Sosa    54.8 1989 2007 20-38 2354  9896 .878
7        Ichiro Suzuki    54.7 2001 2012 27-38 1822  8380 .787
8           Jack Clark    50.1 1975 1992 19-36 1994  8230 .854
9            J.D. Drew    42.4 1998 2011 22-35 1566  6153 .873
10      Rocky Colavito    41.7 1955 1968 21-34 1841  7559 .848
11         Rusty Staub    41.6 1963 1985 19-41 2951 11229 .793
   5. bobm Posted: June 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4166454)
[4] Above table is top 11 of 499 qualified players
   6. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 26, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4166494)
He had to wait nine years because the prime of his career happened in a low offense era


but he played in a hitters park and that makes up for some of that, you want someone whose raw numbers were crucified by run context? Jimmy Wynn & Sal Bando,
   7. stanmvp48 Posted: June 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4166507)
Evans and Dawson had almost precisely the same # of PAs. Evans 272 376 470 Dawson 279 323 482. 800 more walks and 50 fewer home runs.
   8. Mattbert Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4166606)
Isn't a big part of Dewey's candidacy his defensive credentials? The article only mentions his terrific throwing arm in passing; no further discussion of his defense. You don't need to fluff his hitting stats to have a strong case. Dew was a near-great hitter who was also a fantastic defender. In a world where the HoF includes Rice, Dawson, and Winfield...Evans should be in too. End of story.
   9. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4166619)
I think Evans suffers from the slow offensive start he had during his early years.
   10. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4166673)
And because of the slow offensive start and the fact that the Red Sox had good lineups, he rarely batted 3rd or 4th so that people thought of him as being about like Jesse Barfield rather than about like Al Kaline.
   11. TDF, trained monkey Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4166688)
I think Evans suffers from the slow offensive start he had during his early years.
I think he suffers from never being great in a season, and not being good enough long enough.

There's something "catchy" to reccommend the other players listed in the thread: Dawson and Rice had MVPs (and Dawson had the GGs, too); Winfield had 3000 hits; Gwynn had 7 batting titles; Jackson retired #6 in career HRs.

Beyond the Gold Gloves, what's behind his candidacy? Evans didn't have any of the counting stats, never lead the league in BA, didn't steal any bases, lead the leage in HR only in a strike year, only made 3 AS games, never made any noise in MVP voting. By bWAR, he had 2 seasons over 5.0, none over 7.0.

He played a very long time, and put up a very good career. But a HOF with Evans would have to make room for a number of other guys who've been excluded so far, too.
   12. smileyy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4166765)
[2] Were park factors the primary reason for the low offensive environment of that era, or were there strike zone or pitching changes that I'm not remembering? Or is it all steroids, muscles and juiced balls?
   13. Biscuit_pants Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4166795)
[2] Were park factors the primary reason for the low offensive environment of that era, or were there strike zone or pitching changes that I'm not remembering? Or is it all steroids, muscles and juiced balls?
When I look back at the late 70's and 80's I think the differences in scoring were a combination of the following: Bigger parks/foul territory, weight training was not universally excepted, strike-out guys were considered bad so you had more weak hitting contact guys, certain teams went speed crazy which for the most part cut down on power, and after a couple of high profile beaning’s the inside strike was called less which lead to the off the plate outside strike to be called more, when that was reeled in you had a very small strike zone and could wait for you pitch more. I am sure I am forgetting one or two things.
   14. bjhanke Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4166809)
The interesting one to me is that Sammy Sosa falls below Bobby Bonds. I do vote in the Hall of Merit (although my consensus scores are not high because I think early pitchers are underrated, and a couple of other reasons). I have Bonds ranked second or third on my ballot every year, behind Babe Adams. Obviously, BARRY Bonds is going to be my first vote this year (I believe he is eligible), but it's interesting that, in spite of all the homers, Sammy won't be ahead of the entire backlog. On the other hand, Evans has more WAR than either of them. I've got some research to do. Nice article here. WAR isn't the only system out there, but the listing does put Evans on my map. One big boost for Sosa is that he didn't extend his career by DHing; I make substantial deductions for that, because DH has no defense component and, frankly, a lot of the guys who have 5 years or so of DH credit at the end of their careers are guys who, absent the DH rule, simply had lost so much defensive value that they could not have continued to play at all in an earlier period. - Brock Hanke
   15. bjhanke Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4166828)
I just went over to BB-Ref to double-check. Sammy did in fact play his last two years in the AL, with many games at DH, so he will take a small hit there. I'm now pretty certain I will have him below Bobby Bonds. Evans has a worse DH case to look into, and it's complicated because he did play some time in the field. I don't know if my adjustment will drop him below Bobby, but I now think it might. The main reason I take a DH drop against BB-Ref WAR is that I think their DWAR scores deeply understate the negative value I give a DH. I'm pretty draconian about guys who have no defensive value at all. I don't vote for Rafael Palmeiro, and the DH games play a large part in that. - Brock
   16. smileyy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4166848)
[13] Thanks -- I was trying to rationalize why "great players wouldn't put up great player numbers" if it was a talent selection thing. That is, regardless of whether teams wanted banjo-hitting shortstops, a great power hitter should still be a great power hitter. Along with the ballparks, the aversion to TTO baseball and weight training would explain a lot.
   17. Oscar.Gambles.Hair Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4166895)
The Jim Rice election created this endless conundrum. Evans was a better player than Rice was, for a longer time.

The HOF is a farce driven by media.
   18. Oscar.Gambles.Hair Posted: June 26, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4166903)
Sorry, forgot to add that Evans wasn't the "most feared" hitter for five minutes in the late 70's.

I think I owe Shaugnessy and Gammons a shot of rotgut for copyright. They have lawyers, I better pay.
   19. eric Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4167011)
Isn't a big part of Dewey's candidacy his defensive credentials?


Well, according to BBref's definitive defensive metric, dWAR, Evans is at -4.6 dWAR for his career, with only three positive seasons after the age of 25.
   20. Mattbert Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4167020)
Needless to say, I do not have what you'd call a whole lot of faith in WAR in general and dWAR in particular.
   21. BWV 1129 Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4167037)
Remember, dWAR includes the positional adjustment. Evans was +66 fielding runs by BB-Ref's measures, but loses 136 for being a RF.
   22. RJ in TO Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4167044)
Well, according to BBref's definitive defensive metric, dWAR, Evans is at -4.6 dWAR for his career, with only three positive seasons after the age of 25.

Well, according to BBref's definite defensive metric, dWAR, this includes a season by season positional adjustment so, despite his -4.6 dWAR for his career, he was actually 66 runs above average at that position, which should probably be considered as a point in his favor.
   23. BWV 1129 Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4167049)
Here are a list of hitters comparable to Dwight Evans -- all are corner OF within 1000 PA and 5 OPS+ points of Dewey's career totals:

Rk             Player OPS+    PA    G   AB    R    H  RBI   BB  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS      Pos
1          Tony Gwynn  132 10232 2440 9288 1383 3141 1138  790 319 125 .338 .388 .459 .847   
*98/7D
2    Roberto Clemente  130 10211 2433 9454 1416 3000 1305  621  83  46 .317 .359 .475 .834  
*9/8745
3         Bobby Abreu  129  9836 2298 8271 1432 2423 1344 1442 395 127 .293 .397 .479 .876   
*9D7/8
4          Zack Wheat  129  9996 2410 9106 1289 2884 1248  650 205  69 .317 .367 .450 .817    
*7/89
5          Sammy Sosa  128  9896 2354 8813 1475 2408 1667  929 234 107 .273 .344 .534 .878   
*98D/7
6        Goose Goslin  128  9829 2287 8656 1483 2735 1609  949 176  89 .316 .387 .500 .887  
*79/835
7        Dwight Evans  127 10569 2606 8996 1470 2446 1384 1391  78  59 .272 .370 .470 .840  
*9D3/78
8       Willie Keeler  127  9610 2123 8591 1719 2932  810  524     495 .341 .388 .415 .802 
*9/54786
9         Rusty Staub  124 11229 2951 9720 1189 2716 1466 1255  47  33 .279 .362 .431 .793  
*9D3/78
10         Tim Raines  123 10359 2502 8872 1571 2605  980 1330 808 146 .294 .385 .425 .810  
*78D/49 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/26/2012.

Gwynn is in the Hall of Fame. Clemente is in the Hall of Fame. Wheat is in the Hall of Fame. Sosa possesses Hall of Fame numbers. Goslin is in the Hall of Fame. Keeler is in the Hall of Fame. Staub is not in the Hall of Fame. Raines should be in the Hall of Fame (but obviously gains a lot through baserunning/stealing).

Corner outfielders who play as long as Evans and hit about as well tend to be Hall of Famers. He has a superb defensive rep on top of it. I think he should be in the Hall.
   24. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4167052)
I always thought the Jim Rice election would lead to a campaign for some similar Yankees player, as a ###-for-tat measure. The consensus candidate seemed to be Roy White, a person I had never heard of until all the tons of articles came out listing the players that Jim Rice was no better than. But possibly it will lead to Boston media doubling down and seriously trying to get Dwight Evans in there.
   25. BWV 1129 Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4167058)
Amongst players who have played 50%+ of their games in RF, Evans' +65 fielding runs ranks 15th on BB-Ref's list. Out of 712.
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4167063)
I always thought the Jim Rice election would lead to a campaign for some similar Yankees player, as a ###-for-tat measure. The consensus candidate seemed to be Roy White, a person I had never heard of until all the tons of articles came out listing the players that Jim Rice was no better than. But possibly it will lead to Boston media doubling down and seriously trying to get Dwight Evans in there.


Or maybe just getting the right guy in there this time.
   27. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4167069)
Amongst players who have played 50%+ of their games in RF, Evans' +65 ranks 15th on BB-Ref's list. Out of 712.


What about among other positions? I mean who ranks 15th at the other positions, are they hofers?
   28. BWV 1129 Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4167071)
I put in an edit, I meant 15th in fielding runs.
   29. BWV 1129 Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4167076)
Jim Rice and corner OF of similar career length and hitting prowess:

Rk           Player OPS+   PA    G   AB    R    H  HR  RBI   BB  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS      Pos
1        Al Simmons  133 9518 2215 8759 1507 2927 307 1827  615  88  65 .334 .380 .535 .915   
*78/93
2       Fred Clarke  133 9838 2246 8584 1622 2678  67 1015  875 509   0 .312 .386 .429 .814  
*7/6985
3      Jose Canseco  132 8129 1887 7057 1186 1877 462 1407  906 200  88 .266 .353 .515 .867   D97
/81
4     Ken Singleton  132 8559 2082 7189  985 2029 246 1065 1263  21  36 .282 .388 .436 .824   
*9D7/8
5       Bobby Abreu  129 9836 2298 8271 1432 2423 286 1344 1442 395 127 .293 .397 .479 .876   
*9D7/8
6       Bobby Bonds  129 8090 1849 7043 1258 1886 332 1024  914 461 169 .268 .353 .471 .824   
*98/D7
7        Zack Wheat  129 9996 2410 9106 1289 2884 132 1248  650 205  69 .317 .367 .450 .817    
*7/89
8        Sammy Sosa  128 9896 2354 8813 1475 2408 609 1667  929 234 107 .273 .344 .534 .878   
*98D/7
9          Jim Rice  128 9058 2089 8225 1249 2452 382 1451  670  58  34 .298 .352 .502 .854   
*7D/98
10     Goose Goslin  128 9829 2287 8656 1483 2735 248 1609  949 176  89 .316 .387 .500 .887  
*79/835
11    Willie Keeler  127 9610 2123 8591 1719 2932  33  810  524     495 .341 .388 .415 .802 
*9/54786
12      Kiki Cuyler  125 8100 1879 7161 1305 2299 128 1065  676 328  27 .321 .386 .474 .860      987
13   Enos Slaughter  124 9086 2380 7946 1247 2383 169 1304 1018  71  15 .300 .382 .453 .834    
*97/


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/26/2012.

Simmons, Clarke, Wheat, Sosa, Goslin, Keeler, Cuyler, and Slaughter are all either in the Hall (or, in Sosa's case, have typically worthy numbers).
   30. Rally Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4167085)
I always thought the Jim Rice election would lead to a campaign for some similar Yankees player, as a ###-for-tat measure. The consensus candidate seemed to be Roy White, a person I had never heard of until all the tons of articles came out listing the players that Jim Rice was no better than. But possibly it will lead to Boston media doubling down and seriously trying to get Dwight Evans in there.


Roy White never had a chance to get to the HOF. Not really close to being even a borderline candidate. Which makes it so ridiculous that Rice gets in without being any better than White. Yankee HOVG candidates who could conceivably have a chance are Don Mattingly, Bernie Williams, or Thurman Munson. None of them ever really picked up steam, but at least they have their supporters. That's a lot more than can be said about Roy White. Besides, it's not something that requires a Yankee response. Rice going in was an affront to fans of everyone except the Red Sox, not just to the Yankees. And even an affront to some Red Sox fans, many of whom never cared much for him when he was playing, and many of whom realize that Rice was not even the best player in his own outfield.


   31. Ford Prefect Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4167086)
I'm not a big fan of WAR, but going by Win Shares Above Bench, if we entertain Evans' candidacy, might we also need to look at Jack Clark? And Reggie Smith? And Bobby Bonds? Maybe even Ken Singleton?

Evans seems to me one of those players perched in the vicinity of the in/out line, at which point 'if N then X' puts us firmly on the slippery slope to the Land of the Big HoF.
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4167088)
Simmons, Clarke, Wheat, Sosa, Goslin, Keeler, Cuyler, and Slaughter are all either in the Hall (or, in Sosa's case, have typically worthy numbers)


And Canseco, Singleton, Bobby Bonds, and probably Abreu are all not going in. Basically Jim Rice is an inferior version of Bobby Abreu. (less speed, defensive value, less obp, better power)I'm not sure how that got him into the hof.
   33. zenbitz Posted: June 26, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4167140)
You know, I thought Evans was a better hitter than Rice. But it seems he just played longer and better defense. Maybe better peak too. It seems essentially wrong to have Rice IN Evans OUT, but I can't be sure I'd rather both IN or both OUT.
   34. BWV 1129 Posted: June 26, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4167142)
The jury's still out on Abreu; I think he's not likely to make it, at this point, because his numbers are underappreciated, but I suspect he has a good case.

Canseco was more DH than anything, and a lousy OF when he played out there. He's also near the bottom of the playing-time spectrum for those guys. Bobby Bonds is at the bottom of the list in terms of playing time, and even then I'm not so sure he hasn't been shafted.

I think Evans has a better case than Rice, and I don't think Rice had a bad case. I don't know if I would have supported him, because I didn't care enough to figure it out, but I don't think his election is an affront in the slightest. However, I do think there are several players more deserving than he who aren't in -- Evans, Grich, Whitaker, Trammell ...
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4167167)
I think Evans has a better case than Rice, and I don't think Rice had a bad case.


Rice's case is horrible, because there are so many more clear deserving players who didn't get a sniff. (as you mentioned)

I'm not a pro- Dick Allen for the Hof, but he has a much better case. Just sticking to outfielders, you have Evans, you have Raines, Reggie Smith(who missed the list on post 29 because of only 8051 pa or the 137 ops+ he had) Dave Parker(missed the list because of the decline phase of his career which put him over 10,000 pa) McGriff, Larry Walker, Dale Murphy, Heck Harold Baines is possibly as good of a candidate. And that is just a quick grab over the past few years of names on the ballot.
   36. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 26, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4167190)
Amongst players who have played 50%+ of their games in RF, Evans' +65 fielding runs ranks 15th on BB-Ref's list. Out of 712.

And that's B-ref's definitive defensive metric.
   37. Moeball Posted: June 26, 2012 at 10:17 PM (#4167378)
As has been discussed in previous Dewey threads, I tend to look at where a player fits in the overall scheme of things. Per BBref, there have been 17,837 major league players throughout history. Add 1000 or so Negro League players that never got a chance to play in what we think of as MLB and you're up to almost 19,000 players in history (and if I'm short-changing the number of NL players, please let me know). I would think if you were in the top 1% all-time (about 190 players at this point) you would have to be considered the very definition of HOF material.

Currently there are something like 250 players in the HOF (someone else can confirm the exact number, I'm sure). If you're drawing a line at about the top 1% of the player population, the HOF indeed looks overpopulated.

So where does Dwight Evans fit on the list? Depends on how you measure performance, I guess. BBref has him in the top 125 players of all time at almost 63 WAR. Bill James has him at something like 350 career Win Shares, which is in the top 150 players, I think. Total Baseball has Evans at around +25 Wins Above Average (BBref actually has Evans at +33 WAA). I think Total Baseball's ranking is actually the lowest and would put Evans outside the top 200 players.

By two of these measures Evans is clearly well within the top 1% of players all time; by the third, just outside that. I guess that makes him sort of "borderline" depending on whom you talk to.

I am curious, however, at how Evans is viewed here at BTF. It looks like several people don't draw the HOF line at the top 1%; more like the top 1/2 of 1% (i.e., the HOF should probably have only about 100 players). That is probably the classic definition of "Small Hall", I guess.

So for those of you who consider yourselves "Small Hall" people - what do you use to measure performance? I have mentioned 3 popular measurement systems above, all of which have their fans and critics. All have flaws. The variances between these systems can help some players and hurt others. For that matter, even the systems themselves change from time to time. I admit I was kind of surprised to see that when BBref WAR was overhauled recently, many players saw serious hits to their WAR rankings, but Evans wasn't one of them, so he has, in fact, moved up on the list.

If you don't like the popular measurement systems used in the SABR community, what do you use instead? I may be an old dog but I can still learn a few new tricks if someone has something really creative out there that puts things in a new light.

I would think the consensus of most systems would probably show Evans to be in the top 175 players or so overall, which would put him at just inside the top 1%. Of course, there are a lot of "ifs" involved - how do you choose to measure performance, how many Negro League players should be added which could move Evans up or down the list, etc.

Also - for "Small Hall" advocates out there - do you think there should be equal representation from each position or do you think some positions will naturally have more inductees than others? For instance, if you think there should be about 90 players in the HOF, do you pick the top 10 at each position?

Just curious...
   38. Sunday silence Posted: June 26, 2012 at 10:38 PM (#4167386)
The Jim Rice election created this endless conundrum. Evans was a better player than Rice was, for a longer time.

The HOF is a farce driven by media.


This pretty much sums it up for me. I dont quite get the interest at this pt. when we have so many other ways to look at this. We have the SABR community right here. But you also have computerized games/simulations; you have the whole burgeoning science of running multiple trials over and over and producing weather patterns.

I.e. I get the human desire to rank "everything." One of my friends in a wargaming forum used to lament this as some sort of human failing, like getting drunk or cheating on your wife.

I like lists. It doent settle anything but it is very interesting way to look at thing. Top ten best dressed, top ten actresses you want to bang. Whatever. I get it.

But why the HoF? Why that so matters?
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM (#4167390)
I am curious, however, at how Evans is viewed here at BTF. It looks like several people don't draw the HOF line at the top 1%; more like the top 1/2 of 1% (i.e., the HOF should probably have only about 100 players). That is probably the classic definition of "Small Hall", I guess.


I don't think anyone really is drawing the line as high as you think, just that they aren't basing their opinions strictly on career numbers. Evans has more war than McGwire, and I think McGwire is a much better hof candidate(100% ignoring roids of course). Peak does hold some value.

For me to argue for a player, I at least start with "Is he the best player eligible at his position who is currently not in?" I have Raines ahead of him, along with Larry Walker at the starting point of the conversation. I do not want to enter the slippery slope arguments of "if so and so is in, and Evans is better than him, then he should be in...."especially after they admitted Dawson and Rice.

I limit my arguments for
C Simmons
1b Bagwell, McGwire, Palmiero
2b Whitaker, Grich
ss Trammel
3b----with Santo gone, don't have any.(I do not support Dick Allen)
cOF---don't really have any, I let others argue for Raines most of the time.
CF---I'm saving up for Edmonds.
P---Kevin Brown(and when Morris goes in Dave Stieb, not to really put Stieb in, but to show a superior pitcher, from the same era, who didn't get the love that Morris for some godforsaken reason has gotten)

Also - for "Small Hall" advocates out there - do you think there should be equal representation from each position or do you think some positions will naturally have more inductees than others? For instance, if you think there should be about 90 players in the HOF, do you pick the top 10 at each position?


Not a small hall advocate, but I think the answer is obviously no. I find it somewhat a silly notion to think that each position is equally valuable, within even one game or a season. To argue that they are equally valuable throughout a career makes no sense. Some positions are prone to the best players, who can then slide down the defensive spectrum and still be valuable players as their defense erodes, centerfielders and shortstops have longer careers because of this, at least at the highest performance level.
   40. Ford Prefect Posted: June 26, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4167399)
I'm a 'Small Hall advocate', and I find Moeball's attempt to define criteria a bit too formulaic.

When I look at a player, there is only one question that needs to be answered positively for me to think he should be enshrined, and that is 'Was he the best player at his position for his career?'

Having said that, I actually apply other tests because the HoF is not a simply about on-field statistics, and there is an element of 'if N then X' that is only fair. So if a player was the best at his position for his career at a time of positional weakness, then I might start backing players from stronger areas who were the second or third best.

Evans is, as I have noted, probably on the in/out line. The fact that Rice was elected doesn't really affect his case, to my mind, because Rice is also at best on the in/out line. A player like Reggie Jackson or Tony Gwynn is more important to making the case for Evans than Jim Rice.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: June 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4167400)
But why the HoF? Why that so matters?


Because it matters. It's the highest honor in baseball, that generates the most potential discussions about an individual player. Because there are so many ways to look at, it generates a lot of heated arguments from multiple view points, and because it hasn't be perfectly quantified, there is plenty of wiggle room.

I do not get people who are hardcore baseball fans, who don't enjoy the discussion. I can understand the ultimate results not being so pretty, or enjoyable,(and even then you have righteous indignation) but the build up to it, is fascinating.


   42. Walt Davis Posted: June 26, 2012 at 11:39 PM (#4167435)
On Dawson: Part of his case is the great all-around player (the steals plus the defense), the peak and that he played tons of CF (and I think was treated more as a CF than RF by the voters). To compare Dawson to Evans strictly as RFs is silly on its face. Of course WAR adjusts for those things and the WARs come out similarly which essentially says that Evans' superior OBP is balanced out by Dawson's superiority in other respects.

Here's where dWAR can be helpful -- Dawson is about 6 wins ahead there. Dawson was in CF through age 28 and bWAR gives him +75 Rfield. Through age 28, playing 80+% of games in CF, that +75 is 7th all-time, just behind Mays and just ahead of Cameron.

do you think there should be equal representation from each position

roughly speaking yes. Not a quota system but they should be roughly equivalent.

More precisely I would say that you should look for clear break points at each "position" (don't get me started) and work from there. For example, using WAR for convenience, among those with 70+% games in CF, DiMaggio is 6th at 75 and Lofton in 7th at 65. Willie Davis (#13) is closer to Lofton than Lofton is to DiMaggio. There's a clear break point there so the top 6 are, in essence, 1st ballot guys.

In that 7-13 group, you've got Lofton, Snider, Beltran, Ashburn, Jones, Edmonds and Davis. Snider and Ashburn are in, Davis clearly not. I don't know that I think Lofton should be in (lots of defense in his value) but Beltran (who's not done), Jones and Edmonds I would be comfortable with. So, point being, somewhere in here is the borderline and which of these guys you think should be in and which out will require more specific digging. This is where the "if X then why not Y" arguments focus.

After Davis, you get Lemon at 52, Cedeno at 50 and Puckett at 49. That's a pretty clear gap in my opinion and a player in this group would need "extenuating circumstances" to make the HoF. Arguably Puckett had those.

Obviously further issues around 19th century ball, Negro Leagues (e.g. Doby), season length, etc.

So to clarify, I wouldn't say "the top 10 should be in." For CF, the top 6 are clearly in and then some mix of the next 10 or so should be in. 2B on the other hand has a clear gap at 10/11 (Randolph 63 WAR, Gordon 54 WAR). But there's also not a lot of difference between #6 and #10. Still, my guess is that, at most positions, you'd find 10 per position is about right (20th century).

A remaining question is what do you attribute differing career lengths (and therefore fewer WAR among the elite) between positions. The obvious difference is at C where it would be silly to require top Cs to have WARs in line with top 1B/LF/RF. I also tend to think that 2B and 3B have shorter careers (that's not empirically proven as far as I know) due to the positions being physically challenging (in terms of sustained durability) in ways that even SS and CF aren't. But it could be that it's just that being "tweener" positions that, once the offense fades, they can't move left on the defensive spectrum. If the former, then Kent's 55 WAR is much more impressive than Lemon-Davis; if the latter, then it's probably about the same.

As to big/small Hall, I doubt there really are many true big Hall people. There are two standards for the HoF -- the writers vs. the various other committees. When people say "big Hall", I think they almost always really mean "big relative to the historical BBWAA standard." I think pretty much everybody agrees that the VC made a lot of mistakes. By forcing themselves to meet the HoF number of inductees, the HoM has made some selections that many of us (including me and I suspect the majority of HoM voters) consider HoVG. You are only a "true" big Hall guy if you look at the HoM list and think there are a lot of exclusions who should be in and almost no mistakes.

They've made a number of mistakes (even leaving aside closers) in the last 20 years or so but my standard is pretty well in-line with the BBWAA's historical standard.
   43. greenback slays lewks Posted: June 27, 2012 at 01:02 AM (#4167452)
many of whom realize that Rice was not even the best player in his own outfield

For about six years he may have been the worst player in his own outfield, at least when you look at full careers, and the other two guys aren't in the HoF.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: June 27, 2012 at 05:51 AM (#4167472)
Snider and Ashburn are in, Davis clearly not.

By that I meant those two are actually in and Davis has clearly been passed over, it wasn't meant as a comment on whether they should be in or not.
   45. baudib Posted: June 27, 2012 at 05:57 AM (#4167473)
Dewey and Darrell Evans, similar names and similar players who were contemporaries. Both are among the top 10-15 players all-time at their positions, and each have their supporters for the HOF. I lean toward not putting in Dewey, although his election wouldn't offend me. I'm strongly against Darrell, and his election probably would offend me. Both of these guys had very long careers, unusual careers in which they ended up accumulating a lot of value according to various metrics.

Like Ray, I feel that Dewey represents the HOVG. He might even be at the top of the HOVG. Dewey was simply a very good player for a long time. Early in his career he was a terrific defensive player, probably better than a lot of guys who had bigger reputations at the time, like Dave Parker or Ellis Valentine. By time he developed as an elite-type hitter, he started to lose some defensive value. I feel that Dewey is close enough that had he put his best defensive and offensive seasons together, thus giving him a true HOF/MVP candidate-type peak, I'd put him in.

I'm not in love with Dawson with a HOFer, but I think I prefer him over Evans because The Hawk was a truly great player for a brief time, a fact that was obscured by a ton of things including hitting in a tough park in his best years, having his best seasons truncated by strike, playing at the same time as Mike Schmidt, which prevented him from winning any MVP titles.

Darrell has an even weirder career, and is more problematic. He has a couple of seasons worthy of Mike Schmidt's peak, a nice finish with Detroit where he was a 1B/DH and tacked on some big HR/BB numbers. In between he was pretty meh. The argument for Darrell is that he had one of the best careers of anyone who played a long time at 3B. But for most of his career as a third baseman, he'd have a tough time breaking into the top 5 at his position behind Schmidt, Brett, and probably behind guys like Cey, Nettles, Bell, and some years behind guys like Rose, Horner, Bando, Madlock.
   46. Rally Posted: June 27, 2012 at 09:14 AM (#4167501)
On Dawson: Part of his case is the great all-around player (the steals plus the defense)


I tend to look favorably on any defensive metric which shows Dawson as a great center fielder in his early years. I remember a game, must have been 1982, watching Dawson start in left center and make an incredible running catch over in right center, on a ball that just didn't seem like there was any chance it was going to be caught. After the catch he threw to first to double off a runner. That was the first year I watched a lot of baseball, and it made an impression on me. It was the sort of play that makes you rethink what was possible. I can't remember who hit the ball, or what the outcome of the game was, all that is gone from my memory. But I can still clearly see Dawson running after that ball, it's like a DVR clip that never gets overwritten.

I think part of why Dawson gets in and Evans does not is that Dawson had a better peak - he put his best hitting and best fielding seasons together. Evans went from a great all around fielder and mediocre hitter, to a great hitter and not as great fielder. He was still good on D, with the cannon of an arm, but in his 30's he didn't have a lot of speed.
   47. Rally Posted: June 27, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4167509)
Well, Retrosheet makes it a snap to figure these things out. http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1982/B07280CHN1982.htm

The play I remember happened on 7-28-82, Jody Davis lining out to center, Jay Johnstone doubled off first. Makes sense it would be against the Cubs, as thanks to the superstations 90% of the games I watched that year were Braves or Cubs.
   48. TDF, trained monkey Posted: June 27, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4167514)
The Jim Rice election created this endless conundrum. Evans was a better player than Rice was, for a longer time.

Ya know, this gets thrown around alot, but I'm not convinced.

If you believe bWAR, Rice's best 3 year peak was 18.4, surrounded by 14.3 and 15.3; Evans' best was 15.6. Rice's best 5 year peak was 23, followed by 22.2, 22.6, and 20.5; Evans had 5 consecutive above 20 (with a high of 23), and 6 out of 7 above 20. In other words, by this one measure of all-around goodness, Rice was at least as good as Evans (in peak bWAR) though Evans certainly was good longer. And Evans just wasn't that good in any single season, either - his peak bWAR seasons were 6.6, 6.2, and 5.2 (with a 1.0 smack dab in the middle of them), while Rice had the 7.1 MVP season followed by a 6.1 with two more of 5.4 later in his career.

A lot of the arguements in this thread (and other threads where Rice's HOF credentials come up) remind me of the "birthers" and Obama: There are plenty of reasons to dislike Rice's inclusion in the HOF, but there's no reason to make crap up.

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