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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Keltner Lists ‘04 - Part 3 of 5

Hall of Fame week continues with Jon’s evaluation of the new outfielders (and Paul Molitor!).

What follows is part of a series of Keltner Lists that Baseball Primer will be doing for the newly eligible Hall of Fame candidates.  I will be covering three outfielders and a third baseman-designated hitter.  One player?s life makes an interesting human-interest story; even if he didn?t have a great career.  Another had a handful of good seasons and one great one in his star-crossed career.  A third was a good player who had a few flashy stats but falls short of baseball?s greatest honor.  The last one is, in my opinion, a legitimate Hall of Famer.

 

I don?t think that this article is the end of the discussion on this quartet.  I see it as a starting point.  I relied heavily on Bill James?s book Win Shares. I regret not having access to Total Baseball or I may have answered some questions differently.  However, as I see it, using win shares is a good starting point for Hall of Fame discussions.  Flawed as this uberstat may be, it was designed for discussions like these.

 

Let?s go to the questions, shall we?

 

OF Jim Eisenreich

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?  Not by a long shot.  Eisenreich only had two seasons (1989 and 1990) where he had more than 500 plate appearances. 

2. Was he the best player on his team?  The Royals’ best position player when Eisenreich was a regular was probably Kevin Seitzer.  When Eisenreich was past of the Phillies revival, their best player was Len Dykstra.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?  He may have been the best utility outfielder in baseball during the late 80?s and early 90?s.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?  Eisenreich was a platoon player for the 1993 Phils and 1997 Marlins when they made the World Series.  He hit a homerun in each World Series.

5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?  Eisenreich didn?t get much of a shot to play until he was in his 30?s.  He retired at the age of 39.

6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame? Of the four newly eligible candidates I am covering, Eisenreich has the weakest case for the Hall of Fame.

7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?  No they aren?t.  Eisenreich has ten players with similarity scores of 925 or higher.  None of them are HOF candidates.  His closest comps are Warren Cromartie and Tom Paciorek with scores 0f 943.

8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards? No.  Eisenreich scores 0 on the Black Ink Test, 4 on the Gray Ink Test, 15.5 on the HOF Standards Test, and 16 on the HOF Monitor.  These marks fall well short of most HOF candidates.  For comparison, the average Hall of Famer scores 27, 144, 50, and 100.

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?  In a different world, Eisenreich may have received earlier treatment for his Tourette?s Syndrome and gone on to a better career.  More likely, he was lucky to be born about forty years ago.  If he was born earlier, he may not have received proper treatment.  I?m impressed at how well he did, all things considered.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?  About a year ago, a couple of sports writing brothers, the Shalins, wrote a book entitled Out By A Step which lists their top 100 list of players who aren?t in the Hall.  In their opinion, the best eligible outfielder that isn?t in is Tony Oliva.  I?d guess Minnie Minoso.  It doesn?t matter. Eisenreich wasn?t in that class of players.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close? None, he was never close.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?  I suppose that you could make a case for 1989 as an All-Star type season.  That would be it.  Eisenreich never played in an All-Star game.  Neither did Cy Young, but he was retired long before they were played.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?  I don?t see it happening, but it is possible.  Eisenreich had his best season in 1989 when he had 21 Win Shares.  Since, 1978 there were two teams that made (and won) the World Series with their best player collecting 21 or 22 Win Shares.  They were the 1989 Oakland Athletics (Lansford, 21) and 1991 Minnesota Twins (Chili Davis, 22.)  But both teams had a number of players who were pretty much just as valuable as their Win Share leaders.  It would have to be a pretty deep team to win a pennant without a player better than the likes of Eisenreich.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?  As far as I know, Eisenreich was the only player to battle Tourette?s Syndrome and have a career as lengthy as his.  I?m not aware of anything else.

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?  All evidence suggests he did.

Summary Eisenreich?s story is an inspiring one, but he was far from a Hall of Famer.  "My calling in life was not to be a superstar ballplayer," he told Baseball Weekly once, "I have another job to do, to be a quality player, help my team win, and show kids who have Tourette?s what they can accomplish.”

OF Kevin Mitchell

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?  Mitchell had a whale of a season in 1989.  But he never had another season that came close.

2. Was he the best player on his team?  Mitchell?s best years were with the San Francisco Giants.  Will Clark was at his prime then and was probably the best Giant.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?  Mitchell may have been the best outfielder in the game as the 1980?s turned into the 1990?s, but it was a very brief pinnacle.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?  Yes, he did.  Mitchell played for the 1986 Mets and 1987 and 1989 Giants, who were all playoff teams.

5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?  Mitchell was a part time player after the age of 32.

6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?  No

7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?  Most of Mitchell?s similar players are still active.  Of the ones who are retired, the most similar are Gus Zernial (922) and Wally Post (912).

8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?  No, and they aren?t particularly close.  Black Ink Score: 11, Gray Ink Score: 46, HOF Standards: 23.5, HOF Monitor: 37.5.

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?  Well, he didn?t spend most of his career in hitter?s paradise.  On the other hand, his peripheral stats (fielding and base running) weren?t particularly great.  I?d say his stats paint a fairly accurate picture.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?  No.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?  In 1989, Mitchell was the NL MVP.  Even though Will Clark, his teammate had a better season, Mitchell would have been a worthy candidate in most seasons.  It can be argued that Clark?s 1989 season was the best in all of baseball during the decade.  Mitchell also finished 9th in the MVP voting during the strike-shortened 1994 campaign.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?  From 1988 to 1990, as well as during 1994, I could be said that Mitchell had All-Star type seasons.  He actually was selected to two All-Star teams.  The only players who appeared in two All-Star games and made the Hall of Fame were old-timers whose careers were winding down in the 1930?s.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?  Give me the Kevin Mitchell 1989 model, surround it with a good team and I?ll take my chances.  Any other model, and the answer is no.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?  I can?t think of anything significant historical developments that Mitchell had a hand in.

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?  No, he was arrested a couple of times that I?m aware of.  Once was for rape and once was for hitting his father during his argument.  He also injured Chad Curtis?s thumb during a fight.  There was also a curious incident involving a cat.  I could go on, but I won?t.  Mitchell didn?t exactly have the best childhood and things might of wound up different if he had a different background, but that wasn?t the case.

Summary  Mitchell?s career had quite a peak, but he burned out instead of fading away.  If he took care of himself, things may have turned out differently.  He didn?t, and I don?t see him as a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate.

OF Joe Carter

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?  He was the 1981 College Payer of the Year, but that?s not what we?re looking for.

2. Was he the best player on his team?  He was the best Cleveland Indian player from about 1986 to 1989.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?  In Carter?s best year, 1986, he had more Win Shares than any other AL outfielder.  Tim Raines and Tony Gwynn had better seasons in the NL.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?  He sure did.  He was a key member of the Blue Jays during their glory days.

5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?  Carter was a regular until his career ended at the age of 38.

6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?  No.

7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?  Carter doesn?t have too many similar players.  The most similar is Dale Murphy who scores a 901.  Two out of his Top Ten are in the Hall.  (Orlando Cepeda and Willie Stargell.)

8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?  Not quite.  Black Ink=9, Gray Ink=103, HOF Standards=31.2, HOF Monitor=88.5

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?  His Triple Crown stats were pretty good, but this masks his true worth.  Carter was a good slugger, but his batting average and on base average were below average.  For a player who mainly played at offensive positions, his overall stats weren?t anything to write home about.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?  You could make a better case for some of Carter?s contemporaries like Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, or Dale Murphy.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?  MVPs average 33.4 Win Shares a season.  Carter?s best season total was 28.  He never won the award, but he did finish in the Top Ten four times.  His best showing was third in 1992.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?  Carter appeared in five All-Star games.  Roughly 11% of HOF eligible players who appeared in 5 All-Star games have made the Hall.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?  In Carter?s prime, he could have led a good team to a pennant.  Unfortunately, Carter was with the pre-Jacobs Field Indians at the time.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?  Carter was picked off unassisted by a pitcher twice in his career.  I?m not sure if that?s a record or not.

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?  On Christmas Eve, 1990, Moss Klein wrote the following in The Sporting News, "Joe Carter and Devon White? are two of the most selfish players in the game."  I haven?t found much other negative press on Carter. 

Summary  Carter?s gaudy RBI figure will garner him a few votes, but I don? see him ever making the HOF.  There are better candidates out there.

3B-DH Paul Molitor

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball? No.

2. Was he the best player on his team? Robin Yount overshadowed him early in his career.  In Toronto, there was Robbie Alomar to contend with.  By the time Molitor returned home to Minnesota, his career was in decline.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?  He was the best DH in the early 90?s.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?  Yes.  It?s hard to believe, but the Milwaukee Brewers were a strong team in the early 80?s.  Molitor was one of the key players in taking them to the 1982 World Series.  He also had a great postseason for Toronto in 1993.

5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?  Yes.  Molitor was one of those rare players who had a better career after the age of 30. 

6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?  No.

7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame? Yes.  Molitor?s comps include Robin Yount, George Brett, and Roberto Clemente.  The Igniter was a pretty unique player.  His Similarity Score with Yount, who is his closest comp, is 831.

8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?  Yes, Molitor passes three out of the four tests (Black Ink= 24, Gray Ink = 145, HOF Standards = 59.1, and HOF Monitor = 165.

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?  Molitor played most of his career at County Stadium.  Although I don?t have his home/road splits, that probably didn?t help his batting stats.  It would be interesting to see how his career would have turned out had came up as a DH or was able to stay healthy in the field. I think that?s a moot issue when it comes to the HOF.  Otherwise, we might be discussing Pete Reiser.  It would make for an interesting discussion.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?  Yes, if you consider him a DH.  I happened to consider him one for this discussion.  He didn?t play a majority of his games at DH, but he did play a plurality of them there.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?  If you consider 30 Win Shares to be an MVP-type season, then Molitor did this in 1982 and 1991.  He never one an MVP award, but he came in second in 1993.  He also finished in the top ten in 1987, 1988, and 1992.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?  Molitor was named to seven All-Star teams.  44% of eligible players who played in that many All-Star games are now HOFers.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?  Quite possibly.  Molitor?s peak value was just under 30 Win Shares.  The Win Share leaders for quite a few pennant winners of recent years had less.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?  Molitor returned home to Minnesota at the end of his career.  I?m not sure if he was the player to start this trend or not.  Other than that, I can?t think of any ways that he changed the game.

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?  As far as I know, yes.  Molitor did have a cocaine problem early in his career, but he overcame it quickly.

Summary  Molitor was enshrined yesterday, as was to be expected..

 

Jon Daly Posted: January 07, 2004 at 06:00 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Basha Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:03 AM (#614354)
Joe Carter was the first MLB player to use a maple bat.

For what it's worth.........
   2. Rick A. Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:03 AM (#614356)
Of Joe Carter:

He was the 1981 College Payer of the Year

Man, I'd hate to see his tuition bills!
   3. Jon Daly Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:03 AM (#614357)
I apologize for the errors and omissions. Self-editing isn't a strength of mine (but I did crack up when someone pointed out the "Payer of the Year" gaffe.) I'll be back later today or tommorrow with a more substansive reply.
   4. WillYoung Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:03 AM (#614360)
Molitor returned home to Minnesota at the end of his career. I?m not sure if he was the player to start this trend or not. Other than that, I can?t think of any ways that he changed the game

The trend was started by Jack Morris prior to the 1991 season. Dave Winfield also returned to Minnesota before Molitor and Steinbach continued the trend in the mid-1990s.
   5. Toolsy McClutch Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:03 AM (#614364)

I'm not sure I buy that Clark's 89 was better than Mitchell's. Other than a few points in OBP, Kev looks like he was pretty deserving.
   6. Evil Twin Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614365)
While it's true that Yount overshadowed Molitor somewhat, if you go season by season you will see that there are several seasons in Milwaukee, particularly near the end, where Molitor is clearly the better player and the best player on the team. Really, Yount and Molitor were considered players 1A and 1B at the time.

Also, I think the positional worth of Molitor wasn't discussed enough. He clearly was one of the best second basemen in the game when he played there. And when he moved to third, he was in the class, or at least close enough for discussion, with Schmidt, Brett, and Boggs. And Molitor was a positive defensively, not merely some hitter that switched to DH because he couldn't hack it in the field.
   7. OCF Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614368)
CKartman:

Every age has players who acquire a reputation for durability, and every age has players who acquire a reputation for being fragile and injury prone. Molitor had a strong, well-established reputation as an injury-prone player. When he was healthy (see 1982) he did wonderful things, but there were so many years when he wasn't healthy. When he was a position player, there wouldn't have been many willing to believe he would last long enough to get 3,000 hits. He became durable only after he became a DH.
   8. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614373)
Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame? No.

Really? Here are the only non-HOFers in history with more win shares than Molitor:

Pete Rose - 547 (permanently ineligible)
Rickey Henderson - 530+ (eligible in 200?)
Barry Bonds - 523+ (eligible in 20??)
Cal Ripken, Jr. - 427 (eligible in 2007)

None of those guys are eligible yet, so....

As for returning home to finish one's career, Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore, which didn't have a team then, but he returned to Boston at the end of his career. I'm sure I could come up with an earlier example if I had to. Now, if you wanted the question to be Minnesota-specific, well that's just silly.

As for the Mitchell vs. Clark question in 1989, it's really a tough call. A whole bunch of little things weigh in Clark's favor: he played a little more (5 more games and 35 PAs), got on base more (leading the league at 275 times to Mitchell's 248), played very good 1B defense versus Mitchell's lousy LF defense, and stole 8 of 11 bases versus Mitchell's 3 of 7 (ugh). Finally, he was more clutch/lucky than Mitchell. It's not a repeatable skill, but in 1989 Clark did bat .389 with runners in scoring position and did have a higher percentage of his home runs come with runners on than you'd expect.

OTOH, Mitchell was having a monster season batting behind, which might have contributed to those "clutch" factors.
   9. Sam M. Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614374)
I can?t think of anything significant historical developments that Mitchell had a hand in.

Just ask Calvin Schiraldi, Bob Stanley, and Bill Buckner. They might be able to think of one.

(I know, I know . . . that's not really the kind of "historical developments" the question is getting at. I just couldn't resist.)
   10. Kevin Cook Posted: January 08, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614376)
WTF-

In 1989, Will Clark played in 159 games. He had 675 plate appearances, created 130 runs and made 409 outs.

In 1989, Kevin Mitchell played in 154 games. He had 640 plate appearances, created 134 runs, and made 402 outs.

Clark played more- about 7 games' worth of plate appearances- and used less outs for every run he created. Those are advantages.

Clark stole 8 bases in 11 attempts; Mitchell stole 3 in 7. That's an advantage.

Each man grounded into six double plays. Since Clark did that in fewer plate appearances, that's an advantage.

Clark was a good defensive first baseman; Mitchell was a bad defensive outfielder. That's an advantage.

Basically, they had the same season. Clark's average was 40 points higher than Mitchell's. Mitchell hit twice as many home runs as Clark. The 40 points of BA and all the things that OPS doesn't pick up on- steals, defense, and all that- are in this case worth more than 24 home runs, enough so that Clark's season was demonstrably more valuable to his team than Mitchell's.

OPS is what it is. But citing it as the reason one player's season was better than another is about the same as citing batting average for the same purpose.


   11. Sam M. Posted: January 08, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614377)
In 1989, Will Clark played in 159 games. He had 675 plate appearances, created 130 runs and made 409 outs.

In 1989, Kevin Mitchell played in 154 games. He had 640 plate appearances, created 134 runs, and made 402 outs.

Clark played more- about 7 games' worth of plate appearances- and used less outs for every run he created. Those are advantages.


I'm confused. If Mitchell created more runs (134-130) and made fewer outs (402-409), how can you say Clark "used less outs for every run he created"?

Your first three paragraphs establish a pretty strong presumption on my part that Mitchell was, at least, the more valuable offensive player. I'd listen to arguments that might overcome the presumption, but they'd have to be awfully persuasive. Now, whether Clark's defensive advantages make up for that is another question. I'd say that the writers' choice was defensible, and it would have been had they gone the other way, too.
   12. Danny Posted: January 08, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614383)
I think people rehard Clark's 89 so highly because of Bill James and Win Shares. Granted, Clark put up great numbers in a pitcher's park.

However, Clark received 44 Win Shares in 1989, tying Gehrig for the single greatest season ever by a 1B. I assume, though I don't have the numbers, that Clark hit very well in RISP situations that year, which Win Shares loves.
   13. OCF Posted: January 08, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614384)
It was a long time ago, but I think I can reconstruct what I thought about the 1989 NL MVP in 1989. I saw it as Mitchell and Clark being of nearly equal value as teammates on a winning team. Mitchell was the new story, having a breakout year far above his past. Clark was an established excellent player - really, the established best 1B in the league - having a year consistent with his recent past. Clark batted in front of Mitchell, so Clark had more R and Mitchell more RBI.

It was inevitable that the BBWAA would pick Mitchell. All of the predictable biases ran in the same direction. Mitchell was the new story, and, all else being equal, the writers prefer a new story. Mitchell had the RBI's. Mitchell was being given some subjective credit for "protecting" Clark (without giving Clark enough credit for setting up Mitchell's opportunities.) Had there been a BBWAA MVP with modern eligibility rules in 1927, the writers would have picked Gehrig over Ruth for the AL MVP for the same reasons.

I thought the MVP should have been Clark, mainly as a reaction against the "new story" bias: I think that great seasons by players already known to be great are undervalued.

But 44 Win Shares? That's a head-scratcher.
   14. MNP Posted: January 08, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614388)
Each man grounded into six double plays. Since Clark did that in fewer plate appearances, that's an advantage.

Kevin: the RC & Out weirdness in your post has already been pointed out, but the GIDP bit doesn't make sense, either. I assume you mean "Clark did that in MORE plate appearances..."

Otherwise, you make good points, and I'm not trying to pick nits, just clarify your post for others who may be confused.

Jon Daly: good work; I particularly like your efforts to quantify/contextualize some of the things we throw around (i.e., "Carter appeared in five All-Star games. Roughly 11% of HOF eligible players who appeared in 5 All-Star games have made the Hall.") Very helpful.
   15. MNP Posted: January 08, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614389)
Oh, and on the Clark-in-1989 issue, I don't have anything terribly substantive to add, as others have pointed out a lot of the reasons it was a better season than it looks.

Just wanted to say that I've always thought Clark in '89 is a fascinating season. As several have observed, at first glance, it doesn't look THAT special. Then, as you start accounting for a lot of "little things," it keeps getting better and better. You could write a pretty damn good primer on sabermetrics for the uninitiated by using Clark's 1989.
   16. Danny Posted: January 09, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614392)
Mitchell had 38 Win Shares in 1989, an extremely good season. Does anyone have RISP splits from 1989? That must be most of the difference between Clark and Mitchell...
   17. MNP Posted: January 09, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614394)
Mitchell had 38 Win Shares in 1989, an extremely good season. Does anyone have RISP splits from 1989? That must be most of the difference between Clark and Mitchell...

Danny,

I don't have Mitchell's numbers, but (as noted by someone earlier) Clark did very well. Bill James writes in Win Shares, "Clark hit .389 with men in scoring position, so we credit him with an additional eight runs created for that. He hit 13 of his 23 home runs with men on base, three more than you would expect given his plate appearances, so we credit him with three more runs created for that."

James indicates that he took this data from the [Stats?] All Time Handbook, so you may be able to find Mitchell's info there.

(Or, it occurs to me -- and I won't bother deleting the above, since it's still useful to know -- we could just look at Retrosheet.org)

Ah, here we go, courtesy everyone's second-favorite (oops, sorry, BB-Ref, make that third-favorite) web site:

Mitchell, RISP: 139 AB, 12 HR, 49 BB, .281 AVG, .457 OBP, .612 SLG. 22 of Mitchell's HR came with runners on base; 25 with the bases empty.

Clark, RISP: 144 AB, 9 HR, 32 BB, .389 AVG, .481 OBP, .688 SLG. 13 of Clark's 23 HR came with runners on base.

Hmmm. Doesn't look like RISP should have been a HUGE advantage for Clark, since Mitchell also did quite well. Clark had about 176 PA with RISP (I haven't bothered to count HBP or sacs) and Mitchell had 188. Clark's OPS was 1.169, while Mitchell's was a still-very-good 1.069.

I would assume from this that RISP numbers helped clark, but not enough to be a large factor in the 6 Win Share difference between the players.
   18. Danny Posted: January 10, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614399)
Thanks for all the info, MNP.

I don't have the Win Shares book, but I;ve heard that James mostly uses BA in clutch situations to determine clutch hitting. If so, that would mean Clark has a sizeable advantage, despite having similar overall clutch production.

Was Clark known as a good defender?
   19. MNP Posted: January 10, 2004 at 04:04 AM (#614401)
I don't have the Win Shares book, but I;ve heard that James mostly uses BA in clutch situations to determine clutch hitting.

Certainly possible, Danny. The quote from James I used is the only line that details the advantage given to Clark, and it certainly seems to be based solely (or mostly) on BA.

As for defense, I seem to remember Clark having a good rep., but that's just my memory of a player I liked a lot at the time. James gives him a C+. Clark did win one GG, in 1991, so that says something about his rep, if not his ability.
   20. Scott Posted: January 12, 2004 at 04:05 AM (#614446)
It's called a "Keltner list" because Bill James came up with it (in his hall of fame book or first historical abstract -- I forget which) when evaluating Ken Keltner, a good-but-not-great 3B from the 40s whom some people advocated for the HOF.
   21. Anthony Giacalone Posted: January 20, 2004 at 04:05 AM (#614483)
Jon,

I think that it is clearly a mistake to evaluate Molitor as primarily a DH. Aside from one year (1981) when the Brewers moved him to CF because of the presence of Jim Gantner and Howell/Money platoon, Molitor was a second baseman / third baseman until he was 34 years old. If for some reason, Molitor's career had ended at that point, after the 1990 season, and he had never become a DH/1B then he still would have been an excellent HOF choice. He wouldn't have been a first ballot guy but, just to that point alone, he was as good a player as Bobby Doerr or Tony Lazzeri and considerably better than guys like Buddy Myer and Joe Gordon. He would have gone eventually based on his infield days alone. And he should be evaluated as such.

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