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— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game
Thursday, December 26, 2002
Tommy John and Jim Kaat
Sean weighs in on two prominent southpaws.
I was the one who proposed this rundown of the HOF ballot, so I’m
Jim Kaat (
Kaat first appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot in 1989 and has
Tommy John (
John first appeared on the ballot in 1995, and has done
I’m going to run through the Keltner test here and see if that adds any information to whether they should be in.
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?
John: Nope. If we go by win shares, it isn’t even close.
Kaat: Nope. ditto for Kaat. His best year was a 304
2. Was he the best player on his team?
John: Definitely not as his best years were on a loaded
Kaat: He did lead the staff of an 89-73 Twins team in 1966,
3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?
John: He wasn’t, but he did finish second in the Cy Young
Kaat: finished fourth in the Cy Young voting in 1975 with a
4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?
John: Yes, John threw six shutouts for the 1980 WS Yankee
Kaat: From 1962 to 1970, the Twins finished first or second
5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?
John: He pitched until he was 46.
Kaat: He pitched until he was 44.
6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?
John & Kaat: Nope, they aren’t the best pitchers not in
7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?
John: Yes (* - signifies in the HOF)
8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?
John: Not quite, John scores an 8 on black ink (40 is
Kaat: Kaat does a little better with 19 in black ink, 44 on
9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
John: John played for some pretty good teams. The teams he
Kaat: A summary of Kaat’s teams gives a 278-242 record.
10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?
John & Kaat: No, see above.
11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?
John: He finished 12th in 1977 (3rd among pitchers).
Kaat: No, though Kaat did finish 5th in 1966, which was
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?
John: John was named to four All-Star rosters, including
Kaat: Kaat was an All-Star three times, including 1962 as a
13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?
John & Kaat: Nope.
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?
John: Well, if you consider a new elbow ligament a new piece
Kaat:Besides the ridiculous number of gold gloves, 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?
John: As far as I’m aware of. Bill James call him “a hell
Kaat: As far as I’m aware of.
I think they are both Hall of Famers. I’d pick John if forced to
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